I'm considering nominating myself to be a moderator, but I want to understand the commitment better before I apply.

Jon, Ben, and Rahul, what is the time commitment required to moderate this site?

How is that time spent? How does it differ from time spent by non-mods?

Is it something you need to be able to do every day? How long does it take per day?

  • Good Question. I'm curious as well and posted an answer that, although is from SO, is still somewhat relevant and helped me. Jan 13, 2015 at 23:19
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    Off-topic: I encourage you to run, 3nafish - you'd have my vote. Jan 14, 2015 at 15:48

4 Answers 4


Well its a typical UX answer really.

It Depends.

Now we're not exactly Stack Overflow, so moderating this site is not going to take your life away from you. But equally we need to be sure that if something major happens (and it does, on occasion) that the site isn't going to sit there not having anything done about it for hours on end.

So in reality, if each of the moderators (assuming that after the election there are 5 of us) popped into the site a few times a day (before work, at lunchtime, maybe during a tea break) and that we're not all in the same timezone so that we can cover off different times that way) then the site is likely to be fine.

You're welcome to be far more active than that (I know I am) and you're free to dissapear for several days at a time should you need to, but ideally you'd be able to commit to at least pop in and check on things every day, even if just for 20 seconds to check the state of the flag queue. But you might (well, probably will) be needed for more than that too. It is a responsibility afterall, not just a way to get access to all the exciting mod tools*

*They're not really that exciting.

  • Thanks for staying active and keeping things clean. This community rules them all and in the darkness binds them!
    – DaveAlger
    Jan 14, 2015 at 1:11

It really depends, and if you're already pretty active on the site daily, which would be ideal in a candidate, it can be more of a change of how your time is spent than how much you spend.

Here's an average session for a mod, more or less:

  • Check notifications ("inbox", mod notifications, flags, review queue)
  • Check the front page & recent questions (and address any issues)
  • Peek at or participate in Chat (not strictly necessary but new and old members ask for help or discuss the site in chat)
  • Answer any important Meta questions
  • Edit, close or otherwise moderate any problematic questions/answers found during the above steps

You'll probably already be doing most of the non-moderator-only parts of that, and on a typical session there's really not much more than a few minutes worth of flag handling, closing, guiding new users and such to do. But that's still less time to do whatever else you were going to do on the site, so to moderate and keep up your other activity on the site you'll have to stick around a bit longer.

Like Jon said, UX doesn't really have too many big problems mods need to address day-to-day, but there are the occasional thorny issues that take much more time on their own (the hardest problems aren't trolls, they're disruptive but genuine users that don't realize what they're doing wrong) and you'll want to check in when you can so no issue goes unhandled for a long period of time in case no one else checks in that day.


This is an excellent question and you may have noticed that I have not been around much lately. The time commitment was greater than the time I had available (while moving between continents).

However, I did make a commitment as a moderator to be a part of shaping the site, and I hold myself to that, so I've been trying to get back into things now that I've moved and my life is a little more predictable.

The reason I'm posting this is as a bit of a counterpoint to Jon and Ben's experiences; even though I'm saying this about myself, I think we should all take to heart that this is a voluntary position and it happens around your life. So if you have periods of time where you can't make it, don't worry about it - there are other mods who can step in. Just give them a heads up if you have to get out and they (we) should be able to.

  • Good points, and with two extra moderators that should make it even less of an issue if one of two need to take a step back for a while for whatever reasons.
    – JonW Mod
    Jan 18, 2015 at 16:31

I'm not Jon, Ben, or Rahul, and I will let them speak to this site, but I found the following question and its answers helpful because it comes from SO and it being the leading site.:

How much time do moderators spend on Stack Overflow?

Based on the amount of reputation they need to have, it seems like you'd have to spend a ton of time on Stack Overflow or get lucky on those "answers that keep on giving" to become a moderator (you know what I mean, that one question that gets like 450 upvotes even though it's a really boring simple answer).

How much time do moderators spend on Stack Overflow? I'm surprised they'd have enough time if they also had a full time job. Is being a moderator their primary occupation?

@BoltClock's a Unicorn's Accepted Answer :

We take up moderation as a voluntary role. That said, on Stack Overflow we're kept in light check:

While being a community moderarator [sic] is a volunteer (but often elected) position, and participation is strictly voluntary at all times, we do require two important things of all elected community moderators.

  1. You must accept the community moderator agreement within 30 days of election or appointment.

  2. On Stack Overflow, due to its immense size and scale, there is another requirement. If you spend time on the site participating but aren’t regularly resolving flags, you may cede your right to remain a community moderator.

We don't get paid for our time at all. And as mentioned, it has little to do with our reputation (although, for obvious reasons, you need at least a fair amount to nominate yourself in the first place so the community knows who you are).

The rest of this answer is largely an individual anecdote; I do not speak for the other Stack Overflow moderators or on behalf of management.

From being elected in November 2011 to last month (~5 months), I was on medical leave and so I had all the time in the world to moderate. In those 5 months I spent virtually all day on the site. I have no regrets.

Now I'm back at school, so I spend considerably less time on the site, whether it's asking/answering questions or doing actual moderation work. I still have a couple of tabs that are open pretty much all day, but I don't refresh or browse them as zealously as before...

In any case, you'll still see me around, and it's not because of reputation or because of any obligation (it's entirely voluntary), but because I enjoy coming here.

BoltClock's a Unicorn's Profile Image

@random's Higher Voted Answer :

No moderator is paid as they are all volunteers. After they set up another bot to grind for Digimons, and sup the tears of destroyed spammers, they start cutting themselves cheques from all the anal bandage royalties in dealing with the trolls and bad seeds of the site.

A moderator's main function is to keep the site jerk free, and the level of commitment and time varies between them. It depends on when they're awake, when the flag beacon whispers dark horrors in their sleep and the usual trawling of the site. It also depends on how active the user base is in self-moderating. The more active the base (closing, user shaping, editing and flagging spam as necessary) the less time you'll see moderators needing to step in to thrown down a bag of oranges.

The correlation between highish EXP and a moderator comes from the drive they have to access more tools to help with the quality control of the vertical. The actions they carry out with the level and privileges they have help other users frame a mindset on what type of user they are and if they're responsible enough to be nominated or even elected.

Of course, there's something of a standard of appearance in the elected moderators. You can't really think a mod is actually moderating if the stoop of crap piles up aplenty as they shovel out posts between it all.

Above all else, their real world employment or obligations come before their time moderating a Stack Exchange site.

Random's Profile Image

  • I also liked this one about a moderators having a "Standard of Duty" ... Jan 13, 2015 at 23:22
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    Moderating UX.SE (as well as 99% of the stack Exchange sites) is almost nothing like being a moderator on stackoverflow. We have the same tools at our disposal, but ours are pristine and clean tools - like the ones you use for Sunday dinner, with some of them where you can't even remember where they are as they've not been used for so long. Whereas the ones on SO are almost never out of use.
    – JonW Mod
    Jan 13, 2015 at 23:51
  • @JonW - Exactly. And that's how I want them to stay even when this site catches up to SO. No reason that it shouldn't. Jan 14, 2015 at 0:05
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    @Downvoter - Not sure that this deserves a DV. We ALL know UX.SE is not SO, but this answer gives us a peak through the looking glass at answers from the leading SE site and what their moderators say it takes, time wise. Again, we ALL know that it's WAAAAY less here, but I'm not one that thinks in the here and now. I'm thinking down the road when UX.SE is the #2 or #1 SE site, so I think these answers, while not from Jon, Ben, or Rahul, have many valid points that us nominees would be wise to keep in mind. Jan 14, 2015 at 1:20

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