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It has been mentioned in several places (for example here) that not all employees of Stack Exchange receive moderator diamonds on the sites. Are non-diamond staff subject to the regular community moderation that all other non-diamond users are?

I am not aware of any problem in this regard actually happening, but it is plausible that a non-diamond staff member might someday cross a social boundary or engage in conduct deemed detrimental by the community to the extent that one of our community-elected moderators decides to suspend their account. What happens in such a case? I have little doubt that an elected moderator has the technical capability to issue such a suspension, but I'm curious about it from a policy standpoint. Is a community moderator allowed to suspend a staff member that has become sufficiently disruptive, or are staff essentially "immune" to community action, with the only real solution being to escalate the behavior directly to the Community Team (e.g. via the Contact Us link)?

  • Are non-diamond staff fully subject to the elected diamond moderators on the sites that they visit?
  • Are there additional safeguards (that non-staff do not have) in place to ensure that community moderator suspensions of staff are not done arbitrarily or abusively?
  • Would suspending a staff member subject the moderator to immediate removal?

To be clear, I'm not asking about any specific incident involving staff, but obviously the chances of a real incident happening one day are more than trivial. One could imagine a scenario this way: I am an elected community diamond moderator on one of our sites. One day, I unravel a voting ring and decide to suspend each participant for one month. Just before issuing the suspensions, I discover that one of the participants is a non-diamond staff. Is it ok for me to go ahead and suspend the staff member, or would I be expected to suspend only the non-staff users and then escalate the staff member's case to the Community Team for adjudication and disposition?

Also to be clear, I'm not asking if staff have carte blanche to violate any and all local community norms, site rules, quality standards, etc. that they wish with total impunity. I'm asking if community moderators have jurisdiction over them, or if only other staff are allowed to stand in judgment over them.

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    Even diamond staff are subject to community moderation, in terms of posts being edited or even deleted, questions closed, etc. But if any staff did something that would warrant their suspension from a site, it's likely SE's HR department would be considering if they still have a place in the company... – curiousdannii Dec 20 '19 at 12:26
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    @curiousdannii that's essentially my question. If I am an elected moderator and I notice a staff member posting low-quality hate speech, etc., may I "suspend away" or must I escalate the matter to the Community Team to handle? – Robert Columbia Dec 20 '19 at 12:33
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    This is a lot of speculation, conjecture and what-ifs... I'm not sure it's possible to give a good answer on this question, as it all depends on the individual case. – Cerbrus Dec 20 '19 at 12:36
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    How would you even know it's a staff member? I think it's fair to say, if SE wanted them to have diamond status, they would have it. – nvoigt Dec 20 '19 at 17:56
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    @nvoigt staff status is now shown on the user's profile. Thus, an elected moderator might think, "hmm, this user clearly overstepped the boundaries we have set on this site in a major, continuing, and/or unrepentant way, but they have the [Staff] tag. Should I ban or should I just delete the posts and email the Community Team a 'Do something!' cry for help?". – Robert Columbia Dec 20 '19 at 18:04
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    I can't speak for every moderator, but if I knew someone was staff and doing something like that I would immediately escalate to the CM team (we have quite a few ways of contacting them, too - the form, super-pings, private chats, direct emails...). There's no official flowchart that I know of, but it's just standard mod procedure to talk to CMs when you're not sure what to do and/or it's an exceptional situation. – Em C Dec 20 '19 at 19:08
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    @Richard it could, but I don't want the question to get bogged down in specific, notorious cases. It's a general question - for example, would a moderator ever need to tell a user, "The good news is I found out who was serially downvoting you. The bad news is that it is a Stack Exchange staff member, so I don't have the authority to do anything about it except to email the Community Team asking that they consider starting an employee conduct investigation. Good luck."? – Robert Columbia Jun 9 at 17:22
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It all depends.

  • Is the moderator aware they're dealing with an employee?
  • What has the employee done?
  • What does the moderator plan on doing?
  • What's communicated?

There's just too much to take into account to provide a single correct answer here, other than the capabilities of a non-diamond employee account. (I'm pretty sure it's just a normal account then)

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Are non-diamond staff fully subject to the elected diamond moderators on the sites that they visit?

Yes. There's nothing in the moderator agreement, Code of Conduct, or any other communication to moderators I've seen, making an exception of staff—so unless and until the company impose a policy saying otherwise (and I don't imagine that they would want to).

A Community Manager certainly ought to be contacted if an SE staff member should do something worthy of suspension; out of courtesy, and because of the high likelihood in this case that an account has been compromised: but the moderator needn't "hand over the case" or wait for approval before acting. (Moreover there are few CMs, and busy, and a prompt response can't be relied on.)

Are there additional safeguards (that non-staff do not have) in place to ensure that community moderator suspensions of staff are not done arbitrarily or abusively?

No. But clearly any complaints by staff about moderation are going to receive more attention than complaints by other users.

Would suspending a staff member subject the moderator to immediate removal?

If the company decided to follow the new process you've linked to, they'd have to say that the moderator violated the moderator agreement or Code of Conduct (though the company would be judge, jury, and executioner). If they didn't (and we've no redress if they don't), then they wouldn't. I think it's very unlikely that there'd be any repercussions for a moderator who suspended a staff member if they were applying the same standards to their behaviour as to that of any other user.

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