Lets face it, we do not have a lot of people doing close vote handling. If we now take 2 active ones out of this pool we have even less.

Sure we now have a lot more banhammer power. But that is exactly how this is not supposed to work.

So how big do you guys see this risk is, and what can we do to mitigate this?

  • 3
    I'd be fine with mods using their hammer more often May 29, 2017 at 15:36

4 Answers 4


It's a bit difficult to answer this question without first coming to an understanding of how moderation is currently getting done... So, let's do that.

Here are some statistics on various moderator actions performed during the past 365 days, separated into two columns: Moderators means people with diamonds next to their names; Community means both people without diamonds and the system itself (usually triggered indirectly by normal user actions):

Action                                  Moderators Community 
--------------------------------------- ---------- --------- 
Users suspended¹                              13         15  
Users destroyed                              447          0  
Users deleted                                  3          0  
Users contacted                               40          0  
Tasks reviewed²: Suggested Edit queue        287       2079  
Tasks reviewed: Reopen Vote queue            100        209  
Tasks reviewed: Low Quality Posts queue      712       1263  
Tasks reviewed: Late Answer queue            130       1205  
Tasks reviewed: First Post queue             300       5803  
Tasks reviewed: Close Votes queue            725       3251  
Tags merged                                   10          0  
Tag synonyms proposed                         10          0  
Tag synonyms created                          10          0  
Tag highlight language set                    12          0  
Revisions redacted                            10          0  
Questions unprotected                          1          1  
Questions reopened                            53          2  
Questions protected                           92         43  
Questions migrated                            54          0  
Questions merged                               7          0  
Questions flagged³                            84      13924  
Questions closed                            1341        454  
Question flags handled                      1100      12908  
Posts unlocked                                 5         16  
Posts undeleted                               24        107  
Posts locked                                  11       2230  
Posts deleted⁴                              1152       5585  
Posts bumped                                   0       5110  
Escalations to the CM team                     3          0  
Comments undeleted                            26          0  
Comments flagged                             546        632  
Comments deleted⁵                           1728       1840  
Comment flags handled                        790        388  
Bounties canceled                              5          0  
Answers flagged                               50       3114  
Answer flags handled                        2601        563  
All comments on a post moved to chat          22          0  


¹ The system will suspend users under three circumstances: when a user is recreated after being previously suspended, when a user is recreated after being destroyed for spam or abuse, and when a network-wide suspension is in effect on an account.

² This counts every review that was submitted (not skipped) - so the 3 suggested edits reviews needed to approve an edit would count as 3, the goal being to indicate the frequency of moderation actions. This also applies to flags, etc.

³ Includes close flags (but not close or reopen votes).

⁴ This ignores a good chunk of deletions that happen automatically in response to some other action.

⁵ This includes comments deleted by their own authors (which also account for some number of handled comment flags).


A couple of things I'd like to draw attention to in the list above:

  1. The community does the majority of close and reopen reviewing, but moderators are responsible for the majority of questions closed and reopened - this suggests that there simply aren't enough reviewers to close or open questions without moderator assistance (outside of duplicates, it always takes 5 normal-user votes to close or reopen).

  2. The vast majority of flags are handled by moderators. This suggests that there aren't enough people in Low Quality review to completely handle posts that end up there either.

Finally, answers to your questions

Lets face it, we do not have a lot of people doing close vote handling. If we now take 2 active ones out of this pool we have even less.

You're not "taking anyone out of the pool"; you're giving two of the folks in the pool better tools: unlimited, binding votes. Obviously, you should be sure you're giving them to folks with good judgement who'll use them to assist the rest of you and won't use them in ways you wouldn't agree with... But assuming you do that, this shouldn't hurt your collective ability to get things done.

So how big do you guys see this risk is, and what can we do to mitigate this?

Well, as I just said... The obvious mitigation is to make sure you vote for competent candidates.

Beyond that... Encourage more people to use their moderation abilities. The more normal folks you have closing and reopening, the more normal folks you have reviewing, the fewer mods you need and the less they need to act. Moderators' primary function is to pick up the slack when there just aren't enough active user-moderators to do what needs to be done; the less of that there is, the less you need mods.

  • 2
    Thanks for the insight! For anyone that may be wondering what Shog just posted is not something us moderators have any access to normally (unless I'm really really out of the loop).
    – Ryan
    May 31, 2017 at 0:53
  • 1
    Yeah, this is an ad-hoc report I use when monitoring sites; would be nice to make more accessible at some point.
    – Shog9
    May 31, 2017 at 1:30
  • Yeah but you see, by choosing mods we make this cycle bigger. Less normal people with close ability around. So what we really need is more high score users. But as this is not going to happen... BTW. This is all info that we should have had at beginning of nominations.
    – joojaa
    May 31, 2017 at 3:44
  • 1
    Encourage more people to use their moderation abilities.. Indeed. And maybe explain them a bit more. You often discover by accident that you can do things, and the UI is not always obvious. At some point you should get a congratulatory note, explaining with some detail what you can do and how to do it.
    – xenoid
    Jun 11, 2017 at 8:45

I'm very hesitant to post anything regarding how this site is run.....

But... I'll add this....

