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It's New Year's Day in Stack Exchange land...

A distinguishing characteristic of these sites is how they are moderated:

We designed the Stack Exchange network engine to be mostly self-regulating, in that we amortize the overall moderation cost of the system across thousands of teeny-tiny slices of effort contributed by regular, everyday users.
-- A Theory of Moderation

While there certainly are Moderators here, a significant amount of the moderation is done by ordinary people, using the privileges they've earned by virtue of their contributions to the site. Each of you contributes a little bit of time and effort, and together you accomplish much.

As we enter a new year, let's pause and reflect, taking a moment to appreciate the work that we do here together. To that end, here is how the moderation done here on Role-playing Games breaks down by activity over the past 12 months:

                 Action                  Moderators Community¹
---------------------------------------- ---------- ----------
Users suspended²                                 23         14
Users destroyed                                 606          0
Users deleted                                    17          0
Users contacted                                  43          0
User suspensions lifted early                     3          0
Tasks reviewed³: Suggested Edit queue           122      3,047
Tasks reviewed³: Reopen Vote queue               45      3,454
Tasks reviewed³: Low Quality Posts queue         18      2,400
Tasks reviewed³: Late Answer queue                8      1,091
Tasks reviewed³: First Post queue                33      3,486
Tasks reviewed³: Close Votes queue               83      5,473
Tags merged                                      26          0
Tag synonyms proposed                            24          1
Tag synonyms created                             26          0
Revisions redacted                                6          0
Questions unprotected                            17          1
Questions reopened                              437        376
Questions protected                              46        139
Questions migrated                               10          1
Questions merged                                  4          0
Questions flagged⁴                               50      3,582
Questions closed                                880      1,562
Question flags handled⁴                         521      3,111
Posts unlocked                                   19         24
Posts undeleted                                  53        215
Posts locked                                     75        645
Posts deleted⁵                                  681      2,624
Posts bumped                                      0        108
Escalations to the CM team                       11          0
Comments undeleted                              407          0
Comments flagged                                459      6,627
Comments deleted⁶                            22,698      9,142
Comment flags handled                         5,990      1,096
Bounties canceled                                 7          0
Answers flagged                                 146      2,652
Answer flags handled                          1,576      1,222
All comments on a post moved to chat            567          0

Footnotes

¹ "Community" here refers both to the membership of Role-playing Games without diamonds next to their names, and to the automated systems otherwise known 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 numerous 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).

Wishing you all a happy new year...

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  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm proud of how well our community moderates itself! :) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 1 at 6:19
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ What's a community of comparable size and traffic so folks can see how this one measures up? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jan 1 at 12:38
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Worldbuilding is close in some ways (qpd, questions, answers, active users) but it's only 1/5 the page views. (And in some ways it's kinda the other end of the SE spectrum from us.) DBA is close in a lot of ways, but its apq is way lower (presumably because it's more technical) and it's got a lot longer tail of driveby users. Personal finance/money is a pretty good comparison all around, maybe? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jan 2 at 0:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Could links to those communities' A Year in Moderation recaps be included here in comments or in the original post? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jan 2 at 12:28
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan wb year in moderation, dba year in moderation, and personal finance & money year in moderation, as requested =) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jan 2 at 16:33
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                 Action                  Moderators Community¹
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Comments flagged                                459      6,627
Comments deleted⁶                            22,698      9,142
Comment flags handled                         5,990      1,096

I guess the diamond mods aren't joking when they say that comment management is a lot of what they do day-to-day. Though the number of community deletions is a good reminder that we normal users can delete comments through flags and by removing our own when they are no longer needed.


Comparison with other stacks

Because I was curious, I generated a comparison between the comment moderation activity of RPG.se and 3 other stacks that @nitsua60 identified (in a casual unscientific way) as being similar to RPG.se just to see how we stack up. Hopefully the comparison might help give context and meaning to the numbers above.

All the statistics were taken from each relevant stack's '2018: A Year in Moderation' posts with the exception of one number. Since the total number of comments was not listed in the statistics I had to find it. I made this SEDE query to find the number of comments posted in 2018 that were not deleted. Adding that to the number of deleted comments gave me the total number of comments for the year.

