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My profile was suspended on Math Stack Exchange for voting to close questions that lacked context and didn't show any attempt. Other users who also voted to close those questions were not suspended.

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So, I opened a ticket to appeal my suspension. The moderators' message for my suspension is:

"We notice that you have recently voted to close a number of older, well-received (i.e., highly upvoted) questions, most of which were written by the same person. While we encourage everyone to upvote great posts, and downvote or vote-to-close bad ones, the motivation for doing so needs to be anchored in the merits of the post, not the person who wrote it. Please refrain from targeting specific users when voting."

I replied to them with:

"Hello Moderators, I don't know what I did wrong this time. I read the FAQ of the sites using the Internet Archive from 2012. Those rules say we need to give some context, and all the posts I voted to close lack context, don't they? Correct me if I'm wrong. So I am just asking, what’s wrong with that? I only voted to close posts that lacked context. Please remove my suspension period since there is no fault on my part this time. And if you say I am targeting a specific user, that user was last active in 2021 and I just joined the community last year. I don't know them, so there is no reason for me to target a specific user."

They did not respond, maybe due to technical errors, so I messaged in the math-mods chatroom, but somehow my message got removed, maybe another technical problem, and I got suspended from the chatroom as well. So, I opened ticket, and the staff's response was:

"Hello martin-s,

The Moderators suspension was due to using a sockpuppet to game our systems. Since other users didn't violate the CoC, no suspension is required. While I understand the resolution was not what you expected, I can re-affirm the response given above and consider the matter closed. I believe that the moderators acted reasonably and their guidance was sound in this instance. Further replies to this ticket will not be monitored, and if you have a different matter you need help with, you can always raise a new ticket. New tickets for this specific situation will similarly be closed.

Regards, Emerson - Trust and Safety Team Community Manager"

It looks like they sent me someone else's ticket response.

Can any staff member clarify everything?

I am not requesting the removal of my suspension.

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  • @user1176409 I am suspended from both sites Commented Jun 22 at 5:17
  • 13
    "I read the FAQ of the sites using the Internet Archive from 2012." Why not the latest FAQ? Can you share the link of the FAQ which you read? Commented Jun 22 at 5:21
  • 6
    What was your username in the past? Was it martin-s? Commented Jun 22 at 5:43
  • 27
    I feel like posting a question here with "Mods and Staff Are Not Fair" really dosen't start us off on the right foot. Its very hard to assume good intent, when one comes in ascribing bad intent to others. Commented Jun 22 at 5:48
  • 10
    @ModsAndStaffAreNotFair Did you use sock puppet accounts? Commented Jun 22 at 5:48
  • 6
    @ModsAndStaffAreNotFair We are not having the entire context to dissect your case. Only Math SE mods and staff can do it. I hope the Math SE mods respond to your questions here. Commented Jun 22 at 5:56
  • 8
    "Those rules say we need to give some context" There are no rules on that page, only advice. Advice is very different than rules.
    – Ryan M
    Commented Jun 22 at 8:35
  • 3
    @ModsAndStaffAreNotFair It's not clear why you're linking to the on-topic page in the help center, which doesn't say anything about context being required, or, in fact, anything at all about context. Could you explain?
    – Ryan M
    Commented Jun 22 at 9:13
  • 7
    @ModsAndStaffAreNotFair You are clearly responding to something other than what I'm saying, to the point that it appears as though you're willfully misreading what I said. I decline to engage any further in this.
    – Ryan M
    Commented Jun 22 at 9:45
  • 7
    You voted to close old, existing questions? Why? And you know others did too? But if the questions haven’t actually been closed, you wouldn’t know who those other voters are, and so you wouldn’t know that they haven’t also been suspended for the same behavior. Unless they’re your sock puppets, of course. Commented Jun 22 at 11:11
  • 7
    So "martin-s" is your former username, before you changed it to "Mods And Staff Are Not Fair", but the support message addressed to "martin-s" is meant for "someone else"? I'm sorry, but I'm having a hard time understanding how that can possibly be the case.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jun 22 at 11:28
  • 2
    @ModsAndStaffAreNotFair If the support message is addressed to your own former username, what makes you think it's not addressed to you? Even if you claim that you're not guilty of sockpuppeting (on this occasion) as the message alleges, surely that would be the simpler and more sensible argument as opposed to "they meant to send that to someone else who just so happens to have the same username as me"?
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jun 22 at 12:00
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    I like to keep things simple. So what happened is that you targeted a specific user, and this is not allowed. Suspension is justified, period. Commented Jun 22 at 12:22
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    Don't go around closing all the user's posts, this will be interpreted as a personal attack. If you find that there are problems with a specific user's posts, write down the links, and in just one of these posts flag a personalized mod message informing the problem and links to the posts with problems. Commented Jun 22 at 14:32
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    @ModsAndStaffAreNotFair you are going in circles and refuse to understand what you're doing wrong. The only result of this, is that you'll just get suspended again after your current suspension will be over, and it is a pity because you do appear to be smart and can contribute a lot to Stack Exchange. Commented Jun 23 at 8:46

1 Answer 1

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I'd be concerned if the community manager made a error like that but we lack full context and community managers can see cross voting and such. There may be more context that a community manager can see than a moderator, If there was also socking involved - it might be the case. Otherwise, well its something that the community team should review internally and do better about.

