Stack Exchange has some of the best Moderators around — seriously — and that is due in no small part to the communities who scrutinize and vote in our Moderator elections.
Thanks. I'd appreciate if, as some small manner of recompense, Stack Exchange would stop driving wedges into the community (Summer of Love, anyone?) only to immediately realize what a terrible idea it was and make up for it all with a blog post. Because I'm calling it; that's pretty much our best-case outcome here. No, seriously, both this and Summer of Love do little but give good reason for well meaning new users to suddenly feel like the victims of well meaning experienced users; suddenly moderating or voting to close is an offense.
The Community Team routinely monitors moderator activities, so if a moderator violates the Moderator Agreement or fails to uphold the Theory of Moderation, we can and do intervene. If the disputes and problems persist without resolution, eventually we can ask someone to step down.
Yep, that's pretty awesome. Stack Exchange communities have multiple tiers of moderation, giving more and more tools to more trusted and experienced users. This means very rarely do people have to act in any form of unilateral, irreversible private decision; almost every action is already audited publicly, and SE employees manually review the relatively small amount of private-only actions just to make sure everything's on the up-and-up. If all else fails, the Stack Exchange community team is just an email away for edge-cases. The current system is one of the most transparent moderation systems I've seen on the internet and it works very well, you should be proud of it.
...which is why I'm quite puzzled by your following statement:
That's not good enough.
Why not? What's going undone? What havock has been wreaked? Are mods unable to do their jobs, are your community managers drowning in mod abuse emails, is there actual substantial evidence of repeated and significant abuse of moderation powers? Where is the justification? You're suggesting a big change, big changes need justification. At worst even a useless change brings cognitive cost with it; suddenly moderation is more complex for users and moderators.
You don't change stuff just to mix it up, you need data, facts, understanding. I don't see any of those. A comment struck me; saying "if you want real reform"...why do we want real reform? Reform usually happens in the name of violence, oppression, slavery, death. You don't reform your secretary because she wears Crocs and they're stupid looking. You need something big.
We need a much more transparent and prescribed process for when — and more importantly how — to intervene when on-going problems are going unresolved.
This strikes me as an extremely extraordinary and unprecedented suggestion. Looking around the social web, I can't cite a single example of a dedicated "mod abuse" button like this. The standard protocol is "if you have a complaint, email X". Sure, there's a system of escalation (which we have), but if I saw a community website with dedicated features to punish and expunge moderators...well damn, I'd wonder just what in the hell brought that about.
It's freaking scary to imagine a community so terrible you seriously need baked-in features for this. It's like having a Report Child Porn button; features like this don't go in proactively (at least not with anyone sane calling the shots). On that note I find it bitterly ironic we're discussing theoretical moderation issues while a Reddit moderator's personal details have been outed publicly due to a malignant chain of trolling and creepy behavior on his part. Maybe if Reddit was having this conversation I'd understand, but here? Seriously?
Before we start bouncing around ideas internally, I'd like to hear what you think.
It's probably pretty abundantly clear what I think; that this is an ill-advised, unjustified, self destructive and all around stupid idea. It has a massive potential to be toxic to the community/moderator relationship, to be stressful for moderators and awkward for users; again, what the hell community has such bad moderation they need these features baked in? That's scary. It's not communal review; that happens at the level of posts, actions. When you're reviewing people, with generally no reason to suspect them of ill doing in a one-sided way that's called a witch hunt.
I agree with every word of Jeff's Answer. Except for "tandem". That's a silly word and I won't agree to it.