If I want to discuss some specific behaviors of a particular moderator with the broader mod team, how should I go about doing that?

Without going into details, I worry that certain actions may reflect an individual mod's own position on a matter (or matters) rather than the general consensus on the site, and this has the effect of skewing or biasing the site towards that mod's personal tastes or views. Things like selective deletion of comments, selective closure of questions, etc. This is at odds with what I currently understand a mod's role is as a "human exception handler".

But on the other hand no one has committed murder in the first degree, these are just issues I'd like clarity on, and I'd really rather avoid creating unnecessary drama. It's also certainly possible I'm misreading things, or even if I'm not, it's not a matter worth losing sleep over or bothering the community as a whole.

So I'd rather not comment under the questions where I see this activity, nor start a dedicated meta thread, nor whine in chat.

What I'd like is a place where I can talk to the mod team as a whole. The specific mod in question is welcome to join or not as they see fit.

Is there a way I can chat with just the mod team? Ideally, can this be done as-hoc or on demand? Is there some door in chat I can knock on when I want to discuss stuff?

I ask about "on demand" because I may not use this facility now. I'd just like to have some guidance on how to access it if I need to. I'd probably use it the next time I see something I consider tendentious.

I would prefer not to flag something as then I don't know which mod or mods would handle the flag.

To be clear I mean the diamond mods of EL&U, not the community managers or other SE folk.

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    Though your request is understandable, I don't think mods, as a group, will ever accept a confrontation with a user, any user. They will probably deal with your issue individually and talk about it among themselves, giving you a final response. (Consider also the time lag and the difficulty of having all or most mods together at the same time). – user66974 Jun 21 '17 at 14:23
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    @Josh This is not at all intended to be a confrontation. I need a means to communicate my observations to the mods as a body, so I know they've all seen it, and it isn't being funneled through just one perspective, such that all but one see it 2nd hand. Chat around here is highly asynchronous, so it's ok if one mod opens a chat room, where I can initiate a group conversations, and other mods join, participate, and part on their own schedules. How they handle the feedback is up to them. – Dan Bron Jun 21 '17 at 14:29
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    Do you expect mods to contradict with each other or to take sides with users? I don't. They will give a response on which they all will "formally" agree. – user66974 Jun 21 '17 at 14:37
  • @Josh I want to have a conversation. I am not dictating the outcome. That's not the purpose of having a conversation. I do expect that if my observations are valid (and of course I believe they are valid) then the mod in question would be asked, behind the scenes, to step more lightly, and that would be the end of that. The mod team need communicate nothing beyond "thanks for the feedback, we'll take care of it". But I want the confidence that the team will self-police. Of course if the activity persists I could escalate to SE, but that seems unwarranted currently. – Dan Bron Jun 21 '17 at 14:48
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    Kit Z. Fox in their answer has provided a specific way for you to interact with moderators. May we also consider this meta post of yours a general reminder that there is some difference between a high-rep moderator and the non-moderator high-reputation member, regarding the way they could approach linguistic matters qualitatively -- as in, any moderator should be careful to maintain neutrality of opinion & perform actions in a strictly technical manner? I am not well-versed in the fine difference but your point can be noted by moderators and other senior members alike, for needed discussion. – English Student Jun 21 '17 at 14:52
