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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 Web Applications over the past 12 months:

Action Moderators Community User¹ Community²
All comments on a post moved to chat 35 0 0
Answer flags handled 965 247 0
Answers flagged 173 333 692
Bounties canceled 1 0 0
Comment flags handled 1,863 51 4
Comments deleted⁸ 4,092 49 461
Comments flagged 1,747 10 161
Comments undeleted 105 0 0
Escalations to the Community Manager team 12 0 0
Posts bumped 0 6,585 0
Posts deleted⁷ 998 2,406 265
Posts locked 38 507 0
Posts undeleted 41 0 15
Posts unlocked 6 35 0
Question flags handled⁶ 526 252 69
Questions closed 2,334 1 0
Questions flagged⁶ 131 14 676
Questions merged 3 0 0
Questions migrated 153 0 0
Questions protected 1 126 1
Questions reopened 138 1 0
Questions unprotected 1 0 0
Revisions redacted 5 0 0
Tag highlight language set 0 0 0
Tag synonyms created 16 0 0
Tag synonyms proposed 13 0 0
Tags merged 13 0 0
Tasks reviewed⁵: "Close votes" queue 68 0 70
Tasks reviewed⁵: "First answers" queue 114 0 573
Tasks reviewed⁵: "First questions" queue 160 0 822
Tasks reviewed⁵: "Late answers" queue 161 0 419
Tasks reviewed⁵: "Low quality posts" queue 147 0 204
Tasks reviewed⁵: "Reopen votes" queue 89 0 51
Tasks reviewed⁵: "Suggested edits" queue 267 133 420
Tasks reviewed⁵: "Triage" queue 0 0 0
User banned from review 4 0 0
User review-bans lifted early 0 0 0
User suspensions lifted early 4 0 0
Users contacted 23 0 0
Users deleted 0 0 0
Users destroyed⁴ 121 0 0
Users suspended³ 16 52 0

Footnotes

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

² This refers to the membership of Web Applications 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! ^_^

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  • 3
    For me the worrying statistic is that the site's moderators are responsible for 80+% of question deletions.
    – Valorum
    Jan 24 at 18:03
  • 2
    Along with the very high number of deletions that have occurred this year; more than half of all questions asked were closed and deleted, almost all by the same three users acting unilaterally
    – Valorum
    Jan 24 at 18:08
  • 2
    The numbers have been updated to reflect the actual stats — there was an issue with the numbers originally posted.
    – JNat StaffMod
    Jan 24 at 18:32

2 Answers 2

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Data highlights:

Site Name Asked AskedAndClosed PctAskedAndClosed AllClosed All closed as a percentage of Asked DuplicatesClosed DuplicatesReopened OTClosed OTReopened UnclearClosed UnclearReopened TooBroadClosed TooBroadReopened OpinionBasedClosed OpinionBasedReopened
Interpersonal Skills 245 184 75% 184 75% 1 0 125 2 44 2 3 0 11 0
Network Engineering 1783 1162 65% 1169 66% 59 2 933 7 149 18 8 1 20 0
English Language and Usage 5677 3618 64% 4345 77% 851 92 2414 226 549 41 93 16 438 56
Stack Overflow em Português 11615 7301 63% 8245 71% 181 9 6667 117 1191 26 117 3 89 2
Web Applications 2378 1242 52% 2335 98% 283 16 945 24 1045 86 48 8 14 2
Chemistry 4986 2474 50% 2508 50% 256 4 970 16 1074 32 150 9 58 0
Stack Overflow 1489399 266207 18% 287979 19% 80073 2640 111498 1633 53724 941 31277 373 11407 194
Music Fans 178 51 29% 268 151% 0 264 1 0 3
  • Webapps is in the top 5 of all SE sites, when comparing the Percent of questions asked in 2023 that were closed in 2023. A record 51.23% of questions asked were closed in 2023. For comparison, this was just 19% in 2022.

  • If we take all the closed questions(not just asked in 2023) as a percentage of questions asked in 2023, a record of 98% of questions were closed. Only Music Fans SE ranks higher by number of questions closed(151%). No other sites came close to WebApps

  • The stats is even more worrying, if we consider no(ZERO) questions were closed by the community, but ALL 2335(except 1) questions were closed by moderators

  • No questions were reopened by the community and 139(except 1) was reopened by moderators.

  • It's also worthy to note most closings are done by a moderator, while the reopenings are usually done by an another

  • Compared to 2022, Posts deleted by moderators nearly doubled, and users destroyed tripled.

  • 16 users were suspended in 2023 against 0 in 2022. These show clear conflict between the moderators and the community.


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

This is clearly not happening in Web Applications.

Moderators clearly did whatever they wanted or thought was right, even against all objections from community and even still continue to do so - closing, locking and deleting posts.

Related:

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    Perhaps this will act as a wakeup call that something needs to give. Probably not though.
    – Valorum
    Jan 25 at 1:00
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    If moderators cared more about the site than they care about their own pride, they would've stepped down voluntarily, by now.
    – TheMaster
    Jan 25 at 5:12
  • @TheMaster-StopWAModAbuse that is your interpretation. Also while you may say you are interested in stopping "WA Mod Abuse" in practice you don't seem to do anything to stop it.
    – Blindspots Mod
    Jan 31 at 2:46
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    @Blindsp In practice, I tried to resolve any misunderstandings through meta. But I believe this won't work, as you/mod team deleted my discussion on mod behavior to reduce visibility/transparency on such behavior, which - disregarding the actual allegation, is a clear abuse of power. I prefer a vote of no confidence process in SE. But, without that, I can only ask, hoping you won't delete this as well. If you're interested in saving the site/community rather than defending moderators, I respectfully ask you and the moderator(s) involved to voluntarily step down, for the sake of site/community.
    – TheMaster
    Jan 31 at 3:23
  • @TheMaster-StopWAModAbuse You had one post deleted that was extraordinarily innapropriate. If I was out of line you should escalate it to mods. FYI You are now having your comments flagged by other community members as well.
    – Blindspots Mod
    Jan 31 at 3:56
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    @Blindspots Please explain why that's inappropriate. To me it is a clear abuse of power. Weren't you the one who said discussion on mod behavior belongs on meta? Or Did you mean any defense of moderators actions is acceptable in meta, but any thing that even casts a shadow of doubt on mod integrity is not acceptable within meta? Mod right - ok in Meta. Mod probably wrong - not ok in Meta. Is that your stance?
    – TheMaster
    Jan 31 at 4:22
  • @TheMaster-StopWAModAbuse 'Mod right or wrong' okay on meta. TheMaster completely out of line, not okay on site or meta. There is a universe of space between what you are comfortable posting and something that "casts a shadow of doubt" on mod actions.
    – Blindspots Mod
    Jan 31 at 4:35
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    @Blindspots How is "completely out of line" determined? If the allegation is "completely out of line", shouldn't the mod team respond to such grave and serious allegation with the truth, rather than silencing it? 3 users mean consensus. Show me three users in the community with at least 500 reps in WA, who are not moderators(here or elsewhere), who agree that the deletetion is warranted or justifiable.
    – TheMaster
    Jan 31 at 7:46
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    You already know 3 users who satisfy that criteria who objected to that deletion directly to you, without even having to search for it or me asking for it. And the deleted post was unanimously upvoted, by at least 6 users in 2 days, which mean they agree at minimum, transparency on the matter is required. "Completely out of line" is the interpretation of only you and probably that of other mods with conflict of interests.
    – TheMaster
    Jan 31 at 7:51
  • @TheMaster we all have bias. My goal isn't to suppress dissent, my goal is to encourage a healthy site. You are on a different timeline than the community based on when you took an active interest here. Most of use are incrementally turning the corner and rebuilding a more healthy participation from both mods and regular users. You are clearly upset but we've all had to take a step back and a breath and find a way forward. The claim that the mods bear sole responsibility for the current situation & that the community members in question always acted in good faith is an expensive one.
    – Blindspots Mod
    Jan 31 at 18:24
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    @Blindspots If you have old community members, who aren't moderators, who would vouch for deletion of this post as a justifiable act, show me. I can't see any one other than you claiming a moral high ground on this issue. I really don't care if members were abusive or broke so many rules I hold the position of moderator against a very high standard. Regardless of what happened before, deleting my post is a clear abuse of moderator power and completely eroded any trust I have in you personally.
    – TheMaster
    Jan 31 at 19:52
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    I'm also sure that those users, who, if in fact they were abusive or broke the rules - as you accuse them, were the ones who were punished, compared to mods, as you hold all the power in this relationship. Plenty of suspensions on one side, but the mod team comes out unscathed eh? Even any accusations or dissent is hidden by forceful deletion - making them look squeaky clean. Right? Just bandaging wounds only creates stinky infections. You need to open it and expose it for real healing.
    – TheMaster
    Jan 31 at 19:54
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    Wow even the link here pointing to the deletion(in one of the comments) is edited out. Does the truth harm you so much that you want to hide all traces of it?
    – TheMaster
    Feb 4 at 10:10
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The Web Apps SE community has practically no influence over which questions get closed or reopened

I noticed some quite alarming stats: Out of 2335 questions closed in 2023, only 1 (0.04%) was closed by the community. Out of 139 questions reopened, only 1 (0.7%) was reopened by the community. And out of 2K+ question closures, the community has only submitted 70 reviews in the close votes queue and 51 reviews in the reopen votes queue, resulting in only 1 question closed and 1 question reopened by them. (This is even more surprising considering that Web Apps SE requires only 3 votes to close or reopen a question, unlike most SE sites, which need 5.)

This implies that the community has practically no influence over which questions get closed or reopened, a problem that was already raised in the “Reduce the reputation threshold to be allowed to cast a reopen vote on a closed question” meta post. In 2023, all 2335 question closures were done by mods, except for one, before the close vote queue reviewers had a chance to weigh in.

This contradicts A Theory of Moderation (which is regarded as the canonical article on how SE moderators should moderate):

But what do community moderators do? The short answer is, as little as possible!

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.

[…] moderators occasionally need to intervene. Moderators are human exception handlers, there to deal with those (hopefully rare) exceptional conditions that should not normally happen, but when they do, they can bring your entire community to a screaming halt

On a positive note, the "Reduce the reputation threshold to be allowed to cast a reopen vote on a closed question" meta post was recently tagged as by a community manager. If it gets implemented—setting “beta” reputation thresholds—then these numbers may improve and more of the community may get involved in deciding if questions are closed or reopened.

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    It's also important to note moderators actively made objections against going to beta and willfully refused to add status-review to that question. This can be easily seen as holding on to their power. TBH, the last action of deletion of moderator misconduct, which is within meta rules according to that same moderator makes me highly distrust any moderators here. Current Moderators here must be removed, if anyone needs any hope for this site.
    – TheMaster
    Jan 25 at 4:07
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    @TheMaster - Or at least they could agree to address this by being less 'hands-on' with their closing and deleting. Allow the community to do more by doing less themselves. Maybe focus their energies on getting more questions fixed and reopened...
    – Valorum
    Jan 25 at 12:42
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    @Valorum I don't have any hope for the current moderator team. I expect them to actively oppose going to beta and double and triple down on all their actions. Redaction of any of their actions, if any, would only come from CM's insistence on the matter. Even then, they can agree with CMs privately and publicly - in word, but take no real action on what they agreed.
    – TheMaster
    Jan 25 at 12:50

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