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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 Interpersonal Skills over the past 12 months:

                  Action                  Moderators Community¹
----------------------------------------- ---------- ----------
Users suspended²                                  34         14
Users destroyed³                                  56          0
Users deleted                                      9          0
Users contacted                                   57          0
User suspensions lifted early                      1          0
User banned from review                            2          0
Tasks reviewed⁴: Suggested Edit queue            102        499
Tasks reviewed⁴: Reopen Vote queue                74        609
Tasks reviewed⁴: Low Quality Posts queue          45      2,700
Tasks reviewed⁴: Late Answer queue                15         58
Tasks reviewed⁴: First Post queue                128        815
Tasks reviewed⁴: Close Votes queue                49      1,311
Tags merged                                        2          0
Tag synonyms proposed                              1          1
Tag synonyms created                               2          2
Revisions redacted                                13          0
Questions unprotected                              2          2
Questions reopened                                26         38
Questions protected                               12         45
Questions migrated                                 4          1
Questions flagged⁵                                34        385
Questions closed                                 366        274
Question flags handled⁵                          295        125
Posts unlocked                                     2          5
Posts undeleted                                   28         31
Posts locked                                       5         92
Posts deleted⁶                                   339      1,083
Posts bumped                                       0          2
Escalations to the Community Manager team         13          0
Comments undeleted                                71          0
Comments flagged                                  59      2,624
Comments deleted⁷                              5,217      1,047
Comment flags handled                          2,304        379
Bounties canceled                                  2          0
Answers flagged                                  416      1,401
Answer flags handled                             725      1,108
All comments on a post moved to chat               3          0

Footnotes

¹ "Community" here refers both to the membership of Interpersonal Skills 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).

Further reading:

Wishing you all a happy new year...

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  • Wow, this "Low Quality Posts queue" is impressive! Plus, we have more "Escalations to the Community Manager team" than on MSE, not sure that it's a good news x) In any case, thanks for all the data! – Ael Jan 1 at 21:36
  • 1
    Does "questions closed by moderators" include questions that receive 5 close votes where the last one was cast by a moderator? The way these numbers are makes it look like the mods here are running around hammering questions, but that doesn't match my observations of their behavior. – Rainbacon Jan 2 at 15:47
  • 2
    No, @Rainbacon - only questions where a moderator closed unilaterally. – Shog9 Jan 2 at 21:36
  • According to your last link, IPS has 50% of its questions closes. That's huge! – Ael Jan 3 at 7:45
6

I was curious, so I decided to take a look at the data from last year and, I must say, I wasn't expecting what I saw. The difference in numbers is just amazing.

Here are the data from last year: 2018: a year in moderation

And here is what it looks like when you put them next to each other:

Table for difference in moderating numbers


Here are the raw numbers (in case you would want to copy-past some stuff):

Action  Moderator 2019  Community 2019  Total 2019  Moderator 2018  Community 2018  Total 2018  Difference
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Users suspended²    34  14  48  40  21  61  -13
Users destroyed³    56  0   56  150 0   150 -94
Users deleted   9   0   9   13  0   13  -4
Users contacted 57  0   57  74  0   74  -17
User suspensions lifted early   1   0   1           0   1
User banned from review 2   0   2           0   2
Tasks reviewed⁴: Suggested Edit queue   102 499 601 186 2096    2282    -1681
Tasks reviewed⁴: Reopen Vote queue  74  609 683 74  2113    2187    -1504
Tasks reviewed⁴: Low Quality Posts queue    45  2700    2745    83  8376    8459    -5714
Tasks reviewed⁴: Late Answer queue  15  58  73  8   178 186 -113
Tasks reviewed⁴: First Post queue   128 815 943 49  3302    3351    -2408
Tasks reviewed⁴: Close Votes queue  49  1311    1360    34  4005    4039    -2679
Tags merged 2   0   2   3   0   3   -1
Tag synonyms proposed   1   1   2   2   4   6   -4
Tag synonyms created    2   2   4   4   1   5   -1
Revisions redacted  13  0   13          0   13
Questions unprotected   2   2   4   7   13  20  -16
Questions reopened  26  38  64  28  179 207 -143
Questions protected 12  45  57  31  184 215 -158
Questions migrated  4   1   5   11  2   13  -8
Questions flagged⁵  34  385 419 36  1278    1314    -895
Questions closed    366 274 640 351 1063    1414    -774
Question flags handled⁵ 294 125 419 785 529 1314    -895
Posts unlocked  2   5   7   9   10  19  -12
Posts undeleted 28  31  59  65  107 172 -113
Posts locked    5   92  97  19  277 296 -199
Posts deleted⁶  339 1083    1422    765 2565    3330    -1908
Posts bumped    0   2   2           0   2
Escalations to the Community Manager team   13  0   13  14  0   14  -1
Comments undeleted  71  0   71  239 0   239 -168
Comments flagged    59  2624    2683    158 13430   13588   -10905
Comments deleted⁷                               5217    1047    6264    21885   4324    26209   -19945
Comment flags handled                           2304    379 2683    11452   2136    13588   -10905
Bounties canceled   2   0   2           0   2
Answers flagged 416 1401    1817    426 5397    5823    -4006
Answer flags handled    721 1096    1817    1982    3841    5823    -4006
All comments on a post moved to chat    3   0   3   106 0   106 -103


