Just fyi, when I use the word "penalties", I refer to the fact we have sanctions other than bans (which are also of various lengths, depending) that may be in play. Getting a No New Threads designation, or losing your signature privileges, or being restricted form certain forums, etc. are examples. Also, though it keeps getting repeated in posts and PMs by the few reading-comprehension challenged and "mad" biased folks that mods "can't admit they're ever wrong", I routinely admit that very thing (even have in these very threads), am known for posting such to those paying attention and without a mentally fixated ax to grind.
The mods are very open about being fully human (durr), but we also point out we have the right to post in the same spirit as anyone else. Some of the guys giving us grief for being harsh or blunt with them or others (even when it's within the rules) are well-documented as frequently being very dickish themselves (and actually violating rules) but they want us to be "ever above the fray."
"Ever above the fray" is one choice for any member, mod or otherwise, and it's fine. I choose not to feel obliged to be "nice" or "turn the other cheek" all the time. The few major complainers here also appear to want others to have behavioral standards far beyond the ones they hold. The lack of their own accountability, distorted perceptions, selective vision, false claims, and hypocritical thinking as often featured in these donnybrooks , only move from laughable to "sad" when they really start to froth or seriously bend the reality of "things that happened."
But of course there really are mod mistakes or mod judgments/behaviors (mine or anyone's) that could have been better, and no one on this staff denies that----I will deny it when some problem child who isn't describing a case like that (or isn't even close) wants to claim such and then act out like a child, or an *******, or a total whacko.