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I thought Stack Exchange was a place where the users have input into how things work and are well respected as equals and peers. I am asking this question so that we can know unequivocally if that is true or false, because many of us are getting tired of trying to figure this out.

On the meta IPS question How do you tell an answerer that you think their answer needs work? a moderator moved all the comments to an archive and left the comment "write an answer if you have something to say".

The comment thread archived was useful in helping that meta question's poster to fix up their question, so the comments had the intended effect that Stack Exchange comments are supposed to have. The comments did get chatty, but it was a meta discussion after all - it is, I think, well known that the comment-discussion guidelines are more relaxed for a meta-discussion. Those comments were making headway and coming together nicely.

I left a comment in response to that, partially asking for clarification on that moderator's intent and partially hinting that that is not how Stack Exchange works, that, under normal situations (the mod action was not some necessary action in response to an extreme situation), moderators should not unilaterally say "Don't leave comments on this question". I even asked in that comment if we need to have yet another meta question to start a discussion about meta discussion comments... I think that's asinine personally, but if others disagree then another meta discussion would be the way to go.

Even that comment to the moderator was deleted! And this is in a meta discussion which is trying to hash out how tolerant we should be about comments.

I feel somewhat disrespected, and I believe that question was not given a fair chance for the above reason and other reasons as well (some answers made unsupported accusations against the question-asker, and I even politely asked if they could get the evidence dredged up since it should be available). If the meta OP falls flat on its face because of provided facts, then so be it, but that has not happened in this case.

Since our attempts at working together as adults resulted in big brother coming in and deciding anything that crosses what they say gets moderator action, I believe the question I am asking here is both valid and necessary.

The actions that are intended for moderators and high-rep users to make in order to keep the website on track and civil are understood and necessary. I am not challenging that ability at all, so please do not make this discussion about that. What I am asking about is situations where moderators bend the rules (ie: Don't leave comments on this question at all), where they abuse their power ("You dare to question my authority? And you dare to ask if you should ask a meta question about whether I should be ban-hammer-happy? comment deleted), or where they even outright deny discussion (someone linked to a spot where that same moderator had the gall to post a rant and end it with "None of this is up for discussion."; the fact that I agree with that moderator's rant there is irrelevant to my question here).

Some related questions as food for thought...

Is everything always up for discussion, or can discussion be axed?

Whose will comes first, users trying to hash things out on their own (especially when they are doing so successfully), or moderator fiat?

Is my opinion just as important as some moderator's opinion, and the only thing that sets us apart is that someone trusted the moderator to act on theirs, or is the moderator's opinion more important than mine?

The root question, in the context of the above, is this: Is Stack Exchange a site for adults to respectfully and civilly work together as adults and peers to answer questions?

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    I would like to point out that Shog... he's not a moderator. He's a CM... Community Manager... he's employed by Stack Exchange and has been working for them for years. – Catija Feb 28 '18 at 16:04
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    @Catija Did not even know about that term. I understand what you are saying, but everything I say still stands. I don't care if he is the president; he is my equal, not my god. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 16:07
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    @Aaron - Presumably you have a job, one with a hierarchy of some kind. Do you regard the person multiple steps above you to be your equal? – JohnP Feb 28 '18 at 16:18
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    @Aaron Shog is part of the team that owns these sites. Stack Exchange is not a democracy - the team put some effort in to make it work like one where that's useful, but it's explicitly not a democracy. It's a benevolent dictatorship, and the team run it. So while Shog is in theory your equal, in an ideal world, he's also your dictator. – ArtOfCode Feb 28 '18 at 16:25
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    @JohnP Yes I do, and I talk to them as equals. Some of them don't like that, but too bad. I am everybody's equal, and they are mine. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 16:25
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    @Aaron some of them don't like that...yeah, I bet they don't. Let me know how that works for you down the line. – JohnP Feb 28 '18 at 16:27
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    @ArtOfCode On the one hand, I want to say "Not unless I accept him as my dictator," but on the other hand my question here is essentially asking for what you just said. So, are we expected to accept that dictatorship, or should we expect to be able to question their actions and expect a respectful response? – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 16:28
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    @Aaron - While it appears to be a different structure, Stack Exchange is a for profit entity, owned by someone and run by employees they have selected to enforce the rules/standards of the site. Communities have some leeway in the implementation, but the base consideration is play by their rules or leave. Whether you regard them as equals or not. – JohnP Feb 28 '18 at 16:29
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    Aaron. Shog's actually generally open about people questioning his actions... He even answered your question here... so it's not as if he's acting like an evil dictator the way you seem to be characterizing. He's got nearly a decade of experience here and sort of understands how things go down... it's not a matter of being his equal so much as respecting his experiential knowledge. – Catija Feb 28 '18 at 16:29
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    @JohnP I have been in my career for a long time, so I can tell you: it works well. It slows advancement, as some jerks will block you because their ego is hurt, but it allows me to maintain my standing as an equal. In the end, they make some bad decisions that go through because they have the power. But I question the decisions of my managers and their managers enough that I'm known for it, and that makes the company better. Some have appreciated not having a yes-man. They are not god, they just have the power to make the final decision, right or wrong, and I have the power to question it. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 16:33
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    @Aaron To be brutally honest: yes. If you use these sites, you accept that they're run by a team of people at Stack Exchange, and their ruling is final. That doesn't mean it's unchangeable - if you can present a clear argument about why a ruling is wrong, they may well change it, but they're not obliged to. You likewise accept the jurisdiction of community moderators like Catija and HDE; you can "appeal" their decisions to SE staff if you really want, but it'll get old fast if you do that for everything. – ArtOfCode Feb 28 '18 at 16:38
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    @Aaron I'd make another meta on what's a clear argument first if I were you, since it seems we are disagreeing on that too – Tinkeringbell Feb 28 '18 at 17:58
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    @Aaron In that much, you're correct. What's problematic is the insinuation that because you didn't agree with a moderator's decision (deleting comments), that you should be able to continue doing the thing (commenting) without any negative repercussions (more deleting comments). That and the idea that moderators/CMs don't have the "authority" to do something - they do, because they were given it by either the team or the community. When a diamond asks you to not do something, you stop doing it. If you don't agree, you bring it up on meta - don't just carry on. – ArtOfCode Feb 28 '18 at 18:47
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    6 years later, that's a vast simplification of my role and that of others within the company, @Magisch; in any case, I'm certainly not here to lay down the law in any final sense. I stepped in Tuesday because the mods asked for a bit of assistance; I've explained my rationale for the actions I took just as I would expect them - or anyone else here - to do. By the same token, I expect folks here to not tolerate duplicitous arguments and inflammatory positions; here, more than anywhere, it is important to cut through the noise and address the root issue, not sidetrack into hyperbole. – Shog9 Mar 1 '18 at 18:15
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    And, that's fine @Magisch - but I want to emphasize that nothing I did here should be seen as something only I or only a company representative can or should do; this entire discussion is based on a false premise, one which most answerers have charitably ignored... But one which undermines the very framework that these sites operate on: that folks who put in more should be allowed greater say in determining what is allowed. Ultimately, yes: we run the servers & we determine what runs on 'em... But far short of that, y'all are free to say, "we don't have to listen to every malcontent". – Shog9 Mar 1 '18 at 18:43
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FWIW, I liked that question. It started off on the wrong foot, but was edited in response to feedback and currently touches on an important issue without going out of its way to denigrate any one side of that issue.

Indeed, it was edited in response to those comments that I archived - so they served their purpose!

...And now they have no purpose.

So what's the point of keeping an increasingly anachronistic thread of comments strung below the post, with tangential asides and misleading criticisms? None. There is no point to it. If nothing else, it's something like 3 pages of text between the question and the answers - that's a hindrance to folks who might be interested in the discussion rather than the meta-discussion of the discussion. Come on; this is already a discussion of an interpersonal problem that occurs on the site for questions about interpersonal problems; how meta do we want to get here? Does everyone who participates need to be a part of the pre-discussion discussion before they can discuss the problems inherent in the discussions that led to the discussion? And when I archived the thread, you wanted to discuss that in the comments too...

