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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 for the worse.

On September 5th, 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 September 27th, 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? This is 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, requested reinstatement, confirmed reinstated by SE, resigned again November 15, unrelated to any one specific event. Subsequently deleted all Stack Exchange accounts, see Meta answer for details.

  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, later also temporarily suspended on main meta for a week, and then again suspended for a year

  8. resigned: GlenH7 on Engineering and Software Engineering (later, left these sites completely having the account deleted)

  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)
    (only one moderator active on Workplace)

  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

  18. resigned: Seth on Ask Ubuntu

  19. resigned: Hohmannfan on Space Exploration (previously suspended activity)

  20. resigned: Mego on Code Golf, with the request to remove all network content

  21. resigned: ColleenV on English Language Learners, previously took a break

  22. resigned: Stéphane Gimenez on French Language
    (only one moderator left on French Language)

  23. resigned: terdon on Ask Ubuntu, and Bioinformatics (still a moderator on Unix & Linux).

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 - Return to moderation on October 31.

  5. suspended activity: Null on Science Fiction & Fantasy - Return to moderation on October 31.

  6. stopped activity before new election ends: Tensibai on DevOps

  7. suspended activity: Rory Alsop / Doktor Mayhem on Information Security, Music, Parenting, The Great Outdoors, Sound Design, and Video Production

  8. suspended activity: anongoodnurse on Parenting - Return to moderation on October 27.

  9. suspended non-critical activity: AviD on Information Security

  10. suspended non-urgent activity: Anton Menshov on Computational Science – Return to moderation on November 14 with a very heavy heart. Supports the fundraiser campaign.

  11. suspended non-urgent activity: Thomas Owens on Software Engineering Return to moderation on October 12.

  12. suspended activity: Kevin on Science Fiction & Fantasy and The Great Outdoors
    (only one moderator active on The Great Outdoors and Science Fiction & Fantasy)

  13. taking a leave of absence: Cyn on Writing
    (no active moderators left on Writing)

  14. suspended activity: Xander on Beer, Wine & Spirits
    (only one moderator active on Beer, Wine & Spirits)

  15. suspended activity / resigning soon: Mad Scientist on Skeptics

  16. suspended activity: jonsca on Web Applications and Chemistry

  17. suspended activity: nicoguaro on Computational Science
    (only one moderator active on Computational Science)

  18. suspended activity: lois6b on Stack Overflow en español

  19. suspended activity: eykanal on Academia - Return to moderation on 11/26.

  20. 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)

  21. suspended activity: Michael Hampton on Server Fault

  22. suspended activity: Sven on Server Fault

  23. staying away from queues and reduced activity: Bhargav Rao on Stack Overflow

  24. Suspended activity: David on Blender

  25. Suspended activity: Duarte Farrajota Ramos on Blender

  26. Suspended activity: gandalf3 on Blender

  27. Suspended activity: iKlsR on Blender
    (no active moderators on Blender)

  28. Suspended activity: gung on Cross Validated

  29. Suspended activity: Hatchet on Language Learning

  30. Cashed in his chips: J.R. on English Language Learners

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 (later requested reinstatement under the new policy)

  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

  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 left on Literature)

  12. resigned: Jon Clements on Stack Overflow

  13. resigned: fedorqui on Spanish Language
    (only one moderator left on Spanish Language)

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 later Reports came back up and Rogdort with Higgs were hosted by Das_Geek

  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. voiced support for Monica and stopping participating inside TL: yagmoth555 on Server Fault

  8. disappointed: Mister Positive on The Workplace

  9. disappointed: Ganesh Sittampalam and JoeTaxpayer on Personal Finance & Money

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)

2019-10-01: Comments to the press — The Register publishes an article about the firing with comments provided by a Stack Exchange employee.

2019-10-03: 2nd official response — An Update to our Community and an Apology (net score < -2k)

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.

2019-10-10: Official FAQ on gender pronouns and Code of Conduct changes (deleted at net score -1930 (+449 / -2379), archived version)

2019-10-15: CM team member Shog9 comments on moderator removal and reinstatement process work

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

2019-10-21: Moderator Warning and Removal process, Moderator Reinstatement Process.

2019-10-21: Moderator process feedback post

2019-10-22: New pronouns FAQ

2019-10-22: New pronouns FAQ feedback post

2019-10-24: Monica posts a response to the situation Stack Overflow is doing me ongoing harm; it's time to fix it!

2019-10-28 Monica sets up a GoFundMe page to help pay for combating this issue. Defend Monica from Defamation by Stack Overflow

2019-10-31 Monica discussing current events in an audio interview. TTP #1 | Monica Cellio On The Fallout At Stack Exchange

2019-11-15 SE staffer JuanM states that under legal advice, there will be no further comment on the Monica situation; also direct links to her GoFundMe page are being actively removed by SE staff from posts and profiles. Community ads for the GoFundMe are also being removed. Why is SE removing links and community ads about legal issues?

2019-11-25 Sara Chipps and Juan Garza introduce the loop, a new way of obtaining user feedback and a moderator advisor group.

