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0. What is this post?

We get occasional meta posts where a user basically decides "it's not fair" for some reason or another. The content here should be considered basic background knowledge before one can make a credible claim of "it's not fair".

This post is intended to be a "duplicate target" for subsequent meta posts where the answer is essentially "get to know how the site works". The aim is to avoid wasting the time of diamond moderators and users who could otherwise be spending their time working on questions and answers (what the site is about).

This is along the lines of what Jon Ericson wrote previously:

Not every meta question needs to be answered. If you see the same question repeated over and over ("Why was question ##### closed?") it doesn't hurt to just close them. Point folks to this meta post to explain why meta questions need to articulate a rational argument and not just assert that questions should be reopened. Life's too short.
Jon Ericson ♦

(For now, please consider this a "first draft".)

Click on the titles for detailed information.

1. Why is there censorship?

Maintaining a functional site (through deleting and editing) has been going on for years. StackExchange staff directly instructed us to do so, saying this is not up for debate[meta].

Sectarianism "has no place on Stack Exchange"[meta], so firm steps are taken when it happens. Comments are often deleted (or moved to chat) when they're not aimed at improving questions and answers[help] (e.g., arguing). We also eliminate plagiarism[meta], primarily copy/paste answers[meta], and link-only answers[meta]. Users repeatedly posting poor content may prompt an automatic question ban[help] and/or an answer ban[help]. All this is normal for StackExchange sites.

We don't welcome Truth[meta] and apologetics[meta] (and their ilk) that try to manipulate the reader, and such posts are often edited or deleted. Posts which are primarily confrontational[meta] are also unwelcome.

2. Why are there overrepresented/underrepresented groups?

There are non-bias-related reasons for unequal representation of groups: varying populations and accessibility of useful resources. We don't control who chooses to contribute. If desired, a user can request answers from a specific denomination in their question[meta].

3. What else do I need to know?

  1. Be nice[help].
  2. This is not a fatwa site[help].
  3. Good answers are not mere opinion and utilize authoritative sources[meta].
  4. Good questions[meta] pinpoint a single question[meta], making it clear for the answerer. The title should be the question[meta].
  5. We strive to vote based on usefulness/quality[meta].
  6. We're not here to preach (some version of) Islam[meta].

4. Why am I not being taken seriously?

There's a track record users who are unfamiliar with how the site works (often rudely) declaring "it's not fair". If you want to be taken seriously (a) provide evidence that the problem is actually a problem, (b) suggest a solution, and (c) indicate what steps you've taken towards solving the problem yourself.

5. Example meta posts

Here I list previous meta posts where users have perceived some level of unfairness. There have been similar claims made in chat, and in questions, answers, and comments. This is for reference, and to give the reader an overview of such posts.

  • "6.We're not here to preach (some version of) Islam." The hairtrigger offense taking that's common on here and the obvious pro-Islam bias in moderation doesn't reflect that aspiration a lot. An unbiased community that disinterestedly tries to gather facts about what Islamic doctrine actually consists of looks very different. – G. Bach Apr 10 '18 at 17:18
  • 5
    You're not fooling anyone. You have the language skills to communicate without offending people. Sometimes you choose to write offensively. – Rebecca J. Stones Apr 10 '18 at 22:56
  • Have you ever been offended by someone saying "I don't agree with you on whether to accept the axiom of choice"? I assume you haven't, and that's the kind of dispassionate attitude a community centered on gathering knowledge should have. – G. Bach Apr 10 '18 at 23:36
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Why are there overrepresented/underrepresented groups?

General points

  • Given that Islamic groups have varying populations, it's unrealistic to expect equal representation from each group: we're going to get more contributors from the larger groups. It's also affected by popularity.
  • We don't have control of who contributes to the site. If anyone's making useful contributions, they're more than welcome.
  • It is fine to ask for answers from a particular denomination.
  • It would be impractical to survey all Islamic groups for each question. Moreover, sometimes scholars don't have a clear-cut denomination.

