The last weeks and days have seen some erratic behaviour by Stack Exchange Inc., such as likely illegal changes to the content license and the firing of an upstanding community moderator with no explanation except copy-pasted responses (leaving many to believe it was for no good reason). It would be nice if those just were examples of ill judgement, but the disturbing alternative is that SE has given up on cooperating with the community.

An increasing rate of incomprehensible actions

There's a long history of Stack Exchange alienating more engaged community members (and I know many that have already left as a result). That neglectful approach is regrettable, but not outright malicious. This seems to have changed, to the worse.

On Sep 5, SE announced without prior discussion that the content license was being retroactively changed. Even though that change might be desirable, it was widely questioned as being illegal. It took three weeks to get any response from SE, and even that doesn't address any concerns the community raised.

On Sep 27, SE fired community moderator Monica Cellio from all sites for … I'm not really sure, since I'm not a mod, but it seems to have been over an unrelated disagreement. De-modding isn't a proportional response to disagreements and goes against Stack Exchange principles. This is extremely concerning: is disagreement no longer allowed? Does SE now demand unquestioning loyalty from community mods? Really odd, since Monica was otherwise known for being a prolific and reasonable moderator. (Update: a community-maintained neutral accounting of events has been created in the meanwhile.)

The following mods have been fired or resigned in protest over the way this was handled:

  1. fired: Monica Cellio on Judaism, The Workplace, Worldbuilding, Writing, Beer Wine & Spirits, and Meta Stack Exchange (provides background)
  2. resigned: Gilles on Computer Science, French, and Emacs (provides background)
  3. resigned: Snow on The Workplace (later requested reinstatement, confirmed reinstated by SE) - Now listed as "disappointed"
  4. resigned: Jane S on The Workplace
  5. resigned: Dennis on Code Golf
  6. resigned: Brock Adams aka Awesome Poodles on Stack Apps
  7. resigned: Robert Harvey on Software Engineering and Stack Overflow
  8. resigned: GlenH7 on Engineering and Software Engineering
    (later left these sites completely)
  9. resigned: Nathaniel on Christianity and Latin Language.
  10. resigned: Caleb on Christianity and Biblical Hermeneutics (provides background)
  11. resigned: anonymous2 on Internet of Things
  12. resigned: Mister Positive on The Workplace (later requested reinstatement, confirmed reinstated by SE)
  13. resigned: Ed Cottrell on Stack Overflow and Ebooks
  14. resigned: DoMiNeLa10 on Emacs
    (only one moderator left on Emacs)
  15. resigned: a CVn on Worldbuilding and Writing
  16. resigned: Neil Fein on Writing
  17. resigned: Glen_b on Cross Validated

Additionally, others have taken other actions:

  1. suspended activity: Paul White on Database Administrators
  2. suspended activity: James on Worldbuilding
  3. suspended activity: HDE 226868 on Worldbuilding, Astronomy, History of Science & Mathematics, and Mythology & Folklore
  4. suspended activity: Rand al'Thor on Science Fiction & Fantasy
  5. suspended activity: fedorqui on Spanish Language
  6. suspended activity: Null on Science Fiction & Fantasy
  7. stopped activity before new election ends: Tensibai on DevOps
  8. took a break ColleenV on English Language Learners
  9. suspended activity: Rory Alsop / Doktor Mayhem on Information Security, Music, Parenting, The Great Outdoors, Sound Design, and Video Production
  10. suspended activity: terdon on Unix & Linux, Ask Ubuntu, and Bioinformatics
  11. suspended activity: anongoodnurse on Parenting
  12. suspended non-critical activity: AviD on Information Security
  13. suspended non-urgent activity: Anton Menshov on Computational Science
  14. suspended non-urgent activity: Thomas Owens on Software Engineering Return to moderation on October 12.
  15. suspended activity: Kevin on Science Fiction & Fantasy and The Great Outdoors
    (only one moderator active on The Great Outdoors and Science Fiction & Fantasy)
  16. taking a leave of absence: Cyn on Writing
    (no active moderators left on Writing)
  17. suspended activity: Xander on Beer, Wine & Spirits
    (only one moderator active on Beer, Wine & Spirits)
  18. suspended activity / resigning soon: Mad Scientist on Skeptics
  19. suspended activity: jonsca on Web Applications and Chemistry
  20. suspended activity: Hohmannfan on Space Exploration
  21. suspended activity: nicoguaro on Computational Science
    (only one moderator active on Computational Science)
  22. suspended activity: lois6b on Stack Overflow en español
  23. suspended activity: eykanal on Academia
  24. suspended non-critical activity: AJ Henderson on Photography, Video Production, Sound Design and Community Building. Same reasoning as Rory Alsop / Doktor Mayhem
    (only one moderator active on Sound SE and Video SE)
  25. suspended activity: Michael Hampton on Server Fault
  26. suspended activity Sven on Server Fault
  27. staying away from queues and reduced activity Bhargav Rao on Stack Overflow
    (All four of the moderators from Blender)
  28. Suspended activity David on Blender
  29. Suspended activity Duarte Farrajota Ramos on Blender
  30. Suspended activity gandalf3 on Blender
  31. Suspended activity iKlsR on Blender
  32. Suspended activity gung on Cross Validated

Additional resignations that are related to the incident, but for their own reasons:

  1. resigned: Aza on Literature, worth reading, predates other events; later wrote an update that's even more worth reading.
  2. resigned: Journeyman Geek only on Meta, remains a moderator of Super User
  3. resigned: Keelan on Philosophy
  4. resigned: PashaPash on Stack Overflow на русском
  5. resigned: rolfl on Code Review
  6. resigned: Tensibai on DevOps
  7. resigned: Jack Douglas on Database Administrators
    (only one moderator active on Database Administrators)
  8. resigned: Diego on Spanish Language
    (only one moderator active on Spanish Language)
  9. resigned: George Stocker on Stack Overflow (later posted what SE should do to resolve the current situation)
  10. resigned: Sklivvz on Skeptics
  11. resigned: user58 on Literature (only one moderator active on Literature)
  12. resigned: Jon Clements on Stack Overflow

Finally, some moderators and community projects have written commentary or taken action as a result of the situation:

  1. disappointed: StrongBad on Academia and Expats
  2. declared support for Monica: Cyn / Writing mod team
  3. SOBotics has taken down Reports along with Rodgort and Higgs
  4. disappointed: called2voyage on Space Exploration and Astronomy
  5. on the brink of being done: J.R. on English Language Learners
  6. disappointed: El'endia Starman, Peter Turner, and Mason Wheeler on Christianity
  7. disappointed: Snow on The Workplace
  8. Voiced support for Monica and stopping participating inside TL: yagmoth555 on Server Fault
  9. disappointed: Mister Positive on The Workplace

Company and Community

I understand that Stack Exchange the company is under a lot of stress right now. They are transitioning to a new CEO and somehow need to finally become profitable, which might be the reason for odd statements about ad policies or aggressively pushing the Stack Overflow Teams product everywhere. But stress is no excuse for waging war on the user base.

Stack Exchange is not only a company but also a community. While the company provides the platform, the community provides the content that makes the platform valuable. Either party can only be successful by cooperating with the other. But at this point, it looks Stack Exchange Inc. has given up on communicating with the community and is taking an adversarial stance.

Is Stack Exchange Inc. still interested in cooperating with the community? What is the vision for this relationship?

  • If SE would like to start engaging with the community again, the incidents above are likely just regrettable mistakes. How will SE prevent this string of mistakes from continuing in the future? What will SE do to mend these issues?

  • If SE wants to continue on this path towards an unyielding Corporate Overlord role, the community will likely bleed engaged members at an increasing rate. How will SE ensure continued high quality of the network sites? Just trying to grow faster will only exacerbate those problems.

I for my part expect to stop writing answers or participating otherwise until I see a good-faith effort towards mending the rift.

2019-09-29: 1st official response — Answer on Monica's resignation (copied elsewhere)

2019-10-03: 2nd official response — An Update to our Community and an Apology.

2019-10-05: Monica's Timeline of the Situation - As a blog post

2019-10-06: 3rd official response — An apology to our community, and next steps

2019-10-06: Open letters from moderators — Dear Stack Exchange: a statement and a letter from your moderators, and The second letter addressing more specifically the issues the LGBT+ community feels it is necessary to address, also with An official response (2019-10-17)

2019-10-10: Official FAQ on gender pronouns and Code of Conduct changes

2019-10-18: Status Update from the Community Management Team

  • 54
    A bit yes, in general it's conflating the licensing issues with the latest moderation issue. But I agree that it does figure into a bigger picture and I'm just glad someone shines a light on this horrendous mess on Meta.SE without the moderators having to do so by posing as ignorant of what's going on. We're not ignorant and know full well what's going on, even if we likely won't be able to share the full picture here. But if anything needs to explode on MSE, this does. Even if response from SE or any remotely significant consequences to this mess are unlikely to happen. – Christian Rau Sep 29 at 15:10
  • 85
    It's a long complicated issue. I'm a mod at Writing so I'm privy to all the details mods have (which is not all that staff knows). Aza's resignation happened first and is not related in the sense you mean but is related to a degree. The way SE handled this is beyond horrible. Disproportionate response done suddenly just before the Sabbath which is just before one of the biggest holidays of the year (and well known that Monica celebrates both by going off line). – Cyn Sep 29 at 15:20
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    @DanBron: That you thought she was a CM is illustrative of the exemplary quality of her work. – Robert Harvey Sep 29 at 15:28
  • 63
    Aza and Monica's threads both reveal behavior from SE that I personally can't let slide. The licensing is a bit like a broken window in the middle of a tornado in comparison. – Zoe the transgirl Sep 29 at 15:49
  • 82
    @PrincessOlivia From reading Aza’s post and some comments under this thread, my guess is that their and Monica’s departures are related but on opposite sides of the coin. That is, Aza’s resignation sparked some CoC change that Monica dissented from as the pendulum swinging too far in the other direction, and voicing these concerns got her dismissed. I say this because Aza’s note paints other mods in a poor light, and directionally points in the same direction as TPTB have forcefully pushed the CoC in the last few years. I expect SE will announce the CoC changes in this light. – Dan Bron Sep 29 at 15:53
  • 142
    This should definitely be [featured]. – TheSimpliFire Sep 29 at 15:59
  • 77
    This situation is extremely disconcerting. I had an uneasy feeling for a while now, but with these things happening it is growing into real concern. How this is explained and handled will be the thing that could finally make me leave, after 7 years and nearly 1800 consecutive days on my main site. Stack Exchange, please don't stay quiet on this. – Modus Tollens Sep 29 at 16:35
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    Until this whole mess is cleared up, I'll be ceasing all moderation and answering activity. On strike. – Modus Tollens Sep 29 at 16:49
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    When I resigned, I frankly did not expect that my resignation would become related to an occurrence of these proportions. It's difficult for me to discern what happened with Monica, because my resignation predates her termination. Instead of adding fuel to this fire, I wanted to thank you for differentiating our departures so clearly, rather than rolling them together or directly implicating mine as a cause-and-effect as some might. It lets me go in peace, for which I am grateful. – Aza Sep 29 at 19:08
  • 55
    @Aza I just want to iterate that the main cause of my resignation was the breakdown in trust with SE in how they auctioned Monica’s immediate departure in spite of an ongoing consultation (involving many moderators) regarding the issue at hand. You have my utmost respect and I wish you well for the future. – Snow Sep 29 at 19:37
  • 261
    The reason why Monica was fired has been out and clear. She had a different view point from what the director of Q&A had, and was therefore thrown out like street garbage. The director has repeatedly demonstrated that they don't care about the community's feelings. There used to be a time when users were free to oppose whatever the company had done, and were able to remain on the site. But in the past few days, the Stack Exchange staff have tried to take down posts on MSE and Stack Moderators teams which were focused on the resignations, and suspended a user for posting that. – Bhargav Rao Sep 30 at 0:46
  • 78
    This all leaves me wondering if we've wasted our time investing so much in this company. It's not a community. We've all participated in OSS projects, this is not one of those. There are no NDAs and secret plans in OSS. I can't help but feel we all made a bad decision to trust that this company won't do what companies always do. Now we're in it, now we have years of contributions at the mercy of capricious profit-motive decisions, now we watch the company walk away with our investment and a "we're sorry you feel that way" tossed our way. – Chris Sep 30 at 14:11
  • 68
    There is "new" information available about how this all started here and here. "the touch-stone issue is almost comical. Pronouns. No seriously, pronouns." – thirtydot Sep 30 at 16:12
  • 67
    FYI Sara: 'But we hope all moderators know that we very much value and appreciate their contributions [...]' - Actions speak louder than words. – Script47 Oct 1 at 14:22
  • 81
    @Chris - "This all leaves me wondering if we've wasted our time investing so much in this company" - Absolutely, categorically, irrefutably not. Even if SO went offline tomorrow, the millions of users it has helped, the countless projects that it has delivered, the motivation it has given people to take on things outside their comfort zone knowing they had support if needed is phenomenal and cannot be undone. YOU, the mod team, the community, made that possible and shaped the world of I.T into what it is today. Even Rome fell but it's influence lives on. Your time has not been wasted. – RyanfaeScotland Oct 1 at 15:33

37 Answers 37


Stack Exchange has a policy for how users are dealt with when they break the Code of Conduct. It's a policy that involves communication followed by a "cooling off" suspension (the words "cooling off" are actually used in the suspension templates). If the behaviour doesn't change after the first suspension happens, another (longer) suspension is often imposed. If this action doesn't work, then a more permanent suspension might be needed. Removing a high-rep user takes a lot of discussion and a lot more consideration. Removing a moderator from their post has a formal procedure - I've been part of one of these processes and it was handled with the utmost of respect and dignity.

