14

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.

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

Here's how it'll work:

  • During the nomination phase, (so, until Monday, January 26th at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 3:00 pm EST 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.

  • 6
    Just a reminder to everyone, vote too many times for answers by the same person, and the serial voting script will remove votes. Adjust your voting habits to avoid this. – user1027 Jan 19 '15 at 20:51

28 Answers 28

12

How, if at all, would your new insta-close powers affect your current voting habits or activity?

11

One of the most difficult flags to manage is the "This is not an answer" flag for answers. How will you manage these flags?

11

What time zone do you live in? When (UTC) would you be active on the site, moderating?

10

While you don't have to know the subject matter to be a mod, often it helps. Are there any major tags with which you have little to no affiliation with, and what will you do in the event that a questionable flag was made in an area where you have little expertise?

  • 1
    IMO, these are often the easy ones to moderate. It's when you know a great deal about the topic that your knowledge can color how to moderate something. – user1027 Jan 19 '15 at 20:54
  • 1
    @Keen I disagree. I had a hard time with the Futurama event, I had no idea which “not an answer” flags were on troll answers and which ones were on answers discussing actual plot points. – user56 Jan 19 '15 at 22:57
  • +1; I'm restrained when it comes to something like even just dealing with the review queue for these questions. – user8719 Jan 20 '15 at 0:00
  • 1
    Sorry, -1. While Gilles's example seems to confirm this, in the large scheme of things, it's impossible for a moderator to be an expert on ALL subjects; and impossible to predict which specific future SME would be needed (would we know about Futurama when Gilles became moderator?). Therefore using SME as a reason to pick a specific moderator is quite fallacious. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 20 '15 at 0:04
  • 3
    @DVK - It certainly couldn't hurt for someone to be a subject expert. I agree that it's not the be-all and end-all though. – Valorum Jan 20 '15 at 0:34
  • @Gilles Thankfully, absurdist sci-fi/fantasy comedy like Futurama is rare. – user1027 Jan 20 '15 at 2:21
  • My earlier comment may be misleading: topics where you know nothing are harder to moderate. However you don't need to be familiar with every work on the site. Most moderator actions don't require subject knowledge (this was less true in the early days of the site when moderators were often involved in closing), for example most “not an answer” flag are on posts that were clearly intended as comments or new questions. For the few that do, you can typically ask in chat (flags are confidential, but moderators can still ask around what people think of an answer). – user56 Jan 20 '15 at 8:36
  • I feel it grossly unfair that I, of all people, am unfamiliar with this "Futurama Event" of which you speak. I must say, I'm with DVK on this. I don't feel that unfamiliarity with a subject matter is necessarily a negative when it comes to moderation. Without going into too much detail - this looks likely to be a top ten question, so I shouldn't answer it early - most of my flags on topics I know little about, such as "Game of Thrones," have been selected "helpful." I'm sure I'm not the only one. – James Sheridan Jan 25 '15 at 13:52
  • It was a contest sponsored jointly by Futurama and SFF.SE. It ended up with a very large set of questions, the vast majority that needed to be closed... I want to say there was as many flags the first day as there had been the month previously... It was a mess... facebook.com/Futurama/posts/320014191418612 – PearsonArtPhoto Jan 25 '15 at 17:13
10

Sometimes people may become unhappy with the moderators (on this site or other sites on the stack), these people may even be active and avid members of the site.
If they become unhappy with your moderation and start voicing their malcontent, how will you handle the situation?

10

What current policies do you believe are too strictly enforced (either by mods or the community)? Which do you believe are not enforced strictly enough?

9

A typical moderator on a Stack Exchange website commits to checking in regularly with the site, managing sometimes difficult decisions, for a period of several years. While they can take breaks, and occasionally receive help from the community team, most of the time it is up to you and the other moderators. This usually requires checking in to this site for moderation purposes around 3-4 times per day, on most days throughout the year. Are you prepared to make that commitment to this site?

8

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?
7

Comments currently are the only domain by which only moderators can perform moderating actions, aside from flags. As a result, there are a significant number of comment flags. The most difficult of these to manage is the "Too Chatty" option. How will you manage a flag on a comment that is "Too Chatty"?

7

Given hypothetical absolute authority, what current community policy/policies would you reverse or otherwise change (regardless of community consensus)?

  • 2
    Mods don't really have absolute authority, just absolute ability to enforce policies... – PearsonArtPhoto Jan 19 '15 at 20:42
  • 4
    @PearsonArtPhoto Sorry, I meant in a hypothetical scenario. Will update to reflect. – phantom42 Jan 19 '15 at 20:43
7

How will you manage the additional time expectations of moderating? Will you be:

  • devoting more time to the site to accommodate moderation duties?
  • devoting less time to your normal user activities (posting questions/answers, editing, etc.) to allot time to moderating?
  • something else?
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)?

5

What do you expect to be the most difficult part of being a moderator? How will you handle it?

5

There are many other members of this site, and some may be members that you may have "crossed swords with" in the past. The other member(s) may have even been in the right. As a moderator, how would you propose to handle a hypothetical situation where this may happen again?

4

One current SF&F policy is that questions should be marked as duplicates if they are answered somewhere in an answer on another question, even if the questions seem entirely unrelated. This has of course caused a lot of confusion and sometimes anger. Do you agree or disagree with this policy, and why? How would you state when a question should be marked as a duplicate in your own words?

4

Why are you standing? In other words, what are you hoping to get out of it? Or is it pure altruism?

