Is it allowed for user to post question proposing some protest actions against SE site/network? For example propose to avoid using it on concrete date or misuse/overuse some of the rules to explicitly show its inadequacy. Actually not sure if we can join these cases, so if they differ, I'd like to find some kind of border between them.

If yes, are there special requirements for such kind of posts?
If no, how should such questions be handled: just close as offtopic or close and delete?
If some of them are allowed and some are not, where is a border?

  • @m69, can you give a link?
    – Qwertiy
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 1:10
  • Also, if it's not allowed, what we, as moderators, should do with this member? Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 1:10
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    @Qwertiy probable, that post was deleted (: Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 1:10
  • @Suvitruf, if the post was deleted, how can we look at it as on actual applicable rule?
    – Qwertiy
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 1:11
  • @Qwertiy the post that calling for protests was deleted. The m69's quote was about SE employee's answer in comments. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 1:12
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    @m69 I wrote a question A very recent post asking people to go "on strike" was just deleted about this deleted question. The text of the deleted question itself, along with Tim Post's comment about its deletion, is in an image in this answer. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 1:30
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    If you moved into a neighborhood and your neighbors decided they didn't like you, would you allow them to post signs on your property calling for your eviction?
    – user102937
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 2:02
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    Elected mods should not be in the position of guessing what the boundaries of what the company is willing to tolerate might be, especially as they seem to have shifted in the past and will no doubt shift again. Let the CMs worry about what's too much.
    – Glen_b
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 2:34
  • If you want to organize a protest, I'd start by finding another place to do it. It's self-refuting to criticize an organization while implicitly counting on them to allow it. If they allow it then they're not as bad as you say, and vice versa. Regardless of disagreement it's reasonable for them to delete that sort of stuff. If you're going to put any work into it, doing so on another site makes more sense.. Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 15:53

3 Answers 3


We can't give a blanket answer to this because we have no idea what might come up that simply goes too far.

We're going to go out of our way to facilitate dialog, even if that dialog comes from fear, anger, resentment or other premises that aren't usually very flattering for us. We may not always be able to answer it, but we don't want to shut it down unless we must.

But we do reserve the right to pull the plug on something if we decide we're just the wrong platform to host it. I can't even paint a broad picture of what definitely will not fit because it just doesn't happen enough for us to have explored it.

There are lots of ways things can harm you, including just exhausting all of your available people resources. Likewise, organizing a protest or boycott is a few levels of escalation above dialog - so we're probably not going to be a facilitator there.

In short, Meta is a place where we essentially hold most of the power; what you've got is your power to persuade. That could be:

  • Persuading us to do something you want
  • Persuading others to like your feature idea
  • Persuading others to reopen a question

... we don't want to inhibit your power to persuade because that breaks everything. That's why, from time to time, you see some REALLY unflattering things directed at us.

But once you get to the "I'm done talking!" stage, it's probably more forcing than persuading, and that we just can't host.

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    @rjzii That's .. pretty removed from the scope of this question. Our General Manager for Ads has been responding to these concerns and working on some ideas to help mitigate bad actors. My best suggestion is to start from there, look at the comments (wear goggles, safety is a top priority) and see if that answers your question. If not, you're free to ask about more specifics in a new question.
    – user50049
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 4:27
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    @m69 It's going to take a bit of time for us to dig out from it, weeks if we give short answers, much longer if we put our usual amount of effort into it. But we will be going through all of them regularly, prioritizing those where we think our response can satisfy the biggest concerns we're able to immediately address, and working in from there.
    – user50049
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 4:46
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    I think I see where you're going with this...but if the recent weeks haven't brought this to a head yet, then I think the symptom being shown here is the raw absence of dialog which would prompt someone to resort to the "I'm done talking" stage. It's kind of why I genuinely don't think you'd allow a post here which coordinates moving away from the site or protesting actions against the site, since, well...there's no real dialog happening. Rather, the opportunity for dialog may have passed for that person.
    – Makoto
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 5:09
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    "We're going to go out of our way to facilitate dialog" Err... during the past 6 months or so, community managers have rather been going out of their way in censoring comments containing criticism, particularly on SO meta. To the point where I have zero trust left in any of you. If the comments deleted were actually rude or off-topic, you could have left them to be dealt with by the neutral community-elected mods, but no.
    – Amarth
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 10:23
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    @Zymus: Tim actually says "on Meta we hold most of the power; what you have is your power to persuade". That may be an unwelcome message but it's neither unexpected nor concealed. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 17:41
  • We're going to go out of our way to facilitate dialog Really? Why have neither of my two questions received an answer, then? They are both directed at Stack Exchange.
    – jhpratt
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 19:01
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    @TimPost I don't envy your job right now. You have a lot of extra work to do due to certain mostly inappropriate (as far as I can tell) actions by other people you have little to no control over. You answer makes a lot of sense to me and, as far as I can tell, you & the other CM's (e.g., Shog9) are doing a reasonable job. As for meta posts with input, there's a lot of them, of varying quality, but one in particular I thought was very good is A Pronominal Proposal. It's somewhat long, but I believe it has worthwhile ideas. Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 0:31

Likely not.

The now-deleted post contains a message from a Community Manager on the matter.

enter image description here

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.

How do you deal with it? I suppose that's up to your moderation team, really. Personally I don't think that non-moderators should "deal" with this since...well...it's not going to be dealt with effectively by just closing or downvoting it.

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    Yeah, they pay for the network. Trying to use their site to organize a protest against said site is not going to fly
    – Machavity
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 2:15
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    @Machavity: The fact that they pay for it has little bearing. For instance, protesting the use of Facebook on Facebook is surprisingly common. What matters in this case is that it's not terribly complex for a post like that to reach a surprisingly wide audience in a shockingly small amount of time, and the CM team have made it clear that they do not wish to allow that.
    – Makoto
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 2:16
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    @Machavity but it's much deeper. It's not protest just for protest. It has reasons behind it (disagreement with team actions, etc). Yes, this post's types is not good, but, I think, we should discuss the reasons behind this posts. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 2:39
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    @Suvitruf Don't get me wrong. I'm not in support of the new policy. I'm just saying don't expect SO to let you use their network to call attention to activities that have potential to harm them. Facebook is huge and they want to avoid the Streisand effect of removing protests against them. SO doesn't have that luxury, since the network exists to promote posts within it.
    – Machavity
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 3:03

I can't imagine that it would be appropriate to coordinate disruption or even vote brigading here. I'd look to the respectful example set by the letter sent by the moderators and make a reasoned case that wrong decisions were made. I'm as annoyed by this mess as everyone else, but giving an unambiguously valid reason to be suspended will ruin any good will you have.

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