Monica was one of the most senior and respected moderators on the whole of this community.

Monica wasn't offered the opportunity to have a time-out to reflect on the needs of the proposed CoC changes (Sabbat and Rosh Hashana involves a few days staying off-site). A time-out to reflect is a fundamental right that we offer to all users in cases of conflict.

Monica is my captain. There is no one else I would rather follow in this community - she is the perfect embodiment of “leading by example”. She has been a leading light and community builder on every community she's led, and more than a few that she hasn't. The value that's she's added to the platform as a whole is incalculable.

Within the confines of the moderator curtains, I witnessed at first hand this whole sorry story play out. Gilles’ meta post carries most of the context.

I didn’t resign due to the underlying issue, it’s more about how SE went about sacking Monica that’s the thing for me. Cold, calculating, and impersonal with no regard to her good standing or experience. I wouldn’t have canned any user with that same lack of empathy.

SE does have a large disconnect between the company and the community that underpins it. I was hoping that things would get better after the previous Twitter/HNQ debacle.

Sadly, SE is no further on in talking with its users. I cannot in good conscience continue serving a community when I don’t feel valued, heard, or supported by the level above me.

I say "SE" here, because I believe this is where the problem lies. In the previous Twitter/HNQ issue, it was SE taking a decision without informing or conferring with the moderators of the site that their change affected. Again, with Monica, SE took any input and decision out of the hands of moderators who were in the middle of passionately discussing this issue. I don't believe that any moderator was asking for Monica's dismissal - it was imposed on us all.

UPDATE (11 Oct 2019):

For the days following my resignation, I watched events further unfold. And my site was left unmoderated, through no fault of the users who go there to ask and offer help. After days of agonizing, I requested reinstatement.

Monica was fired on the 27th September, for a CoC violation of a CoC that didn't exist at that time. Moderators were consulted on various drafts of the CoC amendments and we successfully requested the removal of the compelled speech ("do not avoid using pronouns when requested"). This clause implies that people cannot address people by name or "The OP" if they declare a pronoun. This makes a mockery of how to address them individually among a discussion group of many participants. I thought that we had reached a clear, concise, straightforward wording.

We, the moderators, didn't expect the raft of FAQ clauses that followed, and the compelled speech enforced by them. The FAQ is bewildering, confusing, and intimidating. The net effect is that the CoC is more divisive than inclusive, and damages our relationship with our trans and non-gendered users.

And for what?

Apart from the much-publicized violation in the moderator chat (which was part of an ongoing discussion/clarification/understanding process), I have never seen any actual cases in the public spaces where this issue has arisen. I frequent the moderator shared chatroom - no one has shared any examples. No one.

This tells me that the users here on Stack Exchange are already really good at communicating with people and showing others the necessary respect when it comes to their gender.

We are now left to wait and see what other groups of users will be marginalized in the name of "inclusion".

  • 390
    In fact, if a moderator sanctioned a user (like suspending) not for any problem behavior but merely for suspicion of future problems, the CMs would have a word with that moderator. Moderators are told to respond to actions, but SE didn't follow that policy here. We're supposed to assume good intent, but I was not given a chance to demonstrate goodwill through my actions. – Monica Cellio Sep 29 at 16:48
  • 157
    @MonicaCellio I am appalled by how you were treated. I am so sorry this happened. – Modus Tollens Sep 29 at 16:51
  • 66
    @MonicaCellio If you are allowed to run again, I'm sure the community would vote you back. As far as I know, you've done a fantastic job. Those who took away your status did not speak for the vast majority of the users here. – Jason Bassford Sep 30 at 4:09
  • 19
    @MonicaCellio: I have no clue what happened yet (I just read this like 5 seconds ago) but I just wanted to chime in that nothing I've ever seen from you has left me with anything but admiration and respect, and I say that as someone who's had his own spats with some of the other moderators. It's hard to thank people over the internet, but for whatever it's worth: thanks for everything, and I (and I'm sure many others) wish you the best moving forward. – Mehrdad Sep 30 at 18:29
  • 21
    I'm sorry you were a victim of this sort of mentality, @MonicaCellio. While I've never interacted with you personally (to my recollection), you've done nothing but leave a good impression on everyone you've encountered. As far as I can tell, you are one of the best examples in this community of what diversity, tolerance, and respect should look like, which makes this decision highly questionable on their end, IMO. But alas, we have always been at war with Eastasia. – Justin Time Sep 30 at 21:31
  • 15
    @JustinTime I agree with you wholly, another sad day for SE. The false accusations against anyone not far enough left has been going on for a couple of years now. Unfortunately the only two mods who I would like to see go (for the reason of always taking sides based on skin tone and politics) haven't resigned, so their influence now grows. This is good for the individuals who resigned (and I support them) and bad for the stack exchange. – Temporary Oct 1 at 14:52
  • Is anyone else having trouble upvoting this? Also, is deleting posts the best way to remove them off this site? I'm not comfortable or tolerant of my licensing rights being ignored. – user622361 Oct 3 at 19:48
  • I will point out that the linked procedure covers the "process for allowing a team of moderators to remove one of their own," which isn't what happened here. So that policy is by default inapplicable. – Aza Oct 3 at 20:17
  • 9
    Not good enough. One-sided enforcement of policy - and coercive policy at that, in the form of tightening the infamous code of conduct - is not made all right by people being given "time to reflect" before being expected to be on-board-or-else. – einpoklum Oct 3 at 21:16
  • 1
    @MonicaCellio not to mention (based on what I've read) you never once stated that you wouldn't follow the policy or the spirit of the policy should it put in place. You merely asked for clarification of what the policy was. In order words, they didn't just sanction for "suspicion of future problems", they sanctioned you for the equivalent of "this person is too stupid to follow our policy". In my opinion, that's flat out insulting to your intelligence! – The Great Duck Oct 10 at 5:02
  • 5
    I also don't understand the purpose of posting the CoC early for moderators to review if challenging them or asking for clarification results in a sanction. At that point why are they even having you review them? Just post them universally for every user at the same time (including non-paid stack exchange employed moderators) and tell mods to enforce them to the best of their ability... – The Great Duck Oct 10 at 5:04
  • @snow Your points are well taken but you may (or may not) wish to reconsider your " ... . I cannot in good conscience continue serving a community when I don’t feel valued, heard, or supported by the level above me. ..." -> To borrow a phrase from another arena "It's not about you". Substitute "below" for "above" and the comment is more valid. What the level above you thinks of you counts for very little in how you act "in good conscience". [I have had substantial personal experience of this 'in other arenas']. Serve the people, grit your teeth and bear the slings and arrows from "above". – Russell McMahon Oct 10 at 12:15
  • 8
    You still want to be a volunteer for this company at this point? – faintsignal Oct 11 at 22:16
  • 5
    To me, the users are more important than the company. That’s why I stay. – Snow Oct 12 at 6:49

I wasn't planning on writing an answer, but the so-called official response (copy one, copy two, all answers in the order I saw them, not the order in which they were posted - feels nice to be addressed personally, doesn't it?) was the triggering event for this answer.

Magisch sums up this mess perfectly:

That is incredibly weak. It would have been better to say nothing at all. Taking pot shots at someone while depriving us all of the context necessary to judge their validity is a dirty bad faith move I would never have expected from a Stack Exchange employee. I hope none of this was intentional and a clarification is forthcoming, but I fear my hope will be in vain

Currently, we have the facts we've received from the mods. Some of it made me physically sick. Stack Exchange is refusing to reveal anything, and speaking for myself, I read that as admitting it. All the facts are out there, and they're supported by highly respectable people - Stack Exchange is not denying it, nor are they talking further about it. At least I read that as admitting it without admitting it.

I ran for moderator on Stack Overflow. I think most candidates who don't win are disappointed, but after reading that post, I was glad I didn't. Not winning means I avoided being a pawn in whatever messed up game Stack Exchange is playing. Good intentions? Sure. But the execution is so awful I can't think of a word to properly describe it. Stack Exchange has often been called unwelcoming, but I'm surprised the company is more unwelcoming than the community.

I'm personally tired of the abstract guessing games. There's also been a rumor about a massive change coming, that's currently being planned out in private without any canonical details mentioned, with a promised meta post "in a couple of weeks". Yet, these are concerns that need to be addressed now. Off the top of my head, the network is now low on mods. Some sites are heavily affected by this, and have lost well over half their mods. Yet, the only response we get is yet another promise of more details soon. Is a plain-text answer so much to ask for?

EDIT: SE has made statements to the media, and they've explained more to them than to us (and as a plus, they didn't get copy-pasta).

EDIT: workplace.SE is now the first SE site to have no more active moderators. Workplace.SE has since had two mods reinstated by their own request.

EDIT: Writing.SE is now the second to fall.

And the fun doesn't end there - they're violating their own principles, and as outlined in one of the linked questions, and firing a moderator for reasons I can only classify as malicious and self-destructive.

I highly encourage everyone to stop moderating right now.

The only way we're going to get anywhere is if we pressure Stack Exchange - and I hate that I have to say that. They've made it abundantly clear through the licensing change and the removal of Hot Meta Posts that they have no intention of responding to legitimate concerns, and they're not going to take any of the input. I'm not a mod, so this won't have the biggest impact, but until this is resolved, I won't moderate anything. Full stop. I've also gone off-site in an attempt to get more attention to these problems.

And like I said in a bounty notice the company later removed: ignoring these issues will not make anything better. Ignorance is bliss until it hits you in the face. I have no idea what you're doing internally, but this needs to end now, or you risk not having a network to push whatever changes you have planned. The longer you wait, the more people will go on a strike, and the more mods will step down, and the worse of a state Stack Exchange will be left in.

  • 132
    I am going to take a break, because I don't see the point in putting in all this effort to get people to follow the guidelines and to be fair and reasoned in the face of the occasional nasty provocation from users when at any moment some staff member could throw a hissy fit and have me banished. I'm so demoralized, I'm going to generic my profile. If all of Monica's good work didn't earn her any respect, I might as well keep my head down and be user9161. It's not like SE cares who I am or what I think. – ColleenV Sep 30 at 10:15
  • 5
    Let us hope they will not announce the massive change on a Friday... It would be better in the beginning of a week. – Peter Mortensen Sep 30 at 12:51
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    @Mari-Lou, Monica was also needed, but that didn't stop anybody. – Frédéric Hamidi Sep 30 at 14:07
  • 14
    @Mari-LouA needed for what? The ship has already sank. – Shadow Sep 30 at 14:36
  • 10
    @anonymous2 I might not have been clear enough - the bounty itself wasn't removed, but each bounty also comes with a notice (stating the stock reason, along with the optional reply). Said notice was removed by an employee. I have not been informed why, and I randomly stumbled over it when I got a notification and thought the bounty looked weird. For the record, I posted a link in the comments to an archived version which includes the post notice – Zoe the transgirl Sep 30 at 14:47
  • 10
    @Mari-LouA I’m just taking a break. I like to wait until I’m less emotional about a situation and have had a good long think before I take drastic action. If certain staff had similar habits, I probably wouldn’t need a break. – ColleenV Sep 30 at 15:16
  • 13
    The archived versions of the page containing the notice have since been deleted. I... I have no idea how, but I think archive.org has a policy allowing site owners to request deletion – Zoe the transgirl Sep 30 at 15:55
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    @PrincessOlivia I've taken your call to action and given it it's own Meta post: It's time to go on strike – David K Sep 30 at 15:56
  • 41
    Nevermind, the moderators deleted it. Per Tim Post: "This reaches the limit of the platform we're willing to give you. If you want to organize this, you're going to need to do it on your own blog or website." – David K Sep 30 at 16:01
  • 38
    The common sense is stop contributing to a for profit company that does not respect you or your contribution as has been repeatedly demonstrated. If I could I would sue them to remove all the content I have provided because they broke their agreement with me when they relicensed my content without my permission. But is really is not worth that much trouble, they have already torpedoed their own ship and continue to do more damage than 1000 of us could by quitting. – Someone Who Used To Care Sep 30 at 18:21
  • 2
    Perhaps take inspiration from when the Reddit powermods all set massively popular default subs to private in protest of a popular Reddit staff member being fired. – cjm Sep 30 at 20:30
  • 54
    I got my SO account locked for talking about my frustrations with this situation. I was not being disrespectful or getting out of hand, just talking like everyone else. It just seals it for me -- they have the content, they don't need the authors anymore. It makes me sad and angry that it's come to this, and for being so naive to think I actually mattered to these people. This isn't a community, it's a honeypot to get content that can be monetized. – Chris Sep 30 at 20:39
  • 37
    @Chris Not to mention they feel they can relicence said content whenever they please. – Lightness Races in Orbit Sep 30 at 21:28
  • 11
    Strike. Strike. Strike. (I'm not a mod though, I'm just cheering for you.) – einpoklum Oct 3 at 21:18
  • 3
    @einpoklum I'm not a mod either, but every person who goes on strike helps - mod or not. – Zoe the transgirl Oct 4 at 12:18

I've been asked a few times why I stood down as a moderator on Meta Stack Exchange. The simple, honest answer is simply that... I'm tired. The past few days has been an emotional roller coaster.

