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In connection with the moderator elections, we are holding a Q&A thread for the candidates. Questions collected from an earlier thread have been compiled into this one, which shall now serve as the space for the candidates to provide their answers. Not every question was compiled - as noted, we only selected the top 8 questions as submitted by the community, plus 2 pre-set questions from us.

As a candidate, your job is simple - post an answer to this question, citing each of the questions and then post your answer to each question given in that same answer. For your convenience, I will include all of the questions in quote format with a break in between each, suitable for you to insert your answers. Just copy the whole thing after the first set of three dashes.

Once all the answers have been compiled, this will serve as a transcript for voters to view the thoughts of their candidates, and will be appropriately linked in the Election page.

Good luck to all of the candidates!


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?

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?

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)

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.

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?

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?

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? 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).

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?

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?

6

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?

I will aggressively close questions which are blatantly off topic.

I also will add post notices to answers failing to meet the criteria defined in the help center.

Both these I will take care to discuss with the current moderators to ensure I do not overstep the role of site moderators.

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?

Question and answer quality.

  • Questions - closing them sooner, before picking up spam answers. It's hard to "rescue" a poorly written question once written. An edit, such as the one to this question done before answers roll in can dramatically affect overall quality.
  • Answers - sometimes it's too late and a question was not closed. Posting links to the site meta content (both meta.Workplace as well as the FAQ/guides) and adding post notices to relevant answers where appropriate. If this is received poorly I will initiate meta.Workplace discussions to better understand the community desire for the FAQ/how to's to be changed.

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)

I will act pretty similar to how I act currently, the exception being I will be much more cautious in casting delete votes (as they would become binding) and close votes on more "middle ground" questions.

Many questions here are blatantly off topic however.

As I become more knowledgeable and comfortable as a moderator I will likely become more and more an exception handler. I actually find that considerably fewer answers now get my delete votes, anyways, and so in many cases a downvote and potentially a comment explaining why will be sufficient.

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.

Yes, I would, see the above regarding questions.

If there are significant objections to questions clearly in violation of the on/off topic FAQ information then I will raise the issue on meta to determine whether:

  1. The FAQ/on topic criteria need to be changed
  2. There needs to be better awareness of what those criteria are

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?

I currently immediately cast a close vote.

Generally, I also make subjective evaluation. If I feel that either:

  1. The user has a legitimate, interesting, and beneficial question
  2. Language of the post makes it confusing/argumentative in spite of a good core question

I will generally edit the post as I have done many times in the past and clarify the question. I have found, anecdotally, this often causes answer quality to go up if done early.

In some cases users will be help vampires and in these cases I generally do not try to edit the post but may leave a comment.

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?

Handle the flags as normal. Potentially discuss with the user if they frequent chat.

I assume there are defined criteria for when moderators can take actions such as suspending users, etc, and unless these are met there is no cause for any abnormal moderator action. If this is even remotely the case I would discuss with other moderators first before taking action (except in extreme cases).

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

Ask them about it first and likely discuss in chat, and if this does not generate resolution, post on meta to get the community input (with the other moderator permission, though knowing the current moderation I fully expect chat would be the resolution to 95% of any actual disagreement in the first place).

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? 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).

This never happens... but when it has in the past, I have recommended the users to ignore each other and stop provoking each other (and done so myself when I was one of the users).

In the event this involves myself or another moderator I will probably discuss with Stack Exchange employees to determine the appropriate response.

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?

I just also thought of this question which might be related, as if you read the question history you will see might apply here too.

This is derivative of poor question quality. Dealing with question (and answer, for that matter) quality should result in less confusing and controversial questions.

I think one of my first actions would be to make a meta post recommending SE change the comment UI as per Joe's suggestion since the UI causes this, and considering I have a UX background well...

I likely would also be more prone to when addressing comment flags posting along the lines of, "If you want to discuss this please use Chat, comments are not intended to be discussion" etc. I probably also would discuss with the money.SE moderators as they have a much, much, much more hands on "cleanup" approach to comments which I think works well for them.

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?

