Valve banned a bunch of people from their games, 15,000 I believe over a mistake in their own program.
Er, that had nothing to do with forum posting. Stay on topic, perhaps? Those were automated bans with no human input, not a decision of forum admins.
The point remains, I think, that a poster's definition of posting something ban-able and an admin's definition can vary. "Not being an ass" to avoid being banned is pretty vague and *is* the slippery slope.
Not so much. Normal forum discourse is not a slippery slope and is most certainly not a bannable offense. All forum TOS text generally has something about remaining civil. As long as you do, you never have anything to worry about. There's no "slippery slope". There are other terms of course that can come into effect even if you are civil (posting warez links is another common one). It all comes down to knowing the rules of the forum. Notice Luckmann *knew* he was pushing his luck in a flame fest against BioWare. That's not a slippery slope, since the TOS were already broken. They usually lay out pretty clearly what you're allowed and what you aren't.
For example, EA's terms of service from the Dragon Age Forums:
EA may also terminate your Account(s) (and access to all related entitlements) for violation of this Terms of Service
10. Rules of Conduct.
You may violate the Terms of Service if you:
- Post, transmit, promote, or distribute Content that is illegal.
- Harass, threaten, embarrass, or do anything else to another player that is unwanted, such as repeatedly sending unwanted messages or making personal attacks or statements about race, sexual orientation, religion, heritage, etc.
- Transmit or facilitate distribution of Content that is harmful, abusive, racially or ethnically offensive, vulgar, sexually explicit, defamatory, infringing, invasive of personal privacy or publicity rights, or in a reasonable person's view, objectionable. Hate speech is not tolerated.
- Disrupt the flow of chat in chat rooms with vulgar language, abusiveness, hitting the return key repeatedly or inputting large images so the screen goes by too fast to read, use of excessive shouting [all caps] in an attempt to disturb other users, "spamming" or flooding [posting repetitive text].
- Impersonate another person (including celebrities), indicate falsely that you are an EA employee or a representative of EA, or attempt to mislead users by indicating that you represent EA or any of EA's partners or affiliates.
- Attempt to get a password, account information, or other private information from anyone else on EA Services.
- Upload any software or Content that you do not own or have permission to freely distribute.
- Promote or encourage any illegal activity including hacking, cracking or distribution of counterfeit software.
- Upload files that contain a virus or corrupted data.
- Post messages for any purpose other than personal communication, including advertising or promotional messaging, chain letters, pyramid schemes, or other commercial activities.
- Improperly use in-game support or complaint buttons or make false reports to EA staff.
- Use or distribute "auto" software programs, "macro" software programs or other "cheat utility" software program or applications.
- Modify any part of the EA Service that EA does not specifically authorize you to modify.
- Post or communicate any player’s real-world personal information using an EA Service.
- Attempt to interfere with, hack into or decipher any transmissions to or from the servers for an EA Service.
- Use and communicate exploits to gain unfair advantage in a game
- Attempt to use EA Software on or through any service that is not controlled or authorized by Electronic Arts.
- Interfere with the ability of others to enjoy playing an EA Service or take actions that interfere with or materially increase the cost to provide an EA Service for the enjoyment of all its users.
Specific EA Services may also post additional rules that apply to your conduct on those services.
There's no slippery slope here. Under these rules, insulting a forum admin or BioWare/EA rep in any way can be considered violation of the TOS and they can ban you. Doesn't mean they will, but you can't call it a slipery slope between calling the guy an "ass" and a "****wad" when clearly both are wrong and you can get banned for either.