I'm not sure if this is the proper area to post this question. Please inform me to move it where appropriate.

Is it proper for a moderator to tell a user "we're not your shrinks."?

In a "discussion" about politeness ("Be Nice" principle) no less...

Do we need better and clearer standards in recruiting mods and in evaluating their performance? What about community input?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you please add a link to a full discussion if possible? \$\endgroup\$ – Sejanus Apr 6 '16 at 18:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ The discussion was a thread of private mod messages and responses to them, so is not linkable. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Apr 6 '16 at 23:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sejanus I don't know if I'm allowed to reproduce those discussions, even through copying content on another site, so I didn't. But since SevenSidedDie in his answer below keeps insulting me by implying I'm a "raging misanthrope" (did he really have to use "raging"?) I think you get the picture, don't you? \$\endgroup\$ – Simanos Apr 9 '16 at 20:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ I really dislike the way moderation works here, just not sure if it's moderators' fault or if they just enforce the rules of the site and blame should lie on rules themselves. That said, if what SevenSidedDie said was accurate, I don't think "we are not your shrinks" was uncalled for. And from your discussion in the comments it seems to me that yes, SevenSidedDie is in the right here. \$\endgroup\$ – Sejanus Apr 10 '16 at 8:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sejanus well obviously what SSD said was not accurate. Also what part of the discussion in the comments below leads you to believe telling me "we're not your shrinks" was not uncalled for? Let alone it wasn't proper by the site's Be Nice rule, nor was the "raging misanthrope" comment. So much for being told to argue about the comments and not attack the user (another Rule apparently that only exists when it suits them)... \$\endgroup\$ – Simanos Apr 18 '16 at 12:59

In one of many message you wrote to the moderators regarding your temporary suspension for repeated violations of the site's code of conduct, you defended the behaviour in question by saying that you believe everyone is prejudiced and holds grudges, implying that accusing people of that shouldn't be a problem since you believe it's true.

As we responded there: you can hold whatever beliefs you want, but when a user defends prohibited behaviour by basically saying it's OK because they're a raging misanthrope, we are going to quite correctly point out that when evaluating users' behaviour on the site their psychological state is not our concern, nor our problem, nor even remotely relevant to our duty to temporarily suspend repeat violators of the site's code of conduct. We are, in short, not professionally interested in the mental state that makes you believe your actions were justified. Name-dropping various first-year college Psych textbook material isn't going to make us more interested in engaging with the life philosophy behind the violations, either.

Was “we're not your shrinks” the most delicate way of telling you to knock it off with the misapplied pop-psychology self-justifications? Probably not. It's a bit shoot-from-the-hip at best. But we're only human, and don't like being repeatedly ignored or having our Voice of Mod instructions on how to behave in the future treated like an argument you can somehow win by playing enough word games. Our patience with such shenanigans has limits.

So to repeat for the umpteeth time: We don't care why you feel compelled or justified to behave contrary to the Be Nice policy. Don't. Don't call people names, don't call people prejudiced, don't accuse people of holding grudges. In short, don't make any dispute over site content personal by talking about the person you are in a dispute with. Stick to constructively critiquing posts, not people, and you will do better here.

And when in doubt — at all — just don't comment. Go do something else constructive on the site or elsewhere in your life instead of indulging in a possible policy violation.

