Enforcing the rules outlined in the Community Guidelines
and Terms of Service
falls upon the Moderators and Administrators (collectively The Staff
) of the site. You can check out the current roster here
So, you went and broke the rules. Here's what might happen...
Tier 1 - Verbal Warning
Staff member will tell you to knock it off, and everyone will go about their day. If you leave it at that, everything is cool.
Tier 2 - Formal Warning
For slightly more serious infractions (or repeated mild annoyances), Staff member will add a warning to whichever post was not cool. Your reputation will get dinged a couple of points, and the warning will go on your record.
Tier 3 - Timeout
For a particularly volatile situation, or repeated offences, a Staff member will block you from accessing the forum for a period of time. Timeouts range from hours to weeks, depending on whether it is to cool off everyone involved or a punitive action for repeated infractions. Any attempts to circumvent the Timeout with a new account will result in a ban. Do your time and come back, and everything is cool. For punitive timeouts, you'll get dinged some reputation and get mark on your profile. Accumulating timeouts will result in longer ones until you finally just get banned.
Tier 4 - Ban
Bans can last from months to years or be permanent. These are a result of a massive violation of the rules, illegal activities or long history of abuse on the forums. You are no longer welcome here.
Tier X - Very Informal Warning
The Staff reserves the right to mess with your badges and reputation for comedic effect.
You can appeal any punitive action to the Administrators, but rules lawyering will generally not improve your standing. Moderators are subject to the same rules, but anything more serious than a verbal warning will additionally cost them their moderator status. Administrators can basically do whatever they feel like, so maybe be nice to them.