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What violation caused this suspension? May I know the reason?

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closed as too localized by David Z Sep 17 '12 at 17:51

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    $\begingroup$ This can not be true !!! Has physics SE now gone mad ?! Are amazingly good and knowledgable contributors now harassed or even thrown out just because they are too blatantly outspoken (but honest and seriously devoted to physics)? Who will be next...? Ron is an awfully bright guy who gives very useful and very interesting answers, considering things from to me now points of view. He is very outspoken when pointing out wrong things written but at the same time very self-critical too. $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jul 10 '12 at 18:19
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    $\begingroup$ And in contrast to what some other ill meaning people said about him he never attacked people but just pointed out physics errors in their posts or thinking. So, if I'm no longer allowed to learn from Ron's contributions Physics SE is not that good a place as I thought ... :-( $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jul 10 '12 at 18:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Dilaton: Oh, I see. I did not know that. Thank for commenting. $\endgroup$ – kiss my armpit Jul 10 '12 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ You are welcom @Higgs Boson. I think what some people elsewhere in the SE network and now here obviously too picks about Ron is his outspokenness when pointing out errors when he sees them in the physics reasoning of people. But things that are wrong should be called wrong and corrected such that other people can learn physics from this site ... $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jul 10 '12 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Dilaton: Can you show me one example of his outspokenness because I am not so active in this site? Thank you in advance. $\endgroup$ – kiss my armpit Jul 10 '12 at 18:33
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    $\begingroup$ Nah, dont now. If what somebody writes is nonsense from a physics point of view and he sees it he calls the particular statement nonsense but he does NOT insult others. For some people this is already too much and they can not tolerate it :-/ $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jul 10 '12 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Dilaton: I see. I get a clearer picture now. Thank you. $\endgroup$ – kiss my armpit Jul 10 '12 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ @HiggsBoson: Dilaton has probably not seen the things that we (moderators) have seen which caused this suspension to be issued. Since it has already been brought up by Ron and dmckee in the answers and comments, I will repeat that the reason for the suspension was the line in the FAQ "Civility is required at all times; rudeness will not be tolerated." As a matter of policy, we usually do not discuss the details of suspensions, though. $\endgroup$ – David Z Jul 11 '12 at 1:41
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidZaslavsky: I prefer it if you did discuss, because I don't agree with your arguments, and I dislike the very idea of "civility" in a forum. I believe that direct rudeness is the only way to keep a forum from degenerating into political nonsense with no scientific content. Without rudeness, there is no science, see Galileo's Simplicio character. I also think the only ballsy thing I said in the whole exchange was "Einstein didn't know half the things I do." but considering that Einstein died in 1955, and more than half the things one knows were discovered past that date, it's accurate. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Jul 11 '12 at 2:26
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidZaslavsky I've seen the discussion thread that motivated the suspension. If I remember correctly, the last comment of Ron in that thread was a statement saying that the exchange wasn't a war and that he would happily upvote future answers by Sachin if they are correct. Ron is sometimes unnecessarily hostile, but the attacks in that thread were mostly one-sided. $\endgroup$ – mmc Jul 11 '12 at 14:12
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidZaslavsky Don't misunderstand me, I know that being a moderator is a very hard and ungrateful job. You are second-guessed by everyone and have to do a lot of boring cleanup work that no one appreciates. But I fear a "successful Physics.SE" full of low-quality questions and answers way more than a bit of occasional rudeness. $\endgroup$ – mmc Jul 11 '12 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ @mmc: Aside from math (where there is a more or less objective standard of proof) Essentially only physics operates without human politics getting in the way. This is a potentially unstable situation, and one must be wary of change and rules-enforcement. When that change comes, for sure I will be the first to be banned and removed, it is always so. I had a suspicion that Sachin Shenkar with the trolling answers and absurdly rude behavior was a sockpuppet, but I thought it would be good to give him the benefit of the doubt. I didn't say anything rude, because I didn't want to drive him away. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Jul 11 '12 at 17:22
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    $\begingroup$ Einstein didn't know half the things I do. But considering that Einstein died in 1955, and more than half the things one knows were discovered past that date, it's accurate. - Indeed. :-) $\endgroup$ – Lucian Sep 23 '16 at 16:35
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    $\begingroup$ @RonMaimon : why are you still banned for 10 years? o.O $\endgroup$ – Mixone Dec 7 '16 at 20:07
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Well, I've read quite a bit of speculation and misinformation in the comments here, and in Dilaton's MSO thread, so please allow me to set the record straight:

