According to SO, they

removed a moderator for repeatedly violating our existing Code of Conduct and being unwilling to accept our CM’s repeated requests to change that behavior.

As Monica says,

Representatives of the company including executives, a director, and the Community Management team have failed to respond to my repeated requests to be shown these alleged violations and warning...

So, what did Monica actually do?

Previous content so comments make sense:

What did Monica say, according to SO?

What did Monica actually say that violated the existing Code of Conduct (pending Monica's acceptance, of course)? We've heard a lot about how she did, but not what she did.

  • 31
    Secret, it seems. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 14:53
  • 7
    Monica is communicating with SE at the moment. My best guess is that we'll know something if SE decides to reply to the reply to the initial email. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 14:54
  • 83
    I would hardly call what's happened so far "hearing from them". They've already lied in the third apology (see meta.stackexchange.com/a/335133/332043), Monica stated SE isn't replying (meta.stackexchange.com/a/334646/332043), and none of the other concerns have been answered. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 15:03
  • 13
    Short answer: we don't know, and those who know are not likely to discuss it in public. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 15:23
  • 18
    As others have pointed out, we mods are not allowed to share transcripts or screenshots from mod-only space. Monica herself has posted about what went down and there are details in many other locations as well. The long and short of it is that there wasn't anything more than what's been reported in SE space that all users can read. There was no big statement, there was no pointed refusal, and there was no violation of the CoC as written at the time.
    – Cyn
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 15:53
  • 177
    I have not been told, despite repeated requests for that information. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 16:30
  • 5
    @MonicaCellio Would you be opposed to publicly posting all communication that may be relevant? Anonymizing their names as appropriate, of course. SE wouldn't like it, but if they refuse to communicate, that's the only option available.
    – jhpratt
    Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 18:57
  • 41
    @jhpratt need to understand the claims first. There was some deeply personal stuff in some of the pre-firing email (yeah, misplaced trust -- oops), so I don't want to publish it if that's not the problem, which it apparently isn't. They claim I violated the CoC; CoC violations are by definition on-site actions; therefore we can start there with them telling us what exactly was a violation in that TL discussion. The TL transcript was already leaked to Reddit and I saw nothing that I did there to violate the CoC. I assume others have looked too. That's the place to start, I think. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 19:20
  • 59
    There's also the question of urgency; I left TL on Sep 18 and didn't speak again until just after being fired (briefly, before being kicked). I don't think I made any posts or comments on the team. My activity on Q&A sites was normal -- and anyway, if I'd done something wrong on one of the sites, that site's mods would have handled it. Somehow, though, it was urgent that they fire me on Sep 27. I still don't know why. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 19:22
  • 47
    @aparente001 a manager on the CM team sent the email, though it sounds like the decision was made farther up. The email didn't seem hastily-written. I perceived no urgency; I hadn't been in TL in more than a week, was just doing normal stuff on my sites, and bam, fired. I've heard rumors that SE thought it was urgent but I don't know why. As for the CoC, it looks like they made some important changes since (as a result of?) that TL discussion and mandatory speech isn't a requirement now, but the FAQ confuses things so it's hard to tell. Commented Oct 13, 2019 at 21:33
  • 5
    It looks like people are closing this as "off-topic" somehow. Suggested edit: instead of asking what did she say, which might be confidential, ask "In what way exactly did she break the rules?", which is something any sane company should publish if they believe the decision was right, so that others know what to do and not do. Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 7:54
  • 15
    @ColleenV over a year ago? There's been so much stuff in TL since then that has been way more blatant than anything I said then, like direct personal attacks that likely led to another mod quitting, so if they're dumpster-diving in the transcript, there are bigger problems. Wow, I assumed they were talking about something recent, especially since they claim I did something wrong after being warned by a CM (and I don't recall any CM warnings from back then, though without access to the transcript I'm hobbled). Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 3:00
  • 7
    @ColleenV yeah, I probably said that a year ago, but it's hardly the last thing I said on the subject. If that's what they're acting on, then they're cherry-picking to target me while ignoring much worse from others. Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 12:31
  • 32
    @ab2 could be; I've no idea. The person who sent the email probably did not make the decision. I barely knew who Sara was before that day in TL, but she probably didn't like being challenged (she has a history of not dealing well with feedback). But I've argued against other policies over the years too, and spoke up about the HNQ debacle, so who knows who at SE might be harboring a personal dislike of me and looking for any excuse to wield it? Malice is quite possible, but unproven. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 21:02
  • 15
    @SomeoneWhoUsedToCare In the unlikely event that it turns out that Monica did repeatedly and unambiguously break the previous CoC, the flavour of the discourse would change dramatically. Moreover, "meta is for Stack Exchange users to communicate with Stack Overflow, the company" - straight from meta.stackexchange.com/help/whats-meta . I find it difficult to see how this is off-topic. Unlikely to get a productive response? Certainly. But not off-topic.
    – Solveit
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 1:59

2 Answers 2


She didn’t do anything to violate the CoC.

Given leaked transcripts some have seen and been unable to identify CoC violations, and many mods here from the TL also not being able to identify any clear violations, and no one being able to come up with anything that was not either customary in the TL or "pre-thoughtcrime" concerns of "maybe she won't follow the future CoC", the clear reason the “CoC violation” has not been shared is that there was not one. The claim that there was a violation is simply cover for getting rid of a voice bold enough to disagree with an SE employee’s plans.

And of course when threatened with legal action they released a statement saying "whoops, it was a mistake." (A mistake they took unilateral and extreme action on, refused feedback, and refused to undo went unsaid.)

In the end the only CoC that applies to this situation is the whim of people like Sara and David. They see no need to justify their removal of a voice they found annoying with anyone here; their contempt for meta, mods, CMs, and the larger community has been made amply clear through many communications and actions over these months in late 2019 and early 2020.

If anyone saw Monica clearly violate the CoC, feel free to say so; you don’t have to share the secret TL details. But no one has, so the obvious answer is that it did not happen.

I don't know why it's not obvious to people in the world that when people make claims that lack specific details, proof, witnesses, or substantiation of any sort that it's just a garden variety lie, but for some reason people have trouble getting their heads around that. But given not a shred of evidence from any of these sources, it's clear that the claims that Monica violated the CoC is simply a convenient ginned up statement designed to provide a veneer of legitimacy to an otherwise arbitrary and dictatorial move, to fragment opposition and ablate the effects of their actions somewhat in the community. Because of course you can't prove a negative, so the deck is already stacked against a claim of innocence (except for those of us that live in places that believe in "innocent until proven guilty").

  • 54
    This answer is not accurate. There is at least one moderator who says they have seen the not public evidence and agree with Monica's removal, even though none have said they agree with how she was removed. Example: "I support that Monica was removed -- I understand the reasons behind it and with the evidence I saw it made sense" -- George Stocker. I personally don't think that if I saw the evidence I would agree though, I highly doubt Monica did anything wrong.
    – Davy M
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 1:51
  • 65
    Those folks are welcome to contribute a compelling answer then.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 2:01
  • 35
    No, they literally are not welcome to do that. The moderators are not to "leak transcripts" as you put it. The corporation has to communicate it directly to Monica in private, and give her the option of publicizing the results, and when she does, publicly state that her account is correct. If someone, even with good intentions, tried to post whatever "convincing evidence" they have, that would only serve to drag Monica's name further through the mud, and for no reason.
    – Davy M
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 2:16
  • 12
    Far too many people have spoken for Monica already without her getting any reasonable avenue to respond (Even with hundreds of people here who know there's no public evidence, news outlets have made her look like a bigot in ways that are causing actual harm to her, and no meta post or blog can combat that) . The next thing said out of this must come from her, no one else. (Unless of course SE wants to say "Sorry, we seriously screwed up, Monica did absolutely nothing wrong" and start making some actual amends.)
    – Davy M
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 2:26
  • 23
    @DavyM: The quote you gave by George Stoker does not cite any article of the CoC which was removed, nor provide evidence that it had been violated.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 11:19
  • 10
    @DavyM, the rest of that comment seems rather important too (emphasis mine): "However, and this is the crux of my issue: The manner in which Monica was removed (not adhering to existing process; not following any semblance of due process; not clearly articulating the problematic behavior and the consequences of the problematic behavior; not being very clear about the next steps to all, and publicly saying thing that shouldn't have been said) forms the basis for me being quite concerned about any proposed process. SO Inc hasn't fixed existing issues."
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 11:36
  • 20
    I don’t know if I would go so far as to say Monica didn’t violate the CoC. I would say she was unfairly singled out for behavior that was tolerated when other mods did it. Whatever could be construed as CoC violations happened in a private chat room where SE had allowed an environment that led people to believe we weren’t really “on duty” in there, so I wouldn’t have expected a disagreement in there to lead to anyone being demodded unless they were threatening violence or something equally serious and malicious.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 13:56
  • 1
    @ColleenV - I like what you wrote about the unfair singling out. // Maybe these questions have been asked before, if so please link or give me a clue what to look for. What were the non-CoC behaviors that occurred in the TL, did you see it for yourself (from Monica, or from others) in the TL, is the TL still a place where those behaviors occur, or could occur, and what if anything is being done about the problem? Apologies if I'm asking something again that I already asked you. (Would it be better to write a question?) Thanks. Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 19:46
  • 3
    @aparente001 I can’t share any of those details. What I wrote is my impression from my personal experience. Other people may interpret it differently.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 19:55
  • @ColleenV - Thanks. What do you think, is the TL still the Wild West I'm getting the impression it was? If so, do you have any ideas about how to solve that problem? Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 20:20
  • 2
    You can't very well say both "feel free to say so, you don't need to provide details from TL" and then dismiss someone saying so because they didn't provide details from TL.
    – Em C
    Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 17:19
  • 2
    I see no answer here indicating she did something wrong (I mean, some kind of description of what would be lovely of course). There's someone citing in a comment someone else's vague comment on an answer on another question. That's not very helpful. Someone should post an answer saying "Yes, on day X in TL (or other venue) I saw Monica make statements that I felt were violations of the CoC and grounds for removal as a moderator." Then other mods with that access could say "yes, I agree" or "yes, she violated the CoC but in a minor way not really meriting removal" or something else.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 19:28
  • 2
    But random third-hand rumor - yes, I'm going to dismiss it, as should you.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 19:28
  • 1
    A summary from a mod is not "random third-hand rumor", it's exactly what you asked for. But as of present day there is no point; SE and Monica have reached their agreement and nothing anyone says on meta matters.
    – Em C
    Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 19:56
  • 2
    He's welcome to post an answer.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 19:57

We don't discuss these things publicly.

  • 94
    Isn't the rule: "we don't discuss these things publicly unless the other party wants it made public"? Which in this case Monica appears to want that. Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 12:36
  • 199
    Could you at the very least discuss it with Monica then?
    – Lundin
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 12:39
  • 75
    And neither in private, according to Monica's updates, she still hasn't received any clarification. Was she not owed one? Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 12:42
  • 108
    That's great for future instances but given that in this case info was divulged even to a newspaper, and from the outside it looks like that info was incorrect and it was an unjust dismissal, this isn't good enough, Stack Overflow Inc. Especially since her case seems to be the splinter that keeps on causing inflammations of community anger.
    – Pekka
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 13:00
  • 49
    Ok. So this degree of cover-up and lack of any evidence basically confirms the reason is nothing any community member would identify as a breach of the real CoC, it’s just an internal “we didn’t like her” SE staff reason they don’t feel they need to justify.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 13:01
  • 30
    SE doesn't want to talk in public, nor in private .. there aren't that many access modifiers left :s
    – dfhwze
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 13:48
  • 173
    Sorry Tim, I hope you will understand that the downvote isn't against you personally. But the company already discussed this publicly - with a news site. Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 14:28
  • 144
    I'm sorry, but this is just a bald faced lie given that SE Inc already went to the news with these things. You can't get much more public than that. How do you expect to rebuild trust with the community when you keep lying to us in such obvious ways?
    – Nate S.
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 16:54
  • 92
    You have already accused Monica in public. When people ask for public explanations, you suddenly decide you don't do it in public. So which one is it? Will you also in future accuse people in public and then not explain it because you don't discuss in public?
    – JiK
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 8:36
  • 65
    You have already discussed this in public. Here: theregister.co.uk/2019/10/01/stack_exchange_controversy. Not to mention the meta post accusing her. Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 2:30
  • 51
    Except in news articles, right?
    – user316129
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 19:04
  • 70
    "We don't discuss these things publicly." - I suppose you only discuss these things to the press??
    – Ramhound
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 4:50
  • 44
    At this point this "answer" could be seen as trolling the community. Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 6:29
  • 40
    It was discussed in public here, here, here, and here. In all these instances it was very clear who the "offender" was. Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 8:43
  • 71
    Tim, you're a good person, this is beneath you. At the very least you could have the decency to not insult our intelligence and say "We made the mistake of publicly discussing this case in the past, we won't make that mistake again". That wouldn't be satisfactory because a responsible person or company cleans up their mistakes before moving on, but at least it wouldn't be a blatant lie. Personally I'd resign rather than make a false statement like this. Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 9:46

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