When reading over the new code of conduct I found something concerning in the "enforcements" section.

For most first-time misconduct, moderators will remove offending content and send a warning. Most issues are resolved here.

This implies that:

  • Every time you violate the CoC, no matter how slightly, you'll get a warning
  • If you don't get a warning, no content of yours has been removed for violating the CoC.

In current practice, that is blatantly untrue. Snarky and generally unfriendly comments fall under a violation of the CoC, but if current enforcement and moderator policy is continued without substantial differences (as Tim Post has confirmed in a comment that it will be), then Moderators will rarely if ever issue mod message warnings to people who are only guilty of the occasional snarky comment or two. (source at least for SO)

In addition to that, Tim Post further confirms that first time violations will indeed very rarely lead to direct warnings:

We anticipate that enforcement is going to look like, for the most part, simply deleting comments where people's enthusiasm got the better of them. The new code of conduct (along with more proactive communication on our part, which will be coming) will hopefully make folks a bit more sensitive to stuff that should be flagged. When moderators observe patterns over time, they tend to reach out to users privately to let them know, and only after warnings go ignored are suspensions generally issued. The handling of stuff once flagged is quite tempered and reasonable, our aim is to help folks develop more empathy for other perspectives that they might not ordinarily consider, which will hopefully result in folks putting a little more thought into their own word selection, and recognizing others that might be problematic, a bit more so than today. source

The problem I have with this isn't that warnings would be unfair in such cases, it is that it will create false expectations for new users. The wording of "For most first-time misconduct, moderators will remove offending content and send a warning." implies that if you aren't getting a warning about violating the CoC, then you haven't. This may lead new users or people who aren't meta-savy to believe they're doing just fine and to continue what they're doing. That's probably not the intended effect of this part of the code of conduct.

I propose re-wording this section to read something like:

For most first-time misconduct, moderators will remove offending content and may choose to send a warning. Most issues are resolved here.

  • 4
    Just to say - that little bit of leeway would be useful. We'll still come down like a load of bricks if need be, but sometimes we can deal with stuff with a little less yelling. Aug 8, 2018 at 7:42
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    Seconded. Threatening someone and not following suit when the behavior happens does not lead to the situation that the perpetrator lives in fear, it leads to the situation that the perpetrator does not take the CoC and the people guarding it (!) seriously, even when the perpetrator is finally reprimanded. This has been documented in school, at the workplace and all other places: Never issue a prohibition if you don't want to enforce it (There are exceptions: CYA policies which are not really enforced, but serves a person right if violated). Aug 8, 2018 at 15:22


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