It may just be me not understanding how this site works, but these are the moderators (all appointed March 2014):

danallan ♦ 1 - No activity besides reading tour page.

daven ♦ 1 - Absolutely nothing.

GabrielGuimaraes ♦ 46 - Very little activity - 4 badges and an answer (meta user)

glennholloway ♦ 11 - Very little activity - 4 badges and an answer (meta user)

malan ♦ 1 - Very little activity - 4 badges and an answer (meta user)

Rob Bowden ♦ 26 - Answered one question.

Now to me, these moderators are:

  1. Not moderating
  2. Not even using the site much / at all
  3. Have not been taught about moderation
  4. Were picked at random (I guess)

This is contributing to the appalling quality of this site. Why / how were these people chosen, why are they not doing anything useful, and is this problem going to be solved?

Based on my activity on this site, I would be better suited than the people currently chosen - I have 101 rep, I have asked a meta question and I have a badge - but there are many people even better than that - why are the people who actually participate not moderators?

  • 1
    This site is a partnership between SE and EdX, and so all of the moderators are actually cs50's staff. You don't simply get picked at random to teach a course from harvard. In any event, they are less moderators and more administrators. Jan 2, 2015 at 6:57
  • 1
    @DaemonOfTheWest well it would seem that harvard tutors are not the best SE moderators.
    – Tim
    Jan 2, 2015 at 16:42
  • 1
    I agree. Maybe get some users to be moderators, but the userbase is small. Jan 2, 2015 at 20:27
  • 2
    Very small. Maybe users could be. There is no body following up on flags which is my big worry - and even 4k+ users can't do that...
    – Tim
    Jan 2, 2015 at 22:55
  • 2
    Valid points made above but so far I haven't noted too many issues which would demand a mod's input - it's been reasonably self regulating so far. As the service gets more popular, would imagine a new assessment will be necessary. That said, would be happy to help with light touch moderation - heavy handed moderation can be just as bad as none in my experience.
    – Phil M
    Jun 6, 2015 at 5:18

3 Answers 3


You have to understand the history of this site. CS50.SE was not created through the usual process of definition, commitment and private beta; pro tem moderators were never appointed from the ranks of active, helpful users. Instead, this site is moderated by faculty and staff of the course itself (and one faculty member who is not listed on that page).

Jaydles gives a good summary of why in this official answer:

This is an experimental partnership with edX.

They're essentially testing out how our engine might work as a replacement for their class forums. They educate people. Online. For free. We like that, so we're willing to see if we can help or not.

While a lot of their needs fit pretty well (specific questions about course concepts, etc.) some of what they're doing isn't a natural match for our model (gtky, back-and-forth discussion, etc.). But we thought it was worth seeing how it would work if we gave them the tools and let them try them out.

Based on the above, it's not clear whether these sites were ever going to be launched as part of the existing SE network. As such, judging their content based strictly on the standards of that network is questionable.

Now, I'm not unsympathetic to your points. Looking at CS50.SE in the context of the network, we're definitely having a hard time finding our footing. I'm fairly active on the metas of sites that I frequent; I've tried to engage this community in the same way with limited success. Seems that most users who come in with some experience on the larger network don't stay for long. We struggle sometimes to drum up enough votes to close questions. Not many opinions are being expressed here on meta.

All that having been said, these folks also have a subreddit and a facebook group to maintain. Those are much less experimental formats and arguably deserve the bulk of their attention. When you're doing an experiment, sometimes you learn the most by sitting back and letting it run its course; if we treated this site like just another SE network site, we'd be trying to fit it into a mold that we already know isn't ideal for an online learning companion site. It would be counter-productive.

I don't know what is in the cards for this site. CS50, the in-person, for-credit version at Harvard, has just wrapped up another semester, and the 2015 "season" of the edX MOOC is about to begin. I expect a very large spike in activity starting around a week from now, and hopefully staff will have a little more free time to give some attention to this experiment in the coming months. I'd like to know their impressions and I'm hoping they've given a little thought to the challenges we've encountered (code dumps! code dumps everywhere!) and perhaps even been collecting some more sexy data for the blog. Stay tuned...


the moderators you mentioned are probably too busy to moderate here. hopefully this issue is resolved now since there are moderators from the community (meanwhile @curiouswiki and I).

  • 1
    Thank goodness! Good luck - I'm glad I'm not you to be honest!
    – Tim
    Jun 30, 2015 at 19:00
  • 1
    Congratulations - it's about time!
    – Air
    Aug 10, 2015 at 15:01
  • What's your beef? Thank god they aren't. Sep 11, 2017 at 14:28

The site is in dire straits again, there are no active mods and not enough high-rep users to vote on anything... Review queue has been full for almost a month now. I've been trying to help as it's good practice for me supporting a group of inner city students who are basically going through course with me.

  • I'd suggest using the Contact form and explaining your concerns so we (SE staff) can follow up on it. Thanks!
    – V2Blast
    Aug 25, 2023 at 15:29

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