As a moderator, I've always felt an essential part of my role was to bring a community together. To help build bridges, and to heal rifts. To let folks know before lines are crossed, so we can pull ourselves away from the brink.

Right now, I feel lost and confused. My hammer feels too heavy to pick up. I see folks at each others' throats - seeing every shadow as a threat. I wish I was up to what I feel we need. I'm not entirely sure anyone is. I'm sorry I don't even feel up to trying. Maybe some day I'll feel up to what I expect myself to be as a moderator here. For now, I'm not sure where I stand, or the community. I'd say though I'm grateful for the chance to serve, and to serve alongside some of the finest people I've had the privilege of modding with.

This isn't our finest moment. This doesn't feel like anyone's finest moment.

I'd like folks to come together and resolve differences. This isn't going to be easy. A lot of the folks involved are fine folks, but proud, and least from what I've seen, the wounds run deep.

I have my reservations of how this has happened. I'll talk to folks as I feel fit. I hope it does some good. I don't feel like everyone will listen. At my lowest, I'm not sure anyone will. But I love this community, and all I can do is try.

Lots of people are hurt. I don't dispute this. But I ask that well - sometimes we need to take the high ground. To reach out to those who hurt us, and to realise the hurt we could have caused unknowingly. If someone has hurt you, try to heal. If you can talk to them, make peace. We're much stronger than we are fighting each other.

I know a lot of people are curious about what's happening. A lot of this will likely get discussed over the coming days. I'd urge patience and empathy.

We've seen a lot of folks act as their conscience saw fit. I respect that. Resigning as a moderator feels like the only way to make a stand. Mine would be to plead for empathy.

That said, we're all stronger together. It's tempting to assign blame. To fight the folks who we fear wish to do us harm.

Maybe it's a cultural thing. I'd rather make a friend, or an ally than a scene. But as everyone can see, I'm just an ordinary person in the periphery of an extraordinarily messy situation.

I'm asking a lot. For folks to examine their biases. To make friends with people they were hurt by. But if it was easy, we'd have done it already.

  • 26
    "I've been asked a few times about my demodding. The simple, honest answer is simply that... I'm tired" Yes, I understand that. I'm tired, my life is busy and it can be utterly exhausting being a moderator. Take care. – Yvette Colomb Sep 29 at 22:29
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    While I appreciate the sentiment of statements like "To reach out to those who hurt us, and to realise the hurt we could have caused unknowingly," it's way too easy for talk about healing rifts and the like to become just another form of what Aza said: "I think they hope that the more we share, the better the situation will become. That has never been true. The same voices push back against our presence, every time." Telling such a person to heal themselves and stretch out a bridge building hand seems naive. – Nicol Bolas Sep 30 at 0:46
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    And yet after all this - that's what I feel about it. I'll leave the anger and outrage to others. Maybe they'll change things. Faith in people's better natures is a perfectly fine hill to choose to die on. – Journeyman Geek Sep 30 at 1:04
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    The irony...Unicorn Meta Zoo #9: How do we handle problem users? There should be a new podcast entitled: How do we handle our handling of trusted users? – Mari-Lou A Sep 30 at 6:05
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    This stinks. Between you, Yvette and Monica going, the last people I trusted to nudge SE in the right direction are gone from influence. – Magisch Sep 30 at 6:19
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    @Mari-LouA or more likely "Unicorn Meta Zoo #10: How we destroyed Stack Exchange, bit after bit" – Shadow Sep 30 at 7:54
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    Were you demodded or did you stand down - subtle differences matter in these extraordinary times? – user619714 Sep 30 at 11:17
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    I stood down. I believe the exact words I used were "I need to take a break". At no point was I asked to step down by anyone. This is clearly and unequivocally a choice I made voluntarily. – Journeyman Geek Sep 30 at 11:20
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    This is one of the most well written posts I have ever read. – Mister Positive Sep 30 at 13:39
  • Thank you, Journeyman. Very well explained, very well put. I sometimes do feel like there is no solution, since we're at the point where the slightest provocation (from whichever person, on whichever side of the issue) causes SUCH a big jump.... nothing can be expected to move. It's a bit disheartening, really.... hopefully something CAN change :/ – Patrice Sep 30 at 15:34
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    Thank you for doing things that many of us would want to, but for one reason or another don't. – Simon Forsberg Sep 30 at 17:14
  • @JourneymanGeek ty for your kind of word. – Andy K Oct 2 at 9:10

I wish I could share some of what's been happening in the moderator chat, but suffice it to say that Stack Exchange has gone beyond the pale in the "1984" abuse of language and thought/speech crime department. Even so, it's not clear that Monica violated the new guidelines (yet) -- but I didn't do a comprehensive search.

The only good thing about this is that it's a company doing this and they don't (yet) have government thought enforcers (at least for the most part in the USA).

As of right now, I'm done with Stack Exchange. I had already cut way back a few years ago in my posting and moderation due to previous outrages.

I know that most of you don't know me or care that I'm leaving. But I urge you to explore the history of this language corruption and tyranny. It may just be some tech company this time, but it won't stop there.

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    Even though the new guideline hasn't been published yet, I have been scrupulous in not violating it. I asked questions about how it was being interpreted so that I could avoid violating it. Those questions have largely gone unanswered and I erred on the side of caution, as I will when something is actually published if I'm still here. – Monica Cellio Sep 29 at 19:14
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    @MonicaCellio I got your message, I'll flick you an email later today. I stepped down because I'm tired. My life is busy and tiring and modding was one thing on top. I've left all social media, even cancelled netflix so I spend time on the things I need to. – Yvette Colomb Sep 29 at 22:33
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    So Caleb on Christianity has thankfully broken the silence and confirmed what some may have suspected: the discussion was about the use of incorrectly gendered pronouns and whether this use should be considered “rude”. SE should thank him, it clarifies the discussion immensely (and, FWIW, changes my own view of the debate — somewhat). – Konrad Rudolph Sep 30 at 16:27
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    @KonradRudolph "about the use of incorrectly gendered pronouns" - or rather, about the use of preferred pronouns. Per Caleb's post, apparently something in the new CoC would forbid those who morally object to using someone's "preferred pronoun" from instead simply referring to the person by name to sidestep the conflict; instead, it would be mandatory, upon request, to re-engage with them and work their preferred pronouns into one's subsequent comments. We also don't know for sure yet whether this is the same issue Monica objected to. – Mark Amery Sep 30 at 16:57
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    @MarkAmery, the Hebrew language has a feature called grammatical gender, where words are inflected based on features of the noun they refer to. Reading between the lines, it sounds like Monica was fired for asking how this would interact with the requirement to use preferred pronouns: whether it requires writing grammatically-incorrect Hebrew. – Mark Sep 30 at 22:04
  • 2
    @MonicaCellio What do you think about this? – Victor Stafusa Sep 30 at 23:20
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    @VictorStafusa contains errors; I'll comment there. I also made an update to my post on Mi Yodeya meta, since the nature of the CoC change is now public. – Monica Cellio Oct 2 at 1:07
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    @MarkAmery I fthey insist on that, its going to be interesting when they find out what my new preferred pronous are going to be. Yours, My Lord Master God gbjbaanb. (that was the clean version :) One of the best ways to deal with autocrats is simple mis-obedience to their rules. – gbjbaanb Oct 2 at 14:11
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    @KonradRudolph everyone agrees that knowingly using incorrect pronouns is wrong. That's rude. The issue is that apparently writing in a gender-neutral way (about everyone, not just some folks) to avoid gender landmines isn't acceptable. There's a new footnote in my Mi Yodeya meta post about this (now that the info is out and I don't have to worry about being accused of leaking it). – Monica Cellio Oct 2 at 15:34
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    @MonicaCellio - "everyone agrees that knowingly using incorrect pronouns is wrong... ...apparently writing in a gender-neutral way (about everyone, not just some folks) to avoid gender landmines isn't acceptable." I am someone, part of everyone, who has been using the gender neutral "they" in my answers and comments on SE sites for years. Sometimes I slip up and use "he/she", but "they" is fine with me. So please, though I admire you greatly, support you and am standing up to TPTB because of your termination, do not make this an "everybody knows/it's not acceptable" issue, because it's not. – anongoodnurse Oct 2 at 19:40
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    @anongoodnurse sorry; maybe I wasn't clear enough. I didn't see anybody that discussion support using incorrect pronouns. Some people seem to think that some mods support that; I'm saying I'm not one of them and didn't see it in this discussion. I specifically asked if writing in a gender-neutral way -- which for me means avoiding third-person singular pronouns in favor of plurals, names, other references, or other sentence structure -- was ok. Some mods told me it's not and Sara dismissed my question. That reaction astounds me, because many people including you and I write GN now! – Monica Cellio Oct 2 at 20:02

Is Stack Exchange Inc still interested in cooperating with the community? What is the vision for this relationship?

Obviously, no.

Kicking Monica out is the last straw for me. I'm done giving SE any kind of help and won't report any bugs, request any feature requests, or do any moderation actions like review or cast close votes from now on. I won't give a hand to such an evil company.

I'll keep helping people here or in chat because they're also victims, and hope for a miracle rescue to arrive.

  • 14
    We're sorry to see you go. ;) – Bart Oct 1 at 0:46
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    @Bart I hereby give you my dupe hammers, use them wisely! 🛠 – Shadow Oct 1 at 12:34

Is Stack Exchange Inc still interested in cooperating with the community?

It seems that they lost any interest long ago. They are following a pattern.

1) October 2018: Twitter Driven Development Part 1

Someone complained on Twitter about titles of HNQs, especially questions on IPS. The issues with HNQ had been discussed on that site's meta before, but no one cared. However, after the Tweet it took no longer than 40 min to ban IPS from HNQ for several months. Not only that, even back then they threw moderators under the bus.


2) July 2019, Twitter Driven Development Part 2

Someone suggested an edit to an old answer, solely changing gender pronouns and "guy* to "person". They even edited code. The edit was rejected. So they took it to Meta Twitter and a Community Manager approved the edit.


3) September 2019: Firing a moderator

I'm still in shock over what happened. I could never have imagined Monica Cellio getting fired. A lot has been written here, so I will just quote two posts in full, because I consider them that important.

The first one is Stack Overflow moderator Bhargav Rao's comment summarizing what happened:

The reason why Monica was fired has been out and clear. She had a different view point from what the director of Q&A had, and was therefore thrown out like street garbage. The director has repeatedly demonstrated that they don't care about the community's feelings. There used to be a time when users were free to oppose whatever the company had done, and were able to remain on the site. But in the past few days, the Stack Exchange staff have tried to take down posts on MSE and Stack Moderators teams which were focused on the resignations, and suspended a user for posting that.

Furthermore, Director of Public Q&A at Stack Overflow Sara Chipps's reply to Monica's Mi Yodea post (emphasis mine):

We understand there are some folks upset about this decision. We aren’t going to share specifics out of respect for all individuals involved but this is a site reaching millions of people and we have to do what we believe fosters a spirit of inclusion and respect. When a moderator violates that, we will always do our best to resolve it with them privately. When we can’t we must take action. This is always done based on what we believe is best for all SE users.

I emphasized what strikes me as a bit of a contradiction. The part about "all individuals involved" looks somewhat misplaced, considering what comes later. Doesn't look to me like the moderator they fired is included in "all individuals involved".

