It's been a year and a half (or so) since we moved out of the beta phase, I think that most people will agree that our community is quite a successful one. I think we can also say that it is a relatively quiet community (maybe not compared to other SE sites, but compared to other online communities).

Those of you with sufficient reputation to see the little yellow counter of open flags might have noticed that in the past few weeks there has been a dramatic increase of the number of times this flag is visible. I also noted the relatively long time some of the flags take to get processed.

While I am very happy with our moderators team, I also accept the fact that the site has grown beyond the control of four people.

Taking from the data.SE front page (stats from March 14th):

  • Ask Ubuntu, 42k questions, 60k answers: 6 moderators.
  • Mathematics, 42k questions, 69k answers: 4 moderators.
  • Gaming, 18k questions, 30k answers: 6 moderators.

I was thinking maybe it's time to expand the moderators team with one or two moderators. So I would like to bring this up to discussion here first.

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    $\begingroup$ A possible explanation for why we have less moderators then the other sites of equal size is that several of ours have quit. By my count 3 moderators have left so far, yet it does not seem that there have been additional elections to compensate for this. $\endgroup$ – Eric Naslund Apr 14 '12 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ The sites are usually evaluated once a year after they graduated, and it's then decided if they need more moderators. If the moderators themselves or the community notice that the current amount of moderators isn't sufficient, asking for moderators here on meta is important. SE isn't as aware of each site as the communities themselves, so pointing them towards a bottleneck in moderator capacity is very important to get them to initate an election. $\endgroup$ – user9733 Apr 14 '12 at 20:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Fabian: So I posted this thread, it got +13 votes with no downvotes; one of the moderators agreed in an answer which was voted by 7 people except for me (8 total, no downvotes); another moderator agreed with the aforementioned answer. Now what happens? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Apr 15 '12 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ Can one check somewhere who is currently a moderator? $\endgroup$ – Michael Greinecker Mod Apr 23 '12 at 19:10
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelGreinecker: Check the "About" link at the bottom of the page (above the list of SE sites). $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Apr 23 '12 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila: Thank you! That's well hidden. $\endgroup$ – Michael Greinecker Mod Apr 23 '12 at 19:13

This would be most welcome. In fact I recently wrote an email to the SE team about this possibility. I think that while our community is fairly quiet - most flags are just about people who posted an answer instead of a comment, or need their accounts merged, etc. - the current number of flags is at the border of what we current moderators have time to deal with. Personally, I know that I currently spend too much of my time here (not that I don't enjoy it, of course), and that I would like to reduce my level of participation somewhat. So I absolutely agree - adding some new moderators would help immensely.

  • $\begingroup$ Good, so I am not the only one that noticed that! :-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Apr 14 '12 at 17:00
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    $\begingroup$ Agreed. I would also like us to elect more moderators. $\endgroup$ – Qiaochu Yuan Apr 14 '12 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ @BenjaminLim: I don't understand what the distinction you're making is. I'm agreeing with Asaf that I think a few more moderators should be added to the current slate of four; this would of course take place via election. Whether one thinks of there being six moderator positions of which only four are filled, or only four moderator positions, doesn't affect anything, right? Apologies if I misunderstand. $\endgroup$ – Zev Chonoles Apr 14 '12 at 22:30
  • $\begingroup$ @ZevChonoles I was not so clear earlier. Anyway, do you think we should have this election separately (e.g. just an election to elect 2 extra moderators) or wait till the 2012 community moderator election to elect all 6 moderators at once? $\endgroup$ – user5783 Apr 14 '12 at 22:43
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    $\begingroup$ @BenjaminLim: Ah, now I get what you meant in your earlier comment. However, my understanding is that current moderators are not reelected, but instead can stay as long as they want - see this thread for example. So the election being proposed on the current thread would be the 2012 community election (assuming circumstances do not arise that would necessitate another one). $\endgroup$ – Zev Chonoles Apr 15 '12 at 3:24

We schedule elections annually (or at least evaluate if one is needed). The last election started on June 6th, so we should be getting the notification pretty soon. At a cursory glance, it appears that an additional moderator or two is warranted (currently, the elected moderators do not need to run again to retain their positions, so the election would be for however many additional moderators are needed).

Once the annual notice comes up, we will do a more thorough evaluation.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you, Robert. Seeing how this is just six weeks I'm guessing there is no real need to rush things. I am wondering, had I posted the same request in February or earlier. Would you still tell me that it is only in June that the situation will be evaluated? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Apr 16 '12 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf Having elections annually is just a guideline and seems to handle the majority of the needs. If a moderator shortfall came up shortly after an election, we always have the option of appointing the next runner up from the previous election. But if too much time has passed (6 months?, I believe), and there is urgent need, we can always bump up the election date. $\endgroup$ – Robert Cartaino Apr 16 '12 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you. Would it matter if I start a poll thread to see what is the general mood of the community regarding bumping the election date or waiting the six weeks? (I mean, if the result is to bump, will the SE-overlords even consider bumping seeing how there are only six weeks or is the whole thread going to be an exercise in futility?) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Apr 16 '12 at 23:43
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila We're trying to establish a routine so people can start anticipating these types of activities. I guess if you want to get everyone rallying that there is some dire need, we would bump up the date. But it seems a but needless and unwarranted. $\endgroup$ – Robert Cartaino Apr 17 '12 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ If that is the case, I guess we can wait. Thank you very much! $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Apr 17 '12 at 15:06
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    $\begingroup$ In view of Zev's answer and the sentiments expressed by him and Qiaochu, and my similar feelings, as well as possible projected growth for the site, perhaps in the 2012 mod election we should be looking for expanding the team to a total of 7. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Apr 24 '12 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ I agree, I think 7 might be better. $\endgroup$ – Zev Chonoles Apr 24 '12 at 22:57
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    $\begingroup$ @Willie: I am trying to come up with three additional people which I believe are both competent, reliable and would agree to moderate m.SE, but I have to admit that I am having some problem coming up with such crazy number. On the other hand... I hope to be proved wrong here! $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Apr 25 '12 at 0:24
  • $\begingroup$ Robert, I have to wonder. Is the election banner a result of this thread or was it just a great coincidence in timing? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Apr 30 '12 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Coincidence. The election notice was due to arrive about now, but we got this election out the door faster than normal because we already had all the vetting and preparation ready from discussing this thread. $\endgroup$ – Robert Cartaino Apr 30 '12 at 21:30

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