8
votes

In connection with the moderator elections, we are holding a Q&A thread for the candidates. Questions collected from an earlier thread have been compiled into this one, which shall now serve as the space for the candidates to provide their answers. With the given submission count, we have selected all upvoted questions as well as our back up questions for a total of 10 questions.

As a candidate, your job is simple - post an answer to this question, citing each of the questions and then post your answer to each question given in that same answer. For your convenience, I will include all of the questions in quote format with a break in between each, suitable for you to insert your answers. Just copy the whole thing after the first set of three dashes. Oh, and please consider putting your name at the top of your post so that readers will know who you are before they finish reading everything you have written.

Once all the answers have been compiled, this will serve as a transcript for voters to view the thoughts of their candidates, and will be appropriately linked in the Election page.

Good luck to all of the candidates!


  1. Do you think that the current policy of "delete-on-sight (with a comment)" for low quality answers should continue? What, if any, changes would you make / suggest?

  2. What do you think this site's biggest challenge is? (E.g. post quality or quantity, too many/few closures/deletion, bad tools/guidance, etc.) What do you think should be done about it (by anybody: moderators, users in general, Stack Exchange staff, ...)?

  3. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

  4. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

  5. This site has the lowest proportion of questions with an upvoted answer. What do you think the cause is? Is this a problem, and if so what should we do about it?

  6. You close a question that's clearly off-topic and the user comes to Meta, not to ask what they did wrong, say you're a [mean word here]. How do you react?

  7. A moderator's votes are binding (aka „Thor's hammer“: if a mod votes to close, no other has to agree – the post is closed immediately). Will that change your voting behavior? Will you vote more/less/different?

  8. Similarly, a diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

  9. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

  10. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

locked by Undo Dec 26 '15 at 16:36

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4
votes

I'm Undo. Here are my answers (on the short side right now because I'm pressed for time, will flesh them out later):

  1. Do you think that the current policy of "delete-on-sight (with a comment)" for low quality answers should continue? What, if any, changes would you make / suggest?

Yes. It's served us well so far, and I don't see a reason to stop using it. The only change I could see us making is developing a system to give folks x minutes to improve their answer before summarily deleting it.

There's a good argument to be made for people not feeling welcome when their answer is immediately deleted. We can address that.

  1. What do you think this site's biggest challenge is? (E.g. post quality or quantity, too many/few closures/deletion, bad tools/guidance, etc.) What do you think should be done about it (by anybody: moderators, users in general, Stack Exchange staff, ...)?

Our biggest challenge is getting experts. That's at least part of the reason we have the highest unanswered rate among all the SE sites - for some questions, we simply don't have users that would know about software that matches.

We should (and do) fix this by creating community ads for Super User and other software-focused sites. It might be a good idea to consider expanding this to sites outside the SE sphere.

  1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

No one is exempt from our 'be nice' rule. If someone is consistently creating problems, and disrupting other users, I confer with the rest of the team about what we should do.

In most cases this is a message to the user explaining that what they're doing isn't acceptable. If they continue, it probably means we have to suspend.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

I'd ping them in chat, asking why they did so. Worst case, I'm wrong and I learn something. Best case, we reverse a bad action.

Communication amongst the moderation team is possibly the most important thing for a site.

  1. This site has the lowest proportion of questions with an upvoted answer. What do you think the cause is? Is this a problem, and if so what should we do about it?

As I said above, at least part of this is caused by a lack of experts in some areas. However, as I've [argued before, I think that statistic is a little misleading on this site:

I detest this statistic for this site. In fact, I like it rather low. Yes, if it was 40% I would be worrying. But if it was 90%, I would be suspicious that most of the questions here were too easy - not scoped well enough to be specific.

In my view, the reason this number is low compared to other sites is that we want very specific questions - and sometimes (often!) software simply doesn't exist that fulfills all the requirements people put in their question. This is a good thing, as it means our questions are very specific!


  1. You close a question that's clearly off-topic and the user comes to Meta, not to ask what they did wrong, say you're a [mean word here]. How do you react?

I'd explain what I did and why I did it. Then I'd ask a fellow moderator to take a look at the situation, probably recommend an action to take.

I don't want to take action against people when they do something targeting me. I do my best to be impartial (and mostly succeed), but I'm still human. Humans aren't good at making objective decisions when they feel threatened.

