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Religious sites are among the most challenging moderation tasks. Before I was hired as Community Manager, I was an active moderator on Biblical Hermeneutics, so I feel I have some justification in saying that. One problem we see time and again is the tension between Truth and Knowledge. We each come to the sites with a predetermined understanding of what it is true and those beliefs are often in conflict with what other people belief is true. As humans, we have a deep commitment to Truth even to the point of violence.

Stack Exchange is geared to propagate Knowledge, not Truth. Pandya makes the case very clearly in Concerns about brigading:

We know that among all the religions, Hinduism has very much diversity, there are various beliefs and philosophies. The problem we often face is due to the difference in thoughts and beliefs or different Sampradaya. Let me tell you that proving particular beliefs superior than others is not the objective of this site. We should respect all Sampradyaya, their beliefs and philosophies.

In the context of you own Sampradyaya, there are statements that are true, statements that are false and statements that have not been decided. It's tempting to go through and answer all the questions from your own understanding of Truth. But that is unhelpful since each question would end up flooded with contradictory answers. Voting would mean that whichever Sampradyaya has the most users on the site would always appear to be the right answer.

Fortunately, every question of truth may be converted to a question of knowledge:

Are there multiple universes?

===>

Why do modal realists believe in the concept of the multiverse?

The second isn't really asking whether the multiverse theory is true, but rather discussing a particular group of thinkers and their teachings. The beauty of this system is that:

  1. Anyone can ask and answer these questions with equal authority.
  2. Disagreements can be resolved with evidence (by looking at the texts held sacred by the particular Sampradyaya).
  3. Visitors to the site will have greater understanding of Hinduism in general and the Sampradyaya in particular.

I bring this up because I'm looking at a handful of complaints about moderators on this site and I think it'll help to understand my point of view. If you want to listen, I can talk for hours about the difference between the sensus plenior and historical-grammatical methods of biblical interpretation. But everything I know about the Shiva vs. Vishnu debate, I learned right here on meta. Fortunately, I have an easier task than sorting these two (or maybe more?) positions. Good moderation strives for Knowledge even at the expense of Truth. This job belongs to everyone and not just the appointed moderators. If you are willing to put aside your own beliefs for the sake of helping others understand Hinduism, I honor and respect that sacrifice. If your own beliefs are too important to be set aside, I respect that too, but would suggest this is not the site for you.

If you've contacted us about the site and moderators in particular, I'd like to apologize for taking so long to answer. (It's been busy around here lately.) Moderators are human, have their own biases and might slip up from time to time. If I see any examples of that, I'll contact them and let you know what I found privately. One of the reasons we have three moderators is so they can watch out for each other. If it seems the moderator team isn't keeping each other accountable, I'll coach them through that too. My goal is to help this community productively field all sorts of questions about Hinduism.


I should also take special note of what I call stump-the-chumps questions. These are questions asked less out of a sincere desire to know the answer and more out of an attempt to advocate a particular point of view. These questions can be very enlightening, but I've seen a few examples on this site that ended up sparking debates in the comments that seem more divisive than constructive. Since diamond moderators are tasked with handling comment flags and since their tools are somewhat limited to delete some comments or delete all comments, it's not surprising when comments supporting a particular position are removed.

If you want your writing on the site preserved:

  • ask a curious question or
  • write a supported answer.

Comments are prone to deletion. It would be an unusual circumstance to cause me to think a moderator is hopelessly biased because they deleted some comments.

