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@MadScientist deleted this question:

"Do Trans people want to change "their biological sex"? Is that impossible?"

He apparently also suspended the account for a day.

While the "claimant" text posted is definitely in poor taste, it undoubtedly does reflect what many people believe. The question itself is, thus, par for the course here.

The user posting the question also posted an answer debunking the claim. So this cannot be constructed to be a push-question either.

There are good answers to this waiting to be written, providing a good counterpoint to the original rant in public view. In actual fact, I was 95% finished with writing mine when the question was deleted without further warning.

I see absolutely zero reason why this Q/A was deleted and the user suspended, other than a knee-jerk reaction by the moderator. I request the question to be undeleted, the user's suspension be lifted, and perhaps an apology -- or at least an explanation -- be given by the moderator in question.


Also, I'd ask moderators not to abuse their "mod-hammer" powers. Deletion by mod rights means no voting, not even on a reopening. It also means that people might be cut off from posting an answer they might have been preparing, with no prior warning be given. This should be reserved for clear infractions of the site rules, and at the very least there should be an explanatory comment. It was IMHO definitely uncalled for here.

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  • That same moderator deleted an answer about Jeffery Epstein's death being a homicide, said that it was "Essentially unreferenced" even though it was fully referenced -- There were complaints by another mod that the answer contained the works of a "Racist Nutjob". I opened a question in Meta and he NEVER answered what he meant by essentially unreferenced. Also, outright transophobic slur << He ought to elaborate on that, because that sort of language policing is an incredibly low bar, and it sounds like he was looking for a reason to delete that answer.
    – Anon
    Feb 27, 2023 at 23:30
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    @Anon {shrug} As it seems the mods here are fine with "we are the mods, trust us unquestioningly", there is little point in argueing. They are the cabal, they don't answer our questions, take it or leave it. Sucks, but I've butted heads with such a mod cabal before on a different stack and don't care to try again.
    – DevSolar
    Feb 27, 2023 at 23:44
  • What you are doing is very good for transparency, and it enables people further down the line to build a case, particularly for a question like this: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/320109/… << The fact that you call it a cabal, is very important, and I agree because of how they are acting here. If there are more, it should be noted. The trouble opposing it is that complaints trickle in one by one, and they will be downvoted [heavily in my case], especially if the intent is to expose moderation abuse.
    – Anon
    Feb 28, 2023 at 0:01

2 Answers 2

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In brief:

  • It is unclear what the blogger is claiming.

  • It is unclear what claim the question is about.

  • It is unclear how the OP's answer addresses the question.

Overall, it isn't worth the heroic effort required to save this question. Having a quality question on the subject would be welcome.


Here are just some of the things that would need to be fixed:

  • The transphobic and ableist slurs are not welcome here. The question isn't about the slurs, so they should be edited out, and preferably warnings given on the link that it is NSFW.

  • Anyone making a logical argument can choose to define words however they like, as long as they are clear about it. The blogger first conflates gender and sex ("They still insist on being treated as bona fide members of the opposite sex."), and then uses that to deny that there is a difference. Okay, in their vocabulary there is no difference. Fine. But that's not a claim. That is a choice of definitions. It is meaningless to ask "Is this blogger's choice of definitions right?"

  • It isn't clear what they mean by "biological sex". It isn't a well-defined term in biology. It appears to be begging the question about whether humans have a simple binary sex. The question should be edited to avoid asking about that. (Alternatively, it might be interesting to ask separately if "biological sex" is a well-defined term in academic biology, even though I kind of gave away the answer just then.)

  • It isn't clear what it means to ask "Do trans people want X?" 1.4 million people in America alone are not all of one mind. They don't all want the same thing.

  • The title and the body of the question don't ask the same question, and neither of them are claimed by the blogger:

    • The blogger doesn't claim what the title asks: They don't say "Trans people want to change their biological sex". They say "They still insist on being treated as bona fide members of the opposite sex." which is a different claim.

    • The blogger does not claim what the question body asks: "Are "male" and "female" discreet states of being?"

Because the OP asked and answered their own question, we may be heroically working to fix this question without anyone actually caring about the answer.

