16
$\begingroup$

I have been watching closely the events unfolding on Meta this past year or so which include the MK issue and more recently the deleting/locking of contest/take home questions. Now just a few minutes ago I logged into Bill D. account and it says that it has been temporarily suspended to allow it to "cool down". What does this mean? Furthermore I take it that some have considered his behaviour to be out of line, but does this mean we have to hit such an important contributor to our site with a 1 year suspension period?

Even though he changed his username to "Gone" and went into self - imposed exile just earlier today before the suspension I could see him on chat; in fact he told me of a suspension that he and another user were apparently hit with.

$\endgroup$
  • 15
    $\begingroup$ Suspensions are private, moderators are not allowed to reveal the details, so you likely won't get any detailed answers from moderators here. The suspended user is of course free to tell his side of the story via other channels, if he wants to do so. $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Dec 14 '12 at 12:36
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ Who can suspend a moderator: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes ? $\endgroup$ – Georges Elencwajg Dec 14 '12 at 13:35
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ @GeorgesElencwajg: Bill wasn't a moderator by that time. He wasn't even Bill anymore. He was "Gone". $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 14 '12 at 13:37
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ Any moderator can suspend another moderator, but it just doesn't do anything. A suspended moderator can still perform any actions he could do before, and also can just unsuspend himself. $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Dec 14 '12 at 13:44
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Michael. So is it like in the cowboy films we all love: the first gunslinger who suspends the other wins? $\endgroup$ – Georges Elencwajg Dec 14 '12 at 13:46
  • 27
    $\begingroup$ @MadScientist I think it's only democratic that the community knows the reason behind Bill's suspension. Otherwise why was he chosen to be suspended and not the other parties involved? $\endgroup$ – user38268 Dec 14 '12 at 13:59
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila I agree with your stand that we should know why he is no longer a moderator. I do not mean to side with Bill (or anyone) but from what I understand the issues of the past few days involved several parties. I would like to know why a particular person was chosen to be suspended and not say him/her as well as other people. $\endgroup$ – user38268 Dec 14 '12 at 14:07
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I don't understand what is the purpose of the word "democratic" in your previous comment, except perhaps for demagogy. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 14 '12 at 14:07
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ @BenjaLim You'll have to take that up with SE, they decided that suspensions should be private. The general idea behind that is to avoid publicly shaming users for their mistakes or misbehaviour. Of course this is not all that effective in such highly-visible cases as this one. And to challenge the suspension, the suspended user can always appeal to the SE team directly. $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Dec 14 '12 at 14:08
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I'm quite sure the reason he is no longer a moderator has to do with this thread (read comments and edit history). Afterwards, he was supended as normal users for different reasons. $\endgroup$ – Michael Greinecker Dec 14 '12 at 14:13
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Apart from the reasons Mad Scientists enumerates two comments above this one, usually we cannot make public the reasons for suspensions because they involve information that is private (IPs, emails, various other things that only mods can access, &c) $\endgroup$ – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Dec 14 '12 at 17:07
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @Michael: Is that really the thread you wanted to link to? It's an old meta.SO discussion of suspensions; I was expecting a more recent thread in which Bill participated. $\endgroup$ – joriki Dec 14 '12 at 19:52
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @joriki My bad. It was this thread. $\endgroup$ – Michael Greinecker Dec 14 '12 at 20:06
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Voted to close, because the announcement post makes this question obsolete. The reasons were all over the map, so I picked the one that seemed least likely to offend, though none of the reasons are really right. $\endgroup$ – Noah Snyder Dec 14 '12 at 21:41
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure why this question was re-opened. It was said that Bill was suspended for a year because it was his third suspension; and in the official announcement it was said that Bill was suspended for one reason or another. What possible reason is there for this thread to be reopened? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 16 '12 at 17:01
23
$\begingroup$

Obviously I don't have any official knowledge, but I happened to be watching around when this happened and Bill and another user were both suspended at the same time after they had a particularly acrimonious and impolite long exchange in comments. The suspensions were different lengths because one was a first suspension and one was a third suspension as explained in Michael's answer.

$\endgroup$
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Very astute observation. $\endgroup$ – davidlowryduda Dec 14 '12 at 19:00
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I don't understand why there is a cloud of mystery around deleted/suspended users. I must have seen at least 10 question about this guy! $\endgroup$ – JMCF125 Jun 18 '13 at 19:03
9
$\begingroup$

There is a standard protocol for suspension times. They get progressively longer. After a user has been suspended for 30 days, the next suspension is commonly for a year (the official guidelines seem to be 120+ days). Here is information moderator Zev Chonoles provided on January 24, 2012 on BD:

Feb 11, 2011: Official warning given. Requested that (i) the user be more civil (ii) the user does not bring up past interactions with other users on other fora (iii) the user not to delete answers to shed downvotes. Further violation will result in suspension. Feb 28, 2011: User suspended for 2 days for spiteful downvoting together with a previous history of troublesome behavior. Jan 23, 2012: User suspended for 30 days for being abusive to others.