Certainly, 2) is rather a minor issue, but it's needed to show the new pattern. Whenever Stack Exchange staff had the choice, they acted with total disregard to the wishes of the community. SE is not run by the community, but Authoritarian.

These minor issues (some possibly questionable titles, a rejected, superficial edit, some questions asked about a change to the CoC and a "possible CoC violation in the future") lead to drastic consequences, totally out of proportion. It would have been understandable had this been real, grave issues. But they weren't. And you know why? Because the community works that well.

And it shows what SE truly thinks of its moderators. People, volunteering to make SE what it is (still) known for.

  • 4
    I want to share this interesting answer. It's not directly related but sheds some light on SE's behavior. – Anne Daunted Sep 30 at 13:28
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    I don't see the relevance of the “Twitter Driven Development Part 2” thing in this context. The issue at hand is not excessive political correctness by SE, but a culture of ignoring the community – and firing a moderator in a pathetic manner. – amon Sep 30 at 13:36
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    @amon It also shows how and that the community is being ignored. A decision that wasn't wrong was overturned by a Community Manager after a complaint on Twitter. – Anne Daunted Sep 30 at 13:39
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    @amon The recent issue pretty much is excessive political correctness by SE. Or at least it's a significant part of it. – Christian Rau Sep 30 at 14:30
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    @PeterMortensen Thanks for reminding me! Somehow, April's post always falls off my radar. Maybe I will add it later. I tried to read it, but it's tough and I couldn't finish it (yet). On the one hand, I understand where they're coming from, on the other hand, the criticism seems based on not understanding what SE is (about). They tried to use a tool without knowing what it's for, it didn't work and instead of trying to find that out, they complain somewhere else. And I've read too many complaints about "unfriendly" DVs and people editing out "thanks" etc. It's tiring. – Anne Daunted Sep 30 at 17:08
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    @ChristianRau Now that I understand more of the background of the firing, I agree with your assessment. I love gender-neutral language, but forcing it on people only stokes resentment. Monica might have been stubborn, but SE's demands are ridiculous. – amon Sep 30 at 17:33
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    I also fail to see the relevance of "Twitter Driven Development Part 2" here. Even if you believe that should have been handled differently with the community, a user who tried to remove unnecessarily gendered language from an answer got a rejection with the message that they "deface[d] the post" and were "deliberately destructive." After that, do you really expect someone to take it to meta and receive further invective? It's just not relevant to the issues here. – Zach Lipton Sep 30 at 22:45
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    Not to mention that they stopped the monthly product updates without announcing. meta.stackexchange.com/q/329659/271215 – Kolappan Nathan Oct 1 at 7:36
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    Why Twitter drives anything other than nonsense into the minds of simple people is beyond me. – fredsbend Oct 2 at 23:29
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    I also recall the welcome bandwagon and the way it was... implemented (imposed?), and how rude/abusive started to be weaponized. I also see we have (will have?) a new CEO – DarkCygnus Oct 3 at 0:13
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    The writing on the wall - about a tendency towards authoritarianism - was very clear IMHO already with the publishing of the CoC originally. I see this as a "natural" development of the atmosphere it exudes. – einpoklum Oct 3 at 23:16
  • It is actually an official meme. – Peter Mortensen Oct 6 at 2:00

tl;dr - I mod 6 sites: Security, Music, Parenting, Outdoors, Sound and Video - I'm suspending all my mod activity on them until SE sort this out. I am just one voice among many, but I hope I add to the clamour.

I have been hovering in TL hoping someone from Stack Exchange would come in with any information on what they are going to do to improve things. Yes, we need more protection and support for the LGBT+ communities, and also for other minorities, and in fact all mods, who suffer under continuous personal attacks and stress.

And we also need a framework that protects us from Stack Exchange, from the capricious whim that can remove a mod at a moment's notice whilst they were trying to identify compromise, or that can change rules or tools off the back of a single tweet, rather than by following request from mods reaching back years sometimes.

We have very little agency, and as the liaison between the company and the millions of visitors every day I think we need it.

But so far SE have remained close-mouthed, using only canned responses that mean nothing other than our voices and our efforts are not respected or heard.

I have been a moderator for nearly 9 years, and have moderated 7 sites (sadly one failed, so I only moderate 6 currently.) I love and respect the communities built up around them, and have put so much effort into helping them grow, keeping them safe and tidy, and think that my efforts, like all the mods, should be supported and respected.

Yes, we are volunteers, so we may be seen as a free resource, but our value is far from free.

I hope SE does the right thing.

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    You may think that Jarrod - I am holding out some hope. That's 40-odd mod roles stepping away or down entirely, a not insignificant percentage. There will be reputational impact, and day-to-day impact from mod tasks not being completed. – Rory Alsop Oct 1 at 17:51
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    I sincerely hope that SE hears the message loud and clear. – Anne Daunted Oct 1 at 17:54
  • 1
    Me too, @AnneDaunted – Rory Alsop Oct 1 at 17:58
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    Rory, you and all the other mods have been doing a great job on Security.SE. I understand why you take this step, and I really, really hope SE sorts this out so we can have you back. Either way, I am very grateful for all the hard work you have been putting in. Thank you! – Anders Oct 1 at 18:40
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    +1. Strike, strike, strike! – einpoklum Oct 3 at 23:16
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    Rory, I'm deeply and genuinely saddened by what has happened. I don't want to lose you, but joining others in taking a stand indicates unselfish loyalty and integrity. You're dedication to the sites you mod is way beyond what's expected. You're a mentor, ambassador and gentleman. It's not easy to avoid being embroiled in conflicts, but somehow you do it! When a firm hand is needed, you do it gently. When I've struggled at TGO, your handling of things is why I've stayed. I'm a tiny part in the large group of people who've been blessed by you. I hope this gets fixed! – Sue Oct 4 at 0:06

tl;dr I am a moderator on Unix & Linux, Ask Ubuntu and Bioinformatics. I am stopping all moderating activity until further notice.

I too will be suspending modly activities for a while. I am 100% in favor of just about any measure I can imagine that would make any marginalized group feel more welcome. This is a position dear to my heart in real life and on SE. I have no issue with any of the points in the current or forthcoming CoC. I do, however, take issue with the way SE has behaved.

For me, the straw that broke the camel's back was the non-answer copy-pasta response that was posted under so many resignation notices across the network. It was obviously boilerplate, impersonal, and graceless. It blithely dismissed people who've done their best to help these sites grow and flourish, some for almost a decade or even more.

Most importantly, its very vagueness allows people to come to their own conclusions about what actually happened. It allows folks to assume the very worst, as humans are so good at doing. And when you say a moderator "violates [...] a spirit of inclusion and respect", it's like you're asking people to assume the worst.

And all this about a user who participates here under her own name! A user who is now put in danger because SE seems to be running from one desperate, knee-jerk reaction to the next. In the past, SE reacted with more decorum and decency when a moderator had actually been arrested for one of the ugliest crimes a human is capable of.

When I first became a moderator, I felt that the SE had my back. I still have enormous respect for the wonderful team of Community Managers it has been my privilege to interact with. They are decent, kind, intelligent, articulate, and a pleasure to be around. But I no longer feel that their character is representative of the company they work for.

It seems SE has come to the point of considering its faithful users as nothing more than a resource, and a renewable one at that. I am not resigning my diamonds. I care very deeply about the communities I belong to. I don't know how I will continue from here, but I do know I feel I needed to make some form of public protest. This is it.

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    "SE reacted with more decorum and decency when a moderator had actually been arrested for one of the ugliest crimes a human is capable of." That's the first time I heard about that! – Anne Daunted Oct 1 at 17:58
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    @AnneDaunted it was quite a few years ago and I don't want to share details. I'm sure you can find them if you really want to. – terdon Oct 1 at 17:59
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    The CM's have been incredibly supportive, when they are allowed, and within the limits imposed upon them. – Rory Alsop Oct 1 at 18:03
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    @RoryAlsop they absolutely have. They have gone above and beyond what could be expected of them. – terdon Oct 1 at 18:11
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    Will you be posting about this on U&L or AU meta? It's not necessary since you aren't resigning, I'm just curious. – muru Oct 2 at 0:09
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    @muru probably not. I've let the other mods know but I'd rather not cause more disruption to the communities I love. I will post if this becomes a long term thing. – terdon Oct 2 at 0:12
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    "I have no issue with any of the points in the current or forthcoming CoC. I do, however, take issue with the way SE has behaved." Well, I believe it's not really the essence of the policies per se that the resounding disapproval is against but the fact that these policies will possibly be enforced by the last kind of people you'd want i.e. who not only would claim that their interpretation of the policy is the absolutely sound but also that their understanding of the situations they're policing is always perfect and beyond public criticism (as is evident from Monica's firing). – Blue Oct 3 at 5:13
  • @terdon Is there any more you can provide us with? I think the comparison of how they acted then and now may be relevant (to show a pattern of changing behavior from SE). – JBis Oct 3 at 21:43
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    @JBis They acted as they used to act: with decency, compassion and decorum. So much so, that even as a mod at the time, I don't know the details. As I shouldn't. – terdon Oct 3 at 22:37
  • @terdon Fair enough. Wonder why the sudden change in behavior... – JBis Oct 3 at 22:47
  • @JBis I suspect (but do not know) that most of it is down to the difference between being a small startup where everyone knows each other and everyone is deeply invested in what they're doing, and being a larger entity with all that entails. – terdon Oct 3 at 22:56
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    @Blue various people are objecting to and disapproving of various things. I am only speaking for myself here and my main issue is with the way a user was publicly pilloried and put in danger. – terdon Oct 5 at 14:39
  • @terdon Didn't claim otherwise. – Blue Oct 5 at 15:17
  • Real shame to see so many people that I respect in this community upset by SE's behaviour. I really hope that this issue get's addressed in full and proper manner. – Graeme Oct 6 at 17:41

tl;dr I am a moderator on Parenting.SE. I am stopping all moderating activity until further notice.

From a tiny minnow in a pretty large pond: I spent the better part of a day reading many days worth of transcripts from the TL in which the issue originated.

While I take no issue with the only proposed change in the future CoC that I know of, I do believe that one of our most remarkably dedicated, kind and incisive moderators was fired in a very unkind manner. This is disturbing enough, but the non-response (quoted in answers above) posted on many sites now is downright scary.

I've been part of the SE community for a number of years now and value the service they provide to the public. However, I do not know much about the company that I am volunteering my time and effort for. All I know right now is that it might not be a company I am willing to freely contribute to anymore. Time will tell.

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    I agree with all of what you write, but especially with "All I know right now is that it might not be a company I am willing to freely contribute to anymore." I very much feel the same. – Anne Daunted Oct 2 at 12:03
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    "the non-response" Yes, that is indeed bothering. The silence in the last days feels a bit like a couple shortly before divorce with nothing to say to each other anymore (if a company would be a person). – Trilarion Oct 2 at 12:12
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    I've seen and read a lot of content you've produced. You might think of yourself as a tiny minnow, but your opinion here holds a lot of weight for me at least. – AndyJ Oct 2 at 17:35

I am suspending my activity as a moderator. Combined with the fact that some of my fellow moderators on my site have also suspended their activity (Rand al'Thor and Kevin), this means Science Fiction & Fantasy is currently without its three most active moderators.

SE has acted deplorably in summarily removing a respected moderator in order to make an example out of her. Moreover, SE appears to have been completely unprepared to deal with the consequences of their actions since the company has only managed to post perfunctory and ill-received responses (most of them canned, e.g. this one) and has not even released the new CoC which triggered their action.

How are moderators supposed to enforce a CoC which hasn't even been released to us, much less to users who might be in violation of it? And why should we moderate if we are in danger of being removed for failing to properly enforce an unreleased CoC?

I may or may not resume my activity as a moderator depending on SE's actions going forward. I will wait for SE's next move before making my decision. The ball is in your court, SE. You need to do a much better job going forward.

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    The director has also responded to questions from The Register - I find the response makes it even worse but just fyi. – LinkBerest Oct 1 at 16:29
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    Null, modding together with you has always been a pleasure. I hope that we can both go back to it in the future. If you want to chat outside of SE, you have my email address. – Rand al'Thor Oct 1 at 17:35
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    @Randal'Thor I agree completely with you: it has been an absolute pleasure to work with you and I hope we can get back to our normal routine. I'm still catching up on the events over this weekend but I was already planning to send you an e-mail. – Null Oct 1 at 17:48

I have been thinking of posting my thoughts and feelings for a long time, but I have never done so because I didn't want to hurt people. But since there are a lot of active users are opening up and posting their story, I feel I have put in mine.

Is Stack Exchange Inc still interested in cooperating with the community? What is the vision for this relationship?

