I have noticed in this post that at MO they have e-mail address moderators@mathoverflow.net, which can be used to contact moderators.

Is there a similar address for moderators of this site? If not, would creating such e-mail (and putting contact information at some visible place) be useful?

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    $\begingroup$ There isn't, but I'm amused that emails sent to moderators@mathstackexchange.com are not returned to sender (or at least, my attempt wasn't). It's possible that some SE guy somewhere now has a volume of emails consisting of testing and my name. $\endgroup$ – davidlowryduda Jun 16 '14 at 6:58
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    $\begingroup$ You may also want to read meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/947/… $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jun 16 '14 at 8:24
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    $\begingroup$ @mixedmath, have you tried moderators@math.stackexchange.com? $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Jun 16 '14 at 13:10
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    $\begingroup$ To state the obvious, it's possible if you have everyone's email addresses. :-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jun 16 '14 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Joel: I tried that as well (and two other variants). None of them bounced back, but I wasn't notified of anything either. $\endgroup$ – davidlowryduda Jun 16 '14 at 16:15

There is one significant difference between MathOverflow and us which makes it much, much more useful for them to have a moderators e-mail account. And that is the fact that the MathOverflow brand is not owned by StackExchange and that there is a kill switch in the agreement between MO and SE for hosting that allows MO to pack-up everything and leave if they so choose. The directors for the non-profit that runs MathOverflow include the original moderators. These all add up to it being very useful for them to have a channel of discussion, which is permanently archived, which is accessible by e-mail, and which is not through the StackExchange platform.

In contrast, for Math.SE there is less call for having such a platform (in fact, I cannot think of a reason why we need to have a communications platform outside of the SE system). Currently, for discussion between moderators, we heavily rely on the Moderators only chatroom. This automatically archives all discussions, is somewhat searchable, and has the advantage that any and all newly elected moderators will immediately gain access to past discussions. (Compare this with an e-mail platform where the archive of discussion would largely reside within our own inboxes.) And for individual contact with users we have now come to almost exclusively rely upon the "Contact User" form in the SE network. Again, this method has the advantage of automatically archiving all communications and additionally increasing transparency (as all moderator messages will result in notifications being sent to all moderators).

From personal experience having served as a moderator during the era before chat.SE came into being and when all moderator decisions are coordinated via e-mail, I have to say that

  1. The current set of tools given to us by SE has a small learning curve and does take a little getting used to...
  2. ... but after the initial period I definitely much prefer the current system.

That said, if you really must contact the moderators in private outside of the SE network: several of the moderators (yours truly included) have an e-mail address listed in the About Me section of their profiles. But note that we may move the discussion to an SE-archived venue if the situation calls for it.


No, there is no such mail address for this site. Using email for moderator purposes has certain drawbacks, and SE tries to keep all moderator communication inside the SE platform for that reason. Keeping this all inside the SE software makes it much easier to see what happened afterwards, which is very useful if there are any complaints about the issue.

In most cases, you don't need to contact all moderators, you need to contact any moderator. And that is what flags are meant for. For the rare case where the issue is too complicated for a flag, you can use the "contact us" link at the bottom. This goes to SE, but they can forward the information to the moderators or handle it themselves. Anything that doesn't have to be private should be on meta anyway.

Suspensions are always accompanied by a moderator message (this is enforced by the software), and the suspended user can reply to the moderator message. They can only reply once to each moderator message though to prevent abuse or spamming of the moderators.

