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The comment

"The Code of Conduct change has been pushed through and the network-wide F.A.Q. has been announced. – Tonepoet Oct 10 at 16:39"

(as a few others) refers to deleted https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/334900/official-faq-on-gender-pronouns-and-code-of-conduct-changes page. (The reason of deletion of the page is discussed on Why was the previous Code of Conduct FAQ (and all answers) removed?).

I've noticed that

“This question was voluntarily removed by its author.”

But according to How does deleting work? What can cause a post to be deleted, and what does that actually mean? What are the criteria for deletion?

You can't delete your own question if it has an answer with upvotes

I understand that Cesar M is relatively new, and may not know rule details, but I also read somewhere (unfortunately, could not find a quote) that shog9 consulted Cesar M and advises to delete the question.

Cesar M in his role of moderator can delete any post, but, according to the system, he deleted the question being in a role of author, which is not allowed.

As it was a genuine mistake, I suggest to Cesar to undelete the question ASAP.

There are multiple options of further steps, e.g.

  1. Make the question locked, as suggested in many highly-upvoted answers here: Why was the previous Code of Conduct FAQ (and all answers) removed?
  2. Ask some other moderator to delete the question, if they find, that there is no better way to do it.
  3. Change the system to not allow the question with upvoted answers to be deleted by the author, even the author is a moderator. Also update rules to clarify that “You can't delete your own question (even you are a moderator)”
  4. Change the system to show that the question was removed by moderator, if the author and moderator is the same person. Also update rules to clarify that “You can't delete your own question (unless you are a moderator)”
  5. Automatically redirect links to new FAQ or Post for clarifications on the updated pronouns FAQ

I hope that Cesar will undelete the question to comply with existing rules. If not, will he potentially be suspended as not comply to the rules or suspension rules are applicable to elected moderators only?

I also have doubts, that “the question was voluntarily removed by its author.” Quite likely, that the decision about the deletion of the question was made by management, such as the Director of Public Q&A.

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    It's very likely that there was a team decision among employees to delete the question, and that Cesar M was merely the one who physically pressed the "delete" button; this makes your ideological points moot. As far as the system displaying a message that the question was "voluntarily" removed, there's a request to have those shown as removed "for moderation reasons" (the normal message when someone else deletes it) instead. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Nov 9 '19 at 6:26
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    Note that the faq posts on this site are updated by the community, not (always) by SE. I've gone ahead and updated two FAQs to reflect the fact that moderators can delete their own posts even if they ordinarily wouldn't be able to delete them as normal users. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Nov 9 '19 at 6:39
  • @sonicthe it is unethical to cast a vote to close a new question as a duplicate of an older post and then edit the older post. – Mari-Lou A Nov 9 '19 at 6:46
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    @Mari-LouA That's not what I did, though. The two posts I edited are both different from the target I proposed. (As a matter of fact, I have long since ceased doing so.) – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Nov 9 '19 at 6:47
  • If anything, an answer addressing the OP's concerns should have been posted. It should have also been acknowledged that this information "was" missing in the FAQ. – Mari-Lou A Nov 9 '19 at 6:48
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    @sonicthe your olderquestion is different. It is saying that a question deleted by a CM is equivalent to one being deleted by a moderator hence the post notice should reflect that event. Instead this OP is asking the CM to undelete their question because they unknowingly made a mistake. Two different requests. – Mari-Lou A Nov 9 '19 at 6:54
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    In the now purged comments below shog9's answer (meta.stackexchange.com/a/336377/627227) he stated they deleted because they could no longer moderate that vast amount of (heated) interactions taking place on that question. When I asked whether the question could be undeleted once they would have the resources and time to clean up the mess, he said they might do so, but no promise was made. – dfhwze Nov 9 '19 at 8:13
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    Also it's worth considering a few things. The new FAQ was based off a proposal created by a member of the community, the old one wasn't and even deleted the old one is clearly a distraction. – Journeyman Geek Nov 9 '19 at 8:26
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    For visitors who didn't know, and I didn't until this day, a moderator can also delete questions posted when they were ordinary users, even if the Q had upvoted answers. Tinkeringbell's answer supplies the clarification. (Now I know why three of my comments comments were deleted; an edit removed two of the three links with Cesar M's name. All three links direct users to the Pronoun FAQ page.) Maybe Journeyman's comment should have also been deleted, since two mods posted their answers??? – Mari-Lou A Nov 9 '19 at 17:31
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Cesar M in his role of moderator can delete any post, but, according to the system, he deleted the question being in a role of author, which is not allowed.

This makes the system message wrong, not Cesar's actions. The system indeed does not allow authors to undelete questions with upvoted answers (try it, you can't delete yours now), so the only way Cesar could have deleted that post was in his role as a moderator.

If you want to argue about what's wrong here, you could argue that the message technically thus should read that 'this post was deleted for reasons of moderation'.

I hope that Cesar will undelete the question to comply with existing rules. If not, will he potentially be suspended as not comply to the rules or suspension rules are applicable to elected moderators only?

Cesar complied with existing rules: Moderators can delete questions with upvoted answers, including their own, if necessary. If Cesar had broken any rules the post would already have been undeleted.

Suspending moderators is useless, as is calling for them to be suspended in public.

