Effective immediately, I am taking a leave of absence from StackExchange.

This time of year is a very difficult one for me, for reasons that pre-date and are unrelated to my time at SE. Chances were good I'd need to take a brief leave anyway, but no one but the other moderators would have known, because the four of us were such a strong team that everything would be taken care of.

But now the SE corporation has fired one of our moderators—one of the best moderators on the entire site—and the other two have resigned. And several of our most active users have also stepped away. I support each of them and honor their choices.

Being the sole moderator of a busy stack is more difficult than people realize (there is a lot of moderator work users don't see) but, with the community's help, the workload was manageable.

There is nothing manageable about the mess the SE corporation has created.

If the SE corporation had aspired to create a place where bigots felt emboldened and a space where homophobes felt they had a platform, they could not have done a better job.

Mind you, bigotry has always been on Writing.SE and other stacks. But I felt safe. Safe as a woman, safe as a Jew, safe as a disabled person, safe as a member of the Lavender community. Monica's moderation was a huge part of that. Not just here but on three other stacks where I am...was active. Our other moderators have also worked to make Writing.SE the safe space that it is...was.

The SE corporation (while wrapped in the false flag of diversity) has shattered any illusion that they respect me as a Jew (given the timing of what they've done to Monica). They claim firing Monica was to keep Lavender users (specifically trans users) safe. Yet they've unleashed a torrent of vitriol against every single one of us.

I may pop in and out. I may not read at all. I may return after Yom Kippur. I may wait until the SE corporation owns its mistakes and makes them right (a day which might never come).

My staying on as a moderator was never for the SE corporation. I stayed because I value this community. And I apologize to each of you for leaving Writing.SE without moderation.

But for my own personal safety, I need to step away.

  • 9
    I'm truly sorry all the circumstances have conspired to make you feel this way, take care of yourself, and I hope that you can feel safe to return before long, both here and WBSE where I know you best from. I'm on a back seat at present, considering my position also as are many others - we'll see where this leads in time. (Measure of Bad-spelling). Oct 3, 2019 at 14:54
  • 51
    {hugs} Please stay safe. Oct 3, 2019 at 14:58
  • 33
    You raise a fascinating and quite tragic point in that I've seen far more transphobia and LGBT-phobia in the three days since this all kicked off than I had in my previous 2 2/3 years of using Stack Exchange. I've never seen an attempt at inclusiveness backfire this spectacularly, and they haven't even implemented it yet.
    – F1Krazy Mod
    Oct 3, 2019 at 15:33
  • 7
    Cyn, we do appreciate the work you do. I personally, hope that you can find some healing or peace that comes with a break. Also, I would simply add Yom Tov.
    – J Crosby
    Oct 3, 2019 at 15:48
  • 2
    @SimonForsberg: I don't see how that question is answerable without violating the moderator agreement. Oct 3, 2019 at 16:42
  • 3
    @SimonForsberg there are numerous sources in both the question and ensuing answers/discussion. (writing.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2229/…) which would serve to answer your question. I can't remember the exact link or I would just give that to you.
    – J Crosby
    Oct 3, 2019 at 16:56
  • 3
    Nothing but love Cyn. I'm not particularly active on writing but I've appreciated all the contributions you've brought to Worldbuilding.
    – James
    Oct 3, 2019 at 18:19
  • 4
    This seems a great example of the Streisand Effect. (Basically Barbra Streisand tried to get Google Maps or something to not show her house... but by drawing attention to it, then more people got curious than they would have otherwise. Or as Wikipedia states: "an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely. " en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect Oct 3, 2019 at 18:50
  • 7
    I will miss your presence on here immensely. Stay safe <3
    – user34214
    Oct 3, 2019 at 18:52
  • 7
    Amid all the other things that make me sad on SE these last couple of days, I am particularly sad that you no longer feel safe here. I hope SE corporation owns their mistakes ASAP, before more damage is done. Until then, Gmar Chatima Tova! Oct 3, 2019 at 20:10
  • 6
    Sorry to hear that, Cyn, I feel like I just voted for you!
    – Amadeus
    Oct 3, 2019 at 21:09
  • 8
    Another huge loss to this site. I've been a quiet poster, but part of this community for a couple of years. It's the only stack I've frequented with regularity and what keeps me coming back. There are a few stand out users - yourself, Amadeus, Monica, Lauren, Mark, Galastel and others that have made this community. While opinions have differed - they've always been delivered in a respectful manner. The mods and main contributors are a wealth of knowledge, and have done a sterling job keeping this community on track
    – user18397
    Oct 4, 2019 at 3:40
  • 8
    I particularly resent that SE has, through this situation, allowed so much bigotry and vitriol to be directed toward a small number of users, including yourself, and staff has stayed silent for days while leaving the uncompensated burden on those same users to deal with the consequences. I am sorry to see you stepping down, but mostly, I'm upset that they left you in this unacceptable position in the first place. I'm glad you're taking care of yourself first. G'mar chatima tovah. Oct 4, 2019 at 5:00
  • 3
    Sorry to read that. Be safe Cyn!
    – NofP
    Oct 4, 2019 at 21:21
  • 4
    As a lurking non-participating user I thank you for your work. I am sure many of us page count tickers feel the same way. Your contributions reach beyond the participating members of the stack. Oct 5, 2019 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


