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The past several days have been turbulent across the Stack Exchange network, to say the least. In fact, more so than what has been the usual case even lately.

The immediate situation came to a head for myself, as well as many others, when Monica Cellio was, effectively, summarily dismissed as a moderator across the entire network.

Regardless of one's stance in the matter that prompted Monica's dismissal, of which I still lack a complete picture, I do feel that the manner in which she was removed is outright beyond deplorable. While I cannot go into even all of the details that I am aware of, due in part to being bound by the moderator agreement, I do feel strongly that no one, let alone a well-respected person such as Monica, deserves the kind of dismissal that she got.

As a result, over the past several days, I have been reevaluating my own relationship with Stack Exchange Inc., whose services I originally signed up for back in October 2010, and where I obtained my first moderator diamond in November 2013.

I have come to the conclusion that I, at present, cannot in good conscience remain an active community moderator on the Stack Exchange network.

This was not an entirely easy decision for me. I realize that this will leave the sites which I help moderate, and other people, in a bind. I sincerely apologize for that.

However, being a moderator requires having trust in the company, and for me at this time, that trust has been grossly violated. Not only by the manner in which Monica was dismissed as a moderator and how the fallout of that has been dealt with by company officials, but also other things, not least of which the manner in which the likely-upcoming Code of Conduct change has been dealt with, and likewise how the recent unilateral, forced relicensing has been handled by the company, as well as the statements made by company officials in connection with and other events surrounding the removal of Interpersonal Skills SE from the Hot Network Questions list. The examples here are not meant to be an exhaustive list.

Even if Stack Exchange Inc. were to make an immediate about-face turn, which frankly based on their recent actions and public statements I do not anticipate the company doing, rebuilding the trust to the level where I feel comfortable being an active community moderator is going to take time.

I have officially requested that Stack Exchange remove my moderator diamond from the two sites where I currently have one, namely Worldbuilding and Writing. I expect that this will take effect shortly.

I would like to take the opportunity to officially thank every person who has provided thought-provoking questions; thoughtful, well-researched, factual answers; and those who have taken the time to help me improve my posts and other contributions across the network. I also want to thank each and every moderator, elected and appointed alike, with which I have had the privilege to work together to varying extent.

UPDATE: My moderator access was revoked 2019-10-08 around 11:35 UTC. I am now an ordinary user.

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    $\begingroup$ Good on you for standing up for your values! While I have great love and respect for what Stack Exchange has accomplished over the years, recently I've begun to notice issues with the way things are run. It seems to me this incident with the moderator is another sign of a subtle yet growing malaise. I hope there is a reverse-course on some of these negative decisions or policies. It's sad when a superb organization starts to let their quality degrade. I've seen it happen before with other groups, and I hope this trend does not continue with Stack Exchange. But at least you have taken a stand! $\endgroup$ – peacetype Oct 4 at 2:49
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    $\begingroup$ On her personal blog, Monica has written up her version of how events transpired now in more detail, in Stack Overflow Inc. fiasco: timeline. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 6 at 8:28
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    $\begingroup$ I am still waiting for Stack Exchange to remove my diamonds. I have contacted them again to draw their attention to my resignation e-mail. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 6 at 8:28
  • $\begingroup$ @aCVn - They're probably waiting to see if any other mods change their minds. $\endgroup$ – Richard Oct 6 at 18:06
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    $\begingroup$ You may be a standard user but you're certainly not "ordinary" $\endgroup$ – James Oct 9 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ @James I'll take that as a compliment. Thank you. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 9 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ That's how I meant it...mostly ;P $\endgroup$ – James Oct 9 at 15:55
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Thank you for all your contributions here, on Writing, and elsewhere on the network. It was a pleasure to work with you. I'm sorry Stack Exchange made it end this way.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you. It has been a pleasure. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 2 at 9:12
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    $\begingroup$ Hey Monica, I'm sorry you got screwed over. I've seen it happen to friends before in the workplace when they don't get on board whatever political bandwagon is in season; the wrong manager takes it personal and oversteps their boundaries to make a preemptive firing. Having the wrong people in management can ruin the workplace for everyone. $\endgroup$ – peacetype Oct 4 at 2:55
  • $\begingroup$ My moderator access has now been revoked. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 8 at 11:49
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    $\begingroup$ This makes me absolutely furious. $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Oct 8 at 18:56
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    $\begingroup$ wow, come back and this is what I find... :( $\endgroup$ – bowlturner Oct 10 at 17:24
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Welcome to the 21st Century!