  1. A moderator's votes are binding (aka „Thor's hammer“: if a mod votes to close, no other has to agree – the post is closed immediately). Will that change your voting behavior? Will you vote more/less/different?

Well... no. I've had the hammer since the beginning of the site, and I (think) I've learned to use it. I'd continue doing what I've been doing.

  1. Similarly, a diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

It has been for the last eighteen months - so no change. In everything I do anyway, I strive to be respectful and polite. A diamond just solidifies that.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Early on, moderators needed to guide the community in a somewhat-official capacity.

Now that we're graduated, there's far less of that - and far more of being a janitor. Moderators clean up messes and respond to flags, with the occasional meta post.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

Moderators can act unilaterally, so I can make a far bigger difference as a moderator in the quality department than I can as a normal user.

2
votes
  1. Do you think that the current policy of "delete-on-sight (with a comment)" for low quality answers should continue? What, if any, changes would you make / suggest?

To me, there's a difference between "dark" and "black". If I attribute "low quality" to "willing, but inexperienced", I prefer giving newcomers a chance instead of scaring them away – which usually means leaving a friendly comment which urges action. However, that's not always suitable – so for other posts I'd rather be "heavy-handed", especially if they "smell" (but for not leaving a friendly comment, they must really smell). Admitted, the decision won't be always easy.

  1. What do you think this site's biggest challenge is? (E.g. post quality or quantity, too many/few closures/deletion, bad tools/guidance, etc.) What do you think should be done about it (by anybody: moderators, users in general, Stack Exchange staff, ...)?

The main challenge will be "enforcing" our quality rules without hurting/scaring-away people. As other SE sites, we put quality over quantity – but as SR we have our "special difficulties". I hope to "lead by example" here, nudging writers in the right direction (please check my comments on close/delete votes for yourself if I do; this has been my motto from day 1). This is something I feel very important: our site should shine with high quality and warm welcome.

Another big challenge I see on all SE sites I'm active on is how to convince downvoters to leave a comment on why they downvoted (except for the "obvious cases" like spam). Again, this would encourage many a user (not all, I know) to improve; just getting downvoted without a comment is simply disappointing and discouraging.

  1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

Friendly, of course – as I always try to do :) Exact action of course depends on the case (what kind of flags? what causes them?). Following an analysis, I'd seek a personal word with him, together finding a solution/plan hopefully fitting all.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

As far as I've heard, there's a secret chamber for such cases. I'd see him there. Someone closes the door behind us – and we talk that over. Door will be opened if one of us is convinced.

Honestly: I was referring to the mods' chat room. I'd ask him there. Maybe he'd "missed a point" or I did. What I'd never do is simply reverting his action – that would be his task (unless he delegates it).

  1. This site has the lowest proportion of questions with an upvoted answer. What do you think the cause is? Is this a problem, and if so what should we do about it?

Two reasons I can see behind it. For one, what we recommend is not a simple switch to flip – people need time to evaluate. Unfortunately, once being satisfied, many forget to return and upvote/accept the answer. The second is, not every question has an answer (or can be answered) – often there's no "Jack of all trades" to each problem, for example.

As with the other points above, all I can see to do here is: if there's an answer, and OP writes to try it, I'd encourage her/him not to forget to come back with results (good or bad). I often do the same with suggestions in comments, pointing to self-answer (and gaining rep) when succeeded.

Attracting members from other SE sites who could provide good answers would be helping out here as well.

  1. You close a question that's clearly off-topic and the user comes to Meta, not to ask what they did wrong, say you're a [mean word here]. How do you react?

Being a coward, I'd ask one of my co-mods to close that Meta post (if it's off-topic anyway) or edit it (otherwise), keeping myself out. We don't need "personal vendettas" here – and I feel that would be the best way avoiding such.

  1. A moderator's votes are binding (aka „Thor's hammer“: if a mod votes to close, no other has to agree – the post is closed immediately). Will that change your voting behavior? Will you vote more/less/different?

That was one of the things I was a little scared of. Yes, it will certainly change my voting behavior a little: "in dubio pro reo" I'd VTC less often (but still leave my comments where suited). Being a mod, I'll miss the "community vote". But on the other hand, this gives me the powers to act faster on "really bad posts".