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  • Well, I asked this Meta question because I did care about the answer, and have written one at length. The issues you point out with the claim are inherent to the anti-trans POV, and are exactly what a good answer should point out. All this is what comments are for -- asking the OP to improve the question, or having others edit it. We do that constantly, "heroic" or not. Instead, Q was hammered mod-shut (so voting to re-open cannot be done), and the OP banned. For what? For the slurs in the Q? The A by OP makes it clear those are not his POV. Poor choice perhaps, but a year of suspension?
    – DevSolar
    Apr 27, 2022 at 9:58
  • This issue needed editing. Perhaps downvoting, even closing. I am in no way arguing about that. I do not see where it required moderation, and I am opposed to the user receiving a year-long suspension without further explanation.
    – DevSolar
    Apr 27, 2022 at 10:01
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    We have a culture/policy of not publicly shaming suspended users, because we want them to use the time to learn about what is expected here, and be welcomed back by the community. Unfortunately, it makes these sorts of discussions rather awkward and one-sided and feels very un-transparent to me. :-(
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Apr 27, 2022 at 10:02
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    I should emphasize: you can contact StackExchange to complain about mods if their actions are inappropriate. See the Contact link at the bottom of the page. FWIW, the mod who suspended the user contacted the other mods about it, and I agreed with their action.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Apr 27, 2022 at 10:04
  • And not even a categorization of the reason for suspension is given. Has the answer been seen, and taken into account? (Neither you nor MadScientist answered that part so far.) "Generally there is a history"? Has there been a history with that user, and what kind? That's not shaming (I am not asking anyone to cite examples), that is justifying a moderator activity that has been called into question. I am not saying that mod actions are inappropriate here, I am saying they seem so. Right now your answer is "mods are doing things, complain to higher-uppers if you don't like"?
    – DevSolar
    Apr 27, 2022 at 10:10
  • Please understand me correctly. I am on the fence on this one. Certainly I don't like the slurs, and find the anti-trans POV detestable, but that is not the issue. Right now I want to find out whether this is a case of a user that should be protected from moderator abuse, or a case of "well done but just leave some kind of explanation next time". OP can't explain / defend themselves anymore, because of the suspension...
    – DevSolar
    Apr 27, 2022 at 10:57
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    You realize that this is you doing to the OP basically what StackExchange did to Monika? You took an administrative decision, and other than "we are right" refuse to talk about it.
    – DevSolar
    Apr 29, 2022 at 6:22
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Apr 29, 2022 at 9:17
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    @DevSolar Late to the party, but even if I'm not a mod anymore I can assure you that the suspension is 100% warranted, and not only because I know Oddthinking and MadScientist but also because I remember the user who's been at "it" for years ("it" being the reason for suspension that can't be disclosed). Just because some content by the user has been salvaged, that doesn't mean that there is an amount of pure crap posted by them.
    – Sklivvz
    Sep 20, 2022 at 21:29
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The user in question was suspended for a year, which usually indicates that there is a significant history to the suspension. We generally do not suspend for a year for the first rule violation. In general most suspensions are for pattern of behaviour, and not individual actions

There is an inherent problem with using fringe sources as claims here. We do have more potential audience here than many fringe blogs of the kind that was quoted here. In those cases we might actually be doing more harm than good because we are giving a broader audience to potentially offensive fringe beliefs.

There was also another question by the same user that was deleted a day before for related reasons.

This specific question contains one outright transophobic slur, a few more insults and other offensive content. Sometimes it is necessary to reproduce offensive content to be able to debunk it or analyze it. This is not one of these times.

You can always write your own question with a better notable claim and self-answer it, if you have an answer that can no longer be posted on the original question.

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  • OK, I didn't look at the year properly. Even worse, because 1) I don't see a rule violation here, definitely not one worth a year-long suspension. 2) Options include a comment asking to edit out the slurs, or doing an edit yourself. -- The sad fact is that the tone of those claims is quite usual for transphobic pundits denying the concept of gender outright. Especially with the user in question debunking the claims with an answer of his own, I still see no grounds for deletion, let alone a year of suspension. The user was not the one making those claims, nor did he endorse them!
    – DevSolar
    Apr 22, 2022 at 13:19
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    As I feel I haven't pointed that out enough -- what you call "fringe" is unfortunately common in society. I feel we should tackle such views head-on instead of insisting they be presented in a more modest manner. More modest pundits also express more modest views, and showing the more extreme views have no foundation to stand on is what Skeptics is for IMO. Moderate the slurs if need be. But if you suspended the user for this Q and A, you went too far.
    – DevSolar
    Apr 22, 2022 at 16:12
  • Your edit does not explain much. Have you seen that the user has posted his own debunking answer to the claim? You apparently blocked him for the Q without realizing the A.
    – DevSolar
    Apr 24, 2022 at 14:47
  • So long ban for admittedly bad-faith question seems excessive. Are the list of infractions visible somewhere/somehow?
    – pinegulf
    May 2, 2022 at 5:39
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    @pinegulf Details about suspensions are private unless the users themselves choose to make them public. In this case there is a long history, the suspension is not so much about this specific post but a pattern of actions.
    – Mad Scientist Mod
    May 2, 2022 at 5:56

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