38

Only a few questions have been posted so far, but already several have references to Stack Exchange. Obviously, many of the users on the private beta are Stack Exchange moderators, so I expect we will see a strong emphasis on questions that can be related to moderation on Stack Exchange.

We already have Meta Stack Exchange for questions about moderation on Stack Exchange. To what extent should we encourage questions to be worded broadly enough to apply to sites outside of Stack Exchange? Should we explicitly discourage questions that are really asking about Stack Exchange philosophy rather than the principles of moderation in general, or should we welcome them?

Essentially what I'm asking is, where do we draw the line between moderators.stackexchange and meta.stackexchange?

  • 1
  • 14
    I think one thing we do need to avoid - which will be a challenge here - is up/down vote bias on answers which (dis)agree with SE general moderation policies but not necessarily with other non-SE sites. I'm already seeing strong voting bias on questions such as "should a moderator respond to a user complaint about moderation action?" where SE's community culture makes "yes" the preferred answer, but where "yes" is not necessarily appropriate for all communities. It would be a shame to see this site not develop into a good resource for mods on communities with a different philosophy than SE. – Jason C Jul 29 '14 at 19:34
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I would say that the best way to judge what is appropriate is to look at how much relevant data must be present for an answerer to address your problem.

If you're looking at a problem, like, say, "I have one user [A] who has been consistently harassing another user [B] in the community, and [B] has asked me to intervene and get [A] to stop. It seems that the [B] actually wronged [A], though. How can I best come to a resolution for this?", that has all of its relevant data being largely independent of the system and community that it is born in.

Contrast, for example, if you were on some small time forum and you have a user who you've IP banned but they just use a proxy to keep coming back in and your community tires of this user. The mechanical fact of your access to IP bans (and let's go with "nothing more elaborate than a simple entry of an IP and no other banning tools") is then the relevant data. That is a mechanical system, and you can parallel that with questions that relate to how the system here at Stack Exchange works with or against your needs as a moderator.

Mechanics aren't the only division. You could also consider policy. For example, we have a basic policy for suspensions which denotes an increasing length of 7, then 30, then 365 days for repeat infractions. It is flexible and allows for the moderator to use shorter (or perhaps longer) durations as necessary to adapt to an individual (such as one who has been a long-time positive user). If you're trying to assess a problem wherein such a policy is the major impact to the kind of decision you want to make, that makes the policy relevant.

So now that we've got this sphere of "relevancy" determines, let's then figure what matters of relevancy make it appropriate or not on this site. I would venture to suggest the two following guidelines at base:

  • If the question or its relevancy crosses a topic that touches less on "Advice and solutions from moderators" and more on "Guidelines and rules for acting as a moderator on Stack Exchange", then it should not be asked here. Or in other words, don't cross into the turf of material that should be asked on our support site of Meta Stack Exchange or the associated child metas, or things which should be covered in material such as the Moderator Help Center or the Teacher's Lounge. Those places should be the number 1 place for a moderator who wants to know what's up with this place in specific to go. This site should not be confused for a top-level resource for dealing with moderation as Stack Exchange. For more info, this question should probably cover it clear enough on this one.

  • Think about whether or not the relevancies for your question mar the ability to be useful outside of Stack Exchange. For example, if I ask some actually really good question about dealing with a problem user who has been downvoting another user across the site, while the question as a whole requires the relevancy of downvotes, the idea of "A user who is using the system malignantly to be mean to another user with means outside of direct textual contact" is something that might be useful to others. That starts to tread in the good line of things. But if I were to ask something like "What kind of approach should I take to handling flags for my site?", that relevancy starts to be waaay too narrow to be a good question. It's not to say that any question must absolutely be helpful outside of Stack Exchange, just that it's a good measure of what will probably generate a helpful and useful question as a whole.

  • What I was going to say... just that longer. – Braiam Jul 29 '14 at 19:17
7

I think that there are different styles of Moderation for different things.

  • Motorcycle Club moderation
  • StackOverflow moderation
  • Cooking.StackExchange moderation
  • Chat Moderation
  • etc.

Then you have to take into account all the rules for each of these areas and their sub areas.

I am thinking that there should be a tag for StackExchange moderation, this would be the best way to keep StackExchange moderation separate from the other questions.

It really comes down to the tags I think, and that meta.stackexchange should be used for issues that affect the moderator tools not functioning correctly or things that affect the infrastructure of the StackExchange network rather than moderating the specific sites.

specifically to quote a Super Mod

Indeed. "What tools can be used to manage situation X?" is a solid question for this site. "How do I handle flags on my SE site?" belongs on meta. That sounds like a reasonable line to draw right from the start. (Assuming this site doesn't take a strict stance against tool recommendations, etc. This is just an example.) – Anna Lear♦ 33 mins ago


Do we need separate tags for different sites?

  • +1 for a tag to denote questions specific to SE moderation. e.g. "stack-exchange-specific" – Air Jul 29 '14 at 18:54
  • @AnnaLear, I quoted you in my answer – Malachi Jul 29 '14 at 19:21
7

I think site specific questions are fine as long as they are only including the site for purposes of understanding the rules and community structure that are relevant to the question being asked. That said, we should be careful to avoid a Stack Exchange bias. A good question about moderation should be applicable to more than just one community, but rather any community with a similar rule and participation structure.

It may be challenging to do this as a large portion of the community, especially early on, will likely come from SE moderators, however at least some of us have also moderated in other communities along the way as well.

I think we shouldn't specifically avoid mentioning Stack Exchange when it is helpful to clarify what the question is asking, but we should be careful to make sure we provide questions and answers that are also as generally applicable as we can make them.

  • +1000 for "we should be careful to make sure we provide questions and answers that are also as generally applicable as we can make them". – Jason C Jul 29 '14 at 19:35
0

I've obviously missed the point of this site to some degree - I initially thought this site was just about moderation on SE.

I can see the wider point of the site. However I don't think many questions are really going to apply to the entire internet and I propose that most questions should specify a smaller scope or be closed as 'too broad'. For example a full answer to this question, "How can I effectively moderate a chatroom without always being there?" is going to be very long indeed as I imagine that moderation in the myriad variety of what might be called a 'chatroom' (reddit? IRC?) is far too broad a topic for the SE model of Q&A. In this case the question is tagged - if that is taken to mean that answers should be limited to that scope I think the question is fine but my answer (at least) should be deleted?

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    Not sure I agree that the specific example is too broad, but I definitely agree that we should try to narrow the scope of questions so that they are asking about specific problems or decisions rather than discussing general theories of moderation. – Air Jul 31 '14 at 22:28

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