4

Would you moderate on anything you're (even just remotely) involved in? When do you back out and leave it to other mods?

3

What types of questions would you like to see more or less of?

  • Reeaally like this one: demonstrates that the person knows what content is and what isn't on the site, and what could benefit. – Möoz Jan 19 '15 at 20:23
  • 1
    I don't see how this is a question for a moderator. So, what if a mod would like to see more star wars questions? – Shevliaskovic Jan 19 '15 at 21:29
  • 1
    @Shevliaskovic You can read it as what subjects/franchises, or what types (story-id, plot-explanation, etc) they would like to see more/less of. In the case of the former, they could more actively participate by asking/answering more. For the latter, they may try to push for a policy change. – phantom42 Jan 19 '15 at 21:35
  • 2
    Also, these questions needn't necessarily be 100% all about how they'll do their job. They can also be about getting to know the candidates a bit better. – phantom42 Jan 19 '15 at 21:40
  • @phantom42 for the 'getting to knowing them better' I agree, but besides that, I still don't see much point in a question like this for mods. But I didn't know that it was also for getting to know them better, so.. ( :P ) – Shevliaskovic Jan 19 '15 at 21:45
  • 2
    We clearly need more Futurama questions, or Gilles would be sad. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 20 '15 at 0:07
  • 1
    Also, consider "behind-the-scenes" or "production-based" movie questions, a mod might need to consider whether we want them here or if they should be migrated to Movies&TV.SE – Möoz Jan 20 '15 at 0:44
3

Jeff Atwood has posted an extensive "Theory of Moderation" to cover the Stack Exchange Network.

  • What elements do you most and least agree with?
3

The biggest problem I feel this SE site faces is that good quality, but late, answers are rarely recognized. I have quite a few answers that are much higher quality than the accepted answer, but they often languish in obscurity. I find that it's much worse here than on other SE sites.

What can you do about this?

Thanks.

  • 3
    Meta irony - this late, but great, answer, is languishing in obscurity :( +1 – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 21 '15 at 14:48
  • 3
    I'm curious as to what you think a moderator could actually do to make changes in this area? – Slytherincess Jan 22 '15 at 17:39
  • @Slytherincess I don't know, that's why I asked what they could do :) Someone might have a very smart idea. In which case, I'd probably vote for them. – Django Reinhardt Jan 22 '15 at 18:05
  • 1
    @Slytherincess - for one thing, a moderator could act as if this is actually a worthwile issue and not a "meh" like some current moderators do about this specific problem. There are also valid moderating solutions that were opposed. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 23 '15 at 5:52
  • 1
    This is an excellent question, but it doesn't appear as if it will make the cut. If it does, I will answer it then, but if not, I will return here to answer it anyway, as it deserves one. I am unsure of how exactly this problem can be 'fixed,' but I have some ideas of how it can be highlighted, and therefore possibly lessened. – James Sheridan Jan 25 '15 at 13:57
2

How would you handle disagreement with another moderator?

If it is on an hotly debated (by the community) issue, would you let the community know anything about it?

  • 1
    I am uncertain that it's an actual rule/policy, but seems like there is a moderator only chatroom which is how this sort of issue ALWAYS handled – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 20 '15 at 15:34
2

Moderators' non-mod-related activity almost invariably drops significantly after election or appointment. Are you content with such a drop, becoming more of an "invisible hand"? Is such a drop in activity in the site's best interest, compared with what other candidates offer?

1

How would you handle a user giving unwanted attention to another user, either on the main site or in chat?

That attention could be any kind, from romantic interest to unwarranted negative comments (and serial downvoting, but that's usually caught by the site).

  • 3
    Uh. This seems like a rather meaningless question - that behavior is fully governed by SE policies, so "how would you handle" isn't really up for debate – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 20 '15 at 15:32
  • The policies exist, but it's the mod that has to use them. – SQB Jan 21 '15 at 20:32
  • @DVK a lot of these questions are, directly or indirectly, governed "governed by SE policies." – Kevin Jan 23 '15 at 5:19
  • @Kevin - some are more of a "how do you feel this fits in with SE policies". This is more of a "Will you abide by SE policies?" which seems a bit unnecessary to ask :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 23 '15 at 5:48
0

What area do you feel the site could use the most improvement in?

What would you propose as a solution in order to work towards that improvement?

0

The Dev Team has granted you one wish to add or change something about the system/platform (that may or may not be realistically possible). What do you wish for?

  • 1
    User comment management:-) – PearsonArtPhoto Jan 19 '15 at 22:59
  • 2
    Ability to request unlimited features, binding upon SE dev team – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 19 '15 at 23:59
-1

What on-topic works have you recently watched/read? Are there any titles that you are currently watching/reading that would be considered on-topic?

  • 2
    IMHO, familiarity with the site expertise is somewhat irrelevant to moderation quality. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 20 '15 at 0:01
  • @DVK I agree it is irrelevant to moderator qualities, buy I find it interesting and brings a personal element that can help in gauging personality. – Beofett Jan 20 '15 at 0:11
  • 3
    @Beofett It also helps us know what areas are likely to be naturally proactively moderated. E.g. I'm super-active in the MCU posts, so I naturally see and clean up those posts, without flags needing to be raised. – user1027 Jan 20 '15 at 2:16
-1

What do you do (if anything) with your old comments?

Will you do anything different with them when you're a moderator?

-4

What would you do if candidates in a moderator election started answering the questions prematurely?

(Not to poke fun at the ones who have, but a serious question, even it's an uncommon occurrence).

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