Moderator Reinstatement Process:
This post formalizes a process by which the Community Management Team may approve or reject a reinstatement request from a moderator. It aims to provide Community Managers with a standard process to follow when a former moderator asks for their moderator status to be reinstated, expedite the team's responses to these situations, and ensure fair and consistent application of rules. It ensures decisions are based on an examination of the record and history of the people requesting reinstatement, to ensure they were a positive force in the community. And it results in a documented history that will expedite future interactions with said moderator.
This process is available to all moderators, whether elected or appointed, regardless of whether they stepped down on their own or were removed from their position for any reason including inactivity or through the moderator removal processes (except as a result of a site changing phase).
Pro-tem moderators that didn't participate or win in their site's first “full” (or any other subsequent) election should nominate themselves as a candidate in a future election if they wish to return to their previous position, provided they stepped down from it voluntarily. Moderators (pro-tem or otherwise) who were removed for any other reason are ineligible for nominating themselves in an election, and must complete this process to become a moderator again (or to become eligible to nominate in their first "full" election, if removed while serving as a pro-tem).
Previous moderators (PM) may request reinstatement through the
/contact form on the site that they wish to be reinstated, so that the request is made formal and enters our ticketing system (to create a proper paper trail, and ensure the request doesn't fall through the cracks).
- Community Managers (CMs) can recuse themselves if they feel they can't be impartial. CM1, CM2, and CM3 will be picked at random from remaining CM pool.
- CM1 will look through account annotations for reasons for removal. Annotations weren't always a feature, so CM1 will also consult with the rest of the Community Management and Community Strategy (CST) teams for any extra context.
- If CM1 finds any annotation that states reinstatement is deemed impossible, the request is denied and the reasons for it will be stated back to PM. The process is concluded here.
- If CM1 (and the team) finds reinstatement is possible under the agreement that a reasonable and attainable precondition should and could be met (such as an agreement to discontinue a certain kind of behavior), this reason is documented.
- If CM1 (and the team) finds reinstatement is possible and there isn't a need to establish a precondition, they'll just proceed.
- CM1 will pull community interactions involving PM for the past 30 days. CM1 will document and highlight possibly problematic interactions.
- CM2 will review CM1's conclusions.
- If CM2 does not agree with CM1's conclusions, CM3 will break the tie. One of the following 2 options must ensue.
- If CM2 and CM1 agree to deny the request, the request is denied and the reasons for it will be stated back to PM. The process is concluded here.
- If CM2 and CM1 agree to approve the request, CM1 will move on to the Execution Phase.
- CM1 will email each member of the current moderation team on the site(s) PM wants to be reinstated on. Preconditions are to be communicated, along with any show of willingness to correct possibly problematic past behaviors from PM in their initial contact. The team will have 7 days to say their piece.
- If this consultation results in an unfavorable outcome (at least one mod in the current team strongly objects to reinstatement), the request is denied and the reasons for it will be stated back to PM. The process is concluded here.
- If the consultation results in a favorable outcome, CM1 will proceed.
- CM1 will check for whether a precondition was set in Discovery #2.2.
- If no precondition is set, access is restored, and communicated back to PM. The process is concluded here.
- If a precondition is set, CM1 will communicate this back to PM, and allow for 7 days for a reply back.
- If PM acknowledges and agrees to the precondition, access will be reinstated subject to compliance with the precondition(s) and subject to summary removal for non-compliance. The process is concluded here.
- If PM responds negatively the request is denied and the reasons for it will be stated back to PM. The process can be restarted any number of times, if there are relevant circumstances to present that weren’t considered previously. The process is concluded here.
- If PM fails to respond within the timeframe, CM1 should notify PM that their request will need to be restarted because too much time has passed since it was initiated. The process can be restarted any number of times, if there are relevant circumstances to present that weren’t considered previously. The process is concluded here.
Here's a flowchart of the process (click to expand; high-contrast version):
- If PM wishes to make multiple requests to be reinstated on multiple sites, they should complete the
/contact form on each site where they wish to be reinstated, so the requests can be handled separately. If multiple requests are submitted at the same time, though, a single Discovery Phase is needed — the outcomes for each site can be different given the first step in the Execution Phase, but there's no need to go through Discovery multiple times within a small time interval.
- When a site leaves beta, moderators who were appointed as pro-tem moderators during beta (whether by manual appointment or by pro-tem election) will have their privileges removed; they must run in and win an election (i.e. the normal process for new moderators) to continue moderating. As such, if a moderator lost their privileges when a site was in beta, and the site has since left beta, they cannot be reinstated under this process; if they wish to continue moderating, they must wait until the next election and be elected (again).
- Moderator rights held as a result of being a Stack Exchange employee aren't considered true "moderator" rights for the purposes of this process, and moderators who get hired as staff members are required to resign as volunteer moderators as a condition of their employment. As such, when such a staff member ceases to be an employee, they must go through the reinstatement process to continue holding moderator rights on sites they previously moderated prior to getting hired. If the user wishes to continue holding moderator rights on a site on which they were never elected or appointed as a volunteer moderator, or on sites they previously held rights on but have since moved out of beta, they must go through the election or nomination process for new moderators.