# 2013 Moderator Election Q&A - Question Collection

The purpose of this thread was to collect questions for the questionnaire. The questionnaire is now live, and you may find it here.

In connection with the moderator elections, we will be holding a Q&A with the candidates. This will be an opportunity for members of the community to pose questions to the candidates on the topic of moderation. Participation is completely voluntary.

This is an alternative form of the Town Hall Chat system we've done in previous elections, we're trying some new things to test out how a different approach works.

Here's how it'll work.

• During the nomination phase, (so, until September 23rd at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 4:00 pm EDT on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.
• We, the Community Team, will be providing a small selection of generic questions. The first two will be guaranteed to be included, the latter ones are if the community doesn't supply enough questions. This will be done in a single post, unlike the prior instruction.
• This is a perfect opportunity to voice questions that are specific to your community and issues that you are running into at current.
• At the end of the phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions. We reserve some editorial control in the selection of the questions and may opt not to select a question that is tangential or irrelevant to moderation or the election. That said, if I have concerns about any questions in this fashion, I will be sure to point this out in comments before the decision making time.
• Once questions have been selected, a new question will be opened to host the actual questionnaire for the candidates, containing 10 questions in total.
• This is not the only option that users have for gathering information on candidates. As a community, you are still free to, for example, hold a live chat session with your candidates to ask further questions, or perhaps clarifications from what is provided in the Q&A.

If you have any questions or feedback about this new process, feel free to post as a comment here.

• @Andre Grace Note is part of the SE team. This thread and the "possible duplicate" you reference are a standard format for beginning the election process on all SE sites. If you are trying to suggest you think there's a better way (and surely there is--the process has been undergoing constant improvement) then there's no need to be elliptical about it: please tell us what you think ought to change the next time. – whuber Sep 17 '13 at 15:57
• @Andre I think that'd be mixing things too much. This thread, and the later thread I'll post, have a very specific purpose that is only one portion of the election process. The main thread you linked, that just serves to announce that the election is happening. The original post is better to house things like the general election discussion in the comments already there - mixing in a specific purpose like Q&A collection would dilute the ability to hold such conversation. – Grace Note Sep 17 '13 at 16:29
• @Grace, ok. Tks. – Andre Silva Sep 17 '13 at 16:34
• There has been little/no indication about the workload required for this position and it would be unfortunate if an elected person were unpleasantly surprised at the amount of work and was forced to resign, restarting this whole process. Should this be the subject of a question for a candidate or, perhaps you can enlighten potential candidates, @whuber? – Macro Sep 17 '13 at 17:14
• @Macro That's a great question. Because what matters most is the change in workload that occurs when one becomes moderator, YMMV. For some of our most active high-rep members, there will be little difference at all. These people daily (1) go through the Review menu, making about a dozen close/migrate decisions; (2) read through many new posts (as many as 50/day), editing several of them; (3) place about a dozen comments encouraging people to improve Q's and A's; (4) quickly review meta and chat for new developments; (5) follow up on responses; and (6) continue to answer questions. – whuber Sep 17 '13 at 17:19
• @Macro It would be weird to ask new candidates this as a question, since they'd most likely be unfamiliar with what the workload would be. This is a valuable question to ask though - whuber's mostly handled this but if you want this to be easier to see or broader asked, a separate meta question (or perhaps a response to the original moderator election announcement, which does note that this election is due to workload build) would be appropriate. – Grace Note Sep 17 '13 at 17:23
• @Grace, My thinking was to ask a question like "what is your expectation of the workload and can you be flexible if your expectations are wrong? Is there any chance of your resigning in the near future for this reason?" or similar. I doubt that question would get the upvotes required to make the cut but it did occur to me. I agree that whuber has clarified this to a large extent. – Macro Sep 17 '13 at 17:27
• @whuber In your comment above, you list what an active high rep member might do on a daily basis and suggest there would be little difference for a moderator... but it's not clear from your comment what additional things would be involved. What is actually in that 'little difference'? I see things like migrations, post deletion, occasional merging of accounts ... but no doubt there's plenty I don't see, and it's not always clear how much effort is involved on a daily basis for the mods. With how quickly things happen and how clean CV is, it feels like the mods are quite dedicated – Glen_b Sep 19 '13 at 2:25
• @Glen_b From my point of view, the biggest difference is dedication: as a high-rep user you can come and go as you please. As a moderator the thought will surely occur to you that you ought to visit daily, probably several times, to make sure nothing unexpected has happened, that there aren't lots of flags suddenly being raised, and so on. You might take extra pains to be thorough: get through the whole review list, take a quick look at every question if you can, drop briefly into chat and meta. It doesn't have to amount to more work but it does add to one's sense of responsibility. – whuber Sep 19 '13 at 6:31
• @whuber Thanks. Yes, that difference is clearly understood. – Glen_b Sep 19 '13 at 7:19

How would you moderate situations where you find yourself disagreeing with official SE policy about something?

