What happened to @H2CO3?

I haven't seen him for days, but today I notice his profile pic changed with this quotation

I once was an active contributor on this site, but political correctness incentivizes moderators to favor assholes over professional values, so I left.

It's sad to hear it. He is one of the best people offering great answers here.

20 Likes

That's indeed a shame. I hope he is well and may reconsider his decision.
For what it's worth, I always valued his contributions, despite having opposed him on the wording of answers on quite a few occasions.

7 Likes

Good point. I also noticed that he wasn't to be seen lately.

I know some of his replies were rough, but nothing worth moderating imho. I have been a moderator to more than a couple of communities in the last 20 years myself, and that's what my experience tells me.

3 Likes

I agree.

1 Like

Regarding the question “what happened to”, I don’t think we can or want to communicate specifics of concrete moderation interactions publicly. I personally also find it unfortunate and surprising that he left. This reply is just my personal opinion, and we shall see whether or not, and how, moderators react to this topic publicly & officially.

I would like to oppose the view of “political correctness incentivizes moderators to favor assholes over professional values”, since moderation is not based on abstract PC but on our code of conduct, and let’s not discuss the word “assholes”. His text on the profile is accurate in that he decided to leave, and this is not a ban.[1]


  1. Just as a meta note for further discussion on this topic itself:

    If this was a ban, we would have a specific rule [point “6)” in the CoC, under “Moderation”] against “complaining” about that publicly. This doesn’t seem to apply to this case at all.

    Though I believe even beyond that, in-depth public/“in-channel” discussion or speculation regarding moderation actions has the potential to become problematic. ↩︎

12 Likes

This comment is pretty "unprofessional" and I think maybe they were talking from emotion. I hope they come back after a break. This internet stuff can be very draining.

4 Likes

My point is that the question in this topic is “what happened”, and the quotation of H2CO3’s profile is currently the only statement regarding to “what happened”. I want to clarify I do not agree with, i.e. oppose[1], this description of what happened.

I also want to express – I forgot to say – that I personally, too, have the hope he comes back.


  1. I should look up the exact connotations of the English word “oppose” though ↩︎

4 Likes

Man, that's sad.

He helped me a lot, was really cool having him around. He could be a bit crisp at times but nothing that would justify moderators going after him or could be considered a violation of the terms of conduct.

Of course we don't really know what really happened and I also haven't seen everything he posted here.

Anyway, I hope changes his mind.

4 Likes

Imho sad day for Rust community if permanent.

He might be considered a bit blunt at times, but i never thought his comments as intentionally offensive, rather imho stating the hard facts / his interpretation / point of view without any unwritten "assumptions" that many people communicate over with.

Several of the teachers i have had that gave me the most for life were the roughest and "meanest" of the group. Of course i realized that long time after. Possibly no correlation, just saying, everyone's mileage may vary... :slight_smile:

8 Likes

He helped me too
It's sad to hear that

1 Like

It reads to me like he's burnt out on dealing with questions here. Burn-out is no joke, and I hope he recovers quickly.

5 Likes

I completely agree. I notice that he has very high standards for correctness, which makes his answers stand out with clarity. I hope he returns!

4 Likes

This is mostly my, @notriddle's, fault. I did not act unilaterally, but was the one driving the interaction that led H2CO3 to quit.

H2CO3 is not banned, and can return whenever—and if—they want to.

Given the nature of the topic at hand, we will be watching this topic closely. Please keep things as civil as they have been so far. Try to be your best self: kind, courteous, and factually unimpeachable.

As always, if anyone, including a moderator, acts out of line, click the :black_flag: Flag button or send an email to mods@rust-lang.org

11 Likes

I felt very burnt out this year. As all my "recent" contributions can attest, I've been consistently off.

1 Like

He updated his profile and made a twitter thread.

7 Likes

I don't know what happened, I only think it is sad. He has helped me a lot, and very good and nice. Never unkind.

2 Likes

(After reading the X thread)

I really wish that this actually did what it says:

It doesn't actually hide their threads, even though it unambiguously says it will.

(The only way I manage to avoid frustration online is by ignoring certain people, and I wish the tools would give me the assistance they claim to in doing so. I think the same might have been of assistance for H₂CO₃.)

20 Likes

(It's perhaps even worse than just not hiding the threads, since the contents of the initial post by the ignored user is hidden with no option to reveal it, unlike replies, where they're collapsed but with an option to reveal it[1]. So if I see an interesting topic, it ends up as a bait and switch into an itch to unignore the user to see what the topic actually is, despite having set the warning that doing so is potentially a poor idea[2]. At the least if the same content hiding flow was applied to the first post as replies then deliberately exposing yourself to it would be lower commitment.)

(Good ignore/block flows are hard and often self-conflicting.)


  1. Indicating the presence of a reply makes sense; that context being available seems preferable over other people addressing someone you can't see. With a tree structure you could hide the whole subtree, but with a linear forum history (and encouraging single posts aggregating replying to multiple) that's not possible. ↩︎

  2. Giving in to scratching that itch has unfortunately given me an adverse reaction to default user icons with a specific letter, due to one specific user's personality abrading my own. ↩︎

6 Likes

Yeah, it looks like H2CO3 got pretty fed up with a chronic Help Vampire. I've been an active member of this forum for over 7 years and experienced it first-hand – you put in the effort to help, and then the questions keep changing or new ones pop up, and it's like the OP never tries to learn or find the solution themselves. It's frustrating.

He called out that behavior and ended up with a (temporary) ban. Seems like that was his breaking point. It's tough, because you want to be helpful, but situations like this can be draining.

We definitely need to think about how we handle stuff like this. The mods have a tricky job, no doubt, but maybe there's a way to better manage these types of interactions[1].


  1. To respond to the obvious "what should the mods have done, then?" question, the moderator's role in a situation like this is really about balance.
    It’s not just about enforcing rules (e.g. the Rust Code of Conduct), but also understanding the dynamics of the community. In cases with a "Help Vampire", it might be more effective to address the behavior pattern itself rather than individual responses to it.
    For instance, moderators could reach out privately to the person frequently changing questions or adding new constraints, guiding them on how to ask more focused and clear questions. This helps in setting expectations and encouraging more productive interactions.
    If the behaviour continues despite the warnings and it's obviously having a detrimental effect on others, then it might be worth questioning whether they should have a place in the community. That sounds harsh, but I wouldn't consider a community very "inclusive" if several people are abandoning it because of the behaviour of one individual.
    At the same time, for those who respond and get frustrated, like H2CO3, a private conversation acknowledging their effort and explaining any concerns about their approach can be more constructive than a public call-out or a ban. This kind of dialogue helps in maintaining a supportive atmosphere and can prevent escalation of frustrations.
    Basically, it’s about tackling the root of repetitive unproductive interactions, rather than just the symptoms. It's a tough job, but proactive and empathetic moderation can really help in keeping the community both helpful and respectful. ↩︎

28 Likes

I’ve been bitten by this often enough that I’ve developed a coping strategy to deal with it. Whatever the current questions/requirements are when I jump into a thread are the only ones I’ll address— If they start shifting, I’ll ghost out of the thread and let others take up the reins.

16 Likes