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Why should moderators' user cards show a diamond (♦︎︎︎) when they post a question or answer or comment?

I don't mean "why do they" -- the answer to which is, "because they're moderators" -- but why should they, i.e. why is that a good thing, and isn't it a bad thing i.e. a source of confusion and noise?

Aren't moderators simply like other users, not especially authoritative about the suject matter?

Instead why isn't the ("official") diamond shown:

  • Always-but-only on Meta (not on the main site)
  • Never in Qs and As on the main site
  • Only sometimes i.e. optionally in comments on the main site, i.e. when posting an official comment in their capacity as moderator, rather than e.g. posting a comment about content as any other user might?

Disclosure: I am a site moderator of a small site.

  • 1
    Are you asking why the decision was made to do this, or are you specifically asking for it to be changed? – Robert Columbia Mar 4 at 12:54
  • I don't understand why it's like this. It seems to me unnecessary and disadvantageous, but it's been around so long, perhaps there's some reason for it. – ChrisW Mar 4 at 12:57
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    Because it would be very inconsistent and confusing otherwise. Moderators also leave lots of "mod note"s in comments, and Q&A usercards make up most of the times you see any user's usercard. It's true that it might give off a signal of authority, or heck, introduce bias to the votes, but mods are almost always prolific community members with quality posts anyway, and the costs outweigh the benefits easily. – M.A.R. Mar 4 at 13:03
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    On meta it makes sense, because moderators on meta often give responses where their status is relevant, e.g responding to inquiries / challenges of moderator conduct. In comments it makes sense too, because they occasionally use comments to influence further behavior on questions. Not sure about non-meta questions and answers, probably inbuilt into the software for some reason. – Magisch Mar 4 at 13:06
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  • Because it would be very inconsistent and confusing otherwise I guess I don't understand how it could be insistent and confusing. All user Q&A would be the same, all users would be peers, possibly assessed on their "rep". Acting as moderator is orthogonal to acting as a user, isn't it -- moderators "wear two hats". – ChrisW Mar 4 at 13:20
  • @ShadowWizardisEarForYou Thank you for the link, yes that is related. – ChrisW Mar 4 at 13:22
  • @ChrisW Inconsistent across the site not network. It would be odd to see a diamond in some cases and not others. – TheLethalCarrot Mar 4 at 13:27
  • @TheLethalCoder I don't see how it's inconsistent: you'd never see them on main Qs & As. You see them where it's important/official, i.e. on Meta and when posting an "official" comment. IMO it would be rarer and more meaningful, more deliberate, intentional, contextual -- less accidental, incidental, noisy. – ChrisW Mar 4 at 13:32
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    Does this answer your question? Stack Exchange Moderator FAQ, moderators have extra abilities: "Is it possible for moderators to review more than the daily limited count?", knowing they are a moderator explains how one person was able to take action. In unusual circumstances a moderator will intervene, the diamond brings to your attention that they have stepped forward; some sites have less active users and an active moderator, in that case you shouldn't read anything into their appearance. – Rob Mar 4 at 13:34
  • @ChrisW It would be inconsistent in the fact that you wouldn't see them all the time. – TheLethalCarrot Mar 4 at 13:35
  • @Rob No it doesn't -- which bit of it, why do you think it would? – ChrisW Mar 4 at 13:41
  • It's a totally valid question...it feeds a bit more bias on top of rep points and badges in Q&A, it can't always a good thing. Though maybe if your diamond had shown here there would be less downvotes... :) – curious Mar 4 at 13:43
  • @curious Thank you, I edited to add that. – ChrisW Mar 4 at 13:46
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    Don't think this is dupe of the moderator faq, which does not explain or even mention what's being asked here. Reopened. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Mar 4 at 14:46
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Moderators are like police officers on the site, thus they need to always wear a uniform, aka the diamond, so people will identify them.

Unlike actual police, moderators have no daily work routine: by definition, they are active moderators 24/7 whenever they are logged into the site. Thus, they can't take off their uniform aka hide their diamond.

If the system will change so that each site will have a set list of moderator schedule (who is active moderator and when exactly), it can change to be more like actual police force, but such thing is way too complex to be worth doing, in my opinion.

Any moderator is allowed to also have another account, non-mod, where they can post and act as totally ordinary user.

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    When I read the site I'm a moderator and as a user. Sometimes (usually) I post as a user, but only rarely I must post as a moderator. Moderators are meant to do "as little as "possible". IMO the current decorate-everything is confusing. – ChrisW Mar 4 at 13:43
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    @ChrisW I agree that the current behavior of the system force the moderators to think twice before posting, even when they want to post as ordinary users, and this hurt them in a way and not totally fair, but still, it's part of the deal. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Mar 4 at 13:53
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    I can always tell (myself) whether I'm posting as a moderator or as a user. But perhaps that isn't as obvious to other users, could be better. – ChrisW Mar 4 at 13:56
  • Um, in my country, we occasionally have plainclothes police officers... – Sonic the Masked Werehog Mar 4 at 15:26
  • @Sonic maybe detectives or under cover police force. I mean patrol policemen, who are going out in public. Officers are like CMs here, though they too usually have a diamond. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Mar 4 at 15:28
  • So "wearing a uniform" while acting as a user is meant to reassure/remind other users that a moderator is active/available on the site, is that what you're saying? But that reading of your answer contradicts your third paragraph. IMO one is never a moderator -- at best one is just a not-a-bad example -- when posting a question or an answer. As for comments, the ability to selectively switch to an official voice (i.e. highlight) is a feature of Discourse for example. – ChrisW Mar 4 at 16:41

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