Can a system of duress codes be designed for the remaining moderators to signal if, when, and where from any directives are being forced on them?

The post that prompted this was from StackOverflow's meta. Specifically, this one: I'm resigning as a Stack Overflow Community Elected Moderator

The entire question and its subsequent discussion is powerful reading. I've lurked here for a few years and have come to appreciate George Stocker's presence more recognizably than most. This departure announcement has led me to break my silence.

By all appearances, the remaining mods are greatly restricted in what they're allowed to say. Given SO's willingness to go to the press with what seem to be misdirections and half-truths (AND letting those go unretracted for 2+ weeks and counting), I would not be surprised to learn of the existence of significant dirty leverage. Has more doxxing been threatened? Are there lawsuits being waved around?

All trust I've ever had for SO has been shattered and scattered to the wind. As someone who controls the budget for my IT Department, I can safely say that there is no possibility of my ever adopting Teams now. It's a non-starter unless I see a massive turnaround in behavior from SO here - not just saying "we'll do better next time" but actually fixing the damage from their speaking with The Register.

Barring that, I would like to see if we can get an inkling of the nature for the perceived threats over the existing mods. It seems like we should be able to do something of this nature - https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CovertDistressCode?from=Main.DuressCode

  • 11
    Everything else aside, I don't quite see how this is supposed to work if this is discussed publicly on meta.
    – Solveit
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 2:52
  • 9
    Something like a warrant canary seems more of what you're looking for.
    – xnor
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 2:56
  • 4
    I admire the creativity. Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 3:39
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    +1 for asking the question, but I don't see how it can work Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 12:53

2 Answers 2


No need.

We don't work for SE. We'd quit and/or complain loudly. Sometimes both.

Some of the most vocal advocates against the way the company is doing many things are former employees. Monumental blunders were made from the perspectives of many, and this is a mess that makes many people unhappy.

The only thing remotely resembling leverage is the fact that we care deeply for the communities we are part of.

(PS - If anyone has my dirty laundry please return it laundered and folded. Thank you)

.. / -- . .- -. --..-- / .-- .... .- - / -.. --- / -.-- --- ..- / .-- .- -. - / ..- ... / - --- / -.. --- --..-- / .--. --- ... - / .. -. / -- --- .-. ... . / -.-. --- -.. . ..--..

Your premise that moderators are being threatened somehow is just wrong. There are several hundred of us network-wide and as a group are some of the most active and outspoken users of the network. Moderators aren't paid so have nothing to lose directly. Surely some, especially the resigning ones, would just speak out?

Moderators are privy to some private information which we are rightly expected to be careful with, but in reality all the significant stuff about the recent events is public anyway. If you think moderators are being muted in their opinions, it may be because they don't want to inflame the situation further, or are having their say privately.

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    I appreciate your answer and the dedication shown by both the active and protesting moderators. However, I respectfully submit that George has expressed what I feel is almost the perfect opposite of your statement (and my gut feel is that it's close to the truth). Tim Post, Shog9, et. al. are behaving differently than they have in the past. It's put best in the comment that I linked - something has changed. Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 5:33
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    @ConcernedClient Tim, Shog9 etc are community managers (as opposed to moderators) and are directly employed by StackExchange. So obviously they do have to hold whatever the company line is, or leave. That's not really duress though, it's just the way companies work. Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 6:09

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