Today we've released a policy that moderators must be 18 years old or older to be diamond moderators on our sites. Since the policy post isn't well-suited to address questions about the policy, that's what this post is for.
Prior to release, this policy was shown to the Moderator Council and Moderators for review and discussion. While there are certainly mods who voiced concern about the policy and why we're enacting it, on the whole it was well-received.
Before asking questions, please review the policy post as well as the additional information provided in this post about the immediate impacts of this policy - they were excluded from the policy post as they are one-time events that relate only to the transition period.
What does this mean for existing mods?
Once this policy is live, moderators will see a banner on the site. If they're 18 or older, they can just dismiss the banner and that's all they need to do.
Any moderator who is currently under 18 years of age should email the Community Management team. We'll reach out to them to begin the process of removing their diamond. As mentioned in the policy post, if they're currently under 18, they still have the opportunity to return to moderation once they reach 18 through a simplified moderator reinstatement process.
Is this a change to the Moderator Agreement?
This is a new policy but we do not consider it a change to the Moderator Agreement itself, even though we will add the checkbox to affirm that you're 18+ to the Agreement page. As such, we will not be moving to V3 of the Moderator Agreement due to this change.
Why was this change made?
There was an assumption internally that moderators were already expected to be at least 18 to moderate the site. When it was discovered not to be the case, we worked to understand and address the concerns and create the policy that was lacking. We then discussed it with the moderators and made it public.
We understand that this is a change some may be disappointed by and that it may seem to indicate that we don't believe that younger members of our communities can be great moderators - over the years we have known many mods who started out under 18 and were excellent and active moderators. Nothing has changed in that regard - but for the legal reasons outlined in the policy, we can not give them a diamond and access to user PII.
I've tried to address some of the concerns I heard in the Mod Team and I hope they address ones you have. If you have other questions, please feel free to ask them but do know that I'm not a lawyer and we can not answer your legal questions about this policy. My understanding is that when it comes to volunteers, there's not a lot of legal precedence, so we're erring on the side of caution in protecting both potential moderators and our users' PII.