Focusing on the suspension as given one of the goals of a suspension is to disrupt a problem behavior, inform a user that its a problem and get them to understand the problem

I don't get math much but I understand the network. I feel like the mods are being very clear about what's the issue - you are closevoting inappropriately, and while you believe that there's insufficient context they, and presumably others in the community disagree. There might also have been targetted voting - even if you don't know the user, you could be voting to close a disproportionate number of their posts.

They did not respond, maybe due to technical errors, so I messaged in the math-mods chatroom, but somehow my message got removed, maybe another technical problem, and I got suspended from the chatroom as well. So, I opened ticket, and the staff's response was:

Or there was nothing else to say, and well, sometimes people can get pretty annoying demanding attention to their problem, sometimes even sealioning

Lets consider what we see here. We have a user called "Mod and Staff Are Not Fair" contesting a suspension, and both not requesting the removal of a suspension (of a somewhat unusual length) and questioning it, while asking about what feels like an entirely unrelated question where no one has context.

I think the important point here is

I can re-affirm the response given above and consider the matter closed. I believe that the moderators acted reasonably and their guidance was sound in this instance.

I also wonder if this was the last email of a thread. Nonetheless, unless you take the effort to caliberate your expectations on "context", and really appropriate interactions with others, I suspect the suspensions will continue.

Its not going to be an onerous request not to closevote questions by a specific user, to hold off on overenthusiastic closures for lack of context and/or otherwise spend your time in more constructive ways. If there were no socks - and I trust that the reply from the community managers was sent in good faith, well its irrelevant. The rest of the reply however is worth heeding.

At this point - well, you've apparently spent a good chunk of moderator and staff time on the subject. Perhaps it is a good idea to look back at what could have gone wrong, and try to be a better citizen of the network. The equine is quite dead - and I feel like any amount of flagellation is unlikely to revive it.

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  • I don't agree with your statement that other members did not think the questions lacked context. Here are the questions I voted to close: 1. math.stackexchange.com/q/281406/1298448 2. math.stackexchange.com/q/869042/1298448 3. math.stackexchange.com/q/292379/1298448 4. math.stackexchange.com/q/272909/1298448 Be honest, do you think the above questions lack context or not? Commented Jun 22 at 5:54
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    Very honestly I have nowhere nearly enough knowledge of Math to answer that. We're not here to argue the validity of the close votes or the suspension are we? Commented Jun 22 at 5:56
  • It looks like you didn't read the whole question. I was the first to vote to close the above questions, but other users also voted to close them. Why was I the only one who got suspended? Commented Jun 22 at 5:57
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    "I am not requesting the removal of my suspension here; I need clarification on the closure of my ticket." I did. Did you? You did say you weren't contesting the suspension... Commented Jun 22 at 5:58
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    @ModsAndStaffAreNotFair every single one of the links you gave in that comment were for the same user. In your opinion they might require context (and perhaps in the opinion of others), but it does very much suggest (whether true, or not) that you've worked your way down the "Questions" list on that users profile, ergo "Please refrain from targeting specific users when voting". That, as the messaging said, contributed to the reason you were suspended
    – Rob
    Commented Jun 22 at 6:00
  • @JourneymanGeek Yes, you are right, but you said something wrong: "I feel like the mods are being very clear about what's the issue - you are closevoting inappropriately, and while you believe that there's insufficient context, they, and presumably others in the community disagree. There might also have been targeted voting." I was correcting you: the mods are not right this time. Commented Jun 22 at 6:01
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    I mean, if that's the attitude you want to take, this'll keep happening. You've literally admitted to targetting voting - justifying it as "I didn't know the user", posted 4 posts by the same user you said you voted on, admitted to socking... and we're somehow expected to believe you're correct? Commented Jun 22 at 6:05
  • 10
    To answer your persistent question: when you cast a close-vote on a question the question goes into a review queue. The other users who you are trying to claim are as at fault at you will have seen the question in review. They have not targetted anyone; they have been asked to evaluate the question through the review queues. This could be reasonably described as 'abusing the review process' if you were so inclined.
    – postmortes
    Commented Jun 22 at 7:05
  • 1
    "I started by finding low-quality posts from the highest score page, which led me to the same user's questions consecutively" - no it didn't Commented Jun 22 at 10:27
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    The first one is on page 62 and the next one is on page 115. Since when is 115 consecutive to 62? Commented Jun 22 at 10:29
  • 1
    Something doesn't add up (pun intended). Commented Jun 22 at 10:30
  • 11
    "Before I could vote to close other similar questions from different users" Going through a list of questions from the same user is targeting a user & is not allowed. It doesn't matter what the posts were like or what else you were doing or planning to do.
    – philipxy
    Commented Jun 22 at 10:53
  • 2
    "In case we accept" - that "we" would be you and your socks, right? It certainly doesn't include the rest of us. Commented Jun 22 at 12:35
  • 1
    @ModsAndStaffAreNotFair I could see why the mods thought your votes were suspicious, seeing that all 4 questions are in fact authored by the same user. I would suggest not voting to close too many questions by the same user, or they will have reason to believe that you are targeted voting them.
    – CPlus
    Commented Jun 22 at 19:11
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    These close votes were discussed in the mods’ math office chat here Commented Jun 22 at 21:53

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