If you want , the place to bring this inquiry is the Contact Us link at the bottom of every page, which bypasses the site's moderators and goes to Stack Exchange's team of Community Managers (CMs). CMs can help you with moderator issues, including reviewing your suspension or reviewing private messages regarding that suspension.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This does not answer the question at all. This is inventing stuff and twisting words, presenting the opinion of an invested participant. I did not call anyone "names" as you put it in that discussion, I merely said that your treatment of my post made me feel prejudiced against. That was my whole complaint. That's not calling you names. I didn't say you were racist or whatever. And you're doing it again with my answer in "Can a red dragon be boiled to death?". You assumed (obviously erroneously) I insulted another author (who mostly agreed with me, so your logic was way flawed) \$\endgroup\$ – Simanos Apr 9 '16 at 19:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ So your argument that "we're not your shrinks" was probably not the best, but still justified because I ignored you repeatedly and I was not being nice is complete fabrication (lies). A proper answer to this question would be "yes, we need better standards for mods and evaluation, because... and these are them:" or "no, we have already good standards and practices because..." \$\endgroup\$ – Simanos Apr 9 '16 at 20:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hey, your and our words are all available to the CMs, including all deleted comments and private messages. If you think this is inventing things or lying, you're formally instructed to contact the Stack Exchange Community Managers with your complaint or your request at an investigation of us. Calling us liars here again will only count as a violation of our behaviour policy. This is a formal warning. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 9 '16 at 20:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also i never said i was a "raging misanthrope" and you implying that I am one, that is quite insulting in its own. \$\endgroup\$ – Simanos Apr 9 '16 at 20:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Did I mention that this whole thing isn't an argument, the mod messages were moderator instructions? You were and are being instructed. Treating it like an argument is not going to work. We don't care why you're misbehaving, or care particularly to engage with your excuses in minute detail. If you think that believing everyone in the world is prejudiced and full of grudges doesn't qualify as misanthropy you're welcome to believe that, but we don't care about how you see the world or what you would like to call it because your beliefs don't change what you're being instructed to stop doing. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 9 '16 at 21:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ To lighten the mood I will tell you... "You keep using that word misanthrope. I do not think it means what you think it means". /Princess Bride... maybe you think all modern neuroscientists, behaviorists, anthropologists, etc are misanthropes... (Every human does indeed have "likes" and "hates", prejudices and preconceptions, it's how our brains work. The difference is how small or big and justified or irrational and damaging they are. Being prejudiced against a poster because his rash comments (reasonably) rubbed you the wrong way is not the same as being a violent racist supremacist.) \$\endgroup\$ – Simanos Apr 9 '16 at 21:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't know why you think that it takes calling someone a violent racist to violate our code of conduct. Our policy prohibits all name-calling and all belittling language, not just extremely offensive name-calling. “But it's true!" is not an acceptable excuse for violating the policy. Here's the link again: Be Nice. Keep in mind that any name-calling or belittling language is not OK, even if you think it's true, and that might improve your experience here. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 9 '16 at 21:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, but calling someone a raging misanthrope is OK? I'm just pointing out that I didn't call you any names or whatever, I merely said your constant harassing of me made me feel being prejudiced against, like you weren't giving me a fair chance and assuming the worst of whatever I said. That was all, before you escalated it to systematic threats, accusations and punishments. \$\endgroup\$ – Simanos Apr 9 '16 at 21:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're the one who brought up your life philosophy in defense of explicitly prohibited actions. Whatever you choose to call your belief that people are nasty and deserve to be called nasty things, you can't use that as an excuse to call people prejudiced or accuse them of holding grudges here. To clarify further: what you're experiencing right now is judgement, not prejudice: your past behaviour is being judged, as it has been from the beginning. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 9 '16 at 21:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Whatever you choose to call your belief that people are nasty and deserve to be called nasty things," you keep using that Strawman, but I never said people are nasty nor did I say they deserve to be called nasty things. It's not Nice to put false words in another person's mouth. Just like it's not nice to then disparage them by calling them raging misanthropes or telling them you're not their shrinks. You keep evading even dismissively apologising for the real issues here again... \$\endgroup\$ – Simanos Apr 9 '16 at 22:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ The real issue is that you've been told to desist combative commenting, and to desist making disparaging comments about people, but you're trying to make it into an argument. This isn't an argument, and you can't “win” it by pretending it's an argument. Your comment above is the last comment you are allowed to post on the subject here or elsewhere on the site. If you have further to say about how mods have handled this, you are officially required to contact the CMs instead of posting a single word more about it anywhere on the site. This is a final warning. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 9 '16 at 22:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ After you said this, I used the Contact Us form and I didn't even get a reply, it's been almost 10 days now. Not even to tell me I was wrong about everything. I guess nobody reads those... \$\endgroup\$ – Simanos Apr 18 '16 at 13:02

In the end, it's very simple. You were being Not Nice, you got suspended for it. You seem to want to keep drawing it out into long arguments so you can jump on any other turn of phrase or word in those discussions saying "look - that wasn't nice either!" You did that in the mod message thread and now you're doing it here on Meta. But that's not very interesting, and certainly not a defense for the original behavior. "Two wrongs make a right!" is not a legitimate defense either here on RPG.SE or in the real world.

All the moderators agree your suspension was warranted. It was a private thing that you could have just moved on past and participated constructively in the site now that you've returned without anyone even knowing about it, but you insist on turning it into a public argument. But we're not going to argue about it with you. This is not a discussion about site policy, even though you've made a token attempt at posing the question that way, this is a specific disciplinary action and it's not subject to debate (I think it was more than sufficiently debated in your many, many messages back to us on the issue).

To explain to you and the other community members you've brought into this conversation, you are not being "discriminated against" - but you are certainly being watched, as any user who starts to show a pattern of being argumentative and skirting/crossing the line of Be Nice gets watched more closely. That's how life works. No one is "looking for an excuse" to reprimand you, but we are looking out for the welfare and tone of the site in general and the combination of crossing the Be Nice line combined with extensive argument from you about how - whatever, some confused mix of "you didn't/you're not responsible for it/everyone does it/you were justified in doing it/it's just the man trying to keep you down/whatever" certainly doesn't give us a warm feeling that you plan to abide by site rules in the future. So yes, your posts are currently under a higher than usual level of scrutiny until we feel comfortable that you're calmly and nicely participating in the site again. This is not "SSD is discriminating against you," this is "all the mods are keeping an eye on you right now." You may or may not feel that scrutiny is justified; in the end we don't care, and the only way to turn the "Eye of Sauron" from you is to participate constructively in the site and Be Nice.

As SSD said in comment, you can appeal to the CMs if you think other mods would think we were out of line (they're not going to, and I think the community is starting to see why from this argument) but that's all the site disruption we're going to have from it here. You can personally believe whatever you want, but here on this site you will stop arguing about this topic and you will adhere to Be Nice on further postings. Again, this is not an invitation to debate, this is an instruction we are giving you and expect to be followed. This is the last public response we'll make on the matter.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Please note that I never named any names. I made a hypothetical (if loaded) question and you two guys attacked me personally again and didn't even answer the question. Does this part of the site only have 2 mods? \$\endgroup\$ – Simanos Apr 18 '16 at 13:08

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