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As we know, there is a call for a strike from the moderators on the entire network. I support the moderators.

It occurred to me, perhaps a little late, that my participating on the site as usual — upvoting, downvoting and answering — may undermine the strike.

Should regular users like me actively support the moderators, take action and call for a strike as well?

After all, without playing down the indispensable work of the moderators: We are the real assets. A site consisting increasingly of unmoderated bad posts, AI answers and trolls is worthless. Users are what the owners are after. A user strike would really hurt.

Edit: The answers indicate that indeed, users are welcome and even encouraged to abstain from active participation. The strategy appears to have an effect: enter image description here

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  • 68
    Please do. There are currently 1339 signatories of the strike letter, of whom only 121 are diamond moderators.
    – terdon
    Jun 19, 2023 at 9:17
  • 3
    I would say it's up to you. While I support the mods strike, I feel bad looking at the spam posts (it was a difficult night for me on MSE yesterday). So I chose not to sign the letter. Jun 19, 2023 at 9:18
  • 39
    Honestly it annoys me too, but... We're not doing it because its easy for us, because what we'd end up with is potentially worse Jun 19, 2023 at 9:31
  • 42
    Some of us used to be pretty much full-time anti-spam before the strike. It would be nice to see more spam on the sites, because that would be an obvious demonstration even to the least SO-literate of the managers of what the community handled for them before the strike.
    – tripleee
    Jun 19, 2023 at 9:44
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    To make @tripleee's perspective here clear: they are one of the primary maintainers of Charcoal's anti-spam SmokeDetector bot. In particular, they more-or-less single-handedly maintain the IP- and DNS-related detection rules, in addition to writing and maintaining other detection rules. SmokeDetector, an entirely community-run project, is one of the network's main defenses against spam.
    – Ryan M
    Jun 19, 2023 at 9:47
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    We’re several non-moderators that have helped write the letter, MSE posts, software for the letter, compiling lists of, stuff, related to the strike, etc, so, the strike is most definitely not only for moderators. I’m participating on my own terms; not just in support for the moderators. I’m also displeased with SE. SE also has to convince me, for me to return from the strike; not just the moderators. Jun 19, 2023 at 11:43
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    I started posting my questions on an alternative website. Jun 19, 2023 at 14:09
  • 7
    potentially related is the question of 'should users engage in intentionally disruptive behavior to make the moderation strike more visible' (i.e. voting reverse of what's proper, or submitting low-quality edits to fill up queues). in my view that's a very clear "no" because that's going too far, but I've seen a few suggestions of it in other threads. (think it's worth emphasizing that the strike open letter does not encourage this and it weakens the negotiating case if users are seen as disruptive rather than constructive)
    – Kaia
    Jun 19, 2023 at 20:02
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    what do you mean by "regular user"? Do you mean striking on asking questions and writing answers? Because sure, you can do that. It's up to you. You can even tell your friends to do that, or broadcast a call to action to do that on all your social media platforms. Also up to you.
    – starball
    Jun 19, 2023 at 21:02
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    I think it's perhaps too late to strike, nobody listens and the leadership of SO have completely derailed. Looking at the laughable "formatting assistant" experiment, I can't come to any other conclusion than that SO is a lost cause - the company doesn't know a thing about its own products any longer. Trying to communicate with the random fresh recruits that are apparently now run the network isn't going to work because they don't even understand what the network is for. Instead they have started some crusade to replace human intelligence in the company with artificial lack of intelligence.
    – Lundin
    Jun 20, 2023 at 8:13
  • @Lundin Tangential, but I like that: "ALI". Nice. Jun 20, 2023 at 10:00
  • "Should you"? Depends on you. All moderation activities by users/moderators are voluntary. You don't have to do any moderation regardless of strike. But what is it exactly about? Do you support the extreme length that some users are going here regarding AI, that is, banning any post that contains any kind of AI? Or do you support the more logical view of responsible AI use where users should be allowed to choose any tool they want, AI or not, to produce their posts, as long as it's not vandalism and actually useful to the end user?...
    – user13267
    Jun 21, 2023 at 2:45
  • ...Or is this just about showing solidarity to those who want to strike, regardless of whatever they are striking about? It's your choice to make. All actions that you want to consider doing (or in this case not doing) is voluntary. You can always not do voting/reviewing/editing etc. regardless of strike. But if your aim is to just cause maximum damage to SE as shown in your last line ("A user strike would really hurt.") not posting anything (questions/answers/comments) will probably be effective. If a post goes viral (has lots of view/votes, etc)...
    – user13267
    Jun 21, 2023 at 2:45
  • ...its only driving user interest and ultimately traffic to the site. If your goal is to just really hurt SE best option would be to not interact and visit the site at all. Your choice in the end. It's a free voluntary site.
    – user13267
    Jun 21, 2023 at 2:45
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    I would not read too much into Stack Overflow questions being left without votes or answers. It was often like that before the strike too. Jun 25, 2023 at 17:17

