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Recently, a question came up essentially accusing this stack of not being very welcoming, especially towards particular groups of people. Of course moderation was included in the discussion.

What are our overall strengths and weaknesses? Where do we do well, and where can we improve?

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  • The community's reception of Professionally Opting out of Inclusion Diversity and Unconscious Bias “training” reminded me of this meta discussion. It seems like the majority of the community thinks diversity & inclusion training is important and frowns on trying to opt out of it. Looking at that question and the answers, I think overall TWP is doing a good job of moderating to keep things civil without completely suppressing minority views. Yes, some answers are very negatively scored, but they haven't been deleted.
    – ColleenV
    May 28 at 17:46

11 Answers 11

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I have made no secret of my distaste for the direction in which SE overall has gone. In response, I have deleted every account I had, with the exception of TWP.

I left one stack early on when a moderator actually said in its chat that autistic people were not welcome. That was enough for me. I left SO not too long after that. It's also no secret that SO has a reputation for being a bit heavy handed towards people who ask questions.

I like TWP, and I think that its greatest strength is who we've elected as moderators. It is a thankless job, and they have to deal with people who are upset, which is never easy. The temptation exists to punish or otherwise abuse the power that one is given in such a role. Our mods have consistently resisted that temptation, and are more focused on keeping the site's tone a very relaxed and professional one.

Occasionally tempers flare, and discussions can get heated. The mods are more likely to let people hash things out than to act too quickly, which I think helps avoid misunderstandings and resentment.

Overall, the community tends to be very helpful, especially with new users, which I think sets us apart from other stacks. We tend to take on difficult and controversial topics with more restraint and professionalism than most as well. Even though it's been removed from the official COC, the "assume good intentions rule" lives on here. I think that's important because we are dealing with cultures around the world, and people here are a bit more forgiving of cultural differences than in other sites out there, especially on SE in general.

With regards to disabilities, this stack is extremely friendly. In the 30+ years I've been online, this is easily one of the most welcoming groups I have ever found. I feel comfortable talking about my own difficulties and how to address them, and questions about people with disabilities have been thoughtful, and answers have been of a helpful bend, and extremely respectful. I have not experienced this elsewhere on SE, TBH.

Places where I think we could do a bit better:

  1. The comments: This has been the bane of SE for some time, as social media exploded, we were infected with a bit of the nastiness that tends to inhabit reddit, twitter, and quora. I don't participate in any of those because I don't like the nastiness. I think we need to do more to not feed the trolls.
  2. The questions: I think we can, and should put in more of an effort to edit questions that are unclear, if we can, especially if it's a new user. The lifeboat and lifejacket badges are there for a reason.
  3. The answers: Overall, I think we do better than most by maintaining a positive tone when possible, but we are also able to give the difficult answers when necessary. We are more focussed on providing effective answers than on answers the querents would prefer to hear.

Where we could stand to improve

I think when controversial subjects arise, we all (myself included) should take a step back, and put our own pre-formed opinions aside long enough to answer the question objectively. This is especially hard if you've personally experienced some of the more atrocious behaviors that can effect the workplace. It is very easy to believe that someone posing a question about mistreatment is 100% in the right if you've experienced it, or 100% in the wrong if you think they're overreacting, or if you've seen someone abusing the system. If you have a visceral reaction to a question, it's probably a good idea not to answer until you calm down.

There also seems to be a minor problem with people tending to jump on the bandwagon when a controversial subject comes up, and a focus more on advancing rhetoric rather than offering up constructive answers to the issue at hand.

Overall, I have a great deal of respect for TWP, its moderators, and its members.

