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Recently, Sara Chipps posted her message Update: an agreement with Monica Cellio. After reading it, I wanted to compare it with her previous post about this subject. It turns out that she deleted it. Does anyone know why? It looks strange since (as far as remember) it was a sort of official position of SE. Why would such a statement be deleted?

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    Human instinct: erase bad memories. – Shadow Wizard is Ear For You Dec 24 '19 at 12:18
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    Note that the canned responses from the moderator resignations also have been removed at the same time – Erik A Dec 24 '19 at 12:24
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    This just proves that StackExchange does not have the courage to admit their mistakes and instead try to erase history so that any new visitors will know about the massive mess they have instigated. – user35594 Dec 24 '19 at 12:49
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    Had she been a user with no diamond she wouldn't been able to delete her own question as it had at least one answer with a positive score. – rene Dec 24 '19 at 12:52
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I would assume that Sara's old posts are gone because they contained slander against Monica. We know there's an agreement. Things that could be legally actionable in such an agreement include removal of slanderous posts, and a post stating Monica had done nothing wrong. Those are the two things we saw happening. I would assume this is what the agreement was about.

Here is why I find this sad and insufficient:

  • It took the involvement of lawyers to get SE to say that much. Seriously, SE? Unless a lawyer twists your arm, you're willing to run over a dedicated volunteer, and wouldn't admit to any wrongdoing? That's disgusting. Honesty, justice, admitting mistakes - these should be basics, basic human decency. It shouldn't take a lawyer to make you act like decent people. Especially since you profess to be "nice" and "inclusive" and "welcoming" and all those good qualities.
  • SE still did not apologise. Amid all the lawyerspeak, where's the simple human "we're sorry, we were wrong"? Instead, Sara Chipp's post starts with "Monica did not understand [...] and was confused" - subliminally laying blame on Monica. Then there's the passive-voice "responses to her requests for clarification were not satisfactory. The verbiage in our Code of Conduct could have been more explicitly detailed". Where's the admittance of guilt - where's "we didn't give satisfactory responses", "we didn't word the CoC well"? The active voice only appears when SE pat themselves on the back: "We always valued Ms. Cellio’s contributions". The whole "apology" was carefully worded to make SE look good, and Monica look bad. They're adding insult to injury.
  • Finally, Monica is still asked to "apply for possible reinstatement", rather than just be reinstated. In this, SE maintain the stance that their removal of Monica from office was OK, and she should ask to possibly be reinstated.

So, to sum up, SE had their arm twisted by lawyers to remove slander, but they still do not wish to admit they'd done anything wrong. I'm disgusted by this attitude.

  • Me too, but what we got is all we are going to get. All we can do is respect Monica's decision. However angry and disgusted we feel, Monica was the person who was affected the most, by far. – user540056 Dec 26 '19 at 0:10
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    @ab2MonicaNotForgotten You're assuming Monica is happy with the result, rather than settled for what she could get. We don't know that she's happy. – Galastel supports GoFundMonica Dec 26 '19 at 2:07
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    And there's another issue to consider: Monica is an American adult woman. With the help of GoFundMe, she was able to get a lawyer. What if the next person whose name SE decides to drag through the mud is a 15-year-old from India, for example? What justice would they get, based on what we've seen? – Galastel supports GoFundMonica Dec 26 '19 at 2:09
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    I did not say anything to imply that I think Monica is happy. I said "respect her decision", with no implication that she is happy with the outcome. If you have never had to make a least bad decision, a decision that makes you less unhappy than the alternatives, you will, eventually. I assume Monica is disappointed or worse, but this outcome was the best that her resources of money, energy, time, (and possibly her advisors) could attain. – user540056 Dec 26 '19 at 2:17
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    Worth pointing out that most agreements are created when both parties do not get everything they wanted. There are of course exceptions, but if nobody is completely happy, it’s a sign that the agreement was at least fair. This of course doesn’t mean anyone should accept the third non-apology apology by Ms Chipps as anything but as a non-apology. – Ramhound Dec 26 '19 at 12:37
  • Rolled back to first rev cause... It seems like a silly vocabulary dispute. When I'm doubt... – Journeyman Geek Jan 7 at 16:25
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The obligatory disclaimer: I am not a lawyer but…

The official Stack Exchange announcement, entitled An Update to our Community and an Apology, was deleted 18 hours ago. Possibly SE lawyers advised Ms. Sara Chipps to take this action. Possibly, Monica's lawyers demanded its deletion. Who knows. And no one will know because for legal reasons the agreement cannot be discussed in public.

I wonder if it is expected that Ms. Monica Cellio must delete any of her contributions as a sign of good will or as part of the agreement?

Perhaps not: Her question, Stack Overflow is doing me ongoing harm; it's time to fix it! is still visible.

