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.

Due to the submission count, we have selected all provided questions as well as two of 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. 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, and also including a link to your answer on your nomination post.

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!

Oh, and when you've completed your answer, please provide a link to it after this blurb here, before that set of three dashes. Please leave the list of links in the order of submission.

To save scrolling here are links to the submissions from each candidate (in order of submission):


  1. Someone asked a question that only says "What is the best text editor?", and two people wrote very detailed answers about Notepad and Vi, each answer receiving several upvotes. What steps do you take (if you take any)?

  2. Someone posts an answer of the form “if … then product A, if … then product B”. Another user edits the answer down to product A and says to post a separate answer for product B, citing this meta answer. The answerer edits the answer back. How do you settle this?

  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. We have some odd rules, compared to the rest of the network, around quality and scope. Do you think these are (still) necessary? Should they be changed or enforced differently in some way?

  6. Someone asked an extremely specific question that most probably does not have any solution ("I need an EPL-license driver to connect my ENIAC computer to my Whirlpool3276B washing machine via MTESRL-TSMR protocol and it must send me a log via SMS every Tuesday"). What steps do you take (if you take any)?

  7. This site has the lowest rate of answered questions on the network. Why do you think this is? What can we do to give people a better chance at getting (useful!) answers?

  8. There is a question about something you understand nothing about ("I need a tool to extract metatransisotopes from an AtomBoom© database"), and there is a spam flag on an answer that you don't understand either. What steps do you take (if you take any)?

  9. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

  10. 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?

Someone asked a question that only says "What is the best text editor?", and two people wrote very detailed answers about Notepad and Vi, each answer receiving several upvotes. What steps do you take (if you take any)?

Well, the question is extremely broad and primarily opinion based. While I have a certain amount of empathy for the folks who answered, I feel in this situation we need to handle the question, not the answer.

As such the question would certainly be a candidate for a vote to close IMO

Someone posts an answer of the form “if … then product A, if … then product B”. Another user edits the answer down to product A and says to post a separate answer for product B, citing this meta answer. The answerer edits the answer back. How do you settle this?

Amusingly, I have an answer for how I think it should be handled here. I'd look at the totality of the question, though in this case I think respecting the intent of the OP sounds like a better idea - if they're unwilling to split up the answer into two answers, it should be their choice, and edits should always respect the OP's intent. So I'd both suggest that OP do the split themselves and ask the editor to refrain from that edit.

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?

These are hard, especially if its a user in good standing. I'd start by letting them know there's a problem and escalating as with any user. Sometimes its good enough to let a user know there's a problem, informally

In some cases - it might be necessary to try to balance the user's contribution to the site with the overall effect they have on the community, and the causes of these arguments/flags. If a quiet word doesn't help I think in many cases it may be necessary to mod message and/or suspend the user.

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

Pretty simple actually. Have a word with the moderator in private, try to work out their reasoning, and find a compromise. Working as a team is essential for effective moderation after all.

We have some odd rules, compared to the rest of the network, around quality and scope. Do you think these are (still) necessary? Should they be changed or enforced differently in some way?

The fact that we cover product recommendations already makes SR pretty unique, and these guidelines - for quality and detail in answers are things that we've worked out over time.

Someone asked an extremely specific question that most probably does not have any solution ("I need an EPL-license driver to connect my ENIAC computer to my Whirlpool3276B washing machine via MTESRL-TSMR protocol and it must send me a log via SMS every Tuesday"). What steps do you take (if you take any)?

Watch - though from the phrasing of the question, I suspect it can be split up. This dosen't need a magical moddy touch - but rather a series of comments to try to clarify things I suspect.

This site has the lowest rate of answered questions on the network. Why do you think this is? What can we do to give people a better chance at getting (useful!) answers?

That's pretty much always been a problem as long as I can remember. In many cases people are asking questions because there's no obvious answer. I feel that to an extent, its a result of many of our questions being actually difficult and specific problems.

There is a question about something you understand nothing about ("I need a tool to extract metatransisotopes from an AtomBoom© database"), and there is a spam flag on an answer that you don't understand either. What steps do you take (if you take any)?

For the questions - this happens a lot on Superuser. If I know someone has expertise in this, I ask. Otherwise I watch to see what happens.

As for the answer - I'd look at the answer as a whole. Its usually pretty self evident if its something that's scripted or spam even without subject matter expertise. I would also try to determine if there's an actual human or if its simply a spam bot.

I'd look at the post, the links and try to form an opinion on it. If unsure I would consult my fellow moderators. I'd also give the folks at smoke detector a holler to see if they've seen anything like ot before.

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

I personally believe that there's both an aspect of the "mechanics" of moderation - handling flags and reviews as well as the "community outreach" aspect of moderation. We're the first line of support for the community. We're the folks people talk to when they need advice or run into trouble on the site.

