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What are the most popular Moderator selection techniques?

Where and how are they used?

I would like some statistics if possible to show the effectiveness of each selection technique (Rejection of Moderator by Community, Owner, or Admins).

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  • Why exactly five? – SF. Aug 1 '14 at 14:44
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    @SF. because I can see the top 2 being SE and Reddit. – Malachi Aug 1 '14 at 14:48
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    Funny how the OP asks for fact-based answers, and we then proceed to close the question because it is "opinion-based". – Lee White Aug 1 '14 at 19:41
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    @LeeWhite - initially it was less well defined (what effectiveness metric to use was not listed). Now it is better defined, but the main concern is that there are not clear delineations in moderator selection techniques, which makes just about any categorization you can think up fair game. There is a meta post for discussing it further. – AJ Henderson Aug 1 '14 at 22:23
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  1. The absolutely most common moderator selection technique is "Good pals/lovers/drink buddies of the site owner." Their skills at moderation being entirely irrelevant and often abysmally bad, often the moderators outnumbering users, fighting between each other and being dismissed after a disagreement with the owner (on entirely forum-unrelated subject). The title of "moderator" is akin to a title of nobility like "Count" or "Marquis" and means moderators may flay the peasantry as they see fit.

  2. By 'maturity' on site. Users that stay longest and didn't get into too many arguments get the moderator status.

  3. None. The admin/owner is the only moderator, period.

  4. Let the moderators decide. The owner defers to existing moderators to hire more, following whatever metric they deem right. Usually that boils down to discussing potential candidates on the moderator forum, considering various "for" and "against".

  5. Hiring through job agency. Whoever the agency sends in, is the moderator. That's how most big portals handle this (also, including interns.)

Multi-phase community elections like on StackExchange probably don't make it into top 20 popularity-wise.

EDIT: If the question was asked purely for some academic research purposes, I can tell the answer is probably just a stub for further research, which, personally I believe doesn't exist.

Then, if the question was more along the line "Which moderation selection model would fit [my site] best", I could provide some tips, especially that it largely depends on the site and its profile.

For example, election system of StackExchange is only good on big sites with mostly mature audience. On a site frequented by teens it will result in several characters with biggest egos getting the moderator positions and fighting, undermining each other, to scrape to the top - utterly counterproductive.

For example most small communities, like personal blogs only need the site owner to moderate. There's really no need for multiple moderators if you have less than 200 semi-active participants.

For example moderators hired for a commercial site through a work agency need a manager/overseer to check quality of their work and monitor complaints from users. They are assigned at random but bad ones are dismissed on the spot, and after a while you have a semi-permanent crew, with skill honed through experience.

#4 "Let the moderators decide" is about the most versatile and successful. It's the existing moderators who know what the site needs, who know the users on quite personal basis, know the basic factors required from a moderator given their site specificity, and know whether a new moderator is needed or not.

This works well for all but the absolutely largest sites. Sites too big to build rich interpersonal relationships - like Digg, Slashdot, or Stackexchange - need more arbitrary methods, as moderators are simply unable to fish out best candidates from the overwhelming bulk - and these are a relatively small margin on the number of sites that do have moderators; edge cases.

Still, owner's ego, poor knowledge of own community, and fear of giving this kind of power away to strangers more often than not cause #1,#2,#3 to outweigh #4.

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  • you answered like 10 percent of the question, rather sarcastically I might add – Malachi Aug 4 '14 at 12:54
  • @Malachi: If you're looking for good methods of choosing moderators, you won't find these among most popular methods of choosing moderators. I answered to satisfy your curiosity and point out how misguided your pursuit is. There's really no point giving you the myriads of circlejerk fora run by teenagers according to #1, countless small communities with #2, #4, personal blogs with #3, or commercial portals with #5. As for community acceptance, or rejection rates, you can imagine the numbers. #4 is actually rather good. – SF. Aug 4 '14 at 13:48
  • is this a good answer for the moderators site? if someone had answered like this on a question that you asked, how would you respond? – Malachi Aug 4 '14 at 13:52
  • @Malachi: I'd probably choose to ask a question closer to what I need to solve my problem instead of setting arbitrary limitations like "top five" (why not top six? I actually wrote a rather good sixth technique, then recalled you want only 5 and deleted it.) and ranking them by useless metric like popularity. Then, probably upon reaching -3 on my question vote count I'd seriously edit my question. If you need the data for some research paper, you should have said so. If you're asking to pick a good moderation method yourself, it's a wrong question you're asking, and the answer only shows it – SF. Aug 4 '14 at 14:57

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