As a mod on this site, I've gotten into trouble from the community for making decisions on my own.

However, I'm surprised to see that some users choose to use this site as a ranting place and have been tempted to throw the (temporary) ban hammer.

How does the community feel we should deal with rants on the site?


3 Answers 3


Here's the formula I try to apply:

  • Be fairly willing to delete bad comments on the spot.
  • Be ready to cast the deciding vote (e.g., to close a post) iff there are already a few votes from the community.
  • Be fairly reluctant to unilaterally close/delete posts unless the decision looks completely non controversial (e.g., just a copy paste of a homework question, clearly offensive, etc.) After all, the community can do this through multilateral action without me.
  • Try not to go against the judgement of other moderators or the community.
  • Ban users in the most exceptional cases only. In particular, I believe I have only banned one individual in the last three years. Most people who have been around the site for a while will know who I'm talking about because s/he occasionally shows up again with a new identity.
  • Do not action flags when there is a conflict of interest because I am somehow involved in the flagged post.

There are lots of edge cases that require a tougher call, where I try to use my best judgement. But, again, my guiding principle is that the community can fix a lot of stuff without my intervention so I tend to intervene in cases where it seems urgent or where it seems like the site might not do a good job of self-regulation.

I don't worry about it too much because if ever I make a bad decision we can talk about it on meta and it will be put right eventually. Nothing is personal.


Suspensions (temp bans) are pretty serious and should be used sparingly. The one time I've considered it I asked the other mods in the Teacher's Lounge chatroom on the general SE about it. If someone is making a rant unrelated to a question/answer in the comments, I'd say get rid of the material pretty freely. But if someone goes ahead and voices a complain on the meta, then as long as it isn't just rude baiting, let it rock. Obviously each situation will be a little different of course.


Don't be too hasty to pre-empt us non-mod users: as this site grows, you'll need us to do more and more of the janitorial work. Generally, we've been pretty good at closing bad questions, and deleting bad answers. Moderators are there to handle the exceptional circumstances.

As others have said, suspension is a last resort. Give a friendly specific warning when you see undesirable behaviour: but do not threaten. Do not say "if you do X again, I'll suspend you". Instead, try something like "behaviour X is not welcome here. We're just here for the questions and the answers - please do continue to contribute those". Shog is an expert at handling misbehaviour and in communicating the rules deftly - watch how he does it on the mother meta, in the Teachers' Lounge, and elsewhere.


You must log in to answer this question.

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