That's just silly. Three levels of meta should be enough for everyone.

(of course, this discussion probably qualifies as a fourth, so...)

Anyway; the comments are still there, in an archive, for anyone sufficiently curious to read. Not every bit of text someone types on The Internet is worth pinning to our collective foreheads for eternity.

  • While I appreciate what you say here, it does not really answer the question. I did not have a problem with what you did to the comments you archived; in fact, I explicitly stated that, both in my comment you deleted and I think in my question here as well (I'll go back and check). – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 16:37
  • And your statement "you wanted to discuss that in the comments too" is false. I explicitly said I did not want to discuss that, but rather your statement to not make comments on the question. That is completely different. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 16:38
  • So please do not misdirect this discussion. If you are merely misunderstanding the premise, then that is one thing and is fine, but if you are intentionally avoiding the actual topic that I raised then not so much. Do I need to make the question clearer? I will attempt to do so if you think that is necessary. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 16:40
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    Your actions speak louder than your words, @Aaron. I'm not getting into some debate over the precise wording I used - either it got the point across or it didn't. You wanted to keep commenting; I told you not to; you did it anyway; your comment got deleted. That's what happened and I've explained why; you can accept or reject my explanation, but either way there's nothing more to discuss. – Shog9 Feb 28 '18 at 16:54
  • Except that you haven't explained why. Your answers seem to be speaking louder than your words. Your answer does not even address what I have brought up, as in you are not even talking about the same thing I am, so your answer itself is completely off topic, but you didn't even address that part of my previous comment. I gave you the benefit of the doubt with my previous comment, but now I can only assume your answer is a disingenuous straw man argument meant to save face. Except there's no face-saving needed if we can just have an honest discussion with mutual respect. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 17:59
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    @Aaron If so many people are "talking about something different"; it may be a sign that you need to refine what you're asking. It seems like everyone attempting to address your concerns is met with "That's not what I was talking about" or "That's a strawman" when people are trying to address what they interpret to be your concerns. It's really hard to have a discussion when a majority of statements are countered with "that's not what I'm saying". – JMac Feb 28 '18 at 18:36
  • Well, just as you say, getting to a question and culling it down to something people can get behind and support is hard. It takes figuring out. It takes iteration. That is able to happen on this community is a credit, but no moreso than Dunkirk - It shouldn't need to happen in the first place. SE has a strong model, but this instance of the model is failing. It's not quite a stupid idea, it's a risky idea that is failing due to personalities. That's what we are worried about and trying to help you fix. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 28 '18 at 23:01
  • @JMac I appreciate your words there, and perhaps that could be so of some of the other commenters/answerers. But in this case with Shog9's answer/comments, he continually goes on about things which I very explicitly stated up front in the original question was not what I was asking about. In fact, he has repeatedly stated that I had problems with things that I explicitly stated all along (even before this meta-Q) I had no problem with, and he has never addressed in any way what I asked in any way, shape, or form, which originally stemmed from his comment deterring comments on a (1/2) – Aaron Mar 1 '18 at 17:37
  • @JMac (cont.) meta-question which had not gone off the rails (it had done so in some of the comments to answers of that question, however, I admit), and in fact was getting more focused and providing a better discussion by refining that other question. My question was originally about that, and about the deletion of my comment which essentially was "Whoa, isn't that excessive? Should I make a meta question for us to discuss this?" Shog9 has never addressed that here. He could have just replied with "Yes, take it to meta" there instead of a deletion. That would have been 100x better. – Aaron Mar 1 '18 at 17:40
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    @Aaron: read. And for the last time, if you're gonna try and launch a discussion here then you have to accept that you can't dictate what other folks write in response. You've been warned thrice about your obnoxious behavior; either learn to participate constructively, or leave. – Shog9 Mar 1 '18 at 17:41
  • I have flagged Shog9's previous comment as "rude or abusive" but was not able to leave a further comment on it. How do I go about reporting Shog9's completely disrespectful and ignorant (I mean that quite literally, not rudely, as he keeps completely ignoring my points entirely) behavior to someone higher up? I don't care if he reports directly to the CEO, that does not give him license to be a complete jerk to us. I would even be fine if everything I proposed in this discussion thread fell flat on its face if he would at least have a legitimate discussion about the actual issue. – Aaron Mar 1 '18 at 17:43
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    I know you didn't read that answer I linked to in two minutes. Stop wasting my time. – Shog9 Mar 1 '18 at 17:44
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    Aaron - respectfully, you are the one being a complete jerk. The issue is that you aren't respecting the way this all works and just generally being rude in your behaviour. – Rory Alsop Mar 1 '18 at 18:03
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    @Aaron If you want to take it up directly with StackExchange, there is a handy "contact" link at the bottom of the page. Good luck with that. – Em C Mar 1 '18 at 18:13
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Having worked retail as a female and having a boss with a sense of humour, I was brought up with a twisted version of a Dutch saying:

The customer is king, as long as he behaves kingly.

I'd like to think that applies to SE too:

The user is an adult and peer, as long as he behaves like one.

So:

Is everything always up for discussion, or can discussion be axed?
Everything can be axed, if people aren't behaving like adults or peers.

Whose will comes first, users trying to hash things out on their own (especially when they are doing so successfully), or moderator fiat?
Users, but you can expect the CM to do their job when things get out of hand. The fact that they need to means we haven't been behaving like adults or peers.

Is my opinion just as important as some moderator's opinion, and the only thing that sets us apart is that someone trusted the moderator to act on theirs, or is the moderator's opinion more important than mine?
At the risk of making the authority fallacy here: the CM has way more experience, has seen other proposals of this site fail and knows why, moreover they are paid to deal with stuff like what they did, so I'd attribute a little more value to the CM at this point. Again, they step in when we aren't behaving like adults and peers, so at that point they become the teacher and adult in a space full of toddlers.

Is Stack Exchange a site for adults to respectfully and civilly work together as adults and peers to answer questions?
I certainly hope so, but remember the minimum age is 13, so adult might be a little overdone. I am glad there's moderation to take care of people behaving like they're not 13 yet though.

  • Great answer, though I'd like to point out that it essentially agrees with almost everything I have said. Yet because you said it a different way, your score is positive while mine is negative. Again, I'd like to point out to everyone who reads this answer: This answer essentially agrees with both the original question and with my answer. I'd like to further point out that I believe the comment-deletion mentioned in the question above is itself acting childish. So your question could be improved by acknowledging that mods are humans too and that they too can act uncivil and un-adult. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 16:20
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    @Aaron, No. I don't find the mods uncivil and un-adult. Congratulations, you've just discovered the improvement you could make to your own post. – Tinkeringbell Feb 28 '18 at 16:24
  • @Tinkerbell So you think that when moderator Bob makes a degree on meta (one which actually goes against what is expected, where we are asked to go against the rules and make answers out of comments we have), and Tim says "Hey Bob, what's up with that? Should we have a discussion about that?" And Bob deletes what Tim just said... that is civil? That is adult? We must have differing definitions. Please elaborate on how that is acceptable. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 16:45
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    @Aaron I'm not sure if you are even trying to understand what is being said. Sure you can ask them what's up, but not in a comment section on an unrelated post. That's the key difference here. – JAD Feb 28 '18 at 17:03
  • @JAD "not in a comment section" then where? Make a meta post about a meta action taken on a meta post? How meta do we need to get? If it became a long discussion there, then sure; though I specifically crafted the comment to not result in a long discussion, in a way the person could have just said "Yeah, go make a meta about it." and "on an unrelated post"... how is it unrelated? Someone left a comment on a meta question suggesting we cannot put comments on the question, I found that very peculiar and asked if that was really what was meant; that request for clarification was deleted. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 17:29
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    @Aaron After seeing your comment in Catija's answer perhaps you can "craft" comments in the future to be more polite and succinct. – Em C Feb 28 '18 at 17:34
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    @Aaron Meta... chat... any place that isn't right under a moderator's request to stop commenting. – JAD Feb 28 '18 at 17:37
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    @Aaron Someone put a comment in the meta question suggesting that the particular conversation should not be comments on that particular question. Not that all comments on questions aren't allowed. – JMac Feb 28 '18 at 17:41
  • The problem with this answer is the layers of presumption: the dualism of there are being "adults" and putative "children"... and much more dangerous, that "the mods are by definition the adults". The slippery slope invites an air of superiority against any one can label "child", but it also invites the labeling in the first place. Which even worse, leads to a circle of self-appointed "better people". How would a person even know if they were inside such a bubble? They experience a system that works for them. If others say it doesn't, they seem like disrespecful ingrates. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 1 '18 at 0:43
  • Try that on for size. Imagine if things did degrade like that, and you were an unwitting beneficiary. In that framing re-read what you wrote and see if it doesn't make you go "hmmm". I don't know where to go with this, honestly, just check it out. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 1 '18 at 0:52
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In asking everyone to stop commenting and moving the comments that were there to chat, Shog was giving everyone the opportunity to participate in an honest discussion by encouraging us to answer the question. It's much easier for individual points to be discussed when they have separate comment chains (one per answer) rather than one huge muddle of comments on the question.

