In recent events Bill D. has left the site. During a now-closed thread pointing that out a comment was linking to the previous thread started by the user Math Gems when Bill was suspended for a month.

That thread was a long and interesting (or tedious) discussion, and several moderators expressed that they feel that this thread should not be deleted, as it contains a lot of information which may be relevant later on. The thread and all the answers were locked by Mariano in order to prevent further changes.

Back to the recent thread and the comment, it turned out that the thread has been deleted. How could that be? Well, apparently Bill unlocked the thread and all the answers -- something which allowed four users to vote for its deletion.

I don't want to discuss whether or not Bill unlocking the thread was justified, that has happened and Bill left the site. There is little to be gained from this discussion.

I do wish to propose that the thread will be undeleted and locked once again. I agree that keeping this thread visible is a good thing, and I would not want to think other users cannot access this part of the history of the site.

The reason I opened this thread is that I don't wish to get into a deletion/undeletion war; nor I want people to change the thread while undeleted (either by edits, or worse: adding/removing comments). Instead an initial discussion would be helpful. Please don't vote to undelete the thread before some discussion has taken place!

I propose that if the thread is to be reinstated then a moderator should undelete it, and immediately lock it as well.

Hopefully some [reasonable and civilized] discussion will occur in the comments/answers, and a week from now I will post two poll answers (unless a very clear opinion is formed before that).


The thread, currently deleted: Can we do anything to avoid losing Bill D?

Update: The thread was undeleted by three members; and locked by Grace Note to allow the discussion to take place (because the request is that the data preserved locking is essential). Grace has said that the lock will be removed (if needed to) when some consensus has been reached.

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+1 I think one should also lock this thread, which is of similar historical interest. –  Michael Greinecker Dec 13 '12 at 13:20
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@Jasper: And thus proven that you cannot read boldface letters... requesting explicitly for a discussion before such undeletion occurs. Thanks! –  Asaf Karagila Dec 13 '12 at 13:22
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@JasperLoy People can flag and thereby delete comments when the thread is open but unlocked. –  Michael Greinecker Dec 13 '12 at 13:28
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I can confirm for you that no comments on any posts in that thread were deleted after it was unlocked. The comments have been untouched since January. –  Grace Note Dec 13 '12 at 14:35
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@Grace: Thank you for locking the referenced thread. I think that is the right decision, at least in the interim. –  cardinal Dec 13 '12 at 14:43
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@Grace: Thank you very much. Is it possible to lock the answers as well? –  Asaf Karagila Dec 13 '12 at 14:58
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As Grace Note confirmed, I did not alter the prior thread in any way. Something happened 2 months ago that reminded me that I'd never investigated that thread for abuse. I had to unlock it to do so. I forgot to restore the locks (that was a very crazy day both on MSE (MK) and in real life). While the topic is broached, imo opinion, mods should not lock threads discussing moderator abuse of powers (which certainly occurred there). That's a huge conflict of interest. –  Bill Dubuque Dec 13 '12 at 18:37
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@Gone: The unlock was in October, well beyond the MK heat (which took place around July and most August). I also disagree with your opinion that moderators should lock threads about [alleged] mod abuse. That was a particular thread on a particular topic, not a general case. It was locked for a reason and there was a status quo during which it was locked. I also did not mean to imply that you deleted any comment, it would be possible for users to delete their own comments and disintegrate the structure of the document. [cont.] –  Asaf Karagila Dec 13 '12 at 18:40
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[...] Lastly, I find it to be in very bad taste that a moderator unlocks a thread which discusses him in such a direct way. Probably without consulting any other moderator, and for "finding traces of abuse", what good would that do? Would that have undone your suspension? No. But I agree that idle curiosity is something good in general and have no actual qualms against you checking whatever you want to check. But it certainly feels in very bad taste, particularly after what transpired yesterday (the lock-war), that you unlocked a thread discussing you directly and left it that way. –  Asaf Karagila Dec 13 '12 at 18:44
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@Asaf No you are wrong. That was during the time that MK requested questions to be undeleted - another big fiasco. I also had to rush my gf to the hospital that day. So hopefully you can understand that on such a hectic day I might overlook some things. The conspiracy theories are getting to be a bit much. Please don't waste your time any further since I will no longer respond to such wild speculations. I long ago lost respect for your style of debating - which grossly violates my standard of ethics. –  Bill Dubuque Dec 13 '12 at 18:51
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I believe there is a rationale (and SE banner) for locking a thread for "historical reasons", i.e., it deserves to be visible but has otherwise run its course. Though I haven't thought through the implications completely, that's the reason for locking that I would find most compelling if a consensus were to be reached that it be visible and locked long-term. –  cardinal Dec 13 '12 at 18:52
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@Gone: I was trying to be respectful to your decision "to leave". Instead you repay with misreading what I say and reinforcing your own opinion based on awful cognitive dissonance. I bet that if you'd sat to read what I actually wrote from day one you'd probably not have this much of a problem. But I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks. I was happy to see you leave, Bill. And just for what it's worth, I took a lot of my debating technique (at least when talking to you) from the way you talked to others on early days of the site... –  Asaf Karagila Dec 13 '12 at 18:53
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Now Now, gentlemen. Play nice. –  mixedmath Dec 13 '12 at 19:48
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For what it's worth, my vote for deletion was cast before the initial lock (JDH's too I believe, based on his comments there). I didn't know anything about the unlocking and deletion until I saw this post. –  Jonas Meyer Dec 13 '12 at 20:14
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@Gone, Asaf: Your discussion and comments on this thread are completely unacceptable. Be Nice. Treat others with the same respect you'd want them to treat you. We're all here to learn together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know. Bring your sense of humor. The offending comments have now been deleted. –  Eric Naslund Dec 13 '12 at 20:46