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  • Yes, I completely agree with you here. With regard to comments, I've prefer to see respectful discussion that has the aim of enhancing the related question or answer. Those comments that are prefaced with "this is a terrible answer" or similar just aren't constructive. As always, "challenge the idea, not the person" is the watch-word for me. Questions can be edited to make them clearer (remove unnecessary detail, concentrate on the actual problem and how the OP wants the situation to improve). Bad answers should be down-voted and comments left if there's a clear way of offering improvements.
    – Snow
    Mar 26 at 14:50
  • 2
    @Snow I've seen perfectly good answers get one snarky comment of the "This is a terrible answer" variety get dragged down by down-votes, only to have the trend reversed once the comments are deleted. I think we should all flag them more frequently. Mar 26 at 15:48
  • 1
    I'd gladly delete comments that lead with personal snark. But I'm not a moderator, so....
    – Snow
    Mar 26 at 16:18
  • 1
    @Snow give it time :D Mar 26 at 16:25
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    @Snow and Richard... yeah, this comment issue has been a thing since I recall... people insist on answering in comments, or plain saying "this is wrong. Period."... When I find those I instantly delete them, no second thoughts, as it is very polluting to the answer and question.
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Mar 26 at 18:05
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    @DarkCygnus With the rep I have at this point, it's like peeing on a forest fire when they pull this on me, but I have seen other people wrecked by it. Most often, it comes from someone with a rep of 101, which makes it even more irritating, as it seems to me that they've just come in here to cause trouble, or they're used to reddit or quora. Mar 26 at 18:08
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    "with more restraint and professionalism", I guess we can say at least that TWP is showing the example into being professional more than the other sites. Which would be embarassing if it was the opposite.
    – Walfrat
    Mar 30 at 7:16
  • @Walfrat Yes, we are not hypocrites. There is, however, one stack, which shall not be made that falls disconcertingly short of it's own namesake. Mar 30 at 11:44
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One of our biggest weaknesses is that we are overwhelmingly western office workers, many of us are stereotypical developers even. That is to be expected, since developers see TWP during their daily work on Hot Network questions or through ads while others do not. A fisherman having a problem with the owner of their trawler will probably never get the idea that there might be an internet platform for their problems. This is a Catch-22, we provide great answers to western office workers, but we cannot provide those great answers for anything that is slightly off-course from that. Said fisherman would probably be disappointed to see no real experience in handling trawler owners here.

I don't think any of that is due to moderation or that our moderators could change it, even if they wanted. I don't think there is a way to be more welcoming to fishermen or that we somehow turn them away with something we do or don't do.

Nevertheless, I'm happy that with Kilisi we have a moderator that does not fit our stereotypical mold. Probably still won't attract fishermen though :)

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    Excellent point. I would go even further and say URBAN office workers in IT. There is a certain naivete coming from western office workers in IT. Most of us just need to keep our noses clean, and our skills up to date, and employment isn't much of an issue, most of the time. "Just get another job" isn't as easy for your fisherman, or the oil rig worker, or the manufacturer where they live in a rural location with few other options and no public transit Mar 31 at 13:12
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    It's funny, because I noticed that a lot of people seem to imply that the location is de facto the United States, except on this community.
    – Clockwork
    Mar 31 at 13:13
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    @Clockwork We've had discussions as to whether or not to make a country tag required for posting. When one does not add a tag, the user is often prompted to provide the country information. I think the reason we make no assumptions is that we have such a diverse base, and so many of us work for multinational companies Mar 31 at 13:37
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    Depends on the question, I service sonar and IT equipment on some of the private fishing boats here, they actually pay me in fresh fish. I have about half a tuna in my big freezer :-) Fishermen never deal with owners, everything goes through the hierarchy. Nothing democratic about a ships crew
    – Kilisi Mod
    Mar 31 at 21:39
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    @Kilisi Yeah, the maritime industry is full contact, from fishermen to yachts to liners to ocean freight. We have one office where many of us were convinced that they were comprised of promoted longshoremen. I understand barter too. I was in an area where I was getting paid in food for a while as well. Apr 1 at 13:05
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    @Old_Lamplighter can't even buy tuna or swordfish here, it all goes straight to Japan or somewhere, so it's a big deal, I don't want their money
    – Kilisi Mod
    Apr 1 at 14:14
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    @Kilisi the same is true in the farmland in the USA. When COVID hit, and the supply chain got screwed, they could actually get the food that was normally shipped out. Apr 1 at 14:59
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Maybe this is a bit of a stretch for what the question is asking but...

I think we probably need to get better at handling duplicates.

Quite often somebody will ask a question that's similar to another question. The second question will get linked and closed. Fair enough.

But questions are often saturated with context, and we kind of push a large burden on, the author of the second question to decouple of context of the question, which they may not fully understand, from the similarities to their question. They have to do this to understand which of the answers apply to them.

