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Friends, we've built an amazing place together. Our Worldbuilding community is awesome! It makes what I'm about to say bittersweet.

Though it pains me deeply to leave my communities, I have decided I must leave the Stack Exchange network. I write this post with tears literally in my eyes.

I became a user on my first SE site in 2011 when Mi Yodeya launched. For most of the time since then I've been an enthusiastic participant and power user on the SE network. I evangelized SE to friends and colleagues. I almost became an employee. The SE platform did, right, things that other sites did wrong. It was a great place to be, and I built strong community connections and learned a lot. Over time SE the company paid less and less attention to us, which was sometimes frustrating, but we got by even with benign neglect.

Then things began to change. In spring 2018, a single blog post scared someone at SE enough to kick off a new "welcoming" initiative. I was concerned by how they approached it but wanted to believe in the goal nonetheless. A few months later, in October 2018, a single angry tweet prompted hasty changes and public criticism in tweets from employees, which led me to write Dear Stack Overflow, we need to talk.

I remember somebody at the time saying something like "she's too invested in that relationship; he's just not into her". I wasn't listening. I was too into SE, even as others began to leave.

I really wanted to believe that SE wasn't that bad, just a little misguided. SE whispered sweet nothings in our ears, made promises to us that I desperately wanted to believe. I stayed, blind to the warning signs.

Things did not, in fact, get better. Already an employee had admitted that the company was no longer paying attention to feedback from core users, and in July 2019 another advised employees to avoid meta because it upset them. We users were in a relationship with someone who had checked out, stopped listening, seemingly stopped caring about us.

I stayed anyway, because I really love my communities (and maybe I'm too susceptible to the sunk-costs fallacy). When I saw that post in July, a part of me thought we could nonetheless still effect change, could help get things onto a better, collaborative path. I thought we users could mend the rifts in our collective relationship with SE despite evidence that SE wasn't interested. I didn't see the warning signs because I didn't want to see them.

As a dedicated user, I stayed in an abusive relationship for the sake of the kids. I told myself that it would be ok in the end, that it didn't hurt that much, that it was only a bruise.

Sometimes it takes a powerful blow to finally wake up. For me that blow came two weeks ago today.

On January 13, SE abruptly fired Shog9 and Robert Cartaino. Shog9 and Robert, along with Jon Ericson who left a few days later, were long-serving community managers who really get the communities. They were our champions. What we didn't know until recently is that they were being hobbled, forbidden to do what they do so well, forbidden to help us. They, too, were helpless, and Shog and Robert paid a dear price.

We can only expect the rate of damage to accelerate. As a long-time user, I remember what was and know what could have been. Today, our communities are being deeply harmed instead of being helped and supported. It's worse than just being abandoned; we are not allowed to govern ourselves and not allowed to be helped by the dwindling community team.

The company has chosen to go down a very different path from the one I thought we were on. I have lost any hope that this will change. I've passed through denial, hurt, anger, and bargaining, and have now arrived at tearful acceptance. I can't change this. It's painful to keep trying. I give up.

I dearly love my communities here, but, sadly, I can't bear to stay on Stack Exchange any longer.

Our communities are much more than the platform that hosts them. The people are what matters. I hope I can stay connected to the fine people of my communities even if I don't do it here any longer. SE wasn't the first Q&A platform and it won't be the last. Just as Stack Overflow was created out of dissatisfaction with another platform, other platforms will be created out of dissatisfaction with SE. I hope to see y'all in a better place, one we'll build together putting communities and people first. I'll refrain from specific links here after seeing an employee spam-delete a post on Writing Meta about another site, but -- look around.

I've added contact information to my profile, and I've posted some information about my future plans. I won't be deleting my accounts.

Be kind to each other. Protect yourselves. Remember Shog and Robert, maybe even me. Let's stay in touch.

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    $\begingroup$ Monica, do you want this post featured? I was going to do it, but I didn't want to go ahead without your permission. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Jan 27 at 17:02
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    $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 if you think that's appropriate, go for it. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Jan 27 at 17:08

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So long, and thanks for all the fish

It's sad to see you go, and I cannot find any argument to tell you "stay".

In big and small history there are events which mark the transition between epochs. Well, the incident involving you is one of them. It won't be probably recorded in the big history, but it will be in all the small histories of those who have been involved into it, like myself.

I wish you success in your future efforts!

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  • $\begingroup$ No major holiday (that I know of), but at least this is on the 27th -- 4 months exactly since the start of this, I believe. $\endgroup$ – April Salutes Monica C. Jan 27 at 20:23
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I joined worldbuilding just after your dismissal as a moderator. I understand that you probably can't talk about it because of the agreement reached with SE, but you will see from my username that I don't think anything about the way the company handled itself was just or resulted in a just outcome. I've been following the saga with increasing sorrow: it has become more and more evident from discussions on meta that SE haven't been at all interested in finding a just solution in your case or in listening to their userbase in general. Moderators have gone inactive all over the place, one of the SE sites I visit appears to be entirely unmoderated now. I haven't read the main meta site for a few weeks but it seems from the posts you linked that they're now getting rid of some of the most well-respected of their staff.

