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I was just reading a new post suggesting members go "on strike", i.e., stop moderation and similar type duties, for some period of time to get the attention of the SE staff. It was only on the site for a few minutes, and I was just about finished reading it, when it was deleted. I assume the OP didn't delete it, so I suspect it was likely done by a moderator. I realize having somebody ask other people to take such actions would not be appreciated by SE, but I don't believe such censorship is warranted. As far as I know (but I'm not an expert), it didn't break any rules here.

I have seen from various recent posts and answers there's a lot of confusion, frustration and anger here, with people going to reduce or stop various moderation type activities regardless of whether or not any posts explicitly asking people to take such actions are removed. Actually, I would not be surprised if this post will also be removed just for me asking about it.

  • 65
    Asking a site to host a page to organize a strike against it asking a little much. I'm fine with SE removing that. – NathanOliver- Reinstate Monica Sep 30 at 16:16
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    meta.stackexchange.com/questions/333965/…, for the asker's comment on it. – fbueckert Sep 30 at 16:17
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    I don't think this post should be removed. It clearly asks about the policy of SE regarding a particular post. But, here, I understand why exactly the "go-on-strike" post was removed. – Anton Menshov Sep 30 at 16:17
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    I wonder if they are going to start removing users – user1298069 Sep 30 at 16:20
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    @user1298069 A very well regarded moderator was removed from from her moderating duties, she talks about it here: judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5193/… – MackM Sep 30 at 17:32
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    @NathanOliver You may be right about it asking a bit much, but keep in mind trying to suppress those types of sentiments quite often often have the opposite effect. I just finished reading an interesting Wikipedia article about the Streisand effect that gnat referenced in a comment to SO's meta I'm resigning as a moderator from all Stack Exchange sites, effective today. – John Omielan Sep 30 at 18:17
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    @NathanOliver "Asking a site to host a page to organize a strike against it asking a little much." Depends on which country and who called for such a strike. In Spain, any company is legally obliged to allow worker unions to use the company's intranet to communicate with the workers, even if the communication is about going on strike. – walen Oct 1 at 8:35
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    @JohnOmielan "but keep in mind trying to suppress those types of sentiments quite often often have the opposite effect" It's not like they are really suppressed, just that there is no place for them here. They could go elsewhere (Twitter maybe). And I'm not sure that the Streisand effect works all the time. I guess it's a bit a random thing if you get it or not. – Trilarion Oct 1 at 9:11
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    @walen: Usually, this only applies to unions and employees. I highly doubt that any company would allow a volunteer to use their internet to organize a strike. And even then, the policy is about an intranet, not a public site. – BDL Oct 2 at 11:30
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    I totally support the sentiment of walking away from the network completely but not even I would expect them to leave a post like that up or begrudge them for deleting it. If you want to organize that needs to happen off-site anyway. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Oct 2 at 11:38
158

Tim Post: "This reaches the limit of the platform we're willing to give you."

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    Thank you for posting this, even so I just have a copy for my own records. I don't have enough rep to view it and unfortunately did not save a local copy of it before posting. – David K Sep 30 at 16:22
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    @DavidK It's your post - you can always view your own, deleted posts – Zoe Sep 30 at 16:24
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    @PrincessOlivia Ah, thanks, I just discovered that button on my profile :) – David K Sep 30 at 16:26
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    This is a similar post: meta.stackexchange.com/a/333992/138999. – JonH Sep 30 at 16:28
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    Comments like this one from Tim is why I consider xkcd's "freedom of speech" strip one most sickeningly revolting strip on that site. – Oleg V. Volkov Oct 4 at 23:53
  • You might consider updating your username to contain "-on strike-" or something similar so that it is easier for people to see. Just a thought. – Stephen M -on strike- Oct 10 at 21:43
  • @StephenM-onstrike- Given that I'm not, that would be a very strange thing to do. – ArtOfCode Oct 10 at 22:05
  • @ArtOfCode it wasn't directly intended for you per say, but for people in general. – Stephen M -on strike- Oct 11 at 13:54
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    Why is this an answer? – Stormblessed Oct 18 at 4:16
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Yes, I was the one who made that post, and it was deleted by Tim Post with the following comment.

Deleted by 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.

Text version of Tim's comment:

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.

