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The question "What is the best password storage scheme for end users to store high entropy, unique passwords which is failure resistant" has been locked by Shog9, with the comment: "This post has been locked while disputes about its content are being resolved. For more info visit meta"

Why was this question locked? What "disputes about its contents" is @Shog9 referring to? I didn't see an explanation or a thread on meta explaining this decision.

I'd also like to raise a concern about @Shog9 bypassing this site's community moderation process. I thought StackExchange espoused the philosophy that they'd trust the site's community and its moderators. I wonder whether it was really necessary to step in and bypass the Security.SE community's own processes. For the future, I would prefer to see external StackExchange staff step in only under exceptional circumstances (which does not seem to be the case here).

Edit 11/6: I withdraw my concerns. The actions taken seem unobjectionable. I think I was mostly confused by the suggestion to visit meta for more information, and the lack of explanation why the question was locked. This can be closed, if others agree.

  • Due to the ongoing concerns, and in @DW's words "The problem, as you have defined it, is not solvable. " - I have deleted the question. After consulting with other moderators and SE staff, I have also issued a 7 day suspension along with guidance on expected behaviours on the site. – Rory Alsop Nov 9 '11 at 9:48
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I thought StackExchange espoused the philosophy that they'd trust the site's community and its moderators.

We do. As both Gilles and Ninefingers have noted, the post in question was being repeatedly edited by its author to consist mostly of an off-topic rant about the site itself, with one of this site's moderators stepping in twice already to revert it back to its original form. I saw it yesterday after Gilles mentioned it in chat, and decided to lock it because:

  • It was clear the author had no intention of letting the matter rest
  • This particular user has had something of a history of "defacing" his own posts on other sites.
  • The decision of the moderators here was clearly in favor of keeping the original post intact.

There's no particular reason why I had to step in, but I was aware of the situation, it was clear what needed to happen, doing nothing stood a decent chance of just prolonging angst, and so I acted. Most of the activity you'll see from SE staff will be in situations like this (other common scenarios involve spam and trolling).

Note that all actions by moderators or SE staff are visible to all other moderators (and SE staff) and therefore subject to review and possibly reversal. It's literally the first thing visible upon opening the moderator tools. Nothing is done in secret.

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    Thanks for the explanation! Seems eminently justified. I appreciate your actions to protect the site and our users. Sorry that I missed the revisions to the question; I just saw the reference to visit meta for more information, and was puzzled when I couldn't find any more information on meta. – D.W. Nov 6 '11 at 20:47
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    Yeah, we might need to change the wording on that a bit... AFAIK the intention is that there'll be a meta-thread linked if there's some tricky issue of scope being argued over, but in many cases it's just someone trying to roll back duplicate links or soapbox (or both) and nothing much to discuss. Normally I would have left a comment too, but in this case Hendrik already had a good one there. – Shog9 Nov 6 '11 at 21:22
  • Yeah, I saw Hendrik's comment, but I could not understand what it was referring to (apparently the offensive parts of the question had been rolled back, which probably explains why I found it inscrutable), and there was nothing visible that explained why the thread was locked. – D.W. Nov 6 '11 at 21:27
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Have a look at the posts revisions. What you can see here is an edit war - the OP clearly took exception to the community response (i.e. downvotes, various comments calling into question the scope of the question) and added a rather large section to the post to let off steam.

This was removed by community members and the OP repeatedly rolled back the post to include said content. To prevent this, Shog9 locked the post, which prevents anyone but a diamond (a site moderator or stack exchange employee "carrying" a diamond - not all do) doing anything meaningful to the question at all, including vote, edit, close, delete, undelete, answer etc.

Since users have most of these permissions on their own posts, locking is a last resort option which prevents even the OP from altering their own content. Stack Exchange content is contributed CC-by-SA, but once contributed you cannot revoke that license to your content and vandalising it or altering it in a way that is not constructive in the community needs to be prevented. That is what has happened here.

The idea is to force such discussion to resolve itself on meta whilst not allowing the post to suffer in the dispute. The OP is, therefore, welcome to wander over here and ask why their question was locked and hopefully achieve community consensus on what should be done. Clearly that discussion hasn't started yet; in this case, I think it would require the OP (or another person?) to ask why his question was, in the eyes of some, considered too broad.

As to why Shog9 stepped in - I don't know. Perhaps he saw the issue first? Perhaps he was checking up on our moderators/this community in general (that is his job, after all) and just saw a flag? Who knows; I don't. There is, however, nothing wrong with what he has done. He hasn't taken any action our moderators cannot undo; he has, however, prevented a problem from escalating. Shog9 has a lot of experience with this sort of stuff; he was hired precisely because of his contributions to SE and experienced a time before tools such as locking existed. I don't see a problem with SE staff helping out where their speedy action stops a problem dead in its tracks and encourages a community consensus, rather than the abuse of a post, or what you might see elsewhere as a derailed thread. Moderators are not all-present users and whilst there are three of them, it can happen that all three moderators are away for a time, particularly at weekends.

  • Thanks for the explanation! All seems well. – D.W. Nov 6 '11 at 20:46
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This was an exceptional circumstance. As you can see in the post's history, the asker added some angry remarks to the post which were later removed by an elected moderator. The asker again added this content, the moderator again removed it (“deleted insults (second time)”). Yesterday night, I happened to notice the insults and submitted an edit to remove them, and also flagged the post so that a moderator would see what's going on. Shog9 happened to notice the flag, approved my edit to remove the insults, and locked the post pending further resolution. Locking was a minimal intervention that solved the immediate issue (a poster who kept wanting to put up offensive content) while deferring long-term resolution to site moderators (who might decide to or not to close the post, contact the user, etc.).

  • Thanks for the explanation! Makes sense. – D.W. Nov 6 '11 at 20:46

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