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How can I interact with a moderator?

  1. what specific actions are available for interacting with moderators, and
  2. how (literally, which page do I go to, what do I click on, etc) to perform these?

Context:

  • I am relatively new (month or so) as a stackexchange.com contributor (but have been reading the site for years)
  • I am enjoying using the site and using it more (asking/answering questions), and things generally work fine...
  • However, I am admittedly not clear on the process (or what the options are) when questions don't quite meet guidelines, etc

Example 1: One of my first questions on stackexchange.com was closed by a moderator for being too generic. The explanation message advised me to edit the question to make it more specific, which I did. I then (perhaps incorrectly?) assumed my revised question would be reviewed and the question accepted/re-opened, but I did not receive any further updates (no notifications that my edits had been reviewed, no follow-up guidance/explanation on why the question still wasn't acceptable/how to fix this, etc). I made several comments trying to attract moderator attention but there did not seem anything else I could do

Example 2: More recently, I posted a well-received question and answer. A community member suggested some minor stylistic changes (e.g. changing .ps1 --> .ps1) which I thought were helpful, so accepted. Today, I received another edit notification, however upon checking it, I noticed the editor had removed the reference to the O/S (Windows), which I thought was useful to keep. I thought it best to reject the change for now, but then noticed it was done (and so already approved) by a moderator. I don't have a massive problem with their edit, but it would be helpful to be able to discuss the change with them (e.g. if for example, it's better not to reference the O/S, then I should probably know that for future), but again, I am not quite sure how I can initiate this conversation.

My specific questions are:

  1. Does stackexchange.com have any kind of 'IM' system (i.e. the ability to send a message to a specific user and ask them a question?)
  2. If so, how do I use this? (I tried going to the moderator's profile but could not find any option to contact them)
  3. As part of my pre-question search, I read about references to 'chat' in a similarly-titled question. I briefly explored 'chat' (assuming I went to the right place) by clicking the 3rd link in the 1st column of the page footer, however I could only see 18 users / 6 rooms (i.e. only a tiny fraction of stackexchange.com users) and so I didn't quite understand the answer to that question / how I could use 'chat' for my purposes. I assume 'chat' is some kind of real-time, room-based messaging system (like IRC), is that right?
  4. If not / there is a way to 'chat' with anyone, how do I do this?
  5. Besides commenting and '@'ing users (which is not really appropriate in this context), what other options are there for messaging/interacting with specific users please?
  6. Are there any other processes for requesting review/interaction - e.g. if you disagree with an edit made, etc? (again, if so please provide instructions on how to do this please)

My aim here is not to 'start a row with a moderator' / 'take up moderator time with a debate about the proper use of the semicolon, etc'. Ultimately, it is about understanding how to interact with the respected individuals that help govern the site(s), as to-date my experience has been 100% 1-way and I am conscious that as I continue to use the site more-and-more, I want to make sure I know how to use the site fully to ensure I use the site well, understand and follow guidelines, etc. and avoid any negatives, such as having other questions closed in the future, or needing moderators to edit my questions for me, because I am still not clear on some of the guidelines.