I even asked in that comment if we need to have yet another meta question to start a discussion about meta discussion comments... I think that's asinine personally, but if others disagree then another meta discussion would be the way to go.

This is exactly what Meta is for. We don't set policy in comments on unrelated meta questions. It's unsustainable and the policy will be impossible to find. If you want to discuss the appropriate way to act or respond or... whatever... ASK A QUESTION. That's what this half of the site is for.

For the class, your comment read:

Really? "Comments archived. write an answer if you have something to say."??? Do we now need to have another meta post, this one to discuss how comments should be use in meta? I understand archiving away a bunch of comments that helped to reshape the question, some of which are now obsolete, but please be careful about the rest of your comment. Sorry if I'm misrepresenting your intent, but it looks almost like you don't want any more comments here. If that is the case, then in the words of Charlie Brown: good grief.

I see no reason for it to be there. I didn't delete it but I would have. Asking a question - this question, maybe - is what you should have done.

Now, you (and Shog) both seem to think this is one layer of meta too far... but your comment there was completely off topic, so I think your only option would be to ask a question. What's the benefit to that question for us to host a discussion about whether it's OK for a moderator or CM to tell users to stop commenting? There is none!

That said... I think you may be slightly misinformed. There's nothing "bending the rules" about asking or telling people to stop commenting. In fact, many of the post locks that moderators have will specifically prevent comments. They have some other side effects - so we don't really like using them unless absolutely necessary - but it's actually within our power to systematically prevent new comments from being posted.

So, in a sense, the users and staff who have diamonds have the power and are entrusted to make good choices in using it. If you think it's being abused, by all means, ask about it. You can ask here or, if you think it's related to a larger, network-wide issue, you can ask on Meta Stack Exchange. But please remember, asking rather than accusing generally goes over better.

  • Once again, an answer which has a lot of points which support what I said but is somehow taken as reinforcing the opposite. The first three paragraphs agree with me, so we are in accord. Your next step about asking a meta question instead of leaving a comment is where we diverge in opinion; fine, I can respect your opinion, you think that I should not have commented. But I ask you, given that I did comment, is merely deleting that comment really appropriate? – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 17:35
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    Absolutely, unequivocally, yes. – Catija Feb 28 '18 at 17:37
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    And as for the "moderators have such and such powers," again, I addressed all that. I agree with having people with powers to fix things that are broken. I never questioned that. But in the case at hand, there were comments which resulted in the question being improved (and were therefore useful at one time). Once it was improved, I would not have minded if those comments were outright deleted rather than archived, as they served their purpose. But what purpose does "No more comments here" serve, coming on the heels of comments which just improved the question? – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 17:37
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    It's explained in my very first paragraph. – Catija Feb 28 '18 at 17:41
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    Your first paragraph is grand. It's a grand retcon. But it is not what was said, or what is typically said when that actually is the intent. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 28 '18 at 23:19
  • "Folks, mod here. This comments section has gotten too bulky, tangled and a bit obsolete. I don't have the bandwidth to pick through it (nor do I want to be judging) so I'm archiving all of it. There were several good points in it that were underexplored (but nobody's going to find them in all that) so I'd like you to break them out into answers so they get their own discussion stream. Mod out." – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 28 '18 at 23:22
  • That's what that sounds like, just for reference. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 28 '18 at 23:24
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    @Harper Generally, they say "Comments are not for extended discussion." That's generally what they say when I see them. I'm not sure why you're taking the implications that far. – JMac Mar 1 '18 at 12:55
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    @Harper ... and what's wrong with that? Isn't having separate "threads" (answer + comments under the answer) for distinct points an improvement over one giant string of comments about all of them? – Em C Mar 1 '18 at 15:02
  • @EmC Of course, it's a fine concept. Catija is arguing that's what they meant. I am wondering why anyone needs to explain what they meant, since if they meant that, it's so easily stated. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 1 '18 at 21:41
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Is my opinion just as important as some moderator's opinion, and the only thing that sets us apart is that someone trusted the moderator to act on theirs, or is the moderator's opinion more important than mine?