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    I have for long advocated this viewpoint of (dis)claiming one's position as so. Yet, there are some who insist the position they state is default and refuse to add in that it's a particular perspective and/or challenge any and all comments asking for the same when asked to do so. What's your suggestion to handle this situation? – DirghaChintayanti May 7 '18 at 18:59
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    The moderator in question is not moderating for knowledge. He moderates for his version of the truth. That you are unable to see it immediately is testament to his cleverness in pushing his agenda in the garb of knowledge. That the moderator is biased is not only my view but that of many users who have observed his behavior and been at the receiving end of the agenda. All of us cannot be wrong .To sweetly suggest that we leave the site instead of seeking reparations is the most resounding indicator that this site is not what it claims to stand for. – user1195 May 7 '18 at 19:06
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    If at all your goal is to help community then please consider the complain of community members and there should be some way out to prevent misuse of privileges. – Rakesh Joshi May 8 '18 at 2:34
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    @moonstar Please post as an answer instead of a comment. – TheLittleNaruto May 8 '18 at 4:59
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    Which moderator is Jon speaking about in the question? He added all mods collectively and added link to all the appointed moderators. Those who live in Glass houses should not throw stones. – Sarvabhouma May 8 '18 at 5:06
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    It's not about just deleting comments. Although that may be happening all the time with no one really noticing. You need to see this post.. Not sure why, but that Mod might have thought that my answer is showing his favorite Acharya (teacher) in a slightly bad light.. So he decided that he will delete my answer at any cost. but that was not easy without being unfair with his dealings because I was answering the question.. – Rickross May 8 '18 at 6:21
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    so as is usual with him , deleted from the question, some parts that I was answering to, and then deleted my answer. This is the most blatant example of misuse of Mod powers so far. It was so blatant that the moment I reported the case to another Mod my post was restored.. It's ok for a Mod or for anyone to have sectarian bias.. But it is not at al ok when the Mod can not moderate without being influenced by his bias.. – Rickross May 8 '18 at 6:22
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    @TheLittleNaruto Feel free to copy the comment and post it as an answer. I am exiting this stack. – user1195 May 8 '18 at 7:11
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    @moonstar Sorry for being off topic but your decision isn't a wise one at all.. – Rickross May 8 '18 at 7:13
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    Exiting site will not help you at all. That's what I had thought once. Stick with it like an ant stick with a sugar cube and help the community with your valuable contribution. :) @moonstar Also I am not going to copy your comment and post as an answer because that's what your thought is on this issue, you should do it instead. – TheLittleNaruto May 8 '18 at 7:17
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    As we are discussing, we already got an example of "stump the chumps" question. The OP is known for those type of questions. It would be good if there is debate about moderation only and not about who is one's favorite acharya. Don't post speculative comments. – Sarvabhouma May 8 '18 at 7:55
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    Btw, we can have discussion on moderation gallery instead of posting more and more comments on meta. – Pandya May 9 '18 at 7:59
  • @Pandya Only mod who is pingable there is you. Not others. I don't expect reply from mods if pinged in chat all the time.There is main room where all the users can visit instead of that gallery where it's a limited discussion. – Sarvabhouma May 9 '18 at 10:10
  • Yep @Sarvabhouma is right , I could see replies of Pandya and TheDestroyer only in recent chats. – TheLittleNaruto May 9 '18 at 10:13
  • @TheLittleNaruto Thank you for your kind words but I am not looking for help at this time :-) The people who run this stack (both moderator and CM) have made participation quite unpalatable for me. I appreciate the time I spent here so far and knowledge/time/effort shared by both stack users and stack managers/moderators. Take care. – user1195 May 9 '18 at 11:00
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Thanks for writing an elaborate blog, which showcases that the culture and philosophy of StackExchange network is not about right/wrong but about knowledge sharing.

However, the root problem with the most opposed moderator, is mainly to do with the bias treatment to the users, who match & unmatch their thinking.

Here is a limited list of problems:

  • I had at least 6 answers deleted by this Mod, which met the objective criteria of this site (answering the question and sources cited). See this, this, this, this, this, this.
  • User moonstar, who actually identified the Mod's bias the first, also had their answer[s] deleted. The most discussed one, is this answer, even when it was upvoted and accepted.
  • User Rickross, had their answer not only deleted, but also marked as spam. Another answer is here, which was deleted by this Mod & restored by another Mod.
  • Certain other users also have harmless contents edited or deleted
  • I advise you to refer the , to see the amount of opposition has been happening against this particular Mod.

Now there are another set of users, who are never touched upon by this Moderator, for no clear reason, even though they break the site rules consistently.

  • A recent example is this (and also can be this)
  • This Mod hasn't deleted their own answers, even though they don't match the site criteria. I have listed them in this post

At special times, this Mod doesn't require any flag to delete an answer. The Mod deletes these special answers from self-inspiration. These answers belong typically to those users who don't match the Mod's thinking. On the other hand, we have sent the DB query of all 400+ answers, which are delete-able as per the site rules of citing sources; then the Mod demands that we raise flag to each answer for their review!

There are many posts, in which the users have demanded to remove this Mod. See this example.

Many of us feel that, this user is suitable as a very good contributor and not as a moderator. The abuse of power has to stop. Due to their high reputation, the user anyways has an access to the moderation tools.

Several users agree that, we can run this site well without this particular Moderator, as anyways the flags raised are not near capacity.

Users are free to edit this answer.

