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Out of idle curiosity, are there any advantages - I mean rather material ones, besides the respect of the community and all that - that the trilogy's moderators enjoy for being moderators? Access to Fog Creek's Gym and canteen? A place to crash whenever they're in San Francisco? Booking hours on Jeff Atwood's Learjet? Or is it the sheer fun of it, something that (as we all know) works pretty well for the site overall?

After all, being a moderator can be quite an amount of work - and as it's being brought to you, and at least some participation is somewhat expected, it's work with a capital W. Also, the elevated status and power of The Moderator is (quite rightly) bound to make your actions subject to increased scrutiny from the community, and it can happen that you have to defend your actions in front of a critical audience.

Is the "job" (and status) and the fun doing it so rewarding in itself that there is no need for reimbursement of any kind? Maybe moderating duties are much lighter than they may seem from the outside? Is SO more a part of your life as a Moderator than before?

Just being curious about how things work.

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In some circumstances, moderators may have "the inside track" to a job at Stack Overflow. According to Tim Post:

'Hiring from within' should become our default practice, and that must include people that have been giving us an enormous amount of time just because they like what we're doing. We should consider giving our moderators 'first dibbs' on our new job postings prior to making them public in cases where that makes sense.

As of now, seven current Stack Exchange employees were volunteer moderators on the Stack Exchange network prior to being hired. Listed below in alphabetical order together with the site(s) where they were a moderator:

Additionally, 11 former Stack Exchange employees were moderators on the network prior to employment. Several of them went back to serving as moderators after ceasing employment:

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    Ha, I forgot all about Literature... :) – Adam Lear Jul 2 '15 at 21:02
  • @1999 maybe some devs are just that passionate about reading manuals :-) – Kevin Jul 9 '15 at 16:15
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    To clarify: the aforementioned Literature is different from the current Literature site, which is the 2nd site with that name. – user315433 Jul 7 '17 at 17:58
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    SE needs to hire Rory just for his entertaining entry on this list. :-) – Monica Cellio Jul 7 '17 at 18:13
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    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog Jeremy Banks and Sklivvz are no longer current moderators, but they did sign back on as moderators after ceasing employment. – Rand al'Thor Mar 23 '20 at 1:52
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I received some free stickers and a free t-shirt out of the deal. Oh, and Jeff occasionally returned my emails. The Stack Overflow related ones. He still ignored the random ones. :(

To address your questions directly:

Is the "job" (and status) and the fun doing it so rewarding in itself that there is no need for reimbursement of any kind?

Yes, the extra abilities were nice. I wish I were granted the ability to delete spam accounts on every site that I visit.

Maybe moderating duties are much lighter than they may seem from the outside?

Probably. There are a lot of tools and dashboards set up to make it pretty easy, like the 10K moderators get. There's a big orange (on SO) "mod-signal" that lights up at the top of the page when there are flags (so always), but it's only a few extra things to check when moderators visit the site.

Is SO more a part of your life as a Moderator than before?

Probably not for me. I think I spent about the same amount of time here, I just spent it differently. Marc might answer differently, since he managed to maintain his position on the leader board and perform his duties as moderator.

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    Examples of random emails please. Inquiring minds want to know. – Aarobot Apr 9 '10 at 0:26
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    @Aaronaught: Those are very private. – Bill the Lizard Apr 9 '10 at 0:36
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    Private like an offshore bank account, or private like the photos from your 21st birthday after the the 21st Bud Light? – Aarobot Apr 9 '10 at 1:24
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    @Aaronaught: Well, the Stack Overflow emails would be private like an offshore bank account, so the others must be... I've said too much. – Bill the Lizard Apr 9 '10 at 1:32
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    WOW... I have my next SO question... how do I rig GMail to send random emails? – DVK Apr 9 '10 at 5:06
  • I like the "mod light" title! I'll have to remember that. – C. Ross Oct 9 '10 at 16:54
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    @BilltheLizard do you think you should change this to the past tense? :) – psubsee2003 Jul 2 '15 at 11:14
  • @psubsee2003 Yes, that's a good idea. I've been slowly editing these as I come across them. There are just too many to edit all at once. :) – Bill the Lizard Jul 2 '15 at 12:19
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    "but it's only a few extra things to check when moderators visit the site." - Oh, for the innocent days of (Stack Overflow's) youth. – mmyers Jul 2 '15 at 16:43
  • @mmyers April, 2010... Yes, that was probably back when we were still able to keep the queue below 100 flags at all times. :) – Bill the Lizard Jul 2 '15 at 17:32
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Well, along with page-1 users, the SU mods are getting SU t-shirts, apparently!

