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This has been at the back of my mind for a few months now:

For a while I've noticed that it often takes a very long time for flags to get handled. In some cases more than 24 hours. Unfortunately today is not the first time I have noticed this.

Of our three existing moderators, one logged in 9 hours ago, another has not logged in for two days, and the third has not logged in for over a week. Given that the site is about Travel, I would expect its moderators to travel a lot, and I do not fault them for putting their regular lives ahead of this site.

That said, I would expect things that need a moderator's attention to be handled in a more timely manner, when possible.

Because I suspect this site's moderators have less time to spend on moderation on average than other sites on the network, I suggest that Travel needs more moderators, to help cover some of the inevitable gaps that occur when people spend hours visiting places, on planes, in airports, in immigration detention (hopefully not!)...

This is not the Travel of old, and has grown significantly since the first moderator election when three was chosen as the number. I would like to see a moderator election shortly, to add two moderators to Travel.

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    Thanks for the question. I think I can provide some actual numbers. This quarter it took on average 4hours and 8 minutes to handle a flag. For the last month, the number are higher, since, as you pointed out, also mods travel sometimes :) – RoflcoptrException Nov 15 '15 at 12:13
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    We actually discusses this not so long ago during the Chinese spam wave. Nominating a fourth moderator could be an idea. – JoErNanO Nov 15 '15 at 15:45
  • I try to flag questions that probably should be migrated to Expats. I think it would be helpful if there were more mods to spot these questions and move them before they're closed. – mkennedy Nov 16 '15 at 5:37
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    @mkennedy Strange, Travel has no migration targets. I suggest proposing that Expatriates be added as one. – Michael Hampton Nov 16 '15 at 5:38
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    @MichaelHampton Based on an earlier question, I don't think we can auto-migrate as Expats is still in beta. – mkennedy Nov 16 '15 at 5:40
  • @mkennedy Might still be worth proposing explicitly, as such a move would only help both sites. It seems most people don't manage to repost their own questions to Expatriates. – Michael Hampton Nov 16 '15 at 5:44
  • Often, I reopen questions and then migrate it to Expatriates. So that's not a big problem. As soon as Expats is out of beta, it can become a migration target for all users. – RoflcoptrException Nov 16 '15 at 7:50
  • Do current mods feel overwhelmed or on top of it though ? – blackbird Nov 16 '15 at 16:50
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    Once a year, we get asked a similar question by the SE staff. So far, it was no problem to do all the work with 3 moderators. But since the site is growing quite rapidly and we seem to attract more trolls recently, I personally think it's at least worth to think about a 4th moderator. But that's just my impression. – RoflcoptrException Nov 16 '15 at 17:39
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I'm glad people seem to like the current mod team. (I tend to agree!) It has been a while since the last election here though, and everyone also seems to agree that another pair of eyes/hands on the team wouldn't hurt, so we'll be running another election in about a month. Stay tuned for details!

  • Are we still having elections ? It's been a month since this answer – blackbird Mar 14 '16 at 15:38
  • Yep, sorry for the delay, should start next week, or possibly the week after if things get crazy. – Pops Mar 14 '16 at 18:57
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I'm also going to try to write down my thoughts on this. Since I'm one of the moderators, I can also add some real numbers.

Based on the statistics, at the time of this question, it took an average of 4 hours and 8 minutes to handle a flag in the previous quarter. For the previous month the numbers were higher, since mods travel quite frequently :) At the time of writing this answer, the numbers are back to normal. In the previous quarter, it took 3h46 to handle a flag, in the previous month 5h06, and in this week, 2h11. I think these metrics are acceptable.

However, since the site is growing rapidly and since we seem to attract more trolls/spammer recently, I personally think it's worth to think about a 4th moderator, in particular since we're traveling mods and might be unavailable sometimes. Once a year, each of the moderator gets asked by the SE staff whether the number of mods is still enough. So far, I always told them that we're enough mods, but this year, I will consider this question when answering their question. If we're going down the road with 4 mods, we have to make sure that the mods are in different time zones, though. That might also be on aspect that influences the time it takes to handle flags. At the moment, the home base of all moderators is in the GMT time zone, +/- 2 hours. So new moderators should be based in Asia, Australia or America :)

  • Can you add which time zone(s) need coverage? – Gayot Fow Dec 10 '15 at 15:25
  • @GayotFow Thanks for the hint, done. – RoflcoptrException Dec 10 '15 at 15:29
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    Now that mindcorrosive is back, is the situation still the same in terms of time-to-handle for flags and other moderator activities? – JoErNanO Dec 30 '15 at 17:58
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To be honest, I love all three moderators we have currently. I love them to the point I want to hug them! but, they are quite away lately I assume for personal/work reasons.

Now, we should not fix a problem by making another problem, more moderators is not the solution. The solution is stepping down. If any of them knows that he is quite busy, then he should step down for now and give the chance for someone else, once they are free again I will be glad to vote for them again.

I'd vote for Mark Mayo, Gayot Fow, JoErnano, jpatokal or Relaxed.

Again, I really love the current moderators.

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    Unless someone is going to be occupied for several months or more, I don't think formally stepping down would help - if moderators have to stand down every time they're busy travelling, there would be many elections every year. I think the simplest solution would be 4 mods with some kind of shared calendar between them, so they can block out times they're likely to be unavailable with plenty of advance notice, and see when they need to step up activity to cover for the others. – user568458 Nov 30 '15 at 12:47
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    If we're going down the road with 4 mods, we have to make sure that the mods are in different time zones. That might also be on aspect that influences the time it takes to handle flags. – RoflcoptrException Nov 30 '15 at 17:51
  • @RoflcoptrException why do I feel like i said something wrong man :/ I really like all the current moderators and I wish they never leave, it was just an idea boss.. – Nean Der Thal Nov 30 '15 at 21:48
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    @NeanDerThal Adding a fourth moderator does not mean that the others have to step down. And even then, there would be no need to feel bad. – RoflcoptrException Dec 1 '15 at 14:57

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