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This is a deliberate cross-post of my announcement on meta.stackoverflow.com. Because the content and meaning of the announcement is the same for both sites, I have not edited it to be specific to Ebooks. But, because it impacts both sites, I feel it is important for me to post it in both locations.

Prologue

Earlier today, I resigned as a moderator on both Stack Overflow and Ebooks. I feel I owe this community some attempt at an explanation. Please understand that I cannot offer a full explanation of everything that led me to this decision. This is likely going to strike many people as vague, inadequate, and unsatisfying. For that I apologize.

Background

As you may be aware, there is an ongoing wave of moderator resignations and at least one firing across the Stack Exchange network, as summarized and collected in this post on Meta SE. You may also have heard or read in the above post or posts linked therein that there are many frustrated moderators in the SE network right now. That much is true. There's no point rehashing all of it here. And I do not want to publish private or confidential information, so I will not be adding any details or disclosures about what has happened, is going on now, or may be happening in the future. The astute reader can likely figure out 95% of it, anyway.

My Decision

I am resigning primarily due to the same events that led to many of the resignations in the above list. Recent events—many of which are not and will never be public, others of which are not yet public—have forced me to two conclusions:

  1. Sadly, I can no longer serve as a moderator on Stack Overflow or Ebooks in good conscience, and
  2. I no longer want to do so.

I set out on my moderator journey in January 2014, when I was asked to serve as a moderator pro tempore on Ebooks after following it and participating in it as early as its Area 51 proposal. In November 2015, I was honored to be elected as a moderator on Stack Overflow. Both times, I undertook the obligations, duties, responsibilities, and privileges of being a moderator because I loved and believed in the community in question, appreciated the robust rules and norms each had developed, and wanted to give back to communities that had helped me so much. When I stepped down on SO for several months due to major changes in my personal life and severe time constraints, I came back when my time freed up only because I still believed in the community and still wanted to help it.

My resignation is the other side of that coin: I simply will not be able to serve these communities as a moderator in the future, and so I must resign. Many policies, facts, and events have played a role in this, but as I have said above, I cannot fully explain them here. I have wrestled with how to explain exactly what led to my decision to resign. I have concluded that I cannot offer much detail without leaving out even more and muddying the waters.

Edit to address a common question in the answers and comments on Stack Overflow: Many have asked why I cannot explain my reasoning. The best answer I can give comes from two of my comments below:

Comment 1: Please understand that, just as I can’t explain all of my reasons for resigning, I can’t explain all of the reasons that is so. It may help you to understand that I am an attorney “in real life.” That creates a huge number of obligations to refrain from speaking about various situations or issues. Let me be extremely clear that I’m not (1) saying that legal issues had anything to do with my resignation, (2) accusing anyone of lying or anything else, or (3) stating any legal opinions on anything. I am saying that I, personally, cannot offer the kind of explanation people might want. Full stop.

Comment 2: All of us are subject to various limits on our conduct—legally, ethically, professionally, or otherwise—which I am willing to believe all of us take very seriously. Some of us are subject to more such constraints than others. If you look at the list of resignations in the MSE post that I linked to under background, you will see that several former moderators offer detailed explanations of their decisions. Nobody—as far as I know—is trying to hide anything that should be public, but that doesn’t mean we are at liberty to say whatever we want.

What's Next

What happens now? I'm not sure. I am weighing whether and to what extent it makes sense for me to continue to participate on SO, Ebooks, or other SE sites. I'm going to take a break from them for a bit, in any case. It's going to take a good, long while to wash out of my brain some of the things (images, rants, or otherwise) I've encountered as a moderator, and getting my brain out of "moderator mode" seems in order.

I have been honored to serve this community. Thank you, and I wish you all the best.

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    Thanks for your time and effort Ed. Good luck! – Jason Down Oct 7 '19 at 15:36
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An Update on My Decision

I have monitored events intermittently since my resignation and come to a painful conclusion: I must bid farewell to these sites. I will no longer participate on the sites I previously moderated or on any other Stack Exchange sites.

This decision was forced upon me, as Stack Exchange (the company) has breached the trust of its users, especially its volunteer moderators, and has shown no interest in repairing the harms it has inflicted on the community, including specific harms to the reputation of one of the most-respected moderators in the network’s history. The company has made clear that these errors and changes are permanent and beyond question or debate. Indeed, its handling of recent developments has shown that it intends to continue to lead by fiat, without meaningful input from users. That is the company’s prerogative, but this course of action makes these sites inhospitable and unworthy places to invest my limited time.

In light of these facts, I cannot and will not further contribute here. It has been a pleasure knowing and working with many of you, and I hope we may meet again under fairer skies.

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