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I voted undelete before this thread was opened, so let me explain my stance:

While it makes for a harmonious impression if adversarial exchanges are deleted, it makes it impossible to make an informed decision during a moderator election.

Answering math questions is not sufficient qualification for being a good moderator. And even being a good moderator is not sufficient qualification to being a good comoderator with a particular other moderator.

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Phira, I agree completely that the thread should be undeleted. But I think that a moderator should have done that in order to lock it immediately after. For a moderator to unilaterally reverse four deletion votes, I figured a short discussion is appropriate at first. –  Asaf Karagila Dec 13 '12 at 14:47
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I should also remark that if there is anything that the last elections have taught us it's that with all the fuss and huss on meta, the majority of voters just pick the guy with most reputation. –  Asaf Karagila Dec 13 '12 at 15:15
    
@AsafKaragila I agree that my undelete vote was hasty, as I didn't think of the locking issue. But since it was me who started the undeletion, I thought I could just as well explain here why I am in favour of undeletion. –  Phira Dec 13 '12 at 15:31
    
Phira, it's not a problem. I realized that as soon as people would see the question has been deleted at least some would attempt to undelete it. So I lumped up all those words and somehow they seem to make a coherent post. :-) I generally agree with undeletion. –  Asaf Karagila Dec 13 '12 at 15:34
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@Gone, Asaf: Your discussion and comments on this thread are completely unacceptable. Be Nice. Treat others with the same respect you'd want them to treat you. We're all here to learn together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know. Bring your sense of humor. The offending comments have now been deleted. –  Eric Naslund Dec 13 '12 at 20:46
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I find it remarkably ironic that comments have been deleted from this answer. –  Brian M. Scott Dec 13 '12 at 22:02
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@BrianM.Scott: There is large difference between a heated discussion and one that decays into derision and insults. –  Eric Naslund Dec 13 '12 at 22:27
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@Eric: It’s still ironic. I’d expect most people to agree with that irrespective of their views on deletion! –  Brian M. Scott Dec 13 '12 at 22:30
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@Eric One of the problems I had with Bill is the way he insulted valuable contributors such as Arturo Magidin. I therefore consider this information quite relevant, even though relevant comments re gone now. –  Michael Greinecker Dec 14 '12 at 0:24
    
@Brian: I missed the irony. I agree with Eric, and as much as I know the curiosity of seeing what was deleted I am certain that Bill would have deleted those comments without hesitations if he were the moderator, probably before things reached to a critical point. I believe that mixedmath (which commented on the main problem) saw the distress but was reluctant to act because of this "irony". Knowing what is the contents of these deleted comments, let me assure you that they don't serve well to this community, to myself or to Bill. [cont...] –  Asaf Karagila Dec 14 '12 at 0:40
    
[cont...] They are completely irrelevant to this thread, and Bill would have hated to see them here -- being all off-topicy and whatnot. (And while I'm at it, @Michael - a ping goes to you as well.) –  Asaf Karagila Dec 14 '12 at 0:41
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@Asaf: As a matter of principle I object to the deletion, but my original comment was completely independent of that objection. I was genuinely (if darkly) amused to see Phira’s subthread treated in the way to which she was objecting. –  Brian M. Scott Dec 14 '12 at 0:48
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@AsafKaragila "let me assure you that they don't serve well to this community, to myself or to Bill." I disagree. Should you ever run for moderator, the community would be well served to know about them. –  Phira Dec 14 '12 at 11:51
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@Phira: I will never run for moderator. Despite being encouraged by several people. I don't think that I am cut for the job, and I tend to end up taking too many things too personally. Unlike some people, I am fully aware of this limitation of mine and I try to get the best out of it, but I know that being a moderator is not getting the best out of these things. –  Asaf Karagila Dec 15 '12 at 14:23
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@Phira, with that argument no comment should ever be deleted. We don't need comments to keep the history (also it is unlikely that most users will dig that deep to see how a user has behaved previously). If deemed important such information can be given by other users in the meta post about election. –  Kaveh Dec 17 '12 at 8:23

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