  • 3
    The comments were lengthy.; this conversation has been moved to chat for archival purposes. A few comments were pruned cause they were not really needed. – Journeyman Geek Nov 9 at 7:02
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    @GhostCatsaysReinstateMonica I had written a rationale in a now-deleted comment: while I think that legal action might be a sensible way forward, I cannot vouch for the person running that gofundme. In that respect, it is fundamentally different from Monica's fundraising. – amon Nov 13 at 9:19
  • @amon Why "cannot [you] vouch for the person running that" GoFundMe? – Andreas -he-her- Nov 14 at 15:15
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    @R.. I'm not talking about pronouns here, but about things like SE's utter neglect of moderation tools. The welcome wagon demanded kindness, without providing tools that facilitated being kind. At least they could be convinced, after years of lobbying, to finally implement a question wizard on SO. The more engaged community members, those who care(d) about the success of their sites, naturally have some overlap but are absolutely not identical with these transphobes who get offended when asked to be respectful of other people's gender identity. – amon Nov 16 at 6:02
  • 2
    Well, i do have to say that i'm present in other communities, and everybody is complaining about SE doing nothing and not helping their mods to solve the massive amount of problems that they have – riki481 says Reinstate Monica Nov 23 at 13:12
  • @Monica I asked J.R. if he intended to place his link in the resignation section when I was adding my link, and he did not (that’s how my link ended up in the wrong place, doh) – ColleenV parted ways Nov 26 at 16:08
  • @ColleenV oh, sorry! The meta post gave me a different impression. Thanks for fixing it. – Monica Cellio Nov 26 at 16:10
  • SE added a feedback survey: Info, Survey. This is your chance to give them your feedback. – mbomb007 Nov 27 at 17:26
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    27 upvotes to go! Also, that's not a feedback survey, that's a rather half-hearted attempt to quell community outrage in the most token form ever. – Gloweye Nov 28 at 7:54
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    I just had 3 comments on the "The Loop" blog article deleted before having them publicized. One of them contained criticism of SE in response to a person praising SE, while the two others were harmless. Moving the feedback to the blog section is an effective means of censorship. With "The Loop", they will gain complete control over the feedback, hiding the feedback for themselves to be the only ones to read it. They really try to oppress all criticism... Are they even interested in the feedback, or does it all get discarded? – Andreas -he-her- Dec 2 at 14:42
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    @Andreas-he-her- Despite the troubling trajectory with these changes, it may be good to point out that SE is still a very transparent company, compared to e.g. Reddit or Quora. Requiring explicit approval on comments under a contentious blog post is normal and understandable. The bigger problem with less open feedback channels is that it potentially becomes easier for SE leadership to build their own bubble in which everything is just fine. – amon Dec 2 at 15:35
  • 1
    @amon Checking again today, those 3 comments are now displayed in that comment section. It means that it took 4-5 days for them to get publicly posted there, after I wrote and submitted them. It's good they finally went through, but this is, as you also say, less open, and problematic. – Andreas -he-her- Dec 5 at 3:13
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    I'm wondering if Robert Harvey's year-long ban over posting a suggested improvement to the CoC (nocodeofconduct.com) and the locking of a question asking about the ban, should be added. – Ask About Monica 2 days ago
  • @Andreas-he-her- This time I'm certain a comment of mine was deleted, on the blog post, as newer comments have gone through their filter... – Andreas -he-her- yesterday

44 Answers 44

76

I am a Server Fault mod and silently stopped all activity since this whole mess started and mostly stepped back from it.

I regret coming back to it today, but at least now it's clear where things stand. From my point of view, the leadership of SE made it abundantly clear that their idea of being welcoming and inclusive only applies to people that share their worldview and won't allow any compromise in that regard. I can not accept this, so I'll make my absence permanent.

  • 28
    they even brag about making folks like you leave Sad times... – gnat Oct 12 at 17:31
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    @gnat: I've read that and kind of loved it, because it instantly removed any lingering doubt for me. NB: My beef is that this CoC nonsense makes SE less inclusive, not more. But I really don't want to get into that, as I couldn't say anything others haven't said already, and more eloquently. – Sven Oct 12 at 17:51
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    @gnat you may be interested in this one as well: twitter.com/SaraJChipps/status/1182650441882058752?s=09. This one baffled me as confirming she's not up to discuss – Tensibai Oct 12 at 19:36
  • 10
    I just looked at your SF profile page, you've been on SE since 2009, wow. That's probably longer than most of SE's Community Managers. It's serious when the silent leave. – Mari-Lou A Oct 12 at 20:30
  • 3
    Thank you for your moderation (in all senses) on Server Fault you will be missed. – user630063 Oct 14 at 18:44
75

Count me as an inactive moderator on Stack Overflow in Spanish as well.

Although lately I've been already mostly inactive for various reasons, this situation with Monica and the poor answer given by Sara Chipps yesterday makes me continue this way.

My opinion about the pronouns is that it's irrelevant on an online community where we are users and sex and gender does not, or shouldn't, matter at all.

That CoC update is one thing we all can discuss and agree or disagree about, but how they handled Monica's opinion and all this situation afterwards is clearly not acceptable.

62

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.

  • 28
    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. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica 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. – user56reinstatemonica8 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
58

After catching up on this situation, including today's post, I have suspended all activity on Server Fault, both moderation and answering questions.

I am entirely supportive of the new Code of Conduct changes, but I am unconvinced that anything substantive is actually going to improve with the way Stack Overflow's community team interacts with moderators.

Other than the way Monica's situation was mishandled, which I do not believe is resolved as I have not seen an update about it, my remaining concerns are covered in their entirety in the Dear Stack Exchange letters, so I shall not repeat them here.

  • 25
    For those who don't know, you are by far the most prolific answerer, commenter, and moderator on SF, so this is big change for the site. – Ward - Reinstate Monica Oct 10 at 23:31
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    Thank you for your moderation on Server Fault. if you're no longer answering questions too then the site is in trouble. – user630063 Oct 14 at 18:50
56

Honestly their answer and "Apology" has to be some of the most insincere robotic tripe I've ever seen. It honest to god feels like they are saying "Oh sorry we gave her the boot BEFORE the new CoC....she's still not coming back though. Too bad." Look I don't wanna be one of THOSE people. But this genuinely feels like they care more about pushing an agenda then anything else.

I Highly Recommend people stop wasting their time on this site and find alternatives if they insist on acting this way.

  • 13
    +1 -ish. I will probably forget to upvote this later because I ran out of votes in the excitement of watching this dumpster fire rage on. – Beefster Oct 4 at 2:49
40

As a 20k user on Stack Overflow, I cannot remain silent any more. As of today, I'm stopping all my efforts on the SE network until Monica's actions are addressed. It's December 2019 now, and SE has remained silent even as Monica has made several attempts at getting the situation rectified without involving lawyers.

Enough is enough.

It's been far too long in to leave this situation in a "limbo" state, as it's continuing to damage Monica's name, and the promises that were made to address this situation, have fallen hopelessly short on expectations.

