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As you all know, our community currently only has two active moderators which is a bit low for a site of our size. Therefore, we'd like to hold a moderator election in the coming months.

We noticed a reluctance of candidates to nominate themselves for the previous election and only managed to find enough at the very end of the nomination period. We'd like to avoid that, and especially the worst case where an election would fail due to an insufficient number of candidates. Therefore, I'm posting this question on behalf of the moderator team and Community Managers, to check if community members are willing to step up and nominate themselves when we hold an election. To know more about the duties of a moderator, please have a look at the FAQ on Meta Stack Exchange.

Please leave an answer if you'd be willing to run for a moderator position, should we decide to run an election.

NOTE: This is not an official election nomination thread, just a "pulse check" to get a notion of how many people here would be willing to step up.

(inspired by this post on Web Applications Meta)

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  • 1
    Maybe it would be helpful to talk a little bit about what would be expected of someone if they became a mod. In previous elections, community members who tended to ask more questions than they answered were reluctant to nominate themselves. Some people might be worried about how much of a time commitment is necessary. Maybe instead of a question asking "Who is willing?", we should ask "What sorts of things keep you from wanting to run for moderator?" Maybe some of those concerns aren't really a problem at all.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 22 at 19:05
  • 2
    I'm on SE every day and am always happy to help, but I think my 621 rep is a bit pathetic to nominate myself in an election to become a diamond moderator! I just joined this site very recently because Winter Bash had a hat which required answering like 10 questions in a day or something like that, which for me seemed to be easiest on this site :) Mar 23 at 3:36
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    I agree with @ColleenV. Some people might assume that only native speakers can be mods; perhaps current mods could give their thoughts about whether having a strong grasp of English (and having experience with answering questions vs. asking) is necessary for the role, is irrelevant, or lies somewhere in between. That might encourage more candidates to step forward. Mar 23 at 8:59
  • 2
    @NikeDattani it is not the reputation which would sway me but whether the candidate had been active in moderation activities like the review queues.
    – mdewey
    Mar 23 at 16:27
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    @NikeDattani While user rep certainly does unduly influence many voters who don't look into the candidates, a good chunk of votes come from people who look at the quality of candidate contributions, including their questions, answers, comments, and edits; how much they have contributed to the Review Queues; the steadiness of all these contributions over at least the previous few months; and the absence of significantly bad behaviour.
    – gotube Mod
    Mar 24 at 5:15
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    Moderators don't need to be native speakers (FWIW I'm not one either). I would certainly welcome a moderator with more questions than answers; we are a site for learners after all. With regards to time commitment: on average we have 2-3 flags per day. Complicated or delicate matters may take 30 minutes but that's an exception; most of the times it's just pruning a comment thread or deleting a non-answer. Other moderation tasks (editing, reviewing) are done just like regular users: whenever you have time to spare. I'm currently moving to another house so I have somewhat less :)
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Mar 24 at 7:41
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    @Glorfindel The problem with having many diamonds is that it just takes one person moving house to decrease the mod time availability of several different sites' mod teams :-) (Good luck with the move!) Mar 28 at 14:08
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    @Randal'Thor Mod teams should have enough volunteers that one moderator needing to prioritize their own needs over their volunteer work for a while shouldn't cause too much of a problem for the site(s) they moderate. That's one reason the lack of response by the community to this post is worrisome.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 28 at 15:41
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    @MarcInManhattan A Mod should have a strong enough command of English to be able to identify when a question is off-topic, when a comment is inappropriate, whether certain language violates the Code of Conduct, etc., AND be able to express this in a comment, or a private note to the user. There are plenty of learners with that level of English who ask more questions than they answer.
    – gotube Mod
    Apr 4 at 19:55
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    @gotube Maybe you could write a few thoughts or some encouragement in an answer? This post won't get "bumped" by comments so only those of us following it are likely to see what you've written. As our newest mod, I'm certain a lot of people will be interested in what you think of the job so far :)
    – ColleenV
    Apr 4 at 20:03
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    I only have 600+ rep (because of a single answer, really), but, as a mod on Arts & Crafts, I know what to expect, and I'm quite active in review queues and editing posts around the network. I would nominate myself if it helps alleviate the burdens of the existing team :)
    – Joachim
    Apr 6 at 4:06
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    @NVZ I think we should encourage people to think about becoming a moderator, but there’s a fine line between “encouraging” and “pressuring”. Voting on who we think should nominate themself could actually discourage some people if they don’t get nominated or get many votes.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 8 at 12:22
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    Nominating others is a tradition on Math.SE; in my experience, it rarely happens on other sites. It might work, but the moderator team has contacted possible candidates in the past via chat and that worked as well.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Apr 10 at 12:35
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    @Buzzyy Two moderators is fine for the current workload. The concern is that when one of us is gone for a stretch, that leaves all the work to the other, which isn't ideal, both because the remaining moderator might take a few days off too, and because something big might come up that requires a Mod-level discussion to handle. The workload is nothing to worry about. We don't need four active mods.
    – gotube Mod
    Apr 12 at 17:38
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    @gotube Actually, you're right. I'm not really sure what I was thinking at the time of writing this, but to be honest this site seems well moderated, but the points you raise are valid.
    – Buzzyy
    Apr 12 at 18:08