And of course, the accepted answer may be wholly inappropriate for their particular case. (The concept of accepted answer doesn't sit well for me to begin with).

I think we should make a bit of a better effort to create Community Wikis that are more cleaner and more streamlined for questions that occur over and over again, and for concepts that occur over and over again. e.g. "HR is not your friend".

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    I like the idea. It seems like it would be a difficult task though. We deal in many industries, roles and locales. Definitions for such things may differ wildly between them. They can differ wildly just between companies in practical terms.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Mar 27 at 22:46
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    Very valid points. In my view the cases where we put the burden on the asker to provide clarification are often unavoidable since it doubles as a request for clarification. "You seem to be asking about X, can you look at this post and see if it answers your question? If not, what is your concern here?" That's basically the core idea behind closing as a duplicate. Perhaps it does put some people off but the same is true for questions we close as unclear and I'm not certain we have good fixes to this. Perhaps make sure that we leave a comment explaining this a bit more but that's probably it.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Mar 29 at 10:12
  • With regards to the wiki / general usage questions (sometimes called "canonical" on SE): it's been a goal for many people over the years but it's proven difficult to actually make progress. Defining the right scope for the generalised question as @Kilisi points out is one problem, ensuring high quality answers for hypotheticals is another.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Mar 29 at 10:14
  • @Lilienthal There is an excellent example of a canonical question on English Language Learners. It’s almost entirely the work of one person. I think the best way to tackle canonical questions is for one or two people to take the initiative and write at least the framework of the question and answers, then let the community provide feedback. If we don’t have that one person who is really knowledgeable and passionate about educating people on a specific topic and willing to put in the effort, I doubt we will ever have a useful canonical post on it.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 29 at 11:28
  • @ColleenV we tried that a few times and met with what the military would call "incomplete success" Mar 29 at 12:51
  • @Old_Lamplighter Well the interesting thing about SE communities is that the people that constitute "we" changes over time, so what we weren't able to accomplish in the past may be possible now :)
    – ColleenV
    Mar 29 at 13:20
  • I've been cogitating this for a couple of days. And cannot really see it working except perhaps a few clear cut scenarios where no one would need it anyway. There can be many dynamic variables, what would stop it becoming more unwieldy to a new OP than pointing them towards potential duplicates? I'm not a fan of the duplicate thing personally, or accepted answers being the correct solution forever. It might end up being just a bunch of opinions on a matter, who gets to decide which is correct?
    – Kilisi Mod
    Mar 29 at 13:35
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    @Kilisi What's interesting is that there are not meant to be "opinion" answers on SE. But I can guarantee that most of the answers we could call opinions. I don't know where that leaves us, it's just worth mentioning. Mar 29 at 13:41
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    @GregoryCurrie you're absolutely correct there. Dealing with people instead of equations isn't hard science outside Isaac Asimov books ;)
    – Kilisi Mod
    Mar 29 at 13:52
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I will add something that I felt was more true on other sites but also here.

It is the expectation from some veterans being there for years that new users should write question with the quality near of those veterans because the sites has been getting better quality and excluding low quality more and more after they years.

I think this is one of the main problems here. If you're not someone who is good at asking a well formed question, adding a very rough English for most of users, you will get kicked out (or that's how you will feel). Because as the years pass, the "learning curve" of how asking a good question/making a good answer is being increasing with no pity for newbies, when in the past, you could get better through time.

And the logic would want that the people good at making a well formed question or even finding duplicate are veterans, not newbies.

For a while I was quite happy when I saw some people who were really good at salvaging a somewhat bad question by editing it or making a wonderful answer. I'm still seeing the former, but less salvaging.

Because it is less effort to click a close button than finding a proper duplicate and even more for salvaging a potential good question after all.

