- User gets banned on a site for a week for the first time.
- User responds to the moderator message appealing the ban.
- Seeing no response from the mods, user writes to SE staff using the Help Center > Contact page, appealing the ban.
- A month later, SE opens a ticket for the user in their defect tracking/online public grievance portal.
- Two more months later, SE concludes the investigation and says the ban was issued in error.
- Since the initial ban period has already passed, SE says they cannot do anything about it.
- SE, however, promises the user the initial ban will not be taken into account for any future, possibly longer bans.
- User gets banned again for a month. User is reminded of the same stuff stated in the moderator message from the first ban possible implication being the user is a repeat offender so deserves a longer ban (30 days vs. 7 days) this time.
- Confused user writes to SE staff again, reminding them that when the reasons stated for the first ban itself were deemed unfair after review how can the same be used against the user for an even longer ban. Also, whatever happened to the promise made to the user?
- SE investigates again and after 1-2 months responds to the user either reducing the second ban to 7 days or reversing it.
- By this time, the user has already served two bans (7 days from the first and 30 days from the second).
- User sees something is fundamentally wrong with this whole SE user ban/appeal process. As for the bans themselves, user feels they were less to do with violating CoC or other SE norms and more to do with ideological/philosophical/political differences with site mods and few other users. Both very good reasons from user's POV to stop participating or quit the site for good. Continued participation can only lead to more such bans and more such appeals.
To compensate and keep users, who have successfully appealed a ban, still interested in the site and also serve as a reminder that not all hope is lost, I suggest a new gold badge ("successfully appealed a ban") be awarded to them along with a rep. award of at least 500 points.