At some point, forums administrators will encounter lusers who believe (rightly or not) that they have been unfairly banned and wish to argue their case. Currently, they are prompted to fire off an e-mail to the board's e-mail address, which I believe to be inadequate for two reasons:
- Some boards would use an non-existing or unmonitored "noreply" e-mail address (phpBB.com being a prime example last time I checked).
- Not all forum staff would have access to it, which could potentially create workload issues.
- Luser receives the "you have been banned" message
The luser should be provided with an "appeal this ban" button, which takes them to a simple form where they are prompted to fill out their appeal. On submission, it should go into a "ban appeals queue" similar to the reported post or unmoderated post queue, to be viewable by forum staff (permissions around this discussed later).
A luser should only be permitted one appeal for the ban. If an appeal has been made, the "appeal this ban" button should not be shown; instead, status messages ("Your appeal is in progress", "Your appeal has been denied", etc.) messages should be shown in its place.
Lusers should only be given limited time after the ban was placed to appeal said ban. This value should be configurable via the ACP.
The option to send forum staff ban appeal notifications via e-mail should be considered if this RFC is accepted.
- The appeal is reviewed by forum staff
The appeal should be viewable by forum staff via the Banning interface in the MCP. The following information should be provided (not necessarily in the order in which I've laid them out below):
- Username of the banned luser
- Time of ban
- Reason for ban
- Length of ban
- Username of forum staff member setting the ban
- Appeal text
- A decision is made on the appeal
When the forum staff (by the policies of their choosing) have reached a decision, the ban appeal should be approved or denied.
If approved, the ban originally set should be automatically lifted.
If denied, an option should be provided to change the length of the ban (useful for dealing with lusers who use the feature to attack forum staff).
A reason should be provided for approving or denying the appeal. This reason, as well as the username of the forum staff member who dealt with the appeal, should be logged.
An e-mail should be sent to the user when the appeal is dealt with, notifying him/her of the outcome, and the reason.