The moderator's opinion is more important than yours, on moderation issues. That is, when it comes to whether an answer is good or bad, the moderators get one vote each, just like you and me—we're equals there. But when it comes to issues like whether a particular action violates the rules of Stack Exchange, the moderators (and SE employees) have the power. They might welcome input from users, but the final decision is theirs. That's what they're here for.

Think of it like a real world modern democracy with the rule of law: we're equal in the voting booth, but elected officials do the actual writing and passing of laws, police decide who to arrest, prosecutors decide who to prosecute, and judges (usually with the help of juries) decide who is convicted and who is not.

This isn't inherently an abuse of power, it's part of the system that keeps the democracy ticking along.

This also doesn't make any of those officials inherently better or more important than anyone else—we're still a society of equals in terms of human worth and dignity.

This is different from a private club where all decisions are made by consensus, with no hierarchy and no role-differentiation between members. There are websites out there that are run that way, but SE is not one of them.

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Aaron, I confess I haven't read through every word on this page, and I haven't visited the links, but I think I've seen enough of the tone of the dispute to be able to share something that I think may help you.

I was once involved in a legal action. Not exactly a court case. This type of action involves a hearing, which is run by a "hearing officer," who functions kind of like a judge. I did not have a lawyer, but the other side did.

There was a state office that was able to answer some basic procedural questions for me, and on one of my calls to that office, the person who worked there explained something to me that was very helpful.

She said: The state gives hearing officers some general rules and guidelines, but it leaves the details of the conduct of the hearing up to the discretion of the hearing officer. The hearing officer must be able to function as the decider of a hundred or more procedural squabbles, both big and small, that come up during the course of the hearing. Hearing officers receive training, and their decisions are scrutinized in case there is an appeal filed, but for the day-to-day running of the hearing, including the pre-hearing communication about preparation for the hearing, and post-hearing communication about closing arguments, decision date, etc., the hearing officer has to be clearly in charge. Someone has to be in charge of these things. The state can't do it -- that's what it pays the hearing officers to do.

She continued: Each hearing officer is going to have a slightly different style, because hearing officers are human beings... because hearings are complicated... and because the disputes the hearings are about are complicated.

She explained that the state would be willing to consider a complaint about the way the hearing officer conducted the hearing, if I wanted to file one. She sent me the instructions on how to do so, but she explained that such a complaint would only be considered once the hearing was over and the decision had been rendered.

What I found out through the course of the hearing was that in the hundred or more procedural squabbles that came up, I won some and I lost some. But at the end of the day, the outcome of the legal action itself was more important to me than the outcome of the skirmish that occurred on Tuesday morning at 9:45 about whether the question the other side's lawyer had asked the witness was fair or not.

In case you're wondering about the final outcome... I lost but won on appeal. On top of a whole lot of mistakes of all kinds and sizes, the hearing officer didn't render his decision on time. When he missed what I calculated to be the deadline, I sent an assertive letter to him about that. He perhaps retaliated and decided against me on every single aspect. I appealed, and prevailed on two out of the three main prongs of the case. The appeal officer included a footnote in the appeal decision about the lateness of the hearing officer's decision. Basically, what the footnote said, in fancy language, was that the hearing officer had danced on the edge of the timeliness requirement. Which was about as strong as I could have hoped to get, since the system favors the status quo. I think that my hearing officer will probably try pretty hard to avoid rendering decisions late in future.

In the end, I did not bother filing an administrative complaint about the way the hearing officer conducted the hearing. It didn't seem necessary, since his decision had already been overturned and he had been given a subtle warning in the footnote.

How I have applied this understanding to StackExchange: I figure, someone has to be in charge. That someone is only human, and may make mistakes. If I see something egregious, maybe it's worth pointing out... but I try to look at the big picture: StackExchange offers me a framework and an established group of participants. If I want to participate, I have to look philosophically at the day-to-day running of the many procedural squabbles that come up. I may win some, I may lose some. With experience, I get better at getting my ideas across in writing, and understanding other people's point of view from a purely written medium. Which is challenging, let's face it!

Letting go of a perceived injustice can be hard... but it's easier to do if we can find a way to focus on the main goal.

  • "StackExchange offers me a framework and an established group of participants. If I want to participate, I have to look philosophically at the day-to-day running of the many procedural squabbles that come up. [...] Letting go of a perceived injustice can be hard... but it's easier to do if we can find a way to focus on the main goal." __ Very true @aparente001, and the main goal is to help the persons who ask their questions here! I am very grateful to Stack Exchange for giving me this platform to express myself with people all over the world, and I am very careful to retain the privilege. – English Student Mar 5 '18 at 17:04
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I asked that because I do not feel as though my opinion is held as equal to the opinion of a moderator (which I thought it was supposed to), but merely not having the capability to act on my opinion as they do, and I do not feel respected by nor like a peer of the moderators.

My understanding is that the site intention is that we are all supposed to be equal peers in this endeavor. I might not have the same powers on the site as a moderator as a high rep user, but I thought I was supposed to be treated as their equal in all other regards.

Regardless of the site's intention, we are all equals. Every last one of us. Everyone who works together in good faith must receive the same amount of respect and attention, that is, utmost respect and attention. I do not care who you are, if you are a high-rep user, a moderator, or a 1-rep new user: You are no more or less important than I am, and your opinions and insights are just as important as mine, no more and no less.

I believe that deleting comments in meta which question a moderator's authority is an abuse of power. I have the right as your peer to question everything that you do, just as you have the right to question my actions. You have the power, but not the authority, to delete a comment which questions your actions, especially on meta.

I believe that a moderator has the power but not the authority to make and act on demands such as "Do not make any comments on this meta question."

That is where I am coming from, and I hope that I am correct. I expect everyone to treat everyone with the utmost respect, honor, and equality. And I don't feel that is occurring.

I look forward to seeing the opposing answers and I look forward to having an honest discussion about this. I won't hold my breath for that, as I think it is ridiculous that we have to discuss this in the first place, but I am hopeful. If my understanding of how this website should be run is flawed then I hope that dissenting answers here enlighten me about that.