  • It's also worth pointing out that it wasn't merely Cesar who deleted the post: it was (likely) a team decision made by CMs, and Cesar was just the one who physically carried out the team decision. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Nov 9 '19 at 23:29
  • And, as far as the documentation not mentioning this ability for mods to delete their own posts, that doesn't mean that it's not allowed, it was simply a flaw in the documentation. (Note: it has since been corrected.) – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Nov 9 '19 at 23:37
  • “Cyn says reinstate Monica” at writing.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2228/… said about Monica “they could have used the strongest tool we moderators have for users who violate policy, given her a temporary suspension.” Are they wrong? – MiFreidgeim SO-stop being evil Nov 10 '19 at 12:33
  • @MichaelFreidgeim They probably meant, "removed all her diamonds and suspended her". – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Nov 10 '19 at 19:28
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I'll refer to Jeff's old post on a theory of moderation

Even with active community self-regulation, moderators occasionally need to intervene. Moderators are human exception handlers, there to deal with those (hopefully rare) exceptional conditions that should not normally happen, but when they do, they can bring your entire community to a screaming halt — if you don’t have human exception handling in place.

(Arguably, broader events have brought a lot of the normal business of meta to a screaming halt - but that's been discussed fairly intensively)

This sometimes means making exceptionally difficult decisions.

While I'm not privy to CM or staff internal decisions, except when they choose to share those things.

Sometimes if something clearly hasn't served its purpose it might be worth replacing it with something better. The old FAQ is clearly unloved. Maybe it's best to let the dead post rest in peace. With a new FAQ it certainly dosen't serve its purpose.

I also have doubts, that “the question was voluntarily removed by its author.” Quite likely, that the decision about the deletion of the question was made by management, such as the Director of Public Q&A.

On the other hand, considering the improved FAQ was based on community input — and heavily based off something a moderator on another site helped initiate. In a sense, considering even after being deleted, its clearly a distraction. It probably would be just as bad if it wasn't.

The new FAQ reflects the community better than the old one. It was discussed and seems an improvement. Do we even need the old one?

So practically, while it is a difficult decision - there's nothing particularly untoward. There's certainly no conspiracy going on where upper management is sneakily replacing a company produced FAQ with one the community did. The original post is clearly producing drama, even when most people can't even see it, so it might be worse if it was still there.

So essentially a lot of the limitations for a normal user is removed for a moderator. We're expected to use them sparingly and hopefully for the greater good. In many situations pre or post decision, even as a somewhat experienced moderator, I often want feedback

And while Cesar's newish to SE — he's worked professionally in the video gaming industry as a CM before. As a bit of an old hand to SE myself, it’s worth considering often that the effect is just as important as the mechanics. I've rarely deleted my own posts because I never needed to.

Stuff is a lot bigger, and more chaotic right now. There's a lot of outrage, often real, and hopefully less often manufactured, that often gets in the way of stuff that folks need to get done.

I also read somewhere(unfortunately, could not find a quote) that shog9 consulted Cesar M and advises to delete the question.

I'd often take Shog seriously — simply because he's one of the folks who kind of has been here the entire time. If he did, well, inexperience isn't a reason for that decision. It’s pretty hard to find a existing community manager with more experience.

If you reached this far in my ramble, also consider this. If management is pushing for stuff, I wouldn't blame the folks on the pointy end of things. I've pretty much found that the only complaint I'd have of the community team, through all this is they're somewhat overworked and have been a while.

On the other hand, the original post getting replaced is a sign that someone might be listening, even if the bigger concerns folks have have not been addressed yet.

  • And no. Before anyone asks, there is no secret message in the italics. – Journeyman Geek Nov 9 '19 at 9:18
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    "Do we even need the old one?" Maybe we don't need it, but it is not so simple. First, people contributed to it, after deletion they lost reputation gained. Now, you can say who cares about reputation, but without it you cannot read deleted posts which is currently super annoying... So, yes we still need the old FAQ it is not completely obsolete and people are still comparing the differences... at least people that can read it. – Resistance Is Futile Nov 9 '19 at 15:36
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    Not to mention that mod deleted my answer on one post saying that it really belongs to the FAQ, so I posted it there and now it is also gone... Again, to hell with reputation... but give me ability to read posts based on my reputation on other sites and I can live with having zero reputation here. – Resistance Is Futile Nov 9 '19 at 15:39
  • You can always read posts that you posted on, even if you only did post an answer. I found this while working my way to 10k... which was an annoyance . – Journeyman Geek Nov 9 '19 at 16:41
  • Yes... but not other answers besides mine. – Resistance Is Futile Nov 9 '19 at 16:50
  • uhm. was pretty sure you could see them all, but I've been over 10k quite a while – Journeyman Geek Nov 9 '19 at 16:51
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    @JourneymanGeek confirm. A user with less than 10k can only see their own deleted post, not of others. Ergo I "worked" to gain 10K because it is annoying not to be able to view these posts especially when a user has earned this privilege on two or more sites for one or more years; i.e. "moi" (for about five years). – Mari-Lou A Nov 9 '19 at 17:07
  • There is another example, that Cesar M is not familiar with SE style of posting meta.stackexchange.com/questions/336366/…. He included his answer in someone else answer, making voting on the original answer impossible. – MiFreidgeim SO-stop being evil Nov 10 '19 at 5:14
  • That's done with a lot of posts requiring input from staff- since there's no great way to do it short of comments, and comments are second class citizens - you can always vote for the original post. It actually is a pretty clever hack to include a response inline where people can find it, and its pretty clear its not OP – Journeyman Geek Nov 10 '19 at 10:08

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