5 Answers 5

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Things to know about being a moderator on ELL:

  • You don't have to log in every day... or even every other day. The amount of time you have to spend moderating is very flexible. If you need to be away from the site for a longer period of time you can set yourself as inactive without needing to resign.

  • You don't have to be an expert in English. A moderator's job doesn't involve answering questions about English. You just need to be able to communicate in English well enough to communicate with ELL community members, and read well enough understand the various SE codes, policies and other documents attached to this site.

  • The types of flags you handle on ELL are usually pretty mundane. If there's any situation you don't feel comfortable moderating, you can always ask someone else on the mod team or from the company's CM team for help.

  • You don't have to have a lot of reputation to be a moderator, but you should have some experience with the review queues and be familiar with Stack Exchange policies and content guidelines. As a moderator, you will be able to close or reopen a question with a single vote, delete comments and posts, lock or add notices to posts, etc. The rest of the mod team will help you, but you may not be able to convince users to vote for you if you seem like you know very little.

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  • I started this post for any SE moderator to be able to add information about being a Stack Exchange moderator on a smaller site. I hope it will be insights that will encourage, not discourage, users to nominate themselves :)
    – ColleenV
    Apr 11 at 14:51
  • I'd say a user with less than 1K should refrain from nominating themself, precisely because they are highly unlikely to be familiar with the community members, the site's culture, policies, and will have dedicated precious little time to its housekeeping. A moderator needs to have some sort of experience of the site and its users.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 11 at 18:15
  • @Mari-LouA I don't think that should stop someone from nominating. They might not win, but there's still value in giving people a choice. What if there was someone with 800 reputation that had numerous moderation badges? I know people with thousands of reputation I don't think are qualified to be a mod. Reputation is half of the candidate score, but even that score is just a guideline.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 11 at 18:36
  • If a low-rep user has numerous badges, has posted or commentated on meta, has reviewed posts and suggested edits they will be better qualified than most. But it's extremely rare for a very low rep user (<1k) to have that type of experience without answering or posting a bunch of questions. I'd make exceptions for users who deleted their old accounts and have started afresh but they would need to communicate their situation. I wonder if a mod with a second account, secret but legal, could nominate themself for a second position. What safeguards are in place to prevent such a thing happening?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 11 at 18:47
  • How you would vote on a moderator is your choice. The system should be set up in a way that gives you all of the information you need to make that choice. The system should not be set up to exclude candidates just because you wouldn't vote for them. The way we find out if a candidate's lack of reputation matters is we ask them questions. If you don't like the answers, you don't vote for them. If somehow someone gets elected that shouldn't gave been, it gets escalated and SE staff handles it.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 11 at 19:10
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I am willing to run. I log into SE almost every day. ELL is my second site in terms of rep, Law.SE is my first. On ELL I am pretty much always answering, not asking.

I have not been a moderator on SE, but have moderated some forum-type sites, and have been an admin on Wikipedia.

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  • Thanks for being willing to step up. Having other moderation experience is definitely a plus, but being an active member of ELL for years is the best sort of qualification. :)
    – ColleenV
    Apr 23 at 17:39
  • @ColleenV my stats and posts are of course open to all. Apr 23 at 18:00
  • (Just in case it wasn’t clear, I’m glad we have a potential mod that has both sorts of experience. I wouldn’t hesitate to vote for you or Laurel)
    – ColleenV
    Apr 23 at 18:54
  • Thank you for entering the race, and for answering the questionnaire so well.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 4 at 22:23
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I'll run for mod, if you'll have me.

I'm a little ashamed it took me so long to step forward for this. I had some complicated feelings holding me back at first and at least one major event since this meta question was first posted that made things possibly even more complicated. As for those feelings, it really can be hard to depart from the Stack Exchange model, to have people vote on you instead of your content. But, ultimately, I think there was only one feeling of all of them that really mattered to me, whatever feeling it is that makes me want to ensure that our site thrives.

My numbers here on ELL may not be the highest, but they're decent. I'm on ELL pretty much every day and I've been putting more effort into being active here lately. Plus — allegedly — some people believe that I may be suited to moderating a site covering the subject of the English language, or even written expression in general.