We were introduced to "The Loop". A closed door way of providing feedback, with almost no visibility to the community. The question upvote change was met with large disappointments, and was widely criticized as it did not consult with the community.

We've had a featured post for more than a month, that continues to receive downvotes, and has yet to go through any meaningful changes the community has addressed in numerous answers. How much more inaction does there have to be?

To Stack Exchange: You've dropped the ball. It's time to pick it back up again.

  • 4
    While I agree, SE hands are tied now in cuffs made of money/law. Their "legal team" ordered all SE employees to keep silent until a new notice, probably until the lawsuit will be done, i.e. several years. I still want to think David wanted to to something back when he posted his apology, but then the legal team took the reins and put him in place, binding his, and all other SE management, hands with unbreakable cuffs. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Dec 2 at 16:06
  • 7
    Good for you, FrankerZ. Lawyers or no, Stack Exchange could fix this problem EASILY and IMMEDIATELY. They are still actively making it worse. – Ask About Monica Dec 2 at 16:42
  • 5
    @ShadowThePrincessWizard the legal team is not the boss. If the CEO decides to resolve this in another way, the legal team can't stop him. He just doesn't want to! – Josef Dec 3 at 17:33
  • @Josef if he's told "if you do it your way, you'll have to pay millions and go bankrupt for sure", what can he do? Keeping the company alive is his first priority. And yeah, this makes the legal team the real boss. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Dec 3 at 23:54
  • @ShadowThePrincessWizard more likely that "admitting wrongdoing MAY expose you to a large short-term liability" while not saying that "paying your lawyers to drag it out for years WILL cost you a lot in long-term legal bills and cause ongoing loss of trust." – Hellion Dec 4 at 13:42
  • 1
    @Hellion risk of losing the company here and now is scary enough... so I can see the motive of the CEO. The future is important, but present even more. Still, don't think I justify this a bit, just sharing my thoughts. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Dec 4 at 13:48
22

Not an answer, but clearly a necessity, as someone tried to edit me into this list on the question.

  1. I stepped down as a moderator before all these events.
  2. I stepped down because I'm tired. Ironic, as I've spent more time on here since all this broke out than I did when I was moderating.
  3. I support the Networks stance of why they demodded Monica, not how they went about it.
  4. I supported Monica as a moderator on MSE and emailed Tim Post stating she should be a moderator on here.
  5. The issues for the reason for Monica's dismissal predates all this public activity. I was not impressed with Monica's stance then or the moderators who supported her stance of intolerance towards minority groups, no matter what the "reason" was for it. Having said this, I still liked Monica. One thing doesn't mean the person is bad or not good at what they do.
  6. If moderators flatly refuse to comply with the directives of the site's policies, implicitly or explicitly implied, I do not see how the site has a choice except to remove their modship.
  7. None of us have the full details of the demodding, but it certainly sounds like it was not handled well and I do feel sorry for Monica over this. It would be good to see her back on the network if she could get past her objections.
  8. None of us have the full story here. People are jumping to conclusions all over the place.
  9. The reaction to this is outrageous, frankly, when we have other moderators who have left the site feeling marginalised and hopeless. These people were respected members of these communities, but bowed out silently much of the time, feeling marginalised and dehumanised. Where is the support for these people? How come only some of us seem to be aware of this? Or is that their problem and not ours? Do we select who we deem worthy of mod support?

I'm stating this, as there's plenty of injustices that occur and it seems only some select people are entitled to the support of the remainder of the moderator community, which frankly disappoints me and is why I avoid the Teacher's Lounge. I have complained at length to the Community Team that the Teacher's Lounge has the same feel that Meta Stack Overflow used to have. I warned them it was a huge problem. They failed in doing something about it.

The fall out over this and the dismissiveness of some moderators is a testimony that it's not about principles, it's about personalities. That is wrong. There's plenty of people who have put effort and care into these sites.

I'm tired of people debating semantics at the expense of human beings. This is something that needs to be addressed from the top up (referring to moderators as the top end of the user base). If there's rot in the moderator ranks, rot will be tolerated in the community. Kudos to the employees for making this step! I support them taking a stand and saying we will not support dehumanisation of people on the site. That is what this is about. People can wrap it up in justifications, but that is what this is about and the moderators affected by it will understand.

It costs nothing to be kind and mindful of another human being. You only need to look around the world to see how violent, wasteful and how unyielding viewpoints lead to misery on a global scale. These sites are supposed to attract intelligent people. There is not intelligence without compassion.

To be clear, I do not regard myself in any way a victim of this marginalisation. If anything I regard myself as a force to be reckoned with, as I will always stand by the underdog and help that person have safety and protection. So, yes I am angry, yes I have attitude, it's up to all of us thinking people to make a change for the better in this crazy upside down species of ours! This site is for-profit, but at least the mandate of the site currently allows us to forge a better world.

If taking a stand and sacking a moderator and then losing other moderators who find this as intolerable, but ignore the fact that some people are dehumanised, ignored and the solution was to actively segregate these people, but a refusal to address them with the same language patterns as all other people are being addressed.If you choose to overlook this, well shame on you! I agree the network handled it poorly, but it's still not ok to overlook the issues that were underlying this whole situation.

I don't need to experience or understand another person's situation to have compassion and kindness for them.

“Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” John Stuart Mill

  • 37
    "None of us have the full details of the demodding, but it certainly sounds like it was not handled well". Considering how she doesn't seem to have done anything egregious it wasn't handled well by definition: if it were handled well she wouldn't feel the way she does and the timeline she wrote in her question would be different (and there would be no meta question of hers to begin with). The company owes it to the moderators to handle them with respect even when taking a diamond back. – Andras Deak Sep 30 at 20:47
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    @AndrasDeak she flat out refused to comply with the CoC, People can dress it up in whatever way they want. There was fall out from her POV. It hurt many people. People left the site. The irony is, she was supported by many mods then as she is now. Maybe it's good that they leave. The mods owe it to also be respectful. – Nobody Sep 30 at 20:48
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    I thought the CoC she refused to comply with wasn't even in effect nor public yet. – Andras Deak Sep 30 at 20:49
  • 23
    @YvetteColomb I would certainly argue with the "flat-out" characterization. – Anton Menshov Sep 30 at 20:50
  • 73
    So you’re OK with punishing people for saying that they might have to resign if some hypothetical policy came into being? That’s messed up. Whoever had the bright idea of breaking this news in a chat room where the tension was already high from previous drama around it should be reprimanded, because even the people who were there have an emotionally tainted perspective on what actually happened. – ColleenV parted ways Sep 30 at 20:52
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    Forcing people to believe and think like the company does is very much dystopian. It's interesting to note that, when in position of power, trans folks will act in very similar ways to that of the patriarchy system they say oppresses their existence. Looking at how the board of directors and employees are acting in the past months, they're acting in the same paradigm, only the members of the tribe changed. – Félix Gagnon-Grenier Sep 30 at 20:53
  • 78
    The reaction to this is outrageous, frankly, when we have other moderators who have left the site feeling marginalised and hopeless. These people were respected members of these communities, but bowed out silently much of the time, feeling marginalised and dehumanised. Where is the support for these people? How come only some of us seem to be aware of this? @Yvette. You're confusing the main issue. Monica didn't resign, she didn't leave, she was kicked out, without warning, without an appeal. That's a huge difference. – Mari-Lou A Sep 30 at 20:58
  • 65
    Yvette, we probably are all deprived of information here, but Monica's account of the events clearly suggest that she was blindsided by the demodding. You can't tell me there were warnings and she had it coming and that she had no idea it would happen. – Andras Deak Sep 30 at 21:01
  • 101
    While us non-mods don't know the details yet, I don't buy for a second that the views Monica expressed were a "stance of intolerance towards minority groups" and that the purpose of the resignations of the many mods who've resigned was to "support" that stance. – Mark Amery Sep 30 at 21:06
  • 60
    @YvetteColomb You’re conflating what Monica’s personal views are with how she would act as a mod. You’re remembering the conversation imperfectly. It’s understandable that you disagree with her. It’s unreasonable to accuse her of hurting people just because she holds that view and expressed it out loud, but has never acted on it in a way you could detect. The only reason you know she might avoid pronouns in some situations is because she told you she might. – ColleenV parted ways Sep 30 at 21:20
  • 83
    @MarkAmery Most mods don't know all the details either. I have only read parts of the transcripts. But I've seen enough to see that a “stance of intolerance towards minority groups” is completely inconsistent with everything I've read from her, and I don't mean about her character in general but when discussing the very issue that is at stake. The fact that others have suffered and are suffering from intolerance does not excuse what happened here. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Sep 30 at 21:42
  • 26
    Thank you for having the courage to post what was clearly going to be such an unpopular post. I can't attest to your veracity any more than anyone else's but I respect you for giving more insight to an already fraught discourse. – AGirlHasNoName Sep 30 at 23:59
  • 21
    @YvetteColomb: Regarding your questions in #9, as a generic (though longtime) member of SE: "Do we select who we deem worthy of mod support?" Yes, of course. I have no idea what other mods you're talking about, but it's pretty damn simple to me. The better the mod, the stronger the support. The more visible & well-known the mod, the more widespread the support. So yeah, if you were a jerk of a moderator, and end up resigning, then good riddance. Whereas if you were the most kind and compassionate mod online everyone looked up to, yeah, people will mourn your leave. Why are you surprised? – Mehrdad Oct 1 at 6:49
  • 33
    @YvetteColomb: I never said these were jerks either; I merely gave examples of lots of factors besides community bigotry that could explain the effect you're seeing. So like, are you sure these mods you're talking about were known to just as big of a cross-section of the community as Monica? Was their moderation as well-regarded by the community beforehand? Is there REALLY nothing else you could use to explain the differences you're seeing? And before you respond, realize that Monica was seen as the exemplary role-model moderator by so many people in the community. – Mehrdad Oct 1 at 7:03
  • 65
    Your characterizations of me are wildly off-base. We might disagree about how to express respect, but I am not intolerant, seeking to marginalize anyone, or making semantic excuses. I engaged in good faith with "one true way" arguments on the teams post; if they haven't nuked everything I wrote there, review my answer and comments. The situation is much more nuanced than you are painting. (Also, while you're there, review the bullying comments I received.) – Monica Cellio Oct 2 at 1:13
18

Regardless of the facts of Monica's situation (you can probably guess my views on them from my current byline) it's extraordinary that the director whose actions triggered all this hasn't been sacked for gross incompetence. Try to imagine what more a Director of Community could do to damage the community on which the business entirely relies.

Never mind sacking without due process one of the most respected moderators on the site for potential future breaches of a CoC that wasn't even yet in place, but then to go on to amplify that a hundredfold by allowing the company to badmouth that moderator in the tabloid tech press, and then to preside over as appalling a response as there has been since, with entirely inadequate response to Monica about her specifics, entirely inadequate and rushed introduction of an update to the process for handling sacking and reinstatement of moderators, and entirely refusing to engage constructively with the concerns of the community.

I know directors are the most senior employees but if I were the Chairman of the Board I'd be incandescent at how badly this has all been handled.

Perhaps if it does come about that the director in question gets to old heave-ho, and some amazing 180 happens then we might get a sense that the company (i.e. the Chairman and Board as a whole) is serious about cooperating with the community, but if that doesn't happen then we probably have to conclude the opposite, and bear in mind that we are contributing to a site run by an organisation that is not interested in co-operating with the community.

Now for some of us that might still be a site worth contributing to: certainly on the stack I'm active on I enjoy reading and answering questions, but that's for my own satisfaction. I certainly wouldn't consider providing any value-add such as moderating until there has been a satisfactory response. For me, that means one head in particular that I would need to see roll before I could consider contributing in anything more than an entirely casual way.