We try hard to avoid discussing suspensions publicly. The intention is to remove a member from the site temporarily to give them and the moderators time to correct whatever behavior was causing problems. Nothing good comes of attaching a permanent stigma to someone for what might well have been a fleeting problem. As dmckee notes, moderators are instructed not to reveal the details of the suspension publicly.

I should note that moderators don't have a "ban" button. All suspensions are temporary, and can be for as little as a day. When you do happen upon a suspended user, it's probably worth your time to click the link provided and read the rationale for having a suspension feature at all:

When users exhibit a pattern of either …

No effort to learn and improve over time

[...OR...]

Disruptive behavior

[...]

… these problem behaviors have to be dealt with. When they aren’t, it takes up excessive moderator time that could be used for something more productive — and, even worse, these behaviors begin to actively turn people away from our community, stunting its growth and harming everyone.

It's not about public humiliation, it's not about driving folks from our midst. It's the exact opposite: a last-ditch effort to put a stop to poisonous, disruptive behavior.

We - the moderators, and the staff of Stack Exchange Inc. - take suspension pretty seriously. All site moderators are copied on the private messages sent to or from suspended users, as are those of us on the Community team at SE. If a suspension is unwarranted, any of us can and will step in to lift it.

Finally, a reminder: don't feed trolls. If you encounter someone who is obviously uninterested in learning, repeatedly posting answers or comments simply to push an agenda or get a rise out of others, post a good answer that corrects any misinformation, down-vote and/or flag the trollish posts for moderator attention, and walk away. Nothing can be gained from stooping to the level of someone setting out to cause disruption and mayhem; there's an old saying: "Never wrestle with a pig. You'll both get dirty, but the pig will like it."

