I have decided that I can no longer contribute my efforts to Stack Exchange and therefore I am stepping down as a moderator and planning on leaving the community. I will not be deleting my accounts or content, but I will not be actively participating. I have been thinking about this for a while and it is not related to any single event. Our community is welcoming and supportive. The SE Community Managers, past and present, are both knowledgeable and professional, but more importantly, they represent the community spirit that made SE great; they are amongst the greatest assets of SE.
When I ran to be a moderator I said:
My personal opinion is that the community opinion rules, so it will be difficult for me to be in disagreement with the community. I like to think that the SE policy is that the community opinion rules. If the community opinion is so against the SE opinion, the SE team has moderators who can handle it. If the SE team really pisses our community off, I would go to bat for our community in private (e.g., in the mod only teacher's lounge) and in our public chat and meta.
Over the past few months, it has become clear that my views of our community now disagree with SE policy. I have gone to bat for us, and I have been unsuccessful. I am no longer an effective agent for advancing our community goals, I have simply been biding my time until SE did something so horrendous that I felt no choice but to leaving. That is not a fair way to represent you, so I am stepping aside in the hopes that others can be more successful.
When I joined Stack Exchange 8 years ago, it was an awesome community that had awesome support from the company. They not only provided the servers, they had developers actively working to make the experience better and employees whose jobs were to build the community. Even before it was trendy, they cared about user privacy and the rights of our contributions.
Over time, SE became an awesome community with just enough support to keep the whole thing from imploding. At first it was simply that the support from the company did not keep up with the growth in the communities. Then SE started cutting support and diverting resources.
A year ago, SE began to transform into an awesome community where SE keeps the lights on and was not negatively interfering with communities. The core values of the company began to shift and outwardly it seems building strong communities was no longer the focus, making money was. Of course companies have to make money, but it made me uncomfortable contributing to SE if they were going to sacrifice their core principals to make a buck.
Most recently SE has become an awesome community despite the interference of the management. Volunteer moderators and community members are being asked to implement policies that SE thinks are right for us. They are not acting on our feedback or telling us why they are making the decisions they are. They are the boss, they have that right. What they do not have the right to do is act like the boss and then say the community is "built and run by you [users]".
In the 5+ years that I have been a moderator, I have learned so much. I thank you all for working with me. For those that I disappointed with my actions and in-actions, I wish I had more time to show you through my actions that I have taken your criticism to heart and have learned from it. Alas, all I can leave you with is empty words that I am sorry that I was not better.