To everyone here that's questioning whether or not SE is the right platform for the bioacoustics community's Q/A site, and all the frustrated (rightfully so!) users who are basically in SE prison for 7 days, I want to say that SE is still a great platform and I have hope that it will last.

I've seen worse, and I've been through worse, so trust me that there's still hope left. Although, suspending 100s of accounts in a new and budding site, without giving those users any warning or notification that they were potentially violating a policy (which didn't actually "exist" anywhere, at least visibly), certainly goes down as one of the worst things I've seen SE do to a community.

Stay strong everyone. 7 days seems like forever, but it will fly by in no time. I have much more to say but don't have much time today, especially after spending a lot of time on this.


1 Answer 1


my username is Mari-Lou and I am an outsider. I recently joined Bioacoustics SE and hope to gain insight to what seems a fascinating topic but which I confess I am totally ignorant about. I am writing on meta because I am no stranger to staff and Community Managers who intervene late in moderator elections. Chaos is confusing and hurtful but it is the build up of resentment, and distrust which is far more damaging. Do not let recent events dictate what is the future of your site. HOWEVER…

The OP seriously underestimates the far-reaching consequences of this mass suspension.

As a result of a preliminary investigation, the Community Management Team has decided that the best course of action is to cancel the ongoing election, undertake a deeper investigation of the extent of these irregularities, and schedule a new election once we’ve assessed the impact of those irregular activities and taken the appropriate corrective measures. […]

We plan to schedule a new election to take place in the coming weeks, but we will keep the community updated and let you know as soon as we have a new date for nominations to open.

@JNat Aug 15 2022

When a user is suspended on any Stack Exchange site, be it for as little as 24 hours or as long as a year they are exempt from participating in an election on any site where they have earned the necessary requisites for the following twelve months.

Four of the five nominees, users who stepped up to the plate and said they were willing to moderate a site, can no longer run for moderator in Bioacoustics Stack Exchange nor in any SE election for the next twelve months. The original election had to be cancelled because four of the five nominees were suspended which led to the organisation of a new election on August 24, 2022. If only one of the five nominees had been directly affected, in all probability the original election would have continued.

The new election is ongoing but it comes accompanied with a stern warning:

[emphasis not mine]

Without a successful first election that results in 3 users being appointed as moderators, the site will not be able to progress, and will instead be shut down.

Does anyone among the Stack Exchange staff have any common sense? First, the mass suspension, which came out of the blue, now an election with the threat the site will be closed if users eligible for nomination do not participate.

I wonder if the kind of enthusiastic and keen environment that is essential for any site, old or new, could overcome such a similar shock in the space of ten days. Why weren't the offenders/users issued with a warning much earlier? Was this masterminded by a single individual or a core group? It seems highly unlikely seeing as deleted comments are visible to moderators and community managers. Isn't standard policy to FIRST issue warnings to offenders and only after a repeated violation, punish the bad behaviour with a suspension?

Thanks to the tardiness of the investigation (where have I seen that happening?) and the unravelling of events, Bioacoustic users might not share the same enthusiasm as they did 10 days ago. I believe a more sensible measure would have been to wait at least a month, regain the trust of the community and in the meantime carefully evaluate the situation of every person affected by the suspension, and above all allow users the possibility to defend themselves.

It may be too late for users to clear their names in time for the election but it is not too late to work together on healing. I wish Acoustics.SE the very best of elections. Please don't forget to nominate yourselves for the election, show the community that the site still thrives and has enough promise to become stronger and healthier. Good luck!


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