Good morning, all! I'm a Community Manager here at Stack Exchange; some of you might remember me from classic answers such as a temporary change now approaching 6 years live and a list of possibly meaningless numbers.

Since the start of the new year, I've been posting questions on various sites detailing how the various moderation actions taken on these sites break down between Moderators and ordinary members of the site. As there is some indication that this would be well-received, I will now attempt to provide the same information sorts of information here...

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

A large amount of the moderation performed here 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 MathOverflow breaks down by activity over the course of 2018:

                 Action                  Moderators Community¹
---------------------------------------- ---------- ----------
Users suspended²                                 21         38
Users destroyed⁷                                104          0
Users deleted                                     8          0
Users contacted                                  35          0
User suspensions lifted early                     1          0
Tasks reviewed³: Suggested Edit queue             5      4,339
Tasks reviewed³: Reopen Vote queue                1      1,191
Tasks reviewed³: Low Quality Posts queue          0      1,450
Tasks reviewed³: Late Answer queue                0        515
Tasks reviewed³: First Post queue                 2      5,365
Tasks reviewed³: Close Votes queue                0     10,233
Tags merged                                       7          0
Tag synonyms proposed                             4          1
Tag synonyms created                              3          0
Questions reopened                               14         47
Questions protected                               1         21
Questions migrated                               30        143
Questions flagged⁴                                8      6,518
Questions closed                                166      2,946
Question flags handled⁴                         856      5,670
Posts unlocked                                    0         55
Posts undeleted                                  56        874
Posts locked                                      3        456
Posts deleted⁵                                  383      7,375
Posts bumped                                      0      2,034
Escalations to the CM team                       10          0
Comments undeleted                               35          0
Comments flagged                                  0      4,557
Comments deleted⁶                             1,667     12,697
Comment flags handled                         1,385      3,172
Answers flagged                                   0      1,470
Answer flags handled                            830        640
All comments on a post moved to chat              6          0


¹ "Community" here refers both to the membership of MathOverflow 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).

⁷ A "destroyed" user is a profile that was deleted along with all of its questions, answers and comments. Generally used to handle spam or abuse.

Wishing you all a happy new year...

  • $\begingroup$ I disagree with your interpretation. If you link to an email asking for a post, that would match the link text. If you change the link text to say "the issue has been raised" from "asked to do so here as well", that would also be better. Please understand my objection: your post otherwise doesn't bother me, and I like the stats (although Moderators group could be more clearly defined). The objection is that because an issue has been raised with no discussion, that such raising is an automatic signal that the post has been requested. Gerhard "Happy New Year Back Atcha" Paseman, 2019.01.10. $\endgroup$ Jan 10, 2019 at 16:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Adjusted, @Gerhard $\endgroup$
    – Shog9
    Jan 10, 2019 at 17:01
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ MathOverflow is among the sites with highest percentage of questions closed by regular users (as opposed to questions closed by moderators). I'd guess this can be considered a good thing. $\endgroup$ Jan 12, 2019 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Shog9: Curiosity made me check the profile of user Community, and to my surprise I've seen that it has earned the "Critic" badge for its first downvote. I don't get it: Community is just a background process, why would it be allowed to upvote and downvote? $\endgroup$
    – Alex M.
    Jan 13, 2019 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexM. I suppose this comes with automatic downvotes that come with spam/rude flags. This is explicitly mentioned in the FAQ post: Who is the Community user? ("The reason why it has so many downvotes is because it owns all of the downvotes that are being cast automatically when a post is flagged as spam or rude/abusive.") $\endgroup$ Jan 13, 2019 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ The number of closed questions includes the one that were later deleted (either by roomba or manually)? $\endgroup$ Jan 13, 2019 at 15:57
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Why did you conflate in the same column actions performed by non-mod users and actions performed automatically by a bot? They seem two completely different things to me. $\endgroup$ Jan 13, 2019 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ Convenience, @FedericoPoloni - separating them is extremely tedious, and difficult to do accurately. The Community user takes automated actions (as noted by Martin above), but also "owns" all actions taken by anonymous or deleted users. Furthermore, even the automatic actions are often triggered by user-actions, either directly or indirectly: for example, 6 spam flags cause the system to delete and lock a post; a majority of off-topic votes pointing to another site can trigger a migration and also a lock on the migrated posts; even automatic deletions depend on user-controlled heuristics. $\endgroup$
    – Shog9
    Jan 13, 2019 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Shog9 I will point out a recent post by Federico Poloni: meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/4059/… Are there plans to make such a post on MO this year, too? Or do you want to wait and see what MO users (and moderators) think about such post before doing that? $\endgroup$ Jan 1, 2020 at 18:03
  • $\begingroup$ Y'all can make the call on that, @martin $\endgroup$
    – Shog9
    Jan 1, 2020 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Shog9 What is the motivation why we need to gather consensus for this post on MO while all other sites on the network get it automatically? $\endgroup$ Jan 4, 2020 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ Don't need "consensus", just wanted to make sure this stuff is desired; this site's governance/charter is slightly different from the rest. I'm a guest in your house, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Shog9
    Jan 4, 2020 at 21:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Shog9 So what kind of signal are you waiting for, in practice? Should I open a new question on Meta and ask for upvotes? Should I advertise my current 'request' (which is in an answer to a 2018 post) so that it gets voted? How? Or should the moderators approve it explicitly and get in touch with you to confirm they want this summary? $\endgroup$ Jan 5, 2020 at 9:01
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Thank you for this post last year. The information is interesting. I've talked to the other MathOverflow moderators, and they have no objections to a yearly summary. Also, no one seems to have voiced any objections to the existence of this post in the last year. If it is not too much trouble, please make such a summary for this site every year. $\endgroup$
    – S. Carnahan Mod
    Jan 7, 2020 at 6:29
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, @S.Carnahan - here you go: meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/4422/2019-a-year-in-moderation $\endgroup$
    – Shog9
    Jan 7, 2020 at 21:28


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