It’s that time of the year again! As we wave goodbye to last year and welcome the new one, we have a tradition of sharing moderation stats for the preceding calendar year.

As most of you here might be aware, sites on the Stack Exchange network are moderated somewhat differently to other sites on the web:

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

That doesn't eliminate the need for having moderators altogether, but it does mean that the bulk of moderation work is carried out by regular folks — folks like you. Every bit of time and effort y'all contribute to the site gives you access to more privileges you can use to help in this effort, all of which produce a cumulative effect that makes a big difference in ensuring Stack Exchange sites remain a valuable source of high-quality content on the web.

So as we say goodbye to 2023 (and January 2024… ahem) and move into 2024, let us look back at what we accomplished as a community... by looking at some exciting stats. Below is a breakdown of moderation actions performed on Worldbuilding over the past 12 months:

Action Moderators Community User¹ Community²
All comments on a post moved to chat 158 0 0
Answer flags handled 547 141 0
Answers flagged 214 107 349
Bounties canceled 0 0 0
Comment flags handled 558 97 6
Comments deleted⁸ 4,136 95 1,816
Comments flagged 64 20 554
Comments undeleted 18 0 0
Escalations to the Community Manager team 7 0 0
Posts bumped 0 48 0
Posts deleted⁷ 340 524 535
Posts locked 4 134 0
Posts undeleted 55 0 43
Posts unlocked 1 7 0
Question flags handled⁶ 608 519 7
Questions closed 548 495 12
Questions flagged⁶ 211 173 802
Questions merged 2 0 0
Questions migrated 14 0 0
Questions protected 18 8 2
Questions reopened 34 50 2
Questions unprotected 0 0 0
Revisions redacted 0 0 0
Tag highlight language set 0 0 0
Tag synonyms created 13 0 0
Tag synonyms proposed 13 0 1
Tags merged 14 0 0
Tasks reviewed⁵: "Close votes" queue 4 15 3,540
Tasks reviewed⁵: "First answers" queue 368 2 373
Tasks reviewed⁵: "First questions" queue 523 1 239
Tasks reviewed⁵: "Late answers" queue 102 0 59
Tasks reviewed⁵: "Low quality posts" queue 92 1 304
Tasks reviewed⁵: "Reopen votes" queue 181 4 794
Tasks reviewed⁵: "Suggested edits" queue 360 39 426
Tasks reviewed⁵: "Triage" queue 0 0 0
User banned from review 0 0 0
User review-bans lifted early 0 0 0
User suspensions lifted early 1 0 0
Users contacted 44 0 0
Users deleted 2 0 0
Users destroyed⁴ 1,559 0 0
Users suspended³ 18 66 0


¹ This refers to the automated systems otherwise known as user #-1.

² This refers to the membership of Worldbuilding without diamonds next to their names.

³ 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.

⁴ A "destroyed" user is deleted along with all that they had posted: questions, answers, comments. Generally used as an expedient way of getting rid of spam.

⁵ This counts every review that was submitted (not skipped) - so the 2 suggested edits reviews needed to approve an edit would count as 2, the goal being to indicate the frequency of moderation actions. This also applies to flags, etc.

⁶ Includes close flags (but not close or reopen votes). The community² can handle these flags by at least one person voting to close a question that has a close flag.

⁷ This ignores numerous deletions that happen automatically in response to some other action.

⁸ This includes comments deleted by their own authors (which also account for some number of handled comment flags).

Further reading:

Wishing everyone a happy 2024! ^_^

  • $\begingroup$ I think the phrase "exciting stats" refers to "users destroyed." I always get an image of the Bikini Atoll in my head when I see four digits next to that phrase. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jan 29 at 22:55

1 Answer 1

Action Moderators Community User¹ Community²
Questions closed 548 495 12

I find it hard to believe that for the entire year only 12 questions were closed by community members alone. And also hard to see why so many closures would be attributed to the Community user.

As far as I know, the Community user will be involved in a closure if:

  • A duplicate is suggested and the question asker accepts the suggestion thus closing the question.
  • The Community user also owns votes of deleted regular users. I do not know if this factors in here, but I suppose it is possible that one or more users were deleted and now any closures they participated in are attributed to the Community user.

I find it hard to accept that even with these factored in the Community user has such a large count of closures.

