In this question, the following verbiage was repeatedly removed -- this inhibited my ability to answer the question.

We all know Evan Carroll isn't yet a moderator on English.StackOverflow, but he ought to be and he'll win the election if enough people vote for Evan Carroll next week!

I'd like to highlight the utility of this additional example to help illustrate the use of the term ought to. The questioner was specifically asking for context and this is an illuminating and applicable context. Moreover, it's my own answer and it's the content I wish to use to help the questioner understand the phrase ought to.

Under what grounds was this content removed? It's not vulgar. It's not insulting.

  • 16
    – mmyers
    Jul 25, 2012 at 21:53
  • 8
    @Evan Carroll: As I've recently had reason to point out elsewhere, whether your language/behaviour is "insulting" or not is determined by other parties, not by you. I feel you are something of a wild animal trampling over the [almost] well-kept garden of ELU. After several people had removed your superfluous and flippant text, why did you not accept the obvious implication that they didn't like it being there? In short, it offended their sense of what is "proper" here on ELU, but you seem determined not to respect what I suspect is rapidly becoming a consensus opinion. Jul 26, 2012 at 3:43
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    the following verbiage was repeatedly removed – this inhibited my ability to answer the question. That's a false premise. Surely you can adequately answer the question without a campaign statement. Under what grounds was this content removed? It's not vulgar. It's not insulting. That's a fairer question. Indeed, it wasn't vulgar or insulting (tacky, perhaps, but not indecent or derogatory). The answer was locked because it was under discussion. I think the answer was locked to prevent the immature stalemate from continuing. At least you brought it to meta.
    – J.R.
    Jul 26, 2012 at 9:30
  • 1
    The promotional campaign text didn't originally contain an example of 'ought to': Evan's first revision of the answer had promo text without an example of 'ought to'. In revision 3, someone 'Removed irrelevant astroturfing'. Evan re-added it as an 'ought to' example in revision 4, but yet another deleted it in revision 5: 'We can probably do without the editorial pitch.' Evan reverted the promo example back to revision 4, but then a third rolled it back to revision 5.
    – Hugo
    Jul 30, 2012 at 22:11

3 Answers 3


Totally not a regular on English Language & Usage, but I find the idea of embedding campaign statements in questions on the main site patently offensive.

The main site is not the place for campaigning (we have an elections page for that, plus town hall chats, plus your site's regular chat room...), and there are obviously numerous neutral phrases you could use to illustrate your point with equal clarity.

  • 10
    +1. Content was a campaign statement disguised as an example, and campaigning is off topic in ELU Q&A.
    – MetaEd
    Jul 25, 2012 at 20:23
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    @MetaEd Where does it say that if the content is relevant and if it answers the question the act is off-topic if it involves a moderator election? I think if I can help someone twice, first by answering their question and then by getting myself elected then it's a win-win-win. Jul 25, 2012 at 20:25
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    @EvanCarroll One of those objectives might possibly have worked. The other is surely lost, at least for anyone who sees this question. Think of it instead as doing you a favour.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jul 25, 2012 at 20:43
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    "Where does it say" makes me wonder if you think this is a game (anything goes if it's in the rules). This site is someone's property: the owners have the final, arbitrary say about what to publish. They've delegated a lot of decisions to frequent contributors, collectively a community which does the volunteer work necessary to maintain the site. If the community perceives your statements and actions as essentially helpful and cooperative, welcome; if essentially self-serving or mocking, you won't get much support. Glad to have you here. Stay classy.
    – MetaEd
    Jul 25, 2012 at 21:02
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    Eh, the community didn't decide. The answer was locked because it was a under discussion. That's what we're doing -- discussing. And, who owns this site? The moderators, or Jeff? And, in either case where are the rules we must follow that prohibit such an example oblivious to however useful it may be? Jul 25, 2012 at 21:18
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    @EvanCarroll "Where does it say that if the content is relevant and if it answers the question the act is off-topic if it involves a moderator election?" -- Counterpoint: "Where does it say that posting image macros that answer a question is frowned upon?". Neither is explicitly called out as a bad thing, but it should be obvious WHY both of these things would be frowned upon by the community...
    – voretaq7
    Jul 25, 2012 at 21:25
  • 1
    Who decides what the community frowns upon? I thought the community decided what the community frowns upon through upvotes and downvotes? I guess I was wrong... So the community doesn't decide, and it's not written down? That's what the Diamond means! Jul 25, 2012 at 21:33
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    @EvanCarroll I believe the votes on this question show a clear intent on the part of the community. I'm also done engaging with you for the day and will leave the ELU regulars to speak their minds as they see fit :-)
    – voretaq7
    Jul 25, 2012 at 21:38
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    @voretaq7 So you agree with the premise -- the community decides through upvotes and downvotes. You just believe in this one application a specific moderator should be allowed to decide for the community? Even though the moderator says he has no hard feelings either way -- that's where the power should rest? Jul 25, 2012 at 21:47
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    This is a false dichotomy. Moderators are part of the community. Moderator action is community action.
    – MetaEd
    Jul 25, 2012 at 21:50
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    @MetaEd That's a great argument for an establishment that's not receptive to the people's demands. You know that my answer had a positive score before the second example was taken down.. The community liked it. We could always put it back and defer this matter to them: a solution I'd always be comfortable with. Jul 25, 2012 at 22:11
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    @voretaq7: Thanks for coming here to make your points (answer & comments). One point that hasn't been made is that obviously the mods and high-rep users on any specific site within SO do end up learning quite a lot about each other. That applies to ELU in particular, since we often have to explain our own use of language in the context of who we are. Sure, people let off steam sometimes - but high levels of respect and the pursuit of consensus are the norm here. OP seems more interested in shit-stirring for its own sake, so inevitably he's raising hackles. He should prattle in chat. Jul 26, 2012 at 3:59
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    @Evan your answer was at a score of 0 when it was locked. It had arrived there after exactly one upvote and exactly one downvote. Interpreting that as "the community liked it" is not even dishonest; it's just nonsense.
    – RegDwigнt
    Jul 27, 2012 at 14:58
  • Oh, perhaps I missed the downvote before the oppressive regime edited the content and locked it. Jul 27, 2012 at 15:01
  • 4
    @Evan: The answer has been unlocked for 18 hours now. It is still at 0.
    – RegDwigнt
    Jul 27, 2012 at 15:17

