I just happened to find this and my questions are:

  1. Has this moderator been removed from ELU moderatorship automatically in accordance with the absentee policy?

Any moderator who is not active on the site for a period of six months is subject to removal of their moderator abilities. Moderatorship is an elected position, so if an absentee moderator returns to the site, they may be eligible for reinstatement.

  1. Will there be a moderator election to replace this moderator?
  • If there is an election to be held, I would like to recommend danbron and tchrist, to name a few, for moderatorship. – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 7:42
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    Link, please. I don't remember ever seeing this. – Mari-Lou A Jun 13 '16 at 8:36
  • @Mari-LouA The reason why I didn't include any link is very obvious. If you had wanted to find it, you could have found it as soub (who wrote the below answer) did. – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 8:50
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    @Rathony Thank you for the endorsement, but you couldn't pay me to be a mod. Also, they don't pay you to be a mod! – Dan Bron Jun 13 '16 at 9:28
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    I'm sorry the obvious reason for not including the link escapes me. However, here it is: modnewsletter.stackexchange.com/2012/01/december-2011- NB: I was referring to the citation, not to the question title. – Mari-Lou A Jun 13 '16 at 10:12
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    It's related, similar, not identical but alike. If you think they're totally unrelated, and the two questions have absolutely nothing in common, I can't do anything about that. P.S Your meta Q speaks about one mod, not 3 or 4 mods. But that's fine. You can edit that bit in as well. – Mari-Lou A Jun 13 '16 at 12:10
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    @Mari-LouA In your question, you are basically saying, there are two moderators you want to see replaced. In my question, I am saying one moderator is not doing his duty for more than 6 months. In your question you are asking "how regular are these elections?" and I am asking "Will there be an election to replace that specific moderator?". Your question is about general election and my question is about by-election I don't really see how these two questions are related. – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 12:15
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    If you think we need more moderation help on this site, I think it's better to just propose electing a new mod and leave out the issue of removing old, inactive mods. There doesn't have to be any connection between these two things. – herisson Jun 13 '16 at 19:31
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    @sumelic I know what answer I will get when I propose electing a new mod. Why do you think there is no connection between getting rid of inactive mods and electing replacements for them? Why do we need inactive mods? Are they special? Do we need their life-time service? What do they have to offer us until they die? One year leave for study, two year leave for doctoral study, three year leave for assistant professorship? I really don't get it. – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 19:43
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    @Rathony - you are making some interesting points, but you appear to "push" for a new mod election. The only case users are supposed to do that is when there are tangible signs of lack or inadequacy of site moderation, which, to my knowledge, there are not. A different issue is if you think "moderation" should be conducted in a different way, with a more severe application of rules for instance, which still, I don't think, would be beneficial to the site. – user66974 Jun 14 '16 at 11:18
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    @Rathony - what I have understood here is that mods are a community within a community, at the service of the larger community but with their own rules, priorities and preferences. It is up to them to decide and, as far as I can say, their decisions take into account the effects on both their and the larger community. I am sure they are well aware of who's doing what among them, and will react accordingly if needed. – user66974 Jun 14 '16 at 11:35
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    @Josh61 I know moderators can do whatever they want in terms of managing their affairs. They can manage in whatever way they see fit. If one moderator clicks on ELU.com once in six months, it is enough to keep the post until they die. How ridiculous does it sound? Why do you volunteer for the post when you know you might have to take a year off? That's breach of trust. They have to resign. I don't think anybody would vote for anyone who says "I might have to take a year off." Of course it must have been unexpected. If unexpected things happen, just resign. There are plenty who can replace you – user140086 Jun 14 '16 at 11:42
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    @deadrat Well, if you are too busy to spend just 10 minutes of your 24 hours 5 days a week, if you expect you to be too busy for your study or whatever, or if you feel you might have to be hospitalized for a long period of time, don't nominate yourself. It is not the US Supreme Court. There is nothing as much sophisticate for any moderator to decide here. Anybody can do it. Don't think you are the only one who can do it. Don't think there are things that only you can do while others can't. Let others who are more free and dedicated do it. You are replaceable as all others elected or nominated – user140086 Jun 15 '16 at 8:18
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    @deadrat Well, I am not complaining. I am reasoning against the ridiculous rule that I can't fathom. I can understand why you think that way. What is the solution? Removal of all moderators and moderatorship itself? – user140086 Jun 15 '16 at 9:01
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    @Rathony Restriction of moderators to the prevention of site abuse like spam. Barring that, recognition that anyone who would nominate himself or herself is likely not fit for the job. – deadrat Jun 15 '16 at 9:05

We have this question come up from time to time.