\begin{array}{r|lllll} & \text{RPG} & \text{Personal finance} & \text{Database admin} & \text{Worldbuilding} \\ \text{Not deleted} & 41,311 & 26,062 & 41,220 & 90,920 \\ \text{Deleted} & 31,840 & 5,603 & 17,907 & 16,200 \\ \text{Total Comments} & 73,151 & 31,665 & 59,127 & 107,120 \\ \text{%deleted total} & 44\% & 18\% & 30\% & 15\% \\ & & & & \\ \text{Deleted mod} & 22,698 & 3,690 & 11,349 & 11,302 \\ \text{Deleted member} & 9,142 & 1,913 & 6,558 & 4,898 \\ \text{%deleted mod} & 71\% & 66\% & 63\% & 70\% \\ \text{%deleted community} & 29\% & 34\% & 37\% & 30\% \\ & & & & \\ \text{Flagged mod} & 459 & 1,183 & 101 & 136 \\ \text{Flagged community} & 6,627 & 1,323 & 3,737 & 2,065 \\ \text{Total comments flagged} & 7,086 & 2,506 & 3,838 & 2,201 \\ \text{% mod flags} & 6\% & 47\% & 3\% & 6\% \\ \text{% community flags} & 94\% & 53\% & 97\% & 94\% \\ & & & & \\ \text{Flag handled mod} & 5,990 & 1,183 & 2,428 & 1,605 \\ \text{Flag handled comm} & 1,096 & 428 & 1,410 & 596 \\ \text{Total comment flags handled} & 7,086 & 1,611 & 3,838 & 2,201 \\ \text{% flags handled mod} & 85\% & 73\% & 63\% & 73\% \\ \text{% flags handled community} & 15\% & 27\% & 37\% & 27\% \end{array}

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  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Yep. The two routine technical things we mainly do in diamond land are a) handle the psychos/spammers (and that's fair enough) and b) comment deletion comment deletion comment deletion. I do wish there were better tools for the community to do the latter. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 1 at 22:24
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Apparently almost a third of comments deleted were deleted by the community, which is a little higher than I expected. Is that strictly deleting one's own comments (plus the Community user automatically deleting comments on, I dunno, deleted posts)? Or is there an existing system for community deletion of others' comments (presumably at some privilege level I don't have) that you wish would be improved? \$\endgroup\$ – SirTechSpec Jan 3 at 2:46
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Here's how comments get deleted: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/99812/… It's either self-deletion or multiple flags on the exact same comment (which is hard on a chatty thread, it requires people to flag 'em all). I'm shocked at how high it is as well. Maybe comments on deleted questions count in here too? \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 3 at 2:48
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Disclaimer: the three sites I identified were based off of a cursory look at the All Sites SE page informed by my casual use/touristing of other sites: not in any way a scientific selection. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jan 3 at 17:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 noted! \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jan 3 at 20:09
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I'm curious about this "Users destroyed" action, which is apparently a daily occurrence for mods even though I've never heard of it. Is there an explanation for it somewhere?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Happens with spammers and such, but we certainly don't do 2/day, there must be some kind of automation at work (like auto deletes of a user if we flag something as spam) or a miscount. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 3 at 2:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I had wondered if it was those of us who've delegated flags to Charcoal being super-effective at destroying spammers, but according to this meta we don't auto-cast on sites where we've got moderation privileges. So now I am more curious about this number. I know if I've clicked that "destroy" button it's only been once or twice, and with consultation among us. It's an intimidating option to have at my disposal. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jan 3 at 12:56
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ We had a spam wave in August/September/October during which we would get 5-10 different spam posts every single day, each one from a new and different account. Charcoal was keeping track of the spam and the accounts used to post it, and I went through the list and destroyed all of them once every day or two. That would account for about 500 destructions. Our spam is otherwise usually less frequent, once every few days, and I destroy those users too when nobody else beats me to it. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jan 3 at 13:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener so "destroyed" is similar to "deleted" but typically (only?) used for accounts that seem to be created just to spam? \$\endgroup\$ – Kamil Drakari Jan 3 at 14:00
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @KamilDrakari deletion removes the user account, deletes any negatively-scored posts by that account, and dissociates non-negative posts from them. (Sometimes you'll see a question or answer from "user12345" but there's no link to the profile--that's a deletion, either self- or moderator.) Destruction deletes profile and all posts by the user and contributes to limiting future accounts from that IP. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jan 3 at 15:15
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I'm interested in the fact that "comments moved to chat" for the community is 0 - I know I've gotten into a back-and-forth that got long enough that I was automatically prompted to move comments to chat (and did so). I suppose that may have been more than a year ago, but surely it's happened to someone else since?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think that removes prior comments when it happens to a user, just copies them and does new ones there. Though "moved to" would include copies I would think? \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 3 at 2:51
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ While I think regular community members are prompted to continue conversations in comments in chat, I think it takes a moderator to move the comments to chat. That is, when regular users do opt to continue a conversation in comments in chat, the comments remain. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jan 3 at 3:59
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Question and Answer moderation: Some more unscientific comparison between stacks

Here are some more comparisons, this time focused on question and answer moderation. The stacks were picked unscientifically but hopefully the comparisons might add some context to the numbers. All numbers come from the respective "2018: a year in moderation" posts except for the total question, answers, and posts numbers which came from this and this SEDE scripts.

