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I've heard about something named 'moderator vacation tool'. But there's very little information available about it in Meta Stack Exchange.

I want to know how the tool appears (a screenshot would be great), how often can a moderator use the tool, how are the other moderators of the site notified if one of the moderators used the tool and went on a vaction, can a normal user know if a moderator is on a vaction if the moderator has used the tool (probably something like 'on a vacation' will be shown when a normal user visits the moderator's profile)? Any other details are also welcome.

It would be great if a current moderator of any Stack Exchange website can elaborate on this topic as much as possible.

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The mod vacation tool is pretty basic.

There's a mod stats page called the "dashboard" or "admin" page where mods can see how many moderator actions they've taken in the past time period - we give them several options like day, week, month, quarter, etc. On this page, mods also have the option to mark themselves absent and leave a note about why they're out and how long they're planning to be away.

Here's what it looks like - it's pretty basic. The Admin page is divided by active mods and inactive mods with staff listed at the very bottom.

Screenshot of vacation tool. The text reads "Inactive Moderators (vacation, work, personal, etc)" with a button underneath that reads "Record myself as absent
/ inactive" and a field with the helper text "optional: comment (duration, reason, etc) and a checkbox with label 'on all sites I moderate'

A mod who wants to take vacation goes to the admin page, fills in the text box (optionally) and clicks the button to mark themselves on vacation. This moves their row on the page down to the inactive section. Multi-site mods additionally have the option to carry over the vacation to all of their sites or just the one. When they're back from vacation, they remove the vacation status and get moved back into the active section.

Screenshot of vacation tool. The text reads "Inactive Moderators (vacation, work, personal, etc)" with a button underneath that reads "Record myself as present / active" and a checkbox with label 'on all sites I moderate'

There are no limitations on tool usage. Mods can use it whenever they like for as long as they wish. And many mods are "inactive" but still handle flags. Some use it as a signal of reduced activity rather than complete absence.

There's not a notification for the fellow mods about it but the page this is on generally is one mods look at regularly. Additionally, mods often communicate with each other in their private chat rooms to let their fellows know when they'll be out for a period of time.

Normal users will only know that a mod is inactive if the mod says they're going on vacation publicly (chat, meta) or if they simply notice that the mod isn't around.

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  • Is the "dashboard" or "admin" page kinda similar to Profile-Activity-All Actions-Reviews or is it a page where any moderator can see their's and other moderators' actions? Is it possible to show a screenshot of admin page? Since you're a multi-site mod, can you please show the option for choosing one site or multiple site vacation? – Random Person Oct 7 '20 at 17:56
  • What do you exactly mean by 'inactive' in "And many mods are "inactive" but still handle flags."? Are you trying to say that mods can record themselves as absent/inactive and still handle flags or mods can spend less time on site without recording themselves as absent/inactive and handle flags? – Random Person Oct 7 '20 at 17:58
  • Let's say that a multi-site mod has recorded themself as absent/inactive in all the sites they moderate. After they come back from vacation, can the moderator remove the vacation status for only one or few of the sites they moderate and remove the vacation status gradually for remaining sites? Or should they remove the vacation status for all sites at once? – Random Person Oct 7 '20 at 18:07
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    I'm not a multi-site mod. I'm a Community Manager - I work here. I don't have the option so I had to get a mod to actually create the screenshot you see above. But it's just a check box. There's not really much to see. I'm not going to post the admin dashboard because it's information that's private for mods. Posting it would show you the activity levels of the mods on whichever site I chose. This isn't information that I'm going to release. It's also not related to this question, since the page doesn't have much to do with the vacation tool. – Catija Oct 7 '20 at 18:38
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    "Inactive" is the term specifically used for moderators who have marked themselves on vacation. Mods who are missing for longer periods of time without activity are "absentee". Yes, mods can do all of that. Setting themselves as inactive has no impact on their access to tools or the site. – Catija Oct 7 '20 at 18:39
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    @technastic_tc it’s just a very simple way of communicating with your fellow mods. Like leaving a note on the fridge in the office kitchen. Think “Hey all, I have to babysit the dog for a week, so not around much until next Tuesday”. – Martijn Pieters Oct 7 '20 at 22:41

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