For some reason, /admin includes small orbs at the top right of each moderator's usercard:

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It took me several months to figure out what it even is. Hovering over it says that it's there because I've earned the Talkative badge.


... But should it really be on the mod dashboard? It doesn't seem like anyone looking at that page cares about it, and if they did they could just look at profiles.

Could we remove the orb, and save a query or two to the database?

1 Answer 1


There's sort of a convoluted history behind that indicator... As far as I can determine, it was actually born out of an internal discussion as to what sorts of activity we should be looking for when choosing Pro Tempore mods. There's an employee-only page with similar stats for all active users, and those are the sorts of activity we look at when picking mods for a new site.

The underlying motivation for putting it on the mod dashboard is simple: we want moderators to be at least occasionally active in chat. So like every other behavior we're hoping to encourage, we put that on the dashboard: the theory is, if you see your peers looking more active than yourself, you'll be motivated to step up your game a bit.

Unlike the rest of the stats on that page, there wasn't an easy way to query the number of chat posts made by a user in the past day/week/month/etc. So we had to be content with those badge indicators. They're... better than nothing, but don't exactly convey quite what we'd like them to.

We're gonna have to rework that page at some point anyway - it's almost useless on Stack Overflow right now (because SO mods' stats are too awesome for our puny queries), and badges are the least of the problems there. When that happens, we may take another look at what sorts of information we can pull.

Until then, think of it as an object lesson in Stack Exchange UI norms: if you don't know what something is, hover over it.

  • 1
    It's 7 years later, SO mods are even more awesome now, and the page still hasn't been revamped. At least it still loads (most of the time) as long you don't try to load the all-time stats. May 27, 2022 at 4:49
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    Yeah... This was one of those things that had a ton of time and research put into identifying requirements, then more time put into prototyping (including bluefeet cleaning up some absolutely baroque queries I wrote for the purpose), and then ... Sorta just got left on a shelf to die because there was no one to implement it in production. I should say though, the only reason the page still loads at all was time Nick & bluefeet spent, two consecutive years in a row, cleaning up data, adding indices and (re-) optimizing the existing queries. Whose results are still sadly misleading and wrong.
    – Shog9
    May 27, 2022 at 5:12
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    FWIW, if you hunt around you may find the results of my prototype query posted somewhere - I used it heavily on demand for answering questions from (or occasionally about) mod activity in response to various events (I think 2018's comment flag changes may have been the last event that benefitted from a public airing). If a current employee can track down that query, I suppose the project could be revived.
    – Shog9
    May 27, 2022 at 5:24

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