Ebaumsworld is a unique site on the internet. I only recently discovered this, despite visiting here for several years. I discovered a community of very interesting people from all over the world. I think Ebaums has the potential to overtake Youtube in the future. Before discovering this community I would visit once a week or every other week. That has changed thanks to people like UofL. What makes Ebaums unique is the community of people blogging, making comments, submitting content, and sharing opinions. And I'm going to share mine.
As I see it, one of your most loyal members was burnt at the stake for making a mistake that really wasn't all that severe, although the consequences were. What made this situation different from others doing what he did was only seperated by an programming error; that he reported to you. I recall him mentioning he considered employement as your staff. Whether he was serious or not I don't know, but I think the thought had crossed his mind. He believed in your product probably as much as you do. He was denied his memebership, but I imagine he will return sometime under a new account when his IP is changed. So the fact that he was banned does not really matter.
What does matter is that what you have shown is that the rewards you give out so generously can be taken away at a whim for doing something so trivial. It appears from our end that this may be a way to back out of giving away what was promised. Had he been a random user it may have gone unnoticed. But clearly there are those who are trying to earn their reputation by contributing to the site that may feel disenfranchised. They were trying to contribute at a level that UofL did and he encouraged others. I think the psychological incentive to contribute has been damaged by the top contributers of this site. In fact, I would encourage them not to contribute.
I once had an employee that made a big mistake. A retaining wall was built underneath where a house was supposed to go. It costs me thousands even after a lot of negotiating, but I recognized it was not entirely his fault and ate my losses. He turned out to be the best employee I ever had and contributed more to my company than any one before or since. I figure at the end of the day, I made more money with him on board because my employees saw that I was reasonable and they became more loyal. Had I fired him, surely other would have quit, and the consequences of the mistake would have been amplified exponentially. Had they not quit, the loyalty would have been tarnished and the contribution made by my other members would have suffered.
I think the wrong decision was made.