No. I don't feel it does. In my opinion it all started with the 'being more welcome to new users'. That started a sentiment of blaming the long-active users for downvoting, closing and deleting bad questions. You are elitist, you unwelcoming, you are a bad person. Instead of respecting the long-established rules on quality control, suddenly we were the 'bad guy'.

Since then, the company made a lot of decisions that undermine the very principles it all started with. We value quality over quantity. The community is leading. A flourishing community will lead to a flourishing company. We talk and listen. Decisions being made are discussed before implemented. The company is an active part of the community. We work together, not against each other.

The last year it feel as if the community and the company have separated. Major, high impact changes are not discussed, they are just announced. If questions are asked, not a single answer or comment from a decision-making position is given. The company has abandoned their very core. And I feel sorry for all that.

I am not as active any more as I once was. It feels like nothing we ask, suggest or do will have any effect.

A last note to the new CEO: please fix this before it is too late. If it isn't too late already...

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    The company has never been able to solve the issue with people who get bored of the gamification and just want to answer great questions. They have been sweeping the issue under the carpet for years, now a new broom is sweeping clean... Veteran users are not wanted or welcome any more, meta veterans especially so. They are a tiny proportion of the people who use the sites but take up a disproportionate amount of time because they have been encouraged to believe (incorrectly) they are important because of SO's highfalutin words about community. – user619714 Sep 30 at 11:37
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    There is one text from 1980-s, linking to it was allowed in early SO days, but banned later. It turned out it was the self-induced prophecy: "Community standards do not maintain themselves: They're maintained by people actively applying them, visibly, in public. Don't whine that all criticism should have been conveyed via private e-mail: That's not how it works. Nor is it useful to insist you've been personally insulted when someone comments that one of your claims was wrong, or that his views differ. Those are loser attitudes.... – Arioch 'The Oct 1 at 11:03
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    .....There have been hacker forums where, out of some misguided sense of hyper-courtesy, participants are banned from posting any fault-finding with another's posts, and told “Don't say anything if you're unwilling to help the user.” The resulting departure of clueful participants to elsewhere causes them to descend into meaningless babble and become useless as technical forums.". Years ago SE made this choice, it took half decade to make it surface to mods, another half-decade to make it surface to users. "Transactional costs" of saying something had to eclipse costs of the very message. – Arioch 'The Oct 1 at 11:04
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    I've been following this débâcle for a few days now, and this and Robert Harvey's post have resonated the most for me. I hope it's not inappropriate for me to say "thank you for your service to the community"! – stuartd Oct 1 at 23:02
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    reminds me of slashdot - a community where users would bring sites to their knees just by being mentioned. Then it was "commercialised" and the community ignored in favour of monetisation. Look at it now. – gbjbaanb Oct 2 at 14:30

Official Responses

News coverage of the situation:

High profile, extended discussion outside of the Stack Exchange network1:

Also, a Change.org petition:

1 Note that discussion is on-going in multiple sites and sub-reddits, but some of the more biased ones are not included in the list.

  • I have seen this discussed on reddit and HN – gnat Oct 1 at 18:16
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    That is a hilarious headline – Pëkka Oct 1 at 18:58
  • @Pëkka It's gold. – canon Oct 1 at 19:25
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    "Pending pronoun policing piques political protest" – The Guy with The Hat Oct 1 at 19:40
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    It's also not strictly true; the protests were over what happened to Monica, not over the Code of Conduct. – wizzwizz4 Oct 1 at 19:47
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    Yeah, but the alliteration... – canon Oct 2 at 13:39
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    @TheGuywithTheHat - Maybe Pending pronoun policy penalties pique protests. – aparente001 Oct 10 at 2:42
  • 1
    @wizzwizz4 Yes, but it's much easier for SE to frame the people who are upset as hateful bigots, than as people who are genuinely concerned about the treatment of a highly respected individual. – MechMK1 Oct 11 at 13:07
  • @MechMK1 But they're not doing so. Rampant speculation is doing that. (And they are only quashing that speculation with the CMs, manually, when it comes up, when they see it, sometimes… probably because by now they've realised they're not good at big public statements.) – wizzwizz4 Oct 11 at 17:35

I guess you can add my name to the "suspended activity" list.

There's been a hell of a lot of conversation in TL in the last few days, more over an extended period than I've ever seen before in 3 years there. But still there's no clear statement from staff on exactly what the new updates to the CoC will require. I know that I'm willing to do at least one thing which Monica wasn't, but I don't know if I'm willing to do things that I don't even know what they are yet. Since heads are rolling in response to questioning of these rules which don't formally exist yet, it seems safer to do nothing at all.

The public view (without access to TL) is getting a lot of conflicting stories about what's going to be required; this, I think, is not because anyone is being dishonest, but because what CMs have told us is vague enough to be interpreted in a number of different ways.

I was off Stack Exchange on Friday evening and all of Saturday, so I only found out about these events on Sunday morning. On my site I'm usually the main mod active on weekends, so after having been out on Saturday I made sure to log in very early on Sunday morning and clear a small pile of flags. On popping into TL to ask about something, I realised that something big was going on, read up on the mod resignations, went "whoa, WTF", and took a step back, including from the new flags piling up on my mod site.

I'm not resigning as a moderator, but nor do I want to be a scab. I'm not acting out of personal support for Monica: I do think she was poorly treated, and she's always seemed to me a fair and respectful person, but I didn't know her well enough to put my head on the block beside her. I'm frightened, but not especially disappointed - I think anyone who sees SE as a "safe space" is ultimately going to be let down, and a lot of people are learning that right now.

  • 16
    RIP SFF flag handling times. – Edlothiad Oct 1 at 7:22
  • @Edlothiad Especially with one of the other active mods currently on leave. – Rand al'Thor Oct 1 at 9:06
  • @Randal'Thor which other one? – Stormblessed Oct 1 at 14:50
  • @Stormblessed That's down to the other moderator themselves to disclose should they wish to and not for Rand to. – TheLethalCoder Oct 1 at 14:58
  • 1
    @TheLethalCoder I don’t think that’s true at all. Moderators are really important to the site, and we should know if they have semi-retired. – Stormblessed Oct 1 at 15:23
  • 2
    @TheLethalCoder Now you know. – Null Oct 1 at 15:24
  • 7
    @Stormblessed "currently on leave" =/= "semi-retired". It doesn't make someone any less of a mod if they go on vacation for a week. – Rand al'Thor Oct 1 at 15:27
  • 5
    It's easier to say this in one place where you're both pinged, Rand and @Null, thank you both for your efforts on SFF in keeping it clean and tidy and running effectively. We might have had our differences at times but you two have kept the site going and for that I am grateful. I hope SE will come to their senses and you will both continue to serve on as moderators before you decide to formally hand in your diamonds. – TheLethalCoder Oct 1 at 15:30
  • @TheLethalCoder Hear Hear! But I'm also waiting in the wings ;) – Edlothiad Oct 1 at 19:47
  • 15
    As one of the heaviest contributors to the site, Rand and Null are the best moderators SFF had so far (or at least tied for that). Congratulations to People's Totalitarian Republic of SE for running them off. – DVK Oct 2 at 1:14
  • 5
    @DVK - Having now read the fine detail (available elsewhere), I'm baffled why SE chose such a self-destructive path. – Richard Oct 2 at 6:16
  • 6
    @Richard the answer is always puritanism. They chose to adopt a policy that is ridiculously far-left. Companies like SE are always trying to out-woke everyone else, that is why they took IPS off HNQ. Too many questions related to romantic relationships. – Hugo Zink Oct 3 at 8:31
  • 1
    I applaud the stand that you and others are taking. The way SE has handled this is the worst possible way to increase understanding of gender issues. I'm frightened and disappointed. An old comment of mine now seems hideously relevant. I left SFF-SE when a harmless comment of mine was deleted because you thought it might offend a hypothetical trans person, even though I'm trans myself! I hope that you'll permit me a little Schadenfreude. :) – Calum Gilhooley Oct 3 at 19:23

I'm a moderator on Security.SE, and have been for almost 9 years - since its very first days of closed beta. TL;DR I am suspending my mod activity on Security.SE immediately, will turn this into resigning depending on how/if/when SE fixes their s**t.

I'm joining this thread rather late - between Sabbath and Rosh Hashana (Jewish High Holidays), I've been offline for the past few days.

As I expect Monica was - as such the chosen timing of this debacle was particularly heinous. And to be clear - I do not consider this timing to be an innocent mistake. It was either knowingly malicious, or equally oblivious to one's identity, almost similar to actually misgendering someone.

(Note that that is a mistake that Monica never did! Simply discussing the language of the CoC to find the best options, which she was emphatic about using respectfully. She never implied or indicated that she would ever knowingly misgender anyone, she is rather explicit about not doing that. Even while being viciously attacked and incredibly strawmanned, she stayed respectful at all times. As I know her to be for many years....)

I was not going to write a post, I didn't think I had anything to add...


But the lack of respect throughout this fiasco was painful. Be Nice! Right?

But SE needed to do some performative actions, to show they are inclusive. Because of systemic issues they've had in the past. Fixing this is a good thing!

But it became too performative, and they got hung up on a single word - instead of what that word represents. Misgendering is hurtful because of the lack of respect, because of the exclusion, because of not recognizing the person for who they are - and because it continues and relies on the power imbalance of society towards those that are often persecuted. Misgendering itself can even be a form of persecution.

Using one's proper pronouns is incredibly important, as a basic sign of respect for one's humanity and common decency. But claiming that pronouns are above the need for that respect, and negate it, is unconscionable.

Respect goes both ways. If SE cannot respect the community, the moderators, and even someone like Monica? Then I can no longer respect SE.
And I cannot trust that SE will do what it takes to protect marginalized members of our community, if this is the tonedeaf response.

This is why I am suspending my activity right now. I am not resigning just yet, but I will likely do so in the near future. With half the mods of the site gone I feel I should stay around to prevent any harmful posts (I will not handle anything else, only to prevent actively harmful posts.)
SE doesn't seem to actually care. I do.

  • 63
    The new policy, as given in the TL and later in email, strongly implied that we must use people's preferred pronouns. I would never knowingly misgender with wrong pronouns, but that's not the issue. As a professional I, by training, write in a gender-neutral way, and other mods told me that is "misgendering". I asked for clarification in TL and email, thinking that couldn't possibly be what they meant -- that we would need to actually inject pronouns where we wouldn't otherwise use them. I guess that's the rule because they're claiming I'm going to violate the CoC, but they never answered. – Monica Cellio Oct 2 at 0:32
  • 15
    I haven't read the policy, but I got the gist from the TL and other posts. It is the extreme focus on a single word, while saying "dunno" about everything else, that makes this look performative to me. That makes it look like they are trying to tick the inclusivity checkbox, without actually doing the hard work of finding out what matters. And while misgendering and pronouns matter, it was clearly not the focus of the discussion. The rule you state doesnt make sense, except for that checkbox. – AviD Oct 2 at 0:52
  • 10
    I never saw formal wording. I don't know if it exists; obviously I don't have access to recent TL discussions. – Monica Cellio Oct 2 at 1:05
  • @MonicaCellio I didnt see formal wording either. I did see a lot of repeated claims about their reasoning (and about you). – AviD Oct 2 at 7:09
  • 10
    Given the incorrect claims they've made in public, I can only imagine it's orders of magnitude worse in TL. While that room is private, let's also remember that it's private to 600+ people, and smearing a person in front of ex-colleagues is not professional behavior. Oh well; nothing I can do about that except hope that the moderators there -- the vast majority of whom have the integrity one would expect of someone in that role -- will either call them on it or ignore it. – Monica Cellio Oct 2 at 14:10
  • 20
    @MonicaCellio - For two days now I have been shaking my head as I've read and reread this Sara Chipps quote: "We take our CoC very seriously. It was created to foster a community of kindness, collaboration, and mutual respect." That seems ironic, given that (a) you have embodied those ideals as much as anyone I've come across on the Stack Exchange, and (b) the way they handled this debacle was decidedly unkind, not collaborative, and disrespectful. – J.R. Oct 2 at 14:51
  • 9
    To paraphrase what you wrote on another topic: The code of pronoun conduct is not about inclusiveness. It is not a real instrument for respect. AviD's law of pronoun compliance: pronoun compliance reduces the risk of the penalties of non-compliance. – Gilles Oct 2 at 21:26
  • lol @Gilles . I'm not sure I completely agree with "my" law here, I do think it is an important part of conduct (and all those people affected by it are saying so) - but as in this case it can be misused to have the opposite effect from the intended respect. – AviD Oct 3 at 6:37

This spurred a lot of related topics everywhere else in the network. To not lose sight of posts about the controversy and make things more searchable, I'm adding links to other related questions here.

