The moderator election states that there are two positions open. With the recent loss of Chopper3, this means that this is a net gain of 1.
There's some discussion with regard to the specific count for this election; maybe some more general discussion is needed on how many moderators are needed.
Is there a Stack Exchange rule of thumb for how many moderators we need? Where did the 2 come from with this current election: Did someone decide this? Based on private discussion (by this I mean, "not on meta") with the existing moderators and their sense of the workload? Or does the system just have a random number generator for how many positions to open when an election comes up?
I'm not going to include Kara in this list, as she seems to be inactive. I'm also not going to include Kyle and George, as my anecdotal impression is that they don't spend a lot of time on community moderation tasks these days (I don't see their names on a lot of closes, deletes, or migrations) -- correct me if I'm wrong on that.
So, that leaves us with 5 moderators. From east to west:
- GMT +10: Mark
- GMT +1: splattne
- GMT +0: Sam
- GMT -5: sysadmin1138
- GMT -8: mrdenny
Most of us don't have any point of reference for the flag volume, and at which times it's heavy, but what I do know is that Chopper3 handled a lot of flags, and was getting burnt out from it. Picking up that load among the existing moderators plus two seems like people would still be forced to spend all of their time on the site clearing flags.
This is something that's been discussed recently, but bears revisiting here; it (again, anecdotally) seems to me that two of our current community moderators are handling the bulk of the heavy lifting.
Dealing with sheer flag volume is one aspect of this (which most of us can't speak to), the other is community faith in the moderators. Inactive or semi-inactive moderators may not be equipped to deal with flags appropriately; and even if they are, their lack of visibility to the community leaves a perception that they're disconnected from it.
The Stack Overflow opinion is that moderators are moderators for life. Does that automatically apply here? Giving up the diamond has been a breath of fresh air for Phil; handing it off doesn't need to be a bad thing.
So, to sum up:
- Where'd the 2 come from?
- If it's arbitrary, shouldn't it come from a discussion with the existing moderators, or else a public discussion on meta?
- Can one of our existing diamonds weigh in on what times of day need attention at this point?
- Do we need to adjust our perception of our current moderator count, if only a small subset of the moderators are handling a vast majority of the work?
- Do we need to add additional moderators beyond what we feel is needed, so that they all can spend a smaller proportion of their time on moderator tasks to avoid burn out?
The Stack Overflow opinion is that moderators are moderators for life.… or until they stand down. I would argue that the federal bench is the best analog for moderator positions: Lifetime appointment, we add more judges if we need them (based on case load), and when one retires we fill the vacant seat in addition to any new seats we're adding.