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Intention of Resignation of Dilaton as moderator

+ 3 like - 0 dislike
313 views

PhysicsOverflow was always intended to be a high-level physics analog of MathOverflow and an open peer-review system, offering a good professional atmosphere to support academic discussions. Right from the start it has always been very clear to me, that the definite moderators in charge have to be in the real-world physics community established and trusted professionals, as it has been the case on the former Theoretical Physics SE site for example.

I never thought that moderation on PhysicsOverflow should be particularly my business in the first place, at least not in the long run. After setting up the site and going public, it some kind of accidentally sticked with me and Dimension10 (who does in my opinion a good job). Even after mailing explicitly to some physics professors who have been active on the site or are listed in the nomination thread, none of them had time to help us with moderation. What I always enjoyed and still like is welcoming new members to PhysicsOverflow, helping them register or solving other administrative technical issues to relieve and support Polarkernel such that he can spend time for developing our platform.

In the context of the bad mistakes I did in the past, because I then honestly misunderstood/misinterpreted our off-topic rule, it is therefore rather natural for me to now announce that

I will officially resign by April or May, when there will hopefully be someone to replace me(Clarification from Jia Yiyang after Dilaton's consent: the resignation is unambiguous, independent of whether or not a replacement can be found by the time.)

@Ron: I have to admit that the last few weeks I have been very VERY VERY angry and upset about you, because your recent Meta activities gave me a hell of a bad time and I seriously felt persecuted, hunted, harassed, and turned into an unperson personally. So the draft of this announcement I started yesterday, looked rather different than what I am writing now. I hope that you and everybody else will see now, that the very negative assumptions about my character and person discussed recently are really not true and I acknowledge that my silence (I did not dare to post anymore!) probably contributed to these discussions. If these things become settled, I ask you to hide or edit these comments misrepresenting my character and person. In the near future I will hopefully be changing my academic position a bit and I fear that otherwise, if certain people are able to establish the connection between these comments and my real-world person, it will largely damage my real-world life and career.

@Vladimir I admit that sometimes you have been successfully able to drive me up the wall. But of course I should not have edited your comments out and apologize for this to you.

In the near future I will have to face some real-world issues that may keep me rather busy offline. Also, since about a year my health is no longer what it used to be, and it was again negatively affected by the for me emotionally very straining and stressful recent happenings on PhysicsOverflow.  So I will probably have to reduce my activity on the site to recover and sort out some real-world business. I already stopped doing moderation (apart from dealing with obvious spam); I have never done much of it anyway.

I hope that we can now all work together to save  revive PhysicsOverflow and make it the success and helpful support for the international physics community it is meant to be.

asked Feb 3, 2015 in Public Official Posts by Dilaton (4,295 points) [ revision history ]
recategorized Mar 28, 2015 by dimension10
Most voted comments show all comments
I personally forgive you and wish you a success in your academic career. I also appreciate very much your contribution to establishing, developing, and maintaining this site. (Friends? ;-)
Hi, Dilaton: get better as soon as possible. Would you like me to (partially) delete any comment/post I wrote?? (Of course only if there's a justified reason to do so). Get better!

I don't make any negative assumptions about your character and person. I made observations about your actions. These observations were (trying hard to be) honest. The discussions about our problem set a precedent for the site moderation, they allow folks to trust the site has a way of dealing with mistakes, so that the moderation team is self-correcting. If they are deleted, we are back to where we started, and it is possible to erase this whole discussion and start from scratch, with all the lessons learned forgotten, as soon as more people join the site than are already on it. This  is why I must respectfully ask you not to remove the currently visible comments. Once the discussion is erased, once there are 3 new moderators who know nothing about what came before, everything will eventually be forgotten, and things will return to the way they were, with bad mistakes happening again by new people, who are just as well-meaning as you are (and you are).

I hope your declaration is sincere, and I wish you luck in your professional life. This was never a personal dispute, as I tried to make clear, simply a worry about how  moderation on the site will look.

The moderators can be trusted academics, but the role of moderation is not really academic accuracy--- the users do that through voting. The goal of moderation is just to ensure that discussions are allowed without censorship, so that the accuracy voting is not skewed by political considerations. When normal people (like you) just do what comes naturally, the result is the type of moderation seen on stackexchange, not by intention, but because the imbalance of power leads to different perspectives.

I am reserving judgement about this, not because I don't like you, I think you are a nice person. I think you don't see that without clear accountability, and clear precendent for what constitutes overstepping the bounds of moderatorship, this will happen again and again and again, it is what happens everywhere else, including communities run by trusted academics.

I made a similar mistake as you also--- I edited someone's question. The person never responded, I realized I was doing something wrong, I apologized, and wrote the user rights in response. The dispute was mostly due to the cover-up, not admitting the actions. It wasn't that you set out to decieve us, it's just people don't like to say things that are uncomfortable. This is normal, it's not unusual. But if we don't establish a precedent for the site to have honest open discussions, discussions that don't get deleted, then there is no progress, and it will go back to SE levels.

+1 to Ron's comment. I agree with him. A different thing is if you ask him to replace some specific word(s) with others, without changing the meaning of the comment. That's my opinion.
Yes, we must at least edit those discussions in order to remove any hints on Dilaton's personality. It should not bother Dilaton any more, it is useless for him to continue worrying.
Most recent comments show all comments

@RonMaimon: I am not unhappy now that dilaton confirms that he still intends to resign. 

@RonMaimon: ''I always intended to keep my promise'' already correctly expresses what dilaton explained it to mean. The past tense is needed to cover the past, and the always extends it to the present, unless cancelled by an explicit but.

("I always intend to keep my promise'' is grammatically meaningless, as one cannot do anything always in the present. "I always intend to keep my promises'' is again correct language but says something quite differently - it refers to a character trait covering past, present and future.)

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