I'm confused. What is the sense of wasting the time for editing, when your post or the whole discussion can be deleted?

For example, having read that moderator Kyle Brandt wrote: "I will ask Jeff later about post deletion" about my post Why was my account closed in SF? [closed],
How to determine that editing of my own post isn't a waste of time in vain?

Who is Jeff?
How can I know about his decision?
What is hierarchy between moderators?

How can I know that a post is from a moderator?
Who can override the decision of a moderator?
Can a moderator from SF suspend an account in SO?

In case of contradictory instructions (advice), whose advice should I follow:
- the participant with higher score?
- a moderator?
- Jeff? - who else is in the decision/authority chain?

Where can I read on moderators' rights and their of decisions process?

PS: Don't FAQ me, I already know this magic answer to all meta-questions.

  • 2
    Please follow this link to the meta chat site to discuss this with us.
    – user27414
    Aug 17, 2010 at 19:09
  • 1
  • 2
    possible duplicate of Where is the FAQ?
    – Shog9
    Aug 17, 2010 at 19:10
  • 8
    This is not a publicly owned web site. You do not have the ability or the right to question everything. Your time is yours to spend however you like, but no one else is to blame if that time ends up wasted.
    – Fosco
    Aug 17, 2010 at 19:11
  • Well, the OP can't complain. He got spoon-fed three great answers.
    – Pekka
    Aug 17, 2010 at 20:43
  • @jinguy, this is vgv8. Sorry, I could not attend your invitation since I was blocked from these sites almost simultaneously with your invitation and the reason for suspension was: "Many people on Meta where trying to help you with your apparent problems, including many helpful comments and opening a dedicated chat room to be of assistance to you. However, you have shown no interest in listening"
    – Anonymous
    Aug 18, 2010 at 2:46
  • So, this is the same pattern both in SF and SO, newcomers are suspended because they are being abused and insulted aka "flagged". I could not find any other reason/explanation. Ah, SO site added new tradition to chatting: GOOGLE search on abused user by its ID. Why this complication? there are my names in IDs from which I log-in to SO. It would have given you thousands more interesting and pertinent links for chatting
    – Anonymous
    Aug 18, 2010 at 2:50
  • 1
    Usually, I never participate in chats considering them as a complete waste of time. But this was not the reason in this case.
    – Anonymous
    Aug 18, 2010 at 2:57
  • I am GMT+6 time, it was deep night when this chat was opened and I was already sleeping. I noticed your invitation only at my morning, in 7 hours after ban
    – Anonymous
    Aug 18, 2010 at 2:58
  • Anyway, I hardly could participate there because I do not understand English there even with dictionary and I need much more time to write. though to write what if I do not understand what is being written there? English is not my first language, it is 5th one
    – Anonymous
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:02
  • As you noticed, I was avoiding comments and the main reasons are that they do NOT have in-line syntax control + do not permit to return to correct my English in quite short period of time + very confusing to answer in different places (instead one in main posy) + comments are not even readable (formattable, searchable).
    – Anonymous
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:11
  • Comments are highly confusing to me. I simply do not have enough RAM in my head to follow the parallel (real-time) flows and respond to them in English (which is not even second foreign language for me)
    – Anonymous
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:16
  • + copy& paste do not work in comments between my main browsers anв editors.
    – Anonymous
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:21
  • So, I'd like to leave with me the right (of) choice what is suitable for me in internet without being rebuked (for any ofmy communicative difficulties)
    – Anonymous
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:28
  • I am sorry for your time trying to help me. I'm inclined to believe that is not my fault that it was nullified
    – Anonymous
    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:30

4 Answers 4


Ok. I'll bite.

Who is Jeff?

Jeff Atwood. One of the co-founders and the brains behind the SO/SF/SU and now SE systems. He is the first user and employee of StackOverflow LLC. His profile is here.

How can I know about his decision?

Through MSO and the blog here.

What is hierarchy between moderators?

