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Is there any limit on the maximum number of moderators for our main site?

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Short Version:

There's no official limit. StackOverflow has the most, with 24, but sites the size of AI.SE typically have 3-4 (though AI.SE has had more simultaneously in the past).


Long Version:

StackOverflow currently has 24 ♦moderators but they also get 10 million visits/day and 5.7k questions/day right now.

Here's the sites that have approximately the same number of questions/day as Artificial Intelligence SE:

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  • Biblical Hermeneutics currently has 3 ♦mods.
  • Sharepoint currently has 3 ♦mods.
  • Software Engineering currently has 3 ♦mods.
  • Bitcoin currently has 3 ♦mods.
  • Islam currently has 3 ♦mods.

However, Artificial Intelligence did have more simultaneous ♦mods in the past, and this can often happen if for example the current ♦team requests for it due to too much workload or whatever reason they feel appropriate.

I'll note the following:

  • Role Playing Games currently has 7.8 questions/day but 4 ♦mods.
  • Raspberry Pi currently has 7.6 questions/day but 4 ♦mods
  • Biology currently has 6.4 questions/day (maybe more when COVID began) but 4 ♦mods
  • Astronomy currently has 6.3 questions/day but 4 ♦mods
  • The Workplace currently has 5.91 questions/day but 4 ♦mods
  • Meta Stack Exchange currently has 5.72 questions/day but 4 ♦mods
  • Webmasters currently has 5.42 questions/day but they're currently electing their 4th ♦mod
  • Hinduism currently has 5.23 questions/day but 4 ♦mods
  • Travel currently has 5.1 questions/day (maybe more, or less? before COVID) but they're currently electing their 5th ♦mod
  • Bicycles currently has 5.1 questions/day but 4 ♦mods
  • Aviation currently has 5.0 questions/day but 4 ♦mods
  • Christianity currently has 4.4 questions/day but 4 ♦mods
  • Puzzling currently has 3.9 questions/day but 4 ♦mods
  • Photography currently has 3.4 questions/day but 4 ♦mods
  • Seasoned Advice currently has 3.1 questions/day4 but 4 ♦mods
  • Latin Language currently has 2.9 questions/day4 but 4 ♦mods
  • Psychology and Neuroscience currently has 2.9 questions/day4 but 4 ♦mods
  • History currently has 2.64 questions/day but 4 ♦mods
  • Literature currently has 1.95 questions/day but 4 ♦mods
  • Skeptics currently has 1.56 questions/day but 4 ♦mods
  • Code Golf currently has 1.47 questions/day but 4 ♦mods
  • Interpersonal Skills has 0.98 questions/day but 5 ♦mods !!!

Very few sites have only 2 ♦mods:

  • Engineering currently has 5.1 questions/day but only 2 ♦mods
  • Русский язык currently has 3.3 questions/day but only 2 ♦mods
  • Hardware Recommendations currently has 2.4 questions/day but only 2 ♦mods
  • HSM currently has 1.4 questions/day but only 2 ♦mods
  • Tezos currently has 1.4 questions/day but only 2 ♦mods
  • Computer Graphics currently has 1.1 questions/day but only 2 ♦mods (the last election had 2 openings but only 1 candidate so they have 2 instead of 3)
  • Korean Language currently has 1.0 questions/day but only 2 ♦mods
  • Sound Design currently has 0.7 questions/day but only 2 ♦mods
  • Monero currently has 0.7 questions/day but only 2 ♦mods
  • Ask Patents currently has 0.4 questions/day but only 2 ♦mods
  • Freelancing currently has 0.4 questions/day but only 1 ♦mods !!! (there's been multiple failed attempts at an election recently)
  • Computer Science Educators currently has 0.4 questions/day but only 2 ♦mods
  • Homebrewing currently has 0.4 questions/day but only 2 ♦mods
  • Windows Phone currently has 0.1 questions/day but only 2 ♦mods
  • Constructed Languages currently has 0.1 questions/day but only 2 ♦mods
  • Iota currently has 0.0 questions/day and 3 ♦mods (demonstrating that the site with least activity doesn't necessarily have the least ♦mods).

But this year a plethora of sites had fewer than 3 ♦mods and gradually elections have been taking place to fill up those spots, so these sites might be next.

Finally I will note that:

  • Unix&Linux currently has 53 questions/day but only 3 ♦mods.
  • TeX currently has 51 questions/day but only 3 ♦mods.
  • Salesforce currently has 40 questions/day but only 3 ♦mods.
  • Etherium currently has 28 questions/day but only 3 ♦mods.
  • Data Science currently has 21 questions/day but only 3 ♦mods
  • Database Administrators currently has 20 questions/day but only 3 ♦mods
  • Magneto currently has 20 questions/day but only 3 ♦mods
  • World Building currently has 14 questions/day but only 3 ♦mods
  • Law currently has 12 questions/day but only 3 ♦mods
  • Computer Science currently has 12 questions/day but only 3 ♦mods
  • Stack Overflow in Japanese currently has 11 questions/day but only 3 ♦mods
  • Web Applications currently has 11 questions/day but only 3 ♦mods
  • elementaryOS currently has 10 questions/day but only 3 ♦mods
  • Stack Overflow in Spanish currently has 98 questions/day but only 4 ♦mods
  • Unix&Linux currently has 61 questions/day but only 4 ♦mods.

This covers all sites with more questions/day than AI.SE yet only 3 ♦mods, and all sites with fewer questions/day than AI.SE yet more than 3 ♦mods!

  • 1 Keep in mind that The Workplace gets an enormous volume of HNQ (see here, here, here or the more recent discussion in which I was involved but can't currently find, haha) so it will likely need more moderation per question.
  • 2 MSE is where complaints about the SE network go, so it might not be surprising that more moderation/question may be necessary than normal (though one of the 4 of them was added only 2 about months ago).
  • 3 This is one of those rare cases where I happen to know a bit about why they got a 4th. The flags/day grew from whatever it was in 2017 (see the "A year in moderation" Meta post, to apparently 6/day in 2020.
  • 4 This is another rare case where I happen to know that at least one has taken some breaks from activity in recent times, so there's really not as many active at any given time, as it may seem from the numbers.
  • 5 One quit then came back.
  • 6 Similar to footnote #1.
  • 7 Similar to footnote #1 above, but not long ago they had only 1!.
  • 8 They unusually had at least 4 appointed in 2018 without an election, then had 5 candidates compete for 1 position in 2019. The large need for moderation may have to do with the topic on the site!
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I pushed hard to increase to 4, and wanted 5, because we were getting crushed at one point, and one of our current mods was taking the brunt.

Things seem to have normalized, such that, unless my fellow mods are calling for expansion, I'm ok with the present condition.

I personally haven't had much time in the last couple of years, but I was also burned out from carrying the entire burden in the transition period before we got our new mods, who are have been instrumental in re-purposing toward the current, much more focused, stack.

I think just the current structure and scope will allow us to continue to grow and improve, but it's a long term project of years and decades.

If we start getting blitzed again, we can definitely hold a new election, but it's sort of a hassle, and it's not clear how many users want to carry that burden. It takes a lot of commitment, and many of our best users are, quite frankly, much more valuable to the stack not having to deal with the BS mods sometimes have to deal with.

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