This post is community wiki, feel free to edit.

In site alphabetical order (with MSE at the top) and then in chronological order.

✭ one star per 200 positive upvotes
☛ official statements
⚑ deleted posts
Meta questions with >10K views are bolded in parenthesis.
Some deleted questions also feature a (screenshot) for those with <10K rep.

Meta Stack Exchange

  1. Voluntary gender indication

  2. Show MSE posts authored by staff members on the homepage regardless of the vote count

  3. How is the CoC about to change?

  4. Is there a plan for dealing with all the moderator vacancies?

  5. Will we really have "democratic" moderator elections?

  6. Remove misleading statements from the blog and the tour pages

  7. An open letter on the state of curation and moderation

  8. https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/334023/its-time-to-go-on-strike (screenshot)

  9. A very recent post asking people to go "on strike" was just deleted

  10. So disappointed to see the fall out this week

  11. Can one take the entire Q&A base and move it to a new site?

  12. https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/334051/support-for-gender-pronouns

  13. Are there specific issues with unwelcoming behavior toward LGBTQ persons on Stack Exchange?

  14. How can the community assist in welcoming LGBTQ users?

  15. Stack Exchange staff speaking to the press instead of the community

  16. A general call for increased transparency from Stack Exchange, Incꓸ

  17. Is it OK to continue Reviewing?

  18. Has Stack Exchange made anything approaching a clear or detailed statement on the current crisis?

  19. Are there any objections to using singular they for everyone?

  20. Disclose the discussion that started the current SE-moderators debate

  21. What is the correct way for SE to handle the pronoun issue?

  22. An Update to our Community and an Apology (100k views)

  23. Should I consciously protect myself from becoming too invested in the Stack Exchange community?

  24. Publish a procedure for reinstating a removed moderator

  25. Perhaps someone from the Stack Exchange Leadership Team should hold a town-hall meeting?

  26. Why was the CoC page changed to remove Jeff Atwood's original one?

  27. Allow Monica to have a structured conversation (à la mediation) with SE leadership

  28. Avoid "shipping" news on a Friday evening

  29. Are the meta mods overwhelmed?

  30. What disputes need to be resolved with respect to "An Update to our Community and an Apology"?

  31. What level of English proficiency do we expect of people participating on SE sites?

  32. New lock type: "Official Announcement Lock"

  33. https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/334392/require-pronouns-next-to-user-names

  34. Summing up the main issues (The Story So Far) (14k views)

  35. What changes are needed to the Moderator Action Review Process?

  36. Why do moderators behave as a separate, private sub-community? (i.e., why does the Teacher's Lounge exist in its current form?)

  37. What does the self-requested reinstatement of two Workplace moderators mean for the community?

  38. Does Stack Exchange insist on a special language for posts? Please describe

  39. The ship is sinking, but communication is down (need orders from the captain (CEO))

  40. Has Stack Exchange seen an outrage like the current one before?

  41. A proposed turnaround plan after Monica's firing

  42. Kings, Farmers, and Moderators

  43. This is not the same site I registered on

  44. Why does Stack Overflow seem to be less welcoming to its top contributors?

  45. Can we resolve the differences between statements by moderators and Stack Exchange with respect to recent events?

  46. Could Stack Exchange sites be shut down because of recent events?

  47. How long does it take to resign as an elected moderator?

  48. Anyone support creating a new StackExchange?

  49. How much experience does SE staff have on diversity issues?

  50. An apology to our community, and next steps (129k views)

  51. Can we get timestamps added to the CoC page?

  52. Dear Stack Exchange: a statement and a letter from your moderators ✭ ✭ (14k views)

    • The Community Management Team's response
  53. Ask hard questions on the Moderator Questionnaire

  54. https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/334591/site-infringing-on-trademark-in-url-currently-integrating-with-api

  55. Are there any observable effects of a "strike"?

  56. Should we have a tag for significant points in time?

  57. When is incorrect pronoun usage likely to offend people based on gender?

  58. Why was the *pronoun* tag removed?

  59. Where do we go from here?

  60. How did various SE sites react to the pronouns controversy?

  61. Can a fired moderator be elected as a moderator?

  62. Time to get back to work?

  63. An update on my resignation notice

  64. Why do you stay?

  65. Are there any topic boundaries for the private chat room Teachers' Lounge?

  66. https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/334855/why-hasnt-any-moderators-from-interpersonal-skills-resigned (screenshot)

  67. Dear Stack Exchange, it is time for a change

  68. Official FAQ on gender pronouns and Code of Conduct changes (96k views)

  69. Please give moderators better tools to understand the interactions between two users

  70. Kind, courteous, inclusive, intolerant of bigotry, racism, etc. Fine, I agree. Now what about my feelings as a mod?

  71. Different CoC for different sites at the SE network

  72. What about officially adopting a gender-neutral singular pronoun?

  73. Can the official FAQ be changed slightly with respect to editing old posts?

  74. We need "assume good intent" back in the Code of Conduct

  75. Define "gender-neutral language"? (CoC FAQ)

  76. Show Code of Conduct and other terms of service within version control highlighting

  77. https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/335054/youre-only-being-asked-not-to-misgender-people-intentionally (screenshot)

  78. Bye Stack Exchange, I'm done. Coerced speech is incompatible with freedom

  79. May I put my pronouns in my username?

  80. Why are the Code of Conduct changes received so negatively, and what can / could have been done to change that?

  81. How should we refer to members of the SE network in a neutral way, and will we be punished for remaining neutral for all reasons?

  82. How do downvoted questions/announcements affect staff/moderators?

  83. Why taking responsibility for other people's feelings doesn't work

  84. How often is gender actually used in comments?

  85. SE Inc. Director of Public Q&A retweets bad-faith, misrepresentative tweet (locked)

  86. Social Change, the CoC, and credibility

  87. Fundamentally, what should a Question and Answer site look like?

  88. Prefer only 'they' for personal pronouns due to privacy and security

  89. How should I deal with the new CoC as non-native English speaker?

  90. A Pronominal Proposal

  91. How can the prohibition on pronoun avoidance possibly be enforced?

  92. Update Coral Project Code of Conduct link in our CoC page

  93. Meta: Can we influence and change policy or is our role reduced to exegesis of company commandments and acclamation?

  94. Thank you for taking action on inclusion - what are the best ways to dialogue with those who dislike the CoC change?

  95. https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/335300/i-identify-as-an-english-language-speaker

  96. https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/335303/are-voi-allowed-to-chose-first-and-second-person-pronouns

  97. Is there even an attempt by SE to make existing users more welcomed?

  98. Feature request: Add pronouns to usercards?

  99. How can I keep track of all the developments surrounding the current controversy?

  100. Is calling for protest actions allowed on metasites?

  101. A clarification that might go a long way: What in the CoC is required and what is preferred?

  102. What is actually being done about the SE/SO culture?

  103. What is on the mind of Stack Exchange management?

  104. A storm in a teacup, please calm down

  105. Open hostility from SE staff towards the community - trying to understand it

  106. Help people learn how to write good comments instead of just flagging them

  107. What did Monica do to violate the CoC?

  108. How many more casualties in the war on pronouns?

  109. Why should we be forced to consider titles when discussing a topic that has nothing to do with them?

  110. Things you Should Never Do, Part I, or Iterating on Inclusion - so why stage a Revolution?

  111. Why was "Be kind and friendly" removed from the code of conduct?

  112. How does the new CoC apply to second-person pronouns?

  113. Does the management or the Welcome Wagon care to know about activity that makes users want to leave their platform?

  114. Monica's situation continues unresolved, is SE hoping the problem just goes away?

  115. https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/335524/do-we-require-people-with-gender-pronoun-preferences-to-be-nice-too

  116. Is the updated pronoun guidance in any way related to the New York City Human Rights law on preferred pronouns?

  117. Is the current outrage by the long time community contributors really about pronouns/trans people/Monica?

  118. How should pronoun-only edits be handled?

  119. What is so bad about Nancy?

  120. https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/335606/is-this-a-valid-request-concerning-coc

  121. https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/335641/argument-to-obliterate-prefered-pronouns

  122. Is the usage of 'folks' mandated by policy?

  123. Under what circumstances will Stack Exchange, Inc. share private/sensitive information with the press?

  124. How can we resolve the current drama without causing any more harm to vulnerable groups?

  125. Does or should the Stack Exchange team serve at the pleasure of the community?

  126. Did anyone consider the impact on autistics of recent Code of Conduct changes?

  127. Could we get some troll fencing up around meta?

  128. Can a duress code(s) be designed for the moderators to indicate type of coercion?

  129. I am non-binary - recent events have made SE less safe for me (and other members of the LGBTQ community)

  130. Do you think it's right to stymie opinions on important topics?

  131. Why was “What did Monica do to violate the CoC” deleted?

  132. Let's not waste all that reputation and increase the limits during the crisis

  133. A peculiar justification for closing a post - seeking explanation

  134. Will the public Q&A network stay completely free, and stay the company's main focus?

  135. Does Stack Exchange, Inc. really care about the LGBTQ+ community?

  136. How can the community take action to end the current crisis of trust?

  137. A call for emergency moderation/tools on the sites that most need it

  138. Does the company want to enforce CoC irrespective of the backlash it received?

  139. Can we post an answer and refuse to respond to comments or do edits?

  140. How many moderators will quit the site if there is not a satisfactory resolution to the current issue with Monica?

  141. What is Stack Exchange going to do to prevent further weaponization of the Code of Conduct?

  142. Should neopronoun be encouraged to use in Stack Exchange?

  143. Would opponents of compelled speech accept this policy instead?

  144. Can we disappear from this site, or will there be a policy update preventing SE employees from talking about us to the media?

  145. Changing the Code of Conduct to be more inclusive

  146. Could you tell me what was rude about my answer and how I can avoid making the same mistake in future?

  147. What happens if minoritiy parts of a communitty are allowed to dictate "correct" behaviours?

  148. I don't get it.​‌‍‎⁠



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  • 5
    I'd personally rather see links to moderators' announcements in the question, as they are now: focusing on which moderator, which site and what type of action the moderator is taking. The post titles are really beside the point for that, in my opinion, and in some cases require (or benefit from) a bit of site-specific context (Martin Tournoij's being one such example). – a CVn Oct 4 at 19:12
  • @Mari-LouA If you're interested in archiving I can make some screenshots for you – Magisch Oct 12 at 21:02
  • 3
    Folks I would just like to say this, there are already 120 questions about pronouns, the CoC, SO Inc, and the demodding of a moderator. Make sure your new Q isn't a duplicate. Find the question that interests you most and post an answer. – Mari-Lou A Oct 16 at 7:35
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA Since you asked, I made a screenshot – Magisch yesterday
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA I have no particular preference, anything works. – Magisch yesterday
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA Feel free to ping me either in a comment or in chat for any screenshots of questions or answers except those deleted by non-staff users themselves (I feel like I need to respect their choice to get rid of it in these instances) – Magisch yesterday

We can support the Lavender community of Stack Exchange and protest SE's treatment of Monica.

As a queer cis woman and SE moderator, I support the policy (which SE has stated they will add to the CoC) of using the pronouns that an individual requests. I also feel that SE has handled this situation extremely badly. They can fix it but they need to take decisive action.

For more details, please see the post from Writing.SE moderators.

