I feel I have been wronged by a mod. What is the procedure to escalate the matter?

This is the question where I faced the said difficulty:

Meaning of "Back on their heels"

I strongly feel the mod is acting in a biased, patronizing and condescending manner.


My grievance is not so much about the hold placed on my question, but on the disrespectful treatment I have been subjected to by the mod. (Please note that the mod's comments and mine have since been removed by another mod.)


I have since read the following question and its answers:

What is the difference between ELU and ELL?

I honestly did not know ELU was intended only for "serious linguists", as one answer specifies. If in fact true, it goes to explain the elitist treatment I have received on occasion. Also, if it is true, then the site banner should say so, so that I and others know to stay away.

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    The "procedure" is you raise the matter here. What if anything happens next depends on how other people feel about the situation. As indicated previously, I'd prefer not to "take sides", but I've upvoted you for the fact of having asked about it on meta. – FumbleFingers Jan 26 '15 at 19:24
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    @FumbleFingers Thank you. – user40248 Jan 26 '15 at 19:42
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    It is possible that I feel you have wronged the community by engaging in a protracted argument in comments on the main site. (This is not the case; I am providing an example.) Almost anyone can be offended by almost anything written in comments, especially when the comment accompanies a closure. It's normal to feel slighted by a closure. However, as Napoleon Dynamite said, "“Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by, i dunno, something else.” Many, many questions here have been closed for the same reason. It's one of our major close reasons. – anongoodnurse Jan 27 '15 at 0:03
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    RE: so that I and others know to stay away. As that other answer also says: "Just because someone recommends you ask your question at ELL, that doesn't mean they want you to ‘scram’ from ELU. Such recommendations are directed at particular questions, not particular users." You were helped by a mod, you took it as a slight, and you'd be much better off if you stopped your sulking and learned from the experience: if you ask an easily-answerable question, it'll be closed; if you contest the closure, someone might give you a link. – J.R. Jan 27 '15 at 9:36
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    @J.R. Your comment exemplifies the rudeness I have experienced on this site. Insulting other users, and providing a link to that insult in case they don't know what sulking means! Please don't tell me what to do, and please stop insulting other users. An apology would also be in order. – user40248 Jan 27 '15 at 9:44
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    @J.R. Users like yourself are the reason that the mod in question feels empowered to act in the way he does. Your rudeness empowers him. And it gives this site the feeling that it is a clique where users like myself are not welcome. And you know what, it seems to be working, so I'll give you that. – user40248 Jan 27 '15 at 9:50
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    So long as you insist on regarding earnest attempts to help you as rudeness, then, yes, you'll experience a lot of so-called rudeness on this site. Rudeness, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder. (Personally, I think remarks like "Please don't tell me what to do..." "For your information..." "Your indiscriminate support..." and "Your comments only help prove my case" are not exactly on the "polite" side of the spectrum.) – J.R. Jan 27 '15 at 9:57
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    @J.R. "Rudeness, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder." I don't agree with you. In the future, I will refrain from using "For your information...", but my other comments are usually prefixed with a "please". Specifically, providing a link to "stop your sulking" is incredibly insulting and rude, and in any civilized forum, you would be cited first and then banned. – user40248 Jan 27 '15 at 10:14
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    This is a language site. Links to definitions are commonplace here. Many definitions of sulk mention "silence" or "not talking to anyone". Considering how much you've groused the past few hours, one could easily think I've misused the word sulk, so I added a link showing that I was using "stop your sulking" as an idiom. Did you consider that maybe that link wasn't meant for you personally, but for anyone else reading this discussion? In a similar way, a moderator closing a question will often include a link – not to insult the OP, but to justify the closure to the rest of the community. – J.R. Jan 27 '15 at 10:23
  • As another example, I'd urge you to take a look at the comment from @tchrist under this answer of mine. No, there's no link there, but he does reference Rule 2.1.5 on page 30 of Robert Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style – and I'm sure he would have included a link if he could have found one. Far from feeling insulted by the reference, I thanked him for it, and modified my answer accordingly. As the tour page also says, "Remember: we're all here to learn, so be friendly and helpful!" – J.R. Jan 27 '15 at 10:32
  • @J.R. Too little, too late, I have submitted my account-delete request, and have cited the treatment I have received from Andrew Leach and yourself as one the reasons. – user40248 Jan 27 '15 at 10:37
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    It looks like maybe this boils down you interpreting a link as a slap in the face, when in reality such links are meant to be helpful to you and anyone else who might be reading. I don't know what else to say then, except thanks for the by-name reference. :^) Any publicity is good publicity! – J.R. Jan 27 '15 at 10:46

I honestly did not know ELU was intended only for "serious linguists", as one answer specifies. If in fact true, it goes to explain the elitist treatment I have received on occasion. Also, if it is true, then the site banner should say so.

The site banner may not say so, but this is clearly stated up front in ELU's help center.

From the site's tour page:

enter image description here

and from the first question in the site's help center:

enter image description here

  • That's it. I did not know this, and I am out of here. This site is not for me. – user40248 Jan 27 '15 at 10:23

I don't think you really want to "escalate" the situation, although there is nothing wrong with asking for the community to take a second look if you feel like a question should not have been closed.

As a general rule, the best way to get your question reopened is to revise your question. Many questions get closed because they are written in a way that makes it look like the O.P. hasn't done enough research, and it looks like they are asking on ELU before looking in a dictionary.

(Sometimes this isn't really true, but the best way to handle the situation is to strengthen the question by including your research, as opposed to getting into a drawn-out debate in the comments.)

