I've been chat banned for a year after having served a 2-day sentence.

Can you please point out what I said that was particularly offensive? I don't believe I said anything wrong, at all. (Of course all of the messages are deleted so there's no evidence of anything.) My version of the events is that:

  • Balarka Sen called me a "cuck." I flagged this message as inappropriate.$^1$
  • Balarka Sen was automatically suspended for 30 minutes.
  • Art of Code came into the hbar and told me to behave, without citing which behavior was out of line (I don't think I was out of line at all).
  • Art of Code froze the room for 5 minutes for an unknown reason.
  • I made a comment in the math room about moderation being very tough and that we're unable to discuss physics in the current climate. This was half meant as a joke but I don't think it's inappropriate in any case.
  • I said that a hooligan came into the physics room and got it frozen by calling me a cuck. "Hooligan" was meant as "troublemaker," which is an accurate description.
  • I was suspended for two days.
  • Balarka Sen was suspended for one day.
  • Every message was deleted.
  • Today I found I was suspended for a year.

Can someone please point out where in here I committed an offense, or correct the record if I have made an error?

I'm sure that someone will say that I have lots of flags so I had this coming, but the flag system is pretty bad. Consider the following example:

enter image description here

I was flagged and suspended for this message a week after it was posted. This was clearly not in good faith, and I believe my record is not that bad if one filters out these kinds of incidents.

In any case, David Z has talked to me about being "more welcoming" in chat. And while I think I am always very welcoming, I have tried to accommodate his wishes. And in this instance I don't think I did anything wrong, so why was I suspended for a year?


$^1$ I have talked to Balarka after the fact and this was a joke on his part.

  • 11
    $\begingroup$ I'm closing this question because a mod message with proper explanations is forthcoming. We can decide later how much of this conversation should continue in public. $\endgroup$
    – rob Mod
    Commented May 18, 2018 at 18:31
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ think 1 yr suspensions for chatting even for conflicts with mods are too extreme. think the chat flagging system sometimes leads to unfair/ snap mod decisions without recourse. think other chat user opinions (other than mods) about participants should hold some sway & the "no discussion allowed" policy is not open/ undemocratic. think SE should have some way to recognize/ give some credit to "regular chat users" who help "anchor" rooms. the SE policy on creating other SE usernames is relevant also. what is the official policy on that? there is also the issue of "site mods" vs "other mods" etc $\endgroup$
    – vzn
    Commented May 18, 2018 at 19:53
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    $\begingroup$ @rob I don't think your "close reason" is appropriate here. In fact, I believe it's way out of line (and I'm saying this even if I have no idea what's the context behind OP's suspension). There is nothing off-topic about this meta post, and I'm rather surprised to see it closed. Just because you guys are preparing a proper explanation does not justify closure at all. The closure feels like censorship and abuse of power. If you guys want to think things twice before saying anything, so be it. But leave this post open in the meanwhile. After all, OP is in their right to ask what's going on. $\endgroup$ Commented May 18, 2018 at 23:16
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Actually , no @nitsua60 a lot of the most damaging messages were moved, by mods, to locked private trash rooms, while John R. moved some messages here. This whole ordeal actually strongly resembles a soap opera; in which you must tune-in daily to get the big picture :P $\endgroup$
    – user 85795
    Commented May 19, 2018 at 3:56
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    $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos keeping suspensions private is a right users have. OP here is clearly choosing to discuss things publicly, which is perfectly ok (and not uncommon). $\endgroup$ Commented May 19, 2018 at 4:14
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Here's the thing: in line with our policy of not discussing individual suspensions in public, the moderators are not going to answer this question. Officially, nobody else knows why the chat suspension was put in place, and thus nobody else can offer an accurate answer. The only answer that anyone could post at this point would be purely speculative, and that's not okay. So while this is technically on topic, it's (currently) effectively unanswerable, and that's why we have it on hold for now. As rob said, once the mods catch up with the normal process and send a message, we can revisit this. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented May 19, 2018 at 6:37
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos Then the mods don't say anything. But they don't close the post. That's precisely my point. Refusing to say anything is one thing, blocking any sort of conversation for the rest is another. And the latter is censorship and abuse of power. $\endgroup$ Commented May 19, 2018 at 12:04
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @rob Your first comment, along with what David Z has said, is rather alarming. Why do you need so much time to tell 0celo7 the reason he was suspended? Did you not already know why you were suspending him when you did it? $\endgroup$
    – knzhou
    Commented May 19, 2018 at 13:23
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidZ I've always thought this was a bizarre catch-22. The mods won't tell anybody anything, so nobody knows anything, so nobody is allowed to discuss? That means it is effectively impossible to criticize a mod decision, despite the fact that mods are elected democratically. $\endgroup$
    – knzhou
    Commented May 19, 2018 at 13:27
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    $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos "Right" is not the right word. The point is that there are some standards of transparency here. For instance, close votes always have to come with reasons. High-rep users can view questions that mods have deleted. The votes in mod elections are publicly viewable. The policy that distinguishes suspensions has never made sense to me. $\endgroup$
    – knzhou
    Commented May 19, 2018 at 13:28
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ There is a meta post on "open" vs. "secret" justice by Jon Ericson relevant to the comment discussion here. The proper appeal process for suspensions is to contact the Community team of SE via email or the "Contact Us" form in the site footer. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Commented May 19, 2018 at 14:45
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    $\begingroup$ Now that this post has been reopened, I'd like to note that we will be deleting speculative answers if they are posted. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented May 20, 2018 at 20:56
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidZ If the involved person explicitly asks for a public clarification on meta, I think moderators should discuss it on meta at least to a minimum extent (and, afaik, this is what is usually done elsewhere). $\endgroup$ Commented May 22, 2018 at 6:12
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @vzn If you want people to take you seriously, please write like the adult you are. $\endgroup$ Commented May 23, 2018 at 20:01
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @vzn I suspect there's a non-negligible number of people who support the decision but aren't willing/interested in discussing it. Remember -- the loudest voices aren't always the majority. You're basically just pointing out that some people who disagree complained and the mods/some power users agreed. But there's a lot more power users who haven't said anything. Don't extrapolate. $\endgroup$
    – tpg2114
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 23:47

