So you've just created your GameDev.net account, you've been posting a bunch, and then one day you login and find yourself with a PM in your inbox indicating that your warning level has been increased and that you've been suspended. What should you do?
I'll hope that this post will find its way into the hands of some of those people whom have been there, or are going to be there shortly. I would also hope that this will allow those of you who are contemplating skirting the edge of the rules to think twice, and maybe even to become somewhat contributive members of our community.
Oh no! I've been punished! What should I do?
First things first, check your PMs, as generally most punishments should be accompanied by a PM indicating why you were moderated in the first place. If not, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to request information regarding your punishment.
If you feel that the punishment you have received is unwarranted, or shouldn't be as severe as it is, then you can make an appeal to the senior moderators at email@example.com. When sending your request, please be sure to include your account name and the email you signed up with. You should also include a brief statement explaining why you feel the punishment you have received is too harsh/or why you should be granted clemency. Do be considerate and try and use proper grammar, good formatting, and in general politeness, after all these are the people who will be considering if your punishment should be relaxed.
What shouldn't I do?
Don't ignore it. If you just wait out your suspension time and then go back to doing whatever it was you were doing, then you'll most likely find yourself banned. Sorry, thems the rules.
Don't create another account. We have extremely sophisticated tools for detecting duplicate accounts and will spot you within moments of registration. Not only will the duplicate account be banned, but if your punishment was a lesser punishment (such as a suspension), then it will be upgraded to a ban.
Don't insult the moderator. Acting like an ass will ensure that, no matter how good of a case you make to the senior moderators, you'll never be unbanned. It indicates that you have no respect for the members and volunteers of this site, and that you don't hold this site up to a high standard, both of which we tend to frown upon.
Don't be demanding. This is GameDev.net, not your personal playground. We make the rules and we decide when to reply to your emails. We aren't available 24/7 to field answers to all of your requests (although we do aim for 24 hour coverage for moderators), and we don't respond well to people who think we somehow serve them and their needs. If you don't know why you were punished: ask, don't demand, to know why.
Don't be a lawyer. We make and enforce the rules, not you. Your interpretation of the rules means pretty much nothing to us. Trying to play the lawyer game will generally result in your punishment either increasing, or in your pleas falling on deaf ears with regards to the senior moderators.
What kinds of things are punishable?
Other topics of interest: Posting in certain forums with specialized rules such as For Beginners or Help Wanted should be carefully reviewed to ensure that they follow the rules properly. The rules for both of the above forums can be found here and here.
Warez: This is a really touchy subject here, mainly because we frown on the use and promotion of warez. Remember we are mainly software developers here, and people who use warez represents a portion of our users that have not paid for our software, which means they are affecting our livelihood. Admitting to having used warez in the past will generally not get you banned, although you might get a warnings increase. Promoting warez will, in general, result in you being banned.
Lazy Posting: This is a tough one for many people, but as an example: There is a rule in the lounge that requires you to contribute your own opinion if you are linking to something, instead of just the link. This rule exists in various forms across all of the forums though. Starting a topic with just a link will tend to have that topic closed/deleted, and will generally result in a warning of some kind. Always provide content of some kind with your posts.
Provably False/Ignorant Postings: GameDev.net is not in the position of moderating what users think and what they can say, provided it's within the rules. However you may occasionally be warned for posting information that is trivially provable as being false. If you don't know, don't answer should be the general rule of thumb. Furthermore, when making blanket statements you should ALWAYS provide references to backup your statements. Not doing so can result in getting moderated. This applies more to forums like For Beginners and the Lounge than it does to other forums, but it still goes for the technical forums as well.
Off Topic Discussion: We allow a lot of leeway in regards to off topic discussions in the technical forums, allowing sub-conversations to exist within larger conversations and such. In general though you should try and avoid going to far afield from the topic at hand. Posting topics or replies that do not belong in a particular forum, depending on the severity of offtopicness, can result in moderation.
Creating Duplicate Accounts: Duplicate accounts are not allowed. There's no excuse for them. One of the more common excuses that we see for people creating them is that they're trying to escape from their history (0 rated people especially). You earned that rating through hard work, we do not feel that it would be very honest of us to let all of your hard work go to waste.