Consultation: Demerits and Suspensions

The current demerits and suspension system works okay, but I think people get too many chances, and also it is rather complicated to keep track of all the demerits. Basically at the moment you get between 10 and 100 demerits for an unacceptable comment and everytime you make 100 you get suspended – initially for one week, and doubling each time you get to 100 again.

I’d like feedback on some possible changes.

Replace demerits with warnings and strikes

Rather than have a subjective number of demerit points, just have an unacceptable comment count as a strike, and one that verges on unacceptable count as a warning.

Three strikes and you’re out

If someone gets three strikes, then they are suspended.

Once suspended, all further strikes will lead to a suspension

After a suspension, then a further strike is a automatic further suspension. Warnings can still be given for borderline stuff, but clearly unacceptable content is an automatic suspension

Carry on current regime of doubling suspension periods

This would mean the following

  1. Strike 1 – no suspension
  2. Strike 2 – no suspension
  3. Strike 3 – one week suspension
  4. Strike 4 – two weeks suspension
  5. Strike 5 – one month suspension
  6. Strike 6 – two month suspension
  7. Strike 7 – three month suspension
  8. Strike 8 – six month suspension
  9. Strike 9 – one year suspension
  10. Strike 10 – permanent ban

An amnesty

As from 1 October there would be a new system, all current suspensions and demerits are wiped, and everyone starts with a blank slate.

Welcome feedback on the proposed changes. From my point of view it would be much easier to just record what strike someone is one, rather than the rather complicated demerit system. It is also less subjective.

Can I also say I’m really pleased with the report abusive comment usage. Readers have responded really well to this, reporting a couple of dozen abusive comments and hiding them from view quickly.  In only one case has there been an inappropriate reporting..