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    $\begingroup$ Such a contact address for site moderators would be useful in cases where a message is intented reach exclusively the local (Math) site moderators without getting the whole SE network involved ... So I disagree with this answer. $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jun 16 '14 at 10:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Dilaton Any example where this would be useful that could not be done in a flag, or publicly as a meta post? $\endgroup$ – user9733 Jun 16 '14 at 10:38
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    $\begingroup$ @MadScientist There were several meta threads over the last few days regarding a user's suspension, where the user wished to contact all the moderators without involving SE. $\endgroup$ – user61527 Jun 16 '14 at 14:48
  • $\begingroup$ @user61527 A suspended user can reply to the moderator message, this will land in the inbox of all moderators. Suspensions are completely handled inside the SE system. $\endgroup$ – user9733 Jun 16 '14 at 14:57
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    $\begingroup$ @MadScientist Yes, but apparently a user is only allowed one reply per moderator message. The issue here was that the user asked several questions regarding the suspension (and about the appropriateness of asking about the suspension), and wished to make it all public on meta. $\endgroup$ – user61527 Jun 16 '14 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ @user61527 exactly. Most happenings can and should be handled by the local community and moderators of a site, there is not need for SE staff and moderators to get involved in and control or supervise (or whatever you would call it) everything. All sites in the network should enjoy the same freedom as MO. Definitively should users have the possibility to exclusively contact the local moderators if they wish. $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jun 16 '14 at 15:03
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    $\begingroup$ @user61527 The moderators could have enabled the user to add another message if they had replied. The limit is once per moderator message, any moderator reply resets the limit. If the moderators didn't reply, that is very likely an intentional choice and I doubt that contacting them any other way would change their mind. $\endgroup$ – user9733 Jun 16 '14 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Dilaton why do you keep bringing up this example even after you saw the resolution? Really, what it shows is that SE staff and MO moderators wanted the very same thing to be done in this case. And what they wanted to be done was in fact against the so-called community decision (as expressed by votes of some users). As I said there, there might be something to your position but really this is a non-example. SE staff cleaned-up to the MO moderators satisfaction a (minor) mess created by some MO users. Really not an example for the merits of local decisions, in my opinion. $\endgroup$ – quid Jun 21 '14 at 23:55
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @quid, yes I brought it up as a positive example how things should work and be resolved generally, to say that SE staff and moderators should treat all communities in the network with the same respect as they do with MO. I mean respect their right to establish different cultures and norms than the onse decided to fit for the trilogy sites on MSE, refrain from (negatively) interfering with the local moderation business of individual sites, etc ... I guess we both know that this is not at all the case generally and MO is only a happy exception. Cheers $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jun 22 '14 at 8:18
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    $\begingroup$ @Dilaton Ignoring some historical exceptions (mostly Jeff Atwood being rather undiplomatic), SE generally does not overrule the local community. What happened at Physics did happen with the approval of the Physics moderators, that was not the case of SE brutally suppressing the community, but SE employees stopping an out-of-control member of that community. Yes, you can't have a site where everyone is free to insult and attack other users like you want, but that is because the Physics.SE community by large does not want such a site, even if SE would allow it. $\endgroup$ – user9733 Jun 22 '14 at 8:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Dilaton Hi! I agree that in general it is better if decision are made locally. However, I think the existence of an email address to contact the mods is rather orthogonal to this. Regarding local cultures and norms this is a bit tricky, since some of these things have not much to do with culture but are rather habits (and often bad ones). In fact, there are several things where I would prefer "SE culture" would replace "MO culture" on MO. MO is an alright site, but in some aspects it could also learn a thing or two from other sites, such as this one. $\endgroup$ – quid Jun 22 '14 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ @quid SE culture is intended to the only purpose of making the sites useful for Google viewers outside the SE network who are not part of the contributing community, instead of supporting nice high-level international academic communities. All the SE rules, guidelines, the notion that comments are nothing but noise to external viewers, the at times disrespectful treatment even of experts, the reluctance of SE to implement feature requests that would improve the experience of the contributers, are tailored to this goal of the company. There is nothing wrong with this in principle, but I $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jun 22 '14 at 12:58
  • $\begingroup$ Wish for MO that it can keep its nice high-level academic spirit and culture inside the SE network too. Maybe we should go to some private chatroom if we want to continue... $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jun 22 '14 at 13:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Dilaton I do not see SE as critical as you at all. But let us agree to wish the best for MO and all other science Q&A sites on or also off the SE network. :-) $\endgroup$ – quid Jun 22 '14 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ The moderators on this site should establish a group email on their own, if none is available from stackexchange.com $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Mar 9 '15 at 2:44

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