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To trigger this process, a moderator must send a “Community Emergency” report through the Contact Form detailing:

  • The exact nature of the situation that has violated the Moderator Agreement;

  • Which part of the Moderator Agreement has been violated;

  • Anything that must be retracted and nullified;

  • The username of at least 15 moderators who sign the petition (their signatures will be accepted in good faith without needing them to confirm individually unless one of those whose name appears protests, in which case all signatures will be verified). In the case of a petition with fewer than 15 signatures, the matter will be closed without further need to follow this process.

If moderators so desire, a second backup copy of the petition may be emailed to the executive in charge of the Community Management team (as of the time of writing, Philippe Beaudette, VP Community, [email protected]) although the petition “of record” is the one sent via community emergency, which must be received for this process to be enacted. A petition sent only to the community executive will not be sufficient to begin the process.

Upon receipt, Stack will have seven business days (based upon the ordinary business days observed by Stack, that is, excluding weekends and observed US holidays, made available to Moderators) to post the entire petition to the Moderator Team alongside their reasoning for why the situation does not violate the Moderator Agreement or their concession that the Moderator Agreement has been violated. This post will be featured to all moderators (for example by using the orange diamond notification). At this time, Stack will post the total, deduplicated number of active moderators (“Total Moderator Count”) for use in calculating the vote percentages enumerated below.

If Stack concedes that it has violated the Moderator Agreement, it must post a public apology in no less than 30 days, including language that will immediately, upon posting, fully retract and nullify any actions outlined in the petition. If it does not, then it will provide two answers: one for the moderators to vote that Stack has violated the Moderator Agreement and one for moderators to vote that Stack has not violated the Moderator Agreement. Each moderator may upvote one of the answers; downvotes will be ignored. Stack employees are not allowed to vote, and no electioneering, lobbying, or questions may take place on either of the two designated answers, though discussion and questions may happen in other spaces (such as on a different question or answer). Voting will be open for ten business days.

Once the ten business days pass, if at least 20% of the Total Moderator Count (as designated at the beginning of the process) have voted and a minimum of 90% of the voting moderators agree that a violation has occurred, Stack will retract and nullify the actions outlined in the petition and post a public explanation and apology to the Meta Stack Exchange site.

However, if less than 20% of the Total Moderator Count (as designated at the beginning of the process) vote or less than 90% of the voting moderators agree that a violation has occurred, then no action from Stack is required or expected.

In the event of questions or challenges regarding this process or the execution of it, Stack will endeavor to honor both the letter and the spirit of this process and will move to take corrective action where necessary to correct a manifest wrong, but reserves the right to determine that the process has been fairly completed, once all steps have been completed. Such questions or challenges should be directed to the community executive (at the time of posting, Philippe Beaudette, VP-Community, [email protected]) by email. Acknowledgment of receipt will be sent.

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    Should the reference to "the Moderator Team" be corrected to "the Stack Moderators Teams instance", to match the phrasing in the updated Moderator Agreement? (I also edited the post to add the [moderator-agreement] and [moderators] tags; I hope that's okay. ...Should this post also have a policy lock?)
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jul 8 at 21:54
  • @V2Blast I'd wonder if "the Stack Moderators Stack Overflow for Teams instance" would be more proper, per the Stack Overflow writing guide. It is, however, more words and would be inconsistent with the mod agreement unless that was changed too.
    – cocomac
    Commented Jul 9 at 1:35
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    "Side" issue might be to have a commitment to have the current community executive . Also, bus factor would be a thing here - lets hope it dosen't happen, but if you or your future successor be indisposed for a extended period, "or designated stand in" or similar language would ensure whoever's covering the role can step in. Commented Jul 9 at 2:03

5 Answers 5

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Tl;dr there may be ambiguity if two moderators have the exact same username.


The username of at least 15 moderators who sign the petition (their signatures will be accepted in good faith without needing them to confirm individually unless one of those whose name appears protests, in which case all signatures will be verified). In the case of a petition with fewer than 15 signatures, the matter will be closed without further need to follow this process.

