It is difficult for me to write this. I regret suspending my activity in this way. However, I cannot continue at present with the ongoing situation and Stack Exchange's actions (or lack thereof).

I had hoped that the situation would be resolved. There has been plenty of time, and it doesn't seem that hard. The (second) apology appeared sincere and implied that this would quickly be sorted out. But as time continues to pass, I'm left with the impression the apology was really a stalling tactic in the hopes that this would blow over.

The status quo is untenable. The firing and subsequent treatment of Monica have been atrocious. No supporting information is publicly available. The issues revolve around a question asked on the moderators' teams site, and in a variety of conversations in a moderators-only chat room. I have read those and I cannot find anything that constitutes a clear violation of the then-existing code of contact. This seems to be a nearly consensus position among the moderators who have access to this information and who have examined it. There were also some emails that only Monica and SE employees have seen, but given the reliabilities of the two parties, it is hard to imagine there could be anything there that justifies how she has been treated.

The new CoC was to be discussed with the moderators before publishing. I couldn't find anything, nor had I heard anything, so I went looking. I found an old chat message with a link to a Google document with the text. I doubt more than a small percentage of the moderators contributed. I, and other moderators, argued that the language should be softened in specific ways to avoid the appearance of coerced speech. Those changes were made. When the new CoC was published, a FAQ was published alongside that doubled down on the coerced speech, nullifying our contribution. The moderators had not been aware of the FAQ before it went live on meta.SE.

There are older, festering problems, as well, including: the twitter-HNQ fiasco, the changing of the licensing, and the new ads.

That's all I can stands, and I can stands no more.

I want to make three things clear:

  1. I intend this status to be temporary. Although I haven't committed myself to a particular date, I won't remain as a (self) 'suspended' moderator indefinitely. At some point in the near future, I will either return to full moderator activities, or resign. Note that (yet another) promise has been made that things will move forward very soon.
  2. I continue to care about this community. It isn't easy for me to do this, but I simply cannot continue as though nothing is happening and thereby lend my tacit support. Even if I resign, I am not currently intending to boycott the site or delete my account.
  3. There are trans users on CV, and I stand with them. They should not be targeted, and they should not be made to feel unwelcome. Part of the tragedy of this is that SE is now a worse place for trans users than before (cf., 1 and 2). And yet, SE refuses to take action.

It is time for me to temporarily stand down.

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  • 23
    $\begingroup$ Is calling for new moderators at all appropriate when the self-suspension of two major moderators is an act pointing out that not all is sweet and rosy on SE..? The show must go on??? $\endgroup$ – Xi'an Oct 18 '19 at 7:43
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    $\begingroup$ There are a couple of sites without any moderators, and a number with only 1 or 2. There are a lot of objections, but SE is digging in its heels. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Oct 18 '19 at 11:24
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    $\begingroup$ I admit I haven't been following this at all. I basically use CrossValidated and, once in a while, English Language Learners (where I answer questions) or the big progaming site (where I ask them). I take part in almost none of the general community stuff. Looking over some of the linked threads, I find myself very confused - I am not at all clear who did what to whom or why. Is some sort of summary available? (@gung if you would like to write to me, off site, feel free). (more to come)... $\endgroup$ – Peter Flom Oct 18 '19 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Peter Ultimately this has nothing whatsoever to do with the LGBTQ+ community. It's about how SE (mis)treats its moderators. The quandary we are in is that moderators have no direct power over how SE runs: we cannot even freely post complaints because they can be (and sometimes are) taken down by the SE team. But if we withhold our services, as Glen_b and now Gung have done, the people most directly affected are the communities we moderate. One interesting proposal is a weekly day of silence. That might be an effective compromise. $\endgroup$ – whuber Oct 18 '19 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ (I should add that I just learned about the day of silence proposal, which is why you see me participating today, but will not hear from me again for at least 24 hours.) $\endgroup$ – whuber Oct 18 '19 at 13:23
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    $\begingroup$ @PeterFlom (and others). FYI, today is the first proposed day of silence ("No proposals, no questions, no answers, no discussion"). $\endgroup$ – mkt - Reinstate Monica Oct 18 '19 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ @PeterFlom This answer and others in the same thread attempt to summarize the timeline in as neutral a fashion as possible. Though it arguably leans too far towards treating SE's behaviour as reasonable by omitting some of the details around Monica's dismissal. $\endgroup$ – mkt - Reinstate Monica Oct 18 '19 at 13:54
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    $\begingroup$ Wow! The pronouns nonsense is getting into statistical field now. What a farce $\endgroup$ – Aksakal Oct 22 '19 at 20:43
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    $\begingroup$ I think that moderator resignations is not a strong enough action. They will ignore it but stalling and hoping things calm down. Much stronger impact will come from contributors who stop contributing, especially, the top contributors. That will hit them right where it hurts, and will bring their attention $\endgroup$ – Aksakal Oct 22 '19 at 20:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Aksakal, it mostly isn't about the pronouns. The aspect of coerced speech is troubling, & we're actually now working on that. The main issue is the way they have treated a moderator. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Oct 23 '19 at 0:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Aksakal This isn't the appropriate place to get into a full discussion, but I wanted to let you know that as a closeted trans person in the field, referring to this as "the pronouns nonsense" is exactly the kind of behavior that makes me feel unwelcome and afraid to come out. SE has certainly behaved very poorly and I don't at all begrudge people resigning/boycotting/etc because of that, but please be aware that the precipitating issue is something that affects probably more of your colleagues than you realize. $\endgroup$ – anon Oct 23 '19 at 2:08
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    $\begingroup$ @anon i also feel unwelcome by introduction of coerced speech $\endgroup$ – Aksakal Oct 23 '19 at 2:30
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    $\begingroup$ @anon I share not all but many of his and glen_b points. You’re right that the owners are not about to change anything. They dont want to cave in to member demands to set a precedent. That’s cool with me, it’s a private enterprise and they’re free to do what they want with their property. They won’t get my content from now on though. I like sharing and helping but there are other venues for me to keep doing it $\endgroup$ – Aksakal Oct 23 '19 at 3:08
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    $\begingroup$ Returning to the original post I want to flag how much -- enormous gratitude -- the community owes to @gung for moderation and more widely. This post has received less attention than that of Glen_b; I guess nothing more lies behind that than despair and weariness at this mess and a feeling that what can be said has already been put extremely well, often repeatedly. $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Oct 23 '19 at 7:17
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    $\begingroup$ I completely agree, @NickCox, and gung, what I said about Glen_b just as much applies to you. $\endgroup$ – Frans Rodenburg Oct 23 '19 at 8:01

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