  • 84
    Taking it to Twitter would be more effective. – S.D. Sep 30 at 16:28
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    @Blue The only platform I really use outside of SE is Facebook, and considering how locked down I have that, I don't see that as a very successful way to make an impact. I am fully in support of someone else taking this outside SE, but I don't have a means of doing that effectively myself. – David K Sep 30 at 16:30
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    Well, while I agree with you on the topic, I really cannot disagree with Tim about the fact that they don't need to host their own protest website. – nvoigt Sep 30 at 19:11
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    @nvoigt Honestly, even though I don't like it, I can understand why it was removed. That's part of why I haven't been asking to have it undeleted or tried to repost it in another form (though ArtOfCode kind of took care of that for me). I know it was pushing the limits, and I don't want to get banned and therefore kicked out of the conversation. – David K Oct 1 at 13:50
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    @Blue Oded Coster did actually: twitter.com/OdedCoster/status/1178710007937994752 – πάντα ῥεῖ Oct 1 at 16:36
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    @πάνταῥεῖ There's nothing in your profile of the kind, did it get removed? – Mast Oct 2 at 11:35
  • @Mast Yes I removed it. Gave up :( ... – πάντα ῥεῖ Oct 2 at 15:46
  • @πάνταῥεῖ Gave up after less than a day? I think you have your expectations too high for how quickly this will be resolved. – David K Oct 2 at 16:03
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    @DavidK I gave up because I was about getting in trouble with some mods. I don't want more accounts getting suspended by now. – πάντα ῥεῖ Oct 2 at 16:07
  • @Blue: some Twitter posts on "StackOverflow strike". Other good places are Reddit, Medium etc. You can crosslink from Twitter to noteworthy SO posts. – smci Oct 5 at 1:15
  • Another thought would be to add "on strike" to the end of your username. It is something very visible and that I think SE would be loath to mass change user names on people's accounts. – Stephen M -on strike- Oct 11 at 19:08
55

As one of the moderators resigning in protest, I'll come out and say that I think it is okay that SE deleted that particular post. SE has never been a free speech zone, it has always had limits and the company that runs it is free to set the rules of engagement. One of those limits being not going out of their way to host an organization strike (or as could easily happen with such hot-button topics, a witch hunt) is fine with me.

In fact, we've made a lot of noise lately and it would be within their rights to just delete the lot of it and paper over the whole thing. I would think a lot less of them if they did that, but hey. For now I am glad they are at least giving us enough of a platform to voice in our own words why we are so upset and withdrawing support.

Of course I explain my ideas on that in much more detail in my own resignation notice.

  • 24
    All you say is true, but they should not make statements like "We don’t run Stack Overflow. You do. " at the same time. – samcarter Oct 2 at 11:18
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    @samcarter Sure. I signed up to be a moderator when that statement was true — at least in some senses. I resigned in lange part because it no longer is true in as many senses, some of which are important to me. – Caleb Oct 2 at 11:20
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    yes, until maybe 2 years ago, I felt taken seriously as a user. Should it be "why we are so upset"? – samcarter Oct 2 at 11:21
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    Just as company is free to set rules of engangement, community is free to call it "autorative dictatorship that is against freedom of speech" for that. And free to no longer be happy to help such company in any way. – Oleg V. Volkov Oct 4 at 23:55
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    "The company that runs it is free to set the rules of engagement" Do you believe the company is entitled to retaliate against its own non-violating users? You yourself quoted them "Give people as much agency as you can", which is hollow feelgood coporate nonsense, given current circumstances. How would retaliation square with building a company on free content from unpaid users, and attempting to monetize it without their consent? Like sawing their legs off. – smci Oct 5 at 1:23
11

Thank you to everyone for your comments & answers. Also, thanks to the moderators and Stack Overflow, the company, for allowing me to keep this post. I'm relatively new here compared to the various veterans, but I've been reading a lot the past few days to try to learn a lot more about what is going on here so anything else I write would be coming from a more informed position.

I've been thinking & reflecting on what I originally wrote in my question. Since nobody has provided any "official" written rule which has been broken to cause the deletion of the post I asked about, I assume none exists. However, as has been pointed out by several people, it's not reasonable to expect a company to allow a post explicitly asking for a strike, which I basically agree with since few, if any, companies would unless they were required to (e.g., some sort of law). Also, the company could, if they really wanted to, remove any posts related to that. As they have allowed this post, as well as other similar ones plus related answers & comments, to remain speaks, to me, well of their relatively high tolerance for disagreement here. Note I believe it would be counter-productive for them to try to silence opposition too much (e.g., it could cause, at least to some limited extent, something like the Streisand effect I mentioned earlier in a comment, although there has already been various external publicity about this anyway). However, I have seen from working as a contract computer programmer at several larger companies, plus from what I've read about things like how the Dilbert cartoons actually does reflect remarkably closely the experiences of some people working for companies, that company staff can sometimes behave in apparently illogical ways, so I'm glad this is not really the case for allowing dissent here.

  • An official reason was provided by Tim Post, who works at Stack Exchange. He said: "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." – Aza Oct 2 at 20:44
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    @Aza Thanks for the feedback. What Tim Post wrote is his particular reason for deleting the post. My wording was poor, so I've updated my answer text to clarify that I was specifically referring to any official written rule which has been broken. – John Omielan Oct 2 at 20:48

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