So I think I'm done here. I might pop in now and again for a bit (the contributors here are great, and it's hard to go cold turkey...) so I won't vanish overnight. But hopefully there'll be a worldbuilding Codidact site up and running sooner or later. I expect I'll see many of you there.

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  • $\begingroup$ Even in stack overflow it seem that some tags (ex. Python) have no mods due to the horrible quality of recent questions and answers. $\endgroup$ – Geronimo Jan 31 at 13:09
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    $\begingroup$ I really hope Codidact changes its name to something spellable. It’s been a problem for several posts I’ve seen. TopAnswers is the other option, and that’s a much more memorable name. $\endgroup$ – SRM Feb 1 at 14:22
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You have been an exemplary user, and I wish you the best in developing and participating in your new Q&A site‼ I already commented on your blog, and since I don't think I am that of a good writer, considering active participation in the new Codidact site.

It seems Stack Exchange has been under stress, maybe because of internal factors or that they are planning for a new strategy. It is similar to how continuing to talk back in a heated conflict reduces efficiency and causes the problem to blow up; Stack Exchange needs to cool down. It is wise for you to leave the site, as Stack Exchange does not define who you are and what your main contribution areas are.

It is especially outlandish that Stack Exchange has decided to terminate not one, but two Staff members after involuntarily stripping away your diamond. I will remember you, Shog9, and Robert C, as noted in my username "Mᛜ. Sᛜ. Rᛜ. needs a mulligan".

Nevertheless, it is your decision and you have the right to not participate here; a wise one you made.

~Mulliganaceous

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Goodbye, Monica. I have never had a diamond, but I learned from watching you how to welcome new users, how to give negative feedback on questions/answers without critiquing the person posting. Godspeed.

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Your voice will be missed. Already I'm seeing places (in multiple communities, some of which you hadn't touched directly) where I think "shouldn't a moderator have done something about this"... and then I realize that there is only one overstretched moderator left, or none.

I'm going to be charitable and assume this is part of a wider trend I'm seeing where companies are forced by their investors to cut back support for products that don't directly contribute to the short-term bottom line. But it's still a sad day to see you go.

And personally... I followed you on LiveJournal, and it helped me feel comfortable here to see someone I knew in a leadership role. That kind of think is less and less common as web communities get bigger and more diffuse. Guess I'm an old fogey missing the days when the net felt like a single community across multiple platforms. Get off my lawn!

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Sad news indeed!

I don't think we've had many (or any?) interactions, Monica, but I've always looked up to you. I've always seen you as the paragon of the community of all Stack Exchange sites. And often you've acted as our collective champion. Words cannot express the amount of respect I have for you and what you have done for everyone.

It has been an enormous honour just treading the same online walks as you. I'd offer my deepest thanks for everything you've done.

I hear and understand your concerns. I wish you absolutely all the best and I hope we cross paths again.

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Sad to see you go, but I can definitely understand why.

Best of luck with your new endeavors! I look forward to seeing the new site popping up in my programming-related search results and I also hope that it can build several other great communities as SE did.

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Thank you for all that you have done.

Your contributions to the community have been invaluable; I am sad to see you leave. Good luck in all that you do, and may Jehovah bless you in all that you do. I tried to think of reasons why you should stay, but there really aren't any; I completely agree with you. Hopefully SE will overcome their accursed desire to be politically correct, so that things may return to the way they used to be. However, I agree with you that, to quote King Solomon, "This is folly, and a chasing after the wind."

Therefore, to quote the Torah, "Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink you wine with a merry heart."

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I am sorry to see you go I hope you still visit the worldbuilding forums once in a while

Have a nice life

-DaArcticEagle (Grammarly)

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While I'm sad to see you leave, Monica, in reading your heartfelt post, I think it may be for the best. Without wishing to sound disrespectful to you, it does sound to me like you might have become too emotionally attached to the company. Some time away I am sure will do you much good!

I hope you'll come back to us in the actual communities -- the REAL stack exchange. The reason I say that is when I joined this forum, I didn't even know there was a stack exchange the company. I still don't really know what it is (except that it sounds like a load of berks) and you know what? I really do not care one whit about the company at all. Their stances, their political agendas, their foolishness -- none of those things really matter as they have no real effect on any of us or what we're doing here.

I come here for the creativity of fellow geopoets. Period. Hopefully, in the fullness of time, you too can come back refreshed, renewed and shorn of the baggage of Stack Exchange the Company and just get down to the happy work of worldbuilding!

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