As we welcome our new rulersmoderators (congratulations!), and they discover the ropes of moderation, it seems to me the ideal time to ask this question.

What do moderators wish the users of Unix & Linux knew?

(I mean users of the Stack Exchange web site, here, not general users of Unix-style operating systems.)

By extension, what would moderators like the users to do more, or less, of?

I’m thinking of features such as flagging: to new (and apparently many not-so-new) users, this feels like invoking Zeus — surely the moderators are busy, and have better things to do than take care of this trifling issue? And yet, flagging can be very helpful, when done correctly.

So, old moderators, as you explain things to the newbies, here’s your chance to also explain them to everyone. New moderators, here’s your chance to communicate the surprising features and/or behaviours you discover.

  • 2
    Participation in review queue and probably in meta also are things may be expected from experienced users I think.
    – Pandya
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 13:42
  • 1
    @Pandya yes, indeed; I’m more interested here in things which aren’t so easily discoverable. Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 13:46
  • 6
    I was wondering what mods could possibly come up with, but then I saw your example: flagging is something I do extremely rarely on any SE site, because it indeed feels like invoking Zeus when I can also just take actions like comment to let the user know they did wrong, downvote if applicable, etc. Would be interesting to hear their perspective on this, and there are probably other things as well.
    – Luc
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 22:53
  • I am very interesting how mods allow themselves to wipe comments. This is a SE trend. And this is very bad, they become much more aggressive and inadequate in this.
    – Croll
    Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 18:52
  • 3
    @Croll Are you thinking of any particular comment? If you feel that a moderator has acted wrongly, I'd recommend that you either submit a moderation flag on the associated question or answer, or that you bring it up for discussion here on this Meta site in a new question.
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 20:10
  • 5
    @Croll it isn't that we "allow ourselves", this is a conscious decision and part of how the site works. Comments are, by design, transient. They should be used for asking for clarification and, if they contain useful information, should be edited into the question. So yes, it's an SE trend, but it's a feature, not a bug. We want all information to be either in questions or in answers. Comments just clutter things up and that's why they're regularly deleted.
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 14:16
  • I do not reply exactly because of this, - you ignore the thesis and literally the message, justifying cases of violation where flags did not work but no other proof left. And still my ask is to express opinions of mods, not my specific issues
    – Croll
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 12:05
  • 1
    (1/2) Croll, I'll encourage you to open a separate Meta question so that you can explain your situation in more detail. As-is, you have two points in your first comment ("how mods allow themselves to wipe comments" and "this is very bad; they are much more aggressive and inadequate in this"), but we don't have any context around your concern. It sounds like you've attempted to flag posts in the past, so a Meta post is the appropriate next step to address those concerns.
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 18:19
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    (2/2) If, on the other hand, you're curious about the moderators' opinions on deleting comments, perhaps you can narrow it down, based on terdon's response?
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 18:19

1 Answer 1

ed -s Answer

As one of the newer moderators, I’ll weigh in on two very particular aspects of flagging. I’m happy to report that while we’re one of the top 10 Stack Exchange sites (whether by questions, answers, users, traffic, etc), the number of flags I see crossing the moderator’s virtual desk are fairly small. That said, there have been a few flags that I have declined, so I’d like to help avoid that little bit of extra work for everyone involved.

When flagging a post, some of the choices in that subsequent pop-up put that post into a review queue. Questions can be flagged as a duplicate or as off-topic in some way; answers can be flagged as “not an answer”. The reviewing community -- not just the moderators! -- can then decide what to do with those posts. I’d like to address two other specific categories of flags: “in need of moderator intervention” and “not an answer”.

  1. The custom flag “in need of moderator intervention” should only be used when one of the other flag categories can’t be used. Said another way, if the community can vote to close a Question as unclear or as a duplicate, then please do NOT use the “moderator intervention” flag.

  2. The “not an answer” flag option has been used a couple times on Answers that were, indeed, “Answers”. Most of the time, I think “we” get it right -- Answers that consist only of “thanks (author of another answer)!” or “did you ever solve this problem, I’m having it, too!” are caught and deleted as being not-Answers. The flags that I declined were on Answers that were honest attempts at answering the question. My advice here would be to take an extra moment to make sure you understand what was written; don’t get thrown off by a stray “thank you” lead-in or “I was having this problem, too” that is then followed by their own solution.

  • 2
    I like the gratuitous use of the standard editor – a utility I've started to use more often (for its suitability for scripting). Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 12:01

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