I noted a few politically hot key words in Monica's excellent post over on mi yodea. "Inclusion", in case anyone has been living under a rock, does not mean common sense things like basic human respect. In 21st century Western culture it means nothing other than "if you do not wholeheartedly accept, concur with, promote and celebrate my particular ideology of identity, you are hereby branded an XYZ-phobe and are deserving of nothing less than total excoriation, banishment from the community and the revocation of all privileges."

Men like George Orwell and Ray Bradbury were spot on as to where current secular culture is heading and it seems that Monica has been made a victim of the political agenda of Stack Exchange. The truth of the matter, Monica, is that you are experiencing the bloodless persecution that has been steadily on the rise the last few decades. I've experienced it too, having been banned from two separate worldbuilding forums; not for violating rules, but simply because "my values are out of alignment".

I too would like to thank you, a CVn(ex♦), for your contributions as moderator. But more importantly, I'd like to note my appreciation for your standing up and sending a very clear message to Stack Exchange. It is their values that are out of alignment, not ours. Whatever the specifics of Monica's beliefs, Stack Exchange's corporate behaviour is unacceptable. Pre-emptive firing is not an appropriate reaction. Firing because someone does not agree with, concur with or celebrate your political agenda is not an appropriate reaction.

You've made me proud, a CVn(ex♦), for standing up to the tyranny!

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    $\begingroup$ Whilst I agree with most of your sentiments, I must strongly disagree with your hyperbolic statement suggesting that inclusion means "if you do not wholeheartedly accept, concur with, promote and celebrate my particular ideology of identity, you are hereby branded an XYZ-phobe and are deserving of nothing less than total excoriation, banishment from the community and the revocation of all privileges.". That does appear to be the current stance of SE (and certainly many others), but it's hardly the norm... $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Davis Oct 4 at 1:35
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    $\begingroup$ It sucks whenever people foist their personal political views on others. But it's even worse when that starts happening in the workplace. I'm glad to see that people are standing up to this kind of bullying. $\endgroup$ – peacetype Oct 4 at 2:51
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    $\begingroup$ @JeremyDavis --- I have experienced what "inclusion" means to those who preach that particular brand of societal and cultural politics. People are actually victimised. When I said "bloodless persecution" I was not being hyperbolic. Rather I was stating fact. People are, here in 21st century America, daily being persecuted because their "values are out of alignment" with the increasingly radicalised culture we have to endure. $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Oct 4 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ @elemtilas - I'm not denying your experience (or others who have experienced that level of intolerance from others - who miss the irony of their intolerance in the name of "inclusion"). Sure things have changed regarding socially acceptable behaviour towards minorities, and some (very loud and often obnoxious people) go (way) too far with that, but to suggest everyone other than minorities are being oppressed is simply not how it is for everyone - therefore it's not an objective fact... $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Davis Oct 4 at 22:58
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    $\begingroup$ Per usual, elemtilas, your post is excellent. +1. $\endgroup$ – JBH Oct 6 at 3:05
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    $\begingroup$ @JeremyDavis -- I don't follow. How can you on the one hand "not deny" and then on the other literally deny the objective factuality of the experience of real people? (That's a rhetorical question, by the way. You don't really need to answer, because your reply above was more than sufficient to demonstrate. Also, I don't want this query or its responses to become side-tracked.) $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Oct 6 at 17:54
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    $\begingroup$ @elemtilas - The key is there in your rhetorical question... Subjective != objective... Anyway, I'm happy to agree to disagree and move on. Regardless of our difference of opinion, we can certainly agree on SE's extremely poor treatment of Monica (and no doubt others)! :) $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Davis Oct 7 at 1:40
  • $\begingroup$ My moderator access has now been revoked. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 8 at 11:49
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    $\begingroup$ @JeremyDavis -- Well, the question wasn't rhetorical, and while yes subjective =/= objective, the facts in consideration are actually objective in nature. But I'm happy to let that lie; and yes, we do at least concur re Monica's downright horrible treatment. $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Oct 8 at 23:43
  • $\begingroup$ While I understand your sentiment, this isn't 21st century radical intolerance. It's how orthodoxy works when it's wielded by those with entrenched power. For example, look at the history of religious intolerance for starters. The inclusion debate is enflamed by the rise of new poltical orthodoxies and the fall of some of the old. This nothing new, it was always thus. $\endgroup$ – a4android Oct 10 at 4:02
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Thanks for the contributions you have made here, and for the guidance you have provided over my year and peanuts of moderatorship.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you. It has been a pleasure. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 2 at 9:12
  • $\begingroup$ My moderator access has now been revoked. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 8 at 11:49
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Extremely disturbed by SEs behavior in this matter and the apparent total disregard for community wishes which clearly support Monica overwhelmingly.

