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Can the community team please allocate emergency moderators to fill in temporarily on the sites that are suffering from lack of moderation?

The behaviour is becoming rotten and it's destroying the current active meta community. While people may end up leaving the site, it's not nice for people to be subjected to abuse and some of the disgusting things that are being posted.

Can you please instantiate some emergency procedure of asking willing members of the community if they'd volunteer and step up to handle flags, until a more permanent solution can be made?

OR

Temporarily reduce the number of flags required to delete comments.

  • 2
    I think an added value of this is that if the moderators weren't so overlooked, they could be a little more careful about pruning comments, rather than being forced to nuke whole threads – divibisan Oct 17 at 22:39
  • @divibisan yes at the moment all we have are people who are hard pushed to reach the queue let alone work out how to deal with thousands of comments – Nobody Oct 17 at 22:40
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    I would prefer real moderator elections. – Trilarion Oct 18 at 6:59
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    @Trilarion there have never been elections on MSE. – Zoe Oct 18 at 17:45
  • @Zoethetransgirl Oh, I didn't know. Thanks. – Trilarion Oct 18 at 19:12
69

When I think of this whole debacle, I'm reminded of a King of the Hill episode from decades back. I can't point you to an exact episode number, but I recall this exchange.

A manager at Strickland Propane had made some executive decisions which riled a lot of the drivers, and this was before Christmas Eve - a prime time for users who had propane-powered homes to get new deliveries. Eventually, enough became enough and those drivers quit. The manager believed that they could just "get by" without them because he didn't think of them as essential, except...those drivers carried HAZMAT qualifications, and propane is considered hazardous.

A workaround was eventually figured out and Christmas was Saved™, but this is the scenario I'm likening to what's going on right now.

Right now, a lot of people are upset about what's going on. These people are more important than previously valued, and the result of their absence is starting to be felt in a lot of places.

The issue is that it's really not up to us to fix this. The company which aggrieved these people needs to make amends and reach out to fix this. Without the help of the community, there's no way that any of this is going to get cleaned up.

To complicate things, the communities which have just been holding back the ever-growing Tide of Crap have had some of their key janitors express their rationale for leaving, and for some people, it seems like rationale that makes sense. At this point, it's not quite equitable to ask the communities to "help" since there's no assurance of top cover from up above. All they'd be doing is fixing the symptom, not the actual problems. What's the use? Is it worth it?

I'd say that this only brings the issue that's started a month ago to a head. If someone needs to step in and do something, it's the company.

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    I tend to agree with this answer, but the situation is untenable. All that will happen is they will eventually replace the moderators. I don't know what they actually have planned, but I somehow think the people who are going to come out losing are the active people objecting through this. Call me cynical or realistic or whatever. Just a hunch somehow. In the meantime people are suffering and at times being abused and it's not cool. That needs to stop. – Nobody Oct 17 at 22:54
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    If that's all they do to "fix" the situation, then that's their preferred fix. The problem is that it isn't just the moderators that clean stuff up, and I have a very strong feeling that'd piss more people off than not. – Makoto Oct 17 at 22:55
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    One more note on the abuse/suffering - I don't like abuse or suffering either. There's a lot to unpack from the circumstance and I still view the abuse as a symptom of the issue. If the management team didn't really consider the consequences of their actions, then this is how that symptom manifests. – Makoto Oct 17 at 22:56
  • Oh I think the site has gone beyond pissing people off. It needs to be cleaned up and whatever solution is going to be implemented will be implemented. In the meantime, something needs to be done to stop trolling and abuse. People are being hurt and it's not cool - as I said. Even if this post helps facilitate something. I honestly don't think they're backing down. So we need a way forward in this. – Nobody Oct 17 at 22:58
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    You haven't answered my fundamental question, @YvetteColomb. What's the use? Is it worth it? I'm not in the mood to start new fires, but until I get an assurance from above that things are actively being done to make things better, I'm not interested in putting out fires, either. It's gotta be worth it for both parties. – Makoto Oct 17 at 22:59
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    Not necessarily, I don't buy that re the abuse - the suffering perhaps. The abuse is just an excuse for people to get away with behaving badly while there's less bodies on the ground and the people responsible for that are the people who are actually being abusive, no on else. It's opportunistic and reveals a lot about these people. I don't know what the solution is Makoto, but they're not going backwards, they're moving forward. So what can we do to help the people who do want to stay and keep the place clean for them? We as in SO inc and you and I (peopl) – Nobody Oct 17 at 23:00
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    That's my point makoto - I did answer it in a way - I don't think they're moving backwards on this. So I'm asking - where do we go if we do want to stay - what can we do to make the site better now for the people who do want to stay. Trashing and burning it is not helping. It will only make the network more determined to clean the place up. Trust me -the writing's on the wall. I mean, haven't they made that clear? – Nobody Oct 17 at 23:02
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    The people being hurt don't have to be here during this tumultuous period. They can just take a temporary leave and avoid the hurt. The people who are here know the situation, know that tempers are high, and know that they might get hurt, but they're here anyway. – House- 'Reinstate Monica' -man Oct 17 at 23:04
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    Honestly @YvetteColomb - I'm one more swift-and-aggressive kick to my food dish away from this ol' Metahound running away for good. I'm only sticking around because I'm a bit more territorial than I thought I was, and I hold on to this silly notion of "hope". I'm serious when I say that this is the company's burden to bear. We on the sidelines can't really fix anything or calm anyone down since, well, we lack the bite. – Makoto Oct 17 at 23:04
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    @YvetteColomb, the point of a strike is to make things better. If we can't fix things ourselves and need assistance from SE Inc to really turn things around, and they're resisting, then going on strike to persuade them is a valid tactic, and many have chosen to do exactly that. It's not that people are content to do nothing, it's just that many think things will need to get enough worse that SE Inc realizes the need to change course, before it can get better. – Nate S - Reinstate Monica Oct 17 at 23:08
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    @NateStrickland I understand the purpose - I don't think the network is going to relent. Not in the way people are wanting. – Nobody Oct 17 at 23:13
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    @YvetteColomb, I fear you may be right about that, but I don't begrudge people for trying. SE may well put themselves out of business over this, which would be a shame, but not something that we can do much about -- they've 100% brought this on themselves. And perhaps if that happens, site users will move elsewhere and something even better will flourish in its place. – Nate S - Reinstate Monica Oct 17 at 23:37
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    @Makoto makes an excellent point here: 'I'm serious when I say that this is the company's burden to bear. We on the sidelines can't really fix anything or calm anyone down since, well, we lack the bite.' - The community can't really do anything because the we've been sidelined as far as we can see. – Script47 Oct 18 at 9:11
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    @Makoto you're totally right. I realise I cannot do anything on this site and am leaving (MSE). – Nobody Oct 18 at 10:46
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    @YvetteColomb "the situation is untenable", good, it needs to be. Stack Exchange needs to sit up and listen. It's a shame that the site has to burn before that happens, but here we are. – Reinstate Monica Oct 18 at 13:26
52