  • 9
    I understand your frustration and anger. I share it. It is not good for anyone to demand that someone lose their job over this, especially when management has publicly expressed support for their decision. We can be angry without being destructive. Calling for someone to be fired makes it harder for SE to do the right thing and reinstate Monica, because it makes it about more than just correcting the wrong done to her. People should be able to make mistakes without losing their livelihood. – ColleenV parted ways Nov 7 at 15:46
  • 2
    As much as I agree with the perception of the Director's actions, I think it's rather non constructive to demand someone's head; placating the mob only empowers them, and sets a precedent that the community should have a say in employee's livelihoods. Should we have some say in how things are run? Sure. But I'm very leery about giving internet outrage culture leverage to destroy someone's career. – fbueckert Nov 7 at 17:15
  • 16
    I think it's a relatively uncontroversial observation that the behavior we've seen would get people fired at most companies, and it's odd it hasn't, here. However, I don't think we should be calling for Sarah's firing in particular, because (1) we don't know the inner workings of SE, and Sarah may be working at the behest of higher-ups... and (2) why do we care? They need to fix the problem and make recompense. Whether they restructure, rehire, or just experience an epiphany, doesn't really matter. – Ask About Monica Nov 7 at 17:31
  • 1
    @AskAboutMonica I think it's a relatively uncontroversial observation that the behavior we've seen would get people fired at most companies, no it isn't, it wouldn't, and it shouldn't. – gerrit Nov 8 at 11:00
  • @AskAboutMonica in most companies when a director spectacularly fails to fulfil their brief they get sacked. Now, either the Community Director spectacularly failed to fulfil her brief (building positive relations with the community) and should be sacked, or SE is trying to antagonise its own community which would be even more concerning. I have adjusted my answer though, to make clear that I'm not outright calling for her to be sacked, just that her departure would be a prerequisite for me ever to consider moderating. (contd) – Adrian - Justice for Monica Nov 8 at 11:21
  • 2
    (continuation) If the board don't get rid of her, it shows that they approve of how she has handled things, and that is the real concern for me - not that there's one bad director but that the bad behaviour we've seen is actually the company's intention. Sorry if it's harsh, but it's how I feel. – Adrian - Justice for Monica Nov 8 at 11:23
  • 1
    I know there is a “Director of Public Q&A” but I don’t know of a “Director of Community”. I think you misunderstand what that director’s role is. – ColleenV parted ways Nov 8 at 12:07
  • 3
    It is certainly uncontroversial that the behavior you are inferring gets people fired at many companies, you need to consider that the actual decisions came from higher up. There is evidence of that. – gung - Reinstate Monica Nov 8 at 16:50
  • 2
    @ColleenV: Sara’s title has been presented as “Director of Community” a lot: both Register articles (1, 2), here, here, here and more. – Scott Nov 9 at 0:45
  • @Scott Thanks for setting me straight. It’s disappointing but I’d rather be disappointed than be wrong... – ColleenV parted ways Nov 9 at 1:52
  • @ColleenV: I’m not sure you were wrong; I’d say there’s a lot of misinformation floating around. You can’t believe everything you read in a newspaper. – Scott Nov 9 at 1:58
14

They will not do anything. In fact, in the recent past, Stack Exchange has actively encouraged its employees not to go to Meta:

I’d like to add some context to the “why” we are doing it. Tim, kindly, wanted to shield me from ire, however, in taking this job I signed up for this. I'd like to come here, own my decision, and deliver this feedback.

Stack Overflow Employees have panic attacks and nightmares when they know they will need to post something to Meta. They are real human beings that are affected by the way people speak to them. This is outside of the CM team, who have been heroes and who I constantly see abused here.

I can’t, with good conscience, force anyone to participate in a venue that causes that type of psychological damage at work. The CMs feel this is something that can be remedied, and I believe them. However, until then, I can’t sleep at night knowing that we are forcing people to participate here as part of their jobs.

We're removing Hot on Meta as I don't want to send new people to a place where people have these experiences. Full stop.

Source: Answer posted on Meta SO - Jul 24 at 17:47

If employees have panic attacks when on Meta and are thus not instructed to visit here, nothing we post here will change anything. From the standpoint of SE, the community (at least, the ones who actively are involved on the site, i.e., Meta users) just causes panic attacks to employees and hence there is no value in their eyes in reading Meta posts.

If no one reads Meta and community posts, nothing we post here will help. And even if read, employees are actively discouraged from responding to them. So the community should not expect any response. At least, that's SE's official stated policy on another Meta site.

9

SE has grown over time. With that growth new challenges have arisen. The most important of these size related problems is that a culture of us versus them, staff versus users has arisen. This dynamic is not wholesome, but rather than faulting anyone for being a plum stuck in a pudding, consideration should be given to the simple fact that in a very large organization communication becomes so layered that simple but urgent messages languish unheeded.

Administrative structure for large organizations require special channels of fast track communications for issues that might not seem important to highly placed staff, whose POV is already colored by their take on their own areas of responsibility such that actual high impact issues with huge corporate impact go unheeded until cascade failure occurs.

For example, an Ombudsman's office (note: no alternative gender available) with a mandate to step in to act definitively to defuse hostility and redress grievance can be a cost effective and much more expedient alternative to reliance on the very tardive and cost ineffective court system. As much as an administrator might feel threatened by having a (<--this cost me, I wanted to use the possessive case) decision countermanded, but frankly, not only users can act like social morons. In the particular in the left-wingnut land of "woke" speech, there is much to say. Large corporations have more of a tendency to focus on such uber-left ideation, and also have a tendency of riding roughshod over employees, the public, nation states, the law, and anything else that gets in their way. This is also size of corporation dependent, the bigger the badder, and in the extreme, corporations become authoritarian and totalitarian, e.g., an infamous quote "What is good for General Motors is good for the United States."

I would suggest to SE that they do a bit of house cleaning and self-reflection. Whether this results in an ombudsman, an elected super-moderator(s) with the authority to impose arbitration or whatever is not for me to decide, but SE would be well advised to take this good advice and fill in the blanks before it becomes impossible for the users to support the corporation due to the cumulative effect of gaffs of the elephant versus ant type.

I seriously also suggest that Monica be reinstated and that SE listen to her. You do not have to like her, but ignoring her issue, which many see as a canary indicator, will not end well, IMHO. There are a number of structural issues with SE site organization that are being ignored related to an incomplete, and I add, rather naive understanding of democratization that cause unnecessary friction. SE should be researching these and not putting window dressing on very infrequently relevant but highly intrusive issues, like pronoun usage.

