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How can I ask a question regarding moderator related issues, if for some reason I don't have access to (but had before) the Teachers' Lounge (TL) or the Stack Moderators team? And I don't have access to chat at all?

Since there isn't any openly available list of publicly available moderator tools, I'm afraid that by doing this, for instance on MSE, I could accidentally violate the moderator agreement.

By "asking a question", I mean that my question would be addressed to several people who actually can help (e.g. with advice) to give an answer, not a direct message to a specific SO employee.

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    If you don’t have access to moderator-only spaces, why would anyone share information with you that can only be discussed in a moderator-only space? You can always contact the company with the contact link at the bottom of every page. Also, not sure how you can violate an agreement you haven’t accepted.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 26, 2023 at 10:53
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    @αλεχολυτ Well - access to these resources is managed by the community team, who can see if you signed the agreement - especially teams. The community team of course has full visibility of whether you signed the moderator agreement. You did want to see what happened if a moderator delayed signing the agreement didn't you? Apr 26, 2023 at 11:42
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    You should not have access to those spaces unless you have signed the agreement. If a mistake has been made, the only people who can resolve it are staff, and you contact them through the “contact” link at the bottom of the page. meta.stackexchange.com/contact
    – ColleenV
    Apr 26, 2023 at 11:54
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    You can not have access to private information unless you've agreed to safeguard it. The fact that you did have access to those spaces where private information was shared is a serious security failure on the part of the company and I'm very disappointed if that is in fact what happened. It's very sloppy to give elevated access prior to the agreement being signed and it makes me question how well that private information is safeguarded overall.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 26, 2023 at 12:39
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    Can you explain what are you doing and why are you doing it? Why don't you sign the moderator agreement? Apr 26, 2023 at 12:48
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    I must say I don't feel very comfortable having someone that thinks access to PII is a right, not a privilege, as a moderator... You've been elected for barely a week, and you're already stirring up drama? Great start...
    – Cerbrus
    Apr 26, 2023 at 13:04
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    @αλεχολυτ That doesn't explain anything. Why do you hesitate signing the agreement? Apr 26, 2023 at 13:04
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    @αλεχολυτ The solution is extremely simple: Sign the moderator agreement and contact the CM team when you have signed it. I don't understand why you're complaining about losing access when you shouldn't have had access in the first place.
    – Cerbrus
    Apr 26, 2023 at 13:08
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    You're not explaining. You're complaining. You're making unbased accusations of power abuse, and you're constantly arguing with people that are explaining how to fix the issue... Just sign the agreement, it's that simple.
    – Cerbrus
    Apr 26, 2023 at 13:14
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    @aepot You mischaracterize what occurred, and it seems to me that this mischaracterization encourages rude behavior. Apr 26, 2023 at 14:50
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    @αλεχολυτ I strongly suggest to stop it. Please :) be a mod, calm that down. There's really no sense to bring that to legal-like clearance level, at least for now.
    – aepot
    Apr 26, 2023 at 15:02
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    @αλεχολυτ Access to PII is restricted before you accept the mod agreement, the tools are disabled. TL can contain PII, so it should have the same restrictions. They are not enforced by the system yet, but the general problem is the same. The mod agreement concerns handling PII, and you should not see PII before you accept it. Apr 26, 2023 at 15:04
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    Hey folks. While I'm grateful for the plethora of people who are doing their best to inform everyone on a need-to-know basis, I want to gently remind folks that the ultimate issue here is one only Community Managers can resolve with the tools we have available. I know how tempting it is to jump into the fray, but I'd encourage you to stay your hand as much as you can. @αλεχολυτ, if you have questions about your access to moderator tools, I would encourage you to send an email to [email protected], and we will respond as soon as we are able.
    – Slate StaffMod
    Apr 26, 2023 at 15:07
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    @Slate I did the request via contact page yesterday, you can see (I hope) record about it on moderator dashboard on ruSO. Is it really necessary to do it again but via email? Apr 26, 2023 at 15:11
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    @αλεχολυτ Yes, please do if you have time to.
    – Slate StaffMod
    Apr 26, 2023 at 15:17