3 Answers 3

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+50

Indeed, the majority of the signatories to the open letter are already non-moderators who decided to join the strike to support the moderators and join in the action to hopefully get Stack Overflow, Inc. to listen to the community.

As of right now, around 1,200 out of the 1,346 total signatures are by regular users who are not moderators, former moderators, or former staff. (The number is not precise because the marking of former moderators and staff is a voluntary and manual process, so a few "regular" users aren't really, but the number is quite low.)

The open letter is the canonical resource, and includes a FAQ with a question about this precise topic; but in brief, you can decide to participate by signing the open letter (though this is of course not mandatory, if you wish not to do that for some reason) and abstaining from actions of content moderation on the sites you participate on.

In other words, this is a moderation strike, not a "moderator" strike. Everyone who has some sort of moderation privileges (vote up, down, close, delete, etc) can participate.

Many users have restricted their moderation activities to only the meta sites, so that we can help keep the discussions about the strike civil and focused.

As for "should" you, that's obviously totally up to you. If you support the strike, by all means, you are most welcome to join.

Asking and answering questions is not strictly speaking acts of moderation, though you might also want to consider abstaining from these activities - if you have doubts about the site's future, after all, perhaps contributing to its collection of user-generated content is also something you want to pause.

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    Actually there are few former staff members who appear as ordinary users, either due to not asking to get empty diamond, or those who should put the empty diamond taking long time to do that. I know for certain about two, likely there are more. (No big deal, just nitpicking.) Jun 19, 2023 at 10:45
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    @ShadowWizardStrikesBack Thanks; updated the exposition.
    – tripleee
    Jun 19, 2023 at 10:48
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    @ShadowWizardStrikesBack Feel free to ping me in a chat room with a list of former staff members who should get hollow diamonds. I know the people to contact to make this happen. Thanks! Jun 20, 2023 at 6:13
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    Call me naive or just plain dumb, but as a regular user it never occurred to me that a simple vote was a form of moderation, and yet it absolutely is one.
    – SolarBear
    Jun 21, 2023 at 19:43
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Yes, absolutely. The strike letter itself has a section on how non-mods can help out. To quote from there:

Even if you are not a moderator you can participate in the strike by:

  • Not voting on posts
  • Not submitting edits
  • Not reviewing in the review queues
  • Not commenting
  • Not flagging posts

In the end, much of the moderation is normally done by the community itself (not mods). So yes, they welcome, encourage, and understand it to be crucial that normal users go on strike.

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TL;DR: Yes.


We have used "moderator" to refer to pro-tempore and community moderators but the community is who, in normal conditions, does moderation: registered users that have earned moderation privileges due to their participation based on the Stack Overflow / Stack Exchange reputation system.

The moderation strike is a call to all users with moderation privileges to stop using such privileges until Stack Exchange Inc. corrects very specific false statements and procedural violations as specified in the open letter and the update post posted by the elected moderation strike representatives.

Disclaimer: I'm a community moderator on Web Applications Stack Exchange (Webapps) and +30k rep and gold tag holder on Stack Overflow.

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