Community moderators/leaders beta - nominate yourself!

As mentioned in my status update post, we are seeking up to 4 people that would like to claim a bit of the responsibility for making this forum the best it can be. Not quite full moderators, not quite regular users - in Discourse terminology, those are called “Leaders”. Would you like to be one? We are launching a time-limited “public beta” of officially designating such Leaders in order to learn if this is a good approach for our community.


For this beta run, anyone who has earned the Thank You badge can self-nominate. I am tagging everybody who has the badge and is not (AFAIK) already in some executive position within Stan below:

@ChrisChiasson, @nhuurre, @lcomm, @Ara_Winter, @emiruz, @mbjoseph, @ldeschamps, @Jean_Billie, @andrjohns, @torkar, @Stephen_Martin, @lauren, @mcol, @yizhang, @rok_cesnovar, @increasechief, @stemangiola, @jroon, @Max_Mantei, @Guido_Biele, @hhau, @Charles_Driver, @anon79882417, @Matthijs, @arya, @Ole_Petter_Hansen, @stijn, @charlesm93, @wds15, @stevebronder, @James_Savage, @paul.buerkner, @andre.pfeuffer, @ermeel, @aaronjg, @mitzimorris, @mike-lawrence , @ahartikainen, @ariddell, @anon75146577, @avehtari, @Bob_Carpenter, @betanalpha, @bbbales2, @sakrejda

You are all great, consider applying by writing me a message (or replying here). We encourage people with all levels of Stan expertise to apply! The main requirement is willingness to invest some time in the community.

What we expect

By naming people as Leaders officially, we want to encourage them to actively try to improve the forum experience. Many people do this already without any official designation and that’s great. But I think a bit of structure could be helpful to let us better coordinate and increase transparency and accountability. I also think many great people are currently less active than they could because they are unsure whether it is “their role” or “appropriate” to take more responsibility. Official designation should remove this uncertainty/unease.

Since this is a call for volunteers, we don’t expect any of you to be constantly vigilant. The minimum expected involvement is logging in roughly once a week, respond to moderator discussions and scan a few topics. Anything beyond that is very welcome, but not required.

In return, I will do my best to guide you and help you learn as much as possible from this forum (and there is quite a lot of wisdom floating around here :-) )

Things I would currently like Leaders to get involved in include:

  • Notice the overall tone/feeling of the discussion they are involved in and help us understand what is happening on the forums - the volume is now larger than any single person can easily monitor.
  • Set positive example in their contributions.
  • Guide people through the transition from a lurker / newcomer to an active participant: be generous with likes to good contributions, give constructive feedback where needed.
  • Spot any other possible things we could improve on the forums, suggest improvements, provide feedback to me and other Leaders.

Also, I would want the Leaders to help with some “gardening” around here, e.g…

  • Spot unanswered/abandoned topics and recruit people from Who to ask list to help.
  • Edit posts by new users for formatting (code, math).
  • Coach new users into asking better questions / provide better answers.

All of this is obviously subject to change and refinement throughout the beta and I do not expect any single individual to do all of those.


This is a beta run. The main goal is to gather some experience with having official Leaders from the broader community - Do people want to participate and in what ways? How do we manage Leaders and help them grow? What tasks are better handled by volunteers versus by the paid Community Manager (currently me)? Are the Leader privileges appropriate for the tasks we want to do?

The mandate of all the Leaders named in this beta run will end on June 1st 2020 at the latest. By then, we should have gathered some experience and have an official process for community Leaders/moderators set up. While this beta was launched with little consultation with the broader community, the final process would be fully consulted. I welcome any sort of feedback on how you think this should be handled and especially if you believe the beta is headed in the wrong direction.


You can self-nominate from now until February 1st. If more than 4 people apply, I’ll choose 4 by first prioritizing people with backgrounds not well represented among the current Leaders/moderators then by lottery.

Technically, the community moderators will be given Trust Level 4 - Leader priviliges (explanation), this is needed primarily for allowing formatting edits to posts.

This proposal was born from a suggestion by @maxbiostat, who silently became the first beta community moderator in November and has done quite a bit of gardening around here since then - thanks! We seek 4 people in addition to Max.


Any issues/concerns with actions of Leaders on the forums should be primarily reported to me. If I am inactive, the concern involves my behavior as well or the matter is serious, please escalate to SGB (via


I am up for it!


I’m up for it too.


Lots of great people eligible!

I’d be up for it, too.


I’d be happy to help. I spend more than the required time on the forum already. I’ve various ideas that could help drive engagement that I can volunteer too.


I’d be happy to help out as well.


Happy to help, too.


Thanks everybody for self-nominating. There are only good choices choices there. As we have more candidates (5) than the number I aim for (4), the leaders will be selected by lottery (as I said in the post @maxbiostat is already considered a leader and he therefore is not in the lottery). In the spirit of geohashing, I’ll checkout the topmost row at on 6pm Prague time (CET), and I will use it to initialize the values for the following R script

wind_mph <- 12
temp_air <- 33
pressure_mb <- 1016.0

seed_raw <- paste(c(wind_mph, temp_air, pressure_mb), collapse = "_")
hash <- openssl::sha1(seed_raw)

seed <- strtoi(paste0("0x",substr(hash,1,8)))

sample(c("Ara_Winter","Max_Mantei","emiruz","arya", "andre.pfeuffer"), 4)

The output of the script (with the updated values) will be the new leaders.


Sorry for the delay. Yesterday at 6pm in Prague the latest report was from 9:53 MST with

wind_mph <- 24
temp_air <- 30
pressure_mb <- 1016.9

This resulted in the community leaders (in addition to @maxbiostat) being chosen as: @Ara_Winter, @emiruz, @andre.pfeuffer and @arya. Expect some more info within next few days - I am a bit busy right now, sorry.

Thanks @Max_Mantei for self-nominating and hope to see you around doing good stuff anyway.


Whelp, a bit disappointing not gonna lie. Good luck to everyone else!

Btw, these are the correct values (from 10:53 MST) ;)

wind_mph <- 22
temp_air <- 32
pressure_mb <- 1017.4

Really sorry, sticking to the preregistered plan can sometimes suck.

Just to dispell any doubts, I am quite sure MST is 8 hours behind Prague, so 18:00 Prague is 10:00 MST so the 9:53 row is the correct one.

1 Like

Is there any way to have 5 leaders since its so close in this instance and everyone is keen to help? I like @Max_Mantei contributions and would hate for them to stop. I spend a whole bunch of time here any way (its my new hacker news time sink replacement) so i’d be happy to pass on leader status until next time its available if it keeps Max in the mix.


4 is an unlucky number (in Chinese). I’m not and not superstitious nor Chinese. Just needed a reason. ;-) I’d opt for five too, if that’s possible.


OK, so since it is me who is making all the decisions in the beta, I guess it is sensible to not be strict about the “preregistered” plan and get all of you on board. (note that this means we will have 6 leaders which might prove to be difficult to coordinate, but let’s give it a try). So if @Max_Mantei still wants to, I’ll be happy to include him as well and we’ll see what happens. Sorry for the confusion, but I think this is the right call.


Thank you, @martinmodrak. I’m still up for it, yes. Thank you for being so considerate. Also thank you to @emiruz and @andre.pfeuffer for your kind words.

I’m pretty sure I messed something up initially and then went to double check and made a time zone error, but got me the correct result (me being out), that’s why I thought the values were wrong. I’m really sorry for the confusion. :(