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    $\begingroup$ I will remember the nice proverb "Never wrestle with a pig. You'll both get dirty, but the pig will like it.". Thanks. $\endgroup$ – kiss my armpit Jul 12 '12 at 17:39
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    $\begingroup$ Unlike Higgs Boson, I don't think anybody is hopeless, and I don't mind getting dirty. In a forum with scientific content, it is important to make sure that suspensions are not issued for "generating noise", or "generating conflict", but for commercial spam, completely incomprehensible comments, vote fraud, and the like. Conflict is the heart of science, and without it there can be no honesty. I am aware that you either disagree with this philosophy, perhaps secretly agree and publically disagree, or perhaps you don't care, but wish to make no waves. I am asking you to keep the site valuable. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Jul 12 '12 at 18:18
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    $\begingroup$ @Shog9: The user that was trolling wouldn't be considered trolling in a non-scientific context--- he was just using rhetorical points, and that's not fruitful. For example, when I said "flip B in a magnet and all the electrons flip", he answered "All the electrons can't flip, that violates exclusion!" That's true, it's just obviously a rhetorical point, since it is clear that it is not all the electrons that are flipped, only the magnetic ones. It is important to say "No, please don't do rhetoric, try to honestly respond to what the person is saying", this is scientific discourse. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Jul 12 '12 at 18:21
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    $\begingroup$ This isn't a forum for discussion and debate, a fact which you've been informed of several times before, @Ron. Granted, this can make it a poor fit for topics where answers can't be proven correct, but regardless my advice stands: post your correct answer or comment, and walk away. Don't engage in lengthy debates in comments. If a moderator has to step in to settle a dispute, chances are they'll treat all parties involved as at-fault. $\endgroup$ – Shog9 Jul 12 '12 at 18:22
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    $\begingroup$ I didn't mind the one or two abusive or personal comments, I can handle being insulted, I have a big enough ego. But I wanted to make sure that a contributor who knows some physics will be more careful in answering, since some of his answers were fine, although sketchy, only about half were random stabs in the dark. The bad answers were the ones I commented on. The issue of suspension is serious, as politics kills science very,very easily. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Jul 12 '12 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Shog9: The debates are most important in topics where answers can be proven correct. The physics "debates" are usually short back and forth which establish the facts of the matter, and then a bad answer gets deleted, or fixed. I understand the symmetry stuff, and this is why I wasn't too upset about the suspension, but one should be careful in preserving accuracy in the forum, and this doesn't happen if there is even a hint of having to be nice. The niceness rules are applied to stop people from saying "this and so is factually wrong" much more often than they are applied to "You suck!". $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Jul 12 '12 at 18:26
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    $\begingroup$ @RonMaimon: I am sorry. I quoted the proverb because I like it. No intent to hurt you. $\endgroup$ – kiss my armpit Jul 12 '12 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ @RonMaimon: May I request to delete my question and the available answers to close this case as I have already got the reason from you and moderators? $\endgroup$ – kiss my armpit Jul 12 '12 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ @HiggsBoson You can delete your own question yourself (it will then only be visible to high rep users) or you can ask the moderators to close it such that no new answers can be posted, but comments could then still be added.But to wait and see what Ron intends is a fair idea I think. $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jul 12 '12 at 21:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Dilaton: I am not allowed to delete my question until all answers are deleted. :-) $\endgroup$ – kiss my armpit Jul 13 '12 at 4:47
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    $\begingroup$ I still don't know exactly what caused the suspension. But why do you want to close the question? To me it is exposing some problematic issues, and the answers and discussions help things rather than hurt. Maybe that's not so. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Jul 13 '12 at 7:57
  • $\begingroup$ @HiggsBoson Oh sorry you are right, even though I bump into this feature from time to time I forgot it again. Now it seems Ron prefers the question and the discussion to stay here (as I already guessed) so we should keep it. $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jul 13 '12 at 8:35
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    $\begingroup$ @RonMaimon: OK. I will follow your and moderator's direction whatever it is. I hope it will end with a good result. $\endgroup$ – kiss my armpit Jul 13 '12 at 8:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Shog9 Who has made decision on time required to cool down to be one year? (ends Aug 28 '16 at 0:06). What is the reasoning? $\endgroup$ – Matas Vaitkevicius Nov 3 '15 at 11:29
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This was a ridiculous suspension--- it was to do with the back and forth between me and Sachin Shekhar over the last two days, where the other fellow said some insulting things (like "you don't know anything!" "Who the heck are you" blah blah) and I responded to try to get him to answer questions properly and not troll. I never insulted him, but I did say he was factually wrong here and there a few times.

Then both me and this trolling user were suspended for 24hrs. I imagine it was an issue of symmetry, why suspend one party be suspended and not the other? But I don't think a single comment of mine was inappropriate, although perhaps a few of the other guy's were (but they didn't bother me, and I would prefer if there was no administrative action against him). I renounce any privacy to anything--- what could possibly be private here? All the comments are up for all to see (none have been deleted).

Here's the email I got from dmckee:

Hello,

I'm writing in reference to your Physics - Stack Exchange account:

https://physics.stackexchange.com/users/4864/ron-maimon

This account has been involved in several extended and acrimonious discussions in the comments recently. It seem that the style of interaction you employ in the comments invites conflict; often through sly implications that the other party is too stupid of ignorant to bother with. I am treating this as a violation of the "Be nice" injunction in the FAQ.

I am issuing a one day suspension so that all parties to the most recent instance can cool down, and will be removing many comments.

