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After watching the incendiary situation regarding a certain question (here and here), I was wondering if I could pose a solution. I was thinking that if I or someone else asked the question on the main site using as neutral language as possible, then any parties who do want to cause problems by asking the question in a specific way won't have the opportunity to because if they did post it as a new question it would have to be closed as a duplicate. I understand that, of course, the problem is not specifically about this question, it is about a lot of larger issues with parts of the community. However, I do think that this could be a decent heuristic solution to one of the problems.

That being said, I can see two issues with it and those are why I would like moderator feedback. First, I want to make my intentions clear: trying to pose the question in a neutral way so as to not incite any sort of issues with any of the parties involved with the question. The situation with this question, as well as the larger problems, has spilled out into a lot of different Q&A's and comments as well as chatrooms, so I feel like this is a problem that is having an impact on the community as a whole. I do feel like the problem of making my intentions clear is taken care of by this post, but that leads into the second issue. I can understand completely if a moderator thinks that I would just be adding more issues to the situation as well as getting involved with it when I don't need to be. I stand by my statement that this is me trying to be a positive member of this community and trying to create a civil solution to this problem, but I can understand if moderators don't believe this will help, or that it might create more problems.

I do think that the question is interesting and can solicit interesting answers. It touches on the ideas of agency and evolution. One of the biggest ideas that scientists say is a misconception is the idea that "evolution strives to attain a goal" which ascribes agency to evolution in a way that scientists don't agree with. I think that it's at least worthy of a response because I know that there are active, regular users who care a lot about the philosophy of biology, life, and evolution who would be able to illuminate how this question of genetic agency is handled in philosophy. At the very least, because "evolution strives to attain a goal" is a commonly held belief, it will provide users with a chance to give a go to answer that contains the philosophical and scientific perspectives on the issue.

Of course I'm also open to hearing what other members of the community besides just moderators have to say. As I said, this specific set of issues has spilled over into a lot of other questions and I am sure that many other people would like the situation to be resolved. I just wanted to formulate this as a meta question before attempting to post the question because I don't want to be misconstrued as a adding tension to the issue. All of this being said, I would appreciate if there was some sort of discussion about this, more than just a moderator saying "this wouldn't be a good idea". As I've now stated multiple times, the issues going on around this question have shown up in multiple other places on the site and are no longer concerning only a the few people is started with. The current solution that moderators have been using is applying temporary bans, and I do think that that is a good idea in a lot of circumstances, but with regards to certain people I don't think that solution has worked out perfect and I think its fair for other members of the community to engage the moderators on the issue. Moderating is hard, and volunteer moderators are the backbone of almost all online communities, and I think that members of the community having discussions and dialogues with moderators about issues going on adds to a sense of togetherness.

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First of all, your ideas and intentions are very much appreciated.

I can understand completely if a moderator thinks that I would just be adding more issues to the situation as well as getting involved with it when I don't need to be.

By asking an objective question that stands by itself, you do not get involved in the issue. When other people try to edit the question or post comments or answers that do not conform to the guidelines, they will be rolled back or removed. When you or anyone posts something here - in good faith - that conforms to the guidelines, we will do all we can to make that possible by removing noise around the post. And by 'we' I mean the whole community.

I can understand if moderators don't believe this will help, or that it might create more problems.

I don't think this will really help. The problem is not that these users really want to have a discussion about that topic, but don't know how to formulate their ideas. The problem, as I see it, is on a personal level, and these questions are just a symptom, if you will.

It may create more problems, because of responses that will be posted, but that simply means that we need to watch the thread, flag posts that don't conform, etc.

However, that should not hold you back. As you say:

I do think that the question is interesting and can solicit interesting answers.

Then you should not feel hindered by problems elsewhere. If you think it's interesting to have an overview of the debate here on the site (which I can very much understand), you should feel free to ask a question about it.

As I said, this specific set of issues has spilled over into a lot of other questions and I am sure that many other people would like the situation to be resolved.

Sometimes it is hard to see how much of the trouble the interaction between two or three users is causing is actually visible and noticed by regular users. As a moderator, you see all the bad things, so our view is a little skewed. Had I realised that the problem was so visible, sooner action may have been appropriate.

The current solution that moderators have been using is applying temporary bans, and I do think that that is a good idea in a lot of circumstances, but with regards to certain people I don't think that solution has worked out perfect and I think its fair for other members of the community to engage the moderators on the issue.

The general way StackExchange deals with users not improving their behaviour after a ban is suspension progression (can't find documentation for that, but see this for example). That way users who don't improve eventually won't be able to cause harm any more. Still, suspensions are always the last resort and if we can work it out together we should.

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    I completely agree with all of your points. I wasn't aware that there was a progression to suspension but that does make a lot of sense. I don't think that you or any other moderators have handled the situation badly though, its a very hard situation to deal with and I think you have all demonstrated a lot of patience with it. I do agree with you that the parties didn't want to discuss that question, it was something a lot bigger than just that. That being said at some time later tonight I will try and formulate the question in neutral terms and if I think it does a good enough job Ill post it – Not_Here Mar 17 '17 at 22:00
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    Moderating is very tough work (at least here on philosophy.SE). Moderator actions are basically instantaneous and a good percentage of people who moderators have to contact generally continue the patterns you see in their public posts ... plus many of them spice in some personal attacks ... and bizarre accusations. I think the moderators are doing a good job. – virmaior Mar 18 '17 at 1:01
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    Thanks, both :) – Keelan Mar 18 '17 at 9:02

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