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    @EnglishStudent Yes, mods (people with diamonds in their usernames) are qualitatively different from non-mods, of any reputation level. No mod even approaches, for example, Josh's 100K+ rep, but nevertheless their actions carry much greater weight: their actions are unilateral, immediate, and decisive. They're sheriffs, they carry weapons. The rest of us must build consensus with other community members to enact our wills. That's the formal design of SE: community-driven moderation with electret mods acting as "human exception handlers". The community is supposed to do most of the "modding". – Dan Bron Jun 21 '17 at 14:57
  • I understand your complaint. Based on what you have already written here, the moderator you are specifically referring to (and I have no idea who that might be, there may even be more than one) could already easily carry out a self-assessment whether their actions need to be modified to better suit the profile and functions of moderators in general, and avoid taking future decisions based on personal opinion, if they consider this a valid criticism. – English Student Jun 21 '17 at 14:58
  • @EnglishStudent That is correct. That is why I welcome all mods, the "perpetrator" (in scare quotes!) included. But I want the mod team as a unit to be aware of my concerns, and inculcate a culture of self-policing. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes and so on. In other words "certain actions which are kosher as an individual site member expressing his individual opinion are no longer appropriate as a moderator; we must step lightly". – Dan Bron Jun 21 '17 at 15:01
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    Your point is well made. Being a senior member here, you would not raise such a concern without very good reason, methinks. And moreover this is (as you rightly said) not about any particular thread, because if you are thinking of one moderator, I could well be thinking of another 2 mods that fit your case. I am sure the moderators will already have taken note of your reminder. – English Student Jun 21 '17 at 15:21
  • You could ask for the comment/s to be undeleted. Mods can do that and have done so in the past if the user made a strong enough case. Robusto did once, – Mari-Lou A Jun 21 '17 at 17:59
  • @Mari-LouA Not worth it in this case. As I said, I'm less interested in this particular situation than in a broader pattern. You saw one of the other questions (not the one you just commented on) where I took issue with biased moderation. I don't want to make mountains of molehills, but equally I want to make sure that any incipient problems are nipped in the bud. – Dan Bron Jun 21 '17 at 21:48
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    I am not sure which question(s) you are referring to, but I did note a question asking whether diacritics are really necessary for loanwords where I just realised that very many comments including mine have been deleted without the usual redirect statement 'this discussion has been moved to chat', which seems unusual to say the least, and I can only state that this type of editing is rarely seen, at least on recent question pages. – English Student Jun 23 '17 at 15:29
  • @EnglishStudent That is one of the questions which prompted this current discussion. There are other recent ones, exhibiting [in my personal view] tendentious closures. – Dan Bron Jun 23 '17 at 15:39
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    Well, in that particular question, I simply cannot understand the reason for removing so many comments without moving the whole discussion to chat. We cannot (nor need to) write every point of view as an answer, and somebody 'disappeared' my comment stating my reasons for agreeing with OP's well-established contention (in their answer to their own question) that diacritics are not really necessary for loanwords, especially in non-professional writing. – English Student Jun 23 '17 at 15:49
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    With due respect to individuals, I am not concerned with which moderator did it, or for what reason, but selective deletion of comments does leave a bad impression, and it would be better to delete all comments as @Dan Bron you finally suggest in exasperation, or just move the entire discussion to chat! – English Student Jun 23 '17 at 15:59