  1. Similarly, a diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

A little scared, a little proud. I don't think there's a post I need to be ashamed of if the diamond appears. But often being a bit chatty, I'll certainly be even more cautious with my future posts :)

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Hide away in their actions, being there when needed. Working decently behind the scenes most of the time – not rulers, but servants of the community. Being intermediators in conflicts, (help) finding consensus. Sometimes have to "have the last word" (unavoidable in some situations). Being janitors – not only delete and cleaning up: sometimes mods are the only ones to migrate off-topic, but otherwise good posts to other sites (where they belong and are welcome). Lead by example. (I hope I can live up to all that if elected.)

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

Minor, but effective things: Being a faster janitor (see #7) is one of them. Being able to shape things (e.g. only mods (and up) can edit our /help/* pages). And where in the past people ignored friendly hints (e.g. for a question being off-topic), I'd hope the diamond shines bright enough to convince them (I know, I'm an idealist).

1
vote

Tom

Here are some short and simple answers to the questions asked,

  1. Do you think that the current policy of "delete-on-sight (with a comment)" for low quality answers should continue? What, if any, changes would you make / suggest?

Yes; however, an informative explanation is required discussing why it was deleted, a link should be given to what should be required in an answer, and what should be corrected in the answer.

  1. What do you think this site's biggest challenge is? (E.g. post quality or quantity, too many/few closures/deletion, bad tools/guidance, etc.) What do you think should be done about it (by anybody: moderators, users in general, Stack Exchange staff, ...)?

I think this sites biggest challenge is not being a trash can for other SE sites. We should maintaining guidelines of what kinds of questions can be migrated to this site and have the moderators & community make sure this is always carried out.

  1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

Well this depends on what kind of content is being flagged. Spam and abusive content will not be tolerated and may result in a temporary or permanent ban. Other than that, each situation is different so it may require different actions. If in doubt, I will always ask other fellow moderators for opinion and guidance.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

Ask the moderator directly citing how the question meets the guidelines of what a question should be. I would wait for a response and possible ask other moderators for their opinion. Other than that, I would always respect the other moderator's opinion and would never undo their action without their consent.

  1. This site has the lowest proportion of questions with an upvoted answer. What do you think the cause is? Is this a problem, and if so what should we do about it?

I believe the problem originates from users forgetting to upvote. Software takes time to evaluate and most people I feel forget to go back and upvote the answer. I don't know if this is something that can be fixed, but maybe a notification could drop down if the user spends time on a particular answer saying something like "if this software worked out for you, please upvote"

  1. You close a question that's clearly off-topic and the user comes to Meta, not to ask what they did wrong, say you're a [mean word here]. How do you react?

Well first the post would be either edited removing the word and if there would be nothing left, then deleted. I would then again point out how their question was off topic and get another moderators opinion on what to do. I will always strive to be as friendly as I can and will try to help the new user out with the original question, but rude and abusive behavior will never be tolerated.

  1. A moderator's votes are binding (aka „Thor's hammer“: if a mod votes to close, no other has to agree – the post is closed immediately). Will that change your voting behavior? Will you vote more/less/different?

This will make me take even more time than before but I don't think it will limit the amount I vote. I understand what's required in a question and what's not, I know what's on-topic and what's not, and if I see a question that does not meet the guidelines, it will be removed with a comment explaining why.

  1. Similarly, a diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

I feel kind of scared but reassured at the same time. I spend quite a bit of time and effort on every post I write so I'm not too worried about this.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators helps the community run smoothly. They're always reading new questions and answers making sure their appropriate for the site and are always there to provide help to whomever may want it.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

Well, as a moderator, actions are instance - so for example, closing or deleting posts may take time as it requires multiple votes from other users, while being a moderator, he/she can do these things with only a single vote. Having 10k or 20k will not be able to accomplish this instantly.

1
vote

I'm ᔕᖺᘎᕊ! Here are my answers: :)

  1. Do you think that the current policy of "delete-on-sight (with a comment)" for low quality answers should continue? What, if any, changes would you make / suggest?