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    There are hundreds of moderators. I'm one of them, but I'm sure you don't want to speak with me. Who do you want to speak with? For a lot of the sites, the main chat room is a great place to start. – Mast Jun 3 at 17:28
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    For your off-topic question you can ask on the meta site of the site you posted on. You can flag a post if you'd like to bring something to a moderator's attention. (Which needs moderator guidance which you don't seem to need, as meta can solve your individual issues.) SE have an IM. – Peilonrayz Jun 3 at 17:30
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    Suggested Edits like on your answer here are not necessarily approved by moderators. This particular one was approved by 2 members of that community with enough reputation to do so. They help with moderating, but technically aren't moderators. – Mast Jun 3 at 17:31
  • Does this answer your question? Any way to send a personal message to another user? – Spevacus Jun 3 at 17:48
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    Does this answer your question? Flagging a post for moderator review – Rob Jun 3 at 18:46
  • @Mast - Thanks for the offer. TBH, Example 1 is defacto resolved now as I re-wrote and posted the question on super user and got it sorted there a few weeks ago (so no longer need to get in touch with that moderator specifically), it was more about understand how this works / so I know better what to do, should this happen again -- Thanks anyway though!... Also, thanks for your info on other-members approving edits - I didn't even realise this happened TBH, so appreciate you explaining this! 👍🏼 – Martin Jun 3 at 19:04
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    @Rob (and Peilonrayz, but can't tag)... Thanks, that is really useful! TBH, I assumed "Flag" meant more "Flag as inappropriate" (request deletion, etc) so I never clicked it... I read the answer you shared (thanks!) and yes can see that (if I'd known) I could have used Flag to attract attention / tag the question for re-review... Thanks for explaining this! 👍🏼 – Martin Jun 3 at 19:09
  • @Martin I would reccomend checking out the help center and tour if you haven’t already to learn more about how SE works. Checking out the faq might also help you learn more about how SE works. You might also want to check out the faq on the per-site metas of some other sites you use – Ekadh Singh Jun 3 at 19:12
  • @Spevacus - Sorry, no... This was initially suggested as a similar question, and I tried to read/understand the post (it seemed to be more like a dialog with one side asking about several requests, and the other side replying with "no comment" or "it's possible", which I wasn't sure were official/final answers, or what really). I accept that it's an approved answer, but personally I was still unsure after reading (however, the general tone I gleaned from it is that largely "stackexchange doesn't include (and isn't planning to develop) a user-to-user / DM message system, so don't request this") – Martin Jun 3 at 19:25
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    You can't post on stackexchange.com. What Stack Exchange site (out of the 175 sites (excluding meta sites)) or kind of Stack Exchange site did you use? – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Jun 4 at 12:57
  • @P.Mort.-forgotClayShirky_q - Apologies, I meant stackoverflow.com (SO?) [Side note: I think I got SE and SO mixed up (or perhaps at some point made the mistake of using these interchangeably)... thanks for pointing this out, I will try and watch my references to SE and SO more closely in future]. – Martin Jun 4 at 22:39
5

How to contact moderators

  1. Contact them in a chat room. Many moderators are active in one or more chat rooms, and pinging them (with a simple @[whatever-their-name-is]) can notify them, and then you can discuss whatever you want to discuss. A user must have posted a message in the chatroom in the past week for a normal user to be able to ping them. Also, I noticed your main site is Super User, so this might help you.
  2. Email link in profile. Some people put an email link in their profile, to make themselves available for contact. However, some people might not want to be contacted for in-site matters.
  3. Bring it up on the per-site meta. For some things that you think are very important (e.g. a deleted your answer which you think was a good answer) you can bring it up on the per-site meta of your site. The per-site meta can be found by clicking the SE logo in the top right, which should open a menu with the option to take you to the per-site meta. Note: this site (meta SE) does not have a per site meta.
  4. Flag a post for moderator attention. I would highly recommend against doing this in most situations, but it is an option.

Response to your first example

Editing the post should have placed it into the re-open queue, so maybe it hasn’t been reviewed yet (as the queue has a massive backlog on some sites), or maybe your question still has problems. I would recommend bringing it up in chat, or maybe the per-site meta if chat doesn’t work.

Response to your second example

As mentioned in the comments, that suggested edit was approved by community members, not a moderator. If you don’t like the edit, you can roll it back, and you can leave a comment saying something like “hi @[editors-username], I rolled back your edit because of [reason], if you think it was a good edit I would be happy to discuss it in the comments”.

