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Let's face it: Health.SE has many, many, many, many problems. We've tried to resolve a few minor issues with minimal success, and even launched a "sister-site" as a new proposal at Area51.

Here, I'll try to address a different issue: Moderation. It has been addressed before:

Usually (and with good reason), mods are not expected to decide if an answer is incorrect. On some sites, though, the mod will take an action if a trusted user raises a flag.

This occurs on occasion on Biology.SE where a user dispenses bad medical advice in comments. The flag is deemed helpful and the comment is removed - presumably because medical advice is OT anyway (though questions still make their way in by not posing it as medical advice.)

Do we need the moderator of a health site - where answers actually deal with issues that impact the health of real people - to step out of the traditional role on occasion?

Moderation is especially a burden here because Community Moderation is - due to the lack of active high-rep users - difficult.

This leaves us with the options of either giving up altogether, or having the mods moderate a lot more aggressively (JohnP single-handedly closed quite a few questions recently with his "mod-hammer", as an example).

Similar as to this PhysicalFitness thread, let's have a look at when our moderators were last active (as of October 24th, 16:00 GMT+1):

Main Site:

  • michaelpri: today
  • Susan: 6 days ago
  • JohnP: today

Meta Site:

  • michaelpri: 1 day ago
  • Susan: 24 days ago
  • JonP: today

Luckily, it seems our moderators visit the site more often than in the linked thread from Fitness.SE. Nevertheless, at least I have the feeling that this site could do with a lot more moderation.

I'd like to ask the mods directly: Where is the root of the problem? Do you feel like you can't participate as much anymore (for any reasons), or is the amount and the burden just so high that you would feel good about a new moderator? Or is my impression wrong altogether.

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Not entirely wrong.

As you point out, active moderation should fall mostly on the high rep users. But Health in general has too few high rep users to be able to do this effectively, and of the high rep users, not all are fully qualified health professionals.

As anongoodnurse points out in this meta answer, the site needs more moderators that are versed in health and know what is good and what is bad, possibly as replacements, possibly in addition to current moderators. You need knowledge and accessibility for a site like health, and in the current condition, very few true health professionals are going to want to and have the time to clean it up, on a consistent basis. Possibly it means that the site needs one or two day to day moderators to clean up the flags and the spam and the idiocy, and up to four or five true health professionals to clean up the medical side of the house. That way no one or two medicos have to be on the site all the time. Or just a full team of 4-5 moderators (which is unusual on a lower traffic beta site), all health professionals. But again, you are back to finding them.

  • Thanks for answering JohnP. I feel that the solution is likely adding some professionals as part time mods, since HealthSE is unique - we desperately require more expert input, but experts burn out easily here. Not even many of our high rep users are here daily. Like we talked about @Narusan-in-coma, I'd be happy to be a mod as a medical professional when I can, but I must clarify from the start that I can't give a specific time commitment. You've seen, I come/go based on schedule etc. But if we had more intermittent mods (which helps prevent burnout) we'd have better coverage. – DoctorWhom Oct 24 '17 at 9:05
  • After all, whenever a mod is able to be on, at least we can shut down harmful wrong answers and unsalvageable Q's without waiting (sometimes days) for those 5 votes. TBH Narusan it would be great if you or @Carey would mod too, even if part time. As you mentioned JohnP, yes it may seem excessive to have more mods on a lower traffic beta, but since the Health field is a different beast than any other site (as wrong answers can result in actual physical harm) and we lack the volume of professionals to rapidly up/downvote wrong stuff the SE way, adding mods seems like a valid way to survive. – DoctorWhom Oct 24 '17 at 9:12
  • @DoctorWhom Similar to you, I‘m not there all the time, and I‘m not really a medical professional, my expertise lies mainly in where to find stuff. :) In principle, me being a mod would only benefit those who align with my understanding of the scope of the site, as I would be able to mod-hammer-close a question singlehandedly. Basically, it would be up to JohnP and michaelpri and Susan (though I haven’t talked to her or seen her “in action” since I’m active) to decide whatever they want. If the moderators feel the need for other moderators to help, I will volunteer for a temporary – Narusan Oct 24 '17 at 13:57
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    part-time moderation, as that is all I’m able to give. Maybe you could bring the medical expertise as an additional mod. Again, I’m a bit hesitant and I don’t think I’d be a good mod because I tend to act on my behalf and not on behalf of the Community, but if the need is there I’m willing to change myself and take on the responsibility temporarily. // I can’t even estimate how busy moderators currently are, hence this thread and hence my question. – Narusan Oct 24 '17 at 14:00
  • We should try with more moderators because we get so much crap. It's too hard on the existing moderators. – Graham Chiu Mar 6 '18 at 18:06
  • @GrahamChiu - So much crap how? You mean spam type stuff? That is under control. You mean bad questions? Given the massive amount of misconceptions (or outright lack of education) people have on personal health and their own bodies, I don't know if you can stem the tide. – JohnP Mar 6 '18 at 18:13
  • yeah, sorry, very poor questions. It's too much work for you mods – Graham Chiu Mar 6 '18 at 18:47
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    @GrahamChiu - It's too much work for the community. The community is intended to do the heavy lifting. I'm wriing an answer on the pull the plug question right now. – JohnP Mar 6 '18 at 18:48
  • I'd like to point out that Susan hasn't been around since Dec 2017 on health and Jan on meta. She needs to resign and move on. – Graham Chiu Mar 6 '18 at 18:49
  • @GrahamChiu - And replace her with...? I agree, if a mod is absentee for a period of time, they should be replaced, but on beta it's just a different animal. When I was put in at fitness, one of the mods had been absentee for 13 months on main, nearly 2 years on meta. – JohnP Mar 6 '18 at 18:57
  • I don't know how the system works. Elections on non beta sites but on beta? – Graham Chiu Mar 6 '18 at 19:06
  • @GrahamChiu - Beta sites are appointed by CM's. I replaced a mod on fitness after pointing out to the CM's the length of absence, and then when replaced another mod that had lost interest, the current mods were polled for suitable candidates. If you are interested, or anyone is interested, start a meta post about it. Point out the absentee, suggest replacements, and then the CM team has something to work with. – JohnP Mar 6 '18 at 19:11
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – JohnP Mar 6 '18 at 19:11

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