In the Moderator Agreement I see the deadline timings for only accepting the new agreement (emphasis is mine):

Announce changes to the moderator agreement no less than sixty days before the deadline to accept the new agreement with a period of at least thirty days for discussion and review.

I.e., when a moderator previously accepted some version of the agreement. But what's the deadline for accepting the agreement at the first time, I mean after the winning the election phase? Where is it stated?

  • 7
    Well, one thing to know is that a moderator who's been unable to take actions as a result of not signing the agreement is effectively an inactive moderator, making them eligible to be procedurally removed for inactivity. Apr 22, 2023 at 21:19
  • 1
    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog hence ... 6 months? Apr 22, 2023 at 21:30
  • 17
    This is not an unreasonable question and I don't know why it's attracting downvotes. The deadline for accepting the agreement after election should be clearly stated somewhere; it doesn't appear to be at the moment. It should be documented what the process is for when an elected moderator does not accept the agreement within a certain amount of time.
    – Mithical
    Apr 22, 2023 at 21:39
  • 11
    Well - generally, reasonably, moderators are expected to accept the moderator agreement as soon as possible. I don't know the current process but back in the day, when I first became a moderator on Software Recommendations... I missed the email. Shog9 somewhat passive aggressively reminded me. Apr 22, 2023 at 21:57
  • 3
    I don't think we should conflate inactivity of an established moderator with inactivity due to an elected moderator unwilling to accept the agreement. These are two different types of "inactivity" and - while I agree that the timeline for accepting the agreement for the first time should be explicitly stated somewhere, if it's not - I wonder why it's never come up before? We also shouldn't conflate accepting the agreement for the first time with subsequently accepting an updated version of the agreement. Apr 22, 2023 at 22:21
  • 16
    Well - most mods don't decide to QA test what happens in the twilight period between winning an election to accepting the moderator agreement Apr 23, 2023 at 0:02
  • 6
    I can very well imagine a situation where someone gets cajoled into participating in a mod election and winning, only then to realize what exactly they signed up for, including the requirement to effectively sign a legally binding agreement. Not having explicit terms for this process would also seem to my (IANAL) mind as problematic for legal reasons.
    – tripleee
    Apr 23, 2023 at 7:50
  • 14
    If you don't realize what you signed up for, what you were winning, and didn't want to do it, the appropriate response would be immediate resignation and refusal to take up the position, not faffing about to push the limits and waste everybody's time and effort. Either one wants to do the job properly or not, and should get on with accepting or refusing it outright.
    – Nij
    Apr 23, 2023 at 9:14
  • 9
    Folks, jeez, I am pretty sure αλεχολυτ knows what they signed up for (after all, they've been leading the effort of translating the system for Ru.SO for quite a while, not a random user winning the election). Let's turn down the "either sign or GTFO" a bit - so what if they are stalling with signing it to test some edge cases? The community that chose them seems to be fine with that. And while the questions they asked surely are edge cases - why don't we have them documented (surely it doesn't bind SE to rush to fix them)? Apr 23, 2023 at 15:01
  • 8
    @Nij - Why is it a "serious problem"? The CMs are aware of what they're doing, and will step in if it becomes disruptive. In the meantime, they're identifying previously missed gaps in the process. I'd call that a net benefit.
    – Mithical
    Apr 23, 2023 at 19:02
  • 12
    A staff member has already pointed out that they don't know what they don't know they're revealing when they make these reports public. If they find actual issues with access related to moderator limbo, they can inform the company without posting on meta. As is, this is just fiddling with the edges for the sake of doing it, with a solution of "sign the agreement and take the job properly" which isn't a benefit to anybody.
    – Nij
    Apr 23, 2023 at 19:05
  • 8
    I'm with @Mithical on this one. If someone is doing something that is annoying but within the rules and it's disruptive, it's probably time to make the rules more explicit. I appreciate people who rock the boat a little without doing any serious harm. A little bit of boundary pushing and edge-casing helps make sure both processes and code are robust.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 24, 2023 at 18:38
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog so, does not signing the agreement actually disable mod tooling?
    – Cerbrus
    Apr 26, 2023 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


I'm not aware of any changes since then, but the original foundational document on the moderation system says 30 days:

  1. You must accept the community moderator agreement within 30 days of election or appointment and remain active on the site.

Looking at the most recent moderator election/appointment email I got for pets

We strongly recommend that you read the following to learn the basics of moderating a Stack Exchange community:


  • A Theory of Moderation. This blog post is one of the earliest references about moderation on Stack Exchange. While some of the details are outdated, the overall feeling still describes moderation on our sites today.

(In theory this is the 'revisited' version, but in this case it doesn't really supersede any of the relevant parts of the answer).

That said, generally the 'soft' expectation is you do so as quickly as humanly possible. If say, you win an election during a vacation when folks are aware you're out of contact — it's potentially understandable that if you don't have internet access (or its limited) you could put it off.

  • Can we trust to 14 years old blog post, written by former SO employee? Apr 25, 2023 at 15:11
  • 10
    Given the rate at which things change here, yeah, probably.
    – Kevin B
    Apr 25, 2023 at 15:13
  • 13
    Uh, unless something supercedes it - sure. And its from the period when blog posts were used a primary mode of communication, not random advertorials. Its also not a random SO employee - its the person who'd set up the moderation system Apr 25, 2023 at 15:13
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    Also, looking back at the most recent Congratulations email for becoming a moderator, that blog post is explicitly linked Apr 26, 2023 at 2:47
  • 1
    Did you notice the part "some of the details are outdated" ? Apr 26, 2023 at 6:38
  • 8
    Yes, but nothing tells us that detail is outdated. If you want an authoritative answer to how long you have to accept the moderator agreement, its 30 days maximum. There's nothing saying "We're extending the time a moderator has to agree" or that that had changed. Apr 26, 2023 at 6:55
  • 1
    I'd expect the rules of the game be clearly and explicitly stated before the game begins (preferably at a single place without the need to scout the whole Meta looking for additions/corrections). Am I expecting too much? "Soft expectations" must be documented, too, otherwise no one should "expect" them. The rules must be not just an inner agreement of a group of insiders.
    – Vlad
    May 28, 2023 at 11:06

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