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Whilst I am not aware of issues with the moderation of Philipp on other topics, on the topics of Israel and Palestine it is obvious that they are unable to act in an objective fashion. Hence I suggest that they take a step back and refrain from moderating anything related to Israel or Palestine. As evidence behind my claim consider the following clear examples of bias.


Exhibit 1:

enter image description here

I removed an opinion form the answer which was not backed up with any reference. The author reverted the remove. Mod Philipp locks the post with the opinion in place (it remains in place till today). Fine, maybe Philipp thinks that opinions are OK in answers. No problem.

Now look at this:

enter image description here

Philipp removes statements, which are backed by references to major news and human rights organisations, because according to them these are "opinions". What clearer proof of bias, double standards and unfair moderation can there be?


Edit: I messed up with exhibit 2 below which is relating to mod @ohwilleke and not Philipp. I am leaving it in place as it is still a very clear example of anti-Palestinian bias in the mod team and requires addressing.

Exhibit 2

Philipp, quotes mod JJJ claiming that the ICJ has not ruled that Israel is plausibly committing genocide. I edit out the quote since JJJ has admitted that they were mistaken. Philipp reverts the edit and keeps the false quote in place despite the fact that JJJ themself post a comment admitting that they were mistaken. See the screenshots below.

enter image description here

enter image description here

There are many other examples of ther biased moderation on this topic, but I think the above two suffice. So @Philipp, I suggest that you do the honourable thing, apologise for your unfair moderation in the past and agree to step aside in the future.

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    That second one is quite clearly not Philipp.
    – F1Krazy
    Mar 6 at 9:51

3 Answers 3

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Regarding your "Exhibit 1": My goal there was to stop an edit war and get the two people editing back and forth to talk it out and come to an agreement. When stopping an edit war, you have to freeze the back and forth somewhere. Unfortunately the two people didn't engage any further. Yes, I should have put more attention to that following the edit war. But unfortunately it just went off my radar due to the huge number of flags we receive recently (yesterday evening we were down to 9, this morning we were back to 23 again).

I now made an edit which I believe is a compromise that keeps the point the original author wanted to make in a less polemic way and backed up by a source.

I can not say anything about the "Exhibit 2", because I wasn't involved.

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    Surely you can see that this is not an adequate response? In the case of my answer you actively deleted sections that were referenced. In the case of theresawalrus's response, you left their unreferenced opinions in place, and when it has now been brought to your attention, you modify the answer to add in what you consider to be the missing references. How on earth is that not double standards? An equivalent response would be to delete chunks of their answer.
    – Ben Cohen
    Mar 6 at 20:53
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    Furthermore, you have still left opinions in place, unmodified, in theresawalrus's. The asnwer still contains "Because telling them "No" just invites a new occasion to condemn Israel."
    – Ben Cohen
    Mar 6 at 20:54
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    Finally, I fail to see how this thread can be the first time that theresawalrus's answer came to your attention as I created a meat thread particularly about that answer. Given how often you post on meta it seems unlikely that you would fail to have seen that thread.
    – Ben Cohen
    Mar 6 at 20:56
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I have noticed the same. I've just had a post deleted which I suspect is due to pro-Israel bias by moderator philipp.

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Moderator Philipp has been elected by users, can be voted out by users next election, but until then remains a moderator.

While I think that, on balance, pro-Israel, pro-Palestine users putting up inflammatory posts do not always get the exact same treatment *, I think it unfair to single out a single moderator. Especially as a lot of moderation happens through general users' up and down votes, flagging and closure/delete/reopens.

If the community senses that there is a bias against pro-Palestine posts then it should take reasoned steps to raise the question in meta, not finger-pointing towards one individual performing what must be the sh&t job of all sh&t jobs at this point in time, keeping squabbling kids from each other.

* I think this is getting somewhat better. Some excessively biased pro-Israel posters have been put on vacation lately. That said, some pro-Palestine posters, perhaps for understandable reasons (but the other side has those as well) can veer off in name calling, terrorism apologism and lengthy in-question "support for their position", making defending their posts quite hard to defend.

p.s. one possible approach would be to apply the same level of "institutionalized intolerance" towards Islamophobia/Palestine criticism ** as gets applied to antisemitism/Israel criticism, at least on questions concerning this conflict, during this point in time. That, if a position formally adopted by moderators, would result in equally harsh punishments being meted out to both sides.

This isn't totally out of the blue. SE.History has a, well-publicized, extra level of scrutiny towards any and all Holocaust-related questions, a policy that has served them well to keep it from becoming a forum enabling abuse.

** No, criticizing Hamas and calling them terrorists is not Islamophobia. They are just that and big part of the PR problem of some pro-Palestine posters is trying to blur that line. Hamas may start out with valid reasons for resisting Israel, but that does not excuse its methods in the least. Post 10/7, not really all that debatable.

On the flip side, that also indicates one possible criteria for "enhanced moderation" going the other way: repeated promotion of "Gaza civilians == Hamas combatants", in the context of stating which military options are acceptable at least, should, to me, be grounds for warnings and more.

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    I am not saying that they need to step down or be removed. Merely that they need to stop moderating this topic which they clearly are not equipped to do in a fair, objective manner.
    – Ben Cohen
    Mar 6 at 21:00
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    @BenCohen There is no way to "neuter" a sitting moderator where they don't adjucate the issues you don't want them to adjucate. And that's why your question isn't being well received. And that's the core of my answer, not this needless quibbling about election formats. Furthermore, you are unfairly accusing them of bias while they are just enforcing the general SE.Po policies, one of which is to guard against antisetism. Granted, that policy may need some re-calibration, in an Israel-vs-X conflict, but until that happens, they are just doing their job. Mar 6 at 21:18
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    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica, yes there is a way to neuter (as you put it) a sitting moderator. That is, if the moderator themself realise that they are not equipped to moderate a particular topic fairly and agree to step back. That is exactly what I am asking Philipp to do in this question by bringing examples of their unfair moderation to date.
    – Ben Cohen
    Mar 10 at 11:18

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