As a footnote, Andrew Leach and I joined the ELU right around the same time, almost three years ago. I've never known him to be biased, patronizing or condescending; his actions always seem to be fair and level-headed. That said, I've witnessed several instances where remarks that were meant to be helpful nudges were misconstrued or misinterpreted as personal attacks or criticisms.

Evidently, some comments have been removed before I had a chance to read them, but, if you really feel like Andrew Leach was condescending toward you, I'd be willing to bet that was purely a misunderstanding, and that Mr. Leach meant to be only constructive and respectful in his duties.


One other thing – I don't know if you were put off by the initial remark when the question was closed. Several times I've seen people get into a "huff" because they thought those words were condescending, when in fact they were only automatically copied from a standard phrase found in a Stack Exchange template:

enter image description here

  • Thank you for taking the time to respond. My point is not about the question. It is about treating users, especially users with low scores, with dignity and respect. – user40248 Jan 26 '15 at 19:55
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    Your insistence that you have been targeted due to your low number of rep points only convinces me all the more you have completely confused an honest attempt at helpful assistance with "bullying". The ELU mod team wants newer users to feel welcome; one of the ways they do so is by taking the time to explain why a question doesn't fit this site's goals, and offering you a chance to remedy that. It's worth noting that if Andrew Leach (or any other mod) wanted to bully you, your question could have been immediately deleted. – J.R. Jan 26 '15 at 19:58
  • Your comments ("if they really wanted to bully you, your question could have been immediately deleted") adds insult to injury and only helps to prove my case. – user40248 Jan 26 '15 at 20:03
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    @Sabuncu - How so? I'm only pointing out that moderators have the power to delete questions and suspend accounts, but they rarely do so, instead opting to coach newer users into improving their questions. You find that insulting? – J.R. Jan 26 '15 at 20:06
  • Re: your edit: Nope, his comments were not boilerplate. He showed the results of a rudimentary Google search that he had done. I had done much more than that prior to asking my question. And more importantly, his response was about the accepted meaning of the idiom, which does not work in this case. – user40248 Jan 26 '15 at 20:06
  • @Sabuncu - Thanks for that clarification, but I'll leave my edit in. I've seen this happen often enough that someone may be looking at this question again a year from now, and my graphic might help prevent another misunderstanding. – J.R. Jan 26 '15 at 20:07
  • With power comes responsibility. If mods deleted questions right and left, what content would be left at the site? And for your information, "adding insult to injury" is an idiom. – user40248 Jan 26 '15 at 20:07
  • Here's an analogy for your argument re: mods deleting questions if they wanted to: "No, of course the police officer was not harassing you. Why would he bother, he could have just as easily shot you dead if he wanted to." – user40248 Jan 26 '15 at 20:33

Our EL&U moderators are elected by the community, roughly on an annual basis. If you are having a disagreement with a mod and you feel you cannot get satisfactory resolution, you can email the community moderation team at team@stackexchange.com or use the contact form that is available through the Help Center. They are StackExchange employees whose job it is to monitor the SE sites and resolve issues that the volunteer moderators cannot (or should not). Alternatively, you can come to chat and try to work things out there. We can help you ping a community mod if you would rather not speak to one of us directly.

I read through the comments on your post and looked at the history. I don't feel Andrew was being unreasonable. I think in this case, there was a misunderstanding between the two of you that was exacerbated by the fact that the Internet doesn't carry tone and expression. Andrew was trying to be helpful by communicating to you very directly what you needed to change in your question to make it topical, and you interpreted this as elitist and patronizing.

I removed the commentary because it is not helpful to future visitors and because ruminating on the exact wording and what someone may or may not have intended is not helpful to the parties involved. Suffice it to say, I edited into your post the information you included in comments as evidence of your research, and this should put the post in the re-open queue for the community to vote on. If it is not re-opened, you might consider editing it with further research, or appealing the close vote here on Meta (as a separate question).

  • Thank you. The information you included in your edit was the result of the mod's research. At this point, it does not matter. My problem is with the mod's attitude. He was patronizing in suggesting that a rudimentary search comes up with the idiom in question. But it does not correspond to the meaning in the speech I referenced. ELU should be welcoming toward all users, including users with low scores. I feel strongly about this case, and have contacted Stack Exchange Help Center. If I let this go, this mod will continue to bully other users. – user40248 Jan 26 '15 at 19:41
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    @Sabuncu You replied "I know that" and included additional information in response to Andrew's comment that Oxford Dictionaries defined the phrase, and that's what I incorporated as an edit. And I hear you: you felt he was patronizing, and he felt he was being helpful. His intent was to make you feel welcomed by helping you and you felt bullied because you misinterpreted his attitude. – Kit Z. Fox Jan 26 '15 at 19:47
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    I do not agree with you. I don't know whether you are a mod or not. Whether or not you are a mod, you should not have deleted comments in a question that is being contested. Your indiscriminate support for the mod in question is an example of behavior that makes me feel unwelcome at what looks like an "insider's club". The mod in question has 52K and you have 19K scores. I have 200. Do I feel welcome? No. – user40248 Jan 26 '15 at 19:53
  • @Sabuncu I am a moderator on this site. I apologize if that wasn't immediately apparent. Mods have diamonds after their names. Also, moderators can view deleted comments, so I have merely removed them from public view. They will still be considered in your case here. – Kit Z. Fox Jan 26 '15 at 19:54
  • To be fair, I commend you for adding the timestamp to the video in the question where the utterance can be found. This is what I like about this site. I learn from others, which is invaluable. But that learning should not come at cost of mistreatment. – user40248 Jan 26 '15 at 19:58

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