Regards, dmckee Physics - Stack Exchange moderator

As a comment to the above, I never make any implication, neither sly nor direct, that the party is too ignorant to bother with--- that would only be the case if I didn't say anything at all. I just wanted to make sure that Shekhar knew that people here don't just put up random gibberish, but they read and understand what they write, and they are careful, and I asked him to do the same. I don't think I made any comment at all that disparaged him, beyond saying "what you wrote in these answer is wrong, please fix it or delete the answer". I told him that he is capable to contributing honestly, and urged him to do so.

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The thing that makes me pretty angry about Ron's behaviour is that he does not distinguish between common consensus belief and his own private research--this makes evaluating his claims hard for a third party not familar with physics. I'm not going to make a definitive statement on his private conclusions, but they are decidedly non-orthodox, and a layperson is not necessarily clear on this. This is magnified by the fact that the non-orthodox views are supported by what an academic would consider to be wildly insufficient claims to support the strength of the provided arguments. Saying "Newtonian physics supports the theory of planetary motion" requires different evidence than "all string theorists are stupid idiots who deserve no attention."

Considering that stackexchange is not a forum that is suited to extensive citation, this is a problem--there's no natural system for citation, and the detail of your answer is as much as you want it to be, and the veracity of it is only as great as the people voting on it, which can be heavily influenced by a play to the audience.

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    $\begingroup$ ...that is another reason why I think a little bit of physics discussion should be allowed here; to clarify what is well supported common consensus and which (non-orthodox) views still need further evidence before they are accepted. Who said "all string theorists are stupid idiots who deserve no attention" here on physics SE? A post containing such a comment should be flagged as offensive ... $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Sep 13 '12 at 9:36
  • $\begingroup$ I agree. I like Ron's answers generally, but it's difficult sometimes to tell the difference between his views that are mainstream and those that are his pet theories which end up misleading people. $\endgroup$ – Physiks lover Sep 14 '12 at 14:09
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    $\begingroup$ Ron Maimon has explicitly expressed his support for string theory, often "I am biased towards the string side... ", that too, in a very civil manner. On none of his posts has he said that string theorists are "stupid idiots who deserve no attention. ". The above comment is an explanation for my downvote. $\endgroup$ – Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir Jul 15 '13 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Dimension10: he didn't attack string theory specifically, but he attacked many, many other viewpoints, many of which were mainstream physics. $\endgroup$ – Jerry Schirmer Jul 15 '13 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ @JerrySchirmer: Examples? . $\endgroup$ – Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir Jul 15 '13 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Dimension10: I'm not in a mood to go searching through year-old threads to find examples, but if you think that Ron wasn't prone to ad hominem and calling those who disagree with him some form of "stupid" or "political", then I'm prone to say that you haven't interacted with him. The worst examples have been deleted, anyway. $\endgroup$ – Jerry Schirmer Jul 15 '13 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ @JerrySchirmer: Yes, I've heard "political", but he only used it in civil, and appropriate situations. $\endgroup$ – Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir Jul 15 '13 at 18:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Dimension10: direct quotation from this very page: "I prefer it if you did discuss, because I don't agree with your arguments, and I dislike the very idea of "civility" in a forum. I believe that direct rudeness is the only way to keep a forum from degenerating into political nonsense with no scientific content. " $\endgroup$ – Jerry Schirmer Jul 15 '13 at 19:02
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    $\begingroup$ @JerrySchirmer: 1. That isn't incorrect, ; 2. But there's no example of uuncivility from him. / $\endgroup$ – Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir Aug 19 '13 at 13:46
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No, you may not. At least not from us.

This is a matter of privacy for the affected person. The suspended account-holder was contacted by email and by notification.

The affected individual can bring the matter up on meta after the suspension expires or they may contact the team directly and they will investigate what the moderation team has done.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've deleted an obsolete and unconstructive comment discussion. $\endgroup$ – David Z Aug 22 '16 at 15:52
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Ron's answers are always interesting. A bit of ego and edge makes science more fun. The suspension was unjust.

