I'm nominating myself for a moderator position mostly because I want the election itself to succeed. (To wit, if there are not enough participants in the election, then the whole election fails.) The stats.SE moderators themselves requested this election; it seems they would like some help in keeping up with the responsibilities of running the site. Therefore, I would like for the election to succeed so that stats.SE keeps running smoothly. Towards that end, I hope that additional candidates will stand for election so that voters may have a slate of candidates to choose among.
Tactical decisions aside, if elected, I'll do my best to make the site work more smoothly will encourage more answerers to participate and help answer our unanswered questions. I understand that this can take as much as an hour a day; this is time I have available and often already spend on stats.SE.
I believe in taking a broad view of what is on-topic on stats.SE. Stats.SE is a place to discuss statistics in all of its flavors: probability, regression, time series, machine learning, neural networks, and more esoteric topics. This is part of what makes it such a great place to learn.
- In your opinion, what do moderators do?
The main task of moderators is to lead by example: show users new and old how to interact with the website and each other. Many of the activities that fit this description are actually available to non-moderator users -- voting to close, editing tags, or leaving comments asking for clarification. I appreciate that the diamond itself is interpreted as conferring special authority, but it bears repeating here that while moderators have access to specific tools and capabilities, most of those powers are already delegated across the website to hundreds of others who take the time to wrangle the review queue, edit tags and leave comments.
The second task is to remediate what happens when users do not interact well with the website or with each other. Scrubbing abuse, unkind remarks, bigotry and spam and the like are not pleasant, but are necessary tasks.
- 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 can't recall where I read this quip, but someone once said something to the effect of "All you have to do to be embarrassed by something that you've written is leave it in a drawer for six months and then take it out and read it again." The distance of time can allow one to see one's writing in a different light. In most cases, the edit features allow a person asking a question or writing an answer to fix any shortcomings. I sometimes revisit an answer years later to revise it.
Comments are a little different because they can only be edited for five minutes, so any poorly-informed or abrupt comments are, unfortunately, stuck that way.
I don't feel that the addition of a moderator diamond will alter the suitability of my questions, answers or comments. If there are any objectionable posts, then flagging them in the usual way seems appropriate and correct.
- 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 understand that the intent of this question is to highlight that the privileges of high-rep users have a lot of overlap with the privileges of moderators.
Right now, I have more than 60,500 rep and gold badges in machine-learning and neural-networks. Taken together, I have a very high level of privilege on this site, and can carry out a number of tasks, like voting to close, dupe-hammer, review queues, and edits to posts. In this sense, I have powers which are similar, but less exhaustive, compared to a moderator.
I have noticed that a number of unclear or low-quality questions will linger at 3 or 4 votes before the closure vote expires and the question remains open. I think this is just because we don't have a machine learning specialist among our moderators, who would otherwise also close. (This isn't a criticism or a slight -- our moderators are very knowledgable experts in their domains, but no person can know everything.) I think that I will be able to serve the community by closing these questions with useful feedback about how to clarify them.
But more broadly, moderators are the only users who can access specific tools, such as reviewing flags or unilaterally opening/closing posts. Access to these tools is the only thing that will allow me to carry out moderation tasks and keep the site running smoothly.
- 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?
There are several layers to this.
The first is that any and all comments which do not adhere to the community standards (flags for "harassment, bigotry, abuse" or "unfriendly or unkind" are plausible in this hypothetical) are removed.
The second is to address the pattern itself. I would remind all parties involved of the standards of discourse on stats.SE, with a link to https://stats.stackexchange.com/conduct.
The third is to consider where the behavior falls in the "Enforcement" portion of the Code of Conduct, and whether a warning or temporary suspension are appropriate.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
Rather than attempting to reverse their action unilaterally, I would speak to the moderator about it. It's possible that my reasoning is mistaken, or that the other moderator observed a key fact that I missed. (Once I thought two questions about a certain inequality were duplicates, but actually the inequality was reversed. I'm only human; sometimes, I misread.)
Or it's possible that in discussing the question, the other moderator will come around to my understanding, or learn of a key fact that I observed in the question.
It could be productive to raise the issue in Meta.Stats.SE, to illustrate how moderators think about closing. There are sometimes disagreements about where to draw the line for closing, and discussing that can be helpful for reviewers because it clarifies where the line is and helps inform their thinking when considering a closure.
- Do you have any Meta posts that you're particularly proud of, or that you feel best demonstrate your moderation style?
These meta questions have been well-received. I think they shed some light on my philosophy: there are places to make changes to how the site works, some small (reorganizing tags) and some large (how to fix the gap between questions and answers), as well as some elaboration about how broadly I imagine stats.SE's scope.
If there are any outstanding questions about what my views are about stats.SE or how I intend to use my moderation powers in the event of my election, please add a comment.