8

How does a moderator or their family inform the rest of the communities moderators or the community manager when they are unable to perform their duties or service their responsibilities?

While the moderator position is an unpaid position there is the same need to keep the community informed that moderator would have if it was a paid position. If I was working for a company I would have to inform them if I was unable to perform my duties for a period of time. I believe that if I was a moderator I would have the same responsibility to at least my community and perhaps to Stack Exchange as well.

Examples:

  • The moderator is hospitalized.

  • The moderator passed away.

17

If you're the moderator, you can use the mod-vacation tool to mark yourself absent (also valid to use in cases that aren't 'vacation').

If a moderator is dead, technically, no action needs to be taken: inactive moderators are removed after 6 months of inactivity. If this was a conscientious moderator, they'd have made sure no one actually has access to their account, so activity from other people shouldn't be a problem.

Based on this post, a family or a friend could use the contact-us form in case of death, but:

Just being absolutely certain who's dead is harder than it sounds.

So unless a family member/friend can prove the moderator is truly dead, it's likely nothing will happen until the 6 months of inactivity are reached.

0
11

Moderators can set themselves to "away" in the moderator dashboard (a page only available to moderators):

Screenshot of moderator dashboard showing the "away" option

This is an easy way of letting the rest of your moderator team (and SE) know that you won't be active for a while. I have used this at times when I was on holiday and wouldn't be moderating much and once when I had had an accident and was in bed with a broken leg.

Now, of course this isn't something that can be done posthumously, since if I am dead I will have some technical problems preventing me from accessing that page. However, I think the chances of a moderator dying on the job are so low that we don't need something special for this. The normal mechanisms for dealing with inactive moderators will suffice.

These mechanisms are simply that SE will periodically check in with any moderator who hasn't been active for a while. If the moderator doesn't respond to queries, eventually their diamond is removed and, if needed, a new election is held by the moderator's community.

All sites are supposed to have multiple mods so that the absence of any one moderator is not a big deal and doesn't affect the efficacy of moderation on the site. In all the mod teams I am familiar with (I have at different times been a mod on three sites), there are mods who are more active and mods who are less active. That's fine, the system is set up to handle that.

If the family of a deceased moderator wants to, they can of course inform SE, but that is entirely up to the family and they will presumably have more important things to deal with than some online community that their deceased loved one was involved in. This means that it is theoretically possible that a mod may pass away and we never know about it, but that's just the way it is. We obviously cannot start badgering the mod's family for details, after all.

10
  • 3
    I am still not happy, that some technical problems might prevent me from accessing the moderator dashboard. I cannot care less what the obstacles are. I will probably post it as a bug for Stack Overflow to finally fix, when I encounter it. Hopefully, in 70-80 years from now. Apr 14 at 17:26
  • 1
    @AntonMenshov agreed. It really is an unacceptable limitation of the system. I bet Quora users don't need to deal with this sort of shoddy tools!
    – terdon
    Apr 14 at 17:27
  • Speaking in real terms, it is possible for a mod in bad health to declare that they will be away for an indefinite period, and then later pass away, in which case the mark will be completely correct. Apr 14 at 17:52
  • 3
    While I agree with nearly everything you say here, I think you substantially underestimate the probability of a "moderator dying on the job". It's fairly likely that it has happened or will happen. OTOH, I agree the existing procedures are sufficient to cover the case of a moderator dying for most circumstances.
    – Makyen
    Apr 14 at 17:52
  • @Makyen meh. Mods are a group of ~300 or so people, very few of whom are above 60 years old. They have as much chance of dying as any other such group of people, so sure, it will happen eventually but it won't be a common occurrence. It is a rare enough occurrence that I don't see any reason to fret about it. More importantly, it doesn't really matter to the site (of course it matters to those who know the deceased, I mean it doesn't affect the site any more than the dozens of non-fatal reasons that can cause a mod to be inactive).
    – terdon
    Apr 14 at 18:03
  • 1
    @terdon The question was originally asked on a different site. One where a moderator candidate in the previous election has sadly passed. So a user of the site fretting about the chance of a moderator passing is understandable.
    – Peilonrayz
    Apr 14 at 18:19
  • @Peilonrayz which is why I took the time to answer the question. Obviously, in any group of hundreds of people, the chances of one of them dying are non-negligible. But they are also not high. Either way, the existing mechanisms should be enough.
    – terdon
    Apr 14 at 18:22
  • 2
    @terdon I'm considering running for moderator in a current election and I will be 65 in 3 months. I had a heart attack last year that put me in the hospital for 4 days. That is part of the reason I asked the question.
    – pacmaninbw
    Apr 14 at 19:23
  • @pacmaninbw I'm very sorry to hear that (that you're unwell, not that you will be running). But does this answer not cover you?
    – terdon
    Apr 14 at 19:32
  • 1
    It answers my question for the most part. Thank you for the answer. My cardiologist feels I am doing pretty well actually.
    – pacmaninbw
    Apr 14 at 19:35

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