I'm starting to get a bit of the heebiejeebies of the recent communications of our moderator team.
https://opensource.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/641/stay-bright-a-wake-up-call-to-reviewers, especially in it's earlier iterations (check its history) tells me I'm not banned yet, but stay on your toes, because you might well be in the future.
What should our site goals be? tells me there is/was a desire to have communal ideals that should be used as a litmus test for questions and answers (this was fortunately rejected by the community.)
I've seen discussions in comments get cleared (with or without a note that it was moved to chat) when they discuss moderator or SE actions (for example Discussing scope overhauls with Programmers SE , but I know I have seen others as well, this is not so easy to find.)
Discussions are being held in opaque and secret backchannels, from which transcripts can't be provided.
Together, this conjures an image to me of the moderator team as some sort of thought police that maintains a "wall of silence". This is undoubtedly not their intention, but it does come across to me as such.
This makes me reluctant to do community tasks like
- Performing review tasks when I have the idea that my opinion doesn't line up with the moderators opinion
- Speaking my mind on Meta, if I have the idea that my opinion doesn't line up with the moderators opinion
- Speaking my mind in chat
And finally and most importantly make me feel unwelcome on this site. Even writing this post makes me fear it will lead to my suspension or summary deletion of this post. I'm afraid that if this goes for me it goes for others as well. I believe the pluriformity of a community is important for its scope, for avoiding groupthink, to prevent cronyism and to create and maintain a pleasant working environment for all volunteers on this project.
If we want to avoid bleeding out contributors, I believe we have to do something to turn this around. This is not a fun subject, but if we don't address this, it might fester and spread, to the point it's too late to address it before more serious harm is done than just my heebiejeebies, and starts to do actual harm to the site. What can we do to alleviate these feelings and concerns?