4 Answers 4

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I must say that I am extremely disappointed in αλεχολυτ's behaviour. I am probably speaking out of school, and I expect that there may be consequences for me, but I do think that it is important for the non-moderator community to have some understanding of the events which prompted this thread (as I understand them):

  • αλεχολυτ was elected to a moderator position.
  • It appears that, prior to signing the moderator agreement, αλεχολυτ was given access to moderator-only tools and spaces (e.g. moderator-only chat). There was concern among the moderators in these moderator-only spaces that this gave access to certain sensitive information to a person who had not indicated a willingness to protect that information. (This, by the way, is its own problem, and I would really appreciate it if SE could clarify the onboarding process for new moderators, as it seems like something broke, here).
  • Over the next couple of days, multiple moderators in those moderator-only spaces asked for clarification from αλεχολυτ about whether or not they had signed the agreement yet and, if not, were they going to sign the agreement. Answers to these questions were cagey, at best, and largely came down to "Why don't you trust me?" We were never given a yes or no answer to this very simple question.
  • Following these events, αλεχολυτ lost access to moderator tools and spaces. This access was initially restricted by elected moderator moderators (i.e. elected moderators who the moderators have elected to moderate those moderator-only spaces—try saying that five times fast). There was concern that αλεχολυτ had access to tools which they shouldn't have access to prior to signing the moderator agreement. I will note that, in my perception, all αλεχολυτ had to do in order to prevent all of this from happening was to say "Yes, I have signed the agreement."
  • SE staff then followed up by further restricting αλεχολυτ's access to these tools and spaces.

At this point no one here (i.e. average users on Meta) can help αλεχολυτ to regain access to these tools and spaces. You need to reach out to SE staff. There is a link at the bottom of every page on the network with the text "Contact". Use that.

That being said, this behaviour does not fill me with confidence, and I question whether or not αλεχολυτ is qualified to act as a moderator on this network. In general, the moderation team runs on a certain amount of trust. We trust each other to manage the various SE communities, to give advice, and (sometimes) to vent to each other. The actions of αλεχολυτ have used up a lot of their social capital, and I must admit that I will have difficulty trusting them in the future. I am not impressed by their actions in moderator-only spaces and I am not impressed by this post on Meta. This is not an auspicious start for αλεχολυτ.

