Whenever an election comes, people from the community, nominate themselves to run for the moderation. Now I want to know, to run for moderation, what kind of qualities a member should possess?

Some things I've understood so far:

  1. Being in the community for a considerable amount of time,
  2. Participation in the main site as well as the meta site,
  3. welcoming personality to the new users to the site,
  4. take care of the health of the community,
  5. look for if something bad happening in the site


Are there any more qualities I left out? Is having a good rep and high quality posts (questions and answers) one of them?

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    A Theory of Moderation – Martijn Pieters Oct 7 '13 at 6:12
  • Most important thing. You have to have a lot of time devoted to SO. – MarsOne Oct 7 '13 at 6:16
  • @MartijnPieters, The blog addresses kind of what moderators can do. I want to know what qualities should one have to become a moderator? That say, what would the points be TPTB would see when someone nominates himself for the election? – Mistu4u Oct 7 '13 at 6:17
  • There is a strong correlation between 1, 2, 4, 5, good rep and high quality posts. Not sure about 3, though. It's hard to tell. – Thomas Oct 7 '13 at 6:17
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    @MarsOne, I don't intend to become a moderator in SO as of now, but would like to run for election in other beta sites where I remain mostly active! :-) – Mistu4u Oct 7 '13 at 6:19
  • 3
    Good luck. I would support your cause. – MarsOne Oct 7 '13 at 6:20
  • 1
    High rep is one indicator, but not the only one. Look at the last election page: helpful flags are also an indicator. So is meta-participation (although this is hard to measure). – Johannes Kuhn Oct 7 '13 at 6:21
  • I've been thinking about becoming a moderator on Code Review, but I don't think I've spent enough time on the site (not even a year). – Jamal Oct 7 '13 at 6:24
  • @Mistu4u: But the list of what is expected of a moderator shows what qualities you need to possess. Moderators are elected by the community, so there are no exact criteria (other than the minimal entrance requirements for the election), but you'll be judged by your perceived ability to fulfill those tasks. You need to have the trust of the community. – Martijn Pieters Oct 7 '13 at 7:21
  • 4
    Remember, beta sites don't have elections, we (Stack Exchange) appoint folks that want the responsibility and seem like a good fit through their actions on the site. On each beta you'll find a meta post about who the moderators should be, leaving a nomination there is the best way to show your interest. – Tim Post Oct 7 '13 at 7:41
  • @TimPost , Actually I meant to say when they become graduated! :-) – Mistu4u Oct 7 '13 at 7:52

The constitution of your character should be reasonably well balanced, and include the following traits:

  • Tempered assertiveness
  • Confidence that is sufficient to yield a reasonable indifference to personal attacks, but still receptive to constructive criticism
  • Patience that isn't easily lost
  • A healthy tolerance for all things human

You should also have an overall friendly demeanor.

A read through our theory of moderation should leave you with the impression that we're all about differentiating a user's behavior from the user, and that we strive for the least amount of intervention that effectively stops any given disruption. Stated purely philosophically this seems easy, but that's not always the case. Things sometimes escalate quickly, and it's often difficult to put aside a very heightened sense of urgency that can cause you to act without fully thinking something through. Moderators need to be able to think and lead on their feet, and keep their wits about them. If you have most of the character traits and can do that, you'll probably make a great moderator.

Pro-tem moderators, or moderators on our beta sites have additional responsibilities; they're helping to build a new site and community. Think of the work that goes into launching a new site, any kind of site, that's exactly what these people do in addition to processing flags and resolving disputes. This experience can be extremely educational and rewarding, but it can also be trying, even with direct access to our community team and its resources. The ability to see things through is definitely one hallmark of a great pro-tem moderator.

Reputation in either scenario is something to consider, but only because it's a measurement of your ability to judge the quality of individual contributions, and your site as a whole. Moderators aren't as concerned with accuracy as they are quality, so you need enough domain knowledge to be able to make those calls.

The other thing you need is time. On Stack Overflow, you'll need to commit to spending at least 30 minutes a day during the week to help shoulder the processing of over 1000 daily flags. On other sites, we ask that you give the time that you can, but not let your post go unattended. Technically, we remove moderators after six months of inactivity. Ideally, protracted absences are shorter than that, and made known to us and your fellow moderators in advance.

In short, level-headed creative and articulate people with a bit of time to give are perfect candidates, provided that they want and understand the responsibility that comes with the post. If you want the position out of mostly curiosity or a desire for prestige, you probably won't be a great fit. If you want it out of a sense of service to something that you really care about, then you're definitely encouraged to throw your hat in the ring.

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  • I totally understand the responsibility a moderator has to carry and I respect the toll of toil they put forth to make the sites a success. Being a moderator is not a child's play is definitely a harsh reality! – Mistu4u Oct 7 '13 at 8:08

Each election on each site has different requirements. For instance, SO requires users to have a certain amount of badges, and the requirement for reputation is different for each site (due to different sites having different ranges of user reputations, etc.). The rules for the most recent stack overflow election (2012) are listed here. As it says in that post:

When an election is in progress previous results are partially hidden and are visible at
<site name>/election/<election number> instead. For instance, the first Server Fault moderator election is available at https://serverfault.com/election/1. When no election is in progress all previous elections are visible at https://serverfault.com/election.

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