Moderators can be a very important part of your online community. I know that mine are. I select them very carefully.

But, I thought it would be interesting and fun to throw some numbers behind this. So, I took as an example. was launched on May 21, 2001 and has 12,424 registered members. From doing some research, it appears that, over this space of 10 years, 6 months and 2 weeks, there have been a grand total of 75 different people who have held a spot on the staff, give or take a couple.

That means that 0.603% of registered members have held a position on staff.

But, our staff is two tiered and has been for most of the site’s existence. The first tier is our Sempais, which welcome people to the community, help report violations and more. The second tier is our Senseis, which are moderators. From what I can see, I estimate that approximately 35 people have been a Sensei, over the years.

That means that 0.281% of members have become moderators.

Since at least 2005, I have asked current staff members to nominate people who might be worthy of consideration to join the staff as a Sempai. This has worked great and it is what you might call a qualified lead. The current staff knows what I am looking for and helps to sort through all of the members to find those who are setting a great example. I also nominate people myself, for the staff to discuss.

I decided to go back and look at nomination threads from 2005 through today and see how many people had been nominated, how many people I had decided to invite and then how many accepted.

102 people have been mentioned (or 14.57 a year). Out of those 102, 43 have been invited (6.14) and 30 have accepted the invitation (4.28). To put this into context, there have been an average of well over 1,000 new registered members each year.

So, even with the qualified leads, we only invite 42.15% of people who are nominated by me or a member of staff. In the invitation, we share what the role entails, which helps people to take it seriously. In line with that, only 69.79% accept the invitation and join the staff.

It’s fun to consider the numbers, but of course, it doesn’t really change anything. A careful selection process is the key to identifying good moderators and staff members and my process has led me to find good people who, more often than not, add something great to our tight knit team.