On Stack Overflow en Español Meta, there is a "question" where the OP is complaining that they were suspended one hour on the chat because they used expletives (actually one specific expletive). On their complaint, they quoted some messages from the chat arguing that the purpose is to give context of how the expletives were used and the intention. So far, so good.

  1. I edited the post to remove the expletives.
  2. Another user reverted the edit
  3. I flagged for the attention of a ♦ moderator
  4. My flag was rejected

Now there are some answers and comments on the referred question that are using expletives.

Digging on Meta SE I found some posts about expletives/profanity that I have already read and others that I hadn't before.

Also I read about rejected flags, but it's not clear to me how to proceed when a flag for ♦ moderator attention was rejected, so I translated a couple of posts about expletives/profanity.

Should I flag for ♦ moderator attention again, including links to the recently translated by me posts?

If I should escalate this to the moderator team, how is that done?

NOTE: According to the threads linked below, the use of expletives is not allowed on any circumstance. Examples of exceptions mentioned on those threads are the vulgar names of tools, programming languages and threads about those words on language sites.


  • 11
    Eh, in this case the swearwords might provide context. I'd really feel better if the local mod team was aware of this Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 1:31
  • 8
    Wouldn't it be more reasonable to discuss this in the per site Meta initially? These discussions kept in the site can serve to gain some consensous. Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 10:45
  • 1
    Rolled back addition of: "This question is now on hold but I think that it's on this status for the wrong reasons. Instead it should be closed as a duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/q/28867/289691" which does nothing to make it OnT, and only bumps with text that ought to have been a comment (or reopen).
    – Rob
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 0:14
  • @Rob Do you know that reverting an edit, as any edit does, bumps the question too?
    – Rubén
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 0:18
  • 2
    @Rubén yes, the solution is part of the problem; but we don't want a problem to be a solution. You made no improvement - your efforts would be best spent over on Español SO, either: Flag to protest an error, just vote to reopen only, write on their Meta, something else ... . Protesting here is saying: "The four points I made are unfair, and the Moderator (knowing of this) is wrong." - and site-wide such a practice should be ended. But we disagree, you ought to have spoke in chat or opened your Meta post there and discussed per-site policy on the specific site. Post needed context.
    – Rob
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 1:00

1 Answer 1


Option 1: Drop it

Sometimes we think something is a problem, but other people think it is not a problem. When we appeal to an authority to adjudicate such a dispute, they might decide against us. Even though we still think the position is wrong, one decision we can make is to drop the matter out of respect for the authority in question. Depending on how important the issue is, how much we respect the authority in question, how much we care about the issue in question, and how much effort we are willing and able to spend, we can drop it temporarily until there is further evidence the decision was wrong, drop it permanently but not change our underlying beliefs or processes that cause us to disagree on the matter, or drop it permanently and try to learn from it and change our beliefs. Each of these is a good decision some of the time.

For example, in your specific case you might decide the moderator's judgement that the use of profanity in this case is acceptable by the network guidelines, while not something you approve of or agree with, isn't that big a deal. Then you might take a deep breath, go on a 15-minute walk, and move on with your life.

Option 2: Garner and Demonstrate Support

On SE, policies generally are formed democratically. If you want to get the moderators to do something and they aren't, the best way is definitely not to try to go over their heads but rather under their feet. Post on your per-site meta (not here) a very thorough, well-worded and sourced explanation of what happened, why you thought it was a problem, what the moderators did, and what you think they should have done instead (in this case this is the same as the why you think it is a problem section, so this section should be omitted) and ask for an explanation as to why the moderator team made that decision. One should be polite and calm in this post, even more than usual.

For example, in your specific case if you wanted to go this route you might post a meta discussion question with something like:

Why was this moderator flag declined? It seems to me like this post is in violation of these SE network principles (link). That makes me think we would need to edit the post to remove the objectionable content. Am I misunderstanding our site's implementation of the network policy on profanity?

as the body.

The moderators will then explain themselves, and the community will assess their response. If the response to their response is overwhelmingly negative then they will change their behavior or things will blow up in a really bad way and then the CM team will (hopefully) get involved-- you can look up your CM by site and there is a contact email address listed. Again, that's not the first step, though, the first step is demonstrating that your position is reasonable and has a good amount of support from the site.

  • A flag for moderator attention regarding the revert of an edit to remove expletives from a Meta site was rejected. Could you please make the answer a bit more specific regarding the context of this question? By the other hand, do you think that the policy about the use of expletives should be discussed on each Meta site?
    – Rubén
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 3:46
  • 1
    @Rubén Unfortunately, as that question is specific to the situation that happened here, that's beyond the scope of this meta site. Here on this site, our goal is to cover the general case; any questions regarding a specific case should be asked on the relevant per-site meta instead. Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 4:28
  • 2
    I added some examples with your specific case to help illustrate what I mean. Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 5:17
  • @thedarkwanderer Thanks. By the way before the flag to ♦ moderator attention I posted an answer to the referred thread saying that the use of expletives is not allowed according to Are expletives (cursing, swear words or vulgar language) allowed on SE sites?, a FAQ from Meta SE that applies to the whole network, not only to Meta SE.
    – Rubén
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 16:38
  • 2
    @Rubén there is an important difference between using an expletive and mentioning it in the context of a discussion about expletives. While we do indeed disallow use, we cannot and do not ban mention. That would make no sense in the sites devoted to languages and makes even less sense in a discussion about that very expletive. We need to mention the word in order to be able to discuss its use. The Meta discussion wouldn't be possible without discussing the specific word used.
    – terdon
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 17:49
  • 1
    @terdon that's kinda off-topic for this post; we can't and shouldn't be discussing whether the behaviour was appropriate or not, we should be discussing what the OP should do. I agree "Nothing because you are wrong, maybe stop being wrong" is an answer, but I think that kind of answer, while sometimes satisfying, is completely unhelpful. If the OP chooses to post a discussion q as per option 2 of my answer, you could post your comment as an answer there. Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 19:23

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .