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 March 31st 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.

14 Answers 14


What would you do if you found a flagged, positively scored answer where 10 users flagged it as not an answer and 10 users flagged it as invalid? How would you handle a case where the community is clearly divided on what to do with a post, yet the community is also unable to remove the post on their own?

  • 3
    Awesome question. I can hear you muttering, "This is what you did to me community... this is my revenge" – jmac Mar 26 '14 at 7:05

What are the top two or three challenges facing the site as it moves forward, and what do you plan to do as a moderator to address them? What have you already done?


When you see a question or answer with major issues, such as being argumentative or poorly-written, what tool do you reach for first and why?


Two experienced users, both good contributors at times, just can't get along. Every time they interact in any way, sparks fly. Acrimonious comments pile up, distracting everyone from the actual questions being answered. Tit-for-tat flags and votes accumulate. Passive-aggressive meta posts ruin your buzz. You suspect the moderators on other sites are talking about you behind your back, clucking like so many biddy hens about your misfortune...

What do you do about it?

  • 8
    As per the normal rules of this site, "Just quit" isn't a valid response here. – Shog9 Mar 25 '14 at 17:30
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    When answering, candidates should address how their responses change (if they do) if the two have a privilege imbalance, for example if one has a diamond (mod or staff) that allows him to make unilateral decisions (delete, close, flag rejection, etc). – Monica Cellio Mar 26 '14 at 15:45

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?

If elected, do you plan to increase your time on the site, or are you going to spend about the same amount of time but reallocate it? If the latter, what won't you be doing as much of now? What is the opportunity cost to the community of you becoming a mod?

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    I think this is a very important question given the current candidates are all fairly active non-moderators right now on the site. – enderland Mar 27 '14 at 14:12
  • Thanks Monica, your question helped me here – Bebs Jan 26 '17 at 15:09
  • @Bebs glad I could help. – Monica Cellio Jan 26 '17 at 15:16

A large majority of moderation can be done by the community with enough reputation. Since we just graduated, there is a big gap between the privileges we had as a community a month ago, and the privileges we have today. With time, we will build more users who can form the basis for stronger community moderation again.

What moderation (closing, editing, deleting, commenting, tagging, flagging, etc.) would you like to see the community be more active in, and how will you encourage that?


Do you think your actions towards lower-quality posts will be more like an Exception Handler or a Janitor?

To put it another way, do you prefer to sit back and let the community try to resolve if questions should be closed or open on their own, or do you prefer to step in as soon as you can to try and resolve a question's state immediately using moderator actions?

(I realize a moderators duties will involve using both styles of moderation depending on the situation, however I would like to know which direction moderator candidates lean towards first in cases that are not so clear)


How would you enforce Back It Up and Don't Repeat Others FAQ rules? Would you consider a bare link to Wikipedia page (eg: 42, without any accompanying quotes) a legitimate backup? Would you be comfortable managing cases when checking for repetition would require studying multiple other answers?

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    Is there a specific reason that the enforcement of this rule has to be done by the moderators and not the community as a whole? – jmac Mar 26 '14 at 23:37
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    @jmac - I think that having the mod explain their understanding of the rule and how they see that it should be enforced is valuable. If they think it should be a community driven then I think there is value in knowing that. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 27 '14 at 2:47
  • @jmac this depends on candidate position on whether it's okay for the posts violating these rules to stay on the site. If candidate believes okay to stay then mod involvement isn't needed, apparently. If candidate believes these to be deleted, do they believe mod power would be helpful, when, how etc. This is what I intended to cover by "How would you enforce" – gnat Mar 28 '14 at 5:33
  • Because of the limited amount of questions @Chad, I would rather have more general questions rather than asking about specific rules -- but that may not be the view of the community after all. I am less interested in how they will handle these specific issues, and more interested in how they would, for instance, handle repeated flags/meta posts on issues already discussed in the meta and decided on by the community (this rule and others included). – jmac Mar 28 '14 at 6:07
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    @jmac - Personally this is the single most important question I want to hear from the prospective mods. If I were forced to pick only one question this would be it. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 28 '14 at 13:45

The mods here tend to get mistreated by some of the users(mostly low rep but not all). The users can be rude, and obnoxious when their questions/answers/comments are being moderated, and the more experienced users are likely to question some of your decisions as a mod. Do you think you have the temperament to withstand this, keep a good attitude, and turn the exchange into something constructive?

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    While I think this question is good if it got real answers, I can't imagine anyone giving an answer that is anything other than, "Yes, I can handle it." Having it here for potential moderators to think about is a good thing, but I don't think it needs to be explicitly asked (as I don't think the answers will be too enlightening). – jmac Mar 26 '14 at 23:40
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    This is a great question, but I'd suggest a slight edit to change it from a yes/no question to focus more on the how. It would be interesting to hear what techniques a person uses to stay positive, and this would also demonstrate that person has an actionable and workable plan. Hope this helps. – jmort253 Mar 28 '14 at 19:37

How would you approach handling NAA and VLQ flags on answers? Would you be comfortable judging these flags by the same criteria as are established at strictly technical, coding sites like Stack Overflow, where answer quality can be typically verified with computer?


Do you consider regularly checking close votes queue, would you be comfortable making binding decisions on closing / leaving open questions in the queue?

For the reference, currently site has about 50 users with close vote privileges and queue shows 20 questions pending.


The Workplace is a fairly active site with a significant amount of moderation activity needed. How would you classify the amount of time you would be able to devote to moderation activities? Are you up for the commitment that may be needed? Are you willing to stick it out and stay active even when it gets challenging and frustrating?

  • With the total and complete lack of any information on what the current moderation burden is, and the lack of something to compare it to, this would be incredibly difficult to answer. I would think that current site activity would give a pretty good indication, and I would hope that with 3 active moderators, the burden would be a lot less than it currently is. While I think the heart of the question is valuable, I'd rather see other more specific questions get asked. – jmac Mar 26 '14 at 7:09
  • @jmac - I am open to rewording it to make it more specific. I think the most important part is I want to see a commitment from whom ever it is to make the attempt and the promise to stick it out. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 26 '14 at 13:42

How do you determine whether a question is asking for Legal advice which is off topic, or just a workplace question that has a legal aspect that would be on topic? Or do you feel that any question that has a legal aspect should be off topic?

Are you comfortable taking legal action to shut these questions down even though the community may feel that the question belongs here?

If a question is wrongly closed as off topic for the legal aspect are you comfortable reopening the question?

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