Answer to specific questions

  1. No.
  2. See above.
  3. Chat is a real time messaging system, and yes, only some users use chat, not all of them. Looking at some posts on your sites per-site meta that have the keyword “chat” on them or checking out the chat site (note that meta chat and stack overflow chat have different links).
  4. You can create a chatroom if you have enough reputation, but the only way to bring it to a users notice is by pinging them, and if you can ping somebody you already have a way to talk to them most of the time (exception: diamond moderators can ping a user who isn’t active in a chatroom). Also, if somebody has a chat profile that you can find, you can invite them to a one on one public chat.
  5. They may have a link in their profile, or be active in chat. Also, commenting is appropriate in that situation.
  6. Moderator flags (though for more important stuff than a disagreed edit, unless an edit war starts), the per-site meta, and the contact us link for Stack Exchange (Note that this should only be used for very important stuff, and a disagreement about an edit doesn’t even come close).
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    Thanks @Ekadh! (Side note: My heart sank initially as I thought this question had been closed and down-voted (which seemed a bit discouraging) however your answer has completely reversed this, thank you!)... Would like to say, as a newbie, trying to learn/follow the rules (and taking 45 mins of my free-time to try and write a comprehensive question) - I do sincerely thank you for taking the time to answer my specific questions, and provide a helpful overall summary / useful points that explain more about the site and how it works). Thanks for taking the time, I really appreciate it! 👍🏼 – Martin Jun 3 at 18:48
  • PS -- I have had this issue before, where I can't seem to '@' the author (I type @ and part of the username, but nothing is suggested)... I will look into the usage of @, as maybe I have mis-understood something, (or if anyone wants to post a quick reply that would be helpful)... Anyway, I hope the above note/thanks reaches you! – Martin Jun 3 at 18:53
  • RE: Other members approving edits -- Thanks for explaining this, I did not know about that part of the review model at all, so this was definitely good to know! (Ironically, this question itself has been suggested-for-edit and approved by another user (which 2 hours ago would've completely confused me), so your info is already helping! 👍🏼 – Martin Jun 3 at 18:57
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    @Martin Here's an [faq] post giving a full run-down of the @mention feature, if you'd like to read more on it: How do comment @replies work? – zcoop98 Jun 3 at 19:02
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    @Martin in terms of getting downvoted and close-voted being a bit discouraging, that’s an unintended downside of SE’s model and weird naming of stuff. Downvotes don’t mean people want to attack you of hate your question, it’s because they believe it’s not up to SE’s quality standards (most of the time, there will be exceptions and trolls.) also, close votes mean that somebody thinks your question can be improved, or has already been answered. Close voters are (mostly, like I said earlier, there will be exceptions) trying to help, as well as trying to keep the site “clean.” – Ekadh Singh Jun 3 at 19:10
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    Not sure I'd be so strongly against option (4), though it might depend on the site a bit. On my own site, I'd have no problem with users flagging for moderator attention if I closed their post and they've since corrected the problem. For example 2, no need to flag for a moderator at that point, but if the edit is reverted again then we have the beginnings of an edit war and a moderator flag is completely appropriate. – Bryan Krause Jun 3 at 19:19
  • @zcoop98 -- Thanks for sharing How do comment replies work?. I knew some of it (e.g. can't tag multiple people) but found it gave a comprehensive review so would recommend a read to others, thanks for sharing! // [Testing my understanding of the article] using this question as an example - I wrote the question, Ekadh Singh wrote the answer, we are both 'authors'. Even if comments don't use any mentions, the 'author' is notified, thus - I am auto-notified of comments on the question, Ekadh is auto-notified of comments on the answer. [cont...] – Martin Jun 3 at 20:47
  • [...cont] You can @ ANY contributor to the question (i.e. q author, a author, any commenter), EXCEPT in the one scenario where [a user answers your question AND no-one else has commented]... In this scenario, stackexchange regard this as a '2-person conversation' - meaning there is no question of who the comment is directed at, and thus @-ing is irrelevant so is explicitly disabled. PS: I might have kept @-ing enabled personally (disabling it caused confusion as initially thought it might've be a problem with the space in Ekadh's name), but regardless at least I know now, thanks! 👍🏼 – Martin Jun 3 at 20:47
4

Moderators are regular users too - so there's no special care and handling instructions. We mostly do what a regular user does, just on our own.

