17

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


Science Fiction & Fantasy is scheduled for an election next week, June 7th. In connection with that, 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.

Here's how it'll work:

  • Until the nomination phase, (so, until June 7th 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. They are included at the bottom of this question.

  • If your question contains a link, please use the syntax of [text](link), as that will make it easier for transcribing for the finished questionnaire.

  • This is a perfect opportunity to voice questions that are specific to your community and issues that you are running into currently.

  • At the start of the nomination 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.

  • Once questions have been selected, the candidates will be able to answer them as part of their nomination post on the election page as described in the announcement on Meta Stack Exchange. The full questionnaire is usually around 10 questions 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. We'll create a chat room next week when nominations open.

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


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).

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

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?
  2. 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?
  3. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
0

22 Answers 22

21

Once in a while, SFF suffers deep disagreements over policy and its usage. For instance, SFF has the Future Works Policy (where implementation is not always straight-forward).

As a moderator you have tools to resolve these conflicts (post locks, suspension, and a binding delete the community at large cannot undo). How would you resolve conflicts where the community is thrashing a question over a policy dispute?

1
  • 5
    Ooh, now THIS is a good question. (I'd've used the example of SFF's duplication policy instead of Future Works, but the general issue is the same.)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jun 1 at 16:54
16

Why do you want to be a moderator?


This is perhaps related to

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

but that question assumes that the candidate wishes to be more "effective" at whatever it is that the candidate believes 10k or 20k rep users are more "effective" at.

4
  • I really like the simplicity of this one and it should lead to some interesting answers to learn more about the candidates.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 1 at 15:30
  • 1
    The formatting on this is going to be a bit complicated for the questionnaire - is it OK if we just do the header?
    – Catija StaffMod
    Jun 2 at 12:55
  • 1
    @Catija Yeah, everything below the horizontal line is just commentary.
    – Null Mod
    Jun 2 at 13:35
  • This is the question that I think is the most important. The others establish how well of a user you are, but few address how well of a moderator you would be. +1 Jun 6 at 14:35
14

SFF.SE has a mixed reputation among neighbouring sites (such as M&TV, Literature, Arqade, RPG, etc.), sometimes getting a bad rap in their chats, with some of their site regulars having a negative view of SFF and not participating here. Among the many roles a moderator might play is that of an ambassador of the site; what is your view on these inter-site issues and how (if at all) would you consider dealing with them?

1
12

How do you expect your activity would change if you become a moderator? For example, would you be a more active or less active reviewer (or review differently), spend more time or less time in chat and/or meta (or change the style of your activity there), ... ?

4
11

What do you do now to build the community, rather than your own prestige in the community?

4
  • 1
    Apparently I just like PearsonArtPhoto's suggestions from the 2016 collection.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 1 at 15:38
  • This is similar to this other suggestion but I think the simpler wording without the negative connotations works better.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 1 at 15:40
  • Did you link to the right answer with "this other suggestion"? I don't see the connection between those.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jun 1 at 16:15
  • @Randal'Thor They're both about community building and growing the site. Though I now see "build the community" can take a couple of interpretations.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 1 at 16:16
11

You disagree publicly with another active/high-rep user about a point of site policy: for example, whether or not a particular question should be closed. How do you decide what to do - take mod action (such as closing/reopening yourself), start a meta discussion, or continue trying to convince the other person?


(This is somewhat similar to "How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?" but focused on user-mod disagreement rather than mod-mod.)

9

What do you consider to be the absolute minimum amount of activity a moderator should contribute to their site as a normal user (e.g. questions/answers/comments/etc), above and beyond their duties as a mod?

2
  • 8
    It's worth noting that, based on historical evidence, a future mod's answer to this question wouldn't necessarily reflect what would actually happen. Many people underestimate the amount of energy (sometimes emotional energy as well as just button-pressing energy) that goes into modding, and many mods' Q&A activity drops off more than they were expecting a priori.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jun 1 at 4:35
  • 1
    @Randal'Thor - I'd expect their activity to drop. I'm interested to see if they think that zero (or close to zero) is an acceptable amount of activity.
    – Valorum
    Jun 1 at 7:41
7

Given hypothetical absolute authority,1 what would you want to change about this site? What policies would you introduce, abolish, apply more strictly or more laxly?

1 A real moderator diamond does not confer absolute authority. Terms and conditions apply.

7
  • Inspired by some previous election questions such as this and this.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    May 31 at 20:16
  • 2
    So, semi-phenominal nearly-cosmic power?
    – Machavity
    Jun 1 at 16:38
  • @Machavity Read: staff. Jun 6 at 14:36
  • Absolute authority as in no terms and conditions, or absolute authority as in the system would give you access to tools only available to SE staff? Jun 6 at 14:37
  • 2
    @Anonymous This is purely hypothetical, so absolute authority, no holds barred. SE staff don't usually interfere in per-site scope decisions, but a potential answer to this might be "ban all questions about Star Wars" or "allow open-ended recommendation questions". (These are deliberately bad answers because I don't want to lead anyone :-) )
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jun 6 at 14:39
  • @Randal'Thor - User14111 would almost certainly run on a platform of banning all Star Wars questions.
    – Valorum
    Jun 7 at 11:59
  • 1
    @Valorum I could get behind a policy to ban all questions about the Star Wars sequel trilogy. :)
    – Null Mod
    Jun 7 at 12:16
7

What, if any, previous moderator (or similar) experience do you have from a different Stack Exchange site, a different website, and/or the real world (e.g. arbitration)?