\begin{array}{r|ccccccc} \textbf{RPG} & \textbf{Mod} & \textbf{%} & \textbf{Community} & \textbf{%} & \textbf{Total} & \textbf{Total %} \\ \text{Total questions} & & & & & 6,279 & \\ \text{Questions flagged} & 50 & 1\% & 3,582 & 99\% & 3,632 & 58\% \\ \text{Questions closed} & 880 & 36\% & 1,562 & 64\% & 2,442 & 39\% \\ \text{Question flags handled} & 521 & 14\% & 3,111 & 86\% & 3,632 & 58\% \\ & & & & & & \\ \text{Total posts} & & & & & 20,525 & \\ \text{Posts unlocked} & 19 & 44\% & 24 & 56\% & 43 & 0\% \\ \text{Posts undeleted} & 53 & 20\% & 215 & 80\% & 268 & 1\% \\ \text{Posts locked} & 75 & 10\% & 645 & 90\% & 720 & 4\% \\ \text{Posts deleted} & 681 & 21\% & 2,624 & 79\% & 3,305 & 16\% \\ & & & & & & \\ \text{Total answers} & & & & & 14,246 & \\ \text{Answers flagged} & 146 & 1\% & 2,652 & 19\% & 2,798 & 20\% \\ \text{Answer flags handled} & 1,576 & 11\% & 1,222 & 9\% & 2,798 & 20\% \\ \end{array}

\begin{array}{r|ccccccc} \textbf{Personal Finance} & \textbf{Mod} & \textbf{%} & \textbf{Community} & \textbf{%} & \textbf{Total} & \textbf{Total %} \\ \text{Total questions} & & & & & 3917 & \\ \text{Questions flagged} & 7 & 1\% & 1,384 & 99\% & 1,391 & 36\% \\ \text{Questions closed} & 658 & 51\% & 639 & 49\% & 1,297 & 33\% \\ \text{Question flags handled} & 459 & 33\% & 932 & 67\% & 1,391 & 36\% \\ & & & & & & \\ \text{Total posts} & & & & & 11188 & \\ \text{Posts unlocked} & 4 & 21\% & 15 & 79\% & 19 & 0\% \\ \text{Posts undeleted} & 32 & 35\% & 59 & 65\% & 91 & 1\% \\ \text{Posts locked} & 12 & 4\% & 305 & 96\% & 317 & 3\% \\ \text{Posts deleted} & 786 & 30\% & 1,819 & 70\% & 2,605 & 23\% \\ & & & & & & \\ \text{Total answers} & & & & & 7271 & \\ \text{Answers flagged} & 30 & 0\% & 2,851 & 20\% & 2,881 & 40\% \\ \text{Answer flags handled} & 1,658 & 12\% & 1,223 & 9\% & 2,881 & 40\% \\ \end{array}

\begin{array}{r|ccccccc} \textbf{Database admin} & \textbf{Mod} & \textbf{%} & \textbf{Community} & \textbf{%} & \textbf{Total} & \textbf{Total %} \\ \text{Total questions} & & & & & 11541 & \\ \text{Questions flagged} & 56 & 5\% & 1,160 & 95\% & 1,216 & 11\% \\ \text{Questions closed} & 518 & 16\% & 2,821 & 84\% & 3,339 & 29\% \\ \text{Question flags handled} & 445 & 37\% & 771 & 63\% & 1,216 & 11\% \\ & & & & & & \\ \text{Total posts} & & & & & 25264 & \\ \text{Posts unlocked} & 4 & 9\% & 40 & 91\% & 44 & 0\% \\ \text{Posts undeleted} & 50 & 17\% & 246 & 83\% & 296 & 1\% \\ \text{Posts locked} & 18 & 5\% & 351 & 95\% & 369 & 1\% \\ \text{Posts deleted} & 1,364 & 21\% & 5,016 & 79\% & 6,380 & 25\% \\ & & & & & & \\ \text{Total answers} & & & & & 13723 & \\ \text{Answers flagged} & 63 & 0\% & 2,656 & 19\% & 2,719 & 20\% \\ \text{Answer flags handled} & 2,242 & 16\% & 477 & 3\% & 2,719 & 20\% \\ \end{array}

\begin{array}{r|ccccccc} \textbf{Worldbuilding} & \textbf{Mod} & \textbf{%} & \textbf{Community} & \textbf{%} & \textbf{Total} & \textbf{Total %} \\ \text{Total questions} & & & & & 5100 & \\ \text{Questions flagged} & 31 & 1\% & 2,063 & 99\% & 2,094 & 41\% \\ \text{Questions closed} & 579 & 23\% & 1,932 & 77\% & 2,511 & 49\% \\ \text{Question flags handled} & 1,031 & 49\% & 1,063 & 51\% & 2,094 & 41\% \\ & & & & & & \\ \text{Total posts} & & & & & 30214 & \\ \text{Posts unlocked} & 2 & 18\% & 9 & 82\% & 11 & 0\% \\ \text{Posts undeleted} & 29 & 21\% & 109 & 79\% & 138 & 0\% \\ \text{Posts locked} & 3 & 2\% & 184 & 98\% & 187 & 1\% \\ \text{Posts deleted} & 552 & 22\% & 1,955 & 78\% & 2,507 & 8\% \\ & & & & & & \\ \text{Total answers} & & & & & 25114 & \\ \text{Answers flagged} & 317 & 2\% & 2,915 & 20\% & 3,232 & 13\% \\ \text{Answer flags handled} & 1,257 & 9\% & 1,975 & 14\% & 3,232 & 13\% \end{array}

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