-4

I wish to add to this discussion, and by saying this, I realize in fully that my rep might not give my words specific "umpf" and it might be buried down with negative votes. But here it is:

In market trading there is something called "short squeeze". This means that there is a lot of people who bet opposite of the market (betting that market price will fall), and at some point in time they get scared and release all their funds, making market jump violently. And I believe that this is what happened here. If my presumption is correct, this will die down in several days and SO/SE will consolidate on a new status quo.

My opinion is based on the latest "hostility/be polite" questions that I seem to find more often. First question that raises this issue seems to go back as further as 2009, and so far judging by some estimated metrics around 3.7 million complaints could be sent directly to SO from 2008 to now. This is only estimation, there is no way to know for sure. And here is where I think "short squeeze" happened.

I got this metric by getting all questions on MSE that contains specific keywords, grabbing posts view count, and dividing it by upvote-downvote ratio. More in this query.

The calculation is based on observation that most questions that contain words "hostile" , "be polite" and "nicer to new" are tied to topics that are regarding relationship between users. In SEDE (SQL query for SO/SE) every post has its view count (how many users has seen it), number of up votes and number of down votes. We can take for granted that any user who clicked and viewed the question is interested in topic, and we can see ratio of up votes/down votes as support for the topic in form of "for" (up vote) and "against" (down vote). So in reality I just took sum of people who were interested in the topic, and divided them by general support - giving me an estimate how many users are for/against "being hostile" or "being polite" to new users and therefore more likely to issue an complaint.

IN SHORT: I estimated how many users are willing to issue a complaint

I believe that SO/SE gets a bunch of complaints on a daily level, and it must prioritize and graph normal levels since they will get complaints no matter what. When some type of complaint jumps/dumps below normal level such complaint type then it gets priority. How exactly they do this, I have no idea, but every company has some manner of separating valuable from not valuable information.

In my personal experience, when a person sends a complaint to email of SO, a support ticket is generated, but often no answer is given. It is reasonable to presume that the company that thrives on knowledge base for developers, would have some way to sort and prioritize those support tickets.


Here the query described above is graphed: Graph in question

Now, data isn't exact, since keywords can be used out of context, and more keywords than 'hostility' and 'be polite to new' would be beneficial with added post body search.

We can see a massive drop from 2008-2009, followed by a large spike in 2012-2014 as a sign of trend consolidation, but that is troublesome (and perhaps reason for all this mess) is last two spikes that predict trend change. Up to 2018 the trend should've vanished, but at 2019 we have an larger spike (of +19.8% increase) that indicates rising, and perhaps is notion of people migrating away from SO/SE.

But why is this a "squeeze"? Well, from 2013 up to 2016, we have much happier place here. Fewer complaints means more cohesive society, and in that moment it is normal for humans to think that everything is better, and let their guard down. With mods and privileged users calm, the sudden (but normal) hit of users who are ignorant,arrogant and childish generates tension which then in turn results in aggressive/passive aggressive behavior - which generates a lot of complaints.

From time of peace (peace-ish) one can notice a lot of comments/answers that are short, pesky one-liners with no actual value, and questions that are dumb as hell. Which in turn generates separation. Active moderators (and ex ones) often retreat in their job, and all smaller stuff such as public relations are left behind to privileged users. And that is like giving a kid a machete, it is fun at start, but someone will lose an eye.

Here we have unregulated privileged users who are main face of SO/SE, that take full hits of beginner questions with less experience/patience than those with moderator experience. New users that are under attack, they don't know yet about difference between mods and privileged users (since this hierarchy is quite unique) and they complain about moderators.

I believe that SO/SE gets bunch of complaints on daily level, and it must prioritize and graph normal levels since they will get complaints no matter what. When come type of complaint jumps/dumps below normal level such complaint type then gets priority. How exactly they do this, I have no idea, but every company has some manner of separating valuable from not valuable.

So when change deviates from the norm, they hit the one they deem responsible (and in this case all users shout "moderator" even though they aren't at fault). And here is where a hammer comes to play.

If I were in place of SE/SE I would be scared by this raise. Since any raise in tension in the community means SO/SE loses members, have negative publicity and loosing revenue. To stop this I would show extensive use of force, scaring any new users to slowly and patiently learning about the website and community, and scaring moderators to be more diligent and patient with new users. Of course, random termination of moderators wouldn't yield any result, so moderators that were terminated probably have some complaints (justified or not justified) issued against them.

It has passed several months since my complaint to SO/SE, and only in last week most of users who followed me around with down votes and flags have been terminated or penalized. After some research, I have found that those users didn't exhibit that behavior only on me, but across exchanges - which then prompted this way of thinking.

Now, what was expected on severe action as this, mods around the world united and started fighting back. Some of them started researching on how they can be compensated for their work, some came in support of fallen mod ... etc. The emotional impact has already happened, and it can't be erased. Which prompts me to think about this as sort of emotional manipulation, with easy resolution in the end.

This happens a lot in business, first you get the lawsuit, and then you settle out of the court.

And main thing here is, what is next?

Judging by the pattern described in the graph, the tension in community often lasts 2 years, with apex in the middle. So that would mean that we are currently at impasse, where the tension will probably slowly start to release in the next year.

But a lot can change that, as mentioned above, we have raising trend poking its ugly head for the first time. Which means that if community pipes down most of what happens will die down and perhaps terminated mods can be reinstated, but if tension erupts, we will have an permanent trend reversal - which would mean at its worst scenario - cancellation of SO/SE.


I have upmost faith in SO/SE, and I wish to believe that this will die down in 2020, with the next peaceful period of several years. Then terminated moderators can regain their badge, and all this can be an disciplinary slap in the face, with no larger repercussions.

But people will be people. Some of us will react turbulently and leave, some will be reserved and publicly slander, some will defend... but I will wait it out.

And one thing is sure, since we are now in a rising trend, there are some changes coming.