The background of the first suspension can be seen here.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So now that Bill and Qiaochu are no longer moderators do we have another moderator (by) election? $\endgroup$ – user38268 Dec 14 '12 at 13:54
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @BenjaLim: This is a whole other question for a whole other thread. I would wait until the moderators finish whatever they are discussing about in the comment I left on your main question (a link to mixedmath comment). Then we can decide about that. Either way there are still six moderators, and it seems reasonable that they could hold up for a while if there are no troubles brewing. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 14 '12 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Yes that seems reasonable. When the relevant time comes I may ask a question on math.se/email the se team to ask if there will be an election. $\endgroup$ – user38268 Dec 14 '12 at 14:13
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @BenjaLim: I am fairly certain that this is something the moderators will take into account, so it seems reasonable that they will already announce what will happen with regards to that. In either case I think that the best thing to do would be to let things stay as they are for a few weeks, see if the smaller team works out for the site. Then see about elections. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 14 '12 at 14:18
4
$\begingroup$

I am sure that the suspensions comply with all the rules. I would like to say that - in spite of their difference of opinion - both Bill and Qiaochu have contributed a huge amount to the site. The community can ill afford to have either of them "gone", particularly with the increased volume of questions - for both have regularly given answers which encompass mathematical precision and pedagogical sensitivity.

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Bill decided that he is leaving on his own accord, before the suspension was "hit". $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 14 '12 at 19:10
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I also think that the same can be said on Arturo and t.b. and Zev. All of them left as well (with notably less drama, by the way). $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 14 '12 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila - Maybe I wasn't watching as closely - and I hadn't realised. But you are right - especially considering the quality of contributions made - and the rate of attrition is a real cause for concern. There was a falling out on another site I'm involved with (not maths) over moderation - a couple of people left. It got personal for the moderators, but for the rest of us it was a mystery. Fortunately there was an end to it. I hope that this all settles down. $\endgroup$ – Mark Bennet Dec 14 '12 at 19:25
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Asaf: t.b. hasn't left (though he did reduce his participation, regrettably). $\endgroup$ – joriki Dec 14 '12 at 19:59
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ @Mark: Yes. Bill and Arturo have both quite a long history of incompatibility (or so it seems). When Bill became a moderator it is likely that Arturo was more and more irritable of that fact. Some ugly comments thread on meta included a really shameful comment by Bill towards Arturo (it is now deleted, so you need 2577 points before you can see it). Whether or not that was the reason, it surely didn't help. Arturo was gone a day later. So now you apparently need to ask yourself, would you like Bill to return, or Arturo? Would you like person A or person B? Whose contribution is greater? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 14 '12 at 20:05
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ [cont] I don't think that this can be answered, and certainly no one should answer this in public anyway. Let me just finish by saying that I am sorry to see Bill going, but just as the site didn't collapse when Arturo left (and that guy was half the activity around!) I am certain that the site will do just fine without Bill. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 14 '12 at 20:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Eric: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/4742/… (There might be other deleted comments on the page related to that, but this whole thread is the one I am referring to.) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 14 '12 at 21:42
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ @Eric: My extended absence from the site is completely unrelated to any of Bill's actions. $\endgroup$ – t.b. Dec 15 '12 at 6:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @t.b.: At no point I was suggesting that. I merely suggested that you were gone, and no one cried over several threads in meta, despite the fact that you were a top notch contributor. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 15 '12 at 8:46
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ @Asaf, I'm glad that you have written, "I am sorry to see Bill going," as I find it a great improvement on the " I was happy to see you leave, Bill" comment that you left at the Should the old “losing Bill D.” thread be undeleted and re-locked? thread. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Dec 15 '12 at 12:56
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ @Gerry: I am not happy about his leaving, but I am happy that he is no longer a moderator. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 15 '12 at 13:25
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila I vote on Arturo. $\endgroup$ – Graphth Dec 15 '12 at 17:45
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I guess a lot of this went under my radar, though I did notice a bit of niggle - so I just wanted to record the impression of a user who visits the site regularly. Unfortunately there are human incompatibilities in this world - I think what I originally wrote recognised that - I know it wasn't really an answer. On the whole we need moderators who can contain such situations - not ones who are active participants. And on the whole I don't notice the moderators much, which I reckon means that they are doing a pretty good job most of the time. $\endgroup$ – Mark Bennet Dec 15 '12 at 18:05
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ @t.b. Thanks for your comment. I hope you return to Math Stack Exchange soon. $\endgroup$ – Eric Naslund Dec 16 '12 at 21:13
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ @t.b. I miss your presence on Math.SE $\endgroup$ – user38268 Dec 16 '12 at 21:52

You must log in to answer this question.