I like to imagine they'll be wearing them while they moderate, like a uniformed police officer. (Or cop, to our American friends)

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    I am American and obviously have no idea what the word "police" means. – Earlz Apr 8 '10 at 21:56
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    @earlz: I think they're something like bobbies. – mmyers Apr 8 '10 at 22:05
  • @earlz: I'm glad to have been able to help! – Phoshi Apr 8 '10 at 22:06
  • Well I hope they do get T-Shirts! Although this conversation meta.stackexchange.com/questions/38018/… seemed to indicate that they don't. I hope that has changed. – Pekka Apr 8 '10 at 22:11
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    (Or copper, to our friends across the pond.) – Gnome Apr 8 '10 at 22:15
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    It's really too bad there are no meta shirts.. :( – Ether Apr 8 '10 at 22:15
  • @Pekka: I got an e-mail thismorning saying that the SU team would love to give page 1 users and moderators a t-shirt! – Phoshi Apr 8 '10 at 22:29
  • @Pekka, we are getting them, at least I got the email, and I know of at least one other guy who did (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/45891/…). – heavyd Apr 8 '10 at 22:35
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    @mmyers Is that like P.C. 31? – Michael Todd Apr 8 '10 at 22:38
  • @Michael Todd: Sorry, you've lost me, and Google is no help. – mmyers Apr 8 '10 at 22:45
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    @mmyer Oh...Beatles reference. Maxwell's Silver Hammer. P.C. stands for Police Constable. (Of course if you have to explain it, it's no longer funny. Ah, well.) – Michael Todd Apr 8 '10 at 22:47
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As per the latest swag post

Mods receive the following

Moderator diamond hat
T-shirt (SO or SE)
Stickers (SO or SE)
Water bottle or tumbler

Previously site T shirts were given out to mods, but that's no longer a thing.

Once again there is a hat, but some newer mods keep assuming we're joking about the mod hat. The mod hat is no joke

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  • Reference for the last sentence: your profile pic :P – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Mar 6 '18 at 10:30
  • Shirts are for elected mods (and JohnP) only. – Catija Mar 6 '18 at 13:16
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    @Catija I am not elected and I got a pack with a hat, a T-shirt and some stickers. I'm pro tem in Spanish.SE. – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Mar 6 '18 at 14:21
  • @fedorqui then it must depend upon which CM you talk to. The general understanding I have is that Pro tem mods only get a hat and only if they ask for it. – Catija Mar 6 '18 at 15:17
  • @Catija well, I got the full pack after asking for it in a form I found somewhere. Previously, I did not get anything (not even a confirmation email when my "moderator status" was set). – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Mar 6 '18 at 15:19
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In addition to opportunities of SE's recruitment, moderators also tend to be favored by the Community team in various cases.

When Meta Stack Exchange started the "experiment" of appointing community moderators, all candidates that the SE Community team looked at were existing moderators. The first set of three glorious MSE community mods were chosen as follows, with their "mod site" prior to this listed

A few weeks later the SE team chose a 4th MSE mod:

  • Monica Cellio, The Workplace, Mi Yodeya, Writing, Worldbuilding and Beer, Wine & Spirits
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    Technically, it wasn't an "experiment"...it was a reinstatement of moderators. In a past life, this site had four community moderators, two of which were former moderators of the old UserVoice site, and the others of which were operators of external "meta" sites before this site was established. – Sonic the Curiouser Hedgehog Apr 6 '19 at 6:38
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    This seems somewhat circular. Is it an advantage to be chosen as a Meta moderator if that itself does not give you advantages? – Alex Feb 16 '20 at 0:16

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