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Community - Bans, Mutes, & Offense Appeals
So you're playing Runescape and having a great time, until one day you log in and try to message a friend.
"You have been muted by a moderator for breaking a rule."
What to do? This guide will provide information about bans, mutes, and some tips for writing strong offense appeals. If you have questions about this guide, feel free to ask on the account help chat thread.
Please note that this page is not for contacting Jagex. If you are having issues with bans or mutes, follow the advice below to understand how you may contact them through the appeals process.
This guide was written by Finance. Credit for the bans & mutes portion of the article goes to Raaf and Alaz.
Temporary and permanent bans are issued by Jagex staff members to combat serious or illegal activity such as botting, real world trading, account hijacking, or bug abuse. Bans will prevent you from logging into the game and will remove your ability to post on the forums. Permanently banned accounts are also removed from the hiscores.
Bans are not necessarily issued as soon as Jagex detects cheating. Jagex often waits a few days before banning cheaters, so that they can't tell how Jagex detected them. Members who are banned for breaking the rules are not entitled to a refund.
If you are banned, you'll see the offense and an option to appeal in your Account > Manage Account > Account Status section.
For more information about permanent bans, see Jagex's FAQ regarding banned accounts.
In-game mutes will restrict you to Quick Chat only in the game for the duration of the mute, and will also mute you from posting on the official forums. There are three ways to receive an in-game mute.
Muted by a Jagex Moderator
Jagex staff members review all abuse reports sent from the game. Upon receiving a report, if a JMod decides that you broke a rule, he/she can apply a mute to your account. In this case, you will receive an inbox message explaining that action was taken against you. You will also be able to see evidence for the offense as well as an option to appeal. These mutes can be for any duration of time, including forever (e.g. permanent). You can also receive mutes (or even bans) for serious rulebreaking on other accounts.
Muted by a Player Moderator
If a player moderator witnesses a serious breach of the Rules of Runescape, he/she can apply a mute to the offending player. These mutes take effect immediately, last for 48 hours, and serve to protect the community from dangerous or extremely offensive content. Jagex staff members review all PMod actions with priority. Once the mute is reviewed, either it will be upheld (in which case you'll get an inbox message and see appealable evidence as above) or removed. If it's removed, the mute doesn't affect your account at all anymore. There is no way to speed up the review of PMod mutes.
The ChatWatch system scans all text to see if players are naming botting sites, RWT sites, or private servers. Mentioning any of these by name will trigger an automatic 48-hour mute. These mutes are also reviewed by Jagex just like PMod ones. If you're innocent, the mute will be lifted; otherwise, an appealable offense and evidence will be added to your account.
Like ingame mutes, forum mutes serve to protect the forum community from severe disruption or dangerous/offensive content. They can be issued by either Forum Moderators or Jagex staff members. They will prevent you from posting further on the forums, although they do not automatically remove your ability to speak ingame. Forum Mods may issue 24, 48, or 72 hour forum mutes; Jagex staff members can also issue permanent ones.
Temporary forum mutes will remove your access to special forums like Clan Leaders or the High Level Forums. Along with a forum mute, Jagex staff can additionally choose to hide all of your forum posts.
Just like PMod mutes, all FMod mutes are reviewed by Jagex staff with priority. When the mute is reviewed, you may receive an inbox message explaining the action taken against you. If an FMod mutes you, he/she may also explain the action taken in a reply to the thread where you broke a rule.
Because forum mutes issued in error will be reversed on review, they are not currently appealable. Forum mutes for very serious offenses can be extended into ingame mutes/bans by Jagex. For more information, see the Forum Offense System.
Your Appealing Options
You have three options under which to file an ingame offense appeal (remember forum offenses are not appealable). I will discuss each here. Obviously, pick the one that best describes you.
You appeal any offense, and examine the evidence, via your Account > Profile & Settings > Account Status section. You are given 1000 characters for an appeal. For more on the layout of this page, please see the Website - Account Status page, or the page on Disabled Accounts.
Jagex primarily judges appeals based on the evidence given for the offense, so if you are innocent and write a poor appeal it is still possible that the offense will be removed. That said, you are given the opportunity to appeal for a reason, and I would suggest making good use of it.
I am innocent of the offense
If you feel this describes you, read on for further advice. I suggest taking at least a day long break before sending the appeal to give you time to calm down. Rereading the rules, so that you are 100% clear on what is/isn't an offense, is also a great idea.
I was not in control of my account
Jagex makes an effort to ensure that offenses are only added to accounts when their owners are in control. However, as the Terms and Conditions state, you are still responsible for your account at all times.
For offense appeals of this type, you will want to offer evidence that the account was hijacked. This may involve referencing IP addresses, ISPs, your geographical location, and playing habits. Selecting this option may also cause your account to be locked. You will then need to recover it before using it again. For help with account recovery, see my other article on account recovery tips.
Note that if your brother/sister was on your account breaking rules, there is no evidence that it was hijacked. Jagex's systems will show that the account was logged in from the same exact location as the account usually is. Remember to keep your account details safe and secure, and do not tell anyone your password (even family members).
Sometimes we just have a really bad day. If, upon reviewing the evidence and the rules, you believe you are truly guilty of the offense, then this is the option for you. Apologizing will not cause the offense to be removed, but may cause Jagex to look with more leniency on your account should you receive future offenses.