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    Some of us try, I don't know about others, but I have made 61 edits this month and done a lot of reviews.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Mar 30 at 8:03
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    It's not easy and quite daunting after all. Maybe i'm seeing less because at a moment, there was more stuff going on about it on meta and it was easier to see those question saved by others.
    – Walfrat
    Mar 30 at 8:05
  • Part of the problem is now that the site has 28 thousand questions, we can be a lot pickier about the quality of the content, and it's more difficult for newcomers to know whether their question has been asked before. This is always going to be a source of tension when you're building a reference where the content is more important than the people contributing it, instead of hosting a discussion forum where the people participating are more important than the content.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 30 at 12:19
  • Yes it is not easy. Even more on topic like the workplace. Because a lot of situation have their uniqueness while being very similar to some others.
    – Walfrat
    Mar 30 at 12:23
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    I'm of the opposite opinion. I've edited a bunch and gotten the lifeboat and lifejacket badges for it (means I've saved them from negative scores). Again, we are better than most stacks with regards to that. My least favorite one tends to close and delete newbies, and has been EXTREMELY cliquish since it's inception. Mar 31 at 11:26
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The Workplace Stack Exchange is the best Stack Exchange site I've used. It's much, much better than Stack Overflow. Based on my experience the people here are very polite and are tolerant of other cultures. The moderation team also does good work, keeping this site clean and healthy. The moderation team does not interfere unnecessarily nor do they abuse their privileges, so they have my best wishes.

Workplace Stack Exchange should set the bar of hospitality and fairness for all Stack Exchange sites.

New users also take trouble to write questions carefully without any intentional spelling and grammar mistakes.

I think the only thing missing is a Job site like that of Stack Overflow and Computer Science Stack Exchange. Each Stack Exchange site can also have independent job sites and independent community managers. It would be good if The Workplace remains immune from the influence of Stack Overflow Incorporated.

It would be a plus if a "The Workplace" moderator also volunteers to moderate on Meta Stack Exchange, so that fairness and civility could be maintained on Meta Stack Exchange.

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The only thing I found scary about this Stack Exchange website was a very specific case I stumbled upon. Someone had made an answer in the comment section, suggesting to do something that was potentially illegal (though I am not a lawyer, I did some research to make sure). And it was a beginning to get highly upvoted, which means people were actually agreeing with that "answer in the comment section".

If I were a new member, or a random visitor, and I came across a highly voted comment that suggested doing something controversial, on a website which is all about the workplace, I wouldn't feel comfortable about it.

Beside that isolated case, even if I haven't been there a lot, I'd like to say that it's a nice place. You get to learn a lot from reading people sharing their point of views, all across the world.

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    We get those from time to time, and I even raised a question about it here on meta. The best thing you can do is to down-vote, flag, comment and provide answers of your own. Mar 30 at 16:49
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    @Old_Lamplighter That's the thing, it was a comment, so I just kept flagging it as it was reposted again and again.
    – Clockwork
    Mar 30 at 16:56
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    If that happens, drop a message in the water cooler (chat) and flag the comment for moderator attention. If it keeps popping up, flag the whole question. Mods can lock a question so that this kind of thing does not happen. Mar 30 at 18:05
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Frank opinion: I'd rate TWP as okay-but-noticable-room-for-improvement.

IMO overall better than the software/SO, worse than EE. In particular, TWP is significanly more polite in terms of user-culture (software/EE commenters can be condescending in their argumentation). At the same time, the fraction of quesions that TWP is willing to engage is quite a bit lower than the technical SE sites. Seems perhaps due to comparatively aggressive enforcement of the "opinion based" and "vague" rules. It's not clear to me that this actually pays off in stimulating a warmer user culture, but I haven't been here long enough to say.

As I've expressed elsewhere, the "opinion" and "vague" rules could perhaps be weighed in light of the subject matter being based on valuable personal experience, rather than a received body of technical knowledge.