I don't think it should continue, especially if the poster is new to the site. If they're new, then I think it would seem a bit annoying to them to see their answer deleted immediately. Although the helpful comments are posted, it doesn't seem nice - and getting new users, especially experienced users, is always a great thing! If after a few hours it hasn't been changed, then i would delete it, but that might not be easy right now, as there aren't any tools keep track.

If, on the other hand, the user is not new, and has posted good-quality questions/answers before, then the chance of them editing is much greater, and less hassle for them -- they can just edit the post.

  1. What do you think this site's biggest challenge is? (E.g. post quality or quantity, too many/few closures/deletion, bad tools/guidance, etc.) What do you think should be done about it (by anybody: moderators, users in general, Stack Exchange staff, ...)?

The biggest challenge is to make sure we keep up our great post quality, and we shouldn't sacrifice it to get a few more answers/questions. The community just needs to keep as it has been doing, flagging and voting to delete bad content.

  1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

I don't think this site has actually seen such a user, yet. However, if such a user was to appear, I would take action. That may be either messaging them (in chat), or sending a mod message, or if it's happened before, suspending them, because that one user is not the only person in the world who can post good answers. However, I think an agreement between the mods is also important, and to listen to their views, and talk to each other about the user, so I would do that first.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

It's always possible that I miss something in a question, or another mod (or user) misses something. So, the first thing I would do is talk to that moderator, tell them why I think the question deserves to remain open/be undeleted, and see the response. If they reply with good arguments (or things that I simply missed when reading the question), then I'll be fine!

Of course, I wouldn't do anything if it's clear the community as a whole agrees with the mod (closure or deletion after other votes from other people/closure or deletion from a meta discussion)

  1. This site has the lowest proportion of questions with an upvoted answer. What do you think the cause is? Is this a problem, and if so what should we do about it?

The cause is because we insist on high-quality questions, with requirements. So some questions just aren't answerable because such a software/library/etc.. doesn't exist, or that we don’t have users with certain experience the question requires on the site. I don't think it's a problem, because no answer is better than a one-liner answer that might as well be a simple Google search. I think it's good that our questions are such high-quality and of course, I hope that they are answered in the future, but we shouldn't sacrifice a statistic for quality.

  1. You close a question that's clearly off-topic and the user comes to Meta, not to ask what they did wrong, say you're a [mean word here]. How do you react?

If the user has been repeatedly doing that, I'd have a quick talk with other mods, and probably suspend them. But if it's the first time, I'd give them a genuine explanation on why their question was wrong, and point them to useful meta discussions. I wouldn't really talk about the [mean word] or reply to the insult; I'd just talk about the question.

  1. A moderator's votes are binding (aka „Thor's hammer“: if a mod votes to close, no other has to agree – the post is closed immediately). Will that change your voting behavior? Will you vote more/less/different?

I think it will. It may be less than I currently do, because the community needs to agree that the question is off-topic. But I will still VTC on sight any questions that are duplicates/obviously off-topic or simply way too broad for the site. I would also VTC if I see other users have already done so (eg. close (3) or similar), because I can see the community agrees -- all I would do is make it quicker!

  1. Similarly, a diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

Good, if anything. The diamond can help, especially in guiding new users, as it shows them that you can be trusted (not saying everybody else isn't!) and I have a feeling they're more likely to listen to you. As for my past contributions, I don't really mind; I've probably said some weird or stupid things in the past, but that probably would have still happened if I was a mod at that time.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

They 'police' the site, stepping in by taking action on flags or on users. They help the community out as a whole, and step in. In fact, I think the Theory of Moderation article sums it up pretty nicely: Moderators are human exception handlers.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

They can take action on users and posts quicker, so closing obviously bad questions, deleting bad content, which I wouldn't be able to do with 10k or 20k :(

1
vote

Nicolas Raoul

  1. Do you think that the current policy of "delete-on-sight (with a comment)" for low quality answers should continue? What, if any, changes would you make / suggest?

I think it is OK, so that low-quality answers don't stay as a bad example for all to see. In cases of obvious good faith from a newcomer it is also perfectly acceptable to try and educate the user (asking them to explain how the software fits each requirement for instance).

  1. What do you think this site's biggest challenge is? (E.g. post quality or quantity, too many/few closures/deletion, bad tools/guidance, etc.) What do you think should be done about it (by anybody: moderators, users in general, Stack Exchange staff, ...)?

