Moderator appointment/election in MVP

Continuing the discussion from MVP Proposal: User interaction moderation:


We need some users who have elevated privileges (“moderators”), such as user interaction moderation and access to PII. As our site is community-run, we need a way to appoint/elect moderators that have earned the trust of their communities.

This process should not be depending on us (the core team) too much, as we (as volunteers) don’t have that much time and as it should be possible for a site to overrule our decisions in most cases (read: always, unless some legal issue prevents it) or appoint moderators without our (inter-)action.

This is MVP, because we’ll need to appoint/elect community moderators soon after the launch of a new community.

Solution (suggested)

We develop a mod-application page. On this page, any user with enough experience and possibly some other preconditions (such as: no recent suspension) can apply at any time to be a moderator.

Other users can endorse (approve) or oppose (reject) any candidate. This may be an experience-based privilege (lower experience level needed than for applying, however) to prevent vote abuse. It is also possible to comment on the application.

The application needs to fulfill a quorum of support in a given time (for example one month). A suggested example is:

  • minimum of 50 people voting, and
  • minimum of 60% support

If this quorum is reached after the given time, the applicant is automatically given moderator status. Otherwise the application is rejected. Failed applications should include some kind of rate-limit, so that you can only apply once every half year, or so.

What do you think? Is this issue MVP? Should there be a different process in MVP? Should there be a totally different process?


Basic process sounds fine. But to handle:

  • New sites (which will include every site at the initial launch)
  • Any site which due to lack of moderator applications, lack of sufficient consensus, removal of moderators (but only due to serious issues and through a properly handled process) does not have sufficient moderators

will need to have “temporary moderators” assigned by the management of the site (aka “us”).

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One idea in the general moderator thread was to have site-moderators and network-wide moderators which are both elected by the community. They could function as moderators until “real per-site ones” are elected.

Also my opinion on moderator removal was covered by that thread, which doesn’t yet have opposing arguments/voices, so I didn’t include it here.


In the MVP, we do not need any election mechanism. Let the admins appoint moderators.

On Stack Overflow it took about two and a half years until moderators started being elected rather than appointed, and even today new sites don’t get elections for a while. I do think we should elect moderators, at least per-site moderators (“low-level moderators”), perhaps not “super-moderators” with PII access. But we don’t need to do it on day one, and it would be meaningless to do it until the number of users has reached a critical mass. We wouldn’t block the launch of the site due to a lack of a moderator election system, so moderator election is not part of the MVP.


Plus, we expect our earliest communities to be imports from SE. If any of a site’s moderators come over, appoint 'em here. If not, appoint one or more of the active users – we can review their record on SE. When feasible, turn these decisions over to each community.



  • We do not need an election mechanism in MVP.
  • For communities that come over from SE, appoint the existing (or resigned-in-protest) moderators here.
  • There is interest in looking at an election mechanism beyond MVP.

If you have anything to say that has not been said before and that would dispute this consensus, speak now, or this topic will close in 24 hours.


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