Is it actually important? If not, I probably wouldn't care or be involved at all.

Does it require moderation input? If not, ditto.

If it does require moderator input I would likely seek the advice/input from current moderators at either this site or elsewhere to better understand the importance of a moderator decision on the issue.

  • Just an FYI, making a meta post to change the comment UI is no sure thing, and in the meantime I can say that we have decidedly more comments than most other sites. The comments are definitely not limited to poor questions (and in fact are worst on highly up voted ones). Given that, how will you handle comments given that they get lots of flags, and lots of users angry when you delete comments in response to flags, and this is something only mods can do? – jmac Aug 12 '14 at 4:15
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    I fully support closing early, but I was over at the game design stackexchange and they actually seem to be suffering that issue - people are complaining that the mods are closing questions too quickly. I could see that questions from 1 rep users were frequently closed within 5 min of asking with no other clarification. If you were to gain insta-close (rather than vote to close) powers how are you going to strike the balance of closing quickly and closing too quickly/aggressively? – Ian Holstead Aug 12 '14 at 12:12
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    See here for an answer to this. – enderland Aug 12 '14 at 21:09
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    +1: I will act pretty similar to how I act currently, the exception being I will be much more cautious in casting delete votes (as they would become binding) and close votes on more "middle ground" questions. – Jim G. Aug 13 '14 at 11:57
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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?

Close early, close often, and leave a helpful comment.

I also plan to edit where I can (or drop a question/answer that needs edit help into chat). I learned how to comment constructively by seeing what kind of comments the mods were leaving, hopefully other community members will follow my lead. Closing questions early, while seemingly harsh, still allows the community to re-open them after proper editing has taken place. I feel that by leaving comments that explain why something doesn't meet our standards, it is possible to be both friendly to newcomers and still maintain quality.

Answers cannot be closed and reopened, they can only be deleted and un-deleted. I would be hesitant to delete an answer that needs work because a mod's deletion of an answer cannot be undone by undelete votes from the community. I would prefer to use the other tools available, such as post notices and comments to nudge the poster to edit and improve their answer. I also feel that multiple answers competing for upvotes and the accepted flag provides a decent incentive to keep answer quality high. Since good questions tend to lead to good answers, I would prefer to focus on keeping question quality up and only deleting answers that are flagrantly breaking the rules, and otherwise let community downvotes take care of the answer.

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?

The top challenges I see are the comments problem and the forum problem. I discuss these in more depth on the specific questions as well.

To address the comments problem, I plan to get rid of non-constructive comments as soon as I see them (leaving a message explaining why). If comments are constructive and have been edited into the post, I'll delete them. If the comments have not been edited into the post, I'll post a warning that they will be deleted in time period X, then circle back and delete them after the warning period elapses. As a user, I flag problematic comments I see as well as post the "what comments are for" message using the pro forma SE comments script.

I would also leverage the newly released migrate comments to chat tool where appropriate.

To address the forum problem, I plan to close early, close often, and leave a helpful comment. Closing the question provides some breathing space for edits to take place, and allows the community to reopen it when they feel ready to do so. As a user, I flag to close since I don't have the rep to vote to close. I also leave comments about why I flagged it, with some additional guidance for how the users can edit and fix the question. I also suggest edits on questions where I feel that I have the time to do the question justice. This is sometimes grammar, spelling, and word choice fixes on fresh questions, or it is larger changes when a link is dropped into the chat room and help is requested on an older, abandoned question. I make sure to leave a comment explaining my changes, especially when the OP is a new user and might not be familiar with our system yet.

I don't really flag answers unless they are violating the rules. Because of the rep penalty, I tend to only downvote when I personally feel that an answer is truly "bad" and prefer to upvote the other, better answers on the same question. I will leave a comment if I see something missing from an otherwise great answer, and that something has not been addressed by other answers on the same question. As a mod, I would focus more on improving question quality and let the competitive nature of multiple answers improve the answer quality, stepping in to delete answers which violate the rules.

