• What is community moderation?
  • Why is it important for me to get involved?
  • What can I do to help, and where do I start?
  • 1
    Here too..? - I like it anyway..! BTW, Whats the reason for CW, do you still need support from many others? I think you've covered most part of it :-) – Waffle's Crazy Peanut Jan 1 '13 at 5:21
  • 1
    @cra this one's different, it's not specific to Phys.SE. The CW is to allow others to edit easily--most such pages (faq pages) on MSO are CW. – Manishearth Jan 1 '13 at 5:45

What is community moderation?

Community moderation is the "cleaning up" of the site by users like you! It involves flagging, closing, commenting, editing, and sometimes deleting posts. It also involves "implicit" moderation — not doing anything considered inappropriate for this site (e.g. getting involved in long comment discussions which would be better off on chat).

Why is it important for me to get involved?

Well, in the end, this is your site. You are the community, and by and large you get to decide the path it will take. Helping out by participating in community moderation keeps this site on-topic and clean, all in all a fun place to learn from. Neglect community moderation, and it slowly goes on to becoming more and more like most places on the Internet — an untamed wilderness that's no fun to be at.

Yes, it is the job of ♦ moderators to keep the site clean. But they cannot do it without participation from the community. There are too many posts coming in for moderators to be able to read through all of them, and they can't be in all places at once to keep an eye on things. This is where you come in — you keep a lookout for stuff that needs cleaning, etc., and do your best to address it. This may involve commenting, flagging, and/or closing.

What can I do to help, and where do I start?

As mentioned before, community moderation is basically when you edit, flag, comment, close, and/or delete a post with the aim of keeping the site clean.

So, what is SE's definition of a "clean" site? It is a site with good, on topic posts; a site where questions, comments, and answers are used how they are meant to be used; a site where all the users behave and are nice to each other.

How can I find things that might need fixing?

A good way to find stuff that may need fixing is to look at the review queues. Posts which may need attention are identified (by the community or the system, depending upon the queue), and kept here. You can go through these, and act on posts (flagging, voting, commenting, etc) when necessary. You can get the Custodian, Reviewer, and Steward badges for reviewing here (you can get each badge multiple times, once per queue; Steward is even awarded multiple times, once for every 1,000 reviews in a queue).

More information on these queues here

What do I do when I find something that needs to be addressed?

Flagging (15 rep)

Flagging a post/comment lets other users review it and act on it. When you are unable to do something about a post (for example, if the necessary actions require you to have more rep or moderator powers), flagging is the way to go. A few cases that need flagging:

  • Questions that need closing (see next section)
  • Spam/offensive posts
  • "Answers" which do not attempt to answer the question (this has nothing to do with the validity of the answer--do not flag wrong answers as "Not an answer")
  • Unnecessary comments (obsolete/off topic/etc) -- if a comment has no use in improving the post or has other issues, it is deletion-worthy
  • Low quality posts
  • Anything else which you feel isn't right

Some links:

Note that the "it doesn't belong here, or is a duplicate", lets you flag for a post to be closed. There is more on why a post can be closed in the next section

Closing (3,000 rep)

You need 3k reputation to close a question, however you can always flag a question to be closed if you feel it necessary

A question is "closed" to prevent answers. This may be because the question, in it's current form, won't promote good, useful answers and may lead to unwarranted noise, or possible due to another reason.

Closing may be a "time out box" for some posts. It lets them be improved while preventing answers. If you feel that a post may be improved, comment, explaining to the user how this may be achieved. If you don't feel that it can be improved, let the OP know what he can do next time to avoid closure (use some of the links above).

Community Moderation Tools (10,000 rep)

This is a whole set of tools that give you additional access to posts that need information, including a way of dealing with some types of flags.

At 20,000 rep, you get some additional powers for increased efficiency. (See the privileges page) for more info.

  • 2
    So, I should flag this as off topic? Haha JK. Good post. – Richard J. Ross III Dec 31 '12 at 17:16
  • 6
    "Link-only answers should be commented on and down voted. Nothing wring with flagging them, but we generally don't act on those." That sounds like a Physics.SE policy. My understanding is that link-only answers are either edited or deleted on SO (and on many other SE sites). Maybe that should be edited to be more general? – Zuly Gonzalez Dec 31 '12 at 17:54
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    This post is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long. Consider cutting down.... something and adding a table of contents – phwd Dec 31 '12 at 17:58
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    I feel like this is a duplicate of everything ever discussed on Meta... – animuson Dec 31 '12 at 18:21
  • Perhaps replace "Questions on Physics" with something more generic? E.g. "Questions on <site>". – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Dec 31 '12 at 18:24
  • 1
    @zuly good catch, I'll fix that when i'm on the desktop site. – Manishearth Dec 31 '12 at 18:30
  • @phwd I am adding a TOC later... Regarding its length, well, I'm still unsure about what I want to do about that. I'll get back to you on that later – Manishearth Dec 31 '12 at 18:49
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    @animuson That's sorta the point. Most users don't want to hunt through meta to learn what one should do when. All of this is scattered over meta; now it's in one place. And, like I mentioned in the q, you dont need to read all of it. One can just link to this and specify the section when they want to explain something. Easier. – Manishearth Dec 31 '12 at 18:52
  • It might be easier @Manishearth if you could add links to each section somehow (no idea if it's possible) so people can link to the section directly rather than directing people to search through the answer... – ben is uǝq backwards Jan 1 '13 at 13:26
  • @benisuqbackwards: Not possible. I could post each section as a separate answer, but then the flow of the post is lost. I'm adding a TOC, though. – Manishearth Jan 1 '13 at 13:33
  • regarding the length, it almost needs to be several answers with the question being the individual numbered points from above – jcolebrand Jan 2 '13 at 15:57
  • And locking each answer as it gets posted (on a meta) would prevent reordering – jcolebrand Jan 2 '13 at 15:57
  • @jcolebrand: It also prevents people from editing to improve :/ – Manishearth Jan 2 '13 at 15:58
  • Are there specific guidelines for how and when to use (or not use) the 15k and 20k capabilities? – tchrist Jan 13 '13 at 17:16
  • @tchrist: added a bit about 20k. not sure if we need something for 15k. (add it if you wish). Both are rather trivial powers compared to flagging/etc – Manishearth Jan 14 '13 at 9:26

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