As many are aware of by now, a whole bunch of moderators are no longer serving in that capacity.

Between all those individuals there are (as of now) about 50 moderator positions that became unfilled without much prior notice, and at least one site ended up losing the majority of its moderators.

Everything to do with this incident and the surrounding controversies aside, is there any plan for how the network will deal with all of these sudden moderator vacancies?

  • Will sites simply be expected to be moderated with fewer moderators?
  • Will there be a whole series of elections all at the same time?
  • Will new moderators be appointed directly?
  • Will Stack Exchange employees be stepping in to handle some moderator duties?
  • Something else?
  • 34
    Workplace has lost 60% of its entire moderator team as a result of this incident. Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 18:33
  • 1
  • 1
    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog And it seems that The Workplace may actually require more moderation than most other sites.
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 18:47
  • 12
    @john Not a duplicate (that post you link was already linked by the OP in their post). Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 18:47
  • 16
    @john Not a duplicate. This question is about the ending effect of the incident, while the other asks about the incident itself. Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 18:49
  • 8
    Workplace has only one active moderator- Lillienthal isn’t classed as being fully active.
    – user351483
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 18:51
  • 4
    Can't be a coincidence Did you ever train an AI to be a moderator? (sorry, can't help it to still bring some light in these dark times)
    – rene
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 19:10
  • 28
    A lot of changes are happening right now, as you noted, and it's still a very fluid dynamic. We'll respond to this in the coming days once we're certain of what's needed.
    – user50049
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 19:14
  • judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/a/5196/19149 Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 4:01
  • 39
    @TimPost I don't want to put more pressure on you, but I feel like you all should respond as quickly as possible. You should probably treat this as a crisis.
    – user204841
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 4:31
  • 23
    'Will Stack Exchange employees be stepping in to handle some moderator duties?' - If they're having "panic attacks and nightmares" dealing with meta posts, I highly doubt they'll get their hands dirty with the main sites.
    – Script47
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 9:55
  • 5
    I Completely agree with @ModusTollens - some type of response is better than none. Even a "here's what's going on, and we're forming an action plan. We'll try to give an update by day X" would be better than radio silence. Personally, I think a response like that should be expected. No response the worst possible decision and will undoubtedly only cause more problems.
    – cegfault
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 12:03
  • 2
    @cegfault Right. The problem is: as long as there is no response, people (myself included) tend to guess intention by watching and interpreting actions...
    – user204841
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 12:07
  • The system is quite stable against moderators or users resigning or leaving. The remaining people just take over. As long as there are sufficient candidates for moderation. Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 9:23
  • 9
    Writing has lost 3 out of 4 moderators. And no guarantees I'll be staying (and if I do, I've only been a mod for a month and a half!).
    – Cyn
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 1:05

1 Answer 1


Common sense dictates:

  • SE will consult with those moderators who have asked to resign and confirm that they actually want to resign and then remove their diamonds.
  • SE will then assess the need for moderation cover for each site.
  • SE will then ask the remaining, existing moderation staff to cover the gaps as interim moderators.
  • Elections will be scheduled, after which the interim moderators will step down

I can’t really see any other way of sorting this out.

  • 50
    I really can't see SE setting up elections without dealing with their internal problems first. Some of the stuff that has come up doesn't exactly make the moderator position seem like something to desire. Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 20:20
  • 1
    @PrincessOlivia for the sites that only lost a single moderator waiting a month or two until people calm down and what the upcoming code of conduct changes that kicked this off are made public is probably a good idea; especially if the workload on them is relatively light. Workplace has lost 3 of 5 and apparently generates a lot of flags for moderators to handle. Something there will need to be done quickly; but that just brings more problems in. Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 20:33
  • 4
    @DanNeely there's sites where one moderator is 50%, or maybe even 100% of the moderator force. Months can be more than enough for more stuff to break Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 20:34
  • 8
    @Princess perhaps we could make moderatorship a punishment for failing too many review audits, sort of like how judges a hundred years ago would sentence unruly children into joining the Army to get some "discipline". I was careless, they branded me with a diamond and made me clean out spam and racist comments to make me the better person I am today. Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 20:48
  • 3
    The other way is that they knock down the number of votes needed to do something, letting the community moderate. Some sites have three vote closure, at least one site has single vote closure; essentially a hammer for all.
    – Rob
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 21:26
  • 2
    And SE better make sure not to make the remaining moderators aware of what caused the resignations, lest they wake up to it too. ;-) Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 23:00
  • 1
    @ChristianRau: The whole thing took place in Teacher's Lounge, and from the comments that various mods have left publicly, my interpretation is that it's still visible (or was until fairly recently). Regardless, if this situation does not substantially improve within the next ~36 hours, I would imagine that CMs will have to be pressed into service as emergency per-site moderators. Or else there will be sites with substantially inadequate moderation, if any.
    – Kevin
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 23:55
  • 2
    @Kevin By far not everyone follows that and there still seem to be people waking up, realizing what happened, and retiring together with their co-mods. But yes, I was mostly joking. Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 0:01
  • 2
    I want to make sure I read you right: do bullet-points 3+4, taken together, mean that you think SE will rebrand any current, elected mods who didn't resign as interims, then after elections those moderators would also be gone? If so I'd be curious where you're getting that or what purpose that would serve.
    – nitsua60
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 2:37
  • @nitsua60: I'm not Snow and can't speak to what they intended, but my interpretation is that SE will appoint veteran mods from site A to be pro tem mods of site B until they get around to having an election. That... could work, but it seems a recipe for conflict if you ask me. Of course, this whole answer is speculation anyway. We'll know more within the next few days.
    – Kevin
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 3:24
  • 2
    @Kevin This is what I imagine will happen. Most moderations tasks don't require site-specific knowledge, so pro tems will carry the weight for those couple of weeks that the elections are running.
    – user351483
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 6:25
  • 23
    Who would want to run for, or vote on, moderators at this point? Why would you bother?
    – Chris
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 14:37
  • 6
    The problem with getting mods to cover is - well in the current climate, I'm sure a lot of moderators are only staying on due to loyalty to their communities. And well even for some of us who stayed on in some capacity, its difficult. Considering that a site supposedly has a minimum of 3 mods, We only have 6 CMs. Even considering lower traffic sites, that's a lot of seats to fill. Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 1:25
  • 3
    speaking of elections, I wonder what would stop newly elected mods from joining The Movement. In fact, even resigned mods can nominate, be elected and strike again
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 4:19
  • 3
    @RobertHarvey you mean, when new moderator will get access to TL archives and decides to check details of the story, they are unlikely to come to same conclusion as 30+ mods who have resigned / suspended so far?
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 16:55

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