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    You've put my concerns I mentioned before into words very well... I don't understand how a moderator can be so argumentative over something as simple as signing a moderator agreement.
    – Cerbrus
    Apr 26, 2023 at 13:41
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    "SE staff then followed up by further restricting αλεχολυτ's access to these tools and spaces." Are you sure? Do you know it reliable? Who did it and why they did it before checking is there Agreement signed by me or not signed? Just based on the lack of my answer about that in chat? Nonsense! Apr 26, 2023 at 14:05
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    Sorry but I do not trust people with access to my PI just because some site elected them. The company should not give people access to anything mod-related until they fulfill all the requirements. Anything less than that is a violation of the published privacy agreement. Whether certain people are being annoying by delaying signing an agreement is irrelevant.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 26, 2023 at 16:33
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    @ColleenV Your comment seems to betray a fundamental misunderstanding of everything I said. No one is upset with αλεχολυτ for pointing out the existence of a security problem. I think that we all agree that knowing that the problem exists is a good thing. The problem is with the way in which αλεχολυτ decided to treat the community of moderators---had they come into the community and say "Hey, there is a problem here", we all would have been quite happy for the input. The problem is that they didn't do this, and they refused to answer simple questions about their own behaviour. Apr 26, 2023 at 18:53
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    There are two distinct issues here: (1) the existence of a security flaw (which nearly everyone agrees should be addressed), and (2) the way in which αλεχολυτ destroyed the trust that the rest of the moderator community has that αλεχολυτ will behave in a mature and responsible manner when it comes to the job of moderation. Apr 26, 2023 at 18:54
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    @ColleenV Who said that I expected αλεχολυτ to be my friend? I just want him to behave in a way that makes me trust that he isn't going to mess up the site... Apr 26, 2023 at 19:08
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    When did you trusting him become a requirement for being a moderator? I've been a woman in engineering for decades. I know exactly what "Why can't you just behave?" means. What exactly has he done that indicates he's untrustworthy? Have a bad attitude? Use the wrong tone of voice? Make things harder than they have to be for reasons you don't understand? Sometimes finding where things bend and where they break is the point.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 26, 2023 at 19:17
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    He's not attacking the site. He's clicking on things he's been given access to and asking questions. Implying that makes him unfit to handle flags is a bit over the top.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 26, 2023 at 19:20
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    @ColleenV Moderation on this site is all about trust. We have been elected by our communities to moderate inter-personal interaction, and have been given access to sensitive information. I would expect that everyone in this community would like the moderators to behave in a manner which indicates that the trust which has been placed in the moderators is well placed. And your comment that "He's clicking on things he's been given access to and asking questions" seems to intentionally ignore most of what I have said. Apr 26, 2023 at 19:22
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    By the way, you, @ColleenV, have indicated that trust is important: "Sorry but I do not trust people with access to my PI just because some site elected them." I agree entirely, which is why it was concerning that αλεχολυτ would not answer the question of whether or not they had signed the agreement. Let us presume that αλεχολυτ did not sign the agreement. You seem to agree that, in that case, they should not have access to moderator-only spaces and tools. So, how should the moderator community react? I think that the appropriate action is to remove access. Which is what was done. Apr 26, 2023 at 19:29
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    @ColleenV: He's been throwing around false accusations of power abuse, he's been deliberately rejecting explanations (by co-moderators) because, according to him, it's all just speculation (while mods can see if a mod signed the agreement), he's been passive aggressive, he's been deliberately misinterpreting SE writing... Basically he's been behaving exactly how you'd expect a mod not to behave. This could've been so simple, just a bug report. But no, he had to turn this into a whole "thing". So yea, I'd call it untrustworthy.
    – Cerbrus
    Apr 26, 2023 at 20:23
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    I mean, just look at this question, all of the relevant information he's left out...
    – Cerbrus
    Apr 26, 2023 at 20:24
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    Okay, just looking at the question, you're being vague about the subject you want to ask about and you're implying you're unaware of why you don't have access, while you're very well aware of why not. That dishonesty alone is reason enough to downvote this. Then, on the very first comment on here, you falsely claim that there is no proof you didn't sign the agreement. A claim you keep doubling down on despite being corrected...
    – Cerbrus
    Apr 26, 2023 at 22:12
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    @αλεχολυτ I don't think that anyone is suggesting that your access to moderator-only spaces was taken away because you had not signed the agreement. Rather, your access was taken away because you would not answer the question of whether or not you had signed the agreement, which created doubt in the minds of a large group of moderators regarding whether or not you should have access to those spaces. When faced with such doubt, the very reasonable default is to assume that you should not have access to those places until someone with greater knowledge and access can handle things. Apr 26, 2023 at 22:55
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    And yet again you're just propagating the problem, @αλεχολυτ. If you'd just say if you signed the agreement, and when, there'd be no problem, there'd be no confusion. But you're still being secretive about something this simple... Which leads me to believe you didn't actually sign the agreement. I mean, what other reason could you possibly have to not want to state that you signed it? You are making this difficult.
    – Cerbrus
    Apr 27, 2023 at 6:14
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Well - you fix the issue that resulted in you losing access to those spaces, and get in touch with the community team to regain such access.

I'd also point out there's no such list, it's generally based on common sense

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  • So may be we should even interpret the Agreement based on "common sense" instead of legal sense? Apr 26, 2023 at 11:31
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    There's dozens of mod tools - if bit of knowledge would be useful in evading a system restriction, say knowing exactly how to evade a serial voting check, its generally not discussed here. Others are quite obvious. Apr 26, 2023 at 11:33
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Access to moderator spaces, including your per-site mod room, the Teachers' Lounge, and the Stack Moderators Team is limited to active moderators who have signed the Moderator Agreement, because those locations contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and that data is strictly off-limits to anyone not bound by the Moderator Agreement.