Emphasis added by me (cocomac), not present in original post

That part might be problematic if two different moderators had the same username but only one signed it. I.e., this hypothetical would be problematic. John Doe represents the name of a sample mod.

  1. John Doe (#1) signs the petition.
  2. It reaches 20 signatures.
  3. John Doe (#2, so a different mod with the same name) sees their name and protests.

Scrolling through the list of mods, I see at least three cases of different mods with the exact same username and capitalization (Chris, Daniel, and rob).

Can something be added to the effect of if two mods have the exact same username, something must be included to specify which one(s) signed? An SE user ID# or profile ID# might work here.

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it must post a public apology in no less than 30 days

I'm not a native English speaker, but this sounds like it was intended to be "no more than" instead.

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    You've foiled their cunning plot! (/s, of course; this was clearly just a mistake)
    – Ryan M
    Commented Jul 9 at 9:00
  • @RyanM is it? I'm really not sure. Looks more like hoping nobody will notice then when they'll not post "apology", they can say "But see, that's what we said here". Commented Jul 9 at 11:43
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    @ShadowWizard If their goal was truly a nefarious plot to be able to say "Gotcha!", then I don't think they would've gone to the trouble of creating the agreement in the first place.
    – zcoop98
    Commented Jul 9 at 16:05
  • @zcoop98 but they already did. If that was a mistake, why aren't they fixing it? Best case, because they just don't monitor this discussion even a tiny bit, worst case because I'm correct. Commented Jul 10 at 7:18
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What exactly is meant by "active moderators"? Does this include moderators who have done nothing more than log into the site at least once every six months? Moderators who don't even use the Stack Moderators Teams instance?

Also, 90% consensus seems to be unnecessarily strict. Between that and the 15 moderator requirement to even start the process, not to mention the fact that all discussion takes place behind closed doors, the whole process really seems stacked to the Company's benefit for all but the most egregiously obvious violations.

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While this does not really concern me (not a mod) I am a little confused by this attempt at a policy that looks like it is trying too much to be a wildcard exception handler.

As far as my understanding goes, a report can have three possible outcomes.

  • Company concedes
  • Company not concedes but "at least 20% of the Total Moderator Count have voted and a minimum of 90% of the voting moderators agree" -> Company is forced to concede if it wants to hold to the policy
  • Company not concedes and the quota is not meet. Game Over.

I do not understand if this policy is also attempting to silently hand-wave an agreement to only resolve issues thru this process in what looks like an extended version of the hated Arbitration clause that already caused quite a mess some time ago.

Looking for example at the Moderator Agreement available here:

Stack agrees that it will:

  • Respect your privacy per the terms of the Privacy Policy
  • Get your explicit written permission before commenting to any media

Note how the first point covers a scenario that probably overlaps with any applicable PII protection laws (so for example GDPR for EU based mods).

I am pretty confused on the outcomes here.

  • if the violation concerns any legal requirement - either because the Company violated existing laws (defamatory acts against mods, data breaches etc) or because the agreement is legally binding on its contents (it is?? Is the company legally bound to respect its own agreement??) then I doubt the company can do much else than concede and I certainly expect it can't try to shrug off the issue and walk away after committing an illegal act just because "less than 90% of the votes agreed"

  • if the violation isn't covered by any law nor the agreement is legally binding (which I realize is a pleonasm since if the agreement is binding then breaking it is a lawn violation) then the entire procedure looks like a gentleman agreement at best, which imho is... totally empty since as such it only exists until both sides agree to the terms. And if the company does not want to concede (a premise for the vote to even take place) it simply has to not agree to the same agreement anymore and skip the vote altogether.

.... Am I missing something here?

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    The agreement is legally binding; it's a contract.
    – Ryan M
    Commented Jul 9 at 11:44
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Each moderator may upvote one of the answers; downvotes will be ignored.

What happens if I decide that watching the world burn is more fun than democracy, so I go ahead and upvote both answers? How will my vote be counted?

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    SE staff can look at the full voting record. They do this on main public sites when a mod escalates a voting fraud issue. Commented Jul 9 at 3:00

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