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Shortly before the moderators opened their feedback thread I was suspended for 7 days. If you know me, you may have wondered why I did not participate (and maybe you were happy about that, that's perfectly fine, everybody is allowed to not like what I say or how I say it).

we have asked you to not abuse members of the site. Forcefully and repeatedly asserting that the mods are acting in bad faith counts.

We have temporarily suspended your account; you may return after 7 days.

Now as far as I know (I've been here a long time, so don't take absolutes too literally) I have never abused anybody. I have never called anybody names, attacked anybody personally or singled out one of the mods. What I did do is criticize the behavior of the mods acting in their role as mods. On meta, where it should be.

And even there, if you look at the posts, they say things like

So I cannot necessarily blame the mods for it, it might just be their reaction.

or

I don't doubt that they do this in what they think is the site's best interest.

I have never said or implied that there is "bad faith" (i.e. fraud, personal gain, intentional deceit) involved. I'm pretty sure of that because I still don't believe there is. That would be stupid, who'd volunteer their time to act in bad faith for no gain at all. But acting in good faith is not the same as doing a good job. There is a German saying that roughly translated would mean "the opposite of well done is well meant". So for me, it's unclear how the mods came to the conclusion that I am implying bad faith when I criticize their behavior as mods.

Now I cannot link or quote the two comments on meta that lead to this because they have been deleted and I have neither photographic memory, nor do I take screenshots of all my comments and posts in the unlikely case that I need them.

As the mods are the only ones with access to what was deleted: Feel free to quote the offending comments and any other context you deem necessary.

What I think I wrote is (in the context of a post saying "the mods are very heavy-handed here") "That's right, we discussed that in the past, they have not changed, you will have to live with that".

After that comment was deleted, I said "Deleting that comment proves my point [moderation too heavy handed] far better than my original comment could."

As I said... not direct quotes.

So what I can take away from this encounter is that the mods think that criticizing moderation behavior is taken as "abuse of the moderators", a suspendable offense. Something I will get suspended for again, if I do it again.

So how am I supposed to participate in either Mod Feedback or Community Feedback when the moderators understanding of my current opinion on how they do as moderators is a suspendable offense?

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The General Answer To Your Question

To give feedback on mod behavior, you would cite specifics in a meta question or an answer to a meta question about mod behavior, citing the behavior and why you think it's against the rules or otherwise undesirable. Not threadcrapping in a meta about something else, not on the mainsite in comments, not in comments on a closed question, or anywhere else that is not the right place for unrelated content in general. (To use a gaming analogy, you know how people say "don't argue rules with the GM at the table, bring it up after?" There's a right time and place to contest actions and "in whatever comment thread is at hand" isn't always it.)

You would also do so by addressing the behavior and not attacking any individuals or groups. Incidentally, this is how you'd address questionable behavior from any individual or group on the site you believe to be misusing the system or violating Be Nice. (And of course to officially contest something like a suspension you can also escalate to the CMs).

Your Specific Case

While in general we are not at liberty to share details of user suspensions and similar, a recent meta.SE has said that we can share some minimal details when a suspension is questioned in the interests of transparency, and since the user in question has brought it up, I would like to assure people that such actions are not taken quickly or lightly.

In this case, a first suspension was issued by a mod (in consultation with the rest of the mod team) after a series of issues (both on main and meta). Several mod-messages had already been issued explaining the issues with site behavior, one as recently as April 7, 3 days before it came up again. Your last comment (in the comments on a closed question) was part of a continued pattern of inappropriate commenting (both in tone and in nature - "extensive discussion in comments" and "be nice" are both relevant). When a problem is recurring, the "last straw" isn't always the most egregious. When you inquired about your suspension via mod-message all these multiple issues were linked to you again and explained.

We don't expect you to always agree with the mods or to be happy about your suspension, that would not be a reasonable ask from us. But if you simply constrain your issues with us (and others in the community) to the right place and address issues instead of attacking people, it'll all be fine. I'll note you've done exactly that with this question!

About Be Nice

A couple important notes to the community about how Be Nice is enforced, just in general (these quotes are hypothetical and not from nvoigt's content, though are derived from real comments etc. we've seen on the site).

  1. Attacking groups isn't better than attacking individuals. "Oh this community here is so stupid" or whatever is Not Nice. This was brought up in the Q above, so it's worth saying that a specific attack directed at a person is certainly bad but generalizing it to more people doesn't make it better. It also applies to people and groups not on the site. "All the mods on ENWorld are morons" isn't OK either, even if you somehow know for a fact none of them ever read the site (hint: you don't).

  2. Attacking mods isn't better than attacking other community members. When writing, consider - if you saw a comment where someone called some other site member "a bigot" and told them "they'll never learn" etc. you'd flag it and expect that person to be told to Be Nice. We're not just taking a mulligan if that comment is about a mod. If we're all supposed to be peers here, and mods are also to Be Nice, then you are also to Be Nice to mods.

  3. Small attacks over time count. They get responded to, deleted, annotated, you get mod messages - please don't take these prior more gentle corrective steps to mean "if you suddenly get even worse and more offensive we'll do something." They mean "if you keep doing what you've been doing we'll do something." The goal of these steps is to show how the behavior is affecting the community so that you can alter it; doing the same right after a mod-message to that effect demonstrates that the lesson isn't being learned.

  4. Be Nice also counts on meta. Or at least, "be respectful," to quote the SE meta about discussing suspensions.

    Correct misinformation, but don't go out of your way to make people look bad. Focus on the evidence of what happened and avoid assigning motives. Assume good faith and take the time needed to remain civil.

