I'm a new mod. I've read the Moderator Cheat Sheet and most of the FAQ for Stack Exchange sites. What else should I read to familiarize myself with the new role?

  • You mean you want those links updated? – random Dec 17 '12 at 23:35
  • Read the context in the TL. Basically, I'm trying to get the hang of moderatorship. – American Luke Dec 17 '12 at 23:37
  • So a new mod will have to backtrack in the chatroom for the context of this request? – random Dec 17 '12 at 23:38
  • Well, what goes on in there stays in there. – American Luke Dec 17 '12 at 23:38
  • What don't you think the cheat sheet covers? Or is it more of wanting to know what you should do today as a new mod with such powers of buttery necks? – random Dec 17 '12 at 23:41
  • @random The latter. – American Luke Dec 17 '12 at 23:44
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    Isn't there some mod team from SE that handles this once you get the mod title plus a room full of mods that talk about moderation all of the time? There is a comment on the first link you posted, you should read it. I'm really not seeing the point of this question other than making yet another list of community mod faq X question. – phwd Dec 18 '12 at 0:01
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    @phwd So, you prefer we have exactly the same discussion every time a new mod arrives? – yannis Dec 18 '12 at 0:06
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    @Yannis I'm saying what I'm saying the way it was meant to be said when I say it. There is way too much information in the TL, given by the mod team and meta for this question to exist. I'm reading the answers already and they already look like a new FAQ. I can make a book by now. – phwd Dec 18 '12 at 0:10
  • @phwd - Meta might not be the best place for this, but I think Anna's idea of a more verbose moderator handbook could be quite useful. With the number of sites coming online and regular elections being held on established ones, we're going to keep seeing new moderators. I know that I had to stitch together how things work from saved chat logs that were hard to unearth, scattered Meta posts, and many questions to existing moderators. Some tools I had to figure out just by playing with them. A central, detailed, non-public moderator guide could be really helpful in my opinion. – Brad Larson Dec 18 '12 at 4:30

You may find the Moderator FAQ helpful. There are links there to additional reading, descriptions of some of the tools, etc. I personally prefer it to the cheat sheet, but to be fair that's partially because the FAQ also links to the cheat sheet, so I only have to remember one URL. :)

Beyond that, I wouldn't worry too much about reading more. Just jump in and try a few things out, and if you have specific questions, drop by the Teacher's Lounge.

Almost anything you do (a notable exception is deleting users) is fully reversible, so there's little pressure, and trying to absorb everything in one go is likely to be futile anyway. There is quite a bit of information to go through.

That being said, I've had a "basic guide to SE2.0 moderation" on the back of my mind for a while now and as we grow and attract folks from outside the SE network, it's edging closer to the front of my mind. I can't make any promises on the ETA, quality, or anything like that at this point, though.

  • I've never seen that FAQ before. – American Luke Dec 18 '12 at 0:10
  • @Luke Good thing I linked it then. :) It and the cheat sheet were created at roughly the same time, when folks couldn't quite agree on which format this "thing to help moderators" should take. I added a link back to the FAQ from the cheat sheet, so now the circle of links is complete. – Adam Lear Dec 18 '12 at 0:11


I know that I'm stating the bloody obvious, but the first thing you should familiarize yourself with is your site's Meta.

##Moderator specific resources

  • Moderator Newsletter

    The newsletter provides general guidance for moderators, including short introductions to new moderator only features, changes in SE policy, etc. As a new moderator it wouldn't hurt if you caught up with older posts.

  • Moderator Agreement & A Theory of Moderation

    Obviously you've already read them, but it wouldn't hurt to take a look at them every once in a while, just to remind yourself of the basics.

  • Bookmarked conversations in Teacher's Lounge

##General resources

  • FAQ for Stack Exchange sites

    You've already mentioned it, but I'd like to point out that it's probably the most useful general resource. One of your main responsibilities will be to help your site's users use the site, and a lot of our features are not always obvious.

  • Blog posts

    The following blog posts provide thorough explanations on why some questions are generally considered "not constructive" and/or "not a real question" across the network:

    Keeping up with the SE blog _in general_ will be useful, but these three blog posts are the one's you'll find yourself quoting the most.

One thing that took me some time to wrap my head around is that many questions that you could possibly think to ask, even as a moderator, most likely have already been asked and answered. Therefore, I generally try to make it a point to search for my question on Meta Stack Exchange first to see if the issue is covered.

This makes me feel like, when I enter the Teacher's Lounge, I can say what I've tried and/or show research effort. ;)

If the information I find seems like it might be outdated, or if the material isn't clear, or if I'm just plain not able to find it, then I'll ask in the Teachers Lounge chat.

What's amazing about being a moderator on Stack Exchange is that Meta Stack Exchange contains a wealth of knowledge. The Q&A advantage also extends to the Q&A site about Stack Exchange. SE eats its own dogfood!

Another thing to consider is, if the issue isn't a privacy issue or something that you shouldn't share from the moderator agreement, you are encouraged to ask your own community. The Genealogy and Family History users know your site best, and for questions about what to do with a question, how to edit it, should it be closed/reopened, if you ask your community via chat or your meta, it will help keep them involved, which is essential for building a successful Stack Exchange site.

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