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Monica has just posted the following on Meta Stack Exchange:
Stack Overflow is doing me ongoing harm; it's time to fix it!

In particular, the post includes the following:

Therefore I call on Stack Overflow and its individual representatives to:

  1. Retract all of the negative statements about me described above, publicize that retraction to all places where the original claims were made or are known to have spread, and to the best of its ability clear my name; and
  2. Reverse the original decision, restoring me to my position without prejudice. The model here must be akin to declaring a mistrial, not akin to an application for early parole.

The last thing I would want is for the company to hold tight, wait for the storm to blow over, and (if it comes to it) deal with any litigation with all the resources a multi-million-dollar business has available to it – yet it has so far shown every indication that this is exactly their strategy. Monica remains unreinstated, and justice remains unfulfilled.

So, my simple question is:

What further actions can we in the Writing.SE community take to put pressure on the company to accede to Monica's requests?

  • 9
    Good question. I answered Monica's post just now. meta.stackexchange.com/a/336548/423976 But honestly, I don't know how to make this happen. Not allowing things to go back to normal is the only path I know. – Cyn says make Monica whole Oct 24 at 4:22
  • What if we come up with a short sentence (something like "We sincerely hope that Monika gets reinstated soon [link to the controversy]) and we add it to every answer we post? It's borderline spam, but it would be fastidious if done right. To be fair, this could be done on all sites ... – Liquid - Reinstate Monica Oct 25 at 7:30
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    @ReinstateMonica. I like the sentiment, but I think the action itself wouldn't be well received by other users, and would quickly be edited out (or the answer deleted). Nor would it have any impact whatsoever on the company's C-suite or directors, for whom the current "crisis" has barely registered. They will only take notice if we impact on their main KPIs, especially market reputation and revenue. I have a proposal I'll write up over the weekend... – Chappo Says Reinstate Monica Oct 25 at 8:30
  • Looking forward to it. – Liquid - Reinstate Monica Oct 25 at 8:59
  • It is a small thing, but I have changed my display name ("Reinstate" may not be what she wants, and I know one cannot really UN-slander someone, but I think now that's the most persistent issue.) I also updated my profile slightly to make it clear that I'm good with neopronouns etc., just The Monica Situation is my problem: immediate firing combined with slander. – April --Un-Slander Monica-- Oct 25 at 13:50
  • how do we tell the various "Reinstate"s apart? I know some of it is the "I'm Spartacus" thing (without trying to usurp her identity), but sometimes it's very useful to keep track of which is which. – April --Un-Slander Monica-- Oct 25 at 13:52
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    @April--Un-SlanderMonica-- Any username that promotes the cause is fantastic. BTW, reinstatement is quite explicitly what Monica wants: see point 2 in the above blockquote. Telling the Reinstates apart? The "other" one above has a full stop in their name. Otherwise, hover over the name and you'll see the reps are different. – Chappo Says Reinstate Monica Oct 25 at 20:53
  • When we're all called Spartacus, how do you ping someone? Instead of using @ReinstateMonica (which defaults to the first-listed of the identical usernames), you can insert the link to a particular Spartacus's comment (like so). – Chappo Says Reinstate Monica Oct 25 at 22:16
  • What's the status on this? – Liquid - Reinstate Monica Oct 31 at 7:52
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    Current status is google Monica's name "defamation" and "gofundme". – April --Un-Slander Monica-- Nov 15 at 19:06
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I posted an answer to Monica's MSE post here, and it included some immediate actions her supporters can take if they haven't already done so:

Diamond mods and community members have already taken some actions such as resignations, leaves of absence or withdrawal of labour. Some have changed their name and/or avatar and/or added a statement of support in their profile. Many have posted questions or answers that draw attention to the injustice Monica has experienced. A huge number have cast their votes in support of these posts.

I must say that I'm finding the "withdrawal of labour" action a tough one. I really enjoy the "janitor" role on the four sites on which I have review queue privileges, not merely in keeping our site libraries clean of rubbish, but sometimes in keeping a check on overzealous actions. Nonetheless, the collective action does appear to be having an effect on one high-volume site: at EL&U, the Close Vote queue stands at 289 (the highest I've seen it this year - it was under 200 in September) and LQP queue is a staggering 43 (it was often zero a month ago).

I feel our Writing Meta site is perhaps a bit safer than MSE to propose and get feedback on other actions we might undertake in an escalation of our campaign for justice for Monica. More importantly, Writing.SE is one of the sites that benefitted so greatly from her time, diligence and care as a moderator, and we should be proactive in looking after our own.

This weekend I'll post some further ideas for action separately so that people can vote on them.

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As I suggested in my own answer to that post, the only things we can do that will really have an effect are things that are publicly visible and which might sway an SE business decision.