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    "Opinion based" is a sore spot for me, as an educated opinion is more than mere assertion. As for vague, that one is often more justified. I think we are a bit too quick to close, and I'll vote to reopen many, especially if the answers are weighty. But meta is a good place to discuss this. BTW, what is EE? Apr 1 at 2:12
  • @Old_Lamplighter , EE = electronics aka electrical-engineering. Quite high daily volume of questions, I'd rate the culture there better than the software side, the quality of the answers is good, though they are also pretty strict in policing certain things.
    – Pete W
    Apr 1 at 2:16
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    My own experience with SO was so bad that I have not even bothered to ask a question in years. Apr 1 at 3:07
  • I love SO, every time I ask a question some big brained chap gives me a useable answer pretty quickly... they can be a bit cheeky and I get a bunch of downvotes, but who cares? I just need an answer that works, I'm not on a date.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Apr 1 at 10:45
  • Part of the problem is that a lot of people don't understand why certain "opinion-based" questions are out of scope for stacks where you can't check if the answer compiles. It's not because we don't like expert opinions, but because there has to be some reasonably objective way to choose one answer as more correct than another, and the range of possible answers needs to be limited to a reasonable number. So, "What's your favorite way to keep track of your tasks?" is out of scope, but "Do you think a 12 page resume in comic sans is a good idea?" isn't.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 1 at 12:02
  • @ColleenV - yes, so clearly some rule must exist. But as I think your example meant to show, there is actually a fundamentally more valuable question inside the example that was badly asked. (other than maybe it is a PM question vs TWP)... So one aspect of the site being "welcoming" is to get the poster there. Instruct them to break it down, reword in the form of "what are the advantages of technique X vs Y in my situation" or something like that. I bet for a lot of new users it would work better than the usual 3 downvotes and a boilerplate question-closed notification.
    – Pete W
    Apr 1 at 14:15
  • @PeteW Yes, we should (in general) try to salvage questions that can be salvaged. We're all volunteers though, and folks are free to choose how much effort to expend. Often, salvaging a question that is stated in a way that makes it too subjective turns it into a duplicate of a "classic" question, so I think some people don't see it as worth the effort. For a lot of questions, the author is actually looking for opinions and not an answer that would contribute to our library of knowledge. Sometimes when people find out what SE is really about, they're just not interested in it.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 1 at 14:28
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I think there is a fundamental, intrinsic limitation of TWP which might cause new and less new users to feel alienated an unwanted. The questions are meant to address problems which can be solved. In the real workplace - especially away from code and hard numbers - most doubts, conflicts, complications arise from politics, personal conflicts, ethics, etc.

There are many such situations that are simply too complex to be solved with "do what your manager tells you" or "get a lawyer". Especially when the questions is asked by somebody who is not able to solve the problem through his/her manager, or who would like to hear some "friendly advice" before investing in a lawyer.

I have been here for a few years, and as my career advanced, the challenges I face became more and more complex - and not on the technical side. Quora at least will allow people to hear different opinions and perspectives, and maybe sometimes we should recommend users to visit other websites for their problem.

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    "most doubts, conflicts, complications arise from politics, personal conflicts, ethics, etc." yep, and most of those have solutions or at least we can help people understand the problem they're facing which is quite often a bit different from what they think
    – Kilisi Mod
    May 12 at 13:21
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We do fine. Moderation works well these days. The mods with overriding outside agendas mostly saw themselves out the door a while back and it's been much smoother sailing since then.

The welcoming thing is over my head, in my 5+ years here I haven't seen any particularly unwelcoming attitudes. And realistically as an OP all I care about is answers to my question, anything else is irrelevant. We're not therapists or Agony Aunts. Any people feeling unwelcomed probably have more to their agenda than getting an answer.

Perhaps the downvotes and quick closures are a bit discouraging, but that is how the system works and isn't under our control. Any adults coming here have used the internet and shouldn't be very surprised at that sort of thing. We already do what we can to mitigate against it.

