On several occasions, moderators have suspended an account (your's truly) for making mere questionable comments or providing answers that are not with convention. Now, SE has a voting model, yes? What is the legitimacy for scolding other users when it can only result in the inbreeding of already established and perhaps all-too-conventional practices? And then to suspend them, as if the threat to the eyes of ears of other PhDs is of such enormity, that a moderator must be called in to take the helm and whisk the offenders out of the room.

Is it the case that A.SE is a place where people can get answers that have already been asked somewhere within Academe and here provided a forum for publishing such answers online, or is it also the place for developing different types of rapport, for developing best practices in academia which are not perhaps yet universally agreed upon, and otherwise for keeping a bevy of PhDs in line by online (i.e. harmless) banter?

By that last question I mean, to make a place where the Doctors can come and push each other a little rather than merely reinforce each other at their weakest points, which seems to be where moderation is taking the site. For there hardly is any other place within Academe or on the Internet itself to cross-fertilize standards of conduct across fields or across Universities themselves.

So the question is: When is moderation here done by actual wisened masters of the original ideals of Academa, rather than poseurs (that while having all the apparent credentials, act like children throwing a tantrum just because they still have their bit of power to wield)?

  • 10
    Academia.SE is part of the larger Stack Exchange network, and therefore site users are expected to adhere to the network-wide community guidelines.
    – aeismail
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 3:17
  • 12
    I have read the question three times now and still I am not sure what your problem is, how it manifests and what you want. Voting to close as unclear.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 6:51
  • I have figured out what's happening and have answered the question below. I urge @aeismail and Wrzlprmft to look at it.
    – Marxos
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 2:35

2 Answers 2


Academia.SE is a question and answer site. Quite a bit of cross-fertilization occurs here, given the breadth of disciplines represented. There is also a lot of discovery and refinement of thinking about academia as a side-effect of the question and answer process---I know that I've learned a lot here, and I have heard others make similar remarks.

However, it is not (in general) a place for debate and discussion---for that, you want to find an forum, blog, or other such medium. Likewise, the community has developed fairly strong expectations regarding "collegial" interactions, which are generally expected to be civil, courteous, on point, and lacking in ad hominem attacks.

It seems that you have been finding that things that you consider "keeping in PhDs in line" and "pushing each other" do not fit with the standards of the community. Most moderation on this site is done by the community, following the general principles of the Stack Overflow system as laid out in "A Theory of Moderation", so if you're having problems, it's not that you are being singled out, but that members of the community are flagging your behavior as problematic in various ways.

It's hard to say more since you've declined to provide any specifics in your original post, but if you cared to point to a specific post or incident, it is likely that people will be able to provide a more precise and informative response.

  • 3
    The OP's most recent post in Academia is a good example of a bad example: it's a rant rather than a question, phrased in terms that many will find offensive, based upon a deliberate misinterpretation of the term PhD. In other words, it fails to fit the SE model in several ways, and should be taken to some other site that enjoys debate for its own sake rather than Answerable Questions.
    – keshlam
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 5:15
  • Wow, very nicely said.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 11:33
  • 1
    I figured out what happened and have answered my own question. The problem is that there are users interacting with power above PhDs -- the censoring of their own (copyrighted) comments.
    – Marxos
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 2:36

I figured out what's happening. The SE Badge system here at 500pts makes users into cops -- nitpicking everything that's going on regardless of their personal expertise on the topics or interest.

When users are checking out everything from a priveleged position like that, they tend to use the power. It's exactly like what happened in the Stanford prison experiment (c.1971) where students were given power to monitor and affect everything other students were doing. In that experiment it ended up traumatizing many of the students, so take heed. (There's even a documentary about it.)

SE really needs to change this. It will help the site tremendously and reduce moderator abuses. (One could never tell how many good users have been turned away from SE, could they?)

  • 7
    I can only suggest that you read A theory of moderation. Also users do not gain any actual powers at 500 reputation, as you already may have noted. Finally, how would you suggest that moderation should happen?
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 9:22

You must log in to answer this question.

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