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There's an election going on right now, and as a result there's rather a lot of discussion about the role that moderators play on this site.

...actually, that conversation has been going on for quite a while.

One of the hardest problems that faces those hardy souls who step up to nominate themselves in an election is the question of what they hope to accomplish. An awful lot of what moderators do on a day-to-day basis is not terribly visible; I've seen a lot of moderators compare themselves to janitors: you only tend to notice them when a mess doesn't get cleaned up promptly. As a result, many candidates go into the election process without a clear idea of what to expect should they emerge on the other side with a diamond next to their name...

At the start of the year, I posted a list of moderator actions for 2016 on Stack Overflow, with the goal of making the work handled by moderators - diamond or otherwise - a bit more transparent.

Let's get some of that information visible here too, shall we?

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As requested by myself, here's a birds-eye view into what actually happened on Role-playing Games Stack Exchange moderation-wise over the past 365 days, for your collective edification and bemusement:

Action                                  Moderators Community¹ 
--------------------------------------- ---------- --------- 
Users suspended²                              23          8  
Users destroyed                               81          0  
Users deleted                                 20          0  
Users contacted                               40          0  
User suspensions lifted early                  1          0  
Tasks reviewed³: Suggested Edit queue         68       2082  
Tasks reviewed: Reopen Vote queue             56       2071  
Tasks reviewed: Low Quality Posts queue       10       1212  
Tasks reviewed: Late Answer queue              7        751  
Tasks reviewed: First Post queue              24       2662  
Tasks reviewed: Close Votes queue             87       3788  
Tags merged                                   21          0  
Tag synonyms proposed                         17          2  
Tag synonyms created                          21          0  
Revisions redacted                             1          0  
Questions unprotected                          2          5  
Questions reopened                           269        166  
Questions protected                           27         72  
Questions migrated                             5          1  
Questions merged                               5          0  
Questions flagged⁴                             9        766  
Questions closed                             735        980  
Question flags handled                       356        419  
Posts unlocked                                16          9  
Posts undeleted                               45        125  
Posts locked                                 104         83  
Posts deleted⁵                               683       1551  
Posts bumped                                   0        143  
Escalations to the CM team                     6          0  
Comments undeleted                           193          0  
Comments flagged                             683       1841  
Comments deleted⁶                          15644       5200  
Comment flags handled                       2386        138  
Bounties canceled                              3          0  
Answers flagged                               41       1658  
Answer flags handled                        1145        554  
All comments on a post moved to chat         183          0  

Footnotes

¹ "Community" here refers both to the vast membership of RPG without diamonds next to their names, and to the automated systems otherwise affectionately referred to as user #-1.

² The system will suspend users under three circumstances: when a user is recreated after being previously suspended, when a user is recreated after being destroyed for spam or abuse, and when a network-wide suspension is in effect on an account.

³ This counts every review that was submitted (not skipped) - so the 3 suggested edits reviews needed to approve an edit would count as 3, the goal being to indicate the frequency of moderation actions. This also applies to flags, etc.

⁴ Includes close flags (but not close or reopen votes).

⁵ This ignores a good chunk of deletions that happen automatically in response to some other action.

⁶ This includes comments deleted by their own authors (which also account for some number of handled comment flags).

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ There were 81 users destroyed? Were all these part of the sock puppet attack? \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 Apr 22 '17 at 9:53
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Actions taken using the SE moderation tools are not the sum total of what the moderators here do—few of the complaints or concerns have been about those, but rather about the moderators’ inter-personal behavior and handling of meta discussions. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 22 '17 at 12:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You don't need me to tell you about the bits of the iceberg that are above the water, @kryan. \$\endgroup\$ – Shog9 Apr 22 '17 at 13:49
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Spammers and trolls would be the most common uses there, @markovchain. \$\endgroup\$ – Shog9 Apr 22 '17 at 13:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Shog9 Mm, and yet, I don’t think they all are. Yes, meta discussions are all visible, and yeah, comments can be seen—but are frequently deleted, and impossible to search for in any event. So no, I don’t think that’s an entirely fair characterization of the issues plaguing the site. If it was, I would have been able to put together a far more comprehensive and damning report to SE about the behavior of the moderators here. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 22 '17 at 13:51
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If you want stats for meta, ask, @kryan. \$\endgroup\$ – Shog9 Apr 22 '17 at 13:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Great stats, thanks! Yes, user destruction is almost totally spammers; we generally do it so fast y'all don't realize how often it happens. I'm shocked that the community actually deletes 25% of the comments, that's great. The other thing worth highlighting is that we're clearly trying to help reopen questions at an aggressive speed to help take the sting off our community's (good) on-hold-quickly-till-it's-fixed bad Q policy. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Apr 22 '17 at 14:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I was surprised to see that we close the minority of questions and reopen the majority. I'd somehow internalised the objections so much that I was sure it was overwhelmingly the other way around. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 22 '17 at 14:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie 435/1715 isn't a majority, I don't think.... Not that I think you're closing stuff wrong! But we definitely close more often than we open (tautologically) but also we only reopen a minority of questions (~1/4). \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Apr 24 '17 at 9:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Didn't realize the mods removed over 40 comments per day. That's quite a lot. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Apr 24 '17 at 9:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Took me a minute to figure out what you meant. I mean "we" as mods, and in terms of share (in the context established as "what do mods do"). Of questions reopened, most are by mods; of questions closed, most are by non-mods. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 24 '17 at 14:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, this site actually leads the network in % of comments deleted, @erik. I get the impression that folks argue a lot here. \$\endgroup\$ – Shog9 Apr 24 '17 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are there stats for sites comparable to ours somewhere? 43% mod-close rate seems massive compared to SO's 7%; but SO is an entirely different ballgame from us. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon May 1 '17 at 16:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Shog9 If a question has several close votes by members of the community, and a moderator casts their vote to make the closure final, does that get counted as +1 to the Moderators column, Community column, or both? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 1 '17 at 16:55
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's the 111th highest percentage out of 161 sites, @AceCalhoon. \$\endgroup\$ – Shog9 May 1 '17 at 17:16

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