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SE is in a crisis of trust. Many members of the StackExchange network have lost faith in the company. Beloved volunteer moderators of many individual sites in the network have stepped down.

The company suddenly terminated someone's moderator status several weeks ago. That moderator, M, has requested a conversation to understand what went wrong. The company is saying, Yes, absolutely, we do want to talk with her, but first, she must apply for reinstatement, and before she can do that, we have to draft, discuss, and enact new reinstatement policies and procedures.

But a conversation can begin now -- all that's needed is the will to dialogue. Start the process. Rome wasn't built in a day.

In view of the above, what can concerned members of the community do, in a coordinated way, to:

  • support M's request for a dialogue to begin now?

  • to support the moderators who have resigned or who are on hiatus?

  • help the company regain the community's trust?


Update: The post explaining the idea behind the Day of Silence in more detail was deleted. By Tim Post two days ago. He did not leave a specific explanatory note anywhere, as far as I've seen.

  • I mean, i'm sure falling in line and giving up all values that are contrary to theirs would help toward that. but otherwise i'm not sure what you would expect the "community" to be able to do about the "community" not trusting the company. – user400654 Oct 17 '19 at 16:28
  • @KevinB - When the public is not happy with what a government or organization is doing, it can work in a coordinated way to influence that body's actions. In this case, dialogue with Moderator M would go a long way to rebuilding trust. // I didn't understand the part about falling in line. Also, what values are you referring to? – aparente001 Oct 17 '19 at 16:31
  • if you think a moderator being demodded is the main reason people have lost trust in the company... I can understand why you'd think a day of silence could help. but for for many that's a drop in the bucket. – user400654 Oct 17 '19 at 16:36
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    I think the community has done all it can. It's up to the company now. – user102937 Oct 17 '19 at 16:37
  • @RobertHarvey - You are welcome to continue your normal activities on SE tomorrow, if you wish. There are other ways to show your solidarity, however, for example, helping raise awareness throughout the network today. – aparente001 Oct 17 '19 at 16:39
  • @aparente001: Have a look at my activity history, the posts that I've made in the last week or two. – user102937 Oct 17 '19 at 16:41
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    @KevinB or a straw. The final one, namely. – VLAZ Oct 17 '19 at 16:41
  • @RobertHarvey - But you wrote, the community has done all it can. – aparente001 Oct 17 '19 at 16:45
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    It's more about what the community shouldn't do. I wish some of the folks among us thought twice before posting something if their emotions got in the way of saying something constructive. Other than misguided attack and snark hurting our stance, I don't think there can be any more clarifications on what most of us want, why, and how SE can help achieve it. – It's Over Oct 17 '19 at 16:46
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    I am still a part of that community, am I not? – user102937 Oct 17 '19 at 16:46
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    @RobertHarvey - I don't understand your last comment. What I was saying was that you, individually, are working to build awareness. I am inviting others to do the same. How does that fit with the pessimistic statement "the community has done all it can"? – aparente001 Oct 17 '19 at 16:48
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    Meaningful change is not going to come from the community now; it's going to come from the company. If you have a novel viewpoint that might magically change the company's mind, a viewpoint that hasn't already been clearly articulated in the many Meta posts that have been written over the last few weeks or months, I'd love to hear it. – user102937 Oct 17 '19 at 16:50
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    I invite you to take a look the dozen posts by moderators and respected members of the community on trying to initiate dialogue, ranging from a day old to a couple of a years. This is a good start: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/331513/… – It's Over Oct 17 '19 at 16:51
  • @RobertHarvey - What is novel here is explained at the longer post (meta.stackexchange.com/a/335627/287826). The idea is to combine coordinated action with a cyclic schedule. // I wonder if this might be a place where you could think some private cynical thoughts, but allow those of us who want to, to give this a try? // Re building awareness -- it would be easier for me to add these to my post if you would do me the favor of sharing specific links. Thanks. – aparente001 Oct 17 '19 at 16:54
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    If this is just another attempt at organizing a protest, I'm not interested. Don't forget, this is Stack Exchange's sandbox; they don't even have to host your post if they don't want to. – user102937 Oct 17 '19 at 16:56
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When an organization singles out one individual to throw under the bus, and we may be feeling impotent to do anything about it, we can, at least, form a protective phalanx around that individual person, and show our solidarity.

We can mobilize in a coordinated way, building awareness and support, by participating in the first, and hopefully only, SE Day of Silence, on Friday, October 18, 2019, beginning tonight at midnight (Eastern Standard).

Here are some ways to participate that you may wish to consider:

  • Take a 24-hour break from reading, asking, answering, or commenting at StackExchange on Friday's Day of Silence.

