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The recent Stack Exchange platform roadmap makes many references to "Curators", a "Curator Team", and a "Curator Support Team":

https://stackoverflow.blog/2021/01/28/the-loop-community-public-platform-roadmap-q1-2021/

Our moderators, curators, and community managers play such an important role in maintaining our sites.

MSE Feedback post: Feedback on Q1 2021 Community and Public Platform Roadmap
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←Curator Team→
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What exactly is a Curator?

What is the Curator Team? How are users included/invited into the Curator Team? What is the Curator Support Team?

Is Curator an actual user role in the same vein as Moderator or Admin?

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2 Answers 2

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Curators are an unofficial designation. A curator is a community member who chooses to help maintain and cultivate the content on these sites. That is something that anyone can do, regardless of reputation, though it's easier to do with the privileges for editing and review. While editing and reviewing are two primary avenues for curation, they're not the only ones. Working on meta to define the scope of a site or to identify and remove tags that don't belong in the system are among a long list of work that we feel falls into the realm of the curator.

While asking and answering are integral elements of our sites, curation is necessary to keep the sites well-maintained and in good shape. We tend to find a progression in users that can stop at any of several points - asking/answering → curation (editing, reviewing, creating tag wikis, etc) → moderator. Many users may fall into more than one category but it's not uncommon for someone to focus on one area only.

Moderators are considered curators at a very high level. They have access to all of the tooling of curators (and often do some curation work) plus additional access to act to prevent damage to the system by users who have shown that they are struggling to use the curation tools as designed - for example, they have the ability to suspend users from review and block users with under 2k reputation from suggesting edits.

The work of the team focused on curators is to assist them in doing curation work more effectively. They may communicate with curators to identify issues with their workflows or improve existing functionality so that it better meets their needs. In general, we tend to consider much of the meta community, either here on MSE or on the per-site metas to be curators and we often communicate with curators through meta, for example, the recent announcements about changes we're making to the review system.

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    Just curious, who coined this term and when/in what circumstances? (aka what's the history behind the word? :-)) Feb 8, 2021 at 17:52
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    Dunno. The word has existed for a while - we just found that it does a good job of defining the work done on the site - which has been described as "curation" to separate it more clearly from "moderation". Much of the work that curators do isn't moderation, though some falls into both categories. There's long been confusion between big M Moderators (diamond mods, elected mods, site mods, etc) and small m moderators - who are more what we're referring to as curators here - I think the need for some disambiguation exists, so I like having the two categories.
    – Catija
    Feb 8, 2021 at 17:57
  • @ShadowWizardisVaccinating per my recollection, first who started actively using this term with its current meaning was Martin James at MSO. Although the word itself can be found used by Shog and devinb over 10 years ago
    – gnat
    Feb 8, 2021 at 18:36
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    @gnat nah - I got it from an earlier poster:) Feb 8, 2021 at 18:46
  • @gnat well, but we can't know the history of this word being used internally between SE staff members. Feb 8, 2021 at 18:49
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    Is "Curator Team" synonymous with "Curator Support Team" and made up of SE employees? Or is it a team of Curator users?
    – pkamb
    Feb 8, 2021 at 18:56
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    @pkamb re-reading the blog they are used interchangedly. In the table they use one, while in the body of the text they use the other. It would be logical they refer to the same set of Community Managers.
    – Luuklag
    Feb 8, 2021 at 19:06
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    @pkamb They're synonymous - one is just shorthand for the other. :)
    – Catija
    Feb 8, 2021 at 19:12
  • "editing, reviewing, creating tag wikis, etc" would you say closing and deleting posts fall under this category as well? I supposed closing does since there's a close-vote queue... Nov 29, 2022 at 4:05
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As the dates on the articles linked in the question show the term "curator" seems to only recently have started making its appearance in official company communications (please correct me by finding older official communications).

Essentially it defines "a role", and the functions of that role used to formerly be called "user level content moderation". But the word itself is more than a role, it's the subtle bestowment of "a title": "The curator" who formerly was just know as "user".

Some users and circles around Stack Exchange used the term "curator" loosely on occasion in an informal way, its use now shifts becoming institutionally reinforced and recognized - in a word: policy.

Here comes what is perhaps strange to some of us, that we don't like the artificiality of titles and roles. We prefer just being "users".

I fail to see any need to shift the terminology from "user moderated" to "curated".

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  • Curating and moderating are twondifferent things, each with their own connotation. Moderating implies you can impose bans and the sorts, while curating only focusses on content quality.
    – Luuklag
    Feb 9, 2021 at 7:56
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    @Luuklag NO. That's not how the original theory of moderation put things, it didn't need to differentiate then and neither is it necessary now.
    – bad_coder
    Feb 9, 2021 at 8:06
  • @bad_coder it primarily helps those who aren't involved with the site on a day to day basis understand the role those activities play. And to recognise that the people doing them often have different motivations from users who just ask questions. It's a useful tool to understand the complex ecosystem of the site. Feb 9, 2021 at 11:01
  • @bad_coder meta atmosphere is a terrible substitute. I was referring to stack overflow as a whole, primarily how the main site works. If the word curator is not a good tool, how should we communicate the difference between users who only make posts, and those that get involved in moderation activities. Because the differences in motivation and lack of awareness of those differences in certain places has caused a lot of conflict. Feb 9, 2021 at 11:54

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