After the flurry of moderator resignations and strikes this past week, two resigned moderators have recently asked to be reinstated (here and here) and are now active again.

This is frankly concerning.

Firstly, given the original post by one of the moderators in vehement support of Monica Cellio and decrying the response of Stack Exchange in this situation, this rapid about-face make the sentiments expressed there really rather disingenuous.

Secondly, neither moderator has publicly announced their reinstatement to the community. Instead, one has responded to a post congratulating “the mods” on “placing the needs of The Workplace community first” through an unspecified action, which I can only surmise is asking to be reinstated. This is all the more troubling given these moderators did not openly consult the community before requesting to be reinstated, which demonstrates the same lack of transparency that they had accused Stack Exchange of in its handling of the moderator dismissal situation.

It is difficult to see their actions as putting the community first given that it significantly undermines the stance of the ~45 moderators that have resigned or suspended their activities in order to elicit an appropriate response from Stack Exchange regarding the circumstances of Monica Cellio’s dismissal and a Code of Conduct that respects all members.

The silence surrounding this has been deafening, except for this recent question on The Workplace.

On that note, what do these actions by moderators, who are supposed to be representatives of the community, mean for our "collective bargaining" for transparency and respect from Stack Exchange?

  • 9
    I think the mod's answer here pretty much sums it up: "our loyalty to this site take precedence over our other feelings." nothing wrong with that. I certainly take no offense to that. They've already expressed disagreement with SEs action but for them, the commitment to their site has proven stronger. It's not like it was an easy choice though.
    – egerardus
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 3:46
  • Also see this
    – egerardus
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 3:52
  • 2
    It takes a strong and humble person to turn back on a decision they felt was the only right one to take. Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 7:03
  • 8
    The silence was due to me sleeping. Sorry about that. I’m working hard at achieving 24hr coverage, but often fail.
    – user351483
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 7:08
  • IMO, this question is inappropriate. I am a moderator who suspended activity rather than resign. That was my workaround - I can unsuspend myself if/when either SO/SE makes the right choices or I feel my community is suffering. If we value the individual above some notion of the collective (part of the main issue in the first place: perception of a lack of respect for the individuals who use a preferred pronoun), then it's quite rude behavior to call out these mods publicly. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 15:06

3 Answers 3


As someone who only chose to step down from one of my sites... There is no easy choice.

Don't get it wrong - this is all about the community. We all do our best in whatever way we can.

It takes courage to step down. It takes even more to decide that they cannot stand by and leave their community with no support due to no fault of their own. This is not giving up on trying to communicate with the company with the tools we have at hand.

If I had my way, and I am very sure many others feel that way, no one would have had to step down to make a stand. Many mods in place have been working towards the same goals and have been trying their best to be heard.

We just have different means and tools.

No matter what we do -lets not forget, we are fighting for people, for things and places that matter to us. Not fighting each other.

These mods feel that the best choice right now is to help their communities. There's a lot of work to be done behind the scenes. Folks need a face they can trust.

So. Shame on you for thinking the worst of these folks. For trying to fan the flames of conflict. They are bright sparks in dark times.

I don't even see a workplace account.

  • 7
    The question was not about whether it was an easy choice or not, but about how a moderator quietly unresigning undermines the others who stood up and resigned in solidarity. There's no explanation as to what prompted the change, and nothing has changed with respect to the situation with the company. This is about the broader Stack Exchange community, not just The Workplace, so I don't see why you chose to shame me for not having an account on that site. What you've presented here is a dismissive argument that doesn't address the points in the question.
    – user623308
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 4:53
  • 17
    And I am saying it undermined nothing. I don't really think it's fair to pressure moderators to take any specific course of action. It is even more unfair to think worse of them for choosing to come back. Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 5:03
  • 5
    I’m not seeking to undermine the really important message we moderators took in resisting SEs actions. It’s really important to hold them to account and make them listen. However, I have seen a lot of negativity and toxicity over the past three weeks and that was eating away at my soul. I’m here for the users, the people who come here seeking answers, and to the people who give answers. I’m still pissed at SE, don’t doubt that.
    – user351483
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 7:04

I detailed my inner conflicts and thoughts in my messages in the Water Cooler yesterday. I quote them here. Me returning doesn’t validate SE’s action.

After yet another sleepless night of tossing and turning and stealing all of the bedsheets, I can't take any more. I'm in conflict about how much I value this (Workplace) community and how little I value SE as a company and how it handles its volunteers. That conflict has been roaring around in my head for weeks now (and stress makes my tinnitus worse). It's affected my relationship with my partner.

Stepping away isn't the answer for me, I have emotional ties to this place. I value supporting this community, I value the other users (you guys) supporting it. It pains me that it's being left and no one is sweeping up the leaves and chopping out the deadwood.

At around 2am this morning, I reached a resolution inside myself. I determined to not give in to this continuing conflict and let it eat me up. I have therefore formally asked to be reinstated as a moderator here to serve this community that I value more than SE appears to value me (as a moderator).

For full disclosure, this is the email I sent.

"I am requesting reinstatement as a moderator of The Workplace.

As much as I disagree with the manner in which Monica was removed, and multiple resignations/strikes have pressed home that the community at large was also not happy, I still value the community that the web site serves.

As much as in good conscience I could not serve a company that did this, I cannot in good conscience let this community unmoderated."

  • 2
    I was about to write an answer, but this is pretty much where I stand too.
    – Neo
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 15:39
  • Even with no mods, the site will likely decline fairly slowly. If SE does finally buckle under the pressure and "do the right thing", it will take some time to get back to where it was, but ultimately will be better for it. But that's a big if. I expect they wouldn't have had much trouble finding new mods before things got too bad. Resigning, to me, feels like more a statement than anything else. Although that might also raise the question of how competent any new mods would be, and what values they'd have.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 22:22
  • 1
    If I were a moderator who resigned and felt conflicted about it, I might've set a concrete (but flexible) deadline for myself (and kept it private), or set some other objective criteria with which to evaluate the site. If the criteria is met, I would've looked at the state of the site and any statements or decisions SE made and determined what I'll do next. That would give some type of certainty and peace of mind, at least.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 22:23
  • 1
    Well, those are just my thoughts, which probably don't serve much purpose, but anyway. I do, to some extent, understand the conflicting feelings involved here, and do respect the decision you made.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 22:23
  • What Mary-Lou A said under the question. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 15:10
  • 2
    "As much as in good conscious I could not serve a company that did this, I cannot in good conscious let this community unmoderated." I think you could have just said that and have been good. Very well said.
    – Chipster
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 18:45
  • 1
    It's decisions like yours that enables such companies to keep leeching of volunteers.
    – dfhwze
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 5:47

Overall, it doesn't mean anything.

I don't have any special knowledge of what the sequence of events was, but I don't see anything disingenuous here - they decided to step down in support of Monica but then later decided that they wanted to stay involved in their community. I would guess there was some communication among The Workplace regulars about this, so maybe ask on their meta if you wanted to be sure.

  • 2
    It seems a stretch to say it doesn't mean anything when it undoes a very significant action, the resignation of an elected moderator to protest the unceremonious removal of a respected colleague. In the broader context of all that's happened since then, and given the lack of a proper response from the company, it makes sense to ask why these moderators changed their position on the matter, and simply saying "they wanted to stay involved in their community" is a deflection. They could be involved without asking to be reinstated.
    – user623308
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 5:05