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 sorry” apologies 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.
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.