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I would like to emphasize that I personally do not lack trust in this ♦ mod, nor do I wish for his removal. As such, I will not be mentioning the mod's username. While it is possible to work out who this mod is from this question, please don't.

I have been noticing that several members1 of Role Playing Games do not trust at least one of the three ♦ moderators on the site. The moderator in question was instated four years ago, and is the longest running moderator on RPG.se. The majority of the currently active users were not present for his election.

Here's a relevant quotation from a recent meta discussion:

@SevenSidedDie: The existence of this very meta question is the assertion by (14-2) members of the community that some sort of due process breakdown has likely occurred. Please don't dismiss that out of hand. – TuggyNE Oct 8 '15 at 23:54

I have been seeing these members complaining in chat that, as Role Playing Games is a relatively small stack, which is not frequented by many of Stack Exchange's staff, it would take a long time of compiling all of this user's posts as they happened (comments are usually purged after about a day) in order to demonstrate that this ♦ mod is not, or is no longer an appropriate representative of the community.

On smaller stacks, what should be done, either by an individual, or by a group within the community when its faith in the moderation team falters?
Preferably, answers should cover what to do as someone who does not trust the moderators as well as what to do as someone who does, but sees a significant portion of the community which do not.


1I am not a member of this portion, and do not know the particular ♦ moderator well enough to judge his actions.

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    Possible duplicate of What are the steps for recalling a moderator? – jscs Feb 4 '16 at 21:10
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    @JoshCaswell I disagree. I do not personally wish to recall the moderator/s in question. I wish to address the community's current schism. – Smurfton Feb 4 '16 at 21:15
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    I've got some thoughts on this. Gimmeh a moment to see how they become words. – Grace Note Feb 4 '16 at 21:22
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    Let's wait. Grace is writing Notes. – Bhargav Rao Feb 4 '16 at 21:29
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    Agree it's not a dupe, at least not of what @Josh found, as this one here is not about moderators abuse of power. (Not directly at least, hence different answer should be given.) – Shadow The Princess Wizard Feb 4 '16 at 22:40
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    It's a little disconcerting to see one of my comments being used as the face of discontent/distrust. I don't think it's a misquote, I stand by it, and it does have to do with the general point of RPG moderation trustworthiness... but in a perhaps more immediate context of "was this the right process to use for a policy decision, and does that matter?", as opposed to perhaps "are the mods/is this mod still acting competently in the interests of the community?" If I can dig up a really more representative comment, though, I'll let you know. – Nathan Tuggy Feb 4 '16 at 22:49
  • I wonder if the title of your question is the best choice? If the community as a whole lacks faith, surely that pushes things strongly in the recall direction. But the body of your question asks about individuals or groups, which indeed invites less drastic solutions. – Cascabel Feb 5 '16 at 1:39
  • @Jefromi Over the course of two hours, this was the best question and title I could write. If you have a better title, please suggest the edit. – Smurfton Feb 5 '16 at 1:41
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    @PolyGeo No, it really isn't. I am asking about the community's issues with its moderation, not the moderator. I do not personally believe that any of the mods have abused their privileges at this time. – Smurfton Feb 5 '16 at 1:56
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    If a moderator "is no longer an appropriate representative of the community", as you/they say, and is continuing to act in the role then surely you/they are insinuating that they are not exercising their powers appropriately i.e. abusing them. – PolyGeo Feb 5 '16 at 2:02
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    @PolyGeo I'm trying to emphasize that I do not personally hold that opinion. There are others who do, but that list doesn't include me. – Smurfton Feb 5 '16 at 2:03
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Is this issue one of a lack of trust, or is it purely a difference in opinion on enforcing policies of the site?

If it's the former, then you need to dig deep to figure out why that trust was lost, and have Meta discussions on how to get it back. Be sure to keep cool heads in this process, identify concrete issues and discuss them. Telling someone they suck isn't constructive, but discussing what they've done/said to cause a loss of trust can be constructive.

If it's the latter, then I'd recommend identifying which specific policies the community and moderator(s) disagree on. A few Meta posts on those topics to hash out the specific instances of the policy not being applied per past Meta consensus should clearly define what the problem is. Then work with the moderator(s) to change how they're enforcing policy to align better with the community. This is essentially a moderator's duty; to carry out the policies of their site. They likely disagree with the extent or specifics in how the policy should be enforced, so clearly define it for the benefit of all involved.

Either way, if the attempts to improve harmony fail, there's the 'contact us' link at the bottom of every page that you can use to bring the issue to the attention of Stack Overflow employees. If it ends up there, again it's important to be thorough, specific, and constructive in what the issues are, they're not going to be convinced by a 'this mod sucks!' message.

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    There's definitely a lack of trust. Differences over policies certainly exist, but they're only exacerbated by an underlying difficulty with the people involved trusting each other to be making sincere good faith efforts. – BESW Feb 4 '16 at 21:48
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    Well, after a lot of writing, the stuff relevant to the asked question here mostly boils down to a significantly less succinct version of a portion of your answer. That is, if there's felt to be a loss of trust between one or more moderators and a subset of the community, then the best solution is for them to sit and engage in a neutral discussion - possibly with a mediator (someone from a third party portion of the community, someone else from the moderator team since it's their job to represent BOTH sides of the conflict, or potentially a Community Manager). – Grace Note Feb 4 '16 at 23:06
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    The goal of such a discussion would be to ascertain what actions caused the loss of trust, work out the motivation behind those actions and how that conflicts with the ideals misrepresented, and from there ideally figure out the best way to either compromise or go in one direction or the other. Procedurally, that's pretty much how it goes. The rest of my writings mostly dealt with a nebulous concept of "What does it mean to represent a community", which while good food for thought, got heavily tangential. – Grace Note Feb 4 '16 at 23:07
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    I'm moving forward with this. I'll wait for the results before accepting your answer. meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/6080/… – Smurfton Feb 5 '16 at 3:03
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    It's probably worth noting that some of this distrust has existed for quite some time. Hopefully something positive comes from this course of action, but I suspect it's going to be a very difficult process for some. – Ellesedil Feb 11 '16 at 18:53

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