Example 1: One of my first questions on stackexchange.com was closed by a moderator for being too generic. The explanation message advised me to edit the question to make it more specific, which I did. I then (perhaps incorrectly?) assumed my revised question would be reviewed and the question accepted/re-opened, but I did not receive any further updates (no notifications that my edits had been reviewed, no follow-up guidance/explanation on why the question still wasn't acceptable/how to fix this, etc). I made several comments trying to attract moderator attention but there did not seem anything else I could do

Bring it up on the per site meta. Make a case for reopening it, explain what you did, ask if folks can review. The feedback from to the meta post can be useful and specific and it gets mod and high rep/engagement user attention effectively

Example 2: More recently, a posted a well-received question and answer... A community member suggested some minor stylistic changes (e.g. changing .ps1 --> .ps1) which I thought were helpful, so accepted. Today, I received another edit notification however upon checking it, noticed the editor had removed the reference to the O/S (Windows), which I thought was useful to keep. I thought it best to reject the change for now, but then noticed it was done (and so already approved) by a moderator... I don't have a massive problem with their edit, but it would be helpful to be able to discuss the change with them (e.g. if for example, it's better not to reference the O/S, then I should probably know that for future), but again, am not quite sure how I can initiate this conversation?

Simply rollback an unwanted revision. Edit in if the revision was wanted but 'missed' something.

Does stackexchange.com have any kind of 'IM' system (i.e. the ability to send a message to a specific user and ask them a question?)

No - its by design.

If so, how do I use this please? (I tried going to the moderator's profile but could not find any option to contact them)

As above

  1. As part of my pre-question search, I read about references to 'chat' in a similarly-titled question. I briefly explored 'chat' (assuming I went to the right place) by clicking the 3rd link in the 1st column of the page footer, however I could only see 18 users / 6 rooms (i.e. only a tiny fraction of stackexchange.com users) and so I didn't quite understand the answer to that question / how I could use 'chat' for my purposes... I assume 'chat' is some kind of real-time, room-based messaging system (like IRC), is that right?

Its on the header actually. Chat isn't as obvious to find as it was, and most chatrooms are 'social spaces' so asking questions or questions about questions might not always be appropriate. Its a good place to steep in site culture for many sites

  1. If not / there is a way to 'chat' with anyone, how do I do this please?

You can 'trivially' invite someone with a chat account to a 1-1 public chat. Practically not all users would be happy with it, so asking first, and remembering not to take up too much of their time is nice.

If you can find someone's chat profile - either by clicking on their icon in chat or directly, you can invite them to chat like so

  1. Besides commenting and '@'ing users (which is not really appropriate in this context), what other options are there for messaging/interacting with specific users please?

SE's quite designed for people not to do that. Trust the wisdom of the crowd.

  1. Are there any other processes for requesting review/interaction - e.g. if you disagree with an edit made, etc? (again, if so please provide instructions on how to do this please)

Well - for edits, rolling back is an option. You might want to look at/understand the use for site meta for reviews of things

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  • thanks for your answer, you have several useful points / pieces of info! RE Example 1: your comment about the per-site meta was very useful/interesting... TBH, I had not realised this -- indeed, before your answer I thought this site was the meta site (for all SE sites) and didn't realise each sub-site had it's own. so was really useful to know about this, thanks! [Side note: I explored meta.SO and was somewhat re-assured to see that it appeared to provide some of the user↔mod / 2-way interaction I was missing initially, so will definitely make use of this going forward – Martin Jun 4 at 23:09
  • Thanks also for pointers on chat and rejecting edits.. RE: Edits - I think I was hesitant to do this for concern that it would create an issue / get me into hot water - i.e. I didn't want moderator to get a notification saying I rejected his/her edit (which I assume, in their opinion they made for valid reason(s) and so would say that I was wrong to reject their edit / over-rule their judgement, etc)... Linking back to my question, ultimately it was about not wanting necessarily to explicitly reject their change, rather more about an opportunity to discuss/clarify it with them. – Martin Jun 4 at 23:19

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