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    Thanks for being willing to step up. It would certainly be good to have someone who's a moderator on EL&U and here.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Apr 12 at 12:00
  • @Glorfindel I was honestly thinking of nominating Laurel in a post here. Good to see this post! Laurel you have my full support!
    – NVZ
    Apr 12 at 16:19
  • Thank you for entering the race. And thank you for answering the community's questions in such a clear and carefully thought out manner.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 4 at 6:17
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As a fairly recently elected ELL Mod, and with this as my first ever Stack Exchange Moderator position, I'll add my perspective.

Also, please ask your own questions in the comments about what it's like being a new Mod here, and I'll either answer there or edit this post.


I ran last fall because then Moderator EddieKal asked me to, though I hadn't considered it before. I think I had 1.4k reputation then. At first I thought it was laughable, but when I seriously considered what I had to offer, I realized Eddie had a point, so I ran.

The workload is not heavy at all. These days, I drop in nearly every day, and spend usually only a minute or two on mod work, rarely more than 30 mins. Typically there's one or two quick flags to deal with. It takes longer if I have to write something, like a comment or a reply to a user's flag. If there's someone I have to suspend, I might take an hour or two to write and assemble that letter. Of course, I can easily spend hours visiting the review queues, but that's not mod-specific work.

When I started out here, I got a ton of support, mostly from my fellow ELL Mods, but also from the many other resources available to us. One is a chat room for all the SE Mods. There's always someone there ready to answer my questions not specific to ELL, and I almost always get a response within minutes. Another major resource is a whole secret SE Q&A site just for Mods. It's quite similar to a Meta site, but it's all about modding, so when I have a question that I expect has been asked before, I go there and find an answer along with lots of other aspects to the question I hadn't considered. A third resource is the SE staff that liaise with the Mods, called Community Managers. Every SE site has a team of CMs assigned to it who know the culture and history of the site, and work closely with Mods on just about anything. If I'm ever overwhelmed with a big decision specific to ELL, and the other Mods aren't available to get back to me, one of our site's CMs steps in. They're very focused on supporting Mods. So overall, even if you're fresh to SE modding like I was, you'll have a soft landing so long as you're ready to learn.

When I started, the other Mods purposefully left the easier flags unresolved so I'd have something to do, and to get the feel for things. Glorfindel and I will do the same for anyone who's elected. For the more challenging issues --like deciding whether to delete an account-- sometimes I asked for input using the various resources listed above, but mostly I dug into the site's policy docs and the various Meta sites for guidance and I was able to do it myself. This was also good because while doing that I learned a whole bunch of other things about our policies, history and community expectations, which made decisions much easier after that.

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  • I only have 980 reputation currently, but some people seem to say that they recommend around 1K reputation, and I've got some practice with other sites, do you think I'd be qualified enough to apply?
    – Buzzyy
    Apr 12 at 18:13
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    @Buzzyy Anyone with some minimum rep (300, I think?) is qualified to run. Your experience with other sites is valuable too. When it comes down to it, voters are mostly lazy, and choose a candidate based only on their "Candidate Score", which is a misleading number calculated from a candidate's rep and badges on this SE that appears beside your name on the elections page.
    – gotube Mod
    Apr 12 at 18:34
  • @Buzzyy But anything can happen. In my election, my rep was similar to yours, and I got crushed by a user with a much higher rep than me. That candidate stepped down soon after being elected, and enough users had read my candidate profile, read my answers to the candidate questions on Meta, and looked into my contributions to the site, that when they re-ran the election without the top candidate, I came out on top and got the job.
    – gotube Mod
    Apr 12 at 18:35
  • Wait there's a secret Q&A site for mods? Wow I didn't know that!
    – DialFrost
    Jul 8 at 10:07
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    @DialFrost Yeah, Modding is a whole special interest area with issues of its own that regular users don't need to hear about. On top of the normal Mod Q&A, mods also collaborate on creating policy and other front-facing documents.
    – gotube Mod
    Jul 8 at 14:38
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Just a reminder that the site is accepting nominees for the 2022 election.
So far there is only one candidate, but we need more candidates in order to elect the best people to moderate our site.

On ELL there are only three requisites to nominate yourself:

  1. You must be aged 18 or over

  2. You must have more than 300 reputation points

  3. You must not have been suspended on any Stack Exchange site in the last 12 months
    (which excludes me)

See: There's an election going on. What's happening and how does it work?

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  • David_Siegel and Laurel should be nominating I think, they're probably currently writing their answers to the questionnaire :)
    – DialFrost
    Aug 3 at 11:26

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