Each site has a set of moderators voted for by the community. They all directly report to Jeff and the development team. They have control over the sites they are moderator of. The exception is MSO which is moderated by any of the SO/SF/SU moderators.

How can I know that a post is from moderator?

Moderators are the only people with access to email addresses. When sending you an email they will generally have a link to their profile on the site. On the site itself they have a diamond (♦) next to their name, like in my case.

Who can override the decision of a moderator?

Jeff, another moderator and the community by majority vote and after discussion.

Can moderator from SF suspend account in SO?

No, but they can suggest it to SO moderators.

In case of contradictory isntructions (advises), whose advise should I follow:

  • the participant with higher score?
  • a moderator?
  • Jeff? - who else is in the decision/authority chain?

Jeff, then the moderators then the community as a whole. Jeff is the only person in the decision chain after the moderators. If he believes a moderator is incorrect he will rectify the situation.

Where can I read on moderators' rights and their of decisions process ?

You can read A theory of moderation for the basic outline. Otherwise it is fairly basic; moderators respond to flags from the community and decide the best course of action in each case, or alternatively defer to another moderator or Jeff.

  • Moderators also have the ♦.
    – devinb
    Aug 17, 2010 at 19:30
  • OK Diago, I gave you the kick over 10k, use your new power wisely. :) Aug 17, 2010 at 19:37
  • Stackoverflow is a limited liability company, I'm not really sure where you got the "Inc." from Aug 17, 2010 at 21:59
  • @Kop - Check out the footer of any page: © 2010 stack overflow internet services, inc Aug 17, 2010 at 23:41
  • @Kop Additionally, check out the comments here. They've ceased being LLC for a while.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Aug 18, 2010 at 12:36

You should edit your question only to give clarifications. People should only have to read your question to figure out what you are asking, not have to read your question and then the answers and then read your question again for your reply. You should not edit your question to respond to comments or answers. You should use comments for this.

For instance:

Question: How do I do X in jQuery?

Comment: Which version of jQuery

Comment(from OP): @Commenter I edited my question to include the version

Question(after edit): How do I do X in jQuery 1.3

Answer: Oh you just do $(foo).unicorn();

Comment(from OP): That won't work for me because I can not install the unicorn extension. 

etc etc.


You don't know if a question will be closed/deleted. You answer it and edit your answers because you want to provide the original poster with an answer. If you feel they'd get a better answer looking at another question, direct them to the other question. You decide what's worthwhile.

Jeff Atwood is the author of the popular programmer's blog Coding Horror. You can read more about him on his "About Me" page and on Wikipedia.

As Wikipedia says...

Together with Joel Spolsky, he has created three question-and-answer websites: Stack Overflow for programmers, Server Fault for system administrators, and Super User, for general computer-related questions.

... so he's kind of a top dog around these parts. Not only is he (kind of*) in charge because he (kind of*) literally owns the site, but he is also a community leader in that many original SO-ers were longtime Coding Horror followers.

Other site moderators will have a little character next to their usernames to denote that they are moderators. If you see a question/answer from a user with a in their username, it means they are a moderator.

As for who can override the decision of a moderator, I'm not 100% sure, and the answer would vary on the kind of decision.

In the case of closing a question, the community decides on that; closing a question isn't something only a moderator can do. Any user with 3000 rep can vote to close a question. 5 votes to close and the question is closed. Then other users with 3000 rep can vote to re-open the question and it could keep going until moderators step in.

In the case of deleting... I dunno, but I think the mods - who can see deleted questions - have a system similar to the above closing system. Don't quote me on it though.

Past this point, I now see that @Diago has answered, and it looks like his answer is overall better than mine, so I think I'll stop now.

*Use of (kind of) meant to indicate I am not a lawyer and have a complete lack of specific, accurate knowledge or understanding of the legal intricacies of ownership when it comes to the site, the questions/answers, the domain name, the blah blah blah...

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