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I’ve been honored to serve as a moderator here on Ask Ubuntu for almost six years now, but I’m sorry to announce that I will be resigning that position effective immediately. I’ve lost trust with Stack Exchange Inc. to the point that I feel I can no longer associate myself with the company.

Really this has been a long time coming. The actions that SE Inc. has taken over the last year show that their only concern is money and profit. For this I did not fault them, the money to run the sites and pay the employees must come from somewhere. And yet I watched as each change the company made drove a wedge between themselves and their community. Even, at times, distancing themselves from their own stated philosophy and purpose. But it never touched my site. It was easy to bunker down here and leave SE Inc. to themselves.

The turning point came at the end of September when SE Inc. fired a moderator without due process, under (apparent) false pretenses, slandered them to the press (!!), and then doubled down on that decision. This shattered any faith I had in the company's promises to reconnect with the community and stop driving these wedges between us. While the company’s latest response is a definite step in the right direction, it is unaccompanied by any actions to correct the egregious harm committed against one of their well respected moderators.

Putting aside the obvious harm that smearing someone’s real name to the press carries, Stack Exchange did not follow their own due process, laid out in their Code of Conduct, for enforcement. Indeed, the moderator in question has stated that she was blindsided by the firing and still have not been informed of the rules she was accused of breaking. This is all in stark contrast to how moderators themselves are required to uphold rules. Although you may never see this from this outside, we are required to warn and contact users multiple times before even thinking of expulsion (with obvious exceptions of cases like spam). There is always a formal warning before account suspension happens, and it usually takes two suspensions before a yearlong suspension (the highest moderators can issue) gets handed out. SE Inc. continually writes about being kind, welcoming, and respectful when interacting with your fellow users, but they don’t seem to apply those ideals to their own communities. In the end this was a very hard decision for me to make, but I do not feel that I can uphold values and beliefs, ones that I try to live by, for a company that gives them lip service only.

That aside, I will be leaving you in capable hands. Indeed, I honestly haven’t been very active over the last ~2 years due to ongoing struggles with my physical and mental health. Unfortunately, I had just gotten to a place in life where I felt like I could begin committing more time to this community again when these issues started. But the remaining moderator team is full of great people and I have no worries about the future of the site on that front. And I won’t be entirely disappearing. I’ve been a member here for almost eight years now and I still love the site and what we are accomplishing here. I’ll be in chat and around and about the main site as I am able.

Despite ongoing problems on the larger network, Ask Ubuntu is still one of my favorite communities on the internet. Thank you all for helping make it that :)

  • 5
    Sorry to see you take that step, but I know that the bigger part of your contributions was not dependent on you being a mod and I surely hope that we will benefit from your thoughtful actions in the future as well. – guntbert Oct 19 at 21:36
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    I appreciate the many times you explained the intricacies of SE to us! All the best. – Justice for Monica Oct 20 at 0:19
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    BTW, the timing is worth noting. There's something, presumably being circulated to mods, that will supposedly be made public on October 22. My guess is that announcement may not contain what many or some in the community hope for. – Justice for Monica Oct 20 at 2:12
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    Oh, my, so terribly sorry this is happening.Reading the links, totally understandable though. Missed it completely. – Jacob Vlijm Oct 20 at 20:01
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    All I can say is : this is a very, very sad story ... I wish you all the best, Seth ! :) – cl-netbox Oct 21 at 16:08
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    A sad story indeed, and it should be a cautionary tale to anyone interested in becoming a moderator. – chili555 Oct 22 at 1:57
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    I'm sorry to see you step down as a moderator, but I understand the reason behind it. Wishing you the best of luck. – Mitch Oct 22 at 9:38
  • "But it never touched my site. It was easy to bunker down here and leave SE Inc. to themselves." That's poignant. – Justice for Monica Oct 27 at 2:38
  • Thank you so much for helping to making the site & chat a nice place to be and helping me stay relatively sane – Zanna Nov 10 at 17:02
29

Thank you again Seth for all of your contributions over the years here for being moderator. You have been helpful in helping me and other new moderators adjust to the position, and you have helped serve the community amazingly well.

We continue to welcome your contributions around the site and I hope you continue to contribute amazingly well here.

26

Seth has helped me a great deal over the years. It's sad an issue SE has brought upon themselves is drowning so many great contributors to the sites.

With any luck a SE will have a change of heart and recognize human rights. Then develop a new way of dealing with people whose careers or way of life are being decimated. After SE internal changes are made hopefully then the mods will be rehired / reunited into the fold.

Each mod can take many years to develop but an SE employee is probably for the most part a simple hiring process.

You will both be missed and remembered for all your assistance Seth.

