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Also, could robots do the work of SO moderators?

Like an SVM may be able to distinguish between different classes of closeable questions, and different robots could be trained on the closed question sets of top moderators.

It just seems -- well, like a good job for robots. Or have I missed the boat, and the moderators are already all robots?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Did you catch the blog post about the "Predict which questions will be closed" machine-learning contest?

The contest's closed now, and I don't know what the apparent winner's 0.29837 multiclass log loss score translates into in terms of accuracy, but robo-moderating is definitely under consideration.

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Yep, meet the community user: http://stackoverflow.com/users/-1/community

There are many automated systems in play in addition to human moderators. One of these is a bot we call Bill:

Could they replace human moderators?...who said they're not already robots?

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27  
This is how rumors get started. –  Bill the Lizard Jan 4 '13 at 22:27
1  
I'm a real boy! –  Ben Brocka Jan 4 '13 at 22:33
39  
What's wrong with being a robot? –  Community Jan 4 '13 at 22:35
1  
I'm a robot full of bugs. –  Austin Henley Jan 4 '13 at 22:41
    
Where's his bow-tie; you missed hist bow tie! –  ben is uǝq backwards Jan 4 '13 at 22:48
2  
I'm changing my name to Kilroy. –  Tim Post Jan 5 '13 at 13:27

You may also be interested to learn about the various review queues and the like. Right now there are some limited sanity checks (post length, certain words triggering a weight filter, etc) that suggest if a post may be good or not, but then we're also training the system "Mechanical Turk" style by having humans go through and audit thousands of posts. Eventually you would be able to apply some ?bayesian learning? against the thousands of posts that have been previously manually filtered and use those as a trainer for the "bot" to catch some of this stuff.

However, the actual situation on all Stack Exchange sites is that this is about the human exploration of ideas. You want to learn, to interact, and to grow. Having an automated process do anything more than "your post is too short" or "here are 15 duplicate questions covering the same ground as yours, do they help you or is there something unique about your situation that hasn't been covered yet?" ... is really going to be anti-Stack Exchange. We aren't a Mechanical Turk Encyclopedia, even though that is a portion of the point of the network. What we really are, and what we really want to focus on, is a lot of humans interacting like humans.

HTH. YMMV.

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