The on-topic page highlights:

For the purposes of this site, "Islam" includes all groups that identify themselves as Muslim; do expect to see answers from multiple points of view unless a certain perspective is explicitly requested in the question.

Salafi posts

Some people consider Salafi posts overrepresented, and relevant meta posts are:

  1. Is this a Salafi site? and
  2. How is it effecting us as a community when 90% of the answers are refering to one source (islamqa.info)?.

On the other hand, Salafi posts are suitable for the site. If a question doesn't specify a specific denomination, and it gets a useful Salafi answer, the correct response is "thank you" (which we do through upvoting and accepting the answer) regardless of how many Salafi answers are around.

Moreover:

  • English-language Salafi resources have been made easily accessible, making them available to cite.
  • The authority of the scholars at Islam Q&A is widely accepted.
  • Unlike many other online fatawa, Salafi resources (such as Islam Q&A) often provide a description of what evidence they used to come to their conclusion.
  • Salafi viewpoints will typically be much the same as the four main schools of Sunni Islam.
  • If we combine the Sunni schools, there are more Sunni Muslims.

Thus, if Salafi posts are overrepresented, there's plenty of reasons to believe it's natural, and not due to a Salafi-bias of the site.

Shia posts

Some people claim an anti-Shia bias (see the Example meta posts).

For better or worse, the site often treats Sunni Islam as the default Islam basically because there's more: more Sunni Muslims in general, and more Sunni Muslims contributing to the site. This is a pragmatic approach.

Generally, the community's attitude is that Shia answers should be commented "This is from a Shia viewpoint" or words to that effect. This is particularly important for viewpoints where there's a Sunni vs. Shia difference. An example where this has worked fine is Is it a sin for a job holder wife not taking proper care of husband and child?

In principle, disagreement should not be a basis for down-voting, but realistically this is not perfect. Moreover, a primarily Sunni audience (even if they were aware of this guideline) may be less likely to be interested in Shia contributions, and therefore a Shia post may attract fewer upvotes than an equally useful Sunni counterpart.

Thus, there's also natural (non-bias-related) reasons here for an imbalance in representation.

Finally, Shia posts are held to the same standards: if a Shia post is rubbish, it's not anti-Shia to downvote/delete it (it's anti-rubbish). See What is the correct way of asking a question?

Smaller denominations

There's some denominations which infrequently mentioned at this site, such as Sufism (tag ) and Ahmadiyya (tag ). These groups identify themselves as Muslims, so they should be considered on-topic (regardless of one's personal stance) as per the on-topic help page:

For the purposes of this site, "Islam" includes all groups that identify themselves as Muslim; do expect to see answers from multiple points of view unless a certain perspective is explicitly requested in the question.

How can I influence things?

You can encourage content at this site via:

  1. voting (based on quality not (dis)agreement),
  2. inviting experts to participate in this site (or anyone who might a good question or give a good answer), and
  3. contributing questions/answers specific to the groups you wish to encourage (e.g., write Maliki-specific questions to encourage more Maliki users).
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What else do I need to know?

Be nice

The Be nice help page gives some simple behavior guidelines. Basically:

  1. Rudeness and belittling language are not okay.

  2. Be welcoming, be patient, and assume good intentions.

  3. Don't be a jerk.

This is not a fatwa site

The on-topic page makes it clear:

It is also important to note that this is not a fatwa site. While questions on the legality of actions (from an Islamic perspective) are welcome, answers may be posted by anybody regardless of training or expertise. It is important to judge the evidences provided by each answer to the best of your own abilities, and accept such answers at your own risk.

How to write good questions and answers?

In short, providing a good answer is primarily about identifying suitable evidence and presenting it in a way that answers the question. See How do I write a good answer to a question?

Regardless of the methodology used, or the evidences cited, the usefulness of any claim (and thus answer) depends almost entirely on making clear the following two points:

  • It is not mere opinion
  • It comes from an authoritative source

goldPseudo ♦

Writing answers to a mixed audience is difficult; it takes time to get used to it. Your first answer is probably going to be your worst answer.

