Two cheers for EoQS

NB: this post has been edited in the light of @quid's comment revealing all moderator messages link to a text that explicitly contradicts MSE's deletion policies, without disclosing the latter in any form. (They didn't even correct my misconception when I repeatedly stated it in private communication with them.) Whether that would be changeable at the MSE or SE/SO level, consider that a feature request originating in this edit. At the very least (which would be easier), meta posts on enforcement politcies such as EoQS should be edited to explain the real process. As for the effects of the present edit, they are perhaps smaller than @quid might have expected.

I wish the main community well; but, as a result of the EoQS, I have reluctantly decided I can no longer actively participate in it, at least when it comes to writing answers. I hope in sharing why I can help prevent math.se losing any valuable contributors, regardless of whether I was ever one of them. (Reasons I may not have been are part of the topic here; I did get one comment implying otherwise, but in any case they all predate EoQS.)

Some of you may have noticed I have emerged from a brief account suspension. Before you comment or answer, bear in mind I take full responsibility for everything that happened. I was contacted about a month ago to advise me I violated the policies EoQS enforces, and I briefly discussed with the moderators how I can improve my behaviour. For a while, I felt I'd turned around, but it turns out it wasn't good enough.

We had another brief discussion as a result of this suspension, in which I said how I might do better this time. But now I've had some time to rethink the feasibility of that. Based on my past failure, I am no longer confident I can inculcate all the good-question criteria in my procedures because, even if I explicitly consider them for every question, apparently I miss a lot. At this rate, I will suffer recurrent exponentially growing suspensions, potentially long enough to be account deletion in all but name.

During suspensions, I cannot reply to comments or address their constructive criticism in a well-deserved edit. Nor is anything else one can do for the good of MSE - the power to edit others' posts, to comment, to serve in the review queue, maybe even to ask a good question once in a blue moon - available during a suspension. Suspension is also (at least for me) an embarrassing, humiliating, undignified experience, as was the original moderator contact. (It doesn't help that numbers in their URLs make clear just how rarely they have to intervene.)

So, since anyone who answers often enough (my authoring of answers remained frequent but less so than previously after the first discussion with moderators), with my flaws, will come short sometimes, I need to quit it altogether. (If I "fall off the wagon" in that respect, please don't crow over it; even if it happens sometimes, I will be answering far less frequently than before, which would - in some users' case, possibly including mine - be a net loss to the site.)

No matter how many times people like me read the same two or three links, we won't realize all the implications of them; we will infer false negatives. Every example brought to my attention so far, while it made sense after explanation, was a genuine shock, something that had slipped through despite a conscious effort not to make such mistakes, a question I'd convinced myself was appropriate to answer because (insert thinking here).

I feel such mistakes need to provide quicker, individual lessons, more numerously than they currently do. Therefore, I have already suggested to the moderators that users could be made aware of violations much sooner, through automatic acknowledgement of per-answer flags (kept anonymous, of course), without extra work for moderators, though it would involve a one-off cost to the developers. Through that route or otherwise, I'm sure EoQS can still work in some form very close to the one originally announced.

Good luck, everybody.

• J.G. This site continues to evolve. There is no black and white statement one can make about the body of ones contributions on this site. What was the norm four or five years ago, should not necessarily be the norm now. This site, particularly during Covid, has seen more traffic than ever before, and the average quality of the questions has, due to the influx of users, has diminished. And without intentionally doing so, many answerers have enabled, and welcomed, and encouraged the use of this site as a "do my work for me" service. Note, No one intended that to happen. May 23, 2021 at 19:21
• I don’t know if the mods would delete your account in the face of ‘breaches’ of the EoQS. They have the ability to ‘merely’ suspend you for longer and longer periods of times (I believe I have seen a 10 years sentence). I hope you stick around and figure it out. Perhaps you can spend some time in the review queues (you do not have the relevant review badges, I think) to try to see if you can spot a question that is normally closed for lack of context or otherwise. I also recall you have some specialisation beyond basic real analysis, Qs on those (if rarer) are less likely to be closed May 24, 2021 at 0:38
• @CalvinKhor re "I don’t know if the mods would delete your account in the face of ‘breaches’ of the EoQS." We would not. Leaving everything else aside, as a matter of general policy accounts especially beyond a certain size just are not deleted unless requested by the owner or in case of one being a sock-puppet account. Maybe I forget some rare circumstances, but the general procedures of moderation related to actual accounts just do not include deletion. Deletion is by and large reserved for sock-puppets and spammers, and requests by the account owner.
– quid Mod
May 24, 2021 at 2:18
• I really appreciate the fact that you are trying to change your behavior in light of EoQS. That says quite a lot about how much you care for this community.
– Paramanand Singh Mod
May 24, 2021 at 5:38
• @quid Thank you for revealing information that has necessitated my latest edit. I hope the fact it changes very little will be understandable on a second read.
– J.G.
May 24, 2021 at 6:45
• That question indeed fell through the cracks. Sorry about that. The linked to blog-post is more than a decade old and was not very precise. That said, it mentions a suspension period that can range from a day to a year. As you mentioned yours was brief. Standard procedure is to have suspensions of increasing lengths that at some point become in practical terms a permanent ban. (Years ago after a couple of suspension a deletion could have been considered but this practice was changed.) I do, and did, understand that given the context the perspective of a longterm is not an option either.
– quid Mod
May 24, 2021 at 10:38
• I still meant to be explicit regarding the fact that the procedures are not: one suspension (of any length) next step 'deletion.' It is indeed unfortunate that a literal reading of the text allows this interpretation. The intent was certainly to convey that once the method of suspension is exhausted (especially regarding duration) there might be more drastic measures.
– quid Mod
May 24, 2021 at 10:46
• @quid How many days would we expect the $n$th EoQS-related suspension to last? I may be willing to take answer-writing risks (with continual concomitant improvement efforts on my part, of course) if the growth is sufficiently slow.
– J.G.
May 24, 2021 at 11:29
• @J.G. without having checked that with the team, I'd be highly astonished if the next one would be more than a week. Beyond that it'll really depend on the individual case. Again as a general principle we are certainly willing to work with users that actually try to improve and resort to shorter suspensions or none in such cases. But we want to avoid cases where a user just continues to do as they please on the grounds of some reasoning like: "alright I might get suspended for a few days every other month, who cares?" Thus in such a case the duration would increase more quickly.
– quid Mod
May 24, 2021 at 12:35
• @quid I'll mull that.
– J.G.
May 24, 2021 at 12:42

I don't really know you personally J.G., but I do know that you have helped me and so many other users with their questions and sources of confusion. In my opinion, there is no doubt that you are an extremely valuable contributor, regardless of any mistakes that you may have made.

I will miss you on this site, and I am sure many others will miss you too.

Good luck, and thank you for all that you have done for this site.

• It appears that J.G. has not left altogether (which is a good thing). math.stackexchange.com/users/56861/… Jul 19, 2021 at 13:28
• @GerryMyerson Indeed, I still comment; I still revise; but I don't leave new answers.
– J.G.
Jul 19, 2021 at 14:07
• @J.G.: If you don't mind me asking, what was it that made you feel happy to start contributing again?
– Joe
Jan 15, 2022 at 22:14
• @Joe It's a lot of little things, but I think it became clearer which contributions would be acceptable. That said, I still don't see anywhere near as many safe opportunities to answer as I once did. That's why I've also focused on comments & edits, which I never ruled out. I still stand by at least much of my May 2021 concern: if we don't have fewer regular contributors, we may still receive fewer contributions.
– J.G.
Jan 16, 2022 at 7:02