What we can see here is that the number of moderating activity as hugely drop.

I have no proof (yet), but I believe this might be due to the change in the HNQ and, in particular:

  1. the fact that we were kicked out of it for a time
  2. the fact that we have now greater control over it

As suggested in comment, it could be interesting to compare those data to the number of posts we had in 2018 and in 2019. So here it goes:

Number of posts posted between the 1st of January 2018 and the 5th of January 2020

Here are also the number of votes in the same time period:

Number of votes

And the traffic (still for the same time period):

Traffic

From this, we can clearly see that the removal of HNQ has had a huge impact on the site (decrease in the number of posts, of votes and of traffic). And we can also see that being back on HNQ with the new rules also had an impact (increase of the number of posts, votes and traffic) but that the number of posts/votes/traffic with the new HNQ rules is still way smaller than with the old HNQ rules.

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  • 1
    In one hand, it seems that moderation activity has significantly dropped. OTOH, what I see from these numbers is that the quality of moderation may have improved (less flagged comments, less questions closed, less users destroyed/deleted/banned...) It'd be interesting to confront these numbers with the how many Q&As were asked in both '18 and '19 and compute the ratio to see if the decrease in activity is indeed due to quitting HNQ for a while or/and also because we came to decisions that positively affected IPS. My instinct tells me it's both but we can't know for sure until we do the math :) – avazula Jan 6 at 8:29
  • @avazula I added some nice graph that would hopefully help answer your question. – Ael Jan 6 at 11:30
5

As noted in the comments, apparently mods unilaterally closed more questions than the community did:

                 Action                  Moderators Community¹
----------------------------------------- ---------- ----------
Questions closed                                 366        274

(And as noted in comments elsewhere, "unilaterally" means "closed by a single vote", aka nobody else had close-voted before the mod did.)

I was surprised, since I feel like I usually wait for another vote (or two, or three...) before casting mine. But I trust Shog's numbers! So I tried my hand at writing a SEDE query. From that query, here's a list of unilaterally closed posts which were active in 2019, in case anyone would like to review them. I've bolded the ones that are still currently closed.

Of course, this query will only questions that haven't since been deleted (well, since before the last dump) - I don't know of a good way to audit that, unfortunately, other than exhorting our users with enough reputation to periodically check in on the moderator tools delete tab :)

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The main meta post with close/reopen data is quite interesting too. Here's a graph of reopen rates on IPS, per close reason (note: according to the meta post, this is questions which were closed and then reopened in 2019, but not necessarily asked in 2019):

percent of questions reopened by close reason on IPS

Seems good that the highest reopen rate (18.1%) is for "unclear" questions - that means authors were given enough guidance to sufficiently clarify their questions. Thank you to those users who comment and help question askers edit!

I was also curious how IPS stacks up against the 175 other sites in the network.

  • IPS is #24 for % questions closed then reopened in 2019, at 9.84%

First 25 (click image to view full chart): percent of questions reopened

  • IPS is #4 for % questions asked and closed in 2019, at 50.25%

First 20 (click image to view full chart): percent of questions asked and closed in 2019

I know we close a lot of questions but I'm still a bit surprised we ranked that high!

  • IPS is #40 for % "old" (pre-2019) questions closed, at 7.5%

First 40 (click image to view full chart): percent of questions closed in 2019 but asked before

There's quite a long tail on this one - I was mainly wondering if beta site rates were higher because of the potential for changing standards of what's on-topic. Since IPS hasn't had any significant changes to that recently, it's not that surprising that we're about average here.

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