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Following on from Robin111's answer

Is there a case to have 4 (or more) moderators on this site?

The case for

  1. Most people are Buddhists and could and do take extended leave from the site for retreats and other observances. Yuttadhammo is currently our most active moderator and he when to Asia for a couple of months

  2. There is a precedence. I notice Hinduism SE has 4 moderators

  3. People have been the subject of quite personal attacks on the site. I think emotions can run quite high. Whether it is surprising (aren't we or meant to be 'nice' Buddhists') or not - it does happen. We need a full moderator team to deal with these

I might be trying to talk myself in a job - I have to be honest - i would stand for a moderator post. But really my motivation is that this site becomes a welcoming and safe place for people to ask about issues that are important to them.

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Abby asked the current moderators about this and both Andrei and I felt that three was enough. It's better to have an odd number for tie breaking, and I don't think that moderation is that difficult that it requires four people.

Of course, our track record for attendance does show a potential problem keeping three moderators moderating... Hopefully our new group will buck that trend?

Also, more moderators means more cooks... I can't see four or five moderators being less problematic than three; I'd imagine more arguments and complaints, rather than less.

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  • fair point - particularly about the tie breaking which I didn't consider. Hopefully the new group will be an active bunch. – Crab Bucket Apr 30 '15 at 18:33
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In addition to simply providing regular moderator coverage (even when one mod needs to drop offline for a time) and lessening the chances of moderator burnout, having a larger mod team could have the advantage of allowing an amount of specialization. For example, those with greater knowledge and expertise might spend more time reviewing answers to ensure quality content. Others might focus on reviewing comment threads and taking charge when things are getting unwieldy. Others might concentrate on handling the routine items in the Review queue or editing weak questions to be better questions, since we seem to fall short on having enough good questions.

Granted, regular users can and should be doing many of those things as well. But they are likely to be done less evenly by regular users who come and go and come and go. In a newer site that's trying to make it out of beta, why not create a large, strong group of moderators to support each other in all that needs to be done to make the site meet all expectations?

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  • All of the activities you're describing should be undertaken by mostly regular users, and not moderators. Moderators are here to handle exceptions when for some reason an issue cannot be handled by the community. The whole Q&A engine is designed to let everyone in the community be responsible for the upkeep of the site to whatever degree they like. Expecting the moderators to take the lion's share isn't efficient (or fair). – hairboat Apr 20 '15 at 15:28
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    @abbyhairboat, I understand and agree that regular users should be responsible for routine maintenance. I didn't mean to imply that all routine maintenance should shift to moderators. I was trying to argue that having a larger moderator team than we currently have could allow each moderator greater flexibility to participate in the site as they best enjoyed. My assumption being that without sufficient moderator coverage; an active mod might not get a chance to do what they actually want to do as they'd be trying to cover what they "had" to do. Thanks for giving me a chance to clarify. :) – Robin111 Apr 20 '15 at 18:20
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    Uugh...I just reread my answer and it really did sound like I was saying everything should fall to the moderators. Bad argument on my part. I should have just said "More moderators would provide better coverage, better support for one another when things get sticky, and allow each more time to participate in the site as they best enjoyed." :) – Robin111 Apr 20 '15 at 18:33
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I think 4+ moderators will work especially if they are chosen to balance out the lineages / schools also. 5 or 6 may work even better.

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    I think there are two roles, i.e. users and moderators. Now users add to the site, they contribute positively: users add questions, add answers, and add comments. Whereas moderators remove from the site: close questions, delete answers, delete comments. I understand why the site wants a good balance of users (i.e. of contributors): it's so that several users can contribute/add answers for many lineages. But then the moderators (as opposed to users) shouldn't have to do very much, they just delete things sometimes; so maybe a site doesn't need too many of them, and ... – ChrisW Apr 21 '15 at 22:48
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    ... maybe it doesn't matter what lineage they are or aren't. There just needs to be enough of them that they're available within some reasonable delay, if a user has a problem (e.g. raises a flag). And they mustn't do (nor delete) too much. – ChrisW Apr 21 '15 at 22:54
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I think 4 moderators might work. @robin111's list is very much what I had in mind; @ChrisW and you, at least from my standpoint, come as very obvious top choices. However, I ask myself if more than 4 wouldn't be too much...

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I said I'm willing to be a moderator, because I want the site to have (and benefit from having) moderators; and because I'm glad other people volunteer so it's fair to help them if I can.

If someone answers What's difficult about moderating this site? that might help explain what the job requires.

I don't know (because I've never been a moderator) but having four sounds harmless, doesn't it: what disadvantage? If two of those are away often that leaves only two, and if one of those two is away ever then that leaves just one, which is only just enough. If there are usually at least two then so much the better, presumably. And handling exceptions (e.g. disputes) is better with two, if "two heads are better than one". Or three might be enough, if only one (not two) were away often?

I see why I'm suggested, i.e. I have experience as a user of other SE sites; and I have been active as a user here, on meta and the main Buddhism.SE site. A disadvantage of me as a moderator is, being inexpert, I am not good/confident with handling poor-quality questions/content: see Whether and how to moderate low-quality questions? Someone else more expert than me might be better at seeing the good within a poorly-phrased question, and/or more confident about closing questions.

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    See my comments below on "specialization". =) – Robin111 Apr 20 '15 at 1:10
  • So far as I can tell, the consensus is that most questions don't need to 'moderated'. – ChrisW Apr 30 '15 at 19:07

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