  • 6
    I got this metric by getting all questions on MSE that contains specific keywords, grabbing post view count from that, and dividing it by upvote-downvote ratio. Sorry, I positively suck at stats, can you explain what it is supposed to demonstrate in clearer terms? Could you also elaborate on the three paragraphs above your last horizontal rule? I cannot make any sense of them. – Frédéric Hamidi Nov 4 at 20:33
  • @FrédéricHamidi, no problem, would you like it in comment or to edit the post? – Danilo Nov 4 at 20:35
  • 2
    In the post, please :) – Frédéric Hamidi Nov 4 at 20:36
  • 1
    Y'know, making an ad hominem attack on people you don't like, using a specious argument, doesn't engender support. That sort of negates any point you might have with this. It sounds more like sour grapes than a legitimate argument. – fbueckert Nov 4 at 20:38
  • @fbueckert I don't. You have misunderstood the answer. – Danilo Nov 4 at 21:07
  • @FrédéricHamidi how is this? – Danilo Nov 4 at 21:07
  • You've edited out the attack, so that's good, at least. – fbueckert Nov 4 at 21:15
  • @fbueckert I didn't attack anyone, maybe it was parsed poorly, but I am open to any questions and suggested edits. Please don't make me a bad guy without an clear intent and reason. – Danilo Nov 4 at 21:16
  • 1
    @Danilo, better I guess. But I think you're reading too much in that curve. From your query you're only matching hostile, polite and nicer to new in question titles. A couple of search queries reveal there's a whopping 285 matching questions here on MSE. That's a very small sample. – Frédéric Hamidi Nov 4 at 21:16
  • @FrédéricHamidi I fully understand that, and with more data the curve would be clearer (or even relevant). I have tried to make query with more keywords, and searching bodies of posts also but SEDE broke on me bunch of times. But I still do find some value in those keywords, since some of the latest questions are referencing Jeffs post about "Be Polite" policy so reuse of those wording can give me somewhat accurate result. On other hand, do I think I am right? I don't know, time will tell. – Danilo Nov 4 at 21:21
  • But I do see a lot of seemingly non related issues coming up, and there are a lot of topics that are active in the same time for it not to be correlative. Also, albeit the number of such titles is small, it does seem logical to me that such topics would be in 250-500 (at most 1k) range on MSE only. – Danilo Nov 4 at 21:22
-5

I don't think so

But we will force them to.

  • 4
    You want to force people into cooperating? Nice oxymoron you have here. – Frédéric Hamidi Nov 7 at 7:42
  • 2
    they need to moderate what they created, aren't they? – Where is our Monica Nov 7 at 8:07
  • 2
    They benefit from these sites, so they also need moderate sites to get benefit for them, and also benefit their beloved community, although i don't think they love us anymore. – Where is our Monica Nov 7 at 8:08
  • 13
    @amnon I'm not too thrilled to see this as the "accepted" answer to this question. As the unofficial defacto place a lot of us are tracking moderator resignations and other posts related to this "issue" this seems like a passive aggressive and unhelpful move. You can't force anybody to care and cooperate — if you did you wouldn't like working with the result anyway. That's not the result I'm after here, I want them to care but that can't be forced. – Caleb Nov 7 at 12:30
  • 6
    Slogans are easy to say. But what have you said, what words of persuasion have you used that will convince the company to backtrack? Where is your argument? – Mari-Lou A Nov 7 at 15:42
  • 3
    Why accept this answer? Having this at the top distracts from the question itself and other highly upvoted answers which are carefully worded and well thought-out. – Mathias Müller Nov 7 at 17:35
  • @Caleb Terribly sorry, that was an accident! This answer is not aligned with my opinion that a future relationship should be constructive. – amon Nov 7 at 18:38
  • @Mari-LouA I partly agree with you, but we need to have some big way to start with. And we can start with request back their love for this community. – Where is our Monica Nov 7 at 22:59
  • 6
    Say to an old lover: "I will force you to come back" and tell me how it went. – Mari-Lou A Nov 7 at 23:04
  • uh, ok, I totally know what's your meaning now, i agree, it was no good for forcing the care of the community, since it will lead to worse situation and coop won't last long. – Where is our Monica Nov 7 at 23:13
-14

Message for Stack Exchange heads

It's not hard for the community to create its own platform to share knowledge. The community can build its own platform before you finish your coffee. If people as moderators were fired, then it's very easy for SE to ban all its users. I would like from SE to apologize and change its own thinking, then everything will be ok.

  • 2
    You can't fire those who you don't employ or have a contractual agreement with. Maybe ban, but not fire. – Script47 Oct 2 at 8:59
  • 56
    The community can build its own platform before you finish your coffee now that I doubt greatly. It'll be a long long time until there'll be a replacement for SE that is as excellent, and there's no reason to assume it won't run into the exact same problems again. But: if contributing to the place upsets you more than it makes you happy, walk away. No point hoping, waiting for the company to change and wasting your breath asking it to. It'll never happen. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Oct 2 at 8:59
  • 5
    Even if the community could build and finance such a platform, network effects would still be very much in favour of SE. – snakecharmerb Oct 2 at 9:17
  • 4
    "SE to apologize and change its own thinking, then everything will be ok" - no it won't be OK. What they did can't be forgiven. Plus, building Q&A platform is really not as easy as you describe it, far far from it. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Oct 2 at 10:17
  • 8
    @Pëkka my first reaction was also skeptical but I gave it a bit of thought and, you know, it looks doable indeed. Recovering content from SEDE dumps would sure be easy (this answer seems to mistakenly assume that this is all that needs to be done). Tough part is of course migration of user accounts. Votes and flags data probably can't migrate but rep, badges and privileges can if owners of Stack accounts decide to assist in that. And, in case if .015% most active users choose to migrate (including moderators), this might turn into a viable effort – gnat Oct 2 at 11:41
  • 2
    @gnat Still, this answer underestimates the effort probably because of a lack of knowledge about all the required work for a SE clone. – Trilarion Oct 2 at 12:35
  • 4
    @Trilarion agree, it seems to underestimate difficulty by 2-3 orders of magnitude. Nevertheless I was quite surprised when I figured that it's doable because in the past I always thought it's impossible at all (granted, in the past I never assumed that active users and moderators may choose to assist in migration) – gnat Oct 2 at 12:46
  • 1
    Bound to happen as long as SO continues to treat the 0.015 users as the hen laying golden eggs – Nisarg Oct 2 at 13:35
  • No 6–8 weeks jokes, yet? – Emil Jeřábek supports Monica Oct 2 at 14:15
  • @gnat: Taking data from SEDE has a massive set of complications by itself. Nothing that can't be worked around, but then assume you have a functioning site... Why on earth would a significant portion of SE users move to the site you just built? – Cerbrus Nov 11 at 9:54
  • 1
    @Cerbrus see my comment above. It needn't start with significant portion, .015% of most active users (who are first time in the history severely alienated by a company now) could in principle trigger things moving. What I would like to stress though is that this very idea of most active users getting possibly interested into moving was completely unthinkable for me in the past. Sad times – gnat Nov 11 at 9:59
-47

