Can a moderator have undeleting questions as their duty?

by Yi Jiang   Last Updated August 14, 2019 06:24 AM

My primary role would be to undelete posts, as that would be the reason for my election. I would search undeleted posts on my own and I would also respond to requests for undeletion from users.

Jeremy Banks

If you haven't read Jeremy Banks' nomination post, now would be a good time to do so. You might also want to look at the comments posted on his nomination.

Now that it appears he'll move onto the final election stage and have a non-zero probability of actually being elected moderator, I think it would be a good time now to ask two fairly important questions:

  1. Can a moderator actually have un-deleting old deleted content as a primary duty?
  2. Should un-deleting old deleted content be a primary duty for a moderator?

Answers 1


It appears Jeremy withdrew from the election.

The primary duties of Stack Exchange moderators are:

So in summary, if you are a community moderator on a Stack Exchange site, here’s what to expect:

  1. As a moderator, your actions now represent the community, so you will be held to a higher standard of behavior. You are an ambassador of trust, with the same sorts of rights that the official development team and community coordinators have.

  2. Your goal is to guide the community with gentle — but firm — intervention. Respect your fellow community members at all times; demonstrate fairness and impartiality in your actions.

  3. Whenever possible, try to leave frequent comments on posts where you’ve taken (or considered taking) a moderator action, explaining the reasoning. This is important so that community members can learn the norms of the community and the moderation policies.

  4. Keep the site reasonably on topic by closing, migrating, or removing blatantly off-topic questions.

  5. Regularly check for flagged posts, and decide if further action is warranted.

  6. In the case of serious disputes, communicate directly with users via email to help mediate and resolve those disputes.

And specifically for Stack Overflow:

I believe we regrettably must have a new, specific policy for community moderators on Stack Overflow, due to its size and scale: I propose that on Stack Overflow, all elected community moderators must close a 'reasonable' number of flags while they are on the site. If they do not, they cannot continue to hold the position of Stack Overflow community moderator.

I have absolutely no issue with Jeremy's "undelete crusade", however it can't be his primary role. If elected, the requirements are pretty well documented, and "undelete all the things" is not one of the primary responsibilities of a moderator. I feel there's a populist angle in Jeremy's nomination, and that's perfectly fine, Jeremy is not currently a moderator, we can't expect him to be fully aware of the role's responsibilities, and all of us who went through the process can tell you that we did so without having a very clear idea of what comes next and we all had a more or less populist touch in our stubs. It's an election after all.

(All) that said, Jeremy's promise might conflict with:

Keep the site reasonably on topic by closing, migrating, or removing blatantly off-topic questions.

I don't know, I have no idea which questions he has in mind. But I wouldn't worry much, if it's a problem, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. From what I've seen from Jeremy so far I'd say that he fully realizes that if elected the wider community should come first, and not the small (?) subset of that had issues with deleting off topic questions. And I'm hoping he's talking about questions that were deleted by moderators, reversing the community's will would be a far more troubling issue.

June 15, 2012 16:38 PM

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