On January 12th, 2017, Zero Omega created the 'Regarding Personal Information and Ban Appeals' sticky in order to inform the community of Gaia's 'changes' to its policies toward banning users.
Here are some of the key take-a-ways from Zero Omega's original post:
- Zero Omega made this thread on behalf of customer support administrators, moderators and forum assistants
- Admits to a policy of censorship adopted in 2013 that deleted posts mentioning personal information of the CEO (Gary Schofield) and/or COO (Jason Loia)
- Uses language that implicates ''a policy'' being the reason users felt unfairly banned
In these cases, it hurts doubly so as the feeling is that you were banned due to an act of passion, trying to fight for a community that you felt was being ripped away and drastically changed for the worst. I know that there are those of you out there who feel this way, and do not believe that you are trying to be malicious and intentionally break the rules because it’s fun. When you get banned, you should absolutely feel free to appeal your ban and we owe you that due diligence to further explain that ban if you ask. To that end, this was something we did not properly do when it came to this policy and for that, the belief that unfair bans were being handed out became more prevalent.
So with regards to this policy, we want to take the time to correct our fault in this process.
Zero Omega claims to have taken action to redefine strict orders received from the CEO and COO to ban anyone posting their personal information by (a) deleting posts without warning and asking users to discontinue posting such content and (b) bans of varying lengths depending on the 'severity of offense' as exclusively defined by administrators.
Zero Omega claims that it is the belief of administrative staff that "the vast majority of bans placed because of this policy were only in severe cases of abuse and not improperly placed", adding "However we recognize that due to a lack of transparency, it ''could be believed'' that it was the result of overly strict moderating.
In asking the community to appeal their bans publicly, Zero offers three scenarios for outcomes for those who come forth to appeal a ban:
- "We find that the account was properly banned as the account had posted a severely threatening or abusive message and due to the nature of the message(s), the account cannot be unbanned".
- "We find that the account was properly banned at the time given the policy that was in placed, however, in a good faith effort to be more lenient given the changes to Gaia, we are unbanning the account".
- "We find that the account was improperly banned and should not have been banned, the account will be unbanned".
Zero's final notes:
"We will host this thread for one month, ending on March 6, 2017. After all cases have been reviewed, ''we will then post a secondary thread with our findings and results, again, in an effort to be more transparent about our process''"