Althought very unpopular in modern world, to speak about and to make penalties puplic has a huge impact and support when based on good rules.

As it is usual in this community as well, to set penalties, like to suspend someone, it would be good if:

  1. There is a clear processes
  2. A defined group of elders (not only those involved.
  3. A chance for "public" (or withing the committee of "elders") statement, confession and/or rejecting by the accused.
  4. An information for others to know about the case: not only to be informed, but also to learn, if right, to avoid similar deeds.

Place for reflections and answers in regard of this "opinion" might be given here with it.

[This gift of Dhamma, not for commercial purpose, trade, stakes or exchange for gains of ordinary wordily gain, which should be deleted in the case the place and owner does not allow or give such dedication, might be good if brought to meta, if not seeing this point as a general question to think about, for a released heart and good community conduct everywhere]

  • 1
    I'll move this topic to Meta presently. I've left it here temporary in case you want reply/participate, since for some reason (I don't know what) you're unable or unwilling to register your account and therefore cannot participate on Meta.
    – ChrisW Mod
    Nov 4, 2018 at 14:05

1 Answer 1


There is a clear processes

I think there's a clear process.

All SE sites have different content (i.e. different topics, e.g. the topic this one is "Buddhism"), and different communities (i.e. different users), but the sites have some things in common -- not only the software (which defines the format and appearance of the site), but also the guidelines about how the site is governed -- all SE sites have some 'rules' in common, for example:

  • More Q&A, less discussion and chat
  • If a question is intended to question or discuss the site, use the site's Meta instead
  • How the site is moderated

A defined group of elders (not only those involved).

If "those involved" means ...

  • A user, whose misbehaviour may need to be 'moderated'
  • A moderator, whose job is to assess or implement that

... then I suppose that there are three other kinds of "elders":

  1. Other site moderators -- for example anything I do as moderator is visible to the other moderators, i.e. Lanka and Andrei. Sometimes too we may discuss something privately before one of us acts on it.

  2. Other users of the site (i.e. community members) -- who know enough and care enough to post on Meta if they have a question or concern

  3. SE employees -- if any user disagrees with a moderator decision, or thinks that a moderator is abusing their role, then the user can complain to Stack Exchange.

    Beware though that, I think that, these complaints are rarely successful, that SE tends to side with the moderator (perhaps because moderators tend to understand what the SE rules and conventions are).

A chance for "public" (or withing the committee of "elders") statement, confession and/or rejecting by the accused.

If behaviour is disruptive I don't need a formal confession -- I just want the bad behaviour to stop.

Generally what happens is:

  • User: bad behaviour in public (for example, being hostile as described in the Code of Conduct)
  • Moderator: posts a comment in public, "please don't do that, the rules for this site say X and Y"

If the bad behaviour stops then no more need be said about it. If the bad behaviour continues then a moderator might contact the user privately, "Look, I'm telling you, the rules are X and Y, and these posts of yours i.e. A and B aren't doing that. So please, stop." And if they don't stop voluntarily then the next private message includes a temporary suspension. The duration of the suspension gets longer (a day, a week, a month, etc.) if a user is suspended more than once (e.g. because they continue to misbehave after a first or second suspension).

SE has talked about whether and how much this kind of decision-making should be public -- see e.g.:

There are approximately 280 other Questions tagged [account-suspension] too.

I think the policy they chose is a kind of middling compromise.

  • It's semi-public, e.g. you (other users) can see that some user has been suspended, and for how long
  • It's semi-private, i.e. only the user involved, the moderators, and SE can see the "private moderator messages" and so on.

I'm not sure what the reasoning is -- perhaps it's to minimise scandal and gossip ("Ooh, that user was bad!"), perhaps it's to make rehabilitation easier (don't criticise a user in public and therefore give them a bad reputation), perhaps it's because any focus on user behaviour is a distraction from the purpose of the site (e.g. the purpose of this site is to answer question about Buddhism, not to discuss whether users obey site rules nor even to discuss whether various users are good Buddhists -- in that way it's perhaps, I don't know, unlike the purpose of the Vinaya rules for example).

Anyway the current SE policies for moderation are what they are -- you can begin to review them here.

I'm pretty sure that anything that I (as moderator) am able to read and that other users cannot, because I am moderator, is considered private and/or confidential -- and so for example I am not allowed to ...

  • Publish the content of a "private moderator message" to a user
  • Tell you the number of times a user has been suspended in the past
  • Complain in public about deleted comments (which moderators can see but other users can't)
  • Say who has "flagged" any post for moderation attention

... and so on -- and so I'm unable to change the predefined SE-specific "process" (though of course moderators are expected to determine how and when to implement it in practice).

Conversely any affected user is allowed to publish or complain about moderation. If I send you a "private moderator message", for example, I cannot publish it but I think that probably you are allowed to, if you want to -- e.g. you could post on Meta to discuss it with other users (though you might have to wait until after a temporary account suspension), or reply to it (your reply can be seen by all the site moderator), or complain to SE about it.

If I do write a "private moderator message" to someone I think I probably almost always link to and/or quote (i.e. identify) some specific posts of theirs, so that it's clear what I'm talking about (so that any criticism is specific and not unsubstantiated -- also it's to criticise that content and not to criticise the user).

An information for others to know about the case: not only to be informed, but also to learn, if right, to avoid similar deeds.

If you read the site regularly you might notice something of some "cases" if they happen, but (unless you're a moderator, or you're the user in question, or the user in question chooses to publish the case on meta) then you won't see all details of every case -- and, previous cases are not listed somewhere publicly.

Even without that information, though, I'm thankful that the users of this site tend to be polite and moderate and kind, not inclined to misbehave, and are focused on the topic at hand (i.e. focused on specific Questions and Answers, not on criticising other users), and can do without perusing past examples of what was considered to be misbehaviour by other people.

  • Good so far, like most, from personal perception, involved perception, Nyom ChrisW. How about a step out of ones box, a step to view the matter even in Dhamma-Vinaya aspects? (althought the tendency is to pull issues touching involved issues into meta) What about metta? Don't one think my person is really interested in SE-policy on a level to addopt it... Nov 4, 2018 at 20:24
  • I don't understand what question you're asking -- maybe you're not asking a precise question. How about a step out? What Dhamma-Vinaya aspects and what about them? And what about metta? If you're only saying that this site isn't using all the same rules and practices and the Vinaya, then yes: that is so. I've tried to explain what rules the site moderators do follow, how moderators' actions can be reviewed and by whom -- which is of course in various ways unlike all the Vinaya rules, which I assume you probably already know.
    – ChrisW Mod
    Nov 4, 2018 at 21:48
  • Good, and how do they if having faith and being informed about Dhamma-Vinaya (Buddhas Religion, usually called Buddhism?) ...since you stick to SE rules my person wouldn't be allowed to answer a "own" question... (ironical) One could assume simply a personal commercial playground using a certain lable and others resources in trust. So how to bring this, if wishing so,matter in any consistent frame? Nov 5, 2018 at 0:26
  • I think moderators (and users) are supposed to obey or implement two types of policy: 1) defined by SE (e.g. the Code of Conduct); 2) defined by the "user community" (i.e. the users of the site), who decide (by voting on Meta) what kind of content (questions and answers) they want on the site.
    – ChrisW Mod
    Nov 5, 2018 at 0:39
  • No possibility to point Chris into the right direction... simple meaningless. Nov 5, 2018 at 0:50
  • @SamanaJohann - What you may not realise is that your language is very difficult to understand. I cannot do it.
    – user14119
    Nov 11, 2018 at 12:44

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