Current mods: How time-consuming is actually moderating the site?

I considered nominating myself for moderator in 2016 and I did not because I thought I would have not much time for that. And I was right.

But my hands are getting free, so I am here, considering it again. But still I do not want to run for a position that is consuming too much time.

  • $\begingroup$ The way I reason community moderation is this: If you're "employed" on a voluntary basis, you volunteer whatever time you can comfortably spend. It's really up to common sense regarding whether that time is enough or not. I've retired from moderating a few places because I didn't feel I was putting the time in. $\endgroup$
    – user10945
    Feb 3, 2017 at 10:53
  • $\begingroup$ I get it. But lets say I am on worldbuilding for about 4 hours a day. I can put that into moderation. But... is it enough? If every else mod puts 2 hours, it is. But if every other mod puts 8, its sub par... $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2017 at 11:01
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    $\begingroup$ This is not a stupid question. I asked something similar before my first election, too. How can you know what goes on behind the scenes (and how much time it takes) if you haven't done it and don't ask? $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2017 at 14:18

3 Answers 3


As a mod elsewhere - If you can't spend the time flagging, editing, and otherwise helping make the site better now, you're not going to find the time to moderate.

One of the funny things about being a mod is, how little I actually need my mod powers. It speeds things up. I have a flag queue for users to let me know about things that need my attention. But there's not that drastic a difference between a 30K user who's using his powers cause he cares and a mod.

But still I do not want to run for a position that is consuming too much of time

Then don't.

Run for the position cause you care enough to spend that time, and would spend it anyway on the site.

So, if you were a mod, how long do you think is worth spending on keeping the site awesome?

Its not just about time though. Its about coverage. Moderation dosen't typically need a good chunk of time unless its something complex - voting rings for example. It does need consistency. I've basically popped in and handled flags over lunch and on my way to and from work during my last job and it worked great.

If you can pop in for 5 minutes, and skim the mod queue, and its usually enough.

You also are probably going to want to pop into meta every so often. Maybe once or twice a day, skim through posts, answer things.

Not all mods do this, but I'm typically contactable over chat. Once again, I'm on chat anyway and I rarely need to put on my mod hat and help moderate stuff.

And well...

I'd be doing these anyway, and spending about the same amount of time. I'm on another site's meta, answering this arn't I?

  • $\begingroup$ Decission made. When I saw Michael Kjörling to candidate for moderator I instantly knew he would be so much better than me. So, I take your advice and am not candidating $\endgroup$ Feb 7, 2017 at 7:29

At the moment, we handle, on average, about 10 flags per day (others we wait and let the community deal with). There are four of us, and we generally all take equal parts in the work, so we each average about 2.5 flags a day, although this does vary. Actually, that variation's part of the reason we're having this election: There have been some cases in the past few months where we've also had outside things going on at the same time that have made moderating a bit slower, so it would be nice to have a 5th mod, to make that less of a problem.

Mods do other things than just handling flags though. We participate on meta, hang out in chat (sometimes), deal with migrations, scold problem users . . . you get the idea. There are a bunch of things that need to happen in public and behind the scenes to keep the site running. I spend maybe 30 minutes on Worldbuilding a day, I think, if you include flag handling, voting, editing, and commenting - which are ordinary community moderation tasks. Sometimes I take more time, if a problem on the site comes up, and sometimes I take less time, if I'm busy in real life and prioritize other things.


What HDE 226868 said here is generally true. One thing I would add is that I pay a lot of attention to meta. I have a browser tab open on meta all the time, and I also visit main a few times a day (or more if there's something specific to go look at). If somebody comes to meta looking for help with a site feature, I want that user to get help quickly and be able to get back to the primary reason we're all here -- Q&A on main. And if there's something that seems to be hot on meta, I want to pay attention to that.

Around 30 minutes a day on average is about right. If something's exploding or if we need to deal with a mod-private matter (like certain user issues), that adds time and its timing is usually unpredictable. Offset against that, though, is that we (will) have five moderators, SE understands we're volunteers, and there's very little that needs to be dealt with right this minute.


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