StackExchange ToS section 3 currently reads

Stack Exchange reserves the right to remove any Subscriber Content from the Network, re-post to the Network any Subscriber Content removed by any Subscriber or former Subscriber, suspend or terminate Subscriber’s right to use the Services at any time, or pursue any other remedy or relief available to Stack Exchange and/or the Network under equity or law, for any reason (including, but not limited to, upon receipt of claims or allegations from third parties or authorities relating to such Subscriber Content or if Stack Exchange is concerned that Subscriber may have breached the immediately preceding sentence), or for no reason at all.

Well, this is in section 3 and immediately follows the wording that says

Subscriber represents, warrants and agrees that it will not contribute any Subscriber Content [that infringes copyright, is harmful, etc, hereinafter I'll be calling it "bad content"]

and so I guess the intention was that all these reaction measures listed are only to be used in cases when the Subscriber publishes "bad content". Yet with current wording all those reaction measures are not in any way linked to publishing "bad content" and there's even this no reason at all phrasing, so it looks like it can be interpreted as "StackExchange can delete anything or ban anyone just for lulz (including banning the OP for posting this question)".

I guess this wording should be revised.

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    Did you get bored with programming and decide to study law instead? :-) – Cody Gray Aug 16 '13 at 13:56
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    Slow day over there, huh? – Bart Aug 16 '13 at 13:56
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    It's their site, they can bloody well refuse to publish whatever. And that is fine. – Martijn Pieters Aug 16 '13 at 14:00
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    Take trolls for example. There is a specific user that keeps trying to troll. Get a raise out of everyone, trying to shock and draw people into discussing. His posts and accounts are now deleted on sight. And that is a Good Thing. – Martijn Pieters Aug 16 '13 at 14:01
  • @Servy: Sure, adjusted the wording. – Martijn Pieters Aug 16 '13 at 14:03
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    no reason at all == they don't have to give you a reason, not that they may not have a good reason, they just aren't required to provide one. – apaul Aug 16 '13 at 14:18
  • @apaul34208: Okay, then the wording should say that. – sharptooth Aug 16 '13 at 14:31
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    "StackExchange can delete anything or ban anyone just for lulz (including banning the OP for posting this question)" Yes, that seems to be the correct reading. I don't quite understand why you find it surprising that a website reserves the right to exclude users or control content -- that seems like a basic janitorial necessity. Naturally, market forces will prevent them from exercising this right capriciously (i.e., if they did, everyone would leave). – apsillers Aug 16 '13 at 14:38
  • @sharptooth He's saying that, in practice, there is pretty much always a reason. They still do retain the right to ban someone without a reason, it's just a right that they generally won't exercise (if they plan to not offend their user base). Regardless, there's no difference in your proposed wording change. They can always say there's a reason they're not telling you even if there isn't one, so it doesn't help you any. – Servy Aug 16 '13 at 14:40

Those two statements are not contradictory. The "no reason at all" clause is perfectly fine. Then section 3 just makes it clear that the subscriber is agreeing not to post 'bad content'.

The "No Reason at All" clause is simply a catch-all, likely to cover reasons that could not be thought of at the time of writing.

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    I personally like to delete comments because it's {{date}}. – George Stocker Aug 16 '13 at 14:03
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    @GeorgeStocker I also like to delete comments because they are snarky ;) – Andrew Barber Aug 16 '13 at 14:07
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    This is it. Basically, we reserve the right to remove content from our sites for any reason, and we reserve the right to restore content you removed for any reason. We're granted an indefinite CC-wiki license to display any content that anyone contributes. Then, don't upload stuff that violates our terms of service, breaks laws, etc, because not only can we remove that content, we can revoke your privilege to use the site. – Tim Post Aug 16 '13 at 14:21

I'm not surprised at all to see such wording.

You do not have the right to use this site in the first place. You do not have the right to post whatever content you want. You have the privilege of doing both entirely because SE allows you to. They don't need a reason to ban anyone, and they don't need a reason to remove any content.

That they (in general) choose to provide rules and reasons is nice, but by no means required by anyone. If they choose to abuse their right to refuse service they may drive away customers, which is about the worst that can happen.


No reason at all == they don't have to give you a reason, not that they may not have a good reason, they just aren't required to provide one.

Its a bit like the signs you may see posted in restaurants or bars. Rather than listing all of the possible reasons you may get the boot, like being obnoxious, drunk, loud, nude, etc. they just post a sign that serves to cover anything the proprietor may find objectionable, and indicates that you will be refused service.

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Standard Terms Of Use lingo. It's there to cover the "rear" of the site owners, and isn't some crazy gestapo threat. You needn't worry about your account suddenly disappearing unless you go on a bender and start posting hardcore pr0n messages.

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    Yup; it basically means, "We've tried to list a number of the reasons we think we'll boot your arse, but in case we missed something, just keep in mind we can boot your arse for any reason we like!" – Andrew Barber Aug 16 '13 at 14:04

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