"Ain't nothing going to happen!".

Suspending activity is NOT taking a stand, it is standing out of the way. - ME

Stepping down as a moderator is not going to get them where they need to be. Suspending your activity while staying a mod even less so. It is no different than a child holding their breath to get their way.

Until you zero out your account reputation by deleting your profile on all the sites, you are just tilting windmills.

They just need to wait you out, wait for you to feel good about supporting them functionally again, restore your diamond. Business as usual.

Zero out your rep, you are incapable of working for them for free again!

Until you do that time is on their side, they will come up with some new outrage to distract everyone with in less than a week and this will all be forgotten.

I deleted my profile on SO almost two years ago, I requested yesterday that all 66 other profiles be deleted as well.

enter image description here

I am keeping this one as long as I have popcorn, for the spectacle.

If you are really committed and want to send a message, request your profile be deleted!

I was user718 on workplace ... Still have not processed all my requests on the sites I had high rep on. :-(

  • 8
    Eh I wouldn’t recommend it. – Stormblessed Oct 1 at 17:46
  • 65
    One (of many) problems with that approach is: They'll find lots of possible moderators who are perfectly willing to be an obedient mouthpiece and not question whatever the authority demands from them. Silently disappearing, dressing in grey and keeping the head down is fine - it's a matter of personality. But I particularly appreciate that mods are clearly saying: "Hey, you, up there - you fLIcked things up, badly!". Once Joel Spolsky stated that it was "Time to take a stand". Now the mods are doing that (in a completely different context, sure, but nonetheless) – Marco13 Oct 1 at 17:58
  • 4
    working from the inside has never worked, never will. It is just a defense mechanism for those that can not commit to any real action. What in the last 6 years has been done from the inside? If you continue to contribute/curate/moderate/whatever you want to call it for free you are just enabling them to continue on business as usual. It really is just that plain and simple. Suspending activity is not taking a stand, it is standing out of the way!. – user148287 Oct 1 at 18:05
  • To quote this weekends SNL sketch, "Ain't nothing going to happen!". – user148287 Oct 1 at 18:09
  • 9
    While I understand and support your ideas, I'd question as well whether it should be advocated. AFAIK, most users (including me) still want to see the Network turn better, but given the recent happenings, they're disappointed and frustrated, and suspension of activity IS a way to express. Consider yourself on a strike. You and your fellow workers want the employer to satisfy your demands, but most strikers aren't really going to resign. After all, they still have to earn a living despite the strike, no? – iBug says Reinstate Monica Oct 1 at 18:17
  • 52
    If you want to be a thorn in their side, just stop contributing, leave a note in your profile and walk away. If you delete your account, they and the world will forget you and your objection to their practices – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Oct 1 at 18:51
  • 11
    I cannot imagine something more "standing out of the way" than silently disappearing and never being able to contribute again. The moderators that suspend their work still have their privileges (hey, check your priv.. eh... too serious for that one), like editing and maybe featuring, or simply put in "the weight of a diamond" into a discussion. When you're gone, you're a nobody. And the people who are afterwards (voluntarily) becoming the queue-cleaning workhorses of the company may not even know or recognize that ~"everything was better before". But that's just MHO, and O's may differ. – Marco13 Oct 1 at 19:08
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    If you want to take steps that you think will help the site, by all means, take them. If you want to make arguments to convince others to take those same steps, by all means, do it! But please don't put down other users for how they've chosen to respond to this situation. I'd strongly advise editing your tone here. – scohe001 Oct 1 at 19:27
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    I don't get how deleting your account helps? It's basically the same as suspending your own activity on the network; but it takes away any agency you have to actually combat the issues. Deleting accounts generally doesn't remove any of your useful contributions, it just removes your association to those contributions, and your ability to interact with the site... – JMac Oct 1 at 19:39
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    Just don't. This won't help anyone in anyway. – NVZ Oct 2 at 2:16
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    Worst advice I've ever seen. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Oct 2 at 7:23
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    If you want to truly annoy them, start sending DMCA takedown requests for your content that was published under CC BY SA 3 and is now shared under CC BY SA 4. IANAL but afaik they're supposed to remove it from their site and have very little choice in the matter. It's just throwing rocks, though. Deleting your profile probably matters very little, your contributions stay. – Erik Reinstate MonicA Oct 2 at 10:52
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    @ErikA The most annoying aspect of sending DMCA takedown requests would be to send them in as small pieces as possible. Provided that there is some human interaction necessary for a DMCA request, this might then incur real financial costs. Requesting one comment or answer to be taken down every day might be enough so that they voluntarily delete all your content, just to get rid of you. – Trilarion Oct 2 at 13:10
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    @NVZ - "Just don't. This won't help anyone in anyway.", helps me greatly! – user148287 Oct 2 at 19:21
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    "Suspending activity is NOT taking a stand, it is standing out of the way" I'd just like to say that Monica proposed "[stand] out of the way" interpretations and SE's only answer was to fire her, so even taking your statement at face value, it still does protest her treatment. – Kevin Oct 3 at 18:13

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