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: I'm not a moderator so I can't say exactly what happened in this particular case even if I wanted to. For example I can't see the deleted messages. However as a room owner I've been party to various discussions involving moderators from lots of sites (not just our mods), and including the SE community managers such as Shog9 and Ana. What I can do is make some general comments about the view the SE mods take of such things, and the view the SE expect our mods to take.

Let me emphasise that what follows is not a personal opinion. I have based this on statements I've seen from the community managers. Whether you agree or disagree with those statements the SE are paying the piper so they get to call the tune.

The key point that the SE mods have made several times is that suspensions are not just based on your last offence. So 0celo7's year long suspension will not have been a result of the most recent fracas. When you get a year long suspension that's the moderators telling you that they think the SE chat is better off without you.

In any social group trouble sometimes kicks off. Maybe there's a misunderstanding, or maybe someone is just feeling tired and grumpy. This happens in real life and it happens online. When there's an outburst the SE expect our mods to keep track of who is involved, and if a pattern emerges - specifically if the same person is frequently involved - they can expect a suspension. The SE are uninterested in being back room lawyers and they're not going to analyse every detail of every infraction. Basically if you're frequently involved in fights the SE are going to consider you a problem irrespective of whether you started the fights or not.

Note that (short) suspensions are not intended to be a punishment. Instead they are supposed to deliver the message that the way you are behaving isn't acceptable. The key thing the SE look for is that the message is received and understood, and that you change your behaviour as a result. If so, that's great. It's when the person involved doesn't change and continues to be involved in trouble that the year long suspensions are wheeled out.

It doesn't take insider knowledge for it to be obvious that this is what has happened in 0celo7's case. He's managed to get himself flagged and suspended more times than anyone else I can think of, and by quite some margin. The current year long suspension is basically the message that the SE thinks he is incapable of behaving the way the SE expects of chat participants.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ not really disagreeing with anything stated in the message, but there seems to be something a bit off, and that is that some users such as 0celo7 are very heavy chat users and generally interact on chat with literally many dozens of different users, most non mods, whereas the mods decide whether all those interactions are acceptable, and the users have essentially zero say in others suspensions/ acceptable use of the system according to this overall analysis, ie mod judges over all other opinions, and think this is fundamentally undemocratic. look at flags per total lines of chat... $\endgroup$
    – vzn
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 16:49
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @vzn Interesting proposal. Of the twenty most prolific chat users, half have zero chat suspensions/annotations ever, and nearly all have zero chat suspensions over the past year. The same general trend is true for the twenty most recent chatters. That list seems to update every time anyone on the network posts a chat message, but looking at the posts-per-week numbers it is also biased towards the heaviest chat users. $\endgroup$
    – rob Mod
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ I've deleted some speculative or inappropriate comments and their responses. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 20:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @rob That's incredible, I have been suspended for saying the acronym "wtf" $\endgroup$
    – Ryan Unger
    Commented May 24, 2018 at 1:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @rob Have you excluded the bots and the moderators in that statistics you propose about half the top 20 chat users having zero suspensions all-time? It's also worth trying to do the same thing on the Physics and Mathematics chat. (That's not an attempt at justifying anything; if the room-specific data turns out to be substantially different, that's something to ponder about as it has been proposed elsewhere that these rooms are outliers) $\endgroup$ Commented May 27, 2018 at 10:24
  • $\begingroup$ My entire point is just that I feel like saying "flagged more times than anyone else I can think of" seems disingenuous as it is, and should either be followed up with an "even with the exclusion of known false flags" or a statement indicating that he's unsure of how much of a part it plays. $\endgroup$
    – Phase
    Commented May 27, 2018 at 13:05
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @BalarkaSen Adding the next page of prolific chatters to keep the number constant while throwing out bots and moderators actually doesn't change the numbers very much. But I want to emphasize that, while I've discussed numbers of chat suspensions, this isn't an issue of numbers: it's about a pattern of behavior. The chat suspension record is a result of that pattern, not its cause, and isn't the only evidence for a problem. It's easier for me to anonymously summarize a bunch of semi-public numbers than an extensive set of chat conversations, so that's what I tried. $\endgroup$
    – rob Mod
    Commented May 27, 2018 at 18:55
  • $\begingroup$ @rob Right, that's the narrative other another moderator offered my in conversations in the meta chat (which seemed to conflict with another moderator's narrative about the flag factor being more relevant and important than the other factors, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and assume that was a thought-experiment with internal scores which might determine the problematic-ness of a user, and I took it too literally). $\endgroup$ Commented May 27, 2018 at 20:17

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