How much experience should a potential moderator have, in order to be considered a suitable candidate?

This question was inspired by reading some of the responses to the candidates posts. Which read similar to, "you only have $x$ number of flags handled" or "you don't have enough posts on meta", etc.


2 Answers 2


There has been some discussion on this topic in the election chat room. So far, it resulted in the "Citizenship Score" query, which ranks users on the scale from 1 to 40 as follows:

  • 1 point for each 1K reputation, up to the maximum of 20 points. Users below 1K rep are not included.
  • 1 point for each of the badges Civic Duty, Cleanup, Constituent, Convention, Copy Editor, Deputy, Electorate, Enthusiast, Explainer, Investor, Marshal, Organizer, Quorum, Refiner, Reviewer, Sportsmanship, Steward, Strunk & White, Tag Editor, Yearling. (Each badge is counted only once.)

The purpose of counting these badges is to approximately quantify the contributions that do not result in reputation (edits, votes, meta posts, tagging, reviewing) as well as the level of experience with the site.

Since the list of candidate is subject to change, to avoid bumping this post I moved the scores of the nominees to an external page. It will be updated periodically until the end of the nomination period, and then at the end of primaries.

For comparison, the current moderators' scores are:

  • mixedmath 37
  • Alexander Gruber 36
  • robjohn 36
  • Willie Wong 35
  • Alex Becker 35
  • Arthur Fischer 34
  • Michael Greinecker 30
  • Mariano Suárez-Alvarez 28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is exactly what I wanted to know. Thank you for this answer. $\endgroup$
    – k170
    Dec 11, 2014 at 1:52
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ This strikes me as a remarkably clean technique: relying on badges for half the score makes this considerably harder to game without making it hard to explain. Also, there are tons of points for editing, which always makes me happy. $\endgroup$
    – Shog9
    Dec 11, 2014 at 1:56
  • 14
    $\begingroup$ Point of order: stack exchange isn't Pokemon; there's no plausible reason to believe you gotta catch 'em all to be an effective moderator. While I agree that evidence of having tried your hand at the various janitorial tasks is promising in a candidate, I don't believe comparing 35 vs 33 vs 32 points reveals anything meaningful about those candidates. $\endgroup$
    – user7530
    Dec 11, 2014 at 3:53
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ @user7530 Neither do I. But comparing 35 vs 20 vs 10 does. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Dec 11, 2014 at 3:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Behaviour yes, agreed. $\endgroup$
    – user7530
    Dec 11, 2014 at 3:55
  • $\begingroup$ (ah-huh-moment. withdrew the nomination, but I'll wait with editing until there are more changes to be made.) $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Dec 11, 2014 at 5:32
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I would like to thank you for your effort, is it useful to see something like this. And I will also repeat basically the same thing as in user7530's comment. It is just a number. From the past elections it seems that many users vote mainly based on the reputation, which is not a good thing. The same is true here - you should not base your vote solely on the above numbers. (But both these numbers - reputation and citizenship score from your query - say something about the candidate, so it is useful to know about them when deciding.) $\endgroup$ Dec 11, 2014 at 5:46
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Also, I'd like to respond to gotta catch 'em all by @user7530; this is not an implication of the post at all. I included the scores of the present moderators to show that (a) there is some variability there, and (b) nonetheless, they fall into a certain range. The users who are obviously out of that range should seriously consider whether they belong on the nomination page. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Dec 11, 2014 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ Out of curiosity, do you know how the current mod scores compare to their scores before they began their term? $\endgroup$
    – user7530
    Dec 11, 2014 at 7:27
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @user7530 Good question. This can be found manually, by inspecting the reputation timeline and dates of badge awards. I took Michael Greinecker as an example, since he's on the lower edge of spectrum. His current score is 30=17+13. During May 2013 election it would be 24-25, with 12 points from rep and 12-13 from badges (the uncertainty is due to the fact that I don't know if he qualified for Explainer at the time of election; the badge was introduced only this year and he got it retroactively). $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Dec 11, 2014 at 7:49

One of the tools on the election page is the link to elections.stackexchange. This, among other things, pulls various parts of publicly available information about the candidate. While tweaking the javascript it to show your information is not exactly trivial, you can still get an idea about what is useful:

Amount of voting

Voting is the cornerstone of the moderation and the very first privilege. People should be voting often. And ideally, not just upvotes. Someone who doesn't use the moderation tools they have now, why should they be given more moderation tools?

  • Upvotes
  • Downvotes

Meta participation

Like it or not, moderators will at least need to read and answer questions on meta from time to time. Someone who never touches meta may have a harder time explaining past stances and demonstration of fairness in thought.

  • Rep you would have if you had rep on meta
  • Meta badges
  • Meta questions/answers

Network participation

Math.SE is just one stack exchange amongst many. How much familiarity elsewhere on Stack Exchange does the person have? Will they know when to migrate something to Physics.SE if they have never visited there?

  • Active registrations
  • Total reputation


Badges give a broad spectrum of what the person has done on the site that are applicable to participation and activity that a moderator would likely need to do.

Moderation Badges

How active is the person now in various moderation activities?

  • Deputy Raised 80 helpful flags
  • Civic Duty Voted 300 or more times
  • Strunk & White Edited 80 posts
  • Electorate Voted on 600 questions and 25% or more of total votes are on questions
  • Sportsmanship Up voted 100 answers on questions where an answer of yours has a positive score
  • Copy Editor Edited 500 posts (excluding own or deleted posts and tag edits)

Participation Badges

How active is the person? on meta? Do they interact well with the rest of the community?

  • Convention 10 posts with score of 2 on meta
  • Pundit Left 10 comments with score of 5 or more
  • Outspoken Posted 10 messages in chat that were starred by 10 different users

While not everyone has all of these things, you may wish consider them as an indication of how active the person will be as a moderator doing these things. If a person hasn't raised more than a few flags, do they have an idea of how to handle the flags? If the person hasn't done any reviews, do they have an idea of what "Not An Answer" means when it shows up as a mod?

And while it's completely possible that someone who is familiar with moderation tools from being a moderator pro-term on a beta site, it is likely important that the person be aware of what Math.SE is - it's the second largest stack exchange on the network after Stack Overflow in terms of raw numbers of questions and questions per day. This presents challenges that someone who only has a handful of questions or answers or flags or votes may not be fully aware of.

The people you elect are the ones that are going to be handling your flags and arbitrating your disputes. If the person hasn't flagged spam when it is seen, helped mark questions as duplicate where appropriate, down voted a poor question or answer, did a low quality review, or suggested more than a few edits... what are they going to do as a moderator where all of these actions are binding?

  • $\begingroup$ Trademark guidance: A Stack Exchange site is a Q&A website built on the technology of Stack Exchange Inc. The phrase "Stack Exchange" is generally used as an adjective, not a noun. One would say "Propose a Stack Exchange site on Area 51" (correct), not "Propose a Stack Exchange on Area 51" (wrong). $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Dec 12, 2014 at 20:41

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