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For the past two to three weeks my workload has been such that my moderation duties had to be curtailed temporarily. As a courtesy I emailed team@stackoverflow.com to let them know in advance that I wasn't going to be around much, but it's not so easy to let other mods know this as well.

One can either leave a message in Teachers Lounge chat spamming each of your fellow mods or I could email them all (equally spammy).

It'd be useful to have a field (in your profile?) so that you can explain in a few words why you've gone dark that would also appear in the Moderator Tools Admin summary page. Even if it's just a link or icon that pops up some text upon rollover or clicking.

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We'd more likely implement (if needed) some sort of communication mechanism here, though personally I think a combo of emailing team and teacher's lounge and asking someone to star the message is fine. It's one message...I'd disagree that it's spam, it's very valid IMO.

From a technical standpoint, adding a field that'd be used on (quite literally) 1 of a million rows is a bit crazy, as would any other mechanism that had to run to look things up on your profile.

Currently though, if anyone has a problem with your absence, they'll email team or (well, hopefully not) post here. In either case, the team will be aware and back you up!

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On hindsight I agree that having that extra column is a bit extravagant. I guess a better way of communicating my status is what would be useful. Starred messages disappear off of the radar quickly and I hate bothering others with these types of messages on TL chat when a status would suffice for those who were actually interested in looking. It was just a thought. –  Kev Oct 30 '11 at 13:01
    
@Kev - I can't say with 100% certainty, but I just don't think this has ever been that big of an issue...people know things happen. At least, it's never been even mentioned in our team calls, I think it happens so rarely other mods don't even ask. And if they did, we could respond easily enough...so it's just not been worth any code investment given the rarity. –  Nick Craver Oct 30 '11 at 13:03
    
@Kev Nothing wrong with letting your fellow mods know that you'll be gone in TL. You could also alert the community team of extended absences in TL or by email (community@SE). –  Anna Lear Oct 30 '11 at 15:53
    
What about a special @@-type notification on chat which doesn't require any fields, just a little code? Perhaps @♦StackOverflow or @♦programmers.se that will be converted into a notification that is dropped into all mod inboxes for a particular site? –  Won't Oct 31 '11 at 13:37

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