I notice that one moderator has locked a question (from an ongoing contest), and another moderator has unlocked it and edited out part of the notice posted by the first moderator. I don't think this is a good look. Can we encourage the moderators to come to at least an interim agreement as to what to do when they have disagreements about matters that affect all of us, in particular (but not limited to) disagreements about whether to lock certain types of question?

share
5  
I noted a recent contest thread which was deleted by one, and undeleted by another. I am aware of several occurrences like these in past as well (e.g. suspensions/de-suspensions, deletion/undeletion of general thread). It saddens to say, but the names involved are almost always the same. –  Asaf Karagila Oct 1 '12 at 7:44
15  
Two households, both alike in dignity / Should not cross swords, e'en if they disagree –  user16299 Oct 1 '12 at 8:42
8  
@Yemon: This is meta.math.SE, not meta.fairVerona.SE :-P –  Asaf Karagila Oct 1 '12 at 8:49
6  
I think that the problem goes beyond contest questions and should be broadly discussed. There are strong differences between the views of moderators on important matters and there were even cases of expressed animosity between them. –  Michael Greinecker Oct 1 '12 at 19:14
11  
@Bill It might be good that their private opinions differ, but they should follow the same policies. I don't see an advantage of inconsistent policy. –  Michael Greinecker Oct 1 '12 at 20:18
3  
@Michael There is no "inconsistent policy" because there is no policy on matters where the community has widely varying opinions (e.g. homework, contests, etc). On such matters, the best that the moderators can do is attempt to mediate and keep the peace. –  Bill Dubuque Oct 1 '12 at 20:21
3  
@Bill I don't think there is even consent on whom to suspend. The B-incident comes to mind. –  Michael Greinecker Oct 1 '12 at 20:28
4  
@Bill It is my impression that you are much more tolerant towards relatively new users than at least some other moderators. So is there a clear consent on when to suspend users? –  Michael Greinecker Oct 1 '12 at 20:42
3  
@Bill I agree, which is I why I don't do that. Can you answer my question? –  Michael Greinecker Oct 1 '12 at 22:38
3  
@Bill So how do suspensions usually work? Is there some discussion process involved? –  Michael Greinecker Oct 1 '12 at 22:52
13  
@Bill, I agree that it is a good thing that the moderators don't always agree on contentious matters. It is, in my opinion, a bad thing if, when contentious matters arise, moderators don't get together to work out a policy that all moderators are then expected to follow. That's what I expect of leadership, and I'm hoping people will suggest protocols to diminish the probability of future failures of leadership. –  Gerry Myerson Oct 1 '12 at 23:52
6  
@BillDubuque Why did you unlock the contest question that Gerry is referring to? –  user38268 Oct 2 '12 at 14:57
2  
@Benjalim Please see the recent related threads for much discussion. Why did you not also ask why they were locked in the first place? –  Bill Dubuque Oct 2 '12 at 15:12
2  
@zyx: I don't think the [contests] tag fits here. My impression is that Gerry is talking about a bigger problem here. –  Asaf Karagila Oct 3 '12 at 5:18
4  
@Asaf, I think the dispute is as to whether one interprets tags as a union or an intersection. I also think that what my post aims to discuss is irrelevant; once I put it out there, it belongs to everyone, and if people want to use it as a pretext for discussing the price of tea in China, so be it. But, for the record, I really wanted to see whether some protocols might evolve to encourage moderators to work out their differences offsite. –  Gerry Myerson Oct 4 '12 at 23:41

2 Answers 2

I agree with the general sentiment that public moderator disagreements are very bad. However, in the specific case of requests to temporarily take down questions by people who are clearly cheating, I think that the moderator should delete it and then it should not be undeleted unless moderators come to an agreement. The reason we have moderators is so that they can respond to important situations quickly, and things should be left in a reversible situation while any discussion takes place. In this specific situation the reversible situation is locked or deleted, and open is not reversible. So any needed moderator debate or vote, should happen while the question is deleted.

share
24  
I completely agree, but unfortunately the moderators are not in consensus about this. –  Qiaochu Yuan Oct 1 '12 at 8:11
3  
Noah, some reversal has occurred. The contest organizers were notified, and put up a notice to contestants on the contest web site (plus whatever email notices they may have sent out; it is an email-based competition). As with the contest setup itself, they elected not to pursue security, and there are larger security holes and abusible rules in the contest than the possibility of problems being posted here. If they don't care to do more it is not clear to me that mSE should be "holier than the Pope". –  zyx Oct 1 '12 at 10:24
4  
@zyx: I don't understand your comment. How is complying with reasonable takedown requests going beyond what the person requesting is willing to do? They can't take down questions here themselves, all they can do is ask a moderator to do so. –  Noah Snyder Oct 1 '12 at 10:30
5  
There are actions the organizers had opportunities to perform, and declined (and the takedown request, plus demand for IP addresses, reform of m.SE policies, production of offenders' heads on a plate, etc was from a person not organizing the event). The same for their attitude to the other abusible rules and security holes not related to m.SE. Thus the organizers' level of concern for security can be calibrated, and it seems to be below that of many commenters here. –  zyx Oct 1 '12 at 10:37
2  
@zyx Can you please tell us what actions the organizers could have taken? I would like to understand this better. I appreciated your point, on another thread, about how deleting a post after it was answered would serve only to help the cheater because they would the one most likely to have seen the answer. For example, when Qiaochu deleted Triangle Geometry Question after it had answers, this would only serve to help the cheater. Bill was right to undelete it in this case at least. At least let all involved see solutions if they are posted, not just the one cheating. –  Graphth Oct 1 '12 at 15:38
3  
@Graphth The organizers could have made a statement under the question or in MSE meta. They could have alerted all contestants (it is an email contest) to the exact location of the MSE question so as to neutralize the benefit of cheating, and made it clear that they may do the same for any future violations. They can publish contest results with and without the problem in the MSE question, or with a different weight on that problem. They can write questions that are not easily solved with the software they say not to use. Those are a few that come to mind, I don't think it's a complete list. –  zyx Oct 1 '12 at 15:51

If you meant this one, I was the one who first locked it and then unlocked it. (To clarify on the man divided: I vaguely remember there being an appropriate thread on Meta about it, but could not find it using the SE search interface. So I locked the question and started preparing a Meta discussion about that fact. But then lo-and-behold one of the "suggested" questions while composing my Meta discussion turned out to be the Meta discussion I was looking for, so I unlocked the question and added a comment instead.)

The subsequent edits, additional answers, delete/undelete, and closure happened over the weekend when I was not available.

If you meant some other one, feel free to ignore what I just wrote.

share
8  
I would never ignore anything you write, but my post was prompted by a different question. –  Gerry Myerson Oct 1 '12 at 12:58
3  
@WillieWong: I believe Gerry is referring to this post which was locked and unlocked by different users. –  Eric Naslund Oct 1 '12 at 15:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .