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Currently, the diamond moderator tools have short explanation about what those tools do exactly. But they don't have much information about when and why we should use those tools.

What I think should be present in all of the major tools is a link to a post that explains when I should use that tool. This post could showcase the most important use cases and go into some detail of the finer points that might not be immediately obvious.

I know that all this knowledge exists somewhere, but not exactly in a place where a new moderator would immediately find it. A lot is covered in the information new moderators are linked when they are elected/appointed, but they might not remember to look there if they encounter a specific situation later.

The documentation should be directly accessible at the point where we actually try to use those tools.

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By "those tools", you mean "merge users", because that's just about the only one that's dangerous and has special rules (because it's dangerous). We really don't need epic documentation for making tag synonyms and looking up users –  Michael Mrozek Aug 17 '12 at 20:18
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@MichaelMrozek Merge, delete, destroy. Some link to dealing with sock puppets and vote fraud would be nice (though that one would need to be private). Convert to CW and lock could also benefit from some explanation –  Mad Scientist Aug 17 '12 at 20:20
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At least on travel.SE the poor devs (some of whom are software developers) keep making tag synonyms in the "wrong direction". While not exactly "dangerous" there can be unfortunate consequences including loss (forever) of tag wikis and possibly robbing the inventor of the tag from their badge when it gets popular enough because somebody else's newer tag became the main one, or even worse, the mod tried to fix it by "reinventing" the popular tag. –  hippietrail Aug 17 '12 at 20:35
    
@hippietrail check the "orphan wiki" link on the mod menu for those wikis, I'm not sure about it but I think tag wikis are not deleted in most cases. –  Mad Scientist Aug 17 '12 at 20:37
    
@MadScientist: Actually I'm not a mod but I'll point this out to the mods in question thanks! –  hippietrail Aug 17 '12 at 20:50
    
Problems with the mod tools for tag synonyms were brought up in these two topics: Merging / synonimising tags should warn of tag wiki loss and Fixing the sucktastic merge UI (for tags) –  hippietrail Aug 17 '12 at 21:00
    
I'd love something like the privileges page that has all the mod tools documented. –  Keen Aug 17 '12 at 21:01

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

This would be a massive undertaking, but I agree in principle. Right now a lot of really useful information is all in someone's head. Usually several someones, but it's still not terribly helpful to, say, a new moderator. Other stuff is documented, but can be hard to find and/or obsolete.

We should do better, especially when it comes to procedures, special cases, etc.

However, in the meantime, we point every new moderator to the Teacher's Lounge as well as the cheat sheet and the FAQ here on MSO which should hopefully cover most scenarios.

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As a first, easy step, it would be good to add a big warning before the tools that are riskier than they look. Something like what you get when you prepare to send a mod message. I'm thinking of merges (of tags, questions and users). Most moderator actions can be undone (reopen, undelete) or look dangerous (delete an account). Merges are mostly or completely undoable, and the UI makes it easy to fat-finger them. –  Gilles Aug 17 '12 at 20:18
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Well, we could start with some friggin' tooltips –  Ben Brocka Aug 17 '12 at 20:19
    
@BenBrocka Whoa. There's something we haven't put an obscure tooltip on yet?! –  Anna Lear Aug 17 '12 at 20:22
    
There are only tooltips on the things that don't need tooltips –  Ben Brocka Aug 17 '12 at 20:24
    
@BenBrocka They don't need tooltips because they have them. Enjoy your infinite loop sir! –  voretaq7 Aug 17 '12 at 20:26
    
There's something in all the mods heads, I'll give you that. –  casperOne Aug 17 '12 at 21:00
    
Until there's time and consensus to re-design the actual environment where tools are used, perhaps a "Policy" page linked from admin/tools might be a nice place to start if you don't want to hit this problem with the data hammer. If you added up all the pages moderators went to and subtracted out the pages non-moderators went to, you'd have an interesting data set to start with of things moderators actually use. Why not at least link the URL you send to new mods there for a start? –  bmike Feb 14 '13 at 18:26

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