I give some advice for writing questions in my answer to What is the correct way of asking a question? The most important things were:

The help center also has pages How do I ask a good question? and How do I write a good answer?

Vote for usefulness/quality, not (dis)agreement

We strive to vote based on usefulness/quality (whether or not we agree with the post):

... votes based on agreement or disagreement with a post's conclusion propel a site in a dangerous direction
Jon Ericson ♦

We are not trying to decide which opinion is the opinion of the true Islam, the site is about information about Islam.

As such all opinions held by all groups who self-identifies as Muslim are acceptable answers here and should not be down-voted for the sole reason of disagreement with the opinion.
Kaveh

This is a site about Islam, not about promoting (some version of) Islam

Users of this site are interested in learning about Islam, and thus most are Muslim. However, this site is open to participation from everyone, including non-Muslims. Thus:

  • We don't check people's beliefs at the door. Users can be staunchly anti-Islam as long as they be nice.

  • We're not here to preach (some version of) Islam.

  • We strive to provide information which is verifiable through evidence (authoritative Islamic sources).

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Example meta posts

The following lists a large collection of "it's not fair" posts I gathered while going through the entire list of meta posts. This is to give the reader a feel for what these posts look like, and how they're usually resolved.

Despite all these posts, there's only some diamond moderator imperfections observed; and maybe one or two decisions I have a different opinion on. Basically what one would normally expect from any human.

Many of them take one of the following formats:

  1. Why did my [disruptive behavior] result in a [suspension]?

  2. Why did my [clearly offensive, irrelevant or off-topic, ultra-low-quality, or plagiarized] post get [edited/deleted]?

As such, they sometimes answer themselves, and it can be difficult to take them seriously.

(After trawling through such posts, I previously wrote this: Thank you goldPseudo!)

Overrepresented/underrepresented groups

  1. How could we help resolve the fundamental flaw in the way StackExchange handles the topic of Islam

    There are a handful of very active like-minded members who have somehow made it to the ranks of highly privileged moderators ... Their behaviour suggests they are inspired from Salafism, Wahabism and Petro-Islamic ideology and are vehemently trying to impose it their own secretive way.

  2. More devotion of users

    a majority of the users I have seen ... seem to be 'on the edge' of belief ... A site devoted to Islam Q/A should have more devoted users.

  3. Is being an atheist; crime in this community just like Islamic countries

    Being an atheist, I do not want this website to exist on internet under an awesome platform i.e. Stack Exchange.

  4. Why SE Islam is doomed to fail

    ... the reason why SE Islam is doomed to fail is because it doesn't hold any position.

    (Islam.SE has incrementally become more successful over time. This prediction seems inaccurate.)

Censorship

  1. Were these comments deleted inappropriately?

    ... the point I was about to prove didn't inclined with the belief of this moderator and that's why he did not allow me to conclude something that is not well received by most of the religious fanatics, extremists, terrorists and fundamentalists. I think he himself is one of them because his attitude is not neutral.

  2. Issue with continually editing answers by a moderator

    This is because of goldPseudo, he has edited my answer to it. And that is practically not correct. Is he the boss of SEN? No, he is not. So why is acting like a bossy? Why he does only to me? And why he does not do to others???

    The author completely rewrote questions to circumvent a question ban.

  3. Why goldpseudo closes, puts on hold questions annoyingly?

    Goldpseudo has been accused by many in the past, for his extremely rude behavior. He is only interested to run the site to please creators of this website ... He engages in serial downvoting. ... May Allah shut down Islam.stackexchange.

    This is the whole content of the post: the user whining.

  4. try to prove that my question was not clear

    my question ... is put on hold as unclear. try to prove that it was unclear, even its first edition. i feel like this 3 moderators are bullying me for some reason. ... do not you fear of jahannam?!

  5. Another round of chat suspesions: Is it really about civility law or political correctness?

    ... it seems to me it's more about preserving the mainstream political narrative than the civility law that goldPseudo often appeals to, to justify his repressive decisions when users like me make statements that are not popular with the political establishment in the West.

