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2023 Moderator Election

nomination began
Jun 6, 2023 at 20:00
election began
Jun 13, 2023 at 20:00
election ended
Jun 21, 2023 at 20:00
candidates
2
positions
1

On Stack Exchange, we believe the core moderators should come from the community, and be elected by the community itself through popular vote. We hold regular elections to determine who these community moderators will be.

Community moderators are accorded the highest level of privilege on our community, and should themselves be exemplars of positive behavior and leaders within the community.

Our general criteria for moderators is as follows:

  • patient and fair
  • leads by example
  • shows respect for their fellow community members in their actions and words
  • open to some light but firm moderation to keep the community on track and resolve (hopefully) uncommon disputes and exceptions

Every election has three phases:

  1. Nomination
  2. Primary
  3. Election

Please participate in the moderator elections by voting, and perhaps even by nominating yourself to be a community moderator!

Additional Links

Questionnaire
The community team has compiled questions from meta for the candidates to answer.
  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?

[Answer 1 here]

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

[Answer 2 here]

  1. Our Meta site is not particularly busy, compared to network standards, excluding the activity of a couple of busy users and moderator. You may find yourself being the only active moderator and the only active contributer to Meta. How will you handle this? Will you take more time to gather the community's input, even when it trickles in very slowly? Or do you anticipate having to make decisions by yourself if the other moderators and the community do not respond in a timely manner?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. As a community moderator, you might face situations where you must explain Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange norms. Stack Overflow banned using ChatGPT's generated text; some other Stack Exchange sites did the same, which led some people to use generated text detectors. Very recently, it was posted in Meta Stack Exchange What is the network policy regarding AI Generated content?, which claims that the results from such detectors should not be used as evidence, among other things. How would you proceed if you were a Web Applications community moderator and met such a situation? Please elaborate on how and why.

[Answer 4 here]

  1. The community has raised concerns that the "needs details or clarity" close vote reason is being misused. A community moderator has unilaterally closed dozens of questions using the "needs details or clarity" close vote reason to mean that a question "does not meet the current quality standards" or "does not show research". What are your views on this issue? Do you agree or disagree with this moderation practice? Under what circumstances would you use your moderator privileges to unilaterally close a question, as opposed to letting the community handle the close voting?

[Answer 5 here]

  1. Most questions have a score 0. Since many questions don't receive answers, Roomba deleted many questions on this website. Do you think we should make the auto-deletion rules of Roomba more lenient to lower the number of questions getting deleted, e.g. by decreasing the required view count or not deleting questions of score 0? Another way to address the issue is by encouraging users to vote more -- how do you think that could be achieved?

[Answer 6 here]

  1. A Theory of Moderation states the Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange moderation principles. What are the conditions that make such a theory work? Please focus on featuring the three most important conditions and elaborate on why. Also, share your opinion regarding the presence or absence of such conditions in Web Applications, and sustain your opinion on facts.

[Answer 7 here]

  1. Web Apps SE has a goal. How well do you think it's going? As a moderator, would you hope to see more of the same, or would you hope to guide the community through some changes?

[Answer 8 here]

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

[Answer 9 here]

  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?

[Answer 10 here]

0

Hi, I'm George (grg). I've been an avid lurker of Web Applications for a decade and acquired various badges on Stack Exchange sites for my answers on the topic of web apps.

As a moderator of Ask Different, I'm familiar with the moderation tools and techniques required for moderating a site with high traffic from visitors but low contributions and interactions. I find the personable approach to moderating a smaller site more rewarding than the monotonous flag queue of larger sites.

My key contributions would be around trying to bring more users to the site through improvements of existing and new questions, increasing the usefulness and visibility of the great content on this site. This would involve appropriate tagging and optimisation of content for search, as well as active participation in the SE network utilising migrations and Hot Network Questions. This is of course in addition to being a timely contributor to the flag queue and usual exception handling.

Questionnaire
  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?

No one is exempt from being nice. Thankfully, inappropriate behaviour is something rarely seen on smaller sites like this. It's great to work with and foster a great community of helping visitors and veterans alike.

However, should it come to it, there are plenty of avenues for working with those involved. Mod messages are a great way to work through problematic behaviour in private on behalf of the moderation team.

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

As with anyone, I would raise it with the person who performed the action. There can be more to something than initially appears, or I’ve missed something in the way I’ve viewed the issue. Either way, this has always solved such discrepancies in the past and I would continue in this manner.

  1. Our Meta site is not particularly busy, compared to network standards, excluding the activity of a couple of busy users and moderator. You may find yourself being the only active moderator and the only active contributer to Meta. How will you handle this? Will you take more time to gather the community's input, even when it trickles in very slowly? Or do you anticipate having to make decisions by yourself if the other moderators and the community do not respond in a timely manner?

