I started responding to a question that was attracting political commentary and grandstanding. I felt that the asker was being targeted with bad-faith answers and comments, which included extremely uncharitable interpretations of their question. I probably responded in a counterproductive way, and possibly broke the rules of commenting myself by putting discussion in the comments.

However, I just received a suggested edit to a years old post on here. I frankly feel extremely uncomfortable being on this site and receiving this kind of “private message”. I don’t know what to do, so I am going to ask here.

screenshot of the edit

screenshot of the sender

  • FWIW - Wasn't me, we had a good back and forth - but nothing you said even came close to being a breach of site rules IMO. Dec 16, 2023 at 0:41

2 Answers 2


Whenever you see someone breaking the Code of Conduct (CoC), whether or not it is directed at you, you should flag it for moderator attention. If it is a suggested edit, you should reject the edit as "Spam or vandalism", then flag the post that the suggested edit was made to with the "In need of moderator intervention" flag and explain the situation. The suggested edit will be in the post's history even though you rejected it.

If the infraction is by some method that is hard to associate with a post so you can flag it, you can try asking in the main chat room if you can chat privately with a moderator, or flag one of your own posts. Raising a single "In need of moderator intervention" doesn't have a negative effect on your post regardless of whether its declined or not.

If you don't feel that the mod team fully addressed your concerns, you can escalate to the Community Management (CM) team using the "Contact" link at the bottom of the page. The CoC violation reason is under the "Trust and Safety" category. Sometimes there's not a lot that can be done except to gather data, but it is important to make sure moderators are aware of violations.

Even if the culprit is identified, we probably won't know who they were or exactly what actions were taken. Stack Exchange policy is to keep enforcement details as private as possible unless the user makes them public, so even if you escalate to the CM team, you probably won't get additional detail about exactly what was done in response to your flag.


As the powers that be have seen it fit to allow "anonymous edit suggestions", the only thing you really can do is grow a thicker skin and click "reject".

If it happens frequently, let us know and we will see if we can duct-tape some counter measures, but as long as they had more work writing their petty insults than you had with just deleting them, there is nothing you (or we the moderators) could do about it.

I don't like it either, but that is how this software is set to run.

  • 14
    No. Users don't need to "grow a thicker skin" when some anonymous jerk violates the CoC. It should be flagged, and if y'all can't do anything about it, you should escalate it to the CM team and I don't care if they've got a lot on their plates. If the company can't enforce their CoC with the CM team they have, they should stop laying them off. Our mission is to build libraries of high-quality questions and answers, and to foster collaboration within a safe and welcoming community rooted in kindness, cooperation and mutual respect. Often people aren't as anonymous as they think they are.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 20, 2023 at 18:06
  • 9
    If WP has a user engaging in this type of attack, y'all need to nip it in the bud. I have seen it get much much worse. They will drive people off the site and you won't even know because you've told users not to flag you unless they're getting repeatedly abused.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 20, 2023 at 18:11
  • I feel it, I had it done to some of my posts, too, on other SEs. It sucks. But that is how the feature works, invite anonymous randoms, get anonymous people acting like it. I am not a fan, quite the contrary, I cannot see any good coming from allowing it at all. If it were for me, this feature would not exist. But once the anonymous typed their text and the OP read it, the harm is done. No flag or Moderator or CM action will undo it. If it happens to be targetted/persistent/multiple users then we will find a way to prevent it, but we cannot prevent every drive-by anonymous on the internet.
    – nvoigt Mod
    Dec 20, 2023 at 18:52
  • 13
    You need to escalate it to the CM team, not just throw up your hands and say "Oh well, people are getting attacked but there's nothing we can do because they cleverly logged out before doing it." They aren't anonymous and staff can figure out who they are. If you're not willing to do that, you should direct people who have been attacked to use the "contact" link at the bottom of the page, not just grow a thicker skin. If the mod team doesn't take CoC violations seriously, that sets a bad tone for the site.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 20, 2023 at 18:58
  • 4
    (Ok, they probably haven't covered their tracks well enough to be truly anonymous, but it's possible. The only people who can find out are staff. If there are enough complaints, maybe they'll lock anonymous edits down.)
    – ColleenV
    Dec 20, 2023 at 19:02
  • 1
    @ColleenV You should make that into an answer, because you're right. I'd be curious if this is their only offense, or if this is just the first discussed openly...
    – GammaGames
    Dec 21, 2023 at 19:41
  • 3
    @GammaGames We will never know who the WP user was that's behaving like an immature ass, because enforcement actions are kept private. Frankly, I don't care, I just want people who are engaging with the site in good faith not to be subjected to this nastiness. There are a lot of ways in the SE system to make sure a user sees a nasty attack while making it difficult for the volunteer mod team to act on it. Every single incident of someone breaking the CoC while thinking they're hiding their identity needs to be escalated to staff, because only the company has the power to fix it.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 21, 2023 at 20:26
  • 7
    edit rejection options include "Spam or vandalism" (I just checked - this option is shown at the top of the list) - this is exactly how this should be handled. Per my recollection of related discussions at other metas, system alerts moderators about multiple edits flagged this way and moderators in turn are expected to escalate to CMs if they believe that additional help is needed to stop the abuse
    – gnat
    Dec 21, 2023 at 21:54

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