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    "The mods with overriding outside agendas mostly saw themselves out the door a while back and it's been much smoother sailing since then." Ahh, c'mon man. Again? How ungenerous can you be to three moderators who resigned. Two came back almost immediately. Assume good intentions et al. I mean, MC was a mod on TWP, the diamond was forcibly removed and... ! Anyway, that was not an outside agenda.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Mar 27 at 16:12
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    @Mari-LouA I neither know nor care about what happens outside TWP. We're here to help people with workplace problems, not look at dirty laundry over the fence. The mod clique had been around too long and lost sight of the userbase. So smoother sailing since the userbase became the focus again.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Mar 27 at 22:24
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    Sometimes what happens outside WTP can have direct consequences on those users who have worked for years in building a healthy and productive community. Don't focus on your backyard but look beyond the fence. Just saying.You might learn something that could protect your chickens.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Mar 27 at 22:29
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    @Mari-LouA with all due respect, how would you know what's best for us? You have provided one answer to the site in almost 2 years. You're not on the coal face.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Mar 27 at 22:32
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    @Mari-LouA The only danger our chickens face is that from our neighbors who insist that feeding them glass is the best course of action. As Kilisi said, your participation to date has been almost nothing. You haven't even provided an answer in here, just picking at the person who has participated more than anyone else, save one. Mar 27 at 22:58
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    This assessment of my former colleagues on the moderator team is saddening, somewhat sickening and in my view profoundly unjust. Several resigned in protest because their fellow mod on this site had her diamond removed. Is that in and of itself reason to say they "all had outside agendas" and "didn't focus on the userbase"? Those mods were active almost exclusively on Workplace and put in heaps of work. They had very valid personal reasons to end their volunteer role over dissatisfaction with the network that hosts us. Is that enough to brand them as traitors as you appear to do here?
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Mar 29 at 10:22
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    Kilisi, I think what you're missing is that mods are a community that spans stacks, and while they represent their communities' interests, they also have independent mod specific concerns and responsibilities. When the company abuses their power and treats one of their volunteers so badly it goes into arbitration, it affects everyone in the mod community. You don't have enough info to judge fairly, because moderators literally can't give it to you without breaking their agreement to keep info from mod-only spaces private. You're entitled to your opinion though, even if it is uninformed.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 29 at 14:58
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    Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you but the impression I'm getting is that you have an extremely negative view of the mods who decided to resign and did not return and that somehow even before they resigned in protest they were doing the wrong things, whatever it is you're implying, which has since ended. Or I guess almost ended since the mods with "outside agendas" are only "mostly" gone. To use workplace terms, the vibe I'm getting is that you're marking them all as traitors for not being dedicated enough the moment they hand in their resignation. I hope I'm just interpreting this wrong.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Mar 29 at 15:57
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    If we take the full context, it has happens about a change that in the CoC that would have affect our community. So we could argue that one mod got fired over protecting the community. Though the only thing I think I get you're not happy with is that you would have organized new election of moderators before leaving instead of just rushing through the exit door per respect for the community.
    – Walfrat
    Mar 30 at 8:15
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    @Kilisi I resigned from ELL November of 2019 but agreed to keep my moderator status until elections could be held. I waited for months and finally asked to have my status removed to force elections to be scheduled. You think you know how you would have handled the situation, but you don’t, because you don’t know a fraction of what was going on. So “wait for elections” wouldn’t have gone the way you seem to think it would have. Mods are volunteers. It’s unreasonable to demand they keep donating their time when it is having a negative impact on their life.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 30 at 10:56
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    The only power mods have to protect their communities when the company won’t listen is to strike. Things are much better now, but they wouldn’t be if moderators had just kept their heads down and pretended everything was fine. If moderators hadn’t disrupted the network, the company would be on a path that would not be good for TWP. This idea that you can isolate a stack from the company that created it doesn’t make sense to me.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 30 at 11:05
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    @Kilisi obviously I need more coffee. All I’m trying to do is get you to understand there is way more to the situation than you know. You’re my first choice for moderator, because I think your perspective would be valuable. I hope you are elected, and maybe once you see it from the inside you’ll understand what I meant.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 30 at 11:10
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    (And I upvoted this because I agree with the other parts of it even though I think you're being a bit ungenerous toward the mods who resigned. I think you could have said essentially the same thing with a lot more words or some softer phrasing and a lot of people who are having a strongly negative reaction to the current phrasing would have overlooked it. )
    – ColleenV
    Mar 30 at 12:09
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    @ColleenV like I said, English isn't my language of daily use, so I stick with direct and short.... if people want to upset themselves that's their call. Appreciate the vote thanks.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Mar 30 at 12:14
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    @ColleenV my main reason for running, I have noticed too much bias against non white collar industries, and too many misunderstandings caused by cultural and communication differences. I intend to try and fill a gap rather than take on the whole moderation thing. Other mods would be much better suited for some things. Assuming I get voted in... so far I only have 2 solid votes after all my hard campaigning ;)
    – Kilisi Mod
    Mar 30 at 13:11
-1

Strengths:

  • As a senior technical worker, I have found situations in the work environment, where I am the only person at my level on the team. There may be no one to ask advice within my company. This can be because no one else has comparable skills or because of political reasons. TWP offers a space where I can ask for advice from other professionals within the industry and get knowledgeable feedback.