Some of these include the following:

  • A GoFundMe page.
  • A petition.
  • Some other kind of public forum.

Whatever it is should be reasonable and devoid of rhetoric. It needs to present things in a fair and balanced way, simply making it clear to the public what has happened and that there are ongoing issues. It needs to be one or more things that SE can't afford to ignore—without also coming across as irrational. (Even if it espouses a dissenting opinion, it should be a respected opinion.)


Editing this to address some comments, I believe any effort of ours to sway SE (beyond the mentioned withdrawal of labour) needs to be public because SE has demonstrated (so far) that it only pays attention to publicity.

Further, I am not suggesting that any of us initiate these things. Instead, it would be up to Monica to initiate and comment on these things if they are what she wants to pursue. We should not be assuming anything with respect to her wishes, especially if it has a public focus.


Monica has started a GoFundMe page. I hope you join me in supporting her there.

  • Thanks Jason! I agree that the key is to "sway an SE business decision" but I don't think it has to be "publicly visible", e.g. a campaign to target SO/SE advertisers by personal email/letter. Could I suggest a small edit: it reads as if your three points are "the only things we can do". Perhaps "Some options include..."? – Chappo Says Reinstate Monica Oct 25 at 21:00
  • I also think we need to be very conscious of the risk of increasing the reputational damage to Monica by expanding the publicity about what was done to her. Caution, and consultation with Monica herself, are essential. – Chappo Says Reinstate Monica Oct 25 at 21:06
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    @ReinstateMonica I have edited my answer. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Oct 26 at 9:08
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I don't particularly support this for your reasons, but I also don't mind sharing what I think would be the most effective method.

If whats happening to this site is any indication; users choosing not to use moderator functions (like voting to close), but downvoting questions might be enough. Makes it clear how much bad content was being handled that's not being handled by volunteers anymore.

There is some risk to the community though as it harms the reputation; but I don't think you get movement without that. I honestly think the site quality on writing is going down in terms of good responses and good questions. If that were to occur on highly trafficked sites, maybe SE would care.

I know people will disagree on this point, but the whole pronoun drama was a waste of everyone's time. No one should have been demmoded over it, but also the people complaining about the policy blew a lot of hot air. I'm in favor of resolving the problems so that site quality returns; not because I think Monica was wronged in some deep and personal way (although I've made my position on "volunteer" moderation clear) And I know this isn't the preferred community answer or the popular one.

I would be happy if the consequence of all of this were any of the following:

  • SE goes non-profit for these public communities so that volunteering can continue legally as an educational good that is not profiting the corp.
  • SE stays for-profit and hires moderators that will moderate according to their own rules.

I assume the first option is better for morale. The second one would suffice. If reinstating Monica helps resolve the situation: yay. I hold no ill will, but I'm not particularly or personally invested in her case or return to moderating. As far as I can tell, she and the other mods were doing a great job. But they should have been paid or not been contributing free labor to a for-profit company.

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    SE went further than demodding Monica. Demodding was bad enough, but they went out to the press and made false accusations about her, painting her as a bigot. Monica uses her real name here, now the fallacious and malicious things SE said are the first hit when one googles her name. That causes her ongoing harm, that's the reason she's suing them. – Galastel supports GoFundMonica Nov 12 at 23:20
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    Which is fine and within her rights. It's just not something I have an emotional investment in. – Kirk Nov 12 at 23:29
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I'm new to this. To be honest, I don't really care about it. However, I find the topic fascinating. Apparently, Monica, whose position was to judge others has now been judged herself.

I don't understand the outrage. Was she in a salaried position and her dismissal means she can no longer feed her family?

I have been previously suspended from this site. Maybe Monica 'moderated' me - I don't really care.

A judge has been judged - get over it. All the belly-aching is pointless. You have no leverage. You cannot withhold your subscription fees. Most of the seven billion people on the planet have Internet access. Quit the site if you wish but you are easily replaced.

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    The outrage is that she was judged for something that she didn't even do. This is a pretty poor summary of the situation. – F1Krazy Nov 3 at 17:15
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    It's a perfect summary of the situation. Their house, their rules. Somebody was relieved of a voluntary position - big deal. – Surtsey Nov 3 at 17:47
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    "I have been previously suspended from this site." SNM. – Chappo Says Reinstate Monica Nov 4 at 0:17
  • To “not care” is your right. But to – WGroleau Nov 9 at 19:08
  • And to make pronouncements on something you obviously know nothing about is also your right. – WGroleau Nov 9 at 19:10
  • I always finds it funny when someone goes out of they way to write a post (here, or on social media) about how much they don't care about something. – Tomáš Zato - Reinstate Monica 2 days ago

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