Has SE staff issued any official guidance in regards to the usage of images with the Z on profile pictures and about me sections of profiles?


2 Answers 2


The topic of “Z” imagery (specifically, whether it should be removed from profiles) has been brought up recently. Examples of the imagery we refer to can be seen here, and here

After a lengthy discussion internally, we realized we cannot ignore the growing connotations surrounding this image and have come to the decision to not allow Z imagery on the platform.

The decision was made due to the adoption of this image by those who wish to proclaim their support for the aggression against the sovereign nation of Ukraine. Because of this, we have decided to categorize this symbol as a violation of our CoC under our no harassment policy.

While we will continue to allow the use of flags to express one’s pride in their country, this iconography in particular can contribute to an atmosphere of harassment, intimidation, and indirect threats against other users.

Because of the developing nature of the situation, it’s possible new symbols, expressions and other ways of showing support for the invasion of Ukraine will show up. We'll be watching and ready to amend this if needed, but broadly speaking, we do not plan to allow statements in direct support for the invasion of Ukraine because they fall under the intimidation and harassment policy in our CoC.

As always, thank you for your hard work, and for your efforts to provide a collegial atmosphere on site.

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    we do not plan to allow statements in direct support for the invasion of Ukraine because they fall under the intimidation and harassment policy in our CoC. - Is this true for all other invasions currently taking place, or only Ukraine's? Mar 17, 2022 at 23:13
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    @forestdistrustsStackExchange a meta post about this was asked by a community user, if you're interested in following it: Should support of any invasion be considered intimidation and harassment?. Mar 18, 2022 at 3:02
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    This is the first time I hear about the "Z imagery", so please excuse my ignorance... Does this policy only apply to pictures with Z marks on tanks and the like (e.g., signs that are clearly related to the war), or is the letter Z is not allowed on one's profile picture, period? I mean many users have their display pic inherited from other places (e.g., Google account) where the picture is auto-generated using the first letter of one's name (example). Are those not allowed, too?
    – 41686d6564
    Mar 18, 2022 at 4:19
  • @41686d6564 The title of the question says "Russian military marking Z". Mar 18, 2022 at 4:49
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    The former @41686d6564. We're not declaring war on the letter Z, but rather saying that use of it in this context is not ok. I wouldn't escalate every Z you see, but if you think one looks like it fits what the CMs have talked about, flag it for mod attention Mar 18, 2022 at 7:24
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    Are Russian flags OK? (Not Russian myself, nor a fan of their current leader, but curious at what's going on here) Mar 18, 2022 at 19:36
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    short version - The russians invaded ukraine. They used the letter Z as a tactical marker, and it got turned into a propaganda symbol for support for the war. I think the broad strokes of "If your intention is to support the invasion or generally harass people, don't do it". I'd also say this shouldn't be exclusive to that symbol - I'd consider the flags of the two russian puppets and Novirossiya Mar 20, 2022 at 7:12
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    to be equivalent in the current geopolitical situation. My advice is always use common sense, and unsure, feel free to get a mod (or a cm) to take a look. Basically follow common sense - and the last two paragraphs of this answer is my general advice Mar 20, 2022 at 7:18
  • Can you please re-upload the two pictures to SE imgur and update the links? Links to or images from external sources tend to rot, at some point. Jul 28, 2023 at 15:06

Someone just pointed me to this.

I assume this should be in the same category as other such symbols that glorify violence in the service of bigotry or genocide, such as the Confederate Battle Flag, and swastikas. Specifically, for the purposes of discussing relevant history, non-gratuitous use of such symbology in a post on History.SE would be OK (eg: a picture of a destroyed Russian tank will quite likely show a painted-on Z), but use in a profile picture or user name would be right out.

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