  • 15
    Thank you for this. It is a very important distinction to make. We can object to how things were done and still enthusiastically support the final objective. – terdon Oct 1 at 23:02
  • 78
    Just for the record, I have no problems with a policy of "when using pronouns, use the preferred ones". Sara seemed to be calling for something much stronger, which would be confusing and super-hard to assess. But I never got an answer on that. – Monica Cellio Oct 2 at 3:31
  • 5
    Based on what I'm seeing around the Stack, I don't think this is praxis for most users. While some are upset about Monica, most appear to be extremely aggressive about trans issues. This issue would not be nearly as virulent if trans people were not involved, because many people would more willingly accept a basic need for respect. I am happy you differentiate personally, though. – Aza Oct 2 at 9:13
  • 5
    I respect your opinion, but can't agree much, SE should be leading by example, asking for Be nice shit and then act with MonicaCellio way they acted is 100% wrong (I don't know her, but people like her and that's enough to know she is a great girl and did her moderation better then the most) ... why go implement even bigger complication, pronouns crap, when community and SE are divided like never before? Can't agree on building something further when foundations are week ... they should fix everything before they move on, SE and community ain't ready for it ... – Veljko89 Oct 2 at 10:58
  • 9
    @Aza You are absolutely right that there are a lot of people around SE who are looking at this as "political correctness" run amok, or forcing people what to say, or even that they should be allowed to use the pronouns they think suit someone best. It's frankly disgusting. I want to be very clear that my only protest is in how SE treated Monica (and how they're non-following-up). All 4 Writing mods agree strongly, and that includes Monica. No, her proposed implementation of pronoun use was not okay, and I've told her that outright, but she supports the policy and the letter I wrote. (more) – Cyn Oct 2 at 14:39
  • 15
    Someone who supports trans people and non-binary people but who isn't on board with every pronoun choice deserves a chance to listen and learn. I honestly don't understand why Monica was made an example of when there are people out there overtly spouting anti-trans things. I am cis and am not going to pretend I know the visceral feeling of transphobia, but I will tell you I felt safe and supported as a queer woman in a mostly straight male space in the 3 stacks I was active in where Monica was a mod. And moreso when I became a mod myself. I don't feel safe anymore. Do you? – Cyn Oct 2 at 14:44
  • 11
    @Veljko89 The pronoun issue isn't "crap" (it's basic human dignity). Monica's termination and the firestorm over that came after the new pronoun policy was announced in moderator-only space. – Cyn Oct 2 at 14:47
  • 6
    @Cyn I get what you mean, I think. But if anything has undermined my sense of safety, it's that I can no longer pretend my friends from Stack are as universally accepting as I'd hoped. Safety is illusory; I'm sorry this is true, but I'm not sorry to have learned it on the Stack so abruptly. – Aza Oct 2 at 15:39
  • 7
    @Cyn As for Monica... I don't think it's as cut-and-dry as a lot of people want it to be. I have more feelings than 600 characters can express, but... The framework in which her summary dismissal was an Abhorrent Thing is a little naïve; it might not have been the correct move, but the depth and form of the Stack's anger tells me people aren't really listening to the broader context, or don't care to (not necessarily what you're doing, here). That's not a good sign, and it has nothing to do with Monica. I have to be careful about what I express in public, so I may cap my thoughts here for now. – Aza Oct 2 at 15:45
  • 6
    @Aza Yeah that sucks. I honestly don't believe SE cares about your safety or mine or anyone else's (maybe in a no physical violence sense but not online here). I don't believe they thought going after Monica as the low hanging fruit would fix things, but I do think they thought they could fool some people into thinking they cared. You're right about the broader context. If you ever want, I am willing to speak with you more privately. – Cyn Oct 2 at 15:49
  • 5
    @Adamant see my footnote here please. My understanding of the policy is: gender-neutral language if you don't know, and specific pronouns if you do know (with gender-neutral language being forbidden). – Monica Cellio Oct 2 at 20:03
  • 29
    Knowingly using wrong pronouns is abusive. I don't disagree with that at all! – Monica Cellio Oct 2 at 20:04
  • 38
    We were told: you must use people's pronouns. I asked: when using pronouns, right? E.g. if I'm talking about Adamant or the OP or this answer (link), I'm not using any pronouns and that's how many of us communicate now. I also talked (in a post I can no longer refer to, so from memory) about other ways I, as a professional writer, routinely avoid singular gender. I do this for clarity and style, because writing well is a core part of my identity and sometimes singular "they" is harder to understand. To avoid singling out people who use "they", I said it's no problem to avoid he/she too. – Monica Cellio Oct 2 at 20:17
  • 24
    It is downright insanity that referring to someone by their name is now considered "misgendering". – Hugo Zink Oct 3 at 8:45
  • 2
    @NathanHinchey Monica clarified here: judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5193/… Quote: "I completely agree that it is rude to call people what they don't want to be called; knowingly misgendering someone is not ok (...) I pointed out that as a professional writer I, by training, write in a gender-neutral way specifically to avoid gender landmines, and sought clarification that this would continue to be ok. To my surprise, other moderators in the room said that not using (third-person singular) pronouns at all is misgendering" – Hugo Zink Oct 8 at 14:18

Update: I resigned, see under the horizontal line

I'm a moderator on stats SE.

I'm suspending my moderation activity while I consider my position. I don't need to go over the events; they're well discussed, but I should at least be clear if brief (I'd say a bit more but other things are about to intervene and I won't be able to be online for a while).

The handling of the situation was deplorable and ill-considered and the response since has been far worse.

If things continue as they are right now, I doubt that I will see remaining as a moderator as tenable.

Hopefully I can return soon to clarify further. As soon as I can, I will also be explaining my position on stats' meta but I didn't want to wait any longer.

I've resigned.

I was holding off hoping for a really substantive response, but it's quite clear that this is not happening.

I don't feel secure as a mod. I don't feel like I can made moderation decisions with any sense of confidence. I don't feel like I can ask a potentially controversial question of a Stack Exchange employee safely, nor query the implications of proposed or impending policies. I don't feel like any kind of dispute can be trusted to be handled even-handedly. The relationship is much too one-sided. I don't feel like I can operate as I think a moderator needs to in order to perform as required.

I feel like my community support and trust me and my fellow moderators on my site but that's clearly not sufficient. I don't have the impression that Stack Exchange have any trust in me or that they will offer me any kind of support or credit in any kind of dispute. I don't trust that there will be properly structured dispute resolution if we have some disagreement.

While I believe that Stack Exchange as a company will act in a way that they think is fair (in particular that a large proportion of the CMs that have been around a long time would try to act in a fair way), I don't believe that the company can reliably act in a way that I can be confident is actually fair.

The relationship is all one-way; we supply valuable services to SE, unpaid. They can toss us out like they could an employee - but more easily than they could an employee, without notice, without warning, and without recourse, and with no proper avenue for fixing things if a suitable procedure isn't properly followed.

There needs to be some greater security for us if we're providing ongoing effort that supplies value for no recompense and it needs to be crystal clear to us how any process that provides a level of security is going to be fair to us. That is, if we're on the same end of a disagreement, how can we be confident we will come out feeling like there was some reasonable level of fair dealing?

I did have some level of trust that SE could do these things but not any longer, not from what I see in the apology - and I don't think the things that concern me even seem to have been understood when others have raised issues that worry me.

If SE feel they do or will have such a procedure, I'll believe it too -- when I see it applied with Monica.

I read "we won't relitigate this" but this is NOT litigation, it's dispute resolution, and you've shown us how that goes.

I hear "we shouldn't have shipped on a Friday". Monica is not a bug in a software product, she's a person.

This is your test case - when stuff goes down, whatever it was, this is how you show us what we will get -- with a case you seem to think is tough.

I don't see any proper indication I would get anything better. I'd be convinced I might get something better if Monica got something better.

  • 15
    Monica is not a bug in a software product, she's a person. Thank you. – ColleenV Oct 15 at 10:45
  • @ColleenV I'd be interested on what get you back from your break, no obligation to answer of course, "I don't want to speak about it" is perfectly valid, I'm just curious :) – Tensibai Oct 15 at 12:21
  • 5
    @Tensibai I took some time to get less angry. I didn’t feel I could do my moderator duties well in that state of mind. I’m working on a draft of my resignation letter but I’m still reflecting on what would be the best course of action for me. I couldn’t care less about SE’s future as a business. I do care about ELL but all things end and I’m sure they’ll manage w/o me. I’m thinking about setting up a Discord server for SE’s dispossessed to stay in contact if they want, but don’t know if there’s enough interest or whether I’m up for coordinating all that’s needed to make it not a troll farm. – ColleenV Oct 15 at 15:23
  • @ColleenV I understand, thanks for answering. All this mess is so sad. – Tensibai Oct 15 at 19:49

Update 10/10:

I am resigning today:

  • I disagree with forcing people to use pronouns as requested in the CoC/FAQ. One thing is asking people to be nice, another having to force them to talk in a specific way. There is never only one side to things.

  • I've seen no goodwill in cooperating with Monica, in fact, I've seen her treated once more with contempt.

Since I feel I can't trust SE, I have no interest in helping here anymore, so remove my diamond.


I'm a moderator on Skeptics, and I'm suspending my activity as a moderator, too.

Like Mad Scientist, I also have lost my confidence in Stack Exchange and see very little hope for a significant improvement of their relationship with us, the community and the mods.

As Mad Scientist said:

The last statement from SE is pretty much doubling down on their mistakes. I find it extremely disappointing how SE essentially engineered a shitstorm, and the persons at the center of it have to bear the consequences. They pretty much threw a well-regarded moderator under the bus, and they also drag other involved users into this, who are exactly the vulnerable persons they claim to protect with this.

For now, I'll be on hiatus and I will keep my diamond in the faint hope this is an incentive for SE to do the right thing and rebuild their relationship with us: I see no point in burning bridges at this point in time.

  • 7
    I hang around skeptics more than anywhere else. Wanted to say that I'm proud of you and all of you other mods that are taking a principled stand. – kbelder Oct 10 at 21:00
  • @Sklivvz Thanks for your efforts making Skeptics an interesting place. That $1B question asking for positive evidence for an extraordinary claim -- at a site that usually knocks down pseudoscience by Carl Sagan's/Laplace's principle and Occam's razor.. and the meta complaint from dissent-whacking seems strangely foreboding. – Paul Oct 12 at 23:30
  • I'm puzzled; are you remaining an employee of SE? Okay with me either way, but I hadn't realized at first that you were an employee in the first place. – Wildcard Oct 14 at 21:59
  • 3
    @Wildcard I left SE in 2017... – Sklivvz Oct 15 at 1:15

I am also recording as inactive as a moderator on Spanish.SE. Count me in the "suspended activity" list.

I do feel things are not being handled right and agree with what Gilles explained in his resignation notice:

I have witnessed a disagreement between moderators where both sides made some good points. Both sides deserved and requested respect. One side was aware that their behavior could hurt even though no malice was intended and tried to go out of their way in order not to be hurtful. The other side demanded to have things their way, and did not care who they were hurting on the process. In this particular dispute, there was clearly a victim and aggressors. The victim has now written up her side of the story.

Stack Exchange intervened, did not try to calm spirits, came firmly on the uncompromising side, and fired the victim in a very hurtful manner. This is not an environment I feel safe in, and certainly not an environment I can or will help foster.


Unlike the past, SO has changed a lot. It feels like they're focusing on how to earn more $$$ than anything else. This isn't the site where I signed up six years ago. I never seen this as a site. I saw this as a community of professional as well as newbies, learnt a lot, and got a chance to interact with many people around the world.

Two years ago, I spent nearly 11-12 hours on this site everyday for more than 5-6 months. I helped a lot of people and got help many times. SO is monetizing all of my content by putting ads there, but I didn't care. I kept answering posts that showed some research effort. They need money to operate. Internet points are nothing, and they can't feed me. But the Thank you from a person who I helped can make my day. I made a lot of friends here and some said, they feel like family.

Moderators are unpaid volunteers who spend their valuable time for nothing but the benefits of this company. While the employees are getting paid for working eight hours per day, some moderators spent even more time than them and is active on this site even on weekends. Without their hard efforts, SO will be like any other site.

Considering all happenings in last week and its follow up incidents, I decided not to contribute here until things got resolved. I don't believe unfiring Monica alone can fix things. But the greedy employees should be handled properly and the moderators should feel safe in the future too.


Community contradicts profitability. There is a lot of sense in this question from two years ago:

How much is a Stack Exchange reputation point worth, roughly, to the company?

By far the largest proportion of the brand's value is in the work done by the licence givers. The deal is basically that the licence givers work for the company in return for being allowed, for as long as the company allows them, to use the tools they need to work for the company with - an experience that many licence givers enjoy, because they feel they are doing work which has merit and because they feel a sense of camaraderie with other licence givers (also known as community).

Now several hundred people have invested emotionally here to an enormous degree...except that "invested" is completely the wrong word, because they have worked for the company for free, creating most of its value and receiving no payment or promise of payment or income but an occasional T-shirt with an advertisement on it.

Basically the licence givers, whatever their legal rights may have been, or may still be, to grant licences to parties other than the company, or to use their work commercially in other places, have generally speaking mostly not been interested in that kind of thing, and that's not the reason why they have contributed. What they have been interested in is the use-value of their work: their sense of achievement and also the usefulness of their work to others, its quality. The company, however, has only ever been interested in its exchange-value.

This was bound to happen.

(Edit: to summarise from the thread at the above link: those with 100,000 rep points here have each created value of a financial worth to the company of around 30,000 USD.)

  • 106
    They stopped sending T-shirts, mod hats, or any swag for that matter of fact. – Bhargav Rao Sep 30 at 1:10
  • 1
    @BhargavRao There's no 100k swag sent anymore?? – hayd Oct 1 at 21:09
  • 7
    @hayd No. The congratulations email doesn't mention the 100k swag anymore. – Bhargav Rao Oct 1 at 21:11
  • 3
    Say, there was more than that automated "congratulations, you got to 100k" in earlier times? Bummer, I always thought "you are showing up too late for this party"... – GhostCat Oct 2 at 0:31
  • 12
    And you might not even get the 100k email. (I didn't.) – Monica Cellio Oct 2 at 3:22
  • 1
    @BhargavRao I put a bounty on this question:meta.stackexchange.com/q/329051/184179 since it's been a few months of "figuring it out"... – hayd Oct 2 at 21:55

As of today, I'll record myself as inactive along with my fellow Spanish.se moderator fedorqui.