It's rarely necessary to rush to a conclusion. While some actions may need to be taken promptly, few actions are not possible to undo. Leaving comments or other public record of actions helps discussions happen after the fact and enable swift reversal if necessary. For wider policy or change decisions, it's far more important to get a variety of views from a diverse set of users.

  1. As a community moderator, you might face situations where you must explain Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange norms. Stack Overflow banned using ChatGPT's generated text; some other Stack Exchange sites did the same, which led some people to use generated text detectors. Very recently, it was posted in Meta Stack Exchange What is the network policy regarding AI Generated content?, which claims that the results from such detectors should not be used as evidence, among other things. How would you proceed if you were a Web Applications community moderator and met such a situation? Please elaborate on how and why.

I've actively followed and participated in the discussions on the Stack Moderators team and meta sites on this topic. It's important to sufficiently protect visitors from the misinformation spread from unmoderated large language model output, alongside preventing overzealous moderation of users just trying to help. Each case is different and blanket policy, especially across sites, is difficult and needs to evolve as the LLMs also do.

  1. The community has raised concerns that the "needs details or clarity" close vote reason is being misused. A community moderator has unilaterally closed dozens of questions using the "needs details or clarity" close vote reason to mean that a question "does not meet the current quality standards" or "does not show research". What are your views on this issue? Do you agree or disagree with this moderation practice? Under what circumstances would you use your moderator privileges to unilaterally close a question, as opposed to letting the community handle the close voting?

‘Needs details or clarity’ is my least used close reason. I prefer more specific reasons to put a question on hold (I still miss this terminology) to encourage and assist the question asker to refine and rework their question to make it suitable for the site.

It's important to remember binding votes, whether as a moderator or anyone else with a gold tag badge, can bypass usual community consensus mechanisms on the site. Keeping this in mind when performing actions on the site helps make sure the community views are being respected. Actively participating in the reversal of mistakes and working with the community helps give confidence in future actions, which can often include not unilaterally voting to close and having a discussion first.

  1. Most questions have a score 0. Since many questions don't receive answers, Roomba deleted many questions on this website. Do you think we should make the auto-deletion rules of Roomba more lenient to lower the number of questions getting deleted, e.g. by decreasing the required view count or not deleting questions of score 0? Another way to address the issue is by encouraging users to vote more -- how do you think that could be achieved?

There are a huge number of good answers (voted up) provided well a question was posted; just look at the Revival and Necromancer badges. It would be a shame to lose out on these useful answers. With more data such as view counts of Roomba'd questions and the potential to experiment with changes with no obligation to be persisted, we can try adjustments to the Roomba's policies and work with the community to figure out if such changes are beneficial.

  1. A Theory of Moderation states the Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange moderation principles. What are the conditions that make such a theory work? Please focus on featuring the three most important conditions and elaborate on why. Also, share your opinion regarding the presence or absence of such conditions in Web Applications, and sustain your opinion on facts.

A responsive moderation team helps resolve issues promptly, helping keep the site free from spam and other negative behaviour. Reducing the amount of time spam is present on the site helps make for a welcoming place to visit.

An accountable moderation team is trusted by the community to be working in the best interests of the community and SE. It's important to discuss in the open changes and actions taken to bring about change in a desired manner meeting the needs of everyone involved. It's great that discussions on policy happen on meta and this should continue.

An approachable moderation team helps bring confidence in being able to resolve disagreements or questions about policy or other site-related matters. Communicating with the community and fellow moderators alike helps keep everyone informed. Participation in chat is a great way to be part of the community and presence in Teacher's Lounge helps this site be approachable to moderators outside the community.

  1. Web Apps SE has a goal. How well do you think it's going? As a moderator, would you hope to see more of the same, or would you hope to guide the community through some changes?

Every SE site has numerous goals. It's important to balance the needs of the community with the needs of SE. My job as a moderator would involve guiding the community, not making unilateral decisions.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

Moderator tools include access to a wealth of statistics and data to find egregious content. With voting low on this site, I would make great use of the anonymous vote statistics to help identify posts lacking in votes in a particular direction and take action where appropriate.

  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've had a diamond attached to my name for a half-dozen years already. It's not a problem as I always try to communicate respectfully and fair regardless. No one is exempt from being nice.

0

I am active on Web Apps with 661 votes cast, 629 reviews, 456 comments, 212 answers, and 130 posts edited. I've no questions posted but am constantly asking questions, that are resolved at the research stage. This user's answer is my reminder to focus on simplicity and take a step back from problems. I enjoyed creating this 'MacGuyver' solution and investigating this.

 I balance different viewpoints which helps me to understand other people's problems, and maintain civil discourse.

I have been involved in computing and the web since its infancy and they are a great fit for my brain. I have strong language and communication skills and enjoy searching out and digesting new information. I enjoy helping people understand web apps and adapting them to their needs.

There are many existing Web Applications users I look up to, and I continually try to improve my answers and comments by emulating theirs.