Until the Community Team confirms that you have signed and are bound by the Moderator Agreement, your access to those spaces will be prevented.

Until that time, I would advise that you not post anything publicly about moderator tools or access; if you don't know what should remain confidential, then don't post anything. Once you have full moderator access (i.e. have signed the Agreement) you'll gain access to the Team and the relevant chat rooms where you can get clarification.

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  • Please see my comment on another answer. And here Apr 26, 2023 at 11:54
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    Access to the Moderator Team is controlled by staff and only staff; chat access is a bit more complicated.
    – Mithical
    Apr 26, 2023 at 11:55
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    In that case looks like the staff who can control the access to Moderator Team, has no ability to check whether the Agreement signed or not. Right? Is there a abuse of authority there? Apr 26, 2023 at 12:01
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    They should have full visibility of if you did. That said, if you accepted the agreement after you were removed, maybe give them a little time to check on these things? Apr 26, 2023 at 12:04
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    Your access to the Team was revoked around 21 hours ago, @αλεχολυτ, and it's a manual process. If you have since signed the agreement, someone from staff will grant you access again soon, but it's not instant.
    – Mithical
    Apr 26, 2023 at 12:05
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    @αλεχολυτ Anyone with mod privileges on your site can see if and when you accept the mod agreement — including staff. For example, on ELU, it says that I accepted the mod agreement for that site at 2022-03-29 20:57:57Z.
    – Laurel
    Apr 26, 2023 at 13:31
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    @Laurel Of course I know that. But did the people who deprived me of access to the chats and the Stack Moderators site have access to this information? This is a main question for me. Apr 26, 2023 at 13:54
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    @αλεχολυτ why dont you clarify the question or ask a new one then? Paint a bigger picture, explain your goals and concerns in conscience manner. Rather than continuing with this circus of "But did they? Did they??" which only digs you deeper )
    – Kromster
    Apr 27, 2023 at 8:46
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    THe community team is aware and in communication with OP - I'd say its worth giving some time for all the parties involved to sort it out Apr 27, 2023 at 9:17
  • @JourneymanGeek "THe community team is aware and in communication with OP" .... this is news for me. Are you talking about comment from slate or something else? Apr 27, 2023 at 14:55
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    Yes, I'm talking about that comment from Slate. You're going to likely have more luck emailing the CMs than complaining here at this point of things. Likewise - Its probably not really something random community members can solve in the comments Apr 27, 2023 at 14:58
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If you are a moderator you have access to the Teacher's Lounge chat and the private Moderator team. If you do not have access to these you are not a currently active moderator.

If you are eligible to be a moderator because you were appointed or elected, but do not have the diamond at the moment, you need to contact SE and finish the formalities so that they will grant you full moderator access.

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  • "If you are a moderator you have access to the Teacher's Lounge chat and the private Moderator team. " unfortunately it's a wrong assumption. I have a moderator access at ruSO, but currently I don't have access to chats and Stack Moderators. Apr 26, 2023 at 11:42
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    @αλεχολυτ you are not an active moderator at the moment, you know why. You need to contact SE and fix the underlying issue to become a full active moderator. Apr 26, 2023 at 11:43
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    Did you read my comment clearly? Currently I have a moderator access on ruSO. Apr 26, 2023 at 11:50
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    @αλεχολυτ without signing the agreement you are not an active moderator, the transition period is a bit weird maybe but you're intentionally breaking the process right now. If you actually signed the agreement now, just write the CMs an email and this will be fixed. If you didn't sign it yet, you're not a full moderator yet, no matter if you have the diamond visible or not, you do not have all mod abilities. Apr 26, 2023 at 11:54
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    What you would say if I lost the access to chats and private Mod Team after the signing the Agreement? Apr 26, 2023 at 12:04
  • Well all I can do is kick up a CM escalation for them to take a look. I don't have full visibility of the situation either Apr 26, 2023 at 12:09

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