...what is it like? In case I find myself a couple years down the road applying for a moderator position? Do you have to be on the site 24/7? Are there certain expectations of you each day (answering set amount of questions, reviewing set amount of items, etc.)?
The job has three major aspects:
- Part of the job is essentially like being a school janitor. We clean up the poop that overflows, and we have keys to (most) everything.
- Part of the job is essentially like being a customer service rep. People occasionally get angry about things or boss us around, even though we're mostly just high-visibility cogs in a much larger machine.
- Part of the job is essentially like being a politician. You have to sound very convincing about a large number of things, and people accuse you of being a tyrannical jerkwad when they don't agree.
I would say that SE sites expose all their users to this to a certain extent. Being 10k and being a mod are fairly similar, except as a mod I do more deleting and (occasionally) suspending.
I've been doing all these things for so long now that it's like checking facebook or twitter or whatever site you like and check frequently.
The nice thing about being a volunteer is that if I'm not feeling like doing a particular job on a particular day, I can take a break.
There's no hard minimum amount of each thing you have to do, although I know on SO if you're not handling flags consistently they might ask you to step down.
I don't believe there are any other minimums as far as questions/answers/comments are concerned.
There are no set hours. I come and go at my leisure. :)
I just sit back and let the other moderators handle everything, then I take credit for the good stuff and blame them for the bad stuff.
Sometimes I randomly select a post and I delete it... I change comments to reflect my personal views, and if somebody ever comes close to finding all that out, I simply delete their accounts (we had almost twice the amount of users originally... but you don't remember because I also wipe your memories, my powers extend beyond Arqade)
Then I turn into a jet, bomb the Russians, and crash into the sun.
That's an average day for me.
Nothing glamorous really. You occasionally see a yellow number at the top of the page with the number of
batsignals flags that need handling, bringing you to a list of flags that need handling. You handle the flags you can handle properly, put off fires where needed and you're mostly met the minimum bar for moderator duty.
Everything else, including putting up with the likes of Retrosaur, is an optional.
This blog post from Stack Exchange's blog sums it up pretty well, but I will highlight a couple important points:
" Moderators are human exception handlers, there to deal with those (hopefully rare) exceptional conditions that should not normally happen, but when they do, they can bring your entire community to a screaming halt — if you don’t have human exception handling in place."
So basically, we handle all the stuff over and above anything that unlocks with privileges, or anything that needs to be handled quick as a bunny, such as users being nasty to others or leaving crap on posts, or what have you.
In short, we close things if they need it, delete it if they need it, clean stuff up, clean the people up, make decisions that usually make at least one person angry, and try our best with the tools we have to keep this site as awesome as possible.
How do you get to be a mod is another thing entirely - this is done through periodic elections. On a graduated site, the position (once elected) is effectively for life short of you stepping down, disappearing, or doing something absolutely horrendous.
Elections are held roughly yearly as there is need for more mods (this is something decided by Community Managers) and then basically when one appears (and you want to moderate), nominate yourself, explain why you are awesome, and hope the community at large agrees. They will look for various things, like overall rep, Meta participation, certain badges, etc (we all have our own ideas on what makes a good mod).
So basically, rock out, keep contributing.