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As we say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new one, we have a tradition of sharing moderation stats for the preceding calendar year.

As most of you here are aware, sites on the Stack Exchange network are moderated somewhat differently to other sites on the web:

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

That doesn't eliminate the need for having moderators altogether, but it does mean that the bulk of moderation work is carried out by regular folks. Every bit of time and effort y'all contribute to the site gives you access to more privileges you can use to help in this effort, all of which produce a cumulative effect that makes a big difference.

So as we say goodbye to 2021, let us look back at what we accomplished as a community... by looking at some exciting stats. Below is a breakdown of moderation actions performed on The Workplace over the past 12 months:

Action Moderators Community¹
Users suspended² 30 36
Users destroyed³ 2,303 0
Users deleted 10 0
Users contacted 49 0
Tasks reviewed⁴: Suggested Edit queue 268 953
Tasks reviewed⁴: Reopen Vote queue 93 437
Tasks reviewed⁴: Low Quality Posts queue 9 205
Tasks reviewed⁴: Late Answer queue 5 55
Tasks reviewed⁴: First questions queue 15 139
Tasks reviewed⁴: First Post queue 398 727
Tasks reviewed⁴: First answers queue 28 109
Tasks reviewed⁴: Close Votes queue 616 1,709
Tags merged 1 0
Tag synonyms proposed 4 0
Tag synonyms created 4 0
Revisions redacted 4 0
Questions unprotected 0 1
Questions reopened 15 11
Questions protected 59 19
Questions migrated 6 1
Questions merged 1 0
Questions flagged⁵ 53 960
Questions closed 147 646
Question flags handled⁵ 632 377
Posts unlocked 5 47
Posts undeleted 12 68
Posts locked 55 73
Posts deleted⁶ 202 1,051
Posts bumped 0 12
Escalations to the Community Manager team 4 0
Comments undeleted 68 0
Comments flagged 502 3,876
Comments deleted⁷ 9,144 4,246
Comment flags handled 4,152 246
Answers flagged 24 675
Answer flags handled 563 137
All comments on a post moved to chat 282 0

Footnotes

¹ "Community" here refers both to the membership of The Workplace 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 everyone a happy 2022! ^_^

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    Hehe, look at the "Users destroyed"... good thing the troll/bot wave we had mid 2021 has subsided according to some other stats and things I perceive :)
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Jan 12, 2022 at 17:44

1 Answer 1

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Thanks JNat for the information and post. I'm writing this answer to give a bit of explanation regarding the unusually high stat for "Users destroyed" this past year.


As suggested by JNat's foot-note (3) on that point, yes this translates mostly to SPAM account deletions.

Late 2020 we noticed a trend among SPAM users/posts on TWP (more like a modus operandi than a trend). It basically consisted in SPAM accounts being systematically created each day, those accounts stayed "dormant" for days or weeks (or more?), with no activity whatsoever, and then some time later "wake up" and proceed to post SPAM until blocked or nuked.

This "trend" was also perceivable by the increase in activity in our Smoke Detector. After being aware of that we began to systematically destroy or handle those completely evident SPAM accounts. About May 2021 a big batch of such accounts was found and handled. And that's why that stat is so high.

Regarding the "campaign" on monitoring the creation of SPAM accounts and destroying them... well, let's say it just doesn't scale well :). The consensus and advice given by the Community Team and some discussion, broadly speaking, was that it was suggested to block/suspend those users instead, so further investigation can be taken and so we can analyze and be aware of the pattern.

Personally, if I see sporadic user(s) like these I will not doubt to nuke them... but going on a campaign again is quite time-consuming and may hamper any effort to catch trends/IPs if this wave happens again.

Fortunately, as of the writing of this post, this situation has stabilized. SPAM accounts will continue to be handled as they should. The Community should keep flagging and handling things as we've been doing. Our Smoke Detector is working quite well and actually improved a lot by the training given by this SPAM wave.

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    To set anyones mind at ease that might be concerned. It wasn't a fully automated process. Tools were used to help identify accounts, but the actual destruction is a manual process. The profiles were individually opened, checked and confirmed to be spam accounts and then manually destroyed one by one.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Jan 14, 2022 at 3:14
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    An effort you could certainly call Herculean, thanks for this @Kilisi!
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Jan 15, 2022 at 9:06

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