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  Resignation of Jia Yiyang as moderator

+ 2 like - 2 dislike

I hereby claim to resign from moderator position. Although it's first proposed by Arnold, I do so completely out of free will. It has nothing to do with Arnold's accusation of me for lack of mercy, and I'm firmly unapologetic of my own division line for justice and mercy. Arnold's proposal simply reminds me that this is a good chance to resign. 

This claim shall not be taken as a precedent of breaking promise(I promised PO one year of moderatorship), the justifications for my resignation are as follow:

(1)I took up the moderator position during a political and legal fight where the two sides could hardly have one single unemotional exchange, while both sides seemed still willing to talk to me peacefully. Hence I agreed to be a moderator to lower the communication barrier, and I've always considered the appointment as an emergency measure.

(2)Related to (1), my nomination and appointment were both hasty. I got +2-0 votes when I took the appointment, not an impressive margin. In addition, the short duration between the nomination and appointment practically eliminated the possibility for downvotes. Hence it was not strictly lawful.

Hence future legitimately elected moderators are in no position to repeat my case.

Personally, this seems to be a good timing for me to resign: with the newly implemented feature "revision history" for comments and the user right document saying

Protection of text

The final say on the text always belongs with the original author, and there is no imposition of content change without reversion.

Any closure/deletion of text will be for a publically stated reason, which is "off topic, spam, duplicate, plagiarism, low-level material, incomprehensible text which could not be explained by author". But it is requested that the author try to make efforts to help clarify the text in case others have a difficult time understanding it.

I think it's safe to say even in the worst imaginable scenario, Physicsoverflow is still a much more inhabitable place than PhysicsStackexchange, which drove me away by their absolutely zero protection of speech. I now have no fear even if I can't have my eyes on how moderators work in private.

In addition, being a moderator has severely restrained my willingness to vote on the recent moderator-related issues due to potential conflict of interests and the moral common sense. If I resign, I can finally freely vote on these issues as I have wanted.

My only concern after resigning, though not a big one, is that Dilaton's earlier resignation decision due to a severe moderating crime gets revoked. I would consider a revocation quite dark and disgraceful, since it basically says "We moderators don't have accountablity and you ordinary users can't do anything about it". In that case please consider my resignation out of a utter shame to ever take up such a shameful position. The ideal case would be Dilaton resigns for a symbolic period and go through the voting procedure again before he/she can be re-elected, if this is what finally happens please consider this paragraph irrelevant. 

PS. I promise I'll cast no vote under this post, neither answers nor comments.   

EDIT: It has become too late in my time zone, I apologize in advance that I can't quickly response to inquiries.       

asked Mar 23, 2015 in Public Official Posts by Jia Yiyang (2,640 points) [ revision history ]
edited Mar 25, 2015 by dimension10

@polarkernel @dimension10 @Dilaton, please remove my moderating powers and remove me from the moderator email list.

This is kinda silly, It seems like you were a fine moderator.

I don't think Dilaton's renomination(In the sense of being re-elected, not otherwise), if it even happens must be seen as you suggest.

Everyone including Dilaton agree that it was bad. If anything it signifies that we are allowing people to learn from their mistakes.

I would still like it if you don't resign. You personal opinion on Dilaton's position as a moderator has absolutely nothing to with your commitment to being a responsible moderator.

And @ArnoldNeumaier Please you need to make the issue simpler, not more complex.

@Prathyush, the point is I am unwilling to become a moderator under normal circumstances, and it's somewhat restraining(from myself) my freedom at Meta. Besides, the marginal benefit for keeping me as a moderator has approached 0: the hardest part of site management are being done by dimension10 and polarkernel, who write codes and scripts; and even in terms importing post and tagging post, I'm not doing them as frequently as dimension10 and Dilaton. 

If you believe my post is sincere, you should see Arnold has neither made the issue simpler nor more complex.

@JiaYiyang What do you mean normal circumstances. Do you mean current circumstances?  Due to question that Arnold raised? As a moderator I would say you did the right thing. In the event that the moderator makes a mistake, Its only upon the community to allow him to continue.

Even I will oppose if Dilaton is becomes a moderator without an election.

There are 5-6 people voting here. It is almost outrageous, that they cannot come to an understanding. 

