# 2019: a year in moderation

It's New Year's Day in Stack Exchange land...

A distinguishing characteristic of these sites is how they are moderated:

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

While there certainly are Moderators here, a significant amount of the moderation is done by ordinary people, using the privileges they've earned by virtue of their contributions to the site. Each of you contributes a little bit of time and effort, and together you accomplish much.

As we enter a new year, let's pause and reflect, taking a moment to appreciate the work that we do here together. And what could be more festive than a big pile of numbers? So here is a breakdown of moderation actions performed on Cross Validated over the past 12 months:

                  Action                  Moderators Community¹
----------------------------------------- ---------- ----------
Users suspended²                                  28         20
Users destroyed³                                  27          0
Users deleted                                      5          0
Users contacted                                   48          0
User suspensions lifted early                      1          0
Tasks reviewed⁴: Suggested Edit queue          1,269      5,164
Tasks reviewed⁴: Reopen Vote queue               840      2,931
Tasks reviewed⁴: Low Quality Posts queue         894      2,164
Tasks reviewed⁴: First Post queue                161     16,199
Tags merged                                        5          0
Tag synonyms proposed                             10          2
Tag synonyms created                              12          2
Questions unprotected                              1          0
Questions reopened                               676         21
Questions protected                               20         58
Questions migrated                               249         17
Questions merged                                  22          0
Questions flagged⁵                                 8      1,931
Questions closed                               7,630      1,961
Question flags handled⁵                          937        996
Posts unlocked                                     1         61
Posts undeleted                                   91        496
Posts locked                                      34        460
Posts deleted⁶                                 1,896     19,944
Posts bumped                                       0      8,617
Escalations to the Community Manager team         11          0
Comment flags handled                          2,135      5,055
Bounties canceled                                  8          0
All comments on a post moved to chat              16          0


### Footnotes

¹ "Community" here refers both to the membership of Cross Validated without diamonds next to their names, and to the automated systems otherwise known as user #-1.

² 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.

³ 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.

⁴ 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.

⁵ Includes close flags (but not close or reopen votes).

⁶ This ignores numerous deletions that happen automatically in response to some other action.

⁷ This includes comments deleted by their own authors (which also account for some number of handled comment flags).

Wishing you all a happy new year...

• We'd much rather you paused and reflected and reinstated Monica. – amoeba says Reinstate Monica Jan 3 at 9:32
• How many stats.SE moderators stepped down from moderation positions during 2019? – Sycorax says Reinstate Monica Jan 3 at 17:47
• -1. I am downvoting to express my continuing disappointment with the company. – amoeba says Reinstate Monica Jan 3 at 20:54
• the last sentence looks ominous... – Xavier Bourret Sicotte Jan 4 at 3:35
• Naw, @xavier... Ominous is Happy Birthday – Shog9 Jan 4 at 3:45
• The previous link is to a tuneless piece of noise that I imagine is one kind of rock music. I lasted about 30 seconds before giving up in some pain. You may enjoy it... – Nick Cox Jan 7 at 10:07

Thank you for the effort to dig up those numbers. But, simply copying the text from last year day's post is not showing that the wishing of a happy new year is very sincere.

Given what happened last year and how SE has been breaking up with it's contributors and moderators, the tone of the post could have been a lot less festive and positive. The situation is not so great and this should not be covered up with a pile of numbers.

As we enter a new year, let's pause and reflect, taking a moment to appreciate the work that we do here together. And what could be more festive than a big pile of numbers?

(emphasis is mine)

What is this post supposed to say? Is 2019 a year in moderation like 2018. Like everything is good now?

We designed the Stack Exchange network engine to be mostly self-regulating

You post a bunch of numbers. Some of them are in the thousands and make it appear as if we are all happy and active in moderating.

Do you really think that this nonsense data makes statisticians happy? There have been several strong negative moments (especially with respect to 'self-regulation' mentioned in the quote) with much more impact than those numbers without context and depth.

# 2019 is the year where you lost moderation.

Just some other data:

Distribution of number of reviews per review task in close/open queues, separated per year and quarter

The year 2019 separated into quarterly data in order to zoom in on the anomaly that closing and reopening is occurring with much less votes in 2019, a change that has developed halfway the year and is very strong in the last quarter.

I believe that we need to look at these numbers in much more depth like the above figures.

• Certainly the quantity of review tasks will increase as the site grows, and likely the review tasks will be more by non-moderators since there are a lot of them.
• However... how does the site really change? Some numbers like the duration that a task remains in the queue is a much better indicator of decreasing efforts and of declining quality of contributions.

Also, let's look at the difference between 2018-2019

                                                  2018                      2019
Action                  Moderators  Community     Moderators  Community
Tasks reviewed: Suggested Edit queue          1,525      5,169          1,269      5,164
Tasks reviewed: Reopen Vote queue               963      3,759            840      2,931
Tasks reviewed: Low Quality Posts queue         938      2,752            894      2,164