I do understand, of course, that being a community driven operation, there's no SLA as such, nor can we demand a reply withing certain amount of time. Patience is the key. And mods are people just like everybody else so life can happen and we ought to respect that.

Having said that, I got a response on my question regarding a ban pretty quickly and even one follow-up. However, the actual question I asked wasn't addressed and after I've asked that, there's been a few weeks with no reply at all.

Keeping the disclaimer in the first paragraph, I feel that my question isn't going to be answered and got buried under a pile of new inputs. It's starting to become crucial to me to get my answer since I'll need to make decision affecting people's employment soon. (As it happens, the information I requested from the mod is vital to who's going to be booted.)

Is there an approximate time when I can safely assume that my follow-up question requesting more information has been disregarded and isn't a part of the pipeline anymore?

  • 1
    This doesn't directly concern your question here, but be aware that site moderators must abide by the moderator agreement (which is the same for all SE sites, excepting the specific site name). Depending on the type of information you seek from them, they may not be allowed to provide it to you.
    – user642796
    Nov 6, 2016 at 9:47
  • Was your question perhaps about something the moderator isn't at liberty to share with us users? Ignoring the question might be their way of telling you just that (edit: ifajra beat me to the punch.)
    – Pekka
    Nov 6, 2016 at 9:47
  • @Pëkka I can't tell for sure, because the moderator didn't reply. It could be a indirect hint. In such case, I'd argue that the clarity of message is way below par and not suitable for moderator role. In fact, it could be anything and I'm kind of waiting like an idiot when there's no reply coming, hehe. The claim made in the last reply isn't correct (if the offending party is the one I believe) so even if they aren't allowed to disclose the information to me I can still provide the detail to them. But it's not possible until they reply... Catch 22... Nov 6, 2016 at 9:52
  • Maybe worth following up again to get a clear statement either way?
    – Pekka
    Nov 6, 2016 at 9:52
  • @Pëkka Not entirely sure what you meant. Are you saying that it might be a good idea to poke the mod again? Regrettably, I can't do that because the thread is closed for further posts until they get back to be. Also, I can't even find the thread now because I lost all my bookmarks... Nov 6, 2016 at 10:02
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    If you're after mods regarding a specific site (and not specifically staff) - bear in mind you're posting on MSE and in neither do you mention which site you're referring to. It's possible the site mods haven't seen your original post or even this post. Have you tried posting on the site specific meta - for the majority of stacks in the network that'll even notify the mods they have a meta post to look at as well. Nov 6, 2016 at 10:24
  • 1
    That's of course if it's moderation related at all. If you're after an answer to a general site question then no one is obliged to answer or follow up on them including mods. All of which can happen for a variety of reasons. Nov 6, 2016 at 10:36
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    @Konrad sites have a different number of moderators and levels of moderation required. It's even possible site moderators haven't checked the global meta around the times you've posted. Posting on the site specific meta should be your first point of call here. Nov 6, 2016 at 10:44
  • 1
    Without more specific details I don't see how this question can be answered beyond saying that, like users, community moderators are volunteering their time, and at the moment we cannot even tell whether your question was clear (i.e. with a question mark) or made in the form of a statement. Is it about a mod message or is it about a Meta Q&A or something else?
    – PolyGeo
    Nov 6, 2016 at 10:46
  • 1
    @Konrad I'm just saying that for this specific case - you're asking about a response time for a question posted in a place that no-one may have seen to know you want a response. Nov 6, 2016 at 10:51
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    I do not think it appropriate to try and shift responsibility for deciding who gets fired, even only in part, onto a moderator team of volunteers.
    – PolyGeo
    Nov 6, 2016 at 11:02
  • 5
    @Konrad okay - I've read the history and we don't provide information about users. As the mod who messaged you said it's not that difficult to work out. It's for you to do so - we can't and won't help here. Nov 6, 2016 at 11:12
  • 3
    You said: "I'm about to pick two people to get fired from the team, which will be based partly on that info. Feeling very inconvenient in front of that decision."
    – PolyGeo
    Nov 6, 2016 at 11:15
  • 2
    @Shadow because I'm travelling and tapping stuff out with my paws on a mobile is awkward. The OP has their answer (albeit a comment) for now and its hopefully cleared up any questions meta might have instead of guessing. We can address the rest a bit later. Nov 6, 2016 at 11:44
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    @Shadow generally a mod will respond to mod messages if it's necessary but we tend to avoid getting dragged into extended discussions if we've said our piece. Even if that's not the case - the number of messages in/out is quite large on SO so unless you notice it fairly promptly they are not too hard to miss as they get pushed out by the more recent ones. Nov 6, 2016 at 11:48

1 Answer 1


I'll talk about the general case, and then this specific one.

When a user is messaged or suspended by a moderator, they can respond once. If a moderator chooses to respond to that, the user can respond once again. All of this is private, but is able to be reviewed by other moderators and SE staff.

Over the years, we've taken a lot of abuse in these responses, and heard just about every shaggy dog story you can think of. Frankly, my experience is that any response by a moderator to a complaint about a suspension for voting fraud is pretty much a complete waste of time. When Joe Smith is saying he's being framed by someone when we clearly see two account named Joe Smith, with his same login credentials and from his same location, voting for him 90+% of the time, there's no point in arguing about this.

If we've genuinely made a mistake, and that's been pointed out to us, we will respond and lift suspensions if needed. We don't suspend accounts lightly, though, and we document all evidence that leads to our decision. There's no timeframe on when we'll do this, but that usually takes place within a day or two.

Now to your specific case. We have been instructed by SE staff to not disclose the names of sock puppet accounts or any other private identifying information when someone complains in one of these messages. It is for that reason that I have not provided a response to your latest message.

But, I mean, come on. Prior to this, you had been suspended for voting fraud once, then were warned about this when it happened again. We gave you the benefit of the doubt the second time when you complained it was your employees. Now it happens a third time, and you're still trying to say you had no knowledge about this?

I find it very hard to believe that you had no knowledge of this or who was behind it, particularly since the accounts voting for you only asked questions that you immediately answered, they accepted your answers, and then voted exclusively for you. You had an active part in this. This was obvious enough that community members complained and we acted on it. I told you this in my last response, and that's the last you'll hear from me about this.

  • seeing the inbox screenshots in the comment you link to i reckon Mods would benefit from profanity filters. unsure of the context of those replies but if they are trying to argue a case and have to use language like that then you might as well consider their case dead
    – Memor-X
    Nov 6, 2016 at 22:50
  • I was suspended once before, in 2012. Not twice as you claim. Please keep your facts straight. And for this case, I believe your claim is incorrect too, because I'm almost sure I know who you're referring to and he claims that he accepted other answers too (not as you say only mine). I'm not disputing the ban - it's over soon anyway. I'm questioning whether you're acting on correct information. I'm asking politely, I'm not nagging. Simply disregarding me in silence and coming with incorrect statements because others abuse and and is in my view unfair. Please check the bans again. Nov 7, 2016 at 15:29
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    @KonradViltersten Unless I'm mistaken, Brad only said you were suspended once, and the second incident was just a warning. Nov 13, 2016 at 1:03
  • @AlexanderO'Mara You are not mistaken. I misinterpreted the message because it implied that I'm a frequent offender and suggested that the two cases leading to suspension were somehow correlated. I resent such allegation and reacted accordingly. I encourage my students and employees to register and vote when they find something useful - not exclusively on me, of course. On of them says that he upvoted others as well but since I can't know that, I can't confirm it. He's going to be kicked out next week, partly because of this. Thanks for the clarification. Nov 13, 2016 at 9:46

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