  6. Is there any investigation going concerning goldPseudo?

    However, I have recently experienced some oppressive behavior coming from moderator goldPseudo.

    It appears that this individual is targeting people who ask questions, write comments/answers that may or may not question/conflict with his sectarian point of view of Islam.

    However, it was later edited:

    ... I'd like to apologise to goldPseudo ...

    So that's nice.

  7. Deleting answer by moderator even after providing evidence that he is wrong!

    @goldPseudo came and deleted my answer because he think I have added reference without mentioning the author names

    In response, goldPseudo's answer demonstrates plagiarism.

  8. Why don't I get a chance to fix “offensive” language?

    In the following post I used a term "crazies" to describe people who corrupt religion. ... why wouldn't I get a chance to change it or remove it myself?

  9. Arbitrary decisions again by a moderator

    But a moderator proceeding to ban a user for simply posting an opinion and two links in regards with an incident concerning Islam and muslims, is to me just the old story of a reckless moderator who still seems to think that iron-fist measures contribute anything to creating a positive atmosphere in this site!

  10. Is there any sort of freedom of speech in this community?

    As an American convert to Islam I was shocked for how a Muslim can treat another Muslim. ... An un-biased was answer deleted! and after looking into it, I can't do anything because the person who deleted it seems to have more authority than justice does!

    Jon Ericson explains that "it doesn't answer the question" and engages in sectarianism. Here's a snippet from the answer:

    Just find out who the prophet left as his successor and you will find your answer.

  11. Need explanation from GoldPsedo about removal of an answer

    And my answer was deleted by biased moderator Goldpseudo.i need its explanation that how it was plagiarism.

    Bleeding Fingers's answer demonstrates plagiarism.

  12. Why is my answer been deleted without prior warning or discussion?

    I made an answer in the islam stack exchange ... and the moderator just deleted it out of the blue with a vague reason.

    Shog9's answer explains "your answers were removed ... because they didn't answer the questions".

  13. Why was I suspended in chat for having an intellectual debate?

    An hour ago, I had a chat room discussion with another user regarding a political issue, and yes! it was about the 9/11 incident and what we thought to be the real culprits of those terrorist attacks.

  14. Why was my answer deleted?

    My answer ... was deleted because a moderator came to the wrong conclusion that I plagiarized the answer.

    In response, goldPseudo's answer demonstrates a level of plagiarism.

  15. Suspended in chat on trying to make the other user compliant to etiquette

    I and another user ... were suspended in chat after I tried to make a case that we should not speak ill of sahabas

    Jack Douglas's answer quotes insulting comments to Shia Muslims.

  16. Moderator abuse of power?

    Nearly all of my answers and questions are either being deleted or put on hold, despite meeting all the criteria/not breaking any rules to my knowledge.

    The deletions/closes seem within reason to me. One answer didn't answer the question, and one question seems deliberately provocative. The other question is borderline: Does Allah commit shirk by swearing on things lesser than Him (e.g. the Qur'an)?

  17. Issues with moderation

    Let's be clear: we had and have a moderation problem. Otherwise we wouldn't need so much help from Caleb and Jon and the rest of SE team.

    This gives reasonable criticism.

  18. Why was my answer about “this site is in trouble” post deleted on meta?

    There really is one of the major problem here on SE, moderation is totally opinion based here and grossly biased.

    Caleb's answer explains "It is not an answer to the question you posted it under."

  19. Why ISIS related discussion is not allowed in Chat?

    As you enter the main Islam chat, you find the banner "ISIS related discussion not allowed", although we have a policy that political discussions in chat are to be allowed. Yet the mod chooses to enforce this constraint which is problematic.

  20. Can we improve moderation?

    Problem 1 - Ego Issue ... I think ego comes into play as in almost all cases. If a moderator closes the question, he would not open it. He considers it as his insult.

    The closed/deleted question is completely inappropriate for the site.

    Here's an example where goldPsuedo reopened a question 3 minutes after it was improved: Is vaginoplasty after childbirth to improve my husband's sexual pleasure permissible? (see the revision history: 21:53 I edited the question, 21:56 reopened)

    Problem 2 - Other moderators won't step in

    Jon Ericson's answer explains how he agrees the question is not suitable.

  21. Can discussing facts ever be “offensive”?

    ... I provided a factual story in regards with the KSA. ...

    The answer says:

    ... KSA acts as the financial pillar of the global tyranny of western financial-corporate elite ...

    It's an unquestionably offensive post.

  22. Too strict moderation by goldPseudo Moderator

    Today, during a chat thread, I was blocked for multiple times for just sharing my opinion about the Shias

    Shog9's answer explains 'You were blocked from chat for ... referring to critics of ISIS as "brainwashed", "blind" and "deaf".'

  23. How can we create a friendly environment on Islam.SE and deal with sectarianism?

    If I express my opinion which that is slightly against moderation (not a moderator) my comments are deleted right away.

    (It's not clear what happened here.)

  24. How to deal with a rude and aggressive moderator?

    (Question quotes a debate between goldPseudo and muslim1 in chat.)

    Shog9's answer explains how both goldPseudo and muslim1 were "wrong".

  25. How to take care of ridiculousness?

    we have a sunni moderator, he finds the logic of a Shia poster ridiculous

    Some "argument bait" was deleted from an answer, the OP put it back, then the whole question got deleted. Afterwards, the "argument bait" was removed again and the question un-deleted. (See revision history.)

    Another answer was deleted for plagiarism.

  26. Why no reason is mentioned for deleting question 5428 by a moderator?

    Should a moderator can delete questions without mentioning any reason?

    The question was entitled "Is Ali explicitly mentioned by name in the Quran?" In the meta post, goldPseudo's answer gives his reasons: 1. "exceedingly low quality", and 2. "looked to serve absolutely no purpose except to attack Shi'ite beliefs". (I agree with both these points: asking who is right? is basically an invitation to debunk someone's beliefs.)

  27. Why moderators do not mention the exact reason of deletation instead of only leaving a link to help center

    I see many of posts are deleted by a moderator without clearly mentioning reason for deleted ...

    In response, goldPseudo explains how he got sick of being personally attacked, and leaving comments were ineffective at getting people to improve posts.

    One example of a personal attack is in the question below (see its revision history):

  28. Why there is this much deletion?

    ... why [is there] this much privilege for an individual moderator to delete users' posts without any notification ... ?

    In reply, goldPseudo answers he's been deleting many low-quality posts.

  29. Dealing with oppressive members

    My issue is particularly with goldPseudo, who's unfair and bullying. Editing or deleting posts of which, in his mind, are irrelevant even though they're completely part of the topic.

    The user makes an offensive post, e.g. their answer begins

    I see many foolish people giving me negative. So, to further anger them I would like to edit my post and add on.

    The answer is (unsurprisingly) deleted, so the user whines about it on meta.

    In response, goldPseudo wrote:

    If these were the only problems with that post, I probably would've just edited them out for neutrality and left it.

    (If anything, I would argue that goldPseudo's attitude here is too gentle.)

  30. When should a moderator close questions?

    a single moderator(@goldpseudo) controls the whole site without any concern about establishing consensus and engaging the community in closing questions ... most of my own closed question were deleted and closed by this single moderator

  31. Why the censorship?

    The censorship on this site is alarming! ... My answer to this question was deleted.

    That's because the answer is total rubbish and talked about "fertility goddesses".

  32. Who controls the moderator?

    I think it was a very rude decision from the moderators(goldPseudo) part to straight off delete [my answer to What does 786 mean? ].

    Aarthi explains: "My immediate reaction would be to guess that your answer (per what you posted above) simply did not answer the user's question adequately. Or really at all."

  33. should a moderator be free to use his power to promote his own view?

    as an example a moderator who edits words of Wahhabi to Sunni without any notification is not abusing his powers?

    (Note the edit in the example weren't made by a diamond moderator.)

    Aarthi explains: "... while the term wahhabi may not be incorrect -- and may even be technically correct for a number of people who follow this path -- it is not one they like ..."

  34. How to protest when a moderator deletes an answer?

    It not seem fair to all moderators be from one sect. maybe it is better moderators be from both Shia and Sunni Muslims.

    ... I do not see any option for appeal when a Question or Answer is completely deleted by an admin.

4

Why is there censorship?

Sectarianism

We've had trouble with sectarianism in the past. The relevant meta posts are No Tolerance for Intolerance and Why Sectarianism is Ruining Your Site, where we were unequivocally warned by StackExchange staff:

...if it is not possible to ask and answer questions on this topic in a polite, peaceful fashion, then it has no place on Stack Exchange.

Thus, we (as a community) either choose to put aside our quibbles, or we needn't bother at all. Consequently, the community nowadays strives to ensure that this does not return. Engaging in sectarianism is swiftly and firmly responded to, either through diamond moderator intervention, or by the community.

Preventing anti-Y posts from someone who belongs to denomination X is sometimes perceived as anti-X bias. This seems to be how we end up with conspiracy accusations from time to time.

(To my knowledge, thus far only one actual conspiracy has been uncovered: a voting ring described in Recent fluctuations in reptuations!)

Sometimes, we're a bit pedantic about being inclusive: Are there any groups of Muslims excluded from Islam.SE?

Comment deletion (/moved to chat)

This is a question and answer site: questions and answers are the primary focus. Instead, comments are temporary "Post-It" notes left on a question or answer, as described on the help page. They exist primarily to improve questions and answers: if they don't do that, they're often deleted.

The help page says what comments are for:

  • Request clarification from the author;
  • Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;
  • Add relevant but minor or transient information to a post (e.g. a link to a related question, or an alert to the author that the question has been updated).

Comments don't have the same value as questions and answers.

Comments are second class citizens on the Stack Exchange network, not designed to hold information for all eternity. They may get cleaned up at any time.
Pëkka

Deleting comments is mostly just garbage collection. If you have something valuable to contribute and want to ensure it's not thrown away with the garbage, write questions and answers instead.

Conversations in comments are often deleted or moved to chat. Worse still are arguments in comments, which the StackExchange staff has warned us about. There are many alternatives to arguing in comments.

Plagiarism

We were instructed by StackExchange staff:

Plagiarized answers will be deleted without warning ... It is never ok to pass off significant amounts of someone else's writing as your own, not even temporarily.
Shog9 ♦

And that's what we do. We use block quotes (typeset > hello world) when quoting directly to avoid plagiarism (see also markdown help).

In fact, we go further and delete answers which are mostly just copy/paste from elsewhere:

We don't want to become a repository of quotes from elsewhere.
Manishearth

This was also encouraged by StackExchange staff, who gave direct instructions to immediately delete the offending post.

While not plagiarism, we also delete link-only answers (which have questionable value).

Truth and apologetics

StackExchange staff have instructed us not to allow aggressive forms of apologetics:

If you insist on aggressively promoting your particular theology, we ask that you find some other site on the internet; there are plenty.
Jon Ericson ♦

Questions and answers sometimes attempt to push Truth which we've had significant problems with in the past. These posts are focused on manipulating the reader into a certain viewpoint. The community has largely decided they're unwelcome: we're here to learn about Islam, not to be bullied. Users and/or diamond moderators take action against such posts (typically deletion or editing).

Question and answer bans

Repeatedly writing poorly received posts may trigger a question ban and/or an answer ban. From the StackExchange blog:

We believe asking questions on our site is a privilege, not a right. If, after a few fair attempts, you haven’t been able to prove that your contributions to Stack Overflow make it at least … not-worse … then we reserve the right to refuse your questions. If we don’t do our part to cull the bad questions, then we risk alienating the true experts who provide what really matters: the answers!

