As a moderator, I thought I should take a stab at sharing some relevant info and answering this post...
When are elections held for new moderators?
There are basically four triggers for holding a moderator election:
- The community team (over all of stack exchange) reaches out to the moderators about once a year just to see how everyone is doing and if we think there needs to be a change or addition to the site moderation team.
- The community team may notice at any time that the volume of posts or flags may have increased beyond the ability of the current moderation team to handle, and will suggest adding members.
- The moderation team for this site can decide we want additional help and ask for an election.
- Any individual member of the moderation team may decide that they no longer have the time or interest to be a moderator and ask to be replaced.
What about the activity level of the current moderators?
Criggie in his comment on the original post is correct that the "Last Post" time does not in any way reflect the last time any of us were active as moderators. In general I think all 4 of us log in at least multiple times a week, if not multiple times a day.
I can't speak for the other mods, but when I log in most days I am no longer worried at all about posting answers, and I rarely have a question that I think is unique or universal enough that I feel like asking it. I usually get in, check my normal inbox like everyone sees, check the moderation inbox for flags or messages, maybe check the most recent posts for any obvious issues and get out.
When it comes to the chat, I usually don't have the ability during my working day to keep the Velodrome open. So if there are problems there I personally won't see them unless they are flagged or I am summoned with an @ message.
Is the current moderator activity level a problem?
Well, I'm likely biased, but when I say "No, it's not a problem." these are my reasons:
- We now have a core group of very active and helpful very high-reputation users. Three of those users are now above the highest reputation threshold (25k) and can do all actions except those very few that require specific rights as a moderator. Those are primarily restricted because they grant access to contact and suspend specific users, or involve communicating directly with mods of other SE sites and the community team for help with issues.
- Review queue handling has been reasonably quick and thorough for some time. In the early days of the site the moderators had to be heavily involved in reviewing all questions and answers. We seem to have arrived at a fairly well established set of "norms", and like in point 1, we have a solid group of users who are actively clearing the review queue.
- Flag handling times have been fairly consistent. Since the graduation of the site from Area 51, the moderator flag handling time has hovered pretty consistently around the same lag time. I'm not going to reveal what that time is, and it's likely not nearly as fast as some of the higher traffic sites. But for the amount of traffic we get, I think it's appropriate. There may be a few instances where, because all of the mods are in the western hemisphere, a flag comes in at the end of our day and none of us look at it until the next day. If users are unhappy with that lag, please reach out to us in chat and we will happily discuss it.
Is the site running smoothly?
I think so. There are occasional issues like a grouchy user here or there, or a spam account pops up. Those seem IMHO to be handled fairly quickly. As mods, I think we rarely take the most serious actions like warning or suspending a user without contacting each other and coming to a consensus. We may have slight differences (like I think I and one other mod may be quicker on the trigger than the other two when it comes to deleting long and chatty comment threads...)
What about complex actions like tag edits that only moderators can do?
If you come across a serious issue that you don't know how to handle the best thing is to find a relevant question, answer, or comment and flag it for moderator attention. Use "Other" and explain what is going on. A slightly less reliable alternative for something that is really not tied to a specific post would be to @ one of us in the Velodrome. We'll get notified in our inbox and be around eventually. If it's a critical problem and one of the mods is slow getting back to you, the problem can be escalated to the community team using the contact link in the site footer.
Finally - Thanks to the community!
I will speak on behalf of all the mods in this case. Thank you to all of you wonderful members who
- spend your time in the review queue,
- watch and flag posts and comments,
- edit posts and approve edits,
- keep the conversation going in the Velodrome.
We have a fantastic community, and in my contact with mods from other sites I find it gratifying how smoothly things normally work here. That is largely due to your work as regular community members, not anything special we do as moderators.