If not why would they devote so much time editing questions and so forth?

What do they get in return for these services?


Paid? No.

What do I get? Well, aside from the thrill of power there is the warm glow of a job well done and they sent me a Stack Exchange Tee-shirt so that all may know me for the geek I am.

Update Dec, 2012 StackExchange is making charitable donations in the names of community moderators, which feels like a kind of compensation to me

seems like stack exchanges in general provide a useful service to people... I don't see why a useful service should be provided for free if it takes up a qualified person's time. I guess stackoverflow.com is not gonna introduce a premium subscriber option--- as it sort of goes against what this movement is all about--- free flow of ideas – Timtam Aug 14 '11 at 3:11
I figure it as an extension of the duties that are expected (but not enforced) of a high rep user. Check out the privileges page to see what sort of cool tool can be yours with enough effort. – dmckee Aug 14 '11 at 3:16
@Timtam: I can't find the reference right now, but I'm pretty sure the idea of a premium subscriber option was raised (and immediately denied by the people in charge) on Meta Stack Overflow. – David Z Aug 14 '11 at 3:53
Once Stackexchange starts to get revenue some way, the moderators will need to be paid. I can't see stackexchange becmoning another Wikipedia – John McVirgo Aug 31 '11 at 15:09
Note that Stackexchange is 'addictive' because answering questions is more attractive than learning difficult concepts (deliberate practice). – raindrop Dec 21 '12 at 5:07

absolute power corrupts absolutely, but it also rocks absolutely.

(But seriously, remember that community moderators are democratically elected. See http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/12/stack-exchange-moderator-elections-begin/ for details on that. So you might well ask, "why does anyone run for public office?")

i'm pretty sure public office jobs come with a salary and cushy benefits – Timtam Aug 14 '11 at 5:19
yes, but for the cushy benefits, see above image. – Jeff Atwood Aug 14 '11 at 5:48
ooh, does this mean we get to shoot lightning out of our hands? – David Z Aug 14 '11 at 18:53
Power wears out those who don't have it ;-) – Sklivvz Aug 17 '11 at 12:42
Members of school boards often aren't paid :P – Benjamin Horowitz Aug 17 '11 at 19:17

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