Once again, in connection with the summer moderator elections, we will be holding a Q&A with the candidates. To repeat the rules from last time around, 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, August 11th 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 process, feel free to post as a comment here.

12 Answers 12


As Workplace SE grows, it may experience the problems of scaling, also known as "the forum problem". If elected, what will you do to help prevent the signal to noise ratio from becoming too low?

  • 1
    This is really really important -- a lot of stuff the community can handle, but some things are left to the moderators since normal users have no tools to handle them.
    – jmac
    Aug 6, 2014 at 0:16

Asked by Monica Cellio during the previous election

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?


Asked by Rachel during the previous election

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)


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?

Asked by Monica Cellio during the previous election

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?


Would you be willing to unilaterally close more popular questions such as this one which very clearly are off-topic, according to the site FAQ and guidelines, even if you are the only close vote?

Oftentimes these questions can cause problems if not closed quickly as they pick up answers which make editing the question impossible.

  • Is there a way of phrasing this in a more neutral tone instead of heavily implying that users should answer "Yes"? Personally I don't like it when moderators unilaterally close popular questions, as the community has obviously seen fit to leave them open for a reason. I would much rather see the question brought up on meta to see how it can be edited to become acceptable. (Also, the example question doesn't strike me as a "popular" one, nor does it seem like one that is beyond salvaging with a good edit. Which is now not possible since it got closed, locked, and kicked back to another site)
    – Rachel
    Aug 6, 2014 at 16:40
  • 1
    @Rachel if the answer is "no" then there should be reasons why the answer is "no." I don't intend this question to be easy, I intend it to get very deliberately at the question of whether or not candidates are willing to enforce the site rules/policies as stated even if this is against "popular opinion." Moderation isn't
    – enderland
    Aug 6, 2014 at 17:09

Asked by Shog9 during the previous election

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?

Clarification from Monica Cellio

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).


Asked by jmort253 during the previous election, adjusted on jmac's advice

How would you handle an issue that has many members of the community on either side and the community is too divided to settle on an single conclusion?


Does The Workplace have a Comments Problem?

If so, what do you believe is the problem, and how would you plan to deal with it as a moderator?


Asked by Monica Cellio during the previous election

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?


Splitting this off from Grace Note's post of default questions as we have several sub 10k rep candidates.

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


@maple_shaft: You've been a fantastic moderator on Programmers.SE for some time, but I see that you haven't really contributed a whole lot to TWP.SE in 2014. Should we be concerned that you're splitting your attention between multiple StackExchange sites?

@enderland: Without question, you've been a TWP.SE powerhouse for a long time. But you took a self-imposed sabbatical between April 8th and July 3rd. Are you fully invested in the site again?

  • it doesn't feel fair that question gives only two (likely strongest) candidates to shine. Consider extending it to cover all candidates, to give everyone their fair chance
    – gnat
    Aug 9, 2014 at 13:00
  • 4
    Hi Jim, my suggestion would be to ask these questions in the election chat room and then edit this one so that it's more generalized and something all the candidates can answer. Otherwise, this won't get selected as one of the 10 questions for the candidates to answer since it doesn't fit the format.
    – jmort253
    Aug 10, 2014 at 2:32
  • 2
    To answer your question because it is directed at me, I am not going to pretend like I will be as active on the site as @enderland but I feel I take a balance between preserving and promoting good content and encouraging community participation which I am concerned is missing in the stronger candidate. I have experience in this with Programmers. Aug 10, 2014 at 13:43
  • 1
    @maple_shaft: Thanks! Good answer!
    – Jim G.
    Aug 10, 2014 at 13:44

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