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In this context, mini-moderating means to help review first answers, questions e.g. and upvote, downvote e.g., but not being an official moderator. But I was wondering, does doing this actually help much in the community? (I mean of course it does, but is it respected?)

I recently became quite active on ELL, and hoped to contribute to this SE site as much as possible, although I'm not sure, if doing these small things help much at all, if others can do it just as easily.

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    I'd describe is as "community moderation," not "mini-moderation," and, as Glorfindel aptly explains below, it is both helpful and appreciated!
    – J.R. Mod
    May 2, 2022 at 19:28

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Yes, this helps the community a lot. To summarize, have a look at the review page (in a private browser window, if you dismissed the banner, like most people with review privileges):

enter image description here

That's right: English Language Learners Stack Exchange is moderated by you. The ♦ moderators are just exception handlers with a few more tools at their disposal.

Many people on the Internet are not familiar at all with the way Stack Exchange sites work; they may be used to discussion forums where (generally speaking) different rules apply. The First questions and First answers review queues are intended to help those users with their first (active) experience with this community. A constructive, welcoming feedback may be the difference between them becoming a valuable contributor here or just a one-time visit.

but is it respected?

Yes; perhaps the most visible way are the badges; some of them are rewarded for just reviewing, but it's also a way to increase your vote, flag and comment count (which have their own badges).

It's also necessary to maintain a healthy site and community, where e.g. low-effort, low-quality questions are closed instead of answered. That part is definitely undervalued (I'm speaking general across the SE network), so I get where you're coming from.

if others can do it just as easily.

Well, that's not always the case, as you found out yourself.

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