[META] Upcoming moderator status changes

Hi all, once a user reaches a reputation of 1000 karma points they automatically become a moderator here in Unity Answers. There are currently over 400 users with moderator status, but it’s very difficult to know who is actually making use of their moderator permissions. Being a moderator means agreeing to following the Moderator Guidelines.

As a moderator, you are able to get access to the moderation queue, deciding which questions/answers submitted by users with low karma get published or rejected. If you decide to reject a post, you must leave a written comment telling the OP the reason for that post being rejected. If you add a comment to a post in the moderation queue, make sure to publish or reject it immediately. Again, refer to the Moderator Guidelines if you are not sure whether to publish or reject a post.

There are many questions submitted daily by users with low karma, and the moderation queue quickly becomes filled with posts (typically around 80 posts when I check in every morning, and around 30 when I check out at night.) Some posts can be up to 20 hours old when I don’t check in regularly, and I’m getting the impression that not many of these 400 moderators are helping out in this area.

We are considering increasing the reputation of becoming a moderator to 5000 karma points, as it makes no sense having moderator permissions if they are not being used. This would leave us with around 85 moderators, who will all have the ability to access the moderation queue, edit and close published posts as well as accept answers. A reputation of 10000 karma points is still needed to be able to delete posts and convert answers to comments (and vice versa.)

I am curious as to why the moderation queue is not being maintained by more moderators, so if you’re a moderator reading this and not actively helping out in this area, it would be valuable for me to know the reasons.

Here’s my 2 cents:
Increasing the karma limit for moderation to 5k would not make much of a difference.
After all, who do people get karma? The best way is by answering simple questions and getting accepted as the right answer.
I’d prefer people get a notification and are asked if they want to become a moderator.

After all, increasing it would do waht exactly? Root out a lot of mods who don’t use their power, but at the same time root out some who actually improve the site. Not to mention it would make it harder for users like me who want to reach mod status and contribute more. I mean, great, I have 360 karma I got for spending time to learn and fix other peoples problems, some simple some more advanced. Mostly simple.

In the end, all increasing the limit to 5k would achieve is making the mod list look neater, at the cost of a few mods that do contribute. So your solution to there not being enough mods to moderate a queue is to have less mods to moderate it?
Brilliant. /s

As for the mod queue (I don’t know what exactly it looks like, but):
If a mod decides to review a question, the question should be locked for other mods. A simple “This question is under review by another moderator” message before being redirected back to the queue. Ideally a plugin/app that shows you the amount of questions in queue and amount of mods (that have set themselves as “active” in the app/plugin) could be used.

TL;DR: An increase in required karma is a counter-productive solution and other solutions should be considered before choosing this arbitrairy one.

Why doesn’t people here at unity leave the AnswerHub and integrate with Stack Exchange. It’ll bring more people with experience, and have all the main features which this site so desperately needs (listed in the comments above). It seems to work with Mathematica. When this community starts to get more audience, people will wanna be more active moderators; because right now even if a mod does improve a question/answer, their incentive is quite small because they know their input won’t have much effect.

OK having spent some time moderating these are my thoughts:

It’s awful, soul crushing and forces the most skilled members (not me!) to spend time leaving hints for fixing the most basic typo’s.

It seems to be awful for everyone involved for very little gain, simple questions eventually end up on answers and, indeed, get answers as someone comes on moderation & block publishes. Not good but if that didn’t happen the list would get big (100’s then 1000’s in moderation very quickly).

They get Published anyway so what are we trying to protect? The “purity” of the posts on Answers, really! I’ve said this before, that ship sailed long ago. The moderators can’t reach out to every IT teacher in the world and tell them not to get their students to post on answers. Unity is just too popular now, daily moderation gets hit by 100’s of brand new users.

So we have to find a solution that’s not going to leave the moderators, that do take helping out seriously, constantly tied up and frustrated with 12 year olds learning Unity and one that doesn’t leave new users in moderation for days, whilst also holding true to the idea that we want the answers that appear in searches to be the best and most succinct available.

First make that tutorial video compulsory before a user can post an answer, got to be better watching an eight minute tutorial than being in moderation for hours (may help with bots as well).

Then we flip the way it works. Set an Approved Answer area that weights searches to the answers in that area. Only moderators (or higher) can post in this area, or even no-one can post in there & only have answers moved into it. If a post becomes stale as in “no longer supported/far better process found” it can be moved out of that area to keep it clean. At least marked no longer works post X.X.X version.

New users are still moderated but only for potential bots/sweary idiots so moderators can largely rubber stamp posts. Therefore making moderating new users as fast as possible and freeing up moderators to actually help people and, if we spot a great question/answer, we mark it so it goes into a second moderation queue and if X number of moderators agree it goes into the Approved Answer area. We can move the current high up-voted answers into the area when we switch to the new format and keep up-votes to help spot new good Answers.

Moderation stops being so negative, sure a whole heap of dross will get through but it shouldn’t affect the results of searches. The busy time for moderation will be major releases when new features mean lots of new ways of doing things but other than that how often do we get genuinely new/innovative ways of doing things?

And as for the dross, well Answers never has been a guaranteed answer site. If someone posts unintelligible questions chances are they won’t get an answer.

But, hey, I’m fairly new around here so this may have been considered and discarded before now.