Moderation Actions and Appeals Process
Here you will find everything you need to know about what to do if you’ve been moderated, including:
- The specific actions we take and what they mean or imply
- How to appeal and how we work around limitations with the appeal process
First things first
We acknowledge that being moderated can be stressful. We do our best to intervene only when necessary and in the interest of preserving Hachyderm as a safe space. We acknowledge that we are human and that we can make errors. We ask for your patience and understanding that when we approach a situation, we are doing so as strangers moderating strangers.
For more information about what goes into how we interpret and enforce our rules, please take a look at our Moderator Covenant and Rule Explainer. Some of the language used below will come from the Moderator Covenant in particular.
- The moderation actions and information about them
- Reminder: not all moderation action is visible
- The Appeals Process
The moderation actions and information about them
Although there are a few actions we can take as moderators, the most common are:
Two additional, less commonly used, actions are:
- Delete Posts
The warning feature is a tool in the Mastodon admin tools that allows us to send a message directly to you.
When you receive a warning, that means that the moderation team has decided:
- The impact of what you were reported for did not require a more significant intervention, and …
- …based on the interaction(s), we believe that you will respond to the warning with a growth mindset.
Essentially, warnings are the feature that allow us to respond to a report with a gentle nudge in the right direction. Warnings do not change your login, use, or ability to federate as a Hachyderm user.
It is important to understand that, unlike some other systems, a “warning” is not something that is tracked for later punishment. This means that you are not accruing “strikes”, or similar, with every warning you receive. That said, please do keep in mind that we choose our actions to prevent recurrence of the same actions that have caused the community harm. So while there is not a strike system, this is not leeway to continue to do what you were reported for without change.
When the moderation team sends a warning, we always send a message with what we need from you. This may be a reminder to leave interactions that are not going how you hope or intend, or it may be a reminder to disengage if you’ve been asked to leave a conversation for whatever reason.
Freeze and Suspend
These are both actions that prevent you from using your Hachyderm account normally.
You will be able to log in, but will only be able to access your account settings with a message that your account is still otherwise online. Basically this means that to an outside observer your account is still “up”.
When your account is suspended it will be taken offline. Your data including media, posts, followers, and following will all be intact for 30 days. After 30 days, they are automatically purged from the server after that time.
In all except the most egregious situations, whether a moderator suspends or freezes an account is based on what we are seeing in the reported interaction. Specifically:
- How severe is the impact of the reported interaction to our community and other communities
- Is the situation continuing to escalate, or at risk of doing so
- Which action, freeze or suspend, reduces the risk to our community and others
If your account was frozen, you should always file an appeal. If your account was suspended, the situation of the suspension will determine if an appeal is possible. (Skip to The Appeals Process)
We want to call out that there are times that we temporarily suspend an account even if the rule broken is not severe. This would only happen when there is an impact to the server or community that would warrant and benefit from an immediate, visible, action and forced cool-down period.
Limit and Delete Post
Being limited means that you are hidden on our instance. Your posts are all still visible to your followers and can still be discovered when directly searched for. Your posts will not otherwise show up in the Local feed. You will be able to federate with other instances normally.
Delete Post is what it sounds like - we can delete the reported posts and associated media (if that media is uploaded to Hachyderm).
We do not typically Limit accounts or Delete Posts. We have a couple of reasons for this:
- We do not want the moderation process to be passive; essentially, if you acted in a way that required intervention, we want to see that you are willing and able to rectify the situation without further intervention.
- In the case of Limit in particular, we do not want the process to go on without resolution.
This means that, in general, we will use one of the other actions and communicate what we’d need from you in an appeal process to reinstate normal functioning of your account.
Reminder: not all moderation action is visible
Of the above actions, the only moderation actions that are visible are if a moderator deletes a post or suspends an account. When an issue is closed without action or when a user is warned, frozen, or limited, the action is not visible to the reporting user or other users.
The Appeals Process
You may respond to any moderator action with an appeal. In all cases except for 1 ) severe rule violations or 2 ) creating a banned account type it is in your interest to file an appeal to start or continue a conversation about what you reported for.
When not to appeal
The only two situations when filing an appeal will not be helpful. If the harm done to the community is repetitive (before it was caught) and the impact and risk to the community is high, there is no benefit to you filing an appeal. This includes, but is not limited to, being in favor of systems of oppression, posting illegal content, harassment, etc.
The other situation is if the account is a type that we ban on our server and it was correctly flagged (please file an appeal if not). Common types of banned accounts are those that don’t abide by our NSFW Policy and Monetary Policy.
For clarity: if your account was suspended (or frozen) due to being either 1 ) an unrecognized special account type or 2 ) not following the rules for your account type (bots, companies, etc.) then you should file an appeal.
When to appeal
If the reason that your account was flagged for a rules violation was incorrect, you should file an appeal. We again ask for patience and understanding as we work with you to correct our mistake in that case.
Some cases for something like this:
- An account that is flagged as a company or business (a corporate account), but is not.
- An account that is a specialized account type, but one that is not directly allowed from our Account Types. Currently, accounts that are not specifically called out are not allowed. We request and recommend everyone interested in creating accounts that are in a grey area to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are other cases where we use freeze and suspend as tools to help de-escalate or otherwise resolve a situation in progress, but the freeze or suspension does not need to be permanent. Example situations for this:
- A specialized account type not following the rules for that account type. (e.g. bot posting more than the limit, not using hashtags, etc.)
- If a situation is escalating in a way that cannot be resolved without stopping what is happening while in progress. (e.g. A user accidentally spamming the server due to something misconfigured.)
Where possible and applicable, we try to include whatever needs to happen to unfreeze or unsuspend an account. Commonly, with frozen accounts, we may need you to agree to delete posts or similar to re-instate your account.
Whenever you file an appeal you should always email us due to limitations in the appeals process. (See next section.)
Limitations of the appeals process
Whenever you want to file an appeal you should both file the appeal and email us at email@example.com.
The reason for this is that the Appeal feature in the admin interface does not allow us to continue a conversation with you. When we receive an appeal we can only Approve or Reject. We cannot send an outbound communication when we do either action and cannot send a communication to help us decide what action to take.
In order for us to know if your account was flagged incorrectly and why, or for us to be able to reinstate your account if it was frozen or suspended pending action we requested of you, we will need you to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also include a summary of the situation in the appeal itself, as that will remain tied with the appeal in admin UI, which will set the initial context and set the expectation that there are emails corresponding to the appeal.