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It seems different websites have a different number of moderators. In general, is there a minimum number of moderator per website? How do we decide to add more moderators?

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which site? link please – juan Feb 5 '12 at 1:44
Why so many -1s? – this.lau_ Feb 5 '12 at 4:31
@Laurent - with more details (i.e. which site, as Juan commented) others could look at the site and confirm/deny your statements. Without details it's abstract handwaving and AFAIK no sites have just one moderator. – Flexo Feb 5 '12 at 8:12
I posted an answer since I think the question is about my work as a Mod on CL&U. – Alenanno Feb 5 '12 at 12:37
Note for future visitors: the question is about CL&U. – Alenanno Feb 5 '12 at 15:51
@Laurent: Most likely those downvotes come in because your question smells a bit like a somewhat hidden "the moderator on site xyz is abusive" rant. – ThiefMaster Nov 25 '12 at 13:07
@ThiefMaster, I indeed had a particular site and moderator in mind when I asked this but, still, my question was about moderation in general. Even now, I sometime see questions on SO and elsewhere that are closed by a single moderator, and I still don't think it's a good idea to allow this. A moderator can make a mistake, 4 or 5 moderators however are less likely to get it wrong. – this.lau_ Nov 25 '12 at 13:16
up vote 17 down vote accepted

Every site has, at minimum, two moderators1 (and almost always three). You can confirm that a site has more than one moderator by clicking on the "about" link in the site's toolbar (i.e.,

When the moderation team for a site gets stretched thin, new elections are held (in the case of graduated sites) or new moderators appointed (in the case of beta sites) to fill the gaps.

If you think a site is stretched thin, raise a question about it on that site's meta-discussion site: SE does listen to this feedback and will act accordingly.

Note 1: Okay, so Stack Apps only has one. But that's a special-cased site and not really qualitively similar to the rest of the network.

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There are also the network-wide mods – Nick T Feb 5 '12 at 1:53
@NickT No there aren't. Some mods have been elected on multiple sites, and there are SE employees who have mod powers on every site, but there are no network-wide community moderators. – user149432 Feb 5 '12 at 1:53
What's the difference between someone who has mod powers on every side and a "network-wide mod"? – Nick T Feb 5 '12 at 1:54
@NickT Stack Exchange employees aren't moderators: they don't involve themselves in the day-to-day moderation of sites. They have mod powers because they run the system. Think admins. – user149432 Feb 5 '12 at 1:55
One gets paid by SE, the other doesn't – phwd Feb 5 '12 at 1:56
There are community leaders (such as Anna Lear and Robert Cartaino) who do involve themselves in nascent sites still in need of moderation. They are employees of Stack Exchange and help guide sites during their early stages. You could consider these network-wide moderators, though as mentioned they rarely involve themselves in sites with an active moderator leadership. – Adam Davis Feb 5 '12 at 2:50

I think you're talking about me, since, at the time of posting this, I was the moderator with the highest closed-questions count on Chinese Language & Usage.

I have some things to say, so I'll order them to prevent confusion:

  1. You didn't open a meta post or asked in chat about this matter. Why? I always write a comment encouraging that when I close questions. If you disagree with a closed question, even if the question is not yours, post a meta question or ping me in chat, I'll be happy to answer your questions and solve your concerns.

  2. The funny thing is that I kind of complained that I was the only one closing. There are currently ~20 users over the 500 reputation limit, which can vote to close. You belong to this category, so I wonder, why didn't you vote to close questions?

    • If you thought they were to be closed, you should have voted.
    • If you thought the opposite, (I say it again) you could have told me in chat or in Meta.

I don't wanna come across as the dictator. But as a Mod, it is my duty to close questions I see as not fit/off topic/not constructive/etc.

If you disagree with my actions, it's your right, but then you're supposed to tell me. How can I know who disagrees with me and who not, if no-one tells me?

I hope I answered your question and addressed your concerns, and I repeat, I'm always1 available to help/answer questions. :)

1: Except when I'm offline/busy. :)

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I'm a fairly active closer as a mod - I came up with an idea which has worked quite well so far for us: I wrote a guide on closing as users who are new to the network don't necessarily understand the concept. It'd been duplicated on skeptics and physics. – user142852 Feb 5 '12 at 13:53
Long story short, we now often have 1 or 2 close votes against a question before we mods get to it. Disclaimer: this is shameless self promotion ;) – user142852 Feb 5 '12 at 13:53
@Ninefingers Thanks, I think I saw it but I'm glad you brought it back to my attention. Posted! :) – Alenanno Feb 5 '12 at 14:06

Smaller sites sometimes do not see the same level of community involvement in closing questions as bigger sites like Stack Overflow do. Whether moderators do a good job to compensate for that depends on the moderators and the site.

In my experience, it certainly can work.

If you want it changed, get involved in flagging and closing questions yourself and rally your fellow community members to do the same. And, of course, on the flip side - if you see questions closed that you think shouldn't be, leave comments and make meta posts to discuss the closures. Get involved and get your community involved so that moderators aren't left to shoulder the bulk of the work.

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All sites have moderators who can close questions by themselves. Stack Overflow currently has 12 of them, but lower traffic sites won't have as many. What you normally see on Stack Overflow is normal users exercising their privilege to close questions, which they earned by gaining reputation. Lower traffic sites will haver fewer people with enough reputation for this privilege, so a larger percentage of closings will be performed by moderators.

There is a way to appeal closed questions. When a moderator closes a question, it is counted as an edit so that you can @-reply to them in a comment to protest. You can also flag for moderator attention using the other field, or post a question on the site's meta asking why it was closed.

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Every site you are on has at least 2 moderators except cognitive sciences, and that is being moderated by at least 2 Stack Exchange employees who are community leaders. If you look at the closed question list, though, you'll find most questions are closed by the users, not by moderators. Keep in mind that it's only been in public beta for 17 days - it's new, and pro-tem moderators will likely be chosen from among the active users soon. However, the site only has 72 total users, and is not very active. That may be the reason why moderators haven't been chosen from the community yet. That also means you may have an opportunity to make a real impact in guiding the site, though.

However, if you have a complaint about a specific question closing, you should take it up in that site's meta, and discuss whether such questions should be closed or not with the other users of that site. In addition to voting, discussion on the meta is the best way to come to a community consensus on what direction the site should head in. You might be surprised at how many people agree with you - but of course you won't know until you start a question on the meta about it. Of course it's a double edged sword, you may instead find out that you are alone in your opinion as to what's allowed.

Either way, if you want to help direct the site then participate heavily in the meta community, make sure others understand your position, and work to convince them that your suggestions will strengthen the site.

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...and that site's in need of a lot of strengthening... – Adam Davis Feb 5 '12 at 2:53

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