I mean this one: https://history.stackexchange.com/users/2501/shantanu-shinde


I am afraid nothing has been accomplished in this discussion so far. Shantanu Shinde is presumably just a kid but that doesn't give him, in my opinion, license to infect this site with Nazi rants. If anyone can think of a constructive way of engaging with him that will effect the removal of his Nazi propaganda, hat off to them. If not, I think I'll email team@stackoverflow.com and see what their reaction is.

  • 1
    In this case, I am gratified to see that the community is capable of self-regulating. As many as eleven downvotes on a post is a good sign. Let's not forget that the user is 13 years old according to the user page. Who knows, this person may grow up and mature in another year or two. Jul 4, 2013 at 14:53
  • 1
    Why is this piece of crap still arround? All it needs is one more delete vote, Felix if you haven't voted already, please do so now.
    – yannis
    Jul 4, 2013 at 15:17
  • @YannisRizos Sorry, I've already voted... Jul 4, 2013 at 15:31
  • I think his views are reprehensible, but I think that about many of the views people have, and I imagine many people think that about mine.
    – Joe
    Jul 5, 2013 at 21:07
  • Gone he is now.
    – Apoorv
    Aug 8, 2013 at 11:53
  • @MonsterTruck Thanks for letting me know! :) Aug 8, 2013 at 15:49

6 Answers 6


Per What, if anything should one do if a user's "about me" profile section contains extremely inflammatory terms (racist, etc.),

Email team@stackoverflow.com or flag one of their posts noting the profile.

The Overlord wrote up an answer also that more describes the why:

Our general approach has been to take a hands-off approach to the user page -- it's for you to place whatever you want there, within reason. Obviously racism, hate speech, any sort of overt evil will not be tolerated. But there is more flexibility in the grey areas on the user page, because it's about the user, not us.

We have much stricter rules about what content can appear on our question pages, we expect a modicum of professionalism throughout -- but the user page belongs to the user. Whatever content is there in the "about me" section reflects directly on that user, not us. And I don't think any reasonable website visitor would expect otherwise.

(In other words, if someone has an intentionally stupid Teh Facebooks profile, that doesn't make Teh Facebooks look stupid to most folks.)

In this case, its clearly racist. You can take either approach noted in the first quote. Both mods and SE employees have the power to change about me's.

  • 1
    -1 - I'm taking a much stronger First Amendment view on this. I don't care how heinous the person's advertized views are, he's free to state them as long as they aren't done in offensive tone. Would you, for example, advocate removing a profile that stated that someone is a member of La Raza or BLT follower?
    – DVK
    Jul 5, 2013 at 13:32
  • 3
    Telling about themselves is fine, but hate speech and racism (such as "I believe in the superiority of Aryan races over all other races in the world.") and the "hil htler"'s is just going too far. Jul 5, 2013 at 14:04
  • 1
    I repeat my question - would you treat La Raza and BLT (or Malcolm X followers) the same?
    – DVK
    Jul 5, 2013 at 14:06
  • 5
    Also, note this is the current official SE position on the topic. SE isn't necessarily bound by the US Constitution. Jul 5, 2013 at 14:06
  • Which one, the accepted answer or the Jeff Atwood answer? They seem contradictory, and Jeff's more official of the two.
    – DVK
    Jul 5, 2013 at 14:07
  • Jeff Atwood's answer. Jul 5, 2013 at 14:08
  • @DVK US first amendment only prohibits the Congress from making laws abridging the freedom of speech. It does not bind individuals or groups of individuals with the duty to allow their assets to be branded with someone else's expressions. In this case the asset is owned by the SE infrastructure and they have the right to impose restrictions on what may be placed there or not. Nonetheless, I do not favour deletion of his account. My own answer to this post will follow.
    – Apoorv
    Jul 17, 2013 at 13:42
  • @MonsterTruck - "1st amendment" is frequently used as a sloppily worded proxy for "overall freedom of speech". Which is the way I used it. I agree it was sloppy :)
    – DVK
    Jul 17, 2013 at 15:49

I'm Tim Post, a community manager for Stack Exchange, I'd like to respond to this and appreciate you bringing it up.

No one gets to infect a site with rants of any kind, Nazi or otherwise. Similarly, one doesn't have the right to proselytize their political views, religion, phobias or hate in a manner that disrupts the purpose of the site. That falls under our golden rule of basically not being a jerk. If your behavior, however passive is causing a disruption, that behavior needs to stop.

I've examined this user's profile at least a dozen times, reading it from beginning to end as many. For the sake of discussion, let's ignore the fact that the person that wrote this profile indicated that they were 13 years old. On the Internet, no one knows that ... well, you get the gist.

Please read the rest in its entirety before reacting.

The first set of questions I asked was, what does this profile not do?

  • It does not use profanity or vulgarity, though many will associate certain words it contains with vulgar people or ideas.

  • It does not directly attack any individual based on on their religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or anything else. It does, however state that certain religions are inferior. While he may have insulted the institution of several religions, he's not directly insulting anyone for simply belonging to them.

  • It no longer displays a swastika.

