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My reputation has been slowly trickling up for the past two years and I've hit 10K today. Most of my activity during that time has been trivial. I have no intention of using the moderator tools and I feel uncomfortable with having those permissions on my account.

Is it possible to relinquish the moderator tools? I can't find any information on the SE meta, in the help or FAQs, and Google isn't helping either.

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    If you don’t feel comfortable using them the simple solution is to not use them. That said I’m pretty sure short of losing rep or having a full account suspension this isn’t possible. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 31 at 10:05
  • @TheLethalCarrot I didn't say I was uncomfortable with using them, I said I wouldn't use them. The reason I'm uncomfortable is in case I ever lose control of this account. I dislike having unnecessary permissions on an account. – isanae Aug 31 at 10:09
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    I think you’re worrying unnecessarily about a problem that doesn’t exist and may never do. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 31 at 10:11
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    @TheLethalCarrot - Actually, the fact that I have a gold tag badge on meta for "discussions" is a constant annoyance to me. – Valorum Aug 31 at 12:05
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    Main thing with 10k is that you can see deleted posts - it's hard to "not use it" and can be annoying, that's pretty much only serious reason for not wanting to have 10k. As Adamant says, bounties are the way in such cases. – Mithoron Aug 31 at 21:49
  • You write answers like this and then claim your activity is trivial?! :-) – Rand al'Thor Sep 1 at 20:40
  • @Randal'Thor This is my rep graph. My last answer was in June 2017. My activity in the last two years has been trivial, just a couple of comments, and yet I accumulated 2000 rep from random upvotes and got access to mod tools. I did not mean that my answers themselves were trivial. – isanae Sep 2 at 9:34
  • Ah, OK. Sorry for the misunderstanding. – Rand al'Thor Sep 2 at 10:43
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I've hit 10K today. Most of my activity during that time has been trivial.

Congratulations! And don't knock yourself: I've been aware of you for a long time due to some of your nice answers in the Tolkien tags - not trivial at all.

Is it possible to relinquish the moderator tools?

No, there is no way to do this. Apart from, of course, simply not using your new powers. Or, as Adamant suggests, giving away bounties to reduce your rep - but then this is going to be an ongoing 'problem' as you'll keep getting more rep from drive-by upvotes.

The reason I'm uncomfortable is in case I ever lose control of this account. I dislike having unnecessary permissions on an account.

Don't worry too much about it. The term "moderator tools" is a bit of a misnomer. They're tools to assist in site moderation, yes, but so are the close-vote privilege at 3k and the edit privilege at 2k. They don't give you all the powers of what's usually called "moderators" on SE. You mention that the reason you're worried is the possibility of losing control of your account in the future, but relax because there's very little a single 10k-rep user can do to sabotage the site.

  • Most of the 10k privileges are purely informational: you can see deleted posts, see the full history of the review queues, see lots of useful statistics in the so-called "moderator tools" page. None of that gives you any extra powers which could be used for evil.
  • The main thing you can actually do which you couldn't before is vote to delete questions. But note "vote to". Just like with closing, deleting questions needs several high-rep users (in this case, at least three) to actually complete the deletion. Also, you can only vote to delete questions which have been closed for at least two days, and most such questions technically deserve deletion anyway (although on SFF we're not too fussy about actually going round deleting them all).
  • If a troll took over your account, the worst things they could do would be things that don't involve the 10k privileges at all: posting nonsense, for example, or deleting your high-quality answers. These things could still be done even if you bounty away all your rep first.
  • Finally, there are checks and balances. If weird behaviour started coming from your account, a moderator could "clear sessions", automatically logging you out of SE on all devices - that handles the case where a troll got hold of your computer without knowing your password. If it continued after that, we could temporarily suspend your account and reach out to you to find out what was going on.

So all in all, you're just another brick in the wall 10k user with a lot of new visibility on the site but no new unilateral powers. Nobody can destroy the site with that account unless they gain access to a few others too.

  • Arguably, the gold tag badge dupehammer is much more prone to abuse than the 10k tools... but even that has its own checks and balances. – Kevin Sep 2 at 21:19
  • @Kevin Agreed, except I'm not sure about the checks and balances part. – Rand al'Thor Sep 2 at 21:30
  • Eh... any other gold badge holder can reopen with one vote, and if it turns into a cycle of close/reopens, it auto-flags the question for diamond attention. Not perfect, but it works, mostly. – Kevin Sep 2 at 21:36
  • @Kevin Aren't gold badge holders still restricted by the 1 successful close/reopen rule so there wouldn't be a war on it? – TheLethalCarrot Sep 3 at 16:21
  • @TheLethalCarrot (this is off-topic and Rand should feel free to migrate it to chat if it's too annoying): Yes, but this site in particular likes to argue over what counts as a duplicate, so the auto-flagging is actually useful. – Kevin Sep 23 at 1:13
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There's only one way to lose access to moderating tools, and that's to not meet the reputation thresholds. If you want, you can achieve this efficiently by giving away bounties. You can give away up to 500 per bounty, and I believe you can have up to three at once.

However, it may not be worth worrying. If, by some chance, an account with more than 10,000 reputation was compromised and starting doing malicious things, it would be caught, reversed, and suspended very quickly. Users with enough reputation can see recently deleted questions, for instance, and any suspicious pattern would be obvious. Moderators can see even more.

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