Here is a set of general questions, gathered as very common questions asked every election. As mentioned in the instructions, the first two questions are guaranteed to show up in the Q&A, while the others are if there aren't enough questions (or, if you like one enough, you may split it off as a separate answer for review within the community's 8).

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

• In your opinion, what do moderators do?
• 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?
• In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
• I would just like to mention that the first two issues are not hypothetical; they have come up here. Without meaning to anticipate or head off answers to the second (differences with another mod) I also would like it known that relationships among the mods on this site are collegial, effective, and open, so there has never been any problem resolving the rare differences of opinion, and we would expect to maintain similarly good relationships with the new mods. – whuber Sep 17 '13 at 17:35

If you are elected moderator, what (specific, concrete!) changes would you like to see made to the way the site is currently administered and moderated? How do you view your role in effecting the proposed changes?

What is your take on the "software questions on CV" that come up very frequently and where do you draw the line and decide it should be migrated to SO or simply closed? Based on the review queue, it seems there is a lot of heterogeneity among the high-rep users in terms of what constitutes "off-topic" in this context and, with moderators having the ability to unilaterally close/migrate questions, this seems a natural question to ask.

• (+1) Mods can see data on who votes to close or leave open various questions; based on that, I can attest to the heterogeneity you have noted. The biggest effect a new moderator can have on this community would occur when their votes tend to differ from the rest of the community. That potentially can change the character of this site. This is such a big deal that I encourage nominations among members who have extensive experience with community activities and with good track records in posting many great answers and few bad ones (showing they can "walk the walk" and understand this site). – whuber Sep 17 '13 at 17:29
• @Macro This is a great question, both for candidates and for the whole group of moderators. I think there should be a consensus statement that is as clear as possible. More if I get asked this question in a later phase! – Peter Flom Sep 17 '13 at 18:20
• +1 @whuber makes some very good points. In regard to the particular question you pose, I would hope that, regardless of who our moderators are now and in the future, it is the interested members of the community that determine what is acceptable or on topic here, and that those same people "police" those rules. I'm not a moderator on Stack Overflow but have similar "powers" there (given rep) and the R community has organised itself in a similar way. Key for me is that as a community, we have an agreed, clear set of guidelines that users and mods can work to. – Gavin Simpson Sep 17 '13 at 19:15
• @Gavin Could you share a link to those SO/R Community guidelines so that we on CV could inform ourselves about them? That could help improve our migration decisions. – whuber Sep 17 '13 at 19:19
• @whuber I don't think there are any; the R chat room is used to curate Q&As (flagging, close/reopen votes, deletion etc). How that community now operates has coalesced from discussions in chat, not a set of guidelines written down anywhere. However, that may be more due to that group working within the larger Stack Overflow site. We have to follow Stack Overflow guidelines on what is/is not on topic, constructive etc. With CV we could have site wide goals, clearly stated, just as Stack Overflow does. I know we already have some guidance, but it could be improved. I hope to help with that by writing something this evening. – Gavin Simpson Sep 17 '13 at 19:24
• @Gavin Thank you. Some statement covering what's considered on-topic on SO concerning R questions, preferably endorsed by the SO R Community (or at least not negatively criticized by them), could go a long way towards clearing things up. It's even possible to devote space in our FAQ to stating the aims of the SO R Community because that would help people determine where to post their questions in the first place. – whuber Sep 17 '13 at 19:29
• @whuber OK, let me check with the R tag wiki over on Stack Overflow & when I post to Meta later, I'll post a link in R Chat to get their inputs too. – Gavin Simpson Sep 17 '13 at 19:39

What are your opinions about casting the deciding "moderator" vote on closing/opening questions? For example, if five non-moderator users have closed a question that you think should be left open, would you consider unilaterally re-opening it? Similarly, if a majority of reviewers have recommended that a question be left open (say 1 close vote and 3 "stay open" votes) under what circumstances would you decide to use your deciding close vote to override the majority?

• As moderators on this site never acted unilaterally on sensitive issues, I would suggest to offer the possibility of including a collegial discussion between mods (e.g., "Would you consult other mods before enforcing your personal decision?"). – chl Sep 17 '13 at 21:05

What is your interpretation of the purpose of Cross Validated and how does this influence the way you choose to use the site as an ordinary user?

• To be clear, this is an attempt to identify "what type of user" you are and what model you would put forward when you "lead by example" as a moderator. I've made this a community wiki so please edit freely if you feel this question doesn't get at this precisely in its current form. – Macro Sep 18 '13 at 1:41

What kind of moderatorial experience, if any, have you had before (online or offline)? Can you give an example of a moderatorial issue that came up, how you had handled it, and how the community that you moderated viewed your handling of the situation?