It almost as if nothing progressive happened. Its still just as chaotic. If the Meta is not Quiet and progressive.(Like introducing useful things like a review section and so on) It is safe to say that the site will end up in a dump.

At this moment we are practically discussing absolutely nothing.

In fact I will also add an answer to see how many are interested in you continuing as a moderator. Maybe you can reconsider if a sufficient number of people are interested. If you allow me of course.

I strongly, strongly agree with @Prathyush; please don't resign because a user (albeit a valued and very important one) disagrees with your personal opinion. I can't imagine how downvoting for "lack of mercy" can be anything besides downvoting for having a personal opinion (like Mozilla kicking out Brendan Eich, for example).

I think that you've been, even in this short timespan, the best moderator we've had (something most users won't notice, because these actions aren't easily noticed), because you're more level-headed and less hasty than me. I was hoping to nominate you for admin to replace me at the end of the year (and will continue to do so). "Mercy" is about your personal opinion, and nothing related to moderatorship. There's no way that moderatorship affects one's say in a moderator review. The sooner everyone realises the, the better (for the site).

Really, your acceptance of moderatorship was the biggest thing that made me realise that we're stable enough to implement rotating moderatorship. Please, please don't go back on this.

(P.S. Last year's elections are over, it's pointless to resign based on the votes you received then. Since we'll be having our next election next month starting 4 April, I'll be renominating you then, and hope you'll accept it with enough votes.)

@Prathyush I'll be nominating you as well in the next election, I hope you'll agree to be a moderator (trust me, there will be no compulsion to do administrative work should you get elected, there is only the passive compulsion of belonging to the mod mailing list), we really need a more stable moderator team than the current one.

@dimension10 Thank you for the offer, I have a lot of work to do, including a masters thesis. In fact even this current meta discussion is kinda eating into my time. Maybe in 1-2 years I could consider.

I would also ask you to make make a meta post clearly indicating the following. "In the event that the moderator makes a mistake, Its only upon the community to allow him to continue." To ease Jia's responsibilities.

@Prathyush Ok, that's fine, although there's really no compulsion after being nominated as moderator.

Regarding the meta post, that's already the case - moderator reviews are handled by the community, as happened in Dilaton's case (I was personally unhappy with the outcome, but that's not the point).


What do you mean normal circumstances. Do you mean current circumstances? 

I mean when meta discussions can by and large proceed without pure emotional responses. It doesn't matter to me if the meta discussions are heated, as long as people are still reasoning. For example I rejected Ron's request when the "official warning" controversy was heatedly debated, since everyone was still reasoning. While during the more serious issue regarding Dilaton's edit of VK's comments and the cover-up, one side had the tendency to burst into flames while the other side went almost completely silent and stopped responding in public, I only then felt compelled to become a moderator. So in a sense it was against my will to become a moderator, on the contrary it is totally my will to resign.

It almost as if nothing progressive happened. Its still just as chaotic. 

If you've been through all the discussions during Dilaton's case, you'd see it has been a huge progress, for example, the revision history for comments was so quickly developed precisely due to those meta discussions. PO was a great place, it has become greater.

@dimension10, you missed my points, I already said it's not because of Arnold's opinion, and I'm well aware that's his personal opinion. Please read my post literally, I pledge there's no trick, no rhetorics, no innuendo, since there's absolutely no point of utilizing such techniques to honest and intelligent people. I write what I think in the most literal manner. 

@JiaYiyang That's what you think - there's no way your resignation exactly coincides with Arnold's comment, you subconsciously think it means that the wave is against you, it's just not true.

Again I repeat, you're the most level-headed and sensible mod we've had, please stay. Any irrational concerns about "mercy" should be ignored.

@dimension10, there's nothing subconscious, I have consciously wanted to resign the moment I thought Dilaton's case was completely settled, but it felt so awkward for myself to bring it up, Arnold's proposal only cancels the awkwardness for me.

@JiaYiyang So what? I want to resign too (because I feel I'm in an utterly deluded world thanks to mod powers), but I'm staying because there's no replacement - you should, too.

It almost as if nothing progressive happened. Its still just as chaotic. 

maybe I overreacted a bit, but I would say counts it as progress only when the issues are absolutely resolved. Even the past discussions are leading to some form of a agreement, Despite being tedious and slow.