(This question was also proposed for the 2015 SFF election and the 2016 SFF election.)

Of course, previous experience is by no means required (or even necessarily a good thing) but might be an interesting differentiator between candidates.

6

What are your expectations for the amount of time you would commit to the site as moderator? (During the times you are active, that is; it's perfectly appropriate for that to be 0 when you're on vacation.)

6

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 think this is an interesting question from the general 5 and might not be picked with the number of questions already proposed so putting it up to the vote.

2
  • Is this covered by Null's short'n'sweet "Why do you want to be a moderator?"?
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jun 4 at 15:21
  • @Randal'Thor There's overlap but I don't necessarily think they'd have the same answer.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 4 at 15:21
6

A user makes bump-edits to their posts periodically to bump them back to the top of the homepage. The bump-edits themselves are of a questionable nature and vary on whether or not they have improved the post. How do you handle this situation?

5
  • If any of the candidates does not get the subtlety, this is a thing that's actually ongoing, and while of no urgency so far, would therefore be more than a purely hypothetical situation.
    – Jenayah
    Jun 1 at 17:36
  • 4
    I reject the implication that those of us who make minor edits to our old answers are doing so with the intent and purpose of bumping them, and that said edits are not improvements.
    – user14111
    Jun 2 at 4:16
  • 5
    @user14111 I don't think anyone's implying that ALL edits to old answers are questionable.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jun 2 at 6:04
  • 1
    @user14111 as Rand pointed out, this is not saying that every minor edit is irrelevant, far from it. In this case we're talking about someone adding fluff with zero added value (such as transforming "when did character do X" to "when I the movie did character do X" when there's no ambiguity about the work being a movie), repeatedly, and then quite often reverting these edits a few weeks/months afterwards. There's a very specific pattern here, which good faith is having trouble to follow all the way.
    – Jenayah
    Jun 2 at 6:52
  • 1
    @user14111 To reiterate the above comments seeing as I've made the suggestion; that certainly is not the implication here. In fact as one of the most prolific editors of new and old posts that would be an odd thing to imply.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 2 at 10:17
6

From @Tars' 2016 election question:

As a moderator, your votes become binding. Actions you used to take like flagging, reviewing, closing, and deleting will take effect immediately without any input from any other users or moderators.

How will you adapt the way you currently flag and vote to deal with this change?

2
  • 1
    Related to the top question "How do you expect your activity would change if you become a moderator?"
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jun 3 at 5:04
  • Ideally, not at all, a user should always be reviewing, flagging, closing and deleting with the utmost intention, but unfortunately we don't live in an ideal world (or an ideal site). Jun 6 at 14:40
5

What's your opinion on edits that at a first glance don't improve much, but do serve a niche purpose (such as tag edits, or adding image descriptions)?

6
  • 2
    Considering there is a supported workflow specifically for tag edits (separate from editing the question) and two extremely good reasons for image descriptions (accessibility and searchability), I'm not sure how this question would help much? Except possibly as a bozo-filter...
    – DavidW
    May 31 at 21:28
  • 2
    I'm not even sure how we'd cope with a moderator who was that dead-set against something that's firmly established to be acceptable across the entire network. It would be like asking how they feel about users editing other people's answer or whether people should add tags.
    – Valorum
    May 31 at 22:47
  • @DavidW , Valorum: the question is valuable for more than meets the eye. People that have enough rep to edit without review can make a single letter change and it would be perfectly acceptable across the network, and I don't think any moderator would think much about that action. However people from other sites in the network who show up and make trivial edits just to make their way into having enough rep to start downvoting or doing other things that effect the site and the community, are often frowned upon. There's some sites on this network where such edits will be rejected by mods. Jun 1 at 3:34
  • @Valorum , DavidW: Another way that trivial edits can be harmful is when some people retag a bunch of things in a big batch, which bumps up a lot of possibly very old questions all the way to the top, and buries the new and unanswered questions out of sight, which could mean some new user doesn't get their question answered and walks away with a bad impression of the site. Another thing trivial edits can do, is to put closed questions back in the re-open queue, which can be very annoying for reviewers sometimes. On some sites it's agreed to do batch re-tagging in separate stages, to avoid this Jun 1 at 3:41
  • 1
    @DavidW - There's definitely been controversy around making tag edits in the past. There have been complaints that it's useless, doesn't actually help with anything, and it clogs up the front page. I'm interested in seeing the candidates' approaches to this because it can be more of a sticking point than you'd expect.
    – Mithical
    Jun 1 at 6:13
  • I don't think these were necessarily complaints that adding image tags is useless, more of a general observation.
    – Valorum
    Jun 2 at 12:41
3

On our site, there's been a lot of controversy surrounding chat. As a moderator, how would you handle complaints about a toxic chat environment; and how would you deal with moderators of other SE sites stepping in to moderate the chat room, and room regulars protest against their presence?