It is unusual to request to speak to the EL&U mod team about one of the current moderators. I understand that you are not asking about contacting the community mod team (which you can do by emailing team@stackexchange.com or using the https://english.stackexchange.com/contact form), but I would encourage you to do so. The community moderators can then bring your issues to our team with a solution in mind and avoid conflict between team members.

To address your more specific question, we do have a dedicated room for site moderators where we discuss site policy and whatnot. We can create a private room that is viewable by only you and all other moderators. We cannot restrict community moderators or individual EL&U moderators from chatrooms. To request that channel, you can come to main chat and ask a mod there.

Also, with regard to comment deletion, all moderators do comment clean-up and we occasionally have community mods do unannounced clean-up work as well. I would be wary of assuming that any specific mod did any specific comment deleting. In particular, we tend to have other mods review comment chains we are involved in, to avoid the appearance of conflict.

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    Cool. I don't mind if CMs join or not, and of course all EL&U mods are welcome and encouraged to join. I don't want to bring it up to the CMs, because that appears to me more alarmist than warranted. Of course I'm aware of the option, and if I sensed actual malice, or continued flagrant disregard, I'd consider it. But right now it's more like the mod is probably in a hard spot: being a mod, it's hard for them to shape the site based on individual tastes like he could before he donned the diamond, without it coming across as an abuse of power. Nevertheless, we all must be careful. – Dan Bron Jun 21 '17 at 14:40
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    (Re edit: in the comment chain cleanup which sparked this meta-question, the deletions were unambiguously selective; highly-voted comments which contradicted the mod's stated position were removed, and highly-voted comments which supported it were preserved, along with all the non-voted noise comments. I tried to rectify this imbalance by custom-flagging the entire chain as obsolete, which it is, but the state of affairs persists, ie the chain was not deleted, and only the comments supporting the mod's position remain, along with obsolete noise.) – Dan Bron Jun 21 '17 at 14:44
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    I did that work. I left the two stated positions and deleted the discussion, which I felt was addressed in the answers or should be addressed in an answer. I would have pruned all the remaining comments, but they could have been incorporated into either the question or an answer, if anyone was so inclined. – Kit Z. Fox Mod Jun 21 '17 at 14:48
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    Are you sure you left both stated positions? Because the most upvoted comment, which happened to take the contra position, is no longer in evidence. The current most upvoted comment just happens to support the pro position. And both positions are well-examined by the answers. It would be best to remove the entire chain. – Dan Bron Jun 21 '17 at 14:50
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    I just checked he comment chain again, and the contra position is nowhere stated in the comments under the answer. Either we're discussing different comment chains, or we have different understandings of the pro- and contra-positions. Check the upvoted deleted comment to see what I mean. Right now before unfolding, the top 3 comments are two supporting the pro and one good faith criticism of a version of the question which has long since been addressed by edits. After unfolding, nowhere is a comment taking the contra position. That does not read well. See it from my perspective. – Dan Bron Jun 21 '17 at 15:08
  • All that said, this meta-Q is more general, and broader than that one incident (there were other recent actions which sparked this, but I'm mostly concerned with the bigger "what if" question). Therefore once you've read these comments under your answer, you may delete the entire chain. – Dan Bron Jun 21 '17 at 15:09
  • It's possible we're talking about different chains. Again, I deleted what I felt should be an answer and not a comment. – Kit Z. Fox Mod Jun 21 '17 at 15:11
  • And the others which not only could be answers, but are actually stated by answers? And the obsolete criticism? – Dan Bron Jun 21 '17 at 15:12
  • Seriously you two, just get a room! (a mod chat room, that is) :P – NVZ Jun 21 '17 at 16:49
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    @Dan, I'm not interested in discussing how you feel about my moderation style. I did what I thought was appropriate. It's OK that you disagree with my position, and if you feel it warrants serious attention, then you need to bring it up to the community moderation team, not me. – Kit Z. Fox Mod Jun 21 '17 at 17:17
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    @KitZ.Fox As I said, I'm more interested in this meta-Q on the general broad picture of how to handle such things. The comments under your answer here are a tangent. I'm only responding to your responses, so my position is clear. I invited you remove all my comments here once you'd read them, and that invitation still stands. – Dan Bron Jun 21 '17 at 17:22

I once or twice commented under my favourite mod's old or inactive post first making sure there are no other comments before mine, and requested a private chat room for an important or private issue.

The mod responded within a few days, and opened a private chatroom, to which they pinged me in, and within a day or two our mini chat resolved some queries I had.

Such special chatrooms have a limited lifespan, that is, the mod will delete the room soon after the matter is settled, and only the moderation team, and the invited regular user (in this case, me) will be able to see the archived messages in it.

  • Thank you for the answer! Yes, I thought of this, but it seems inefficient, and importantly I don't want to bring it up with one mod, but discuss with the mod team as a whole. Basically I want to explore norms and expectations with the mod team and make sure they can all help one another abide by them. – Dan Bron Jun 21 '17 at 12:14
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    @DanBron you can do the same, but just mention that you'd need them all visit the room when they can. – NVZ Jun 21 '17 at 12:15
  • @Dan Bron I think it might be possible for you to open a special (dedicated) chatroom and invite a number of diamond moderators to chat, where the moderators actually participate as regular users. Unfortunately no conversation is quite private at Stack Exchange, as far as I can make out, so the conversation might be visible to readers within the interval between opening the chatroom and deleting the completed discussion. – English Student Jun 21 '17 at 12:45
  • @EnglishStudent a mod can invite a user to a private room, their conversation will never be deleted (that's mu understanding) but it will not be visible to other members. The conversation is therefore private , but visible to every mod. – Mari-Lou A Jun 21 '17 at 17:00
  • @Mari-Lou A -- yes indeed, that was made clear in the answer of Kit Z. Fox. – English Student Jun 21 '17 at 19:02

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