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    $\begingroup$ Apart from this particular episode which I do not have any knowledge about. In general, good content doesn't justify (even slightly) improper behavior. $\endgroup$ – Alenanno Jul 11 '12 at 14:35
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    $\begingroup$ I mean, I'm not saying we have to be always 100% serious and all. I do appreciate some witty remarks in the answer/comment as long as they are strictly related to the topic being treated. But engaging in flame wars is not just witty. Anyway, no hard feelings, keep taking care of your site. :) $\endgroup$ – Alenanno Jul 11 '12 at 14:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Alenanno: I never do anything improper. I would prefer that people point to something improper before assuming it's there. This is why rules are stupid and rules-enforcement is of negative value. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Jul 11 '12 at 16:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Ron you think rules are stupid, you don't follow them, and then have the nerve to call it ridiculous when you are suspended for breaking rules. :S $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Jul 11 '12 at 17:19
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    $\begingroup$ @Manishearth: Just because I think they're stupid doesn't mean I break them. You don't have to break rules to get in trouble. You have to sense the politics involved here. One of dmckee's friends was removed from his post at OPERA because people were saying he was incompetent. I was saying this too. There are people who publish large-extra-dimension papers, and I say these people are incompetent. Incompetent people are only good at one thing--- politics. This is why I get in trouble, I don't break any rules. Rules are stupid because they are really political censorship tools underneath. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Jul 11 '12 at 17:34
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    $\begingroup$ Hmm... This is getting into conspiracy theory territory. Not cool. $\endgroup$ – Shog9 Jul 11 '12 at 17:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Shog9: Hi Shog9! It's very cool. I don't think it's a conspiracy, that requires people coordinating consciously. It's the uncoordinated flow of "like" and "dislike" through large masses of people that isn't controlled by any person or small group of people. This is what drives politics, and this is what blocks science. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Jul 11 '12 at 18:06
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    $\begingroup$ The number of downvotes confuses me. Who would "disagree" that Ron Maimon's answers are interesting? And the above is an explanation for my upvote. $\endgroup$ – Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir Jul 15 '13 at 16:16
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"I am treating this as a violation of the "Be nice" injunction in the FAQ". Well dmckee should be congratulated for doing the right thing, although I wish He left the comments on so I and others can have a laugh at Ron going mad at people muddying the intellectual atmosphere of the site.

Anyone have a link to the comments that were deleted?

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    $\begingroup$ Is this really worth a -6? $\endgroup$ – Physiks lover Jul 19 '12 at 23:30
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    $\begingroup$ People are much more trigger-happy on meta. There's that, and the fact that most people probably disagree with just about everything you wrote, lol. $\endgroup$ – Alan Rominger Jul 20 '12 at 1:41
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    $\begingroup$ I was actually pretty nice, which is why I was surprised that I was suspended. I figured it was to show the new user "see, we're even handed, we suspend long-time higher-rep users too." Which I thought was a reasonable thing, but the discussion were pretty tame. I didn't see any comments deleted at the time of suspension, but I can give you the gist of it SC: -1! You suck! This means war! ME: Please fix this answer, it is totally wrong because electrons are negative, and don't make up crap. SC: Ah ha! Positrons are positive! ME: This is disingenuous. Stop using rhetoric ... etc. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Jul 21 '12 at 3:32
  • $\begingroup$ @RonMaimon I didn't see those types of comments and I can see why they're seen out of order lol. Which question was it? $\endgroup$ – Larry Harson Jul 21 '12 at 11:38
  • $\begingroup$ The downvotes (including mine) are for two reasons. (1) This is a borderline personal attack. (2) This is explicit support for "muddying the intellectual atmosphere of the site." . . . $\endgroup$ – Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir Jul 15 '13 at 16:19

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