The Moderator Council was introduced with some fanfare in 2020 in the aftermath of the Monica Cellio controversy, but I hear it is no longer active.

What activities did it engage in (if any) and what is its current status?

If it was rolled back, what other commitments announced at the time are no longer valid?


2 Answers 2


Honestly, as someone on the Pro-Tempore Moderator Council, it vaguely petered out. It is really hard to keep a group of volunteers on target, and it didn't really work that well. That's one of the reasons I pivoted over to trying to encourage more community representation in staff, and staff representation in community.

Personally in between the hellscape of my former job, and finding I found it 'easier' to get things done out here and informally, it didn't work quite as well for me, and possibly for others too.

I'd say in a sense it was a failed experiment that we'd wished had gone better. The company also experimented with working groups which covered some of the same ground, and might have been a good way to get feedback.

I do think renewal might have been something considered but honestly I had been too distracted to even notice.

I do note a lot of the people on the council drifted away, got quieter, or possibly burnt out as well.

I'd say, least from my perspective though - we might be having the same issues with the moderator council in place, since quite a few of the recent initiatives seem to be top down.

  • 6
    I never felt a moderator council organized by the company would accomplish what it needed to for mods. I do think it would be helpful for the moderator community to organize independently of the company and be able to talk amongst yourselves without staff interference, but it does put an extra burden on whoever is going to take on the organizing.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 20 at 13:59
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    Always seemed like workaround to me to avoid interacting with the community while being able to technically say a given thing was done with "community approval".
    – Kevin B
    Jun 20 at 14:41
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    @KevinB But it didn't have to be without community approval. The moderator council could for example have seen itself as a conduit between community and company, filtering and shaping, asking the community if necessary and telling the company in clear words what the community wants and needs, not just be used as potential badge of approval. To me it looks a bit as if there wasn't enough interest on both sides. Of course one can ask what this council was actually good for. Maybe it simply wasn't needed by anyone. Jun 21 at 10:20
  • Btw. I miss a bit kind of a summary about what the moderator council has achieved. Is it maybe possible to list a few things where the moderator council was involved in and how it made a difference there before it went to sleep? I remember the open letter of the lavender community for example that got answered one year later. Jun 22 at 20:50

From my perspective as a member of the pro tem Moderator Council, it fizzled because it got mired in bureaucracy. I had thought it would just be a small group of mods who would make themselves available to provide a community perspective to the company. However, it quickly devolved into discussions of having a President and a Secretary and all sorts of positions (although this was abandoned in favor of a flat structure, in the end), on strict rules, regular elections and just all sorts of bureaucratic overhead. As a result, once the pro tem council's term ended, I didn't stand in the election for the new one. The whole thing just felt like a waste of time and way too baroquely complicated.

It also seemed that nobody really knew what the mod council would be for and everyone had their own, slightly different idea. I want to stress that this one, at least, was not the company's fault. Employees were trying to push this forward but given the issues I mentioned above, there just wasn't much interest. It could be worth revisiting but this time we should keep it far less formal and more relaxed. If it feels like my day job, I won't be interested in doing it. SE is supposed to be fun and a hobby, after all.

Now, of course the company should realize that the absence of the mod council renders some of its agreements with us incomplete, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.

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    Heh... "So it would seem the first concrete action by the council was... To reject any actual responsibility?" - not surprised to hear about the bureaucracy - when there's nothing to do, folks tend to make work.
    – Shog9
    Jun 20 at 14:27
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    Nah, responsibility wasn't the problem, really @Shog9. Conflicting ideas of what the council should be was one major issue (e.g. I saw it as just an advisory body, a way for the company to quickly get some feedback from representatives of the community, while others wanted more "powers"). So nobody really knew what it was supposed to be or, perhaps more accurately, we all knew what we wanted it to be, but we didn't all want the same things from it. The other big thing was the bureaucracy, yeah.
    – terdon
    Jun 20 at 16:19
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    Not sure I see those as so different, @terdon - an advisory role should still have responsibilities. All volunteer "power" is at the whims of someone else ultimately, but that doesn't make the responsibility any less meaningful - it's when there is no responsibility that things tend to fall apart: then it's just meaningless power and position.
    – Shog9
    Jun 20 at 16:53
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    To be honest, @Shog9, I don't remember the details. I do remember I personally felt very strongly that the mod council shouldn't be some sort of "über mods" but only an easily accessible focus group the company could bounce ideas off of. Others felt the council should indeed have more responsibility. So yes, fair enough, I didn't want responsibility, but I don't think I was representative of the entire council. Jun 20 at 17:03
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    " we all knew what we wanted it to be, but we didn't all want the same things from it" But why didn't you all just agree on say the common subset of what you all wanted and followed through with it. If time-tested mods cannot agree with each other on something, who ultimately can. That part I don't really understand. Jun 20 at 20:26
  • @terdononstrike I believe one of them is the survey for the purpose & scope of Mod Council (mod-only), which was voted by their fellow mods. Jun 21 at 3:05
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    @NoDataDumpNoContribution I can't speak for the others, but for me, once the pro-tem council was closed and the time came to elect the first proper one, I just didn't want to be a part of it since it seemed like it was going to be something much more official and "heavy" than I was interested in. The main reason it died, IMO, is that it was badly defined from the beginning allowing different people to expect too many different things from it and end up being disappointed.
    – terdon
    Jun 21 at 9:24

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