Under what grounds was this content removed? It's not vulgar. It's not insulting.

As Hugo noticed, between all the revisions, the first revision contained the following sentence:

And, just FYI, if you agree with the above statement and wish that StackExchange was run by its userbase, then vote for Evan Carroll next week!

It didn't contain an example pertinent with the question. It was just an FYI that was not relevant for the question.

Only the fourth revision contained the following sentence:

Or another example,

We all know Evan Carroll isn't yet a moderator on English.StackOverflow, but he ought to be and he'll win the election if enough people vote for Evan Carroll next week!

If the intention was to give an example of sentence using ought, the fourth revision should have been an earlier revision, if not the first revision. The fact that revision happened after somebody suggested an edit to remove the note about the elections says the intention was adding a note about elections.

The ability to answer the question was not influenced by that; the OP could have used a different example, and nobody would have edited the example out.


To present the alternative viewpoint for community members to vote on, I venture to say that I had no problem with Evan putting a campaign plug into his answer. It was cheeky, but it was a relevant example of usage, and it serves to drive users toward the nomination page. While I wouldn't do it myself, I am not offended that he did since he actually answered the question and simply used shameless self-promotion as an illustrative example.

  • Thank you for bucking the groupthink and standing up for what is right regardless of the scorn you're likely to receive. If elected I will be looking to hear more from upstanding community members like yourself. Jul 26, 2012 at 2:42
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    Apparently this is the second time today I have to upvote both yours and an apparently diametrically opposed one. (Perhaps all this moderation is rubbing off on me! :). I wouldn't have been so bothered if I'd thought it was just a bit of fun, but it's gone way past being funny to me. OP seems more determined to stamp his foot about his "rights", ignoring the fact that the best reaction he's gotten so far is you not actually decrying him. I'm not seeing a lot of comments actively supporting his (to me, tiresome and vexatious) rants. In my lexicon, he's a troll. Jul 26, 2012 at 4:13
  • ...in support of which I offer this page of OP's "answers" on SO meta, from which I think it's clear most people don't think much of what he has to say. He is, in short, unwanted by many, and I may be coming round to their point of view myself. Jul 26, 2012 at 4:15
  • 1
    Since I'm usually the one playing devil's advocate I have to say this is a valid point. If the campaign statement had originated as an example I probably wouldn't have as much of a problem with it (I'd be bothered, but I'd roll my eyes and bite my tongue). It's the fact that there was already one good example combined with the revision history of the post that taints it for me.
    – voretaq7
    Jul 26, 2012 at 5:36
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    Albeit I disagree whit your point itself, I have upvoted your answer because it represents a good approach to moderator activty. If you will be elected I'm sure you will do a good work.
    – user19148
    Jul 26, 2012 at 20:42
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    I can't help but imagine that if this had been a more well-respected member of the community, the comments would have followed the "oh, I see what did you did there" path and nothing would have come of it.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jul 27, 2012 at 21:18

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