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I'm a freshman in all this moderation business, at least as far as Stack Exchange moderation goes. If you look at the date when us pro tempore moderators were selected by the community managers, it has been only 48 days at the time of me writing this since appointment. That's the whole duration of my own experience in moderating any Stack Exchange website. The initial few weeks went fairly well, I dare say, then our ability to manage this website started being contested by my count three times worryingly enough, and with none of them (again, in my view) actually warranted, to prompt me to post this question. I would rather avoid being specific about which occurrences I have in mind, because that is not what I'd like to discuss here, but I have to say all this rather saddens me. And when you've yourself invested a lot of time and effort into making it all work, and for all of us, that comes as even more exhausting.

I will say it here, clear as daylight: All the time while being a moderator, I didn't see a single, not even the slightest indication that any of the other two moderators (@Chris and @PearsonArtPhoto) ever abused their position, or even overstepped the line of good moderation. The same goes also for our wonderful community moderators, with well deserved special mention of @JonEricson and @RobertCartaino, but a few others helped us out on occasion, too. In particular @AnnaLear during the pre-moderator times. I would like to think that the same goes for me as well, but I'll let you be the judge of that.

Where am I coming from? The idea of moderation is well explained in Jeff Atwood's blog post on Theory of Moderation, but I would like to add to it that there is neither "me" nor "i" in "moderator". And that's exactly how I see all of us working here, doing the best we can and dedicating a lot of our own, non-paid time to iron out all the little wrinkles, raise questions in meta to discuss them if needed, and otherwise dedicate ourselves to the cause we're hopefully all purusing here, to hopefully make us all shine, be presentable for those that are yet to join us. All of which the very same idea that we together started this journey on, back from the Area 51 proposal for the majority of us.

We've come a long way so far, all of it in a really short time, well before three months have passed since making it to private beta, then off to a public beta in almost a snap. All indications of the health of this site seem promising, and we're still gaining traction in the wider community of space exploration. I've also personally received a lot of praise of what we're doing here from all kinds of people, of all kinds of background. Yes, I'm actively promoting our cause. And so are other of your moderators. And the Stack Exchange stuff, too. But as our approval ratings are going up looking from the outside, I can't help but think that from the inside, from the very ones that we're together right from the start, exactly the inverse is happening. We're contested, doubts raised of our intentions or actions, and even worse is sometimes implied, albeit mostly indirectly. But the bitter taste is there, and I can't shake it off. I will need you to help me with that.

So here's my question. What do you, as a community member, think us moderators could do better, reassure you more of our intentions and that everything we do is on behalf of the community? Have we not met any of your expectations, or have promised something we're not keeping during the nomination and selection process? Then say it here, add suggestions for our improvement, or just state your request. We'll be glad to consider any suggestions to our betterment, as long as they're reasonable and not intrusive. Please keep it civil however, and discuss our position, not individuals in question. That's nothing any of us signed for anyway, neither you, nor us moderators. But rest assured that nothing of what you'll bring forth as be it a suggestion, or a remark will be held against you. We all have our superiors, and that goes just as well for all us moderators. Community, and that is all of you, comes first. I'm trying to build on some trust here, so let me be the first in trusting you to not abuse this thread.

Thank you ever so kindly!

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    $\begingroup$ Let other people answer questions? $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Oct 10 '13 at 22:51
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As a relative newcomer to the site - I can not see any problems - you guys are like regular members, available in chat, providing great questions and answers and giving credit when it is due.

Honestly, I can not see any problems (I belong and have belonged to several sites where this is not always the case.).

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    $\begingroup$ On the flip side of UV-D, having been here since day 1 or 2, I can concur that I too see no problems with any of the moderators. $\endgroup$ – RhysW Oct 7 '13 at 8:07
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    $\begingroup$ I knew I liked you as a user;-) $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Oct 7 '13 at 10:26
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    $\begingroup$ I am new to SE family and truly speaking from the day when i joined SX.SE, the mods helped me. They were so friendly and they replied me whenever i pinged them . I don't find any problem with any of the mods $\endgroup$ – Hash Oct 7 '13 at 11:32
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As user #12, I'd like to encourage the entire mod team. I'm almost 10k on Meta, that place where moderator actions are either upheld or torn into thousands of pieces, and thus have a somewhat critical eye for these things.

I could point to maybe one instance of a question being prematurely closed. That's all I can think about. A discussion in chat with my worries and the question was reopened. Awesome.

Of course, I do have some connections with 2/3 of the team, 1/3 rather strongly. I really believe, though, that friendship / being-in-it-since-day-one-ness is not taken into account by any of the team any more that it naturally should.

Also, for you, Tildal: You're doing awesome. Remember, you only have 50 days' experience doing this stuff. You'll make mistakes, and you'll get called out on it. Sometimes rather rudely, to be sure. Probably not ever like this, though.

In summary: I would sincerely rather have this group of mods than be one myself. You guys are 2/3 new at this, and you're doing great. Keep it up.

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  • $\begingroup$ Re premature closing questions, this will happen, as it will the other way around, but not because of (dis)liking a question or its author, but because we mods balance what is and isn't acceptable just as well as any other members would, if/when they bothered to make sense of our scope. It isn't always a straight cut, but we need to make a decision on behalf of the community, sometimes fast. That's why most of scope related questions are and should be discussed here in meta, for all to chip in their opinion. We just press a few more buttons and agreed to have this burdon on us, that's all. $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Oct 7 '13 at 14:29
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    $\begingroup$ I guess what I'd really like to say is that I'd personally hate my position to be seen or become political. It is about managing the site, managerial and not a political position. There isn't a single one of us, to my knowledge and not on this site, that would even have the need to abuse the system for self-promotion or otherwise corrupt it for one's own benefit. So far, it is actually the opposite, with lots of added work to our probably already tightly packed schedules. I know mine is. Policy should be decided by the community, here in meta. We just help enforce it for, not against us all. $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Oct 7 '13 at 14:36
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    $\begingroup$ Cue "Risk of allowing middle aged mods on SE" in 3...2...1... $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Oct 7 '13 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Manishearth I'm not even close to being ½ ∞ years old :P $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Oct 7 '13 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ @TildalWave I never said middle-Rory-aged, just middle-aged :P Though you're probably not even that. I forgot where middle-aged starts and ends. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Oct 7 '13 at 17:30
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One thing:

How could we moderators improve?

Not 'us'.

All joking aside, you have done a great job, and I suspect that any controversy stems out of the fact that this site is doing so well. The more a community grows, the more moderators become "the man" keeping everyone down. Some won't see it this way, but some will--especially those who haven't moderated before or aren't used to active moderation on a site in general.

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You're doing great! You may wish to try to push the community a bit more into taking matters into their own hands via meta consensus, but this is already happening to an appreciable degree. The more power the community has, the better the moderator-community system works — this system is designed to be community moderated, with mods handling exceptional cases. As a beta site, this goal may seem far away, but we can always try to work towards it. So, if people disagree with a closed post, tell them to take it to meta. And, as a moderator, you may want to intentionally hold off from closing a question to let it accumulate some community votes.

I'd like to take this opportunity to point community members to Could we please be a bit nicer to moderators?. Please remember that your moderators are trying to do what they feel is best for the site; and try to work together with them on this.

This post is also relevant, though it doesn't totally apply to this site.

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