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I understand how our moderators get elected, what they do, and so on. Beyond that, I know the moderator agreement, which basically clarifies the restrictions under which moderators operate, and that SE Inc. can terminate them at will, and that "of course" moderators have zero nada niente authority to "bind" SE Inc. in any matter.

And with Monica's post about sacking her, I learned about the Teacher's Lounge (TL), that moderator-only chat room.

Now: there can be two ways of defining a "community".

The first one is what "follows" from the things I listed above: there is a group of people that share a certain context. And that is it. There is no other "link" between all members of the community, and some moderator X could decide to never visit that private chat room (or even MSE), and only sync up with peer moderators for the place they are "working" on.

The second one is based on the idea that all (or at least a large majority) of the people sharing that same context go beyond and, and for example: actively organize themselves. As in: electing representatives that have the mandate (authority) to speak for the overall group. Or by establishing communication paths that ensure that all members of the overall group can be reached. In this setup, a moderator for community X always considers themselves also as a moderator of the overall Stack Exchange network.

I think: regarding the overall set of moderators on the Stack Exchange site, it seems to me that the first definition applies.

Question: is my understanding correct, or are things more complicated in reality?

And in case my first definition matches the current state: do you moderators think that should be changed? Or are you all happy about status quo?

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    Erm. No. We have a chatroom or 20 that some folks randomly hang out on. Otherwise, its mostly like herding cats. – Journeyman Geek Dec 1 at 15:01
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    I have no idea why this was downvoted. It's a legitimate question. – connectyourcharger Dec 1 at 15:24
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    @connectyourcharger yes, that is one of the things I really don't get about MSE. People are really not shy about downvoting content, but far too often without giving any verbal feedback. How are you supposed to learn something or even better improve your content without nobody saying a word. – GhostCat says Reinstate Monica Dec 1 at 15:35
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    @connectyourcharger All Meta posts get at least three downvotes. Someone should propose just starting everything at -3. Automation saves work! ;) – rockwalrus-stop harming Monica Dec 1 at 19:09
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    @rockwalrus-stopharmingMonica I guess so. But if we would start with -3, then seriously: I am sure that many postings that end up with +10 today ... would rather end up with -10 or so. – GhostCat says Reinstate Monica Dec 2 at 7:47
  • With over 600 members one could imagine something like a union. It could coordinate strikes next time, demanding double payment or less working hours and more holidays or the like. – Trilarion Dec 2 at 22:46
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As moderators, we were elected/appointed to serve our communities. The communities we were a part of for a long time (case-dependent) before becoming moderators. The communities we feel a lot of connection to, we cherish and want them to prosper.

Usually, the moderators of the same community communicate with each other using public (community chat/meta) and private channels of communication – this is most of the time a very healthy process, and most communities do not have a lot of moderators (some exceptions may apply) that would cause large team issues.

On the intercommunity level, SE provides moderators with several options of communication:

Both of those channels provide a different style of communication between moderators: chat vs traditional Q&A and have a bonus of the ability to communicate with SE community managers (CMs) and other staff members.

As Suvitruf already mentioned, the participation in both the TL and Moderator's team is not mandatory, and moderators have no obligation to participate in any of them. Some would choose to actively participate there on a daily basis, some would come only to get help/advice on resolving the issues they have, some never join.

Therefore, there is no community that all SE moderators are an active part of. However, all moderators have an opportunity to be in one. Whether it is needed or it is a good idea – is an open question.

Personally, I like that the participation in TL and the team is optional (I choose to be moderately active in both). We, moderators, have a responsibility and commitment to the community we serve. I would not want to add anything mandatory beyond this. Especially, since I still was always able to get help from our CMs and fellow moderators when I needed in a timely manner. That's what is important in my mind.

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It's a really interesting topic.

Short answer: there is a group of people that share a certain context. And that is it.

Some moderators have never joined TL. Moreover, some mods :

  • aren't participating even in local mods chat on sites which they moderate;
  • aren't active on Metas (even on local).

Those people share the same ideas - want to make their site better. And that's it, basically.

  • Shorter answer: It's a cluster&$$k. Seriously, it's as about well thought out as most of the ideas that are announced on any place other than the actual sites they effect ;). I'm sure it worked well when there was a few mods, and they all knew each other and such, but as it's grown, it too has become unwieldy. – djsmiley2k - CoW Dec 1 at 21:04

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