Moderators are sometimes inactive for extended periods of time. We have a mechanism of recording a 'leave of absence', which is helpful for marking vacations as well as longer holidays. We have one mod in particular who took almost a year off to focus on his studies. We manage leaves of absence pretty well and generally have sufficient planning in advance so that the community doesn't notice.

A moderator who is absent without checking in for longer than six months and who hasn't discussed being absent is considered absentee. That just means that we might look into removing moderatorship due to inactivity, as the community changes over time and part of a mod's job is to be aware of and represent those changing needs.

That said, elections are a different matter. We hold elections when the mod team (and-or community moderators) feel that the workload exceeds the current capacity of the moderator team. With an absentee mod, removing a diamond isn't going to have an impact on our workload because we've had months or years to adapt to the shift, so it's unlikely that removing an absentee mod will trigger the need for an election.

  • Thank you for the answer. Does it mean the moderator gave you a notice of absence and it doesn't matter how long the moderator will be absent from the duty? What is wrong with resigning from the moderatorship and focus on his studies? I mean it doesn't make sense. Nobody is forcing him to maintain the post and if there is a more important thing or issue to take care of, why not just resign? – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 12:46
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    @Rathony We don't discuss details of mod absenteeism with the community. There is nothing wrong with resigning as a mod for whatever reason. The mod who chose to take leave for a year wanted to continue as a mod when he returned. He has contributed diligently to handling the workload since he returned to his post. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 13 '16 at 13:11
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    I am sorry. I don't get it. We have the right to know what happened exactly as he was elected by the general election. Let me be blunt with you. I think he is very selfish. He should have resigned for a year and let another member to take over the post. The quote in my question clearly states "if an absentee moderator returns to the site, they may be eligible for reinstatement". Then, we can have nine moderators when he returns and if he wants to continue his moderatorship. – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 13:31
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    @Rathony Let me be blunt with you. Your opinion is irrelevant. We discussed his planned absence and worked out a solution together. The whole moderation team was fine with the situation. He returned over a year ago, maybe longer than that. There's not much point in making an issue out of it. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 13 '16 at 13:38
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    I am sorry. Why is my opinion irrelevant? I am talking about the mod who is missing in action right now for more than seven months. Do you mean he was absent for a year before this absence? Then, I think it makes the matters worse. I see some point in making an issue out of it. You sound like it is something moderators should decide and I have no business in it and I respectfully disagree. – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 13:42
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    @Rathony I was talking about a different moderator. As I said, we don't discuss details of mod absences. It is for the moderators to decide and you don't have any business in it. You are welcome to post on Meta.SE to generate discussion about community involvement in moderator absenteeism. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 13 '16 at 13:48
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    @Rathony Your mistake here is we have the right to know what happened exactly. You don't. Nobody does, apart from the community team and the remaining moderator team. I'm sure if you needed to take a few months off from something due to personal, medical, or family issues, you wouldn't appreciate having your personal life spread around on the whim of a stranger on the Internet. – ArtOfCode Jun 13 '16 at 13:53
  • The reason why I found the absence was I was preparing for Meta SE post to question the legitimacy of "life-time term for moderators" where we can't get rid of inactive or not-active-enough moderators. Let me think about it. I don't like the way you explained the matter as if moderators were above the rules or any enforcements. – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 13:53
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    @ArtOfCode I think you misunderstood my intention. I was saying I have the right to know whether the moderator gave the notice of absence before taking longer than 7 months off. That's all. I don't care to know what happened to him. – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 13:55
  • @Rathony Even that is sketchy. People need time out for different reasons; sometimes it just isn't possible to give notice. The community team understand that; no disrespect to you, but site communities and users tend not to. – ArtOfCode Jun 13 '16 at 13:56
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    @Rathony I don't see anywhere that I'm suggesting that moderators are above the rules. I am interested to see what you propose for getting rid of inactive and not-active-enough moderators. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 13 '16 at 13:56
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    @KitZ.Fox Don't you think it is better to hand your job over to another user when you have a planned absence for longer than 6 months? – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 14:04
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    @Rathony You may be interested in this question: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/151606/… and this one: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/984/… as well as the theory of moderation post. There are several other posts out there about moderators and moderation. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 13 '16 at 14:10
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    @Rathony I am happy to discuss it further once you post your proposal on Meta.SE. I think probably a lot of community members are interested in discussing this topic. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 13 '16 at 14:16
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    @KitZ.Fox Well, I lost my appetite to challenge this. I got my answers here and I will forget about it. I'd better spend my time for more productive and useful things than talking to people who think benevolent dictatorship is better. I could have ran for 10 miles while exchanging these comments. I will forget about it. Let the (benevolent) dictators dictate it if that's the SE policy. . – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 14:23
  1. No, because there is still a diamond next to their name. The diamond is tied to having moderatorship privileges: one goes with the other.

