On a current event in a commercial forum, widely managed by volunteer moderators


Remark: I thought this post would be more appropriate in something like category “Lounge” because I understand this most prominently as material for selfstudy for (volunteer) moderators like we have them here, and not as entry for solidarity/controverse discussion. But unfortunately currently I have no acces to the “Lounge”.

I'd like to link to an event in another much volunteers-driven community in which I am involved for many years and which is large enough to be worth to be looked at at this moment. First part should be the link to an open letter of a fairly big group of moderators criticizing a sensable shift of the *company* away of the *community*, culminating currently in the attempt to *retroactively* change the copyright of the user-contributions and also in the mindless sacking of a year-long well-reputated moderator. When I followed the various posts and comments with the very large range of perspectives I thought this would be first-class training material for all volunteer-moderators in open internet fora with large part of self-organization: so in this forum as well.

For a first read this msg of the suddenly fired moderator in several sections Monica Chellio might be an eyeopener: Stack Overflow Inc., sinat chinam, and the goat for Azazel - Mi Yodeya Meta There are links to further material and especially to her own blog.

A somewhat different perspective was expressed in this msg in my “home”-section “mathematics” again with lots of links and further comments in all controversy: Firing mods and forced relicensing: sudden changes at SE - Mathematics Meta Stack Exchange and also Firing mods and forced relicensing: is Stack Exchange still interested in cooperating with the community? - Meta Stack Exchange

The third link where I stepped in was this letter-of-moderators to the company of, say 130 moderators (see the diamonds at the names of the signators Dear Stack Exchange, Inc.). As said above, this letter happened to occur shortly before the “firing”-incident (and was only updated recently). And since the rocks are currently rolling, this shall also be specific valuable material: likely showing how a company handles its own community-approach/-promise by their current and upcoming answers/statements/press-releases .

As I already said above: I don’t understand my posting here as call for contribution but only as live-material pointed to for the (quiet) self-study - maybe if you are yourself a moderator or at least an engaged and spirited member of such a self-organized community.


If you go to your profile you’ll notice your trust level is currently “member” You must be “Regular” to access the lounge


Ah, thank you, Venerable. I was looking for that information in some help-pages but could not discover it today (monthes earlier I could find that but forgot the precise information about it).

Additionally, please: what do you think: should I post my intended post in Watercooler or some else category?


For that, you’ll need the advice of the moderators of this lovely forum — an august and courageous group of individuals of which I (thankfully!) am not a member! :joy:


I think that you made a good choice in placing your post in the Watercooler.

It looks like quite a lot of material to peruse and as I’m afraid I may not have time to do so I’d be grateful to hear what your takeaway from it is.

Re trust levels, the forum software has algorithms that regulate our levels depending on the amount of time we spend in the forum and the type of actions we perform. I don’t know the actual details, but an obvious example would be a user who receives a lot of negative flags for unskillful posts failing to progress, and vice versa. Hope that helps.


Hey Gillian, thanks for your answer. Well, the “lounge” problem has been resolved, I just had forgot that dynamical association and dissociation of that access-privilege. No more problem with this.

The other point: I don’t think I’ll extract much from that current controversy myself; my current attitude is just studying how this occured, how this escalates, and what are some edge-arguments in the comments. It needs a certain sort of mental power to convert my rational and emotional impressions into rational and leveled expressions here, and I feel not powerful enough in this regard currently. But I can say so much as I have for some years now an inner vision of dark, dark clouds over our worldwide society, expecting big destruction, war, social disruption and loss of community interests&abilities in general - and such an amount of live-material as already present in the current event requires really serious study and collection of foreground and background information. Thus I thought it might rather be interesting four you mods here as a selfstudy textmaterial or even for a weekend-workshop about mediating social-forum shifts, controversies and even desperations.

In another word: I simply feel a bit tired of that processes and of the compassionate pain of the frequent struggle for not losing faith as documented by several individuals involved. But let’s see, perhaps I’ll get fresh mental impulse timely enough, then perhaps I’ll drop some more concrete.


Thanks for the info. In the last couple of days, the SE CTO has offered an apology:


No need … I took a little while this evening and had a look at the material. My reaction was a sense of relief that our community is so much smaller, and Dhamma-centred. Moderating ain’t always easy (!) but we are able to be supportive of each other and to feel supported by those above us and by the wider community around us. I can’t conceive of a moderator going uncounselled or being summarily dismissed on D&D.

It’s good to see that they are taking steps to resolve things.


I should perhaps add at least two things at the moment.

First: it made my heart softening in this hard matter to see/read how many people contributed in a measured, leveled tone their concern, opposition, historical accounts and still share high ethics and take decisive stands; many of the contributors are very experienced, have been sometimes over 10 years active moderators. So this is a very nice resource to learn (or simply: remember!) how to handle even antagonistic conflict civilized.

Second: for me, after having followed the eruptions and then management’s answers, media- and press-releases in the Rigpa, Shambala and Triratna organizations it is interesting to see here, how the management handles its part of the problems - may it be by press-information or by short or more lengthy apologies and promises of better behave in future - and how their measures are resonating in the communicating individuals. Even for the second “apology” (D. Fullerton) there are thoughtful comments and prognoses.

Two messages from those contributions, which touched me most, but might not easily be found by interested readers when browsing the material, may be pointed to here. That of the “Christianity” and “biblicalHermeneutics” moderator brothers I must go (see the remark at the end of this msg), and that of the “Crossvalidated” (=statistics) moderator moderator-resignation. They give a long but clear meditation on what to do when the employer changes path and begins to conflige with one’s own volunteering activity and the ideals it is based on.

Surely the Buddha in his discourses has not been the first, or the last, to say that “with what your mind frequently acts - to that it will tend” (or so…). And with this in mind a reminder on a regular basis of one’s own spiritual/ethical standards might be recommended always… :slight_smile:


The only proper thing for the people involved to post in public is perhaps “no comment”, which means that what you’re reading is …

Anything posted is story, is it not – half a story – if it’s from a principal; and feelings, and demands, reaction, speculation, questions, like a thrown stone in a pond.

Shouldn’t you perhaps categorise it as “talk of kings” (AN 10.69)?

Possibly it should be compared (forgive the conceit) to the rules of discipline – do people criticise/discipline each other in public?

Those are alarums, aren’t they?

Am I right in thinking that those might be in contrast to what you “know for yourselves to be true” and so on?

I switched off the American TV off about 3 weeks after 9/11 for example, when I saw how it wasn’t “moderating”, quite the opposite.

And perhaps it (alarmist TV ) isn’t only “one bad actor”, it’s somewhat the nature of news and what people consider newsworthy etc., conversely if it were all good news that were chosen for broadcast then it might be seen as soviet-style propaganda – semi-educational.

Furthermore as the fuss and the misunderstandings die down and the people involved learn their lessons or don’t, in private, you (I mean, you) can’t see that happening (because it’s “privileged” meaning confidential) – so you’ll tend not to see (in the public news) cessation or cooler heads prevailing or lessons learned – successful moderation etc. – except if somebody feels they need to perform another public statement.