Over the last month, Stack Overflow has violated its own policies and precedents to cause egregious and unnecessary harm to me -- to my reputation (personal and professional), to my health, and to my safety. This harm is significant and ongoing. It is past time for the company to correct its errors, repair what can be repaired, and move toward a spirit of working with rather than against its users and volunteers.
The company removed me without due process or warning and ignored procedures it already had in place, which an executive admitted to, and did so in the midst of a discussion between me and a community manager to understand the new Code of Conduct (which was previously unclear); and
A representative of the company violated longstanding privacy policies by immediately (within seconds) announcing my firing to a large audience, denying me the standard privacy afforded to subjects of such discipline; and
Company representatives violated common corporate practice of not commenting to the media (now codified) by speaking with The Register to further malign my character, paint me as a bigot, and make unsubstantiated claims; and
A company representative made an official post on Meta accusing me of "repeatedly violating our existing Code of Conduct and being unwilling to accept our CM's repeated requests to change that behavior", a claim that has never been substantiated, and featured the post across the network where it was prominent for 77 hours; and
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 warnings and, more broadly, my requests for discussion to find a mutually-agreeable resolution to the situation; and
Company claims of an urgent need to act before resolving the ongoing discussion, despite my having left the Teachers' Lounge nine days earlier and otherwise behaving normally across the network, have never been substantiated; and
The new reinstatement process is unacceptable in my case because my removal did not follow the paired removal process (or any process), the reinstatement process proceeds from a presumption of a legitimate guilty finding, and I cannot appeal charges that have never been communicated to me; and
The issue I asked about has now been confirmed to comply with the new CoC;
Therefore I call on Stack Overflow and its individual representatives to:
Retract all of the negative statements about me described above, publicize that retraction to all places where the original claims were made or are known to have spread, and to the best of its ability clear my name; and
Reverse the original decision, restoring me to my position without prejudice. The model here must be akin to declaring a mistrial, not akin to an application for early parole.
Stack Overflow is a private company and its representatives are free to treat users badly. They can ignore #2 if they do not value fairness, respectfulness, and diversity; that is their right. However, they must address #1, and given the many errors that got us here, they should address #2.
My patience is not infinite; the company has already dragged this out for nearly a month while harm continues to accrue. It is past time for a meaningful response. I remain available to discuss the matter. Please prioritize resolving this ongoing, painful, damaging situation in the very near future.
Responses to questions:
This question is addressed to Stack Overflow. I posted it here because I have exhausted all known private communication channels available to me short of legal proceedings. I would have preferred a private conversation, which I have asked for repeatedly. I remain open to that option.
I am willing to sign an agreement in which they address #1 (in ways to be specified) and I agree not to litigate. I had already assumed that would be part of any settlement. I assume lawyers on both sides will be involved in writing and reviewing this agreement.
I understand that some people have felt hurt by things I said in TL. Causing hurt was never my intention. Some of those same people have hurt me in TL too. Calm, clear communication about these hurts has not always happened. We all need to work on improving the TL dynamic. I withdrew from TL to avoid further problems in both directions.
Moderators (who do not also participate in TL) work almost exclusively with people on our own sites. When we work with company representatives it's with community managers. The community managers are not the ones who've acted badly here; I don't see why those working relationships would be damaged in the future.
If Stack Overflow had merely fired me unjustly, I would have walked away by now. However, they also damaged me with their public statements and that will follow me around for years. In addition to the harm they have already caused, I fully expect this to have effects the next time I seek new employment.
Starting points if you're looking for background: Stack Overflow Inc., sinat chinam, and the goat for Azazel, Firing mods and forced relicensing: is Stack Exchange still interested in cooperating with the community?.