# 2018: a year in moderation

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 Physics breaks down by activity over the past 12 months:

                 Action                  Moderators Community¹
---------------------------------------- ---------- ----------
Users suspended²                                 50         40
Users destroyed                                  31          0
Users deleted                                   176          0
Users contacted                                  72          0
User banned from review                           3          0
Tasks reviewed³: Suggested Edit queue           315      8,143
Tasks reviewed³: Reopen Vote queue              200      4,506
Tasks reviewed³: Low Quality Posts queue         15     10,043
Tasks reviewed³: First Post queue                11     15,200
Tags merged                                      21          0
Tag synonyms proposed                            37          0
Tag synonyms created                             32          0
Questions unprotected                             5          0
Questions reopened                              154         52
Questions protected                             545        286
Questions migrated                              171         65
Questions merged                                  5          0
Questions flagged⁴                               20      5,947
Questions closed                              5,303      6,995
Question flags handled⁴                       1,601      4,366
Posts unlocked                                    2         68
Posts undeleted                                  95        761
Posts locked                                     13        521
Posts deleted⁵                                2,195     17,375
Posts bumped                                      0      8,729
Escalations to the CM team                        6          0
Comment flags handled                         2,346      3,167
Bounties canceled                                 6          0
All comments on a post moved to chat            203          0


### Footnotes

¹ "Community" here refers both to the membership of Physics 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...

• 31 users "destroyed"! Sounds rather harsh. – knzhou Jan 5 at 18:04
• @knzhou For spammers and the like with low reputation and no useful contributions. We actually only destroy the users' accounts. The users themselves are unharmed. – rob Jan 5 at 19:59
• – Blue Jan 6 at 17:02

Very interesting, thanks for posting this!

Over the past several days I've been browsing these questions on various meta sites and it seems like we have a pretty good balance between actions taken by the moderators and actions taken by the community. Specifically, I see the community numbers being higher than the moderator numbers for most actions except those which only mods can take directly - which is definitely not the case on all sites. For example, consider this compilation of numbers of questions closed on the top 25 sites on the network:

Site                        Moderators  Community

Stack Overflow              22180       331769
Super User                  6280        4860
English Language & Usage    4343        6418
Unix & Linux                1129        7063
Server Fault                5187        1164
Mathematics                 1954        36414
English Language Learners   1406        1036
Home Improvement            216         961
Android Enthusiasts         1858        115
Science Fiction and Fantasy 128         1838
Electrical Engineering      2707        4285
Motor Vehicles              312         65
Cross Validated             8834        2261
Movies & TV                 5306        507
Web Applications            1350        160
Tex-LaTeX                   124         5224
Role-Playing Games          880         1562
Physics                     5303        6995
Travel                      1218        2638
Code Review                 2158        2638

• The "questions closed" line is a little surprising to me. – DanielSank Jan 11 at 1:27
• @DanielSank surprising in what respect? – Kyle Kanos Jan 12 at 18:35
• @KyleKanos In the sense that the ratio of moderator action to community action is pretty high. I imagine that's largely because of garbage posts though. – DanielSank Jan 12 at 19:57
• That's actually one of things I noticed specifically, is that it's higher on many other sites. Let me edit in some interesting numbers. – David Z Jan 13 at 7:14
• Hmm ... interesting. I notice that while we have a high moderator-closes/community-closes we are far from the highest. Several well established sites have that ratio higher than unity, and EL&U is in the same league as Physics. – dmckee Jan 13 at 23:28