Writing a Strong Appeal
The goal of an offense appeal is persuasion. You have a small amount of space, and a short amount of time to persuade a Jagex staff member that you are innocent of the offense given.
Therefore, you will want to use the best persuasive techniques you have at your disposal in writing your appeal. All the stuff you learned in English class applies: strong verbs, concise language, use of adjectives/adverbs when appropriate to drive your point home.
I recommend writing your appeal as a short letter to Jagex. This looks professional and right away will impress the reader with your maturity First impressions really matter.
You needn’t use flowery language or extended metaphors in your appeal. It’s best to be direct and get to the point as you have little space in which to type. Don’t write your appeal with a thesaurus at hand, but you will want to use an appropriate vocabulary to describe the situation.
You also needn’t try to praise Jagex for unrelated things (e.g. "I love Jmods, please unmute my account"). This is pointless. You are here to discuss the offense you were given. It would be much more helpful if you were to show Jagex why you deserve to be unbanned/muted.
It’s probably best not to bring up your clean past record as evidence for your present innocence. Your appeal needs to be rooted in the evidence at hand. Just as in a real life criminal trial, the history of the defendant is irrelevant to whether he committed the crime. Pretend you are taking the stand to testify on your own behalf. Try to anticipate any objections Jagex would have, and counter them as best you can.
For the same reason, promising to be on your best behavior if Jagex will only unmute/unban you won't help. During trials in which Jagex unbanned certain accounts banned for botting, Jagex found that many of them went right back to macroing. As such, this is not a convincing argument.
Often times you will find that you need to present background context to explain yourself. If this helps, do it! Don’t lie about it though. Jagex can look extensively at your account history and can tell if you are lying.
With all this said, I’ll provide two sample appeals -- one good and one bad -- so you can see what I mean.
Sample Good Appeal
I’d like to point out the context of this offense to prove my innocence. I was selling rune armor on World 2 at the Grand Exchange, so naturally I was speaking often to ensure players saw my trade offer. Also, the evidence took place over several minutes, so the volume of text over time was less than it appears. My words were not spam because they had a clear, game-related purpose.
This is a strong argument for the player’s innocence. He has a clear, brief introduction and makes 3 solid points for why he is innocent:
- He is selling an item, so naturally he is speaking often
- The evidence was gathered over multiple minutes (from multiple reports), so the text is actually less than it appears
- The spamming rule was not broken because he was attempting to make a legitimate transaction
Sample Bad Appeal
"Plz unmute my acc Jagex. I worked so hard for the 3 99’s I have! If you don’t unmute me I will quit."
The difference should be clear.
Note that you don’t have to request to see evidence for the offense, but I *STRONGLY* recommend you do in order to write a strong appeal. Some offenses will not show evidence to avoid revealing specifics about Jagex's detection systems. These will be harder to appeal. Try to guess why Jagex thinks you're guilty.
What if my punishment was too harsh?
Jagex staff have said before that they will occasionally accept appeals if they feel that the punishment for the offense was too harsh.
This is a weaker appeal because it does involve admitting guilt. I would advise structuring an appeal like this by admitting as little guilt as possible but explaining that your actions were reasonable given the circumstances you found yourself in, and that you did not seriously cause any harm or offense to another player. You should draw heavily on context in this case to explain what was going on and why you behaved as you did.
Outcomes of an appeal
All appeals are added to a queue to be read by Jagex staff members. There is no way to speed up a pending appeal. It can take a long time for appeals to be read because Jagex prioritizes issuing new offenses and removing current rulebreakers from the game over re-reviewing decisions which are likely to be correct.
If your appeal is accepted, the offense will be 'quashed' and a line will be struck through it. This means the punishment for the offense is removed from your account, and the offense no longer contributes any blackmarks to your account.
If your appeal is denied, the offense and punishment will remain as is, and Jagex's decision regarding that offense will be final.
Some less serious offenses (such as offensive language) "expire" after a year, so even if the appeal is denied, the blackmarks may still disappear later. Permanent bans, mutes, or forum mutes do not expire -- they will last forever, unless they are appealed successfully.
Currently there is no other way to remove an offense from an account except by submitting a successful offense appeal. You cannot buy back banned accounts, and there is no banned account reinstatement program.
Appeals for Permanently Banned Accounts
Jagex is currently not reading appeals for permanently banned accounts. This includes offenses like macroing, bug abuse, RWT, and account hijacking. You may submit an appeal for these offenses but it is highly likely that the appeal will be denied even if it is read, since Jagex makes sure they are 100% certain an offense was committed before applying these offenses.
Jagex's policy on these accounts from their official Account Help wiki page is: “If your account is currently permanently banned, we deem the offence serious enough to permanently remove the account from our game. At the moment, we are not reviewing these bans and if this changes, you will be notified.”
The statement about 100k+ hours until the account is unbanned is currently a glitch -- those accounts will be banned forever.
If your account is permanently banned and you want to keep playing the game, you can always create a new account. If you do, make sure you read and follow all of the rules!
I hope this guide helped you understand how the offenses system works! As mentioned above, if you have questions about this guide, feel free to ask on the account help chat thread.
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