When I learned about this issue I tried to gather as much info as I could, which was challenging because many posts across the whole site were just repeating or referencing what had been said in other stacks.

I decided to write to the Community Managers (not because I think that this will be effective but because I consider it "due process") cc-ing my fellow Spanish.SE mods. I told them that the issue of Monica Cellio's dismissal led me to believe that I did not understand what the responsibilities for moderators truly have become.

I also told them please to clarify the controversy around the pronouns. The site I moderate has, by its own nature, users that are not completely fluent in English nor in Spanish, but who try to use both languages. The misuse of pronouns by users that are not fluent in one of the two languages spoken in the site, along with some irreconcilable contradictions between some of the preferred pronouns and the language(s) rules are a concern.

My goal was to let them know that we want, in good faith, to be able to make an informed opinion about these matters, so I was asking them to please clarify in regards of this controversy, so we can serve better our community.

Then we published in Meta, letting our community know that we had contacted the CMs and that we will update them as we ourselves get info. We also reminded them that it looks like we don't have all the pieces of this puzzle and to please be considerate towards others if they were to engage in any discussions about these issues.

I think that that is a good effort, in good faith, as the moderators of Spanish.SE. Now I'm recording myself as inactive as a way of saying to SE Inc that I need them to deal with this situation forthrightly, so I have what I need to do my job as a mod. Unless (and until) that happens, I can't, and I won't, volunteer my time as a moderator.

  • 3
    Update: I wrote to the CMs and asked for my moderator privileges (and responsibilities) to be removed. I don't think I can follow my "people over rules" principle when moderating anymore, so it's time for me to step down as moderator. – Diego Oct 14 at 4:21

I'm a moderator on Skeptics, and I'm suspending my activity as a moderator. This doesn't really mean much in this case, as I was pretty much determined to step down anyway even before this incident. Several previous actions by SE meant that I had lost my confidence in them, and their vision for the network. But I thought I'd give the whole thing some time, and just wait and see whether things change.

I no longer see much hope for change. The last statement from SE is pretty much doubling down on their mistakes. I find it extremely disappointing how SE essentially engineered a shitstorm, and the persons at the center of it have to bear the consequences. They pretty much threw a well-regarded moderator under the bus, and they also drag other involved users into this, who are exactly the vulnerable persons they claim to protect with this.

This isn't much of a protest, as I had pretty much decided to resign anyway. And unless some kind of miracle happens, I will step down as moderator at some point later this year.

  • 3
    I hope for a miracle, as well. Don't even know how to express it. And unfortunately, how to reasonably justify. – Anton Menshov Oct 3 at 20:45

I am a moderator at Computational Science SE.

I was patiently waiting for any official response or action for Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. I am very thankful to many community managers who were nothing but supportive in those very dark and sad times. However, I still do not see any intent from SE to react to those events in any constructive manner. Yes, I certainly make a huge distinction between the CMs and SE, the company.

I will continue waiting for those actions from SE as, for some stupid reasons, I still believe that good things can just happen, even when the infamous corporate world comes into play. However, while I am waiting, I will suspend all non-urgent moderator activity on Computational Science. I strongly considered (and consider in the near future) the resignation, but I am not there yet, mostly, because of my commitment to the community I volunteered to serve.

Where I personally stand:

  • I would be happy to give all the support and respect to all users of SE. I have no problems using any pronouns; however, I tend to write using the gender-neutral language regardless. Maybe, due to the technical nature of the topics that I usually write on.
  • I am extremely skeptical if firing Monica was justified.
  • I am very sad and angry about how SE fired Monica.
  • I am even more sad and angry about how SE handles this situation now.
  • 6
    @amon I will suspend moderation for the time being. The main reason is the lack of transparency from SE's side. – nicoguaro Oct 3 at 23:08

I will bring a point not talked in other answers.

Is Stack Exchange Inc still interested in cooperating with the community? What is the vision for this relationship?

No, Stack Exchange has two points to solve at the minimum.

A. The handling of a situation not wanted by the site CMs is awful and chaotic. Stack Exchange needs to re-do its thinking when they act on elected moderators. They need a consensus from other moderators before unilaterally removing the moderator status from an elected moderator (unless, of course, there is a hacked account or such violation).

Some people might tell me that Monica didn't want to abide by the new CoC, but that debate brings me to point B of my post.

For reference, Stack Exchange already did abruptly change the moderator staff on the site I was a moderator on in the past, and it brought the same problem as today.

B. Stack Exchange should announce a new CoC on Meta or, if private, on the Moderator Stack Overflow Team's page. Why? If you announce it without a good written Meta post to explain the WHY, a long debate will occur, which was still happening yesterday, especially if you drop the bomb inside a chatroom full of moderators (70+). That chatroom is to talk about standard cross-site issues and to give our opinions on discussions. If you announce something there without a meta post and without EXAMPLES, people like me, and I guess Monica too, will believe it is an open discussion.

In Monica's situation, it seemed an argument between her and Sara Chipps, for which Sara offered up an awful answer there;

We understand there are some folks upset about this decision. We aren’t going to share specifics out of respect for all individuals involved but this is a site reaching millions of people and we have to do what we believe fosters a spirit of inclusion and respect. When a moderator violates that, we will always do our best to resolve it with them privately. When we can’t we must take action. This is always done based on what we believe is best for all SE users.

I rest my case there, but I still believe that it wasn't necessary to drop that bomb there. As a moderator, I never talked in the third person to a user. I always talked to the @ username.

  • 2
    I just read you referenced post, and from that I get a totally different story. If the moderator in question there had replied to comments from the company instead of continuing what they were doing there wouldn't have been a problem. So for me its perfectly understandable their rights were revoked. – Luuklag Sep 30 at 14:04
  • 3
    @Luuklag Check the comments, sorry I should have linked to the comments, but a lot of members were angry, as the moderator was elected to do that job, it was in his nomination text. – yagmoth555 Sep 30 at 14:06
  • 2
    Perhaps expand "CM"? Though it is officially community manager, it may be confused with community moderator (though that does not official exist, only moderator). – Peter Mortensen Sep 30 at 15:19
  • 51
    What concerns me is that staff are making announcements in a chat room which many mods don’t frequent instead of a coherent written one using the newsletter. I haven’t been in that room for months because it’s a Petri dish for drama. Monica’s views on that particular topic are well-known, so it seems to me that she was, at worst, set up, and at best collateral damage from extremely unprofessional handling of a sensitive topic. The underlying problem that hurts all of us is SE’s haphazard approach to a topic that should be treated more seriously and thoughtfully. – ColleenV Sep 30 at 15:39

I take a very different view of the situation than has been expressed in the other answers. In my opinion, this should not be a discussion about the handling of Monica specifically, but rather how SE employees through their incompetence, have once again failed to provide users and moderators with the tools and support to foster an inclusive community. As Aza said clearly and forcibly in their Resignation Notice the Stack Exchange community has a major problem with inclusiveness. LGBT+, women, and minority users and moderators have been talking about this for a long time and SE employees have done little to proactively and effectively address these issues.

While a number of users have rushed to the defense of Monica and chastised SE for their handling of the situation, what has been lost is that we are not an inclusive and welcoming community and no one is standing up for those excluded and frequently attacked by users.

So I ask the SE team: where is the support that users and moderators need to foster an inclusive community?

  • 2
    Can you outline, please, the types of support you feel are needed? The areas where you feel frustrated by a lack of support, both as a user, and as a moderator? I'm not sure what you're alluding to here. Thanks. – aparente001 Oct 13 at 14:23

I've been holding off action to read over everything, mull things over, and I have decided to suspend my moderator activities on both Scifi and Outdoors in protest of Stack Exchange, Inc.'s actions. I've been gathering my thoughts on the situation and will post a larger, (hopefully) more powerful dissertation on the situation as soon as I finish.

I do not take this action lightly, as I know it leaves both my sites with only the least active of the active moderators, but I think that is necessary to prompt action, or at least a reasonable response, from SE.

  • Kevin, thank you for being such a great mod at TGO! I don't want you to go, and I hope you'll be back, but I fully support you! Whether you've been personally hurt or are standing in solidarity with those who have, I give you the utmost respect! You're an exemplary mod at TGO. (I'm sure SciFi too, but I've never been there.) I've never seen you write a negative word on the site, or in meta. You prevent us from seeing things that would offend. You always come quickly if I ping you in chat. I feel honored to be active at a site you mod. Thank you! – Sue Oct 4 at 2:35
  • @Sue thank you for the kind words. Your flags always bring a smile to my face, I will miss them. – Kevin Oct 4 at 18:01

I'm a mod on Academia.SE. After reading the official SE response, I'm going to temporarily suspend my mod activities as well. The disrespect being shown to a well-respected volunteer simply trying to understand what is going on, combined with the terrible handling of the actual firing, combined with the non-apology apology, are a bit over the top.

I encourage The Powers That Be™ to reconsider all their actions here, and think deeply about the types of behavior they want to encourage in their community.


I'm going to be resuming full moderation activities on Software Engineering effective October 12.

Although I'm still concerned by some things off-site (such as some tweets and re-tweets by staff), the stuff that I've seen on site has given me hope that SE is at least going to try more. They met all of the dates they laid out and have been starting to work more closely with the moderation team.

I think it goes without saying, though, that the ball remains in SE's court. Treating moderators exclusively as janitors, rather than taking into account their backgrounds, experiences, and expertise of various topics and the communities they represent, will likely cause me to consider if I want to continue on in the future. But, as of today, I have hope once again.

I am a moderator on Software Engineering.

As of Sunday (September 29), I significantly reduced my moderation activities on Software Engineering, after informing the others on the moderation team. Although I am not actively handling the flag queue or the review queues on Software Engineering (or any other SE site), I continue to participate as a user - asking questions, providing answers, and leaving comments - across the network. I also remain available for my fellow moderators to contact via chat or email if something critical happens and I will take action if I see something urgent and critical to the health and safety of the community arises and my fellow mods are unable to respond.

Recently, even before the events of the last month or so, I've been rather disappointed and discouraged in the communication between the company and the user base, and especially the volunteer moderators who work so hard to support each other and the communities behind the 170+ sites in the network.

Considering the recent turmoil and events, I'm going to focus less on active moderation and more on engagement. I feel like I've been engaged in the subset of the network that is Software Engineering, but it's been difficult to be engaged with the broader team of moderators and the broader network user base. I hope to spend a little more time in our moderator communities and on Meta Stack Exchange. During this period of time, I'm going to watch for official responses from staff and see how things play out.

The primary thing I will be looking for is improved communication and engagement, not only in private moderator channels but also in public on site metas and Meta Stack Exchange.

I honestly hope that things can significantly improve. I believe that my role as a community elected moderator of Software Engineering is not only a service to that community, but fulfills obligations to fellow professionals - creating a safe, welcoming space for all to share knowledge that improves the state of software engineering for the broader community.

I intend to make a final decision before the holiday season in the US commences - the time from Thanksgiving through New Years is extremely busy in many respects.

  • 16
    This decision is yours alone to make, of course, but I'm having a really hard time seeing anything substantial they've done to address the core concerns since this thing erupted. – Pëkka Oct 12 at 18:45
  • 2
    @Pëkka I don't disagree that some things aren't good, but my main concerns have been addressed. All of the milestones in David Fullerton's post were met, SE has made a significantly improved effort to get feedback from moderators on changes as well as incorporating that feedback into future revisions, and is actively answering questions that we have. I hope to see continued engagement with not only mods, but the broader community over the next few months and into 2020. – Thomas Owens Oct 12 at 19:50
  • 1
    May I ask, what is the "stuff that I've seen on site has given me hope that SE is at least going to try more"? Can you link to it (or some examples) please? It's very hard to follow what (if anything) they've actually done in response to any of this. – user568458 Oct 13 at 14:10
  • 1
    @user568458 Most of it is moderator-only, so I can't get into details of what has been shared. The important thing is that every milestone in David Fullerton's post was hit and SE has started to reach out and collaborate with moderators on a couple of things. I'm hopeful that this collaboration will continue to strengthen and that there's an improved relationship with the broader community. – Thomas Owens Oct 13 at 14:13

I have suspended my activity on Web Applications and Chemistry.

I really, genuinely, wanted more time and more facts to make a decision about this, but An Update to our Community and an Apology convinced me that facts are going to be hard to come by and largely distorted by a PR ploy.

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