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 that the qualities of a good moderator are not about the position. Folks already would know who I am, and how I do things. Mod or not, I don't really worry about what people would think about these things - the focus for me is to do the right thing now.

Hello to everyone here at our Software Recommendations StackExchange.

I'm RockPaperLizard, and I'm happy to provide you with my answers to your questions:

  1. Someone asked a question that only says "What is the best text editor?", and two people wrote very detailed answers about Notepad and Vi, each answer receiving several upvotes. What steps do you take (if you take any)?

As the question is posed, it is primarily opinion based and too broad. I would ask the question's author to edit their question and specify what specific criteria make a text editor "the best".

Until that is done, I would vote to close the question as primarily opinion based.

  1. Someone posts an answer of the form “if … then product A, if … then product B”. Another user edits the answer down to product A and says to post a separate answer for product B, citing this meta answer. The answerer edits the answer back. How do you settle this?

We want to preserve valuable content for our community. If the answer works as a whole, I would ensure that it's integrity is kept intact. In this case, the answer most likely works as a whole, since the answerer specified specific conditions to qualify each section of their answer.

To discourage further edits, I would write a comment explaining that the answer is acceptable because each section of it is dependent on a unique condition.

  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?

Valuable content is essential, but so is a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. I would invite the user to a private chat with the other moderators.

The user might not be aware that their comments are contributing to a less hospitable environment. For many people, English is not their native language, and intent does not always line up with impact. For others, they might just need a friendly notice that their behavior is inflammatory.

An active group of moderators can help keep arguments at a minimum. Our current moderator team has done a great job at this, and I look forward to working with them to continue their success.

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

Whenever I approach any situation like this, I assume I am mistaken. So the first thing I would do is carefully re-read the question and the reason it was closed. Given the high skill level of all our moderators, there is a good chance I would then understand why they decided to close or delete a question.

If I still disagreed with the decision, I would send them a polite private note asking why they felt the question should be closed/deleted, and voice my opinion that it should be re-opened. Together, I'm confident we can come to a consensus that is best for our community.

  1. We have some odd rules, compared to the rest of the network, around quality and scope. Do you think these are (still) necessary? Should they be changed or enforced differently in some way?

Our somewhat odd rules regarding quality and scope are serving us well. They have been refined over time to reflect our needs. Our StackExchange is somewhat different from some of original StackExchange sites, and the guidelines keep our community strong and our content valuable.

  1. Someone asked an extremely specific question that most probably does not have any solution ("I need an EPL-license driver to connect my ENIAC computer to my Whirlpool3276B washing machine via MTESRL-TSMR protocol and it must send me a log via SMS every Tuesday"). What steps do you take (if you take any)?

I believe in being humble and assuming that I don't know everything (and fortunately, that's the case!). Especially as a moderator, who am I to say that there is no answer?

My goal as a moderator is to help our community develop useful content. To that end, I might ask the OP if their requirements can relaxed a little in order to help find suitable answers. However they respond, it's their question, and they can make it as specific as they need.

  1. This site has the lowest rate of answered questions on the network. Why do you think this is? What can we do to give people a better chance at getting (useful!) answers?

Great question. I think this is primarily due to being a relatively new StackExchange site, and thus having fewer visitors than many of the older sites. Many SE user's don't even know we exist (yet!).

I think advertising this SE on other SE sites is paramount. I also think being active on other SE sites (as I am) and requesting migration of appropriate questions will help drive traffic, and thus more questions and answers.

  1. There is a question about something you understand nothing about ("I need a tool to extract metatransisotopes from an AtomBoom© database"), and there is a spam flag on an answer that you don't understand either. What steps do you take (if you take any)?

Fortunately, we have more than one moderator, and together, we will have knowledge about many different fields. Even without having knowledge in a specific field, a moderator can usually determine if a question is a good fit for our site.

For example, if we remove the words metatransisotopes and AtomBoom©, from the question, we are left with, "I need to a tool to extract X from a Y database". Now the OP just needs to fill in a few more details (cost, operating system(s), etc.), and their question will be a great fit for our community.

Regarding the spam flag on an answer, a little Software Recommendations site searching combined with some web searching will usually reveal whether or not it is actually spam.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

As moderator, my goal is to ensure our community is strong and vibrant, and to keep our content valuable.

To that end, my job will be to ensure that our content continues to adhere to a reasonable set of standards and that people treat each other with kind respect.

  1. 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 believe the largest element of my voice being seen in "a different light" as a moderator is that moderator voices have some degree of authority behind them.

As such, it's essential to continue to be fair, as unbiased as humanly possible, and to work as a team with our other moderators to generate a consensus while applying a light touch to carefully guide our community forward to it's next chapter of success.

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