The moderation team on the Beamdog forum has been approached by GoG users about things mentioned in this thread. We have conducted an investigation and here's what we have to say.
During the course of years there have been many emotional events in our community. Like on every forum, there have been conflicts between users, site violations, warnings and bans. There can be no surprises that users don't always agree with decisions made by the moderation team (which could explain those threads on Steam, Reddit and other sites).
This is why we feel we have to highlight the following. The moderation team consists of volunteers, users who willingly decided to become moderators. Moderators are not Beamdog employees. Also, as time goes by, the moderation crew changes, with people going in and out. Their opinions are their own and do not reflect the company's opinion. More important, nobody is forced to be a moderator. Moderators have stepped down in the past and chosen to become normal forum users and it may happen again in the future.
There're no personal decisions. Any decision (a PM, a warning, or a ban) must be approved by more than one moderator. No moderator punishes any user without approval by the moderation team unless it's about software or any other kind of piracy. That will result in an immediate banishment.
Sometimes, it may seem like that a moderators’ reaction is harsh and doesn’t match user’s words in a thread. Sometimes, it may seem that there's no moderators’ reaction to what is happening in a thread at all. But the work of moderators is a little bit more complex.
For several reasons, no public warnings are issued except for very general warnings, such as get the thread back on topic, for instance, those are never nominal and are just a general call for order. The Forum uses a Warning system that vary in severity level from 1 to 5 with progressive restrictions on the forum, including the prohibition to create a new topic in higher warning levels. Sometimes we decide to give "one last informal warning" in a PM instead of issuing a formal warning. So if you don't see someone being punished for breaking the rules, it does not mean the person is not being punished. We just chose not to make the punishment public.
We don’t warn a user at once, we warn a user only for the sum of incidents. It may seem that a certain incident didn’t deserve a ban, a warning, or a remark from a moderator, but a measure was still taken. It means that in that particular moment the sum of all the incidents, in which that user had taken part, was accumulated. Any warning that is going to a user can be seen only on their profile, so others don't see it unless they check the user's profile. Moreover, all discussions with the user leading to a warning and following it are private, and thus for a third party it's difficult to imagine the scope of the site violation and the amount of these violations by each user. There're even cases when site violations happen in PMs.
Beamdog, as a company, has never given the moderation team any instructions to persecute certain topics or people with certain beliefs. Constructive criticism is welcome. Even critique which isn't particular constructive is generally taken in a positive light, provided people are doing so without insulting other forumites. There has never been a precedent with an opposite approach.
We don’t use any selectivity. If two people had a quarrel, the measures are taken towards both parties. A user can’t see it. We send warnings to both parties, but of course, these parties are not interested in informing each other or other forumites. This is why a user can get an impression that only he (she) was punished, and his (her) offender wasn’t. But it never happens like that.
After the SoD release we have had a lot of different topics on the forum. There have been people with polar opinions. The reason some of those threads were closed is that sooner or later in the those threads’ comments people had begun insulting not only the subject of the discussion, but also each other. It’s exactly those mutual insults, and not critique of the game, which led to closing discussions. If people only told each other: “I like that for these reasons” or “I don’t like that for these reasons”, we would never have to close such threads. Peaceful arguments are encouraged. Any unpopular opinions can be shared, if their author doesn’t write: “Those who don’t agree are idiots”. Because a phrase like this violates the Site rules of the Beamdog forum.
We don't care if you are defending something we personally believe in, or even Beamdog itself. If you break the forum rules, a reaction will follow accordingly.
During our investigation, we haven't been able to find any confirmation of what JusticeSpark had mentioned.
We also want to highlight that there was no ban in the situation Stig79 mentioned. You can see it yourselves in forums.beamdog.com/discussion/52431/kind-of-a-big-plot-hole/, the OP hasn't been banned and they still keep posting on the forum.
As for the message by Alonshow, that user reported he was being trolled by another forumite, we took actions and in the end the violation was stopped, and another forumite was warned. But Alonshow continued to think they were trolled by another forumite and created a thread about "how to troll on the forum and get away with that". We had a discussion with that user, explaining stuff, but in the end, it seems, the user decided to leave the forum."