Its clear that a lot of people don't want you to resign, if you really want it will be so.
The only issue seems to be that you were nominated under circumstances of pressure. Therefore you consider the fact that you were elected some what illegal.

Treat this as a request, but perhaps you can resign until April 4th, and someone can renominate you, as the elections are close by.

@dimension10, but you know I'm doing almost 0 moderation work after the settlement of Dilaton's case, while you and polarkernel are doing the most laborious things. There is no replacement for you, and I don't need any replacement, my resignation doesn't have any practical consequence. 


The only issue seems to be that you were nominated under circumstances of pressure. Therefore you consider the fact that you were elected some what illegal.

No that's not the issue, I stressed those points to reason that future moderators should not follow my case.  My own reason starts after points (1) and (2), just read them literally.

Treat this as a request, but perhaps you can resign until April 4th, and someone can renominate you, as the elections are close by.

I won't accept the nomination, I really want to spend more time in Q&A, and be a freer meta participant.  I will only consider to be nominated when we start to implement rotating moderatorship and if I see a shortage of people. But this is not happening anytime soon, so currently I see no necessity of doing so.

@JiaYiyang We have already "started to implement rotating moderatorship", and I hope you'll accept to be rotated in when I'm rotated out at the end of the year.

It's really always best to have moderators spread across time zones - if you do resign, everyone will have to wait for me to wake up before spam can be deleted, and this is really bad for the site. You are almost 3 hours ahead of me, Dilaton more than 3 hours behind, Ron was nearly 10 hours behind, that would have been an ideal situation, but unfortunately no longer possible.


We have already "started to implement rotating moderatorship", and I hope you'll accept to be rotated in when I'm rotated out at the end of the year.

Then we should discuss it at the end of the year.

@dimension10 @polarkernel @Dilaton, it's been 24 hours. I do not change my mind, please carry out my will.

@JiaYiyang OK, done : ( I'll still nominate you in the coming election, I hope you accept it. By the way, you might want to edit your profile now to change "Jan 2016" to "March 2015".

@dimension10, thanks!

1 Answer

+ 1 like - 1 dislike

Jia, you don't have any obligation to do adminstrative votes, imports, anything. You are mainly there to be a voice, because your opinion would not be represented if you were gone, and for some crazy reason, despite this being ridiculous, moderator opinions always count for more.

The attempt to get you to resign is also a form of social pressure. There is no reason for you to resign, and many reasons for you to stay on. Prathyush did not get a chance to vote on your nomination, from comments, he would vote for. There are others would would certainly vote for your staying on.

The subtext here is that Dilaton would like to reneg on the promise made to resign by the end of the month [[EDIT: No, the subtext is that Arnold would like peace, and would like the whole thing to be retracted]] . That's just not appropriate behavior. It is inconceivable to me that this would happen, it in itself is not trustworthy behavior, when someone says that they will step down in two months, a compromise between stepping down immediately and staying on indefinitely, that someone should do what they said they would do, even if they ask to be renominated immediately and win the vote. The step-down could even have been a 1-day symbolic gesture as Arnold suggested. My opinion is that it can't hurt if it were longer, but I can compromise, and I recognize a compromise for what it is.

You should know that I resigned my modship because you were there to take over, and I figured you are a normal person who has the point of view of an outsider, so you wouldn't be too far from the point of view of others here who are not in a real-world position of authority. That's the point of view of everyone in the world except professors of physics, it includes Lubos Motl, Myself, Robert Kraichnan and many others, including young people who make breakthroughs. This collection of non-academics includes students. It includes you and dimension10, Drake and Eduardo. There is a difference of opinion in academia regarding the value of speech by non-academics, non-academic opinions are 1/5-th of an opinion, become 3/5-ths of an opinion with a PhD, and become a full opinion once tenure is granted. There are exceptions made for Kraichnan and others, but exceptions are unnecessary here. This site needs to respect the opinions of academics only because it is really the one that is most often correct, due to academics' experience and wisdom, not simply because it is authoritative, because authority on sites like this is extremely damaging when the need arises to reverse the occasional bad consensus. This is a rare event, but it is an important situation to consider, it is the rare event that the internet is best at dealing with.