It's not hard to discuss behavior instead of people and say you think something's wrong without hyperbole and attacks. If you'd expect trouble from calling someone something on the main site, you should expect the same trouble from doing so on meta. There are plenty of meta questions about "Why was this question closed" &c that can be used as examples. (Be Nice counts in chat, it counts in replies to mod messages... There's not a place on SE that it is suspended.)

We Get It

We understand that people feel things deeply about certain aspects of this site and gaming and whatnot, and that it's easy to get heated up when discussing something you're passionate about. We know it can be hard to stay objective, which is why there's a good length runway of steps before we get to suspension. And even suspensions aren't meant to be a "punishment" - when issued, they say "to cool off." Believe it or not, a good number of times we have to issue one, we get a message back saying "OK, you're right, sorry, I was getting worked up." Sometimes it's OK to need to cool down. You're not going to miss anything - all the new Q&As issued over that time are still here, etc.

Just please understand that everyone - not just the mods and the regulars on meta and those into the "inside baseball" of the site, but the casual users, the Googlers, etc. - are here for gaming content for their hobby, not arguments and drama and such spread all over the site. Instead of a comment on a main question about "this site sucks so bad and the community is all dumb..." - even if that's what you're feeling - take a couple minutes off and then if there's an issue bothering you enough you feel like it should be addressed, post it here on meta just like @nvoigt has done with this question - this is great and the right way to question something.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I appreciate that you took time to explain this. Unfortunately I'm still in limbo concerning the reasoning. I don't think I implied moderator bad faith anywhere. You said people don't take bans at face value... that's true. I don't. Simply because I did not do what I am accused of. I never implied bad faith. Having no access to parts of what I did say and not knowing what you actually refer to even after granting explicit written consent to post it, does not really make it any easier to follow your reasoning. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Apr 24 '17 at 15:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ The only comment I would agree was "not nice" was not directed to anyone via @ and on my own answer (so nobody got pinged). I self-deleted it without anybody asking me too, 13 seconds after I posted it. I mean that's still 13 seconds of existence, but come on! \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Apr 24 '17 at 15:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ We aren't supposed to discuss the nitty gritty details of a suspension here - but if you'd like to reply to your mod-message with that we're happy to look back into the specific comments, statements, whatnot with you and see if either of us have something new to get from them. Misinterpretation's certainly possible. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Apr 24 '17 at 16:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt I'm not sure what comment you're referring to just there. In your comment record there are no comments on meta that you've ever self-deleted (whether shortly after or otherwise, on any meta post of yours or otherwise). As such, I can say with confidence that you don't have to worry that any such meta-site comment has factored into anything. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 24 '17 at 17:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Im' talking about my last, pretty short-lived comment on this self-deleted answer. But that's the point: I don't really know what you are talking about, you don't know what I'm talking about because I have to reply to what I guess what you are talking about. That's not productive. I'll see if I can find my Inbox to reply. I like privacy, but it's pointless to keep it so private that not even I get to know what I allegedly did wrong. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Apr 24 '17 at 17:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt There are no deleted comments on that deleted answer; your last comment is still visible at 10k+. Are you thinking of something else? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 24 '17 at 20:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie If he deleted it after 13 seconds you wouldn't be able to see it. I'm pretty sure that's within the grace period where the comment isn't kept at all even in mod vision. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Apr 24 '17 at 20:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt any comment you delete that fast even the mods (and CM and everyone who wasn't looking at exactly the right time) can't see. There's a grace period where if you delete a comment fast enough no one is notified and nothing is kept. I think it's 30 seconds but I'm not sure. Some actions (flagging) solidify its existance in the system. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Apr 24 '17 at 20:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer That doesn't appear to be an actual feature, based on testing — comments posted and immediately deleted are recorded as normal. Further, IIRC users can't delete comments on deleted posts, and the timestamps between the last visible user comment and the post's deletion is 1 second, making it impossible for a later comment to have been deleted 13 seconds after it was posted. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 24 '17 at 21:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Huh. What about meta.stackexchange.com/questions/210370/… Oh wait, is that just questions? It would be really weird if you had less power to track questions than comments... \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Apr 24 '17 at 21:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt Ah, okay. Yeah, that's significantly different. There's no soft delete — those comments are all as visible to the site membership as a deleted answer normally is — i.e., not hidden at all to 10k+ rep and still visibly attached to authors. If the answer is undeleted, they'll be similarly visible the public Internet. Do you want that particular comment mod-removed to make it actually deleted, with the disavowal that comes with the owner wanting it deleted? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 25 '17 at 15:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I don't really care. I think if someone chooses to be offended by something that's already deleted, that's really his problem, not mine. On the other hand, I deleted it with the intention of it being deleted, so I really don't mind if it gets "even more deleted". Either way is fine with me. I guess if nobody complains, why bother :) \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Apr 25 '17 at 16:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I have no access to mod tools and don't know how they work or how things there look like. Too me as a 10k+ site member, it's a red block that says "this stuff is all gone (answer and all comments), you can only see it because you have special privilege to see deleted posts". For me that's fine, for all non-mods I think that should be fine, too. If you cannot see that the comment is only visible with this privilege and think it should be gone, by all means delete it. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Apr 25 '17 at 16:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Sure. I deleted the post with the intention that nobody would see any of them again (and I thought that mod tools could differentiate between comments that I actively own and comments that are gone through whatever means). I cannot make it more gone than it already is, if that's not good enough for the mod tools, then yes, please delete it even more :) \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Apr 25 '17 at 16:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt 'Kay, thanks. Will do. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 25 '17 at 16:30

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