Weaknesses:

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    One of the moderators, is a person of color, the #3 ranked person here has multiple disabilities and there is someone who is LGBT in the top ten as well. May 3 at 1:47
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    As a woman who has been an engineer for about 3 decades now, I know what sexism looks like, and I see nothing to support your assertion that there's a problem on TWP. I see lots of good, actionable advice given to people who are facing discrimination at work that would have been helpful to me when I started my career. The site has thousands answers from diverse voices and viewpoints from people working all over the world. I don't see how the content here could be interpreted as lacking in diversity or the community perceived as not being inclusive.
    – ColleenV
    May 3 at 20:43
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    Thank you for proving my point on the other thread, "Downvotes often happen to minorities who express concerns about discrimination in the workplace". May 8 at 17:32
  • @ColleenV, per the other thread, "No Phyllis Schlafly types please." Sexist comments that minimize others' concerns happen regularly on this site. Perhaps you should take a class in Women's Studies, so you can take the material and apply it to real life. Frankly, feminist men on this site do a better job standing up for women's rights than you do. Being a female yourself does not absolve you of minimizing other women's concerns. May 8 at 17:38
  • 2
    Why do you think you should be immune to downvotes? I am entitled to my opinion as you are to yours. I shouldn’t have to be indoctrinated into your cult of victimhood to “prove” I’m not sexist. I know I’m not sexist, and I don’t tolerate actual sexist behavior. I reject the idea that you know better than I do what is and is not sexist and that my experience as a target of sexism is somehow irrelevant to forming a reasoned opinion about it. Maybe you’re getting downvoted for the same reason I get downvoted sometimes; people disagree with what you’ve written.
    – ColleenV
    May 9 at 4:22
  • 2
    I haven't noticed much discrimination on TWP, but discrimination is a fact of life or people wouldn't post questions on it. I found out long ago that because we're an international site what is normal for a locale may be widely different from others. I feel we make an honest effort to be agreeable to all on a personal level and there is more bias based on industry. I read a very interesting answer of yours, I note your qualifications as well, but realistically hardly any of it would be applicable in my locale. But I didn't say your answer was bigoted, it's probably valid where you're from.
    – Kilisi Mod
    May 11 at 10:39
-3

As a result of all the comments, this post is heavily revised and hopefully shortened.

There is a simple and obviously self evident law of nature that says, that if you set yourself a primary objective and pursue it as such, you will eventually inevitably obtain this objective at the cost of any and all other objectives you may have. The only way to stop this process is by canceling your chosen primary objective.

The primary objective of moderation in not just TWP, but all of StackExchange, is the acquirement of achievements, badges, privileges and reputation.

It is a game.

It is not like a game, it is a game.

It has the technical characteristics of a game and has the same effect on the human brain as a game.

Moderators value the content of questions and answers alike by voting, editing, deleting, closing and other forms of moderation primarily in order to obtain personal in-game gain in the form of the achievements mentioned above. Even if they themselves do not realize this.

This is not an opinion.

It is the unavoidable consequence of the fact that the conditions for moderation in StackExchange are technically those of a game.

Moderators are being actively encouraged to vote at the basis of a mere glance, incapable of even reading the content of a posted question or answer. This is a process that they themselves are not aware of and to my experience are unanimously in a state of denial about.

Considering the dangers in gaming in general and more so in hidden gaming in particular, I find this alarming.

Moderators, this is your work place.

Regardless of whether you get payed for it or not, it is where you do what you do.

If simply being here and moderating to the best of your abilities can damage your mental health, you must investigate this.

Don't believe me, check for yourself.

