I am a novice SE user, a toddler. In this post I want to criticize some moderator actions, which seems risky and futile, regarding unwritten policies on the meta; however, just for the record, I write this post so that unbiased readers find it helpful.
Please note that I am not throwing a tantrum and that I have slept enough, so it is not needed to say to me, "It is time for you to go to bed, nighty night."
what's up? Why are you crying again?
I, as a one being interested in contributing to the community but lacking enough math knowledge to create high-quality math content, decided to suggest grammar-fixing edits. But, many community adults ordered me not to "tinker", so I had to follow their order and stop fixing the grammar of posts.
After that I decided to do some unpaid janitorial task, flagging unnecessary comments, regarding that there is an option for such comments when one flags a comment and that the following excerpt from the comment guideline confirms such flagging:
When should I flag a comment?
- It's no longer needed.
This comment is outdated, conversational or not relevant to the post.
(Also, this community manager's answer may be helpful).
After cleaning up many threads, the moderator team made two actions against me, which are criticized in this post:
First, they contacted me privately sending the following message:
... these comments are inoffensive and, while they are not strictly needed any longer, they are not causing harm to the site. On the other hand, it takes time for us to handle your flags. In the future, please think about whether or not a comment's deletion is worth the time of the moderators before you flag it.
Second, they rejected a huge number of my flags, which seems to have been deleted by the moderator(s) rejecting such flags. Since deleted comments cannot be seen by users except moderators, I cannot prove the claim to you (I think the moderator team would not deny it); however, let me put a screenshot of my declined flags here:
Now, let us consider the following points:
- It was said, "they are not causing harm to the site." This is wrong because of the following reasons:
First, if they were not causing harm to the site, the Stack Exchange community team would have never put the mentioned option in the list of flagging reasons and explicitly mentioned their opinion about such comments in the guideline.
Second, they are actually causing harm to the site because many users put their conversational and unnecessary comments under posts when they see others do that, so this site would contain an uncontrollable number of such comments.
- It was said, "it takes time for us to handle your flags." According to this information, the number of comment flags handled by the moderators is on average about 25 per a day. Let us suppose that I want to raise 25 comment flags per a day, which needs to be handled by the moderators (Please note that many comments are handled by the system). Since there are currently 10 moderators on the site, each moderator needs to handle 5 flags per a day, each of which should not take more than several seconds. If some moderators are not active enough on the site, I think rejecting a toddler's unpaid janitorial task is not a good solution for such a problem.
- It was said, "think about whether or not a comment's deletion is worth the time of the moderators before you flag it." It seems that the moderators presume that I am an idle person whose only job and concern is flagging unnecessary comments on the site (?). Do you know digging up unnecessary comments takes a considerable amount of time and energy? My time and energy are worthless?
- As you know well, I did nothing wrong about flagging such comments; I just followed the written guideline, but was treated according to an unwritten norm(?). According to the guideline, rejection of many flags may result in some written consequences (for example, reducing my flag daily allowance or flag ban) or unwritten ones (For example, a community manager disliking me may want to take it as an excuse to suspend me for 99 years).
- If my behavior was a misdeed, why did a moderator remove the flagged comments after rejecting my flags? This reminds me of my previous story saying that a user made the same edit, which had already been rejected by the user; however, there is a difference: in this case the one who did such a thing is a moderator, not a regular user. I do not know why such things happen to a toddler like me.
Finally, let me answer your question, "Why are you crying?" I am crying because I was treated like the following:
Suppose that you live in a city in which there is a rule asking citizens to keep it clean. You decide to keep the city clean by taking trash into a trash can for free. After you being tired, a mayor shouts at you, "Why do you waste our time? Trash cans must be emptied." Then the mayor empties a trash can onto your head.
P.S. Although this post may seem harsh to the moderators, let me appreciate their efforts for moderating this community and handling meta issues. Please note that if I disliked the moderators, I would have never criticized them to continue making mistakes so that they would not improve themselves.