My brother was perma banned 2 years ago because he told a mod he was "being a nazi", because he made a post about how refs were a holes and used it to vent his frustrations about something that happened in game that the mod didn't agree with. He contacted matt about this and said it was personal and matt simply said "I trust my mods, sorry".
i can't speak to that specific incident but in my time as a mod here, it takes a whole lot more than that to get permabanned. That may have been the straw that broke the camels back.
Typically people are pissed after they've been warned or had a post deleted and will react in anger so I try to let it slide. But then after that initial reaction subsides I can usually have a civil discussion with them about what happened. Not always, unfortunately, but usually.
It also brings up another point to touch on from the perspective of a moderator. I can say that out of all the warnings and suspensions I've given, probably 90% of the people who PM me about their suspension say it's because I have some personal problem with them. They've never been right. Sure there's been a couple members I found somewhat irritating, but probably not nearly as many as you think given how long I've been doing this and the number of people here. And when an incident did arise with those people, I defer to other moderators about any potential incident, because I don't want any personal irritation to influence my moderating.
And to be clear, that irritation is never because someone has an unpopular opinion. If your posts are thoughtful, civil, passionate about hockey, even if unpopular, I'm probably a fan of your work.
The moderators all check in with one another about people who have become a problem and discuss the issues. When someone is warned or suspended, it leaves a record and an explanation that all the other moderators can look at. So no one is going rogue, banning members willy nilly. We're certainly not perfect, but we do try to maintain a level of consistency and do a good job for Matt.
Ultimately it's like officiating. If everyone is a little irritated with us on any side of an issue, we probably handled it okay.
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