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    Too wild a guess in my opinion. My guess is that the lawyers (of SE) told SE to write the new post about agreement, but never said to remove anything. The removal appears just a human behavior that fits perfectly with the rest of the actions. – Shadow Wizard is Ear For You Dec 24 '19 at 12:37
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    @ShadowTheBurningWizard which is why I said possibly twice, at least I give Ms Chipps the benefit of the doubt. Your comment Human instinct: erase bad memories doesn't. – Mari-Lou A Dec 24 '19 at 12:39
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    The lawsuit was a defamation lawsuit. To guess that a settlement includes removing defaming statements is not a wild guess imo. – Erik A Dec 24 '19 at 12:40
  • @ErikA the posts on MSE were not defaming in any way, as far as I can tell – Shadow Wizard is Ear For You Dec 24 '19 at 12:42
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    @ShadowTheBurningWizard the phrase "We removed a moderator for repeatedly violating our existing Code of Conduct and being unwilling to accept our CM’s repeated requests to change that behavior." is damming and appears to me defamatory if it is not true. – Mari-Lou A Dec 24 '19 at 12:45
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    It is not certain if the deletion is legally ordered. Or just to save face so only people already veteran to this site can contribute. Otherwise someone could simply undelete and historically lock the post. – Mᛜ. Sᛜ. Rᛜ. require mulligansǃ Dec 24 '19 at 12:55
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    It made specific (and highly contested) allegations against Monica; it's highly likely part of the agreement that SE retracted (i.e. deleted) those contested allegations. Deleting the post is the simplest way of doing that. – Martin Tournoij Dec 24 '19 at 13:11
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    @MartinTournoij a deletion is not the same as a retraction. Retracting a statement means positively affiriming that you were wrong. Deleting it means you just want to destroy the evidence that you were hopelessly wrong. – gbjbaanb Dec 28 '19 at 15:12
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For me it looks like SE is trying to rewrite the history in the hope that people will forget about this big mistake. At least for new users and those who hasn't heard about this situation at all.

There is no point to delete such posts, because the Internet never forgets. So, even if a lawyer asked about this, it doesn't make any sense.

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    Retracting statements that no longer represent your position absolutely makes sense. While we can still find the original statements, it's clear they no longer represent the author. – Erik A Dec 24 '19 at 12:55
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    @ErikA it's the history. There are a lot of discussions on Metas, where decisions has been changing in years. So should we delete all those old discussions? No! – Suvitruf says Reinstate Monica Dec 24 '19 at 12:57
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    Nope. But if you have made a personal statement somewhere, and that no longer represents you, or know what you said was untrue, please consider either editing or deleting it. We don't want wrong information hanging about to be referenced in the future. – Erik A Dec 24 '19 at 13:01
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    ^ this. Considering they settled, I don't see why a source of pain needs to be kept, just so we can point at it, like a head on a pike and go "BE CAREFUL SMALL PERSON! LEST YOU END UP BADLY LIKE THAT ONE!" – Journeyman Geek Dec 24 '19 at 13:02
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    Well, they can't anymore. They've settled. We're very unlikely to see new developments regarding this situation. If you've got a problem with that, you should (try to) deal with that on your own. – Erik A Dec 24 '19 at 13:11
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    So, even if a lawyer asked about this, it doesn't make any sense. < It does. Her name was all over it in answers/comments, which means it'll turn up when someone looks for it. Deleting it means people without enough reputation to see deleted posts here can't see it, which makes sense as part of an agreement around defamation. – Tinkeringbell Dec 24 '19 at 13:54
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    The Internet never forgets scandal. If you're looking for that awesome third-party mod for Diablo II, yeah, the Internet forgot that :b – Harper - Reinstate Monica Dec 24 '19 at 21:20
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    "Head on a pike" If the spiking of the head was an injustice, then there is most definitely value in having a memorial to point small people to, so that they can beware of, and help guard against, future instances of similar injustices. Whether or not that particular ("An update to our...") post is the right memorial, I'm more ambivalent about. – jscs Dec 25 '19 at 2:27
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I would not be surprised at all if the previous statement and Stack Exchange's answer to Monica's statement on Mi Yodeya Meta were deleted as part of the terms of the agreement. Monica's statement here made two demands:

  1. Retract negative statements about her (explicitly including and linking to these two and one other that I can't see).
  2. Reinstate her as a moderator.

We see here that they're still not doing (2). With respect to (1) (which she made clear is the one she considers a "must"), it seems to me that deleting the statements on the SE network that Monica had asked them to retract could very well be part of SE's end of whatever agreement they now have. I wonder if they did or are going to do anything about the Register article; I hope so.

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I agree with the other answers that most likely, that deletion happened due to the legal agreement between Monica and SE Inc. mentioned in the question.

If so, we might never know for sure.

