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Note the updates at the end: In short, my resignation is now in full effect.

A moderator is a person trusted by both Stack Exchange, and the community as a whole, to objectively and fairly deal with the exceptions that may arise in the regular running of the site.

We are trusted with access to private data, and have tools and resources that allow us to work beyond the roles that regular users work at. In many ways we represent the users, and in many other ways, we represent SE as an organization.

We also make mistakes. We are human, and as much as we try, our biases, cultures, and mood influences how we interact with others.

A moderator has a relationship with Stack Exchange. This relationship is partially a formal agreement, but mostly it is a mutual trust relationship. SE trusts us to manage the site in a fair and inclusive way, and we trust SE to support us with tools and resources, protect us from bad situations, and to help us evolve in the bigger picture of the larger SE community and the world as a whole.

In light of recent events in the broader Stack Exchange site, it's become clear that the tolerance for mistakes is diminished. I understand that Stack Exchange needs to be an inclusive, "nice" place to be, and I hope that all my interactions with people have been inclusive, and "nice". I have tried really hard to make that happen. I sincerely hope that Stack Exchange succeeds in their goals to be more inclusive.

I grew up in South Africa, with its racist past (and, frankly, present). I have close friends and family who openly (and not so openly) identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, including transgender and transitional friends (I have marched with them in Pride Parades, it's so much fun!). I may have a privileged life, but I have close friends and family who have been marginalized, excluded, degraded, and worse as a result of their unique situations. I am sure I have, and will make mistakes, and these friends have occasionally "educated" me on nuances and issues that they experience and I misunderstand, but I try really hard to not repeat mistakes, perpetuate bad stereotypes, etc.

Further, in the near future, I anticipate an increased volatility in the site as new and existing policies are refined, and implemented. These new policies are going to create significant "sensitive" debates, and emotions will be high, and mistakes will be very easy to make as things are too easy to misinterpret. It's too easy to offend people (intentionally or otherwise), and I don't want to have to police these debates to "correct" bad behaviour, nor do I want to make mistakes of my own in ongoing dialog.

Having said all that, I am vulnerable in that I no longer trust that the SE staff will tolerate even small mistakes. I look at the consequences of a mistake now and it scares me. If what happened, and is happening, to Monica were to happen to me, I would lose my reputation, it would have negative impacts on my relationships with friends and family, it would impact my career, and future job prospects.

In my opinion, Stack Exchange has not protected Monica at all. In fact, Stack Exchange has actively targeted, marginalized, and "branded" Monica (on the site and with the media). I no longer trust Stack Exchange to "have my back".

I cannot risk that consequence over a voluntary position, even though I am passionate about Code Review as a site, and a process. The potential down-side is just too great.

As such, I am resigning my position as a moderator, effective as soon as I reasonably can make it.

I will discuss with the other moderators whether there can be a transitional process if they need the coverage, or whether an election is needed, etc. I don't want to leave this community in the lurch, but I suspect that the SE staff are going to be overwhelmed in the near future with elections on multiple sites, etc.

I don't know what's going to happen from here.

Thanks all for the years of friendships and community I have experienced here. I suspect that I will still be around after my diamond is removed. I won't be a stranger.

Monking

Rolf.

Update 1:

Stack exchange has published an apology that addresses some of the concerns I have that affect the relationship between moderators (myself) and SE the company.

I appreciate that they have taken this step, and I see it as a step in the right direction. I sure hope there is more to come.

Having said that, a significant number of moderators collaborated on, and signed a statement/letter to Stack Exchange expressing our concerns and hopes of what would change in the future (I collaborated a little, and signed it).

I believe that the path forward is going to be a process, and not a sudden change. Even if it were an apparent sudden change, I would not trust things to stay that way until some time has passed, and there's significant evidence to support those changes.

So, the apology from SE does not affect my decision to resign. I am resigning for sure.... but, it gives me hope for the future.

I will stick around, do my "thing", and pay attention.

One thing I have learned is that time heals many wounds, and in a few years time, things will be different, and attitudes will change.

I hope that SE follows through on its promises, expressed clearly, or implied, and that the Code Review moderators will continue to keep this wonderful site ticking along.

Who knows, in some election down the line, I may just be throwing my name back in the hat.... but that won't happen for a while.