  • Prepare today, by building awareness of the crisis of trust at your home StackExchange site(s). You can post an informational announcement at your site's local Meta. You can ask an interesting, worthwhile in its own right, question on individual sites, that have the side benefit of helping build awareness. Examples: ELU, Spanish, Law. (All: please add to this list as you build such questions.)

  • Include a brief statement or slogan at the end of any posts or comments you publish, today or tomorrow, in support of the 10/18 Day of Silence, such as Transparency and Dialogue Now, Ghosting Is Inhumane Treatment, Prepare for the 10/18 Day of Silence, Truth and Reconciliation, Solidarity with Moderator M, etc. (Let's try to keep her name out of it from here on out.)

  • Wear a black armband to work.

  • Change your avatar at SE.

In short: let's take a one-day break from preaching to the choir here at Meta.SE, and go forth, back to our home sites in the network, to spread the word about what is going on, and how each person can contribute their grain of sand.

As a side benefit: hopefully, the Community Moderators will have a lower stress day tomorrow.

For more information, please see Day of Silence.


Update: The post explaining the idea behind the Day of Silence in more detail was deleted. By Tim Post two days ago. He did not leave a specific explanatory note anywhere, as far as I've seen.

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    I see good intent, but this would likely be a welcome invitation for the trolls to take over the site completely for 24 hours. I also believe it won't help at all solving our problems. – user204841 Oct 17 '19 at 16:34
  • @ModusTollens - You can certainly check for troll posts and comments tomorrow. Note that if the usual preaching to the choir goes on pause for a day, the troll posts and comments will be easier to spot. – aparente001 Oct 17 '19 at 16:35
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    Unfortunately it is likely not an event that will encourage change in SO management. I agree that our moderators deserve a slow day, though. But we could probably better help with that if we all would make an effort to be more kind and patient with one another - for a day or more... – user204841 Oct 17 '19 at 16:39
  • Why not just stop participating (except on posts like these) instead? – Srid says Reinstate Monica Oct 17 '19 at 17:09
  • @SridharRatnakumar - How does that help build awareness throughout this large network? – aparente001 Oct 17 '19 at 17:16
  • I'm with you for the first bullet points, but please please don't go adding off-topic stuff to your posts and comments. Because that is definitely not the place to put that information, anyone reading it will immediately have a negative opinion of what you're doing here. – scohe001 Oct 17 '19 at 18:28
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    @ModusTollens at least they would be able to identify trolls more easily :) – Resistance Is Futile Oct 17 '19 at 18:35
  • @scohe001 - Could you be more specific about what needs to come out? Thank you. – aparente001 Oct 17 '19 at 19:33
  • I'd suggest your whole third bullet point coming out. Don't add superfluous information to unrelated posts/comments. – scohe001 Oct 17 '19 at 19:38
  • @scohe001 - The one that starts with "Include a brief statement"? Well, that gets to the motivation for the whole thing, as I explained in "When an organization singles out one individual to throw under the bus, and we may be feeling impotent to do anything about it, we can, at least, form a protective phalanx around that individual person, and show our solidarity." Or did you mean something else? – aparente001 Oct 17 '19 at 19:40
  • So, to be clear: you're advocating for users to add completely unrelated bits of information to their comments and answers/questions? If that's the case, this is getting my downvote. – scohe001 Oct 17 '19 at 19:50
  • @scohe001 - I gave a list of actions (or inaction) that users can consider. I have an earnest desire to collaborate on this with others. Are you saying it's a bad idea to include a slogan as a quasi-signature, as many people do, in their email, on a temporary basis, in that list? And your thinking is, because it goes against how communication is supposed to occur at SE? Before I get too deep into thinking about that, I just want to make sure I understood you correctly. Thanks. – aparente001 Oct 17 '19 at 19:53
  • StackOverflow is for learning about/getting help with code. Academia.SE is for learning about/getting help with academia. Your posts and comments on those sites are not the place for an advertisement of your beliefs. If I saw something like that, I'd edit it out or flag. I understand you care deeply about this issue, but that doesn't mean we can just throw the rules out the window and use the sites as a platform. Comments and posts you make now may very well be around and read for 10+ years. That's not the place for some kind of petition message. – scohe001 Oct 17 '19 at 19:59
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    How do you wear a black armband online? – Renan Oct 17 '19 at 23:16
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    @Mari-LouA - Thanks for asking. I did my silent protest on 10/18 and then went to a conference. When I got home I didn't have much time or heart for SE. Then there was another Friday of silence. How are you doing? – aparente001 Oct 27 '19 at 6:25

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