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    How do you know who is the moderator in the question? I am unable to see that Jon is posting about one moderator only? He linked to all the moderators. Does this show something else to you? Is this a bug? – Sarvabhouma May 8 '18 at 15:37
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    @Sarvabhouma The need for Jon to write this post was because there were a ton of reports against the moderator in question via contact form and numerous meta posts, the latest of which triggered Jon's response. – Pinakin May 8 '18 at 15:47
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    Speaking of linked posts, Moonstar's answer was undeleted later by other mods adding sources to suit site's policy of sources. After undeletion, some users rolled back to the deleted version again and again. This shows how well they respect the site's policy of citations. Rickross's deleted answer was rude and against "Be Nice" policy due to the language used. It was already discussed why it is rude in the past. He added a new answer too. About editing the post, all the mods have discussed about the version which would suit the site. It is all mod's decision not one mod. – Sarvabhouma May 8 '18 at 15:50
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    @ChinmaySarupria The question is who is the moderator in the question. I see no specific mention of Keshav or Destroyer or Pandya. You never know what triggered Jon to post. They might receive reports about all the mods. Latest response is due to comments under Jon's answer. So, we don't know which mod was reported. There are meta about all the mods. Ton of reports? How do you know? – Sarvabhouma May 8 '18 at 15:52
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    Also how do you guys see recent meta answer by moonstar? Is this commendable and bringing out mod bias? Naming whole community as a harm to site and calling out to propose a site? Causing unity right? – Sarvabhouma May 8 '18 at 16:06
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    @Sarvabhouma It's fairly obvious who the moderator in question is. Read all the meta posts on moderators, issue is only with 1 moderator not with others. – Pinakin May 8 '18 at 16:30
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    @Sarvabhouma Regarding your comment about that meta answer - I'm pretty sure you are aware about the law of causation. If there is effect, there is a cause which triggered it. Smoke exists because there is fire in the first place. – Pinakin May 8 '18 at 16:32
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    Most of the meta posts are complaining against only 1 Mod. @Sarvabhouma, moonstar's answer did fall under category which technically cannot have source at all. If citation of source is the problem, then why don't the Mod delete their own answers which are without sources? There are countless instances when this Mod took a wrong (i call it biased) decision & few times it was later reversed by another Mod. The cases of other users (delete as spam & editing/deletion) are discussed in meta already so not repeating here. – iammilind May 9 '18 at 1:33
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    @ChinmaySarupria If you say the issue is only with one mod, I would say you are not following meta. There have been complaints on all the mods. That made Jon post a question about all the moderators. So, you are supporting division in the community and name calling of communities. How fair is that? – Sarvabhouma May 9 '18 at 2:47
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    @Sarvabhouma 99% of the meta posts are against the said moderator only, it's a fact and you know it, you don't want to admit it publicly is a different matter. – Pinakin May 9 '18 at 2:51
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    @ChinmaySarupria What I ask is specific mention of moderator's name in Jon's question. He didn't mention any of them. But the answer went forward to say moderator in question. There are three mods to the site, three mods in the question, if you want to complain, you should edit to one of the mods in the question. – Sarvabhouma May 9 '18 at 2:54
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    @iammilind You say you are not repeating other user deletions here and still link them here. Do the users here have problem if answers which are not according to site rules are deleted also? If some answer is deleted, then it doesn't mean, all the undeleted answers should be undeleted. There are flags to bring them to mod's attention.One mod's answers are deleted by another mod a few times. There are examples. So, flagging unsourced answers is what we should do instead of flagging deleted answers for undeletion. moonstar's answer is undeleted and users rolled back the edits.Is this fair thing? – Sarvabhouma May 9 '18 at 3:02
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    @TheLittleNaruto: I can see revisions of posts, so there's no need to add that to the answer. – Jon Ericson May 9 '18 at 6:37
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    Thank you. I am not sure about "this user is suitable as a very good contributor" tho' :-). Obscure questions with exaggerated & heavily contrived attempts to be on topic, agenda-pushing/self-promoting preambles even when irrelevant/immaterial to the Q/A (e.g " as i say in this answer by far the most popular etc), and overly verbose Qs and As that are probably designed to project an air of scholarship don't add value to the site. In fact, he deleted answers becoz "they were too short" even when they were on point. Anyways, this is of lesser importance than bad mod'ing & his politics – user1195 May 9 '18 at 7:37
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    If the site is divided in the name of sects,faiths and communities,no mod can fix the issue.The topic has already been diverted to moderator v users to moderator as user and finally faith of moderator vs users.Some have problems with the user activity of this mod also.There is an answer posted some days ago that a community is the root of issue instead of a single mod.This is a personal attack. Many users upvoted that answer. I'm not against criticism but the way they chose it.It should be seen from moderation point of view only.I also have problems with mod team but I didn't convey like that. – Sarvabhouma May 9 '18 at 11:33

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