Update 2 (Oct 10, 2019):

Mat's back, blame the monkey

With Mat's return to the team, I can step away with confidence that that the impact to the community is minimized. Thanks Mat. With this update, my resignation is effective immediately.

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  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Hopefully you will stay around, your reviews, which have always very valuable (I still remember you taught me about big O notation), and your calm as a moderator have been very important pieces of the success CodeReview has had. \$\endgroup\$ – IEatBagels Oct 3 at 20:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ One more huge tear in my eyes :( \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Fischer Oct 3 at 20:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ This was very well put. I totally respect your decision. (And I'm pretty happy that I stepped down a few months before this whole mess started...) \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Forsberg Oct 3 at 20:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ From what I've seen you've always been understanding for all sides. I wish the Code Review mods the best having lost a great asset to the team. \$\endgroup\$ – Peilonrayz Oct 5 at 21:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Consider my upvote as support for your position, and support for the moderators in general. Do not consider my upvote to mean any form of happiness with the course of SE and its consequences. I wish you all the best. \$\endgroup\$ – Gloweye Oct 7 at 8:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ When risk > reward, this happens. Thanks for your effort. \$\endgroup\$ – Raystafarian Oct 8 at 7:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ This sucks, thanks for your contributions! \$\endgroup\$ – konijn Oct 12 at 6:31
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I'm very sad to see you go and I want to thank you for being a hugely positive influence to this site in your elected tenure, your appointed tenure, before and in between.

I've learned incredibly much from you, both on a technical and a social level and I look forward to seeing you around the site :)

Thank you so much!

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    \$\begingroup\$ As always, it's the people I meet that add the most value to my life, and although I suck at keeping in touch with people, I never forget, and I do value, and will continue to value our friendship!. \$\endgroup\$ – rolfl Oct 3 at 20:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ I remember rolfl as a tremendous guiding force when working with him as a moderator. Obviously, his resignation makes your job as a moderator more difficult, not just in terms of the workload, but also losing his counsel. I'd like to take a moment to thank you for your role in keeping discussions reasonable during this crisis. \$\endgroup\$ – 200_success Oct 3 at 21:48
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Thank you, rolfl!

There are too many things I feel thankful for when I think of you to list them all, but here are a notable few:

  • You have always been welcoming and kind to newcomers. I feel sure many new users of this site—like myself some years ago—have appreciated your guidance and have come back for more, or even stayed and became a regular as I have.

  • I have never seen you—as a moderator or otherwise—treat others unfairly or unjustly. As you mentioned, we all make mistakes. We all sometimes get frustrated, but I have never seen you lose your temper, and I admire this in you.

  • You are so knowledgeable about so many things! But importantly, you freely share that knowledge with all of us, with the community, and I imagine you are similarly helpful with your many friends, family and colleagues outside of this community.

  • Lastly, thank you for bowing out gracefully as a moderator; it's refreshing to see someone with a cool head amidst this otherwise chaotic situation.

I'm sure I speak for many of us here: Thank you, Monkey!

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Ouch. And Thanks for all the bananas.

I have been watching all of this in the Moderator Chatroom with growing trepidation, but unable to articulate why.

But you just managed to say this way more eloquently than I could have managed.

Thanks so much for sharing you thoughts, and good luck to you.

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Here I was hoping CR would survive this intact. Instead, a veteran moderator steps down. !@#$.

I don't blame you. I really don't. Given the circumstances and the risk you'd take by continuing, there's a lot of wisdom in your choice. Considering you're the wisest monkey I've ever seen, it's not unexpected to see you make the wise move.

We've seen you can still be very helpful to this community as a non-moderator, so I hope you'll stick around indeed. Not only your reviews, but the calming effect you have on others just by being around. I never thought it was possible for someone to accomplish that over the internet. I can understand if you'll lessen your participation, but you'll never be a mere mortal to me.

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I was hoping this mess would not involve CR, but here we are losing a Moderator that has provided a sane and mature outlook on CR for a while. Thank you for all your efforts.

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Rolfl,

feeling sad to see you step down. I surely understand your reasons but hope you stick around. That beeing said, thanks a lot for endless hours of keeping the site running. See you in the 2nd monitor

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