The absentee mod policy states they are subject to removal after 6 months of absence; but when the removal actually happens is flexible. For example, a Seasoned Advice moderator was removed last month, after being absent since May 19, 2015. More than a year passed between last login and losing the diamond. In a comment animuson remarked that the absentee mod process is not as straightforward as "x months away, diamond gone".

  1. We will know when it's announced. On a site with 8 moderators, if we lost 1, we'd still have 7, which is not sure to trigger an election. It depends on whether the remaining moderators need a reinforcement to effectively moderate the site.
  • Thanks for your answer. You mean "losing 1 is not sure to trigger an election", right? 1. I understand your point, but sorry I don't think the policy is clear and there is nothing that indicates the removal could be flexible. 2. Seasoned Advice is far smaller community than ELU. I don't think it justifies a delayed removal just because Seasoned Advice has removed its moderator more than a year later. 3. I think it should be decided by the community, not by the moderators. At the end of the day, all communities are run democratically, right? – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 7:57
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    @Rathony all communities are run democratically, right? - wrong. SE is a benevolent dictatorship. SE give users and communities power and choice where it's possible and useful; in many situations, particularly here, it's not. – ArtOfCode Jun 13 '16 at 14:02
  • @ArtOfCode Thanks for various comments. You have the point. – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 14:30

A community call for moderator resignation or dismissal due to inactivity is based on a misunderstanding of the relationship between the community and the moderator.

Your view might be that people who run for moderator make promises of performance to the community if elected: promises which they have a duty to the community to fulfill. Perhaps you view moderators as elected representatives, and feel you have rights or vested interests as a member of the community that elects the moderators. From this perspective, a moderator who does not fulfill his duty to the community should resign or be dismissed.

Actually, the duty of a moderator is to Stack Exchange. A moderator is a Stack Exchange volunteer (which is what all of us in the community are). There is no close parallel between moderator campaigns and campaigns in other contexts (such as democratic government). Moderator elections are for Stack Exchange to find out which candidates are credible and best qualified to serve as moderators. A moderator campaign promise is a promise to Stack Exchange, not to the community. The role of the community is to decide whether the promise is credible. After election, it's Stack Exchange, not the community, that the moderator needs to satisfy.

Stack Exchange's inactivity policy helps provide clarity to moderators about what is normally expected of them, but it does not mean Stack Exchange automatically dismisses inactive moderators. Surely Stack Exchange is not looking for reasons to demote volunteers. In fact I imagine it's the opposite: they can use all the good help they can get. What interest would be served by dismissing a good moderator who goes on hiatus and communicates the fact to Stack Exchange?

In comment, you express the view that an inactive moderator stands in the way of giving a new user an opportunity to serve in his place. As far as I know, it is not a zero-sum game. Stack Exchange does not need to demote one moderator before it can appoint another. Moderators can be added or removed as needed.

  • Well, I view moderators as no different from any other users who participate in this community. If they have something else to do, they are free to do whatever they want to do. But they should hand over their responsibility and duty to another user as when they were elected, they promised they would do their best to do their job as a moderator. Let's imagine, if that moderator had self-nominated himself as a candidate saying "I will take a year off for my study. But please vote for me." would you have voted for him? I think nobody would have voted for him. That moderator should resign. – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 17:17
  • @Rathony Thank you for the clarification -- answer updated. – MetaEd Jun 13 '16 at 18:22
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    Thank you for editing the post (+1). However, I beg to differ. (1) If they were elected and they can't perform their duties, I don't see any reason why they can't resign before SE decides to dismiss them, (2) There are excellent members (like yourself) who can dedicate more time and energy than the moderator who takes 7 months off. (3) It is more than fair to give new users an opportunity than sticking to his life-term moderatorship, (4) This community would never collapse even if all the moderators were replaced at once. It seems pathetic trying to hold on to the position that never pays. – user140086 Jun 13 '16 at 18:32
  • Answer updated. – MetaEd Jun 13 '16 at 20:56
  • It is perhaps worth mentioning that there used to be 5 moderators before the 2014 election. Today there are a total of 8, the 3 elected moderators are still active members of EL&U. Of the three mods who were less active back in 2014, one of them has recently returned to EL&U and has been moderating a fair bit. – Mari-Lou A Jun 14 '16 at 12:26

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