“You know maybe I was being an @$$ and I’m sorry. Could you let me back” how could any reasonable person not at least consider it?
Easily. A reasonable person would have read the rules and known that the possibility of posting "whatever" could lead to a permanent ban. A reasonable person would, before posting something inflammatory, deragatory, or insulting to the general sensibilities of others, stop and think "hey, does my life really hang on this next post?" and instead of hammering on the keyboard, would go outside and have a smoke. A reasonable person would heed the warnings of moderators and take them seriously.
Munmblefratz, I really do admire the love you have for your friend here, and if in a similar siuation, I may do the same thing, however, the ban is the only punitive measure the moderators have in enforcing forum rules. If that measure is comprimised, as you suggest, moderating effectiveness drops drastically. I have have been on forums where people can return after being banned, and it turns into a circus. These individuals know they can "misbehave" (for better lack of a word) and are garunteed to return in a week/month/year, etc. The problem individuals of those forums are almost all repeat offenders.
Secondly, if one person is allowed back arbitrarily, why not allow back everyone who has been banned? It would be the only "fair" thing to do. This would open the flood gate of individuals who prefer to disrupt rather than contribute and would hurt, if not ruin the experience of our genuine community members.
If the moderators felt that ES had to go, then he had to go and probably for good reason. As much as I liked ES too, I gotta side with Stardock and the mods on this one. I think the best thing we can all learn fro this, is that there are real consequences for our actions here, and we should be aware of this when we go to post.