As many of you may have noticed, Monica Cellio is no longer a moderator on Writing.SE, or on any of the several stacks where she has served for years. This was due to a sudden decision by Stack Exchange staff and was not Monica’s choice (or ours). She remains a SE user with no change in reputation but without moderator privileges.
You can find a summary by Monica and a long discussion of the situation on Mi Yodeya.
The short version is that SE recently announced a policy change in mod-only space which will require the use of a user’s pronouns (if stated). They stated this will be incorporated into the Code of Conduct (CoC) that all users agree to (as of this writing, it has not been).
We the moderators of Writing.SE, including Monica, welcome users of all genders and agree no one has the right to question another person’s gender, whether directly or by purposely using the wrong pronouns for them.
Monica did not violate this policy but asked questions in mod-only space about the details and was involved in heated discussions (with some over the course of this year, before the policy announcement). While in the middle of discussing this further in private email with SE staff, they suddenly terminated her moderator status across SE. Minutes before the Sabbath and 2 days before one of the largest holidays of the year, both times when Monica would be offline.
Even if they had legitimate reason to sanction Monica, they could have allowed the email discussions with her to continue, they could have given her an ultimatum, or they could have used the strongest tool we moderators have for users who violate policy, given her a temporary suspension. They did none of these things. They skipped directly to termination.
We oppose this action. As have dozens, perhaps hundreds, of moderators and other users across SE. At least a dozen moderators have resigned in direct protest of SE’s treatment of Monica.
To our knowledge, no other moderator has been punished, including those who actively oppose the new policy. Monica has been made a scapegoat in the guise of supporting transgender moderators and users (while the policy addition may have been intended to support them, a goal we applaud, the way SE has treated Monica does not make any moderator feel safe). We hold Stack Exchange staff solely accountable for this situation and do not condone any backlash against those moderators who have encouraged this policy change.
We ask that Stack Exchange reconsider their actions. Reinstate Monica to her former positions (turn a firing into a suspension), continue the dialogue on implementing the new policy, and then roll it out for everyone. Monica has a disagreement with a small portion of the policy but supports the Lavender community. There are probably many mods out there who are overtly anti-trans (and anti-Lavender) but, since they’re not saying anything at the moment, they aren’t being targeted.
If SE is going to give one moderator a litmus test, they need to do it with all moderators. All moderators already must review and sign off on an online moderator agreement. The technology to poll every mod exists. If SE is claiming that they will let go of a mod who does not promise full compliance, then ask it of every mod. At that point, any moderator that does not agree can be let go.
You can find a public statement about some of these facts online, though this article implies that Monica violated the policy (which she hasn’t) and does not discuss the way SE handled the issue.
Monica has been one of SE’s most active and most beloved volunteers. She has served as a moderator for years on multiple stacks, including Writing, The Workplace, Worldbuilding, Mi Yodeya (Judaism), and Beer, Wine, & Spirits. Just a few months ago she was so admired for her work that she was handpicked to become a moderator on Meta. Multiple moderators consider Monica a mentor to them and many more praise her for her calm evenhanded approach to moderation, creating welcoming space across Stack Exchange.
We support Monica and look forward to her return.