Getting more domain specialists. While we are good for general utilities, we really lack CAD experts, ERP experts, etc.

  1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

Just deal with each content for what it's worth, without thinking too much about who wrote it.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

I would raise the question on meta.

  1. This site has the lowest proportion of questions with an upvoted answer. What do you think the cause is? Is this a problem, and if so what should we do about it?

90% of the software I imagine has not been written yet. So the proportion being low is not a problem, it is expected.

A metric to follow more closely would be the number of unanswered questions where an actually existing software has not been talked about yet. It is obviously more difficult to measure.

  1. You close a question that's clearly off-topic and the user comes to Meta, not to ask what they did wrong, say you're a [mean word here]. How do you react?

I would not react on that question, and let the community analyze the situation and decide how to defuse the tension. Me getting involved in that question would be counter-productive, as it would only reinforce the me-against-him point-of-view of the user.

  1. A moderator's votes are binding (aka „Thor's hammer“: if a mod votes to close, no other has to agree – the post is closed immediately). Will that change your voting behavior? Will you vote more/less/different?

I am already quite careful before closing, making sure I understand everything. I might be an extra bit careful, but don't think that will change that much.

  1. Similarly, a diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

I wish I could "post as a normal person" if that feature existed. I guess you will sometimes see me saying "not speaking as a mod".

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Process flags. Deal with spam and exceptional problems. Clean up the site.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

Solve problems immediately (example: spam).

0
votes

unor

  1. Do you think that the current policy of "delete-on-sight (with a comment)" for low quality answers should continue? What, if any, changes would you make / suggest?

It should continue.

What I’d like to improve: Try to better/shorter explain in the linked Meta post that deleting the answer is not a "punishment", but that posting a new answer has benefits.

For answers that are not that bad and which seem to be easily salvagable (which is a subjective call), we could consider giving a grace period (by posting a comment, pointing out what’s missing), and coming back some time later to see if it got improved (if not: delete). But that should be at the discretion of the mod (as it means more work as you have to keep track of these answers), so delete-on-sight is always an appropriate choice for low quality answers.

  1. What do you think this site's biggest challenge is? (E.g. post quality or quantity, too many/few closures/deletion, bad tools/guidance, etc.) What do you think should be done about it (by anybody: moderators, users in general, Stack Exchange staff, ...)?

Getting (more) domain experts.

We should reach out to more communities, ideally starting with other software-related SE sites (e.g., with WordPress Development SE) that don’t allow software recommendation questions.

  1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

I think it’s irrelevant if the user posted valuable answers, normal answers or no answers at all.

If the discussions are not about improving the post (in which case they belong there), and if they are not about site rules (in which case they should be taken to Meta), move them to Chat.

If swearing/trolling, get in contact with the user. If it doesn’t help, follow the protocol (which I don’t know yet; I guess, warn, warn, block, or something like that).

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

Talk with the mod about it. If we don’t find agreement, bring it to Meta.

  1. This site has the lowest proportion of questions with an upvoted answer. What do you think the cause is? Is this a problem, and if so what should we do about it?

Not a problem, unless it has to do with missing experts (see answer to question 2).

  1. You close a question that's clearly off-topic and the user comes to Meta, not to ask what they did wrong, say you're a [mean word here]. How do you react?

If OP really didn’t ask something (so OP’s question just consists of the mean word), I flag it and let another mod close it.

But if OP asked something (or the question is somewhere hidden in the mean words), I ignore the mean words (possibly flag the post; and let other users edit them out) and give an answer.

  1. A moderator's votes are binding (aka „Thor's hammer“: if a mod votes to close, no other has to agree – the post is closed immediately). Will that change your voting behavior? Will you vote more/less/different?

Yes, it will change, I guess.

If the question is clearly off-topic, I’ll use the hammer.

If only one or maybe two votes are missing, I’ll use the hammer.

Otherwise, probably not.

  1. Similarly, a diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

I have no problem with that, and I don’t intend to change my behaviour about what to say or how to say it.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Janitorial work. Committing to the site’s success. Exception handling.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

Apart from doing the work only moderators can do, getting things done more quickly. I could also imagine that being a mod makes me feel even more responsible for the site, which might lead to more janitorial time spent on this site.

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