Edit: this message was sent on behalf of the entire moderation team.
Through recent events and some people calling out to it , we–the moderation team–have realized that we’ve been lacking a good process for moderation in the channels covered by the Scala Code of Conduct. Until now, individual people have been moderating in a mostly “informal” way, without a known structure. While this way of doing things usually works fine for small isolated infringements, it is problematic for dealing with larger or recurrent issues. It is also difficult when it comes to justifying decisions to moderated users, as we’ve discovered, or when a member of the community wants to appeal moderation acts.
We would like to remedy this situation, which means finding a good process for moderation, giving a framework to moderators to address isolated cases as well as larger problems.
As a discussion starter, here is a draft of what we could do to at least solve the accountability problem, i.e., that when a person feels they have been wrongly moderated, that the moderation team can tell them why:
- Small infringements are handled as already described in the Code of Conduct (warn, kick, ban) by individual moderators, at their discretion, with a private explanation to the infringer. A ban issued this way cannot exceed a fixed, known amount of time (24h?).
- Each such moderation action is logged in a way that is accessible only to the moderation team, including the action taken and the reason, included citation of the problematic exchange.
- Any member of the community can, at any time, request a copy of the log concerning them.
- For privacy reasons, the log is never disclosed to anyone outside the moderation team, unless upon express request, in writing, by the concerned member.
- Log entries are deleted after a fixed, known amount of time (6 months?), or earlier at the discretion of the moderation team.
- The moderation team can discuss in private recurrent or larger cases of infringement. A collective decision by the moderation team may lead to bans longer than 24 hours, including indefinite bans. The decision must be motivated by logged infringements.
- Such a decision is communicated in private to the concerned person.
- A person may appeal moderation acts concerning themselves, whether small ones performed by a single moderator or large ones performed by a collective decision, to the moderation team.
Although the above should provide a fix for the accountability of the moderators, it does not give a clear path to ensure every member is treated equally. It probably deserves further refinement.
We would like to hear from you if you have specific suggestions for improvements, preferably motivated by previous experience (such as in other communities).
 A member of the community was temporarily banned from the scala/contributors gitter channel by a moderator (on an individual decision, as we are used to doing). From there, the matter quickly escalated beyond what an individual moderator could handle, and the moderator asked counsel to the moderation team. We had a lot of internal discussion to try to come up with a better process, which distracted us from the immediate case in front of us. We wish we had resolved it more quickly, and then taken the more general discussion public sooner. Since the ban was never intended to be permanent in the first place, and certainly not to go on for so long, it has now been lifted.