What is the difference between a moderator and an administrator? | PhysicsOverflow
  • Register
PhysicsOverflow is a next-generation academic platform for physicists and astronomers, including a community peer review system and a postgraduate-level discussion forum analogous to MathOverflow.

Welcome to PhysicsOverflow! PhysicsOverflow is an open platform for community peer review and graduate-level Physics discussion.

Please help promote PhysicsOverflow ads elsewhere if you like it.


New printer friendly PO pages!

Migration to Bielefeld University was successful!

Please vote for this year's PhysicsOverflow ads!

Please do help out in categorising submissions. Submit a paper to PhysicsOverflow!

... see more

Tools for paper authors

Submit paper
Claim Paper Authorship

Tools for SE users

Search User
Reclaim SE Account
Request Account Merger
Nativise imported posts
Claim post (deleted users)
Import SE post

Users whose questions have been imported from Physics Stack Exchange, Theoretical Physics Stack Exchange, or any other Stack Exchange site are kindly requested to reclaim their account and not to register as a new user.

Public \(\beta\) tools

Report a bug with a feature
Request a new functionality
404 page design
Send feedback


(propose a free ad)

Site Statistics

157 submissions , 130 unreviewed
4,116 questions , 1,513 unanswered
4,974 answers , 21,210 comments
1,470 users with positive rep
572 active unimported users
More ...

  What is the difference between a moderator and an administrator?

+ 1 like - 0 dislike

What is officially the difference between a moderator and an administrator? Is every administrator automatically moderator, and would dilaton when he steps down as a moderator automatically stop to be administrator?

On first sight, there seems no direct connection between the two offices since according to the moderation manual the elections are at very different times. But clarification (and a pointer to where this was discussed) would be appreciated. 

asked Mar 24, 2015 in Support by Arnold Neumaier (13,189 points) [ revision history ]
recategorized Mar 25, 2015 by dimension10

Hi Arnold - "community moderation" is for official threads that are only accessible to 500+ rep users. This belongs in the "Support" category.

@dimension10: OK. Maybe one could add to the menu where one marks the category short explanations that help one choose, or a help item where slightly longer explanations are given?

2 Answers

+ 1 like - 0 dislike

Administrators have more powers than moderators, and have more access to administrative stuff (moderators also have access to some admin tools, like import of posts etc.).

Dilaton will gain access to an "admin.retired" account, which will have no moderation powers at all, and only administrative powers, as described here.

answered Mar 25, 2015 by dimension10 (1,955 points) [ revision history ]

This doesn't clarify all my questions; in fact it creates new ones. 

If moderation and administration are distinct offices then how can it be that if someone who has both offices and steps down from moderation is automatically retired from the other office? 

But from your description of powers It looks like adminstrators are automatically moderators, though apparently with not all moderator rights?

In the interest of transparency, the offices should be clearly separated from each other and the access rules adapted so that someone can be only administrator or only moderator, or both. Otherwise it makes no sense to have different elections for the two.

@ArnoldNeumaier as administrators in the future will belong exclusively to the technical team of PO, elections for them make no sense indeed. It is not the community who decides who is allowed to enter the technical team, but the head of the technical team (at present Polarkernel) has to decide whom he trusts enough to grant him deep insights into the system.

I personally see administrators in a similar role as system developpers on SE. They technically do have moderator (and probably additional rights) on all sites, in order to be able to test things etc, put in practice SE developpers never interfer with any moderational issues on an SE site.

If needed, what you request could be implemented, as the three types of accounts needed to discern between pure administrators (the XXX.retired accounts), pure moderators (original Q2A moderator accounts), and accounts who can fullfill both tasks and roles (original Q2A admin accounts) are available.

@ArnoldNeumaier Administrators do have all moderator rights, but the "retired admin" account type is a different thing - see the linked thread.

OK, confusion resolved. Thanks both of you.

+ 1 like - 0 dislike

The confusion between the roles of administrators and moderators is an initial anomaly that could not be avoided (and many other newly started online communities probably face it too).

As PO went public, the initial role of Dimension10 and me was to help with (user and other) administrative tasks, such as help new members to log in etc (Dimension10 does many more involved technical things for PO too). We only had to help with moderation too, because there have not been enough people available willing to help with moderation.

In the long run, the roles and tasks of moderators and administrators will be clearly separated, meaning that

  • Administrators are part of the technical team of PO, headed by Polarkernel (or another future main system developper of PO). Their role and tasks are purely technical in nature and have no side political implications
  • Moderators do moderation ;-), to defend the purpose and needs of the community.
answered Mar 25, 2015 by Dilaton (4,305 points) [ revision history ]
edited Mar 25, 2015 by Arnold Neumaier

I changed ''no site political'' to ''no side political'', as it seems to me to make more sense . If this is against your intentions, please undo my edit.

Your answer

Please use answers only to (at least partly) answer questions. To comment, discuss, or ask for clarification, leave a comment instead.
To mask links under text, please type your text, highlight it, and click the "link" button. You can then enter your link URL.
Please consult the FAQ for as to how to format your post.
This is the answer box; if you want to write a comment instead, please use the 'add comment' button.
Live preview (may slow down editor)   Preview
Your name to display (optional):
Privacy: Your email address will only be used for sending these notifications.
Anti-spam verification:
If you are a human please identify the position of the character covered by the symbol $\varnothing$ in the following word:
Then drag the red bullet below over the corresponding character of our banner. When you drop it there, the bullet changes to green (on slow internet connections after a few seconds).
To avoid this verification in future, please log in or register.

user contributions licensed under cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required

Your rights