I didn't do any more administrative things than you did, there is no reason for you to resign, and you must count my vote on the mod pages, and ignore VK. You are the best moderator here now, as you are levelheaded and independent. Stepping down will shift the balance of power, and it is very easy to remove the safeguards afterwards. There is no unanimity in the current system, it was set up as a compromise between all sides under certain conditions. Without your presence, the conditions are altered, the compromise can vanish and convert into something else.

answered Mar 23, 2015 by Ron Maimon (7,720 points) [ revision history ]
edited Mar 24, 2015 by Ron Maimon
Most voted comments show all comments

@ArnoldNeumaier your link does not work

@RonMaimon Jia clearly indicated it was not social pressure. He wanted to leave even before hand.

@RonMaimon (and also @Yiyang and @Dimension10 and others): please to not claim that or act as if I had retracted my promise. I did not.

@Dilaton: I am so sorry! I apologize to you sincerely, and perhaps all is resolved.

 Dilaton and I have started communicating in a friendly way again,

This is very good news. If it shows in the next few days in a publicly visible way, I'll stop being confrontational - it is not my usual way of acting and it costs me far more energy than you may think.

While you are welcome to say we were all deluded, I think this is a mistake.

 Please don't (even in a merely suggestive way) put into my mouth words that I'd never say.

 Without your presence, the conditions are altered, the compromise can vanish and convert into something else.

Ron, I think your fear, though somewhat understandable, is unwarranted. After becoming a moderator, I have gained no more respect or social influence than when I was an ordinary user, the compromise and balance were achieved partly from me , dare I claim, as a valued user not as a moderator. I went into that position just to rest your fear and get Dilaton to start talking in public. I know my step down might cause a bit of anxiety in you, and I'm just gonna ask you to give a bit more trust. You should see by now there's no more severe loophole on PO. I'm looking forward to seeing you at Q&A and review sections.

Most recent comments show all comments

@ArnoldNeumaier: I try to keep promises, I don't think anyone wants to see me back for another year in a political role (I certainly don't). I expect others to keep their promises as well. Dilaton and I have started communicating in a friendly way again, thanks to you and you-know-who. But I also made a promise of (not crappy) scientific contributions that I would also really like to start to keep now.

I don't see any of the involved parties have changed their minds on the old stuff. The previous arrangements were carefully worked out over a period of a very acrimonious month, trying to get consensus from everyone. They are full of compromises, and miraculously satisfactory to everyone, and they sound even better now, at least to me, and I know to Jia and Dimension10, and I believe also Dilaton, now that we're all talking again (thank you).

I know you think we reached all the wrong conclusions because we used lousy methods without enough consideration of feelings and without enough spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood, and you are welcome to get consensus for changes, but I think it's a hopeless task except for the minor thing about the length of the symbolic resignation. I think we did the absolute best that could be done under the circumstances, aside from even more forgiveness and reconciliation (thanks again).

While your recent contribution to resolving the rudeness issue once and for all were ingenious in the highest degree, regarding the old stuff, you weren't present and you didn't see the discussions unfold, you don't see the now hidden discussions. and these things were worked out by well meaning people. While you are welcome to say we were all deluded we did not reach a correct compromise position, I think this is a mistake. I think everyone knows you put the site on the right path going forward, but I don't know why to change the path already trodden.

As far as I can see, Dilaton, Jia, Dimension10, me, not to mention Drake and Eduardo who aren't here anymore, have not changed their mind on the old nonsense, except now Jia decided to step down. Not on me staying out of moderatorship for at least a year (it will be good for the site), not on the nature of the events (they are sorted out), not even on the need for reconciliation, except for a bit more of it, and sooner.

Maybe people wish to accomodate your request for the resignation to possibly be quite a bit more symbolic than intended, which was already extremely symbolic, because Dilaton voluntarily agreed to do less site moderation anyway. That's really just a minor quibble to make you happy, it doesn't matter to me so much.

except now Jia decided to step down. 

To a large extent because

being a moderator has severely restrained my willingness to vote on the recent moderator-related issues due to potential conflict of interests and the moral common sense. If I resign, I can finally freely vote on these issues as I have wanted.

 (Thanks for the edit welcoming me to say something specific.)

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