I stepped down as moderator on Stack Overflow 10 days ago. There were many reasons, mainly tiredness and being time poor, if I'm to be honest with myself.
Participating on this network has always been an emotional challenge for me and I always assumed it was because of my personality. Watching things unfold I'm more inclined to think maybe it's the just interacting with people generally that's challenging.
I joined Stack Overflow 8? years ago and soon joined other Stack Exchange sites. I rallied for better behaviour on Stack Overflow Meta from early on. This is before the site split into Meta Stack Exchange and Meta Stack Overflow (MSO). I didn't like the pile on and the snark in comments in MSO. The site has come a long way in improving things in many ways, but now there seems to be challenges in how the Stack Exchange Company is communicating with its communities.
So in these ten days off Stack Overflow, I've been contacted and kept abreast of the events unfolding across the Network many times a day and actually ended up spending more time and attention on the site than I was when I was moderating.
It disappoints me to see the amount of vitriol pouring out onto the site. Emotions are high, but disappointment is not an excuse to lower the bar of our standards. It doesn't matter who or what was in the wrong. Many of us have worked hard to try and make this place more bearable for participants and now everywhere I look there's cynicism and accusations.
Honestly, I don't think the Network (being the company) sometimes handles things well. In my, not so humble opinion, they need to work on shoring up and restoring community faith. But I don't think there's any malice.
We don't have all the facts and we're not entitled to know
I look at the employees and wonder how many of them will survive this latest public outrage and in some ways I feel sorry for these people. We don't know the exact ins and out of what has gone on. We do not know who actually decided to remove diamonds or who or why the when and way of it was chosen.
There's a lot of missing pieces that none of us know and when there's a lack of trust, it's often coloured in with the worst scenarios.
All I'm saying is, it's so disappointing to see the deterioration on the site. All round. The way things have been handled by the business end and the reactions that seems to be gaining momentum.
Check your motives
There comes a point when we're posting on these sites, we need to ask. Am I doing this to achieve something good? Or am I stirring the pot? Digging up more mud?
Whatever the point. I don't believe any one moderator should be named, nor should any one employee. It's not right.
This type of title is created to stir up emotions. It infers bad intentions on the part of the employees. I don't know what is going to happen, I highly doubt the employees know what they'll do just yet. It's a new thing. They may well appoint people, like they have on the Beta sites until they can hold elections. This whole reaction may cause the establishment to change how they select moderators altogether.
All I can see are a bunch of employees who don't like posting on Meta on a good day. The more emotion that is poured out here, the less likely there will be real community input. If the main impetus coming from the community is sour, if it were my business, I'd work to silence the community.
People need to ask themselves. Do they want to keep pushing at this organisation to force the very thing they don't want to see happen to really happen. Or are people willing to take a step back, take a breath and wait. Give the employees time to develop a strategy. Put into place a contingency plan.
Clearly there is a lack of trust in the employees. That's fine, no one has to trust anyone. But it does beg the question. If you are hating on the site so much, why are you rallying so hard against these people? What good do you think may come from it?
This post may be met with downvotes and not be unpopular, but the way the community is reacting all over the meta sites, makes me not want to be on these sites. It reminds me of the early meta days. When things were hot and unruly.
I'm just very disappointed to see the sites take this backward step. It doesn't matter how outraged people are, there's always at least three sides to any story. As Bs and the objective C (programming pun intended). In this type of situation there's a lot more than 3 sides and people are expecting employees to reveal a side they cannot.
A lot of people are hurting
Many people have been hurt. Many people that are not here to speak up, but were active members of these communities. People who were respected by our communities. Much of what has occurred has gone behind the scenes. Moderators and employees are bound by contracts of confidentiality. Even if you step down or leave the job, it doesn't mean you can go repeating things that were part of your job that were private. It's as much to protect users than anything else, as moderators have access to Personal Identifying Information. People are entitled to their privacy.
The sites have changed
There's a lot about these sites that has changed. They will never be the same, it's the nature of the business and the internet. All I'm asking if for some calm. If at all possible. All this hard work so many of us have lovingly put into these sites. Many of us are still here. Please don't trash the sites as you're leaving.
All this effort put into these sites and to see it degenerate this way. And before people cry "but the network doesn't respect the Code of Conduct" whatever ails you, whatever injustice you see. It doesn't justify breaking the Code of Conduct or trampling over people. Never. It never does. The employees are people too.
I'm posting this, not to cause trouble, not to argue, not to create another place for people to vent their feelings, but to have one space where people can feel, maybe someone else on here wants peace too. Maybe someone else wants calm.
I'm not even sure what I'm trying to articulate, beyond how disappointed I am in the deterioration of the site. And that behaviour is on the people writing inflamed posts and comments. Each person is responsible for their own behaviour. It's not ok to smash things as you leave the room.