I have been trying to write this post for weeks. This is not the magnum opus that I hoped it would be, but it will have to suffice. I have resigned as moderator of English Language Learners effective today and I won’t be contributing to Stack Exchange (SE) until the company stops being evil. Deciding to leave has been difficult, mostly because I really enjoy the ELL community and working with the other people on the moderation team.

Some of you may be aware that a respected moderator of six different SE sites was removed abruptly from her moderator position on all six sites purportedly for violating the Code of Conduct, although I have seen no evidence of behavior that would merit such a severe action. You can find out more about that in her post on Meta: Stack Overflow is doing me ongoing harm; it's time to fix it!.

From my perspective, Monica was unfairly singled out when others’ behavior was just as bad or worse. Then, the consequences of the violation far exceeded what would be expected based on written policy and past actions. The unethical icing on the cake was breaking with long standing policy to publicly humiliate and defame the person being punished. In response to the backlash from the community, multiple “sorry, not sorryapologies were posted. One equated revoking Monica’s moderator privileges without explanation and maligning her in public with unsubstantiated accusations as “shipping at 6 PM on Friday”. Someone seems to have forgotten that there is a real person on the other side of the screen. A statement was made that SE was not interested in “relitigating the past”, which seems an odd thing to say when there wasn’t any due process followed in the first place. I can’t in good conscience associate with people who treat other people that way, especially when they seem to think the only thing they did wrong was time it badly.

I am not resigning because of the changes to the Code of Conduct. There is nothing required that this community isn’t already doing, which is being welcoming and respectful toward everyone. The ELL community is one of the most helpful and friendly communities on the Internet and I hope it will stay that way. I have enjoyed being a part of this community and I have learned a lot from both the askers and answerers. I know not everyone is sad to see me go; if it were otherwise, I’d think that maybe I didn’t do enough of the hard but necessary things being a moderator requires. I am sorry that Snailcar, Em. and Maulik are going to be stuck with more work. It’s been a pleasure working with them and an honor serving this community.

Be excellent to each other.

I will retain my diamond until elections can be held (probably in January) just in case the remaining moderators need some emergency backup.

I am happy that Monica was able to reach a settlement with Stack Exchange. That doesn’t change the things that caused me to no longer want to participate on Stack Exchange sites. If anything, the company’s statement about that agreement makes me more confident that I made the right decision. The inability to acknowledge that it was wrong to demod Monica and sincerely and unreservedly apologize for it is a foreshadowing of future issues that I don’t want to be around for.

  • 29
    Thank you for all you have done to support the ELL community, the broader community, and your fellow moderators. I'm sorry your efforts fell on deaf ears at SE. :-( Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 15:38
  • 9
    I'm sorry that ELL has lost a fair-minded, intelligent, patient, and dedicated moderator. I'm even sorrier that you have left because you no longer like nor trust upper management. You have been fantastically important in the campaign to reinstate Monica and getting the company to see sense but only one site counts for them, and that's Stack Overflow.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 7:51
  • 2
    I'm sorry to see you leave. Had I known you were considering this move, I would have advised you against it. Having gone down this path myself, I can tell you that all it does is remove any remaining influence you might still have with the corporation. Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 16:17
  • 12
    @RobertHarvey I appreciate that. I have only stayed this long because I felt obligated to try to drag SE away from the dark side. It’s apparent to me from discussion in the moderator-only spaces that further effort is a waste of my time. Stack Overflow is headed exactly the direction management wants it to go. They don’t care about anything that is not SO or users who aren’t developers (unless they’re in a marginalized group worth virtue points), and I would like to enjoy the holidays with my family instead of annoying pigs :)
    – ColleenV
    Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 17:05
  • 18
    It might interest you to know that I asked for reinstatement a couple of weeks ago, and was told I was banned from returning as a moderator for one year due to the suspension I received on Meta. I haven't lost any sleep over it; I told them I wouldn't be asking for reinstatement again. Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 17:18
  • 1
    I too am deeply saddened by this turn of affairs. So far as I'm concerned, you really have been one of the very best moderators on ELL. If even you can't fit in, what hope is there for awkward bastards like me? Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 19:47
  • 6
    Thank you Monica, Mari-Lou, Robert, and FumbleFingers - Online it's sometimes difficult to know whether you have had a real impact or if it's all just "Internet points". I feel like the cops in the Pirates of Penzance during When the Foeman Bares his Steel; I keep saying I'm going to go but I seem be be having trouble actually doing it. (Yes, Yes, I go! But you don't go!)
    – ColleenV
    Commented Nov 28, 2019 at 0:21
  • 6
    A policeman's lot is not a nappy one. You have been everything one can hope for in a moderator: effective, patient and good-humoured. ... But I'm afraid you're right. I was hoping the grownups in the room would bring The Corp to its senses--jeeze, all it had to do was say "Hey, we did something stupid, but we're going to undo it". Guess not, and the ship is deserting the sinking rats. Enjoy your family. Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 1:49
  • Hey Colleen, I'm sorry to learn of things coming to this point. You've hold up long enough. Anyway. If I may, please refer to the comment I left to S.R.'s post here. The invitation is also extended to you. I'm sure our team would be glad to have you with us.
    – Marc.2377
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 23:33
  • @ColleenV I wanted to say thanks for the bounty. I see you are giving bounties on Meta left and right. Are you planning to delete your Meta account, like Robert Harvey just did? Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 21:07
  • @Mari-LouA I guess I have plenty of good company in penalty box ;) Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 21:09
  • 2
    Q177 has been deleted @DalijaPrasnikar I suppose we'd better not post any further comments. Sigh... I'm sure every comment posted by every suspended user is monitored by an app or programme.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 21:32
  • 2
    @DalijaPrasnikar No, I don’t see any reason to delete any of my accounts. I’m not as active as I once was, and I don’t really need the reputation on Meta for anything so I might as well spend it :) Besides, even if I’m not active, I would like to keep my profile around with information about how Monica was treated.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 16:34
  • 1
    I am glad you are staying. Too many people had left one way or the other. Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 18:59
  • 4
    @DalijaPrasnikar I wouldn’t say I’m staying, I’m just not disassociating myself from my past contributions or giving up my ability to moderate ELL until there is a replacement for me. I purposefully held off on making the decision to stop contributing until I let go of the anger so I would act out of a sense of what is right and fair (for me, for ELL, and for the other ELL moderators). I accept that the people whose actions made me not want to contribute any longer will not notice my absence, and nothing I do will change that, so there’s no point in making a stink as I leave.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Dec 16, 2019 at 17:26


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