It's New Year's Day in Stack Exchange land...

A distinguishing characteristic of these sites is how they are moderated:

We designed the Stack Exchange network engine to be mostly self-regulating, in that we amortize the overall moderation cost of the system across thousands of teeny-tiny slices of effort contributed by regular, everyday users.
-- A Theory of Moderation

While there certainly are Moderators here, a significant amount of the moderation is done by ordinary people, using the privileges they've earned by virtue of their contributions to the site. Each of you contributes a little bit of time and effort, and together you accomplish much.

As we enter a new year, let's pause and reflect, taking a moment to appreciate the work that we do here together. And what could be more festive than a big pile of numbers? So here is a breakdown of moderation actions performed on History over the past 12 months:

                  Action                  Moderators Community¹
----------------------------------------- ---------- ----------
Users suspended²                                  12         15
Users destroyed³                                 198          0
Users deleted                                     33          0
Users contacted                                   32          0
User suspensions lifted early                      1          0
Tasks reviewed⁴: Suggested Edit queue            305        757
Tasks reviewed⁴: Reopen Vote queue               158        444
Tasks reviewed⁴: Low Quality Posts queue          62        284
Tasks reviewed⁴: Late Answer queue                75        220
Tasks reviewed⁴: First Post queue                417      1,199
Tasks reviewed⁴: Close Votes queue               421      1,908
Tags merged                                        5          0
Tag synonyms proposed                              4          1
Tag synonyms created                               7          0
Questions reopened                                27         11
Questions protected                               20         63
Questions migrated                                17          0
Questions flagged⁵                                 6        299
Questions closed                                 363        328
Question flags handled⁵                          231         74
Posts unlocked                                     3          5
Posts undeleted                                   20         46
Posts locked                                       3         41
Posts deleted⁶                                   409      1,143
Posts bumped                                       0         57
Escalations to the Community Manager team          1          0
Comments undeleted                                59          0
Comments flagged                                 319        785
Comments deleted⁷                              3,516      1,987
Comment flags handled                            809        295
Answers flagged                                   37        850
Answer flags handled                             805         82
All comments on a post moved to chat             104          0


¹ "Community" here refers both to the membership of History without diamonds next to their names, and to the automated systems otherwise known as user #-1.

² The system will suspend users under three circumstances: when a user is recreated after being previously suspended, when a user is recreated after being destroyed for spam or abuse, and when a network-wide suspension is in effect on an account.

³ A "destroyed" user is deleted along with all that they had posted: questions, answers, comments. Generally used as an expedient way of getting rid of spam.

⁴ This counts every review that was submitted (not skipped) - so the 2 suggested edits reviews needed to approve an edit would count as 2, the goal being to indicate the frequency of moderation actions. This also applies to flags, etc.

⁵ Includes close flags (but not close or reopen votes).

⁶ This ignores numerous deletions that happen automatically in response to some other action.

⁷ This includes comments deleted by their own authors (which also account for some number of handled comment flags).

Further reading:

Wishing you all a happy new year...

  • 6
    In our case note 3 would be more like "Generally used as an expedient way of getting rid of Nazis". Spammers get that treatment too, but I think we actually get more Nazis than spam.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 16:47
  • 2
    @T.E.D.: That's a dishearteningly high number of nazis. :-| Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 12:00
  • 1
    @DenisdeBernardy - See post below.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


Since my comment was brought up both here and on Twitter, I should probably elaborate.

Account Destruction is currently our preferred method of dealing with unregistered new posters making bad-faith posts on heavily trolled topics. If an account was made with the intent to post destructive content, we aren't playing around.

Yes, that means spammers too, and theoretically other racist nationalists or self-centered propagandists as well. However, effectively today and for the last few years, it means Nazis. They are the ones attacking us almost daily, so they are the ones actually getting this treatment.

I think I remember one spammer getting destroyed last year. There may have been more the other mods took care of I didn't even notice (because they are that damn good). But effectively, yes you can take that number as the number of Nazis destroyed last year.

Use the link for last year's report, and you might notice that this is 20% more Nazis destroyed in 2019 than in 2018. So its a legit observation that our Nazi attacks have been getting worse.

Shog9 confirmed on Twitter that this jibes with their observation (presumably network wide). Its not that SE aren't doing anything at their level to help. Its just that the problem has been ballooning.

Any student of history reading this knows what our grandfathers and grandmothers, the so-called "Greatest Generation" had to sacrifice fighting Nazisim. Fighting Nazis here and now, where its relatively easy, is the least we can do to honor that sacrifice.

I don't want to leave this on a down note, because the fact is we (and by "we" I mean this site as a whole) have been doing a damn good job of keeping this site clean, in the face of what is probably at its root a global societal problem. Perhaps you can't vote out your local Nazis at home, but here is a place where you have the power to fight, and are so far winning.

Few of the actions compiled here were completed by diamond mods acting alone. Even account destructions were almost always flagged by users first. On occasion this even worked so quickly that the account was destroyed before the offending post hit the Time Machine.

You all are badass.

I'll leave you with Woody Guthrie's feelings about that "flag" button.

enter image description here

  • We still have a few certifiably racist users with high rep around, though... Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 18:34
  • I've posted a problematic thing or two in my day as well. Users who can post good stuff, but sometimes need guidance, are exactly what we have the other normal moderation tools for.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 19:07
  • 1
    I've never gone through your history but I sincerely doubt you've ever posted anything as repulsive as the unapologetic nazi shit that some of our 1k+ users have posted on Politics SE. Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 22:59
  • 1
    Ah, well, being a Nazi on Politics is Politics' problem. I mean I do post there sometimes, and will flag stuff when its over the line. They have a far worse problem with unkind comments than we do, like in a whole different weight class, and I don't envy their community moderators one iota.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 23:57
  • 1
    You say “Its not that SE aren't doing anything at their level to help. Its just that the problem has been ballooning.”. My posts on skeptics.meta and on the site-wide meta stack Exchange about holocaust and nazi trolling hasn’t received any responses from official staff. (BTW, I think I mentioned history in one of my meta posts)
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 2:03

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