Questionnaire
  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?

I would get a better understanding of the comments before taking any action. The user is valued by the community as shown by their answers, but they must also value being a member of the community, given their level of engagement. I would hope that this interest in the community would provide them the impetus to engage in respectful dialogue and ultimately make any necessary adjustments for the benefit of all users.

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

I would discuss my concerns with that mod. It is important that mods work together and are not at odds with each other. Open and respectful dialog within the moderators' group is critical to avoid dysfunction. Any perceived criticism of a user, whether they are a mod or not, is unlikely to be welcomed and always requires tact.

  1. Our Meta site is not particularly busy, compared to network standards, excluding the activity of a couple of busy users and moderator. You may find yourself being the only active moderator and the only active contributer to Meta. How will you handle this? Will you take more time to gather the community's input, even when it trickles in very slowly? Or do you anticipate having to make decisions by yourself if the other moderators and the community do not respond in a timely manner?

The context is critical. Is there a way to gauge whether something is coming in slowly vs. not coming in ever? How important a role does time play with respect to a particular issue? How important is it for as many community members as possible to contribute on a particular issue. How much time has already passed. Is this something that can be changed later. Is the community better served by waiting or by taking action. I think that in all things, the right balance needs to be struck.

  1. As a community moderator, you might face situations where you must explain Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange norms. Stack Overflow banned using ChatGPT's generated text; some other Stack Exchange sites did the same, which led some people to use generated text detectors. Very recently, it was posted in Meta Stack Exchange What is the network policy regarding AI Generated content?, which claims that the results from such detectors should not be used as evidence, among other things. How would you proceed if you were a Web Applications community moderator and met such a situation? Please elaborate on how and why.

The specific "situation" isn't clear to me. Is it a suspiscion of an AI generated answer? Is it addressing a specific post that was flagged by a generated text detector in light of the new network post? Is it dealing with a user/moderator dispute related to one or the other? I have suspected from time to time a few posts on this site as likely to have been AI generated, most recently a Candidate statement and Questionaire for this position. In my role as moderator I would communicate the rules and norms as they are communicated to me. The norms are still evolving.

  1. The community has raised concerns that the "needs details or clarity" close vote reason is being misused. A community moderator has unilaterally closed dozens of questions using the "needs details or clarity" close vote reason to mean that a question "does not meet the current quality standards" or "does not show research". What are your views on this issue? Do you agree or disagree with this moderation practice? Under what circumstances would you use your moderator privileges to unilaterally close a question, as opposed to letting the community handle the close voting?

This requires community engagement. An old question that is heavily upvoted by the community and also has answers, has been embraced by the community. Question closing is important, particularly when done in a timely manner, and reviewers should play a pivotal role. There may sometimes be decisions that fall in a gray area, and any actions I take as a moderator are likely to be scrutinized and will require care if they run the risk of sowing discord.

  1. Most questions have a score 0. Since many questions don't receive answers, Roomba deleted many questions on this website. Do you think we should make the auto-deletion rules of Roomba more lenient to lower the number of questions getting deleted, e.g. by decreasing the required view count or not deleting questions of score 0? Another way to address the issue is by encouraging users to vote more -- how do you think that could be achieved?

I support voting to help maintain the quality of individual posts for the community. I haven't reviewed Roomba's deleted posts and the link provided is an image. I am open to further discussion.

  1. A Theory of Moderation states the Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange moderation principles. What are the conditions that make such a theory work? Please focus on featuring the three most important conditions and elaborate on why. Also, share your opinion regarding the presence or absence of such conditions in Web Applications, and sustain your opinion on facts.

The best conditions include

  1. mutual respect

  2. timely engagement

  3. communication

In order for the community to work, all users need to respect one another, both users and moderators need need to be regularly engaged, and there needs to be communication.

With respect to inappropriate content, it is critical that the community enages in appropriately flagging content for moderator review. In turn moderators must follow up on these flags in a timely, fair, and balanced manner, and communicate with parties as appropriate.

  1. Web Apps SE has a goal. How well do you think it's going? As a moderator, would you hope to see more of the same, or would you hope to guide the community through some changes?

I think the goal is laudable and welcome the opportunity to contribute to any changes that can help make the site better.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

The key difference I suppose might be the gravitas afforded the position by willing users. When engaging as a moderator with users one hopes there is some appreciation that the moderator role requires said enagagement with them. That may offset some knee-jerk responses compared to when constructive criticism is received from non-moderator users. I would hope users would be open to feedback from any user particularly if they have a high reputation, but perhaps the moderator role might help.

  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?

Oversight necessarily impacts everything we do. Perhaps some past posts may not reflect everything I have learnt since, but I am always willing, and regularly do, improve my posts where I can. Recognizing the heightened scrutiny moving forward will only remind me to always try to communicate in a way that befits the role.

This election is over.