"I apologize to each of you for leaving Writing.SE without moderation."

Cyn, please don't carry that burden! We voted for moderators who would uphold our WritingSE community values, and you've done that in spades. Your resignation decision to take leave of absence is both principled and pragmatic, and shows true leadership. There's only one apology needed, and that's from the SE company itself. Unfortunately their utterly lame attempt may set a record for the most downvotes ever. Big hugs to you Cyn, for all your hard work on our site.

The issue for the rest of us is how to respond individually to a company that has spat in the face of the community it both serves and relies upon.

Personally, I don't feel I can continue to provide volunteer support to such a company under these circumstances. All the background community moderation – flags, review queues, voting, editing – well, perhaps they can do without me for a while, not just on this site but on the other four that I'm active on.

For the time being, I'll remain a community member in terms of posting the occasional question or answer, but I fear this is the beginning of the end. I saw this happen to another popular community-based site about a decade ago: the company thought it had a goldmine it could pretty up (with no care for the users) and flog off for a profit, and within two years the site was dead. SE is much bigger, but I see similar warning signs...

  • 4
    Something similar happened to Stumbleupon (a lovely site before it became obsessed with numbers, i.e. money), I think, if memory serves me correctly, it was bought by ebay.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 4, 2019 at 7:52
  • 3
    "The issue for the rest of us is how to respond individually [...]" You can post (respectfully -- even in disagreement, and even given all the hurt feelings, let's all still try our best to abide by the Code of Conduct) on Meta Stack Exchange, or on the various posts made by different moderators (the MSE question linked to by Cyn is an excellent starting point for finding those). Even though SE isn't saying much, I would be surprised if they aren't paying attention to those; and even if they don't, it provides something to upvote for people who feel similarly but don't want to say it themselves.
    – user
    Oct 4, 2019 at 11:18
  • 1
    "may set a record for the most downvotes ever" - They may have feared that as well, seeing as they locked it. Oct 4, 2019 at 13:36
  • 4
    @ABoschman It was locked by an elected moderator due to an edit war, not the downvote tally.
    – F1Krazy Mod
    Oct 4, 2019 at 13:52
  • 9
    Popping in for a minute...thank you. Please note I haven't actually resigned (though I don't rule that out for the future). I'm taking a leave of absence. I feel lost without SE but stepping away is better for my mental health right now.
    – Cyn
    Oct 4, 2019 at 14:20
  • 2
    @F1Krazy You may very well be right, and my comment was half-joking. I don't know the true motivation for locking the post. However, I would like to point out that the post was not locked by an elected moderator, as you asserted. To the best of my knowledge, Tim Post is a Stack Exchange employee. Oct 4, 2019 at 14:36
  • 2
    @F1Krazy No, it was locked by a SE employee. See the revision history and the relevant user profile page.
    – user
    Oct 4, 2019 at 14:41
  • 5
    I stand corrected. I still believe the edit war was why it was locked, though (Tim himself said he'd been awake for 19 hours, needed sleep, and couldn't keep an eye on the post any longer).
    – F1Krazy Mod
    Oct 4, 2019 at 14:44
  • 2
    It's been unlocked
    – Summer
    Oct 4, 2019 at 23:09

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