And that is the essential issue here: far too often, the community is baffled about this or that action of the company and in most cases, we have to ask for explanations. Which rarely happen. Leading to: endless speculations.

Dear SE Inc., if there is only lesson to take away from all this mess: please make transparency your first priority. Understand: you absolutely can't do anything that goes unnoticed. Remember that: the community will notice, most likely within a few hours after you doing something. So whatever you do, consider to let us know why. Right then when you do things.

I am not asking for endless apologies here. Just remember that nothing happens without someone noticing. Provide reasonable summaries of "what and why" when taking actions that are likely to resonate within the community.

Without explanations, that leads to speculations, leading to a huge waste of everyone's time and motivation. YOU can fix that part easily!

And sure, I am not saying that such communication is easy. But saying nothing is rarely an efficient communication strategy!

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    The one thing that seduced me back in 2013 when I joined was exactly this, transparency. So I fully agree with this answer and specially with the please make transparency your first priority part. – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Dec 25 '19 at 9:40
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In an attempt to keep this conspiracy-theory free:

  • The new official messaging from Sara Chipps is likely one that was reached through the result of legal action/mediation. This would then be the new official position of Stack Exchange, Inc.
  • The previous message was more a policy-oriented reaction as opposed to a legal one; it has been my personal experience with mediation that the terms of the mediation agreement supersede any prior agreements/deals/messaging, and it would make sense to remove it.
  • The previous verbiage may have also contained libelous claims against Monica, and instead of doctoring that out (and/or risk invalidating lots of answers as a result), removing it wholesale is a cleaner option.
  • There is little additional value that can be gleaned from the old post in the wake of the settlement. All of the information that was discussed there, including the formation of new policies for moderator reinstatement, are echoed again in the new statement.
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    If there is nothing dubious about the deletion, then there is nothing to stop a representative from SE staff from posting an answer here. – faintsignal Dec 25 '19 at 3:29
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    @faintsignal: We can't say for certain. It could be the case that legal reasons would prevent them from further comment on the matter, and that would have to be the end of it. But I suppose I'd ask you directly - what do you want to hear from SE staff on the matter? – Makoto Dec 25 '19 at 5:36
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    @Makato Why, the truth, of course. However mundane or otherwise. And if they truly cannot comment on specifics, then they can answer something to that effect. – faintsignal Dec 25 '19 at 13:41
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(Totally posted in my role as a grumpy regular user who wasn't all too happy about much that happened. The following post may not reflect the views of the moderation team or anyone else other than me.)

One would assume that as an official message that no longer reflects the company's views - it no longer belongs. Maybe it belongs in the trashheap of history - the thing that did not give joy, yet seems so hard to let go.

As something that caused that much pain, heartache and drama, maybe it's better buried. Certain parts of it certainly contributed to things being worse than they could have been.

Both forgiveness, and forgetfulness might be hard, undeserved, maybe even impossible. That said, if something is a festering open wound that won't heal, sometimes it's better it is excised.

It is less the mistakes of the past that matter, than hopefully the lessons learned.

That's to say... good riddance?

I hope the lessons learned are etched into the collective consciousness of the company - the story told to new employees as an object lesson.

But to those for whom it does matter - I guess the chapter is closed.

Maybe it's time for a new chapter.

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    the trashheap of history always needs to remain, to act as a reminder to the future who will undoubtebly forget and repeat unless the past can be brought up to check them. That's why deleting it is so bad, its "pretend it never happened", because the only reason to delete it is if you wanted it forgotten. – gbjbaanb Dec 24 '19 at 12:53
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    And yet, trashheaps are not meant for rooting through. Even if you're a bear or a raccoon. Its not just a rewrite of history, its the removal of something that caused one our ours pain. – Journeyman Geek Dec 24 '19 at 12:56
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    "It is less the mistakes of the past that matter, than hopefully the lessons learned. " - my worry is - did we (and they) learn, though? – John Dvorak Dec 24 '19 at 13:19
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    I feel you trying to keep the site positive, @JMG. But...I doubt I'm the only one who thinks SE requires to show some humility and repentance before trust can be rebuilt. I'm not willing to give a soulless company a pass until they show me they actually have a soul. Words are cheap. Actions say a whole lot. – fbueckert Dec 24 '19 at 18:02
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    Considering recent actions, and initiatives - keeping the site positive and working feels like a way for me to rebel against the stuff I disagree with. I'm not content to curse the dark. – Journeyman Geek Dec 25 '19 at 1:20
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    If you are an archaeologist or an historian, trashheaps are what you root through. The Mess will eventually be the subject of a PhD thesis -- say 50 years to 1,000 years from now. – user540056 Dec 27 '19 at 21:12
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    I doubt any of this will matter to anyone outside the SE community – Journeyman Geek Dec 27 '19 at 22:14

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