Diamond moderators do not have control over these bans. The help pages (and meta.SE) are clear about what to do in these situations: improve your questions and your answers.

Confrontational questions

Posts which pass judgment (or request passing judgment) are unwelcome. Posts that are primarily criticisms of Islam/Muslims (in question or answer form) are unwelcome. Likewise, confrontational "defend your beliefs" questions tend to be unwelcome. These posts tend to be unproductive, and sometimes even harmful.

Other close reasons are described here: What are the established off-topic reasons? Sometimes additional factors may influence votes to close, such as:

... boring, trivial, mindless, uninteresting, etc. questions. ... I'm convinced that you really need to shut down any question that wastes your top-users time and energy.
Jon Ericson ♦

What do diamond moderators actually do?

This is described in the StackExchange blog post A Theory of Moderation:

The short answer is, as little as possible! ...

Even with active community self-regulation, moderators occasionally need to intervene. Moderators are human exception handlers, there to deal with those (hopefully rare) exceptional conditions that should not normally happen, but when they do, they can bring your entire community to a screaming halt — if you don’t have human exception handling in place.

See also A guide to self moderation -- help moderate Islam.SE

Basically moderators implement policies which are required by StackExchange, or agreed to by the community on meta.

What restrictions are there on diamond moderators?

Diamond moderators are bound by the moderator agreement, and their behavior is supervised by StackExchage staff such as Jon Ericson ♦. For example, the post Illicit behavior and abuse and censorship makes the claim that "moderators are limiting and censoring my question", and Jon Ericson ♦ examined the case and concluded: "On the whole, I don't see any abuse or censorship here. This is just how the community functions".

If you have a complaint about a diamond moderator, it can be posted to meta. It's best to not start from the outset declaring a diamond moderator wrong: they have their reasons for doing what they do (which might not initially be obvious).

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Why am I not being taken seriously?

Unfamiliarity with how the site works

We get users complaining about censorship and bias without a strong understanding of how this site operates. Responding to these is the main purpose of this post.

An example of a post that was taken seriously is: Issues with moderation. We can see that the author did their homework first, and actually has a clue what they're talking about.

A poor track record

Thus far, most "it's not fair" posts have been predominately useless (some are even harmful and deceptive).

Some of them are utterly preposterous, including comparing moderators to Hitler, wishes to shut down Islam.SE, new users explaining that Islam.SE must follow their particular strain of Islam then disappearing shortly afterwards, and deceptive posts (e.g. 1, 2, 3) that slander the moderators.

Don't be surprised if people don't immediately believe that your particularly conspiracy theory is true.

Being rude to diamond moderators

Going through the example meta posts, there are many examples of flat-out rudeness to diamond moderators. How hard is it to ask nicely?

We strive to assume good faith and to have good opinions of others. This applies to the diamond moderators too.

We can't expect perfect agreement on everything. I occasionally disagree with diamond moderator decisions too. Like everyone here, I'm not always going to get my way. Even when I disagree:

  • I generally find that they have a respectable reason,
  • I don't assume I will maintain the same opinion tomorrow, in a week, and so on (maybe I'll change my mind), and
  • I move on: it's critical the site functions as a whole, and getting bogged down on some relatively small issue is not going to help.

Not providing concrete evidence to prove there is a problem

If you don't provide tangible evidence that your perceived problem is actually a problem, why should others believe you?

Basically, if there is no evidence, the author hasn't even established that there's a problem.

The StackExchange Data Explorer is a useful way of gathering evidence. Here's an example of one of my posts where I use this data: Our upvoting patterns compare poorly to the other religion StackExchange sites; let's change this!

Then after demonstrating the perceived problem is actually a problem...

What is your proposed solution?

If your post is just claiming "it's not fair", how do you expect people to respond?

Are you doing anything to fix the problem?

Are voting patterns to your dislike? Have you been striving to improve this by voting yourself?

Are certain comments to your dislike? Have you been flagging comments to bring it to the moderators' attention?

If not, why should anyone "do as I say, not as I do"?

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