Not a moderator, but I will be stopping all activities (reluctantly) on SE sites until this matter is resolved as the community wishes. That could be forever, of course.

Either SE is controlled by the community or it's not SE anymore. I can get a site controlled by arbitrary corporate whim anywhere. If simply questioning proposed corporate policy changes can get you fired that's bad, but alas employment is outside of SE member control. Moderators are supposed to be elected and removed on member and moderator decisions. Regardless of whether SE want Monica as an employee (I would have thought she would have been a solid asset), it's our right as members to decide if Monica is a suitable moderator or not.

If moderators do not have policy input then neither do members. That's not the SE I joined.

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  • $\begingroup$ My moderator access has now been revoked. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 8 at 11:50
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Sad to see you go as well but I get it. Hopefully you'll be sticking around the main site. Appreciate all the conversations we've had.

J

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    $\begingroup$ Likewise. (filler) $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 2 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ My moderator access has now been revoked. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 8 at 11:49
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Monica was booted? Monica?!?!

First and foremost, a CVn, please accept my admiration, respect, and gratitude for your services as moderator. We've agreed and we've disagreed, but I've always appreciated your insight and your dedication. I'm saddened to see you go as yours will be big shoes to fill, but I entirely respect and support your decision.

Stack Exchange has always been a hotbed of controversy concerning free speech. It's a tough row to hoe when you want maximum creative input but want to limit offense and hate. A sign of humanity's (im)maturity is that we cannot revel and celebrate the former without debasing ourselves with the latter. Humanity is amazing. Humans suck. And Stack Exchange has chosen to stand right in the middle of the maelstrom. Rather than lifting their fists to cry defiantly at the storm, they've chosen to pound stakes into the ground. Good luck with that.

An Ode to Monica

Gratefully not gone, but gone as an admin, is one of the most amazing, tolerant, patient, insightful, thoughtful, supportive, and capable people I've ever met, virtually or literally. Monica was, as fate would have it, one of the first people I "met" on Stack Exchange, not in her role as moderator (though she was one at the time), but as a simple user commenting on one of my earliest posts.

Few people on any stack in Stack Exchange — myself most certainly included — are as capable of level-headed direction, critique, and commentary as Monica Cellio. She has been and continues to be a role model for me and, without doubt, many other users who have had the difficult privilege of navigating the often vitriolic waters of Stack Exchange. Oh! how Stack Overflow could have (and could still) benefit from her guidance!

And so could Stack Exchange Inc. Has history not proven over and over that any effort to force humanity to the moral imperative d'jour is doomed to failure? That the better and more worthy path has always been to patiently educate rather than legislate? Are there actually moderators who disagree with the noble goals of kindness and forgiveness, rather preferring political countenance and heavy-handed obedience? Has Stack Exchange actually decided to enjoin the 21st century's favorite method of slavery?

Monica is a beacon in a tumultuous landscape, and few signs of Stack Exchange's inner turmoil and growing decay can reveal the cancre (cancre, not cancer) in Stack Exchange Inc's offices than the dismissal of Monica.

From the bottom of my American heart, foolish actions like this make me want, want to fly a Confederate flag. Not because of it's slavery-stained past, but for its symbol of rebellion and valiant defiance of oppressive bureaucracy.

I don't even drink, and even I want to find a pub.

Heaven bless you, Monica, and my hat's off to you, a CVn.

Cheers.

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  • $\begingroup$ My moderator access has now been revoked. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Oct 8 at 11:50

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