7
  • 1
    Suggested edit: "... and how would you deal with a situation where moderators of other SE sites step in to moderate the chat room and then local users protest against their actions?" This seems more neutral and would allow candidates to potentially respond from more widely varying viewpoints.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    May 31 at 21:01
  • 7
    Has this been an issue in the last few years, or is this for old time’s sake?
    – Alex
    May 31 at 21:55
  • 1
    @Alex - I haven't noticed anything within the past year, but given that it's such a sore point in the site's collective history I'd find it informative to see how the candidates would act faced with this situation.
    – Mithical
    Jun 1 at 6:11
  • @Alex It's an old wound, that comes back to haunt every so often.
    – Mast
    Jun 6 at 14:55
  • 1
    @Mast That’s from five and a half years ago. Has this been an issue more recently?
    – Alex
    Jun 6 at 14:57
  • @Alex I know there was some trouble in '17 at least, I'd have to scour the chat and meta for more concrete examples. But some users in chat do get a little odd at times, that hasn't gone away completely.
    – Mast
    Jun 6 at 15:01
  • @Mast It's been four years since the major incident of SFF chat, when the main site chatroom was deleted by a CM in May '17. Since then our chat hasn't been especially active or caught the attention of network moderators much.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jun 6 at 15:18
3

How will your moderator practices be shaped by the person in question? Will you change the way you moderate for another moderator, high reputation user, or newbie?

2
  • 2
    Copied from PearsonArtPhoto's suggestion from the 2016 collection because it is just a good question.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 1 at 12:54
  • 1
    And as I said there: I really like this question: not only does it have implications of how you will behave towards high/low rep users, but how you will behave towards your "friends" as well!
    – Möoz
    Jun 2 at 22:57
3

A user makes a borderline OK answer on a question you've asked or answered. As a moderator you're able to delete posts much more easily than the majority of the community.

How do you handle this potential conflict of interest?

4
  • Users can do this on edits anyway, whether a rollback or straight rejection of a suggested edit. Might be best just asking about the deletion side?
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 1 at 11:44
  • @TheLethalCarrot good point, there is some aspect of that I wanted to cover but will need more thought.
    – AncientSwordRage Mod
    Jun 1 at 12:19
  • Suggested edit: "question you've asked or answered". Even more conflict of interest if you have a competing answer than if you're the OP.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jun 1 at 14:52
  • @rand good point. Less likely to notice, but still valid.
    – AncientSwordRage Mod
    Jun 1 at 14:55
3

If you're a moderator on another community (especially multiple others), how will you balance your time and the quality of moderation on the other site(s) as well as this?

1
  • 4
    This is already "closed" for submissions. 😀
    – Catija StaffMod
    Jun 7 at 22:41
1

Over the last few years there has been a downward trend in the number of questions asked each week. Do you see it as your job (as a moderator) to address this, and if so, what fresh ideas will you bring in promoting our site to others and encouraging question-asking?

enter image description here

3
  • Is this from SEDE or from mod tools? My mod tools (on other sites) show questions/day, answers/day, and total/day in blue, orange and green; whereas here it's in yellow. I wonder why that is? Jun 1 at 3:36
  • 1
    @user1271772 This has the look of a Data.SE graph. The information about posts per day is public and easy to calculate, so graphing it wouldn't need access to mod tools.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jun 1 at 4:31
  • 1
    @user1271772 - I just used a quick'n'dirty SEDE enquiry.
    – Valorum
    Jun 1 at 7:42
-3

Is there something (or somethings) that you would specifically like to bring, add or change to the site?

1
-3

Knowing related data is important in understanding the site and its community, are you familiar (or how do you plan to become familiar) with the SEDE data that's available for this community?

3
  • 1
    I'm not sure how relevant this is to being a mod if I'm honest.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 3 at 8:02
  • 2
    @TheLethalCarrot It can help with supporting the community on meta, when people are asking about some measurable aspect of the site. As a mod who doesn't know how to use Data.SE, I frequently find myself going into chat, pinging someone that I know is good at it, and asking them to write or find a query for me.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jun 3 at 8:29
  • @Randal'Thor For me this would be a useful skill to have but I don't really think it would make me choose one candidate over the other. And there's always someone who can help if need be anyway.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 7 at 10:43
-5

How will you keep up-to-date with network-wide and SFF specific policies?

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .