So I just want to take a look at a simple and basic question, but one that is nonetheless very, very important: How well is the SE 2.0 model scaling?
I don't mean scaling on a technical level—that's fine AFAIK. What I mean is—SOFU were all successes in their own right. Are the new sites getting there as well on the community level? More specifically, do we have too many mods?
Currently, SE has 216 mods, and that number is growing. Since each site gets ~3 new mods, and there's no site limit, that number is going to continue to grow and grow and grow. That's a lot of mods.
Stack Overflow currently has 10 moderators and is in the process of electing 4 more, for a total of 14 mods, all of whom together will handle:
- 859k users
- 2.7m visits per day
- 4k questions per day (not posts)
- >1k flags per day
The most successful sites, depending on various metrics, are Ask Ubuntu and Programmers. The latter is special, so we'll look at AU, which is a more typical SE site.
- 26k users
- 61k visits per day
- 126 questions per day (not posts)
Mathematically, AU is about 3% of SO, yet has 21% the number of mods. If we were to look at this purely by the numbers, either AU only needs 1 mod or SO needs 100 mods.
I don't have AU flag data, but I can say EL&U would find even 30 flags a day to be high.
Obviously, neither is true—no site can survive on 1 mod simply because every individual mod will be away for various lengths of time (sleep, travel, etc.). With three mods, if one is away, the other two are there to deal with issues. As far as SO is concerned, it should be readily apparent that SO doesn't need 100 mods.
But that doesn't mean that we need 216 mods for 71 sites. We shouldn't even have 71 sites—I've posted an answer below to explain why, but it's really a tangent. I suppose the reason why I dislike having too many mods is that we're going to reach a point where every active SE user is a mod on some site, which means we're all policing each other.
Proposal: This isn't fully fleshed out, but why not (from here on out) elect cross-site mods for the smaller SE 2.0 sites? Say 6 mods across 3 related sites—the flag load can be easily handled, mods are on more (a single interface would be nice), mods would be more cognizant of the scope of related sites, and then we don't have this huge number of mods.
I won't specify what a related site is, but Lit + SFF come to mind as being sites that could use cross-mods, maybe even EL&U + Writers. Programmers and Gardening obviously aren't related.
Or is having this many mods not a problem? Or are the logistics going to be a problem (sites don't graduate at the same time)? Or anything else?
N.B. I don't think it's really relevant, but I suppose I should insert a disclaimer that I'm a mod for EL&U.