Is this statistic accurate? And if so, why such a big discrepancy?

sphennings commented:

The 12 may be when a gold tag badge holder closes a question as a duplicate.

However, that cannot make sense. The "Community" column counts the actions of regular users. Unilateral closures using the gold tag badge privilege (example) should be counted there, true but so should all other closures where only regular (non-moderator) users were involved (example).

This SEDE query shows that there have been a total of 29 not deleted questions unilaterally closed as duplicates in 2013. Of those:

By moderator:

  1. How many planets can fit inside a Habitable Zone?
  2. Could a planet orbiting a g type main sequence star have yellow on its surface?
  3. Explosive Plant/Chemotrophs
  4. Viability of lasers in space
  5. How can a moon-sized creature evolve?
  6. What features would a creature that could see radio waves have?
  7. Plant life on a planet with extremely bright "moon"?
  8. How do I make skeletons strong without using magic?
  9. How could I make an earth sized planet with 3 moons work?
  10. Would it make more sense to terraform a planet with a single climate or multiple varieties of climate?
  11. Could it be possible to have a planet made of chunks of floating rock?
  12. Could a terrestrial planet have a stable orbit of rings?
  13. Could life exist on a planet orbiting a T class brown dwarf?

By non-moderator:

  1. Is it realistic/plausible to have iron plated scales on an animal?
  2. What are tetrachromat colors like?
  3. Will the Anatomical Differences in These Humanoids Affect Baby Development?
  4. Is there enough nitrogen in nitrates on Mars to create a thick atmosphere?
  5. Can multiple similar planets share the same orbit without interfering with each other too much?
  6. Sterilising a planet quickly and realistically
  7. Wormhole Based Warfare
  8. Biology behind a monster that is able to remain invisible
  9. Keeping tech at 1890s levels without fossil fuels
  10. Gasoline-Powered Supersoldiers
  11. How would my collapsible sword blade work?
  12. How hard is it to ruin the Earth permanently?
  13. What is a hypothetical, profitable way that the core of earth could be mined?
  14. How would a blind underwater species do science?
  15. What would influence skin color outside of stars and radiation? What sort of biology would allow for skintones of a wider color palette?
  16. Are there anatomically good proportions for different dragon-like creatures?

Thus even if we assume that the count for the "Community" column is wrongly calculated and only takes into account dupehammer closures, the numbers still do not add up. The count should be at least 16, if that was the case.

  • $\begingroup$ The 12 may be when a gold tag badge holder closes a question as a duplicate. From the help center. ”A question can also be closed as duplicate with a single vote from a moderator or from a user who has earned a gold tag badge in one of that question's current tags, unless that user participated in editing the tags.” $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Feb 14 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings yes, I'd expect dupe hammering to be counted as community (final column). However, all other closures by regular users should also end up in that count. The Community user is a system entity that doesn't stand in for "regular users". In some cases it owns actions that are led by regular users but ultimately end up in system action. For example regular users can cast spam flags and if a post gets enough such flags it's automatically deleted. Then that's counted as Community user owned deletion. As opposed to a moderator seeing the flag and removing the post - that'd count as a mod $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Feb 14 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings re-did my maths and updated the post. The number 12 does not seem to correspond to dupehammer closures. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Feb 14 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ I thinks the 12 isn’t for all non-mod closures but for when only a single non-mod closes a question. Questions 6, 12, 14, and 15 all had more than 1 close voter. Which leaves 12 questions closed by JBH on their own. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Feb 15 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings if that really is the case, then the count is wrong nonetheless. But I think it might be more of a coincidence than what the number is based on. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Feb 15 at 6:08
  • $\begingroup$ If you take your query and discard mods and more than one voter you get 12. Perhaps your understanding of what gets classified as a community user closure is incorrect. I suspect that you’ll find that any mod vote adds to the mods count, if it’s closed by two or more community members and no mod it adds too the community user column and only if it’s closed by a single non-mod will it add to the community column. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Feb 15 at 9:48
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings hence the question. In previous years the split was for mods vs community actions. No Community user. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Feb 15 at 9:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You may find this informative meta.stackexchange.com/a/396379/355346. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Feb 15 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ I’m not saying whether it’s right or not but it looks like what is happening matches what I described. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Feb 15 at 10:03

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