18
  • 1
    I have deleted all previous comments as the answer has changed enough to make them irrelevant. I think you are projecting your ideas on to other people as if they're the only possible ones. My motivations are not as you describe, I do read and attempt to understand before voting, and your downvotes are a drop in the bucket to what I have had.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Apr 17 at 2:51
  • 2
    The site is gamified. Everyone participates, not just moderators. "Considering the dangers in gaming in general and more so in hidden gaming in particular, I find this alarming." I find it amusing. "If simply being here and moderating to the best of your abilities can damage your mental health, you must investigate this." - if you feel that your mental health is being damaged, perhaps this site isn't a good fit for you. Apr 17 at 13:22
  • Dear Kilisi, Please read the post. This post is not about your intensions. I have no doubt about those and I would not want to discredit your effort in any way. , This is strictly about what you are being exposed to. And It is not a matter of opinion, but a simple cold hard fact. Moderation in StackExchange is constructed as a game. That is simply what it technically is. What you do with that information is up to you. The only thing I can say that relates to you personally is, that I was surprised to see that just telling you down-votes don't hurt me, didn't convince you.
    – Berend
    Apr 18 at 17:32
  • @ Joe Strazzere, Thank you very much for your comment. At least someone confirms I'm not just seeing ghosts. Gamified is a nicer term to use, but the effect is the same. Sure, some people have no problem with that. Some do, but don't know they do. Personally I think people should be free to choose for that to begin with, rather than having to find out for themselves. Mostly because that is where the ones who are less resistant than you and me get trapped. To stick to the point; Do you really think gamifying moderation does not undermine its quality?
    – Berend
    Apr 18 at 17:42
  • @ Joe Strazzere Please note that offering gaming without warning for possible consequences, the way StackExchange does, it forbidden by law in the country I live in. I strongly doubt they went through the trouble of criminalizing it because they thought it was amusing.
    – Berend
    Apr 18 at 18:03
  • The vast majority of "diamond" moderators on the SE network simply don't care about gaining badges or reputation. The vast majority of high-rep users with access to moderation tools also have more than enough badges and reputation. Both get a sense of achievement in helping the community or users through their actions, but that's about it. Gamification is imposed on all of us, but generally the more you get, the less you care about them.
    – Snow
    Apr 20 at 9:02
  • I used to be a high-rep diamond moderator here a year or so ago. Reputation and badges mattered so little to me that I didn't mind deleting my accounts when it became necessary for me to take a break.
    – Snow
    Apr 20 at 9:03
  • @Snow There is undoubtedly ways of dealing with this construct that are more sensible than others and you going good is good to hear. What strikes me in looking around on not only TWP, but also on other stacks is the almost complete absence of moderation on content. People voting for answers that are in essence insults (TWP) Questions deleted as 'off topic' on the physics stack that are not just on topic, but actually fundamental. Seen with relatively unbiased eyes, the average moderation is really brutally bad. Judging by the answers to this question, that is being frantically denied.
    – Berend
    Apr 20 at 13:54
  • One of the style of comments that is not being moderated at all, are hidden intention claims. You do not tell someone that he probably meant something he didn't say. You just don't. I haven't seen any of those being flagged even.
    – Berend
    Apr 20 at 14:05
  • 1
    You have a lot of insights for someone who has only been here a month and barely participated. This post is many times more than the sum total of all your other contributions. I'm not sure what you expect to accomplish with it.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Apr 20 at 14:54
  • Is the site gamified? Sure - Does gaming have dangers? Yes - Is moderation perfect? No - Are you obligated to participate? No..... have I missed anything?
    – Kilisi Mod
    Apr 20 at 15:02
  • You are probably not going to believe this Kilisi, but I am actually trying to answer the question at the top of the page. Being here a month may very well be a disadvantage, but that also goes for being here too long to still notice things. And NO, I am not talking about you. It is a general remark that goes for a lot of things. If you are interested, you don't even have to read what I write. Just reading and analyzing what you yourself write is already quite revealing. t confirms a lot of my arguments. Please don't take this personal. I think you're great, really I do.
    – Berend
    Apr 20 at 15:15
  • @ Kilisi, Yes you missed something. Most people come here with the idea that this is a serious site on which they can either help others or find solutions to their own very real problems. Calling it OK for them to get caught up in a game they never asked for is highly questionable.
    – Berend
    Apr 20 at 15:19
  • No kidding: A person comes with a question concerning getting bullied on the Job. A professional answer gets deleted for 'Not being an Answer' and an advice to just suck it up and mind his own business gets 28 upvotes. So what do you think? Is it fun to be on his side of this game?
    – Berend
    Apr 20 at 15:36
  • Doesn't sound like much fun
    – Kilisi Mod
    Apr 21 at 9:11

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