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As far as I can tell we have two out of the four current moderators that basically are inactive on the site. Chills42 and Rowland Shaw both have under a single page of activity under All Actions> All for this year. They both seem to have visited in the past few weeks at least but aren't doing much when they stop in. They both were 2/3 of the original moderator team for the site, but does that mean they just continue on even without being active? I'm pretty sure John Cavan is doing almost all of the heavy lifting that is needed around here, and I'm not complaining about that by any means. Is there a practice to remove inactive moderators? Are the two I noted truly inactive? By what measure?

I did find "A Theory of Moderation" from Jeff here, my emphasis added:

...we do require three important things of all elected community moderators.

You must accept the community moderator agreement within 30 days of election or appointment and remain active on the site.

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I don't have a strong opinion one way or another with respect to handling activity, though I know that SE doesn't generally revoke moderator status unless truly absent and they can't reach you. That's happened for this site before, leading to me joining the moderator group.

However, on the subject of heavy lifting, it's not something I'm super worried about, I visit many times a day. The only issues that I can think of, off the top of my head, with this are:

  1. I seldom have much time to answer questions now. Many require a real effort and the moderation tasks can take away from the time I have to otherwise give which, to be fair, is added to by my being a moderator on another site as well. I'm not terribly fussed about it, good answers are happening regardless, but I once had a much stronger reputation growth curve here and reputation score is part of the gamification after all. :)

  2. The moderation culture of the site is now effectively dictated by me. This could be good or bad, depending on your point of view, but it's still based on my views almost exclusively. While I feel confident that I've generally been true to the essential desires of the community, there are likely exceptions and I'm sure some feelings/egos have been bruised as a result. Not really desired on my part, but I'll never please everyone as a referee.

  3. I've been terrible at keeping the contest rolling properly... It's mostly because I don't really think about it and there isn't a notification trigger on the site for it. That is a consequence of the question not being mine, so it would be handy if there was a means for a moderator to "watch" a question and get notified of answers and changes. Hmm... may look at proposing that feature.

In any event, I haven't called for help because I'm not really overworked on the site (and Jon does pop in reasonably often), but for the reasons above, it may be desirable for the community to consider requesting some changes or additions.

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  • Thanks for the reply. I didn't know they only remove mods only when they are completely unavailable. I just saw chills42, and was kind of wondering what the point of having a mod only in name since he obviously doesn't use the site. I think they should truly be active by some measure vs just staying along for no reason. It doesn't matter too terribly much though.
    – dpollitt
    Sep 9 '15 at 12:48
  • @dpollitt - Oh, I think your question is perfectly valid and actually pretty important. As I noted, the moderation tone for the site is effectively set by me, so having other viewpoints around that isn't a bad thing at all.
    – Joanne C
    Sep 9 '15 at 13:25
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My take on this:

  • There's not a problem with having inactive moderator's per se. My infosec hat always gets slightly worried about unused privileged accounts and the risk of those accounts being attacked, but that's a problem for Stack Exchange staff, not us - if they're happy with it, then no need for us to make a fuss.
  • I have absolutely no problem with John's moderating.
  • It would be better all round if we had more than one active moderator - if nothing else, bus factor. Therefore I'd certainly support something to increase the (active) size of the moderation team.
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As for me... I've gotten very busy at home and work over the past few months and have not had time to be as involved here as I used to be. Luckily the site is really community moderated, and there isn't a whole lot for the moderators beyond what any high-reputation user can do, so I think it's really not a huge issue.

That said, I've had a great time moderating here since the beginning, but I'll be passing on the torch. My understanding is that there will likely be another election soon to fill in.

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  • Thank you for the note chills42. My note was not meant to be personal and if you have other commitments I of course understand. This site is of course about a hobby for most all of us and life can certainly get in the way of volunteer work such as this!
    – dpollitt
    Sep 27 '15 at 3:04
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    Just a comment to say a big thanks for the effort you put in to the site.
    – Philip Kendall Mod
    Sep 29 '15 at 9:52
  • @dpollitt No offense taken, I understood your meaning!
    – chills42
    Sep 30 '15 at 16:15

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