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    Unfortunately you do not get to declare that allowing arbitrarily large numbers of comments, whether or not they are rude, whether or not they are chatty, whether or not they are obsolete, to accumulate on a question is the definition of respect and adultness. You want to be treated as a peer, that's good, and I hope you are treated as a peer, but peers don't invent new rules and demand that other users, including those specifically tasked with enforcing the old rules, enforce your new ones instead. – Kate Gregory Feb 28 '18 at 16:16
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    @KateGregory Unfortunately you have made a straw man argument since I never asked for any of the things you just mentioned. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 16:24
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    Ye,s you did. You feel that comments (even chatty ones) should not be deleted unless you think they should be deleted. You think having a different opinion about what is "too much" is abuse of power. You think meta-meta comments like "I had a comment here about all the other comments being deleted, but it was removed" should be allowed to stay and that if someone removes them they aren't giving you the respect you deserve. All of this you have written in the question and this answer. And to put it bluntly, you're wrong. Comments get deleted. That is a "law of physics" of these sites. – Kate Gregory Feb 28 '18 at 16:35
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    @KateGregory Once again you make false assumptions. I did not say "chatty comments should not be deleted unless I think they should be", nor ever imply that. In fact, I specifically stated in an answer over at the linked area that comments should be self-contained, not requiring any further discussion. Here, I have said that it is a known and accepted thing that it is relaxed slightly for meta because this specifically is a discussion (even has discussion tag), so we need to be able to discuss it. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 16:47
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    @KateGregory Please stop saying that I have said things that I have not only not said, nor implied, but which I do not even believe. I do not understand how you can claim I said or feel something which I do not even believe. I specifically do not feel the way you say in your comment, and I feel (and have said as much here) *just the opposite. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 16:49
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    "I believe that deleting comments in meta which question a moderator's authority is an abuse of power." Tell me how I am minsinterpreting that? "our attempts at working together as adults resulted in big brother coming in and deciding anything that crosses what they say gets moderator action," how does that not mean that you, rather than the moderator, should decide which comments stay? If you think you're being misinterpreted, write more clearly. – Kate Gregory Feb 28 '18 at 16:52
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    "I believe that deleting comments in meta which question a moderator's authority is an abuse of power." Moderators have the power to moderate. If they think the comments should be removed or migrated; that is well within their power. It's well established in the SE system that you can never assume your comments will last. I'm not sure why your opinions about comments should override long established site policies. – JMac Feb 28 '18 at 16:54
  • @KateGregory The quotes you just provided are not saying the same thing as your previous comments. You are making a big leap to go from those quotes to your previous comments. You are assuming that I mean something more than what I say. You have not yet made a case for your previous comments. "I believe mods deleting comments in meta which question SE meta activity is abuse" is in no way even comparable to "I believe comments should only be deleted when I say they should." I'm advocating for mutual respect, which is exactly the opposite of what you are claiming I am advocating for. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 17:20
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    I am done. You are not expressing yourself clearly and simply repeating "That's not what I meant" doesn't help anyone. I hope you end up feeling less attacked when comments get deleted, which they will. A lot. – Kate Gregory Feb 28 '18 at 17:22
  • @JMac That is yet another straw man; people, please stay on topic or at least within context. The first 4 sentences of your comment go right along with what I have been saying. Only your last comment separates from what I have said, and then suggests that I have somehow suggested that my opinions override site policies, a suggestion which is unfounded. Show me where there is a long established site policy that says "meta discussions with discussion tags cannot have any comments on the question." It does not exist because that is absurd. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 17:24
  • @KateGregory Perhaps, in order to understand people clearly, you could stop attributing things to them which they never said. You take statements I make and distort them into something completely different which I never stated nor advocated for. Stop trying to fill gaps and just read the text for what it is. You have yet to suggest where I have been confusing. Please help me. Explain what is confusing and I will try to clarify. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 17:26
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    @Aaron The "policy" you describe in the question was not "meta discussions cannot have any comments on the question", it's "mods can remove comments at will". In your case, you left an off-topic comment after a mod had said to stop leaving comments and write an answer instead. "Off-topic comments will be deleted" is a very standard SE policy. – Em C Feb 28 '18 at 17:28
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    There's nothing confusing here. Projecting confusion onto others when they don't give you the response you want them to is weak sauce; for all your words, your intention is clear and you've received multiple responses now to confirm that. Now stop being rude to the folks who were willing to play your little game and go find something more productive to do. – Shog9 Feb 28 '18 at 17:30
  • @Shog9 Was that a response to Kate? Kate suggested that I need to write more clearly, so I am asking her what is confusing. I understand that her claiming I need to write more clearly without explaining what could actually be improved is a weak argument and is rude, but please do not scare Kate away from answering my request for constructive criticism. – Aaron Feb 28 '18 at 17:52
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    @Aaron You keep asking for respect and civility. If you really want that, please stop insulting other users; it's not helping your point. – HDE 226868 Feb 28 '18 at 18:09

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