I'm putting my personal beliefs and feelings aside while writing this, as a Stack Exchange community manager it is my job to be completely objective in such evaluations, even at the cost of being wildly unpopular for doing so. This was a difficult decision to make.

At the end of the day, it's the reception of the text that creates needless angst and disruptions within the community. This isn't the first time we've been contacted regarding the text and we only alter a user's profile when we feel that interceding is absolutely necessary. Any technicality one could raise does not alter the fact that the intent of the writing was to be deliberately hurtful or hateful, even just from the vantage point of the offended.

Note, not all of the text was removed, only the portion that I found to be the most egregious and deliberately offensive to people of certain religions.

  • "It does, however state that certain religions are inferior" - if we consider that a problem, some users on Skeptics.SE (starting with one of the mods, whose highly jerkiness-filled posts I flagged at least twice) would need to be dealt with.
    – DVK
    Jul 24, 2013 at 17:13

I'm taking a much stronger freedom-of-speech view on this. I don't care how heinous the person's advertized views are, he's free to state them as long as they aren't done in offensive tone.

If they post crappy subjective questions, downvote/VTC/delete those (which is what we as a community successfully did).

  • 7
    The problem with neo-Nazi views isn't that they exist, but that they're stupid. If existence were the problem, you'd hide or banish them. But since stupidity is the problem, let them be seen -- in being seen, neo-Nazi views make their stupidity known.
    – Joe
    Jul 5, 2013 at 21:03
  • @Joe - amen....
    – DVK
    Jul 6, 2013 at 17:37
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    I think the user page which is mentioned by the OP is not aggressive. He says "I believe that...". The only thing is the last "Heil Hitler". I think deleting the account won't help. If we forbid this, we show we have no arguments but banning. If he's really 13 we should teach him that Hitler made many other things, not only somehow helping India get her independence.
    – Voitcus
    Jul 8, 2013 at 6:44
  • @DVK - "he's free to state them as long as they aren't done in offensive tone." Are you talking about what someone says in their profile, or their actual posts? I thought this was a history site - "aren't done in offensive tone" is not sufficient when it comes to posts.
    – user2590
    Jul 22, 2013 at 23:26
  • @Histophile - profiles, mostly
    – DVK
    Jul 23, 2013 at 0:06

Since his return from suspension, Shantanu Shinde is sporting the Nazi swastika as his "avatar". Use of the Nazi swastika is outlawed except for scholarly purposes in several jurisdictions, notably Germany. It is my understanding that Stack Exchange, were it to allow its use in this manner, could expose itself to all manner of legal trouble, including -- worst case -- criminal prosecution for its officials in Germany. (Note that religious imagery including versions of the Hindu swastika is not affected by these prohibitions.)

  • 4
    This is a separate issue from the user's about box, the avatar is far more visible: It appears on the main site every time he posts something, you don't have to visit his profile to see it. It should and have been changed (by a SE employee). Then the user changed it back (argh) and now it has been changed again (I'm assuming a moderator or a SE employee intervened again). If he changes it back to the swastika, use your flags.
    – yannis
    Jul 15, 2013 at 15:55

Judging from the trail of content left behind by that user, I think they may be due for little mod reminder that community quality standards matter and perhaps and suspension for "low quality posts over time". As long as their questions show so little research effort and no attempt to play by the site rules, there is no point in confronting them them on social, political or other mistakes they may be making.

Deal with the issue you can deal with easily and already have rules about. If you get through that with any success it will be much easier to deal with the next issue. If after the measures above, this user exhibit any inclination to constructively contribute according to site policy, then one might open the issue of what might be considered inappropriate profile content.

Either way their current content should be due for community deletion. I don't have the rep or I'd vote, but that isn't "fixable" stuff that needs to be given benefit of the doubt. You've already closed it.

Once the user comes back from suspension if they choose to contribute constructively great. If they keep going with the same things, they are just trolling and there are already other solutions in place for dealing with troll accounts.


I'll go on the record as stating I'm pretty much of the opinion expressed by DVK above. The history nut in me can't help but notice that this may have something to do with the fact that we are both Americans, as this attitude towards speech is pretty much "in the water" over here. I can't speak for the other H.SE mods, but I can note that they are both Americans as well (in fact, all three of us live at nearly the same longitude), so they aren't likely to feel tremendously differently.

I understand there are many countries, particularly in Europe, where Nazi views are considered special, and so dangerous that they need to be suppressed for the public good. If you happen to be of that opinion, then the best advice I can give at this time is that when we finally open up and do mod elections, perhaps you might want to vote for non-Americans.

  • If Yannis wins an election, I'm bolting. I doubt his sanity will survive my presence on TWO sites he's modding :)
    – DVK
    Jul 11, 2013 at 22:56
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    @DVK - Careful, you might tip the scales in his favor with such a declaration. :-)
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Jul 11, 2013 at 23:24
  • Would be a good idea for me, now that I kinda re-joined SO. Can't be active on too many sites AND have sleep.
    – DVK
    Jul 12, 2013 at 1:11
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    Private companies (such as Stack Exchange) are not bound by the US first amendment. At all. SE rules are that hate speech is forbidden: meta.stackexchange.com/a/52760.
    – TRiG
    Jul 15, 2013 at 10:04

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