Can you please instantiate some emergency procedure of asking willing members of the community if they'd volunteer and step up to handle flags, until a more permanent solution can be made?

I do not think that is a good idea.

Moderators are elected on SE. They are meant to represent the community. Even if you were to start elections here and now, it'd take weeks for the new moderators to be elected...

Unless you're suggesting SE staff assign new moderators. Considering the lack of trust the community already has, That's not going to end well, I think.

  • Not to mention it demeans the title of community moderator when they're appointed by the talking heads. – Trasiva Oct 17 at 22:50
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    Not all moderators are elected - see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/318630/… and any Beta site. – PolyGeo Oct 17 at 22:51
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    Too soon, @PolyGeo. – Makoto Oct 17 at 22:52
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    @PolyGeo: Monica already had proven herself to be a very capable moderator back then. I don't think the beta site comparison really applies to Meta.SE – Cerbrus Oct 17 at 22:52
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    They'd also need to plan what happens to those diamonds after the crisis... – curious Oct 17 at 23:12
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    Don't would-be moderators need to provide more personal data than the average site member? "If true", that may not be a safe thing to do. Relationships change and, the next moment, your name could be published in a less-than-healthy context. So potential moderators need to understand this risk. – Justice for Monica Oct 18 at 1:59
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    Actually no. We do supply addresses for moderator swag where available but that's about it – Journeyman Geek Oct 18 at 8:21
46

There was another answer on here that said:

Essentially what you are asking for are strikebreakers:

https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Strikebreaker

While useful to the entity in power (read: Stack Exchange Inc.), one could see how allowing this would undermine the very thing the strikers are trying to accomplish: awareness and change.

Please dont.

I'm not sure why this answer disappeared. It is a correct answer...

  • This is more neutral. I will say that people are suffering from the lack of moderation. I respect taking a stand. I also respect anyone who is willing to stay and do the work to look out for those people. Please don't block those people from helping us. It won't completely undermine your principled stand. It may soften it. I'm sorry for that. Please don't make it toxic for those precious few who are looking out for us. – AGirlHasNoName Oct 19 at 14:22
  • "Please don't block those people from helping us." I don't see anyone suggesting that, @AGirlHasNoName... If they want to return, they can. That answer I quoted is just an opinion. – Cerbrus Oct 21 at 8:18
14

It seems obvious that the company places not much value in moderating work, be it by moderators or the community. Instead much of it is seen as unwelcoming and scaring away new users, hurting the growth the company is trying to accomplish.

Most actions in the last year indicate that they are happy to get rid of those users, in the hopes that everything will turn out more friendly when all the grumpy people are gone. So new moderators that fill in for the people that leave is not what they are looking for.

And they certainly won't pay any attention to meta people complaining that things are bad, they wouldn't expect anything else from meta anyway. The people that would listen certainly saw those problems coming in advance - but they clearly are not the ones making the decisions.

10

The unfortunate state of this site is a direct consequence of the actions of SE. We should not forget that they fired a moderator of this site without due process and that the reinstantiation process is yet pending.

Appointing some new moderators here at this time will be read by many people as a clear signal and create the next wave of rage.

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