  • 2
    @guntbert I've reword that. Instead of firing the people that caused the problem they can hire people who can fix the problem. Is the edit satisfactory? – WinEunuuchs2Unix Oct 19 at 21:47
  • thank you, I really would prefer no employees to be fired but to reconsider their actions. – guntbert Oct 19 at 21:55
  • I believe firing an employee can be a good thing. They will reevaluate their decision making process and change it for the next corporation. Also sometimes some people just don't fit into certain environments are better suited to a different environment.It is best for the employee, the ex-employer and the new employer if they fit into the correct corporate culture. I'm assuming the corporate culture of SE isn't to dump on mods but hold them in high esteem. But I could be wrong. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Oct 19 at 22:07
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    My theory is based on the assumption that mods and high rep users do most of the heavy lifting and work for free (or virtual points). As such they would be more valuable to SE than generic employees who can simply be recycled like most of us are between corporations we work for. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Oct 19 at 22:09
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    "Each mod can take many years to develop but an SE employee is probably for the most part a simple hiring process." Very well said. – Justice for Monica Oct 20 at 0:21
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    Thank you for the kind words. FWIW SE's response to my resignation notice was kind and well written. They claim to be working to solve all the ongoing issues and said I could come back any time. I don't foresee that happening, considering their recent (in)actions, but I guess it's nice that they offered. If I hadn't lost all hope things would get better I wouldn't have resigned, so coming back is very unlikely. Time will tell how much they actually care about improving things. – Seth Oct 24 at 6:25
  • @Seth You could figuratively be called a virtual martyr. I'm optimistic SE will do a 180 and realize that catering to politically correct 1% isn't as important as focusing on the factually correct like the 99% in SE (including yourself) do. I did a social studies test at the library and said "hello ladies, oops I can't say that anymore, I have to say 'everyone' now" a librarian said "no I like being called a lady". Re: you can't say lady anymore So I perceive a right-sizing. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Oct 25 at 2:10
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    @Seth Very few will read your comment buried under my answer. Please consider updating your post at the top so others know current developments. Thanks. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Oct 25 at 2:18
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    @WinEunuuchs2Unix I don't think martyr is an appropriate term here. I haven't suffered persecution for any of my beliefs on SE. I resigned of my own free will without any pressure. I won't call it a business relationship because it wasn't, but it was a professional one that either side can terminate at any time. And FWIW since there seems to be some confusion here, I don't take issue with the revised CoC. My issues are solely with how SE hypocritically claims to want kindness and respect but does not choose to use those traits with their own community. – Seth Oct 26 at 17:12
  • "Virtual" martyr. You didn't die for a cause. But for a cause you lost mod powers as you commented the other night when you could no longer hammer reopen that question on "What does >&2 mean?". You gave up mod powers for right vs wrong. To a much greater extent of giving up something as a virtual martyr so did Assange and Snowden (Jail and Russia). Like them you are a a virtual martyre sacrificing (no matter how small) for a cause (no matter how important to the world as a belief) but none the less suffering without death and not mainstream religion. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Nov 1 at 2:03
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I found it very hard to upvote this. I really don't want to see you go, but I fully understand why you feel you must. You were here when I first got my diamond to help me learn the ropes and transition from moderating U&L to moderating AU.

I know you'll still be around, so this isn't a goodbye, as such, but the mod team will be much poorer for your absence. You were always calm, fair and a model moderator. A constant voice of reason. You will be deeply missed.

At least the loss of your diamond doesn't mean you'll lose the respect the community has for you. I hope you will continue to give us the benefit of your experience even as a puny user, instead of mod :).

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    And that's respect earned, not demanded. – Justice for Monica Oct 20 at 15:33
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    I think you summed it up well: "calm, fair and a model moderator. A constant voice of reason." I didn't upvote for what happened I upvoted because it is a significant step in our evolution. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Oct 20 at 17:12
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I'm sorry to see you step down as a moderator, though (like terdon) I understand the reason.

You've made Ask Ubuntu and numerous people's lives better through your contributions and interactions on Ask Ubuntu for as long as you've been on the site. Both as a mod and otherwise.

In posts, comments, chat, the Downboat... you've made this place better. I've often observed you bringing patience and clarity to confusing and potentially trying situations. (Also, you were very patient with me that one time I tried to defend a VLQ flag on a post that was, in hindsight... not VLQ. :)

Though you've stepped down as a moderator of Ask Ubuntu, you will always be part of this community, no matter in what ways or how much you choose to continue participating and contributing.

Good luck, best of health, and thank you for everything you have given us here!

6

I have been out of the loop for a while, but catching up now is causing me to consider moving on as well.

I respect your decision, and I will be making own known soon.

-3

You say 'that their only concern is money and profit', yep, and I believe a certain 'foundation' has taken over SE in 'stealth' mode.

It is difficult to make tough decisions today with 'special interests' cash calling the shots, but the world became great with tough people and not by pandering to 'special interests'...

Good luck!

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