It's great to have at least one moderator that will be around at given time periods in general -- you know.. one West Coast US, one East Coast US, one UK or Europe, maybe 2 Europe or 1 Asia.... just to cover time zones really.

As a member just short of actual moderator powers, and having the dup-hammer for a couple tags... I don't fully understand why multiple additional moderators may be necessary. But I don't claim to know everything that happens around here either. Perhaps there's big drama happening under the hood I'm unaware of. Perhaps some existing moderators are leaving or just feel to overloaded with moderator duties. I wouldn't know. These may be valid reasons though.

From what I see... when spam is posted it gets like 8-10 down votes almost immediately and is removed due to that. Seriously I see it, refresh the page and it's gone due to down votes.

I personally LIKE the fact that I can vote to close a question without actually closing anything immediately. I don't want to be the voice that tells people to "go away with your silly question". But that's me. I prefer to just throw in my 2¢ and have others either agree or disagree. That is a community run site.

All the politicking aside.. I have to ask why people really want to be moderators? Not what they think I want to hear so I'll vote for them, but the real reasons. (Just want status, want to see the tools, want to be "in" on all the drama). It's like volunteering to run a day care at a juvenile detention center at times...... why???

I kind of think candidates should have a minimum of 10k rep. At least that way they can answer informed questions about what they feel is needed after having the 10k privileges. Under 10k, and there's no real effective way to answer that question.. because I doubt people really understand what they get at 10k until they have it. But I also realize not all users will ever hit 10k just due to how they use the site. So maybe 1 year or 10k?? I digress.....

So the gist of this is..... I think that as long as the site has enough moderators to cover time zones effectively, that's plenty. If that means 2 more are needed, okay. But if all the candidates are in the same existing covered time zones then the election may be pointless.

But as always.. whatever happens happens.

  • Spam speed is basically due to the new smoke detector system
    – joojaa
    May 29, 2017 at 15:59
  • See.. I have no clue ;)
    – Scott
    May 29, 2017 at 16:04
  • regarding time zones... all but one of the current mods are US based and 2 of 3 candidates are UK based (and the moderators in general not having as much time to actively moderate is the whole reason for the election afaik)
    – Cai
    May 29, 2017 at 16:17
  • @Cai Like I posted.. I'm fully aware that I'm not aware of everything :) I think really, only the current moderators are in any sort of position to know how many additional mods may be needed... everything from users (including me) is just guessing :)
    – Scott
    May 29, 2017 at 16:24
  • 2
    Hey all. We asked for one additional mod. The SE liaison asked if any of the current mods might be doing an extended absence and if so to get 2. One of the current moderators said we should get 2. I don't know and it wouldn't be my place to say if they're planning an extended absence, stepping down, or just wanted the second to be safe.
    – Ryan
    May 29, 2017 at 16:33
  • 1
    @Ryan Thanks for the info, Ryan! I feel like that info should usually be publicized when elections are started May 29, 2017 at 17:32
  • 1
    I agree with the idea that you should have 10k before you can be nominated to be a moderator. I was hesitant about nominating myself because of my relative inexperience, but I went for it because a couple of users whose opinion I respect gave me a little shove. Taking way the option to be nominated from less experienced users would remove that ambiguity and mean that you only had candidates who were unarguably worthy of the job. Hopefully I'll prove my own theory wrong if I get the job!
    – Westside
    May 30, 2017 at 21:14
  • @Westside I wasn't specifically targeting anyone. It was just mental gas :) I have no issue with any of the nominations. I was speaking in more general terms. I realize that 10k rep takes time to get... and 1 year may be too long.... Maybe 10k or 6 months is plenty. As as always the user themselves determines if it even matters :) There are some members with rep and long memberships that I'd never want to see as a Mod :)
    – Scott
    May 30, 2017 at 22:31

It's a valid concern and you're right, moderators shouldn't have to hammer things closed and the community should be able to close and edit and do most "moderating" type stuff on their own... but we have to work with what we have. If there is a genuine problem with a lack of community moderation then we need to work on that, but not electing new moderators if they are needed isn't a fix.

A couple of points...

  1. There are currently at least a handful of active users who are approaching close vote privileges; so hopefully we would be losing one or two community votes and shortly gaining at least a few more. There are also active users that already have close voting privileges that don't do a lot of reviewing.

  2. As long as we can discuss it on meta and have clear and community agreed policy on what to close and what not to then I've got no problem with mods hammering those questions.

...So what do we do?

  1. Encourage more users to review/close-vote/etc and encourage newer users to stick around long enough to be able to do those things.

  2. Discuss any problem question types on meta, come to an agreement and if needs be, let mods hammer closed the questions that need it. The real problem is coming to consensus on what should and shouldn't be closed, not who specifically does the closing.

  • 1
    For quick feedback one can always bring it up in chat too.
    – PieBie Mod
    May 30, 2017 at 23:28

Lets face it, we do not have a lot of people doing close vote handling. If we now take 2 active ones out of this pool we have even less.

Would seem to me you would be more in favor of newer members becoming moderators to completely circumvent this issue.

So how big do you guys see this risk is, and what can we do to mitigate this?

Promote good questions by upvoting and being welcoming to new members so they stick around and also vote.

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