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)

Extremely low quality posts (spam or offensive) need to be deleted as quickly as possible. Hopefully the community can line up the spam/offensive flags to take care of that without moderator involvement, but I am fine to jump in as a janitor nonetheless.

To the larger question of low quality (but not spam/offensive) questions, I believe in closing early and often with a helpful, constructive comment along the lines of a janitor. Most questions have a seed of greatness, but that seed tends to be buried deeper on the low quality posts. Closing early can give both the OP and the community time to edit, comment, and grow that seed to the point where we have a beautiful question, ripe for answering. Each edit puts the question back into the reopen queue, allowing the community to use reopen votes when it does meet our quality guidelines.

I have a slightly different approach in mind for low quality (but not spam/offensive) answers. Questions can be closed and reopened by community votes. Answers cannot be closed and reopened, they can only be deleted and un-deleted. Furthermore, moderator deletions of answers cannot be overturned by votes from the community, they would need to be brought up in chat or meta and undeleted by a moderator. Because of the more limited community recourse, I would be much more hesitant to delete a gray-area answer and would rather put up a post notice, or add helpful comments so that an answer is improved through edits. I feel that my approach to answers is more of an exception handler.

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.

Yep. Close early, close often, and leave a helpful comment. Closing the question will allow some breathing room for the question to be edited into a better form and the community can vote to re-open after it is on topic.

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?

It depends on what the issues are as well as what the rest of activity on the site is like. If a quick edit is all that is needed to get the question back on track and I am in a place to make the fixes, I would edit it and leave a friendly comment about why I made those changes. If the question needs more work, I would put it on hold and leave friendly comments indicating why. After the question is edited and meets the standards, it should attract the necessary reopen votes from the community. As I've said before, close early, close often, and leave a helpful comment.

For answers, I am much more hesitant to edit (as they tend to be from more active community members), and would prefer to leave a comment explaining any gaps I see. After that gap is addressed and folded into the answer, I would delete the comment and upvote the answer if appropriate. If the only thing wrong with an answer is some grammar or spelling, I would be comfortable making an edit, but I would prefer not to interfere with an answer's content or meaning unless it was a truly extraordinary case. I also see the community's voting patterns as doing a decent job of improving answer quality.

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 nuke the comments if they are not constructive. I would also discuss it with the other moderators to make sure that there is actually a pattern in the comments from that user and its not my own bias. The outcome from that discussion would probably dictate how I would proceed from there, but it would likely involve reaching out to the user in a private setting as well.

Context is also important as well. I would handle a user intentionally posting inflammatory comments differently than a user who gets flags and arguments from users that disagree with their perspective or point of view.

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

I would assume that I missed something, and reach out to talk to that mod in a private setting to understand their reasoning. If we were unable to come to an agreement, I would ask another mod (or some other third party) to arbitrate. In the unlikely event that we still couldn't reach any sort of consensus, I would raise it on Meta.

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? 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).

I would definitely discuss with other mods or the CM team to get their input. As a new mod, I would lean on the collected wisdom of the other site mods for such a serious issue. Most likely, the solution would involve mediating the dispute by meeting with each individual one on one in a private setting, then meeting with both of them in a private chat or something like that and working through a mutually agreeable solution. If the users cannot play nice, then they may end up with a timed suspension to cool off. At the end of the day, we are building a repository of useful knowledge... comment/flag/vote wars do not contribute to that and should be removed lest they encourage others to do the same.

If there is a privilege imbalance, I would still reach out to both of the users in a private setting, but I would also reach out to someone who has the authority to take necessary action on the user with higher privileges. For another mod, it might be other mods on their site or the community team. For SE staff, it would be an uninvolved member of the community team. If there were mod privileges being used inappropriately, I would escalate that immediately.

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?

We do have a comments problem. I've seen threads go to personal attacks, and as a mod I would remove those as soon as I see them (leaving a comment explaining why). There are some more gray area comments, where it is closer to a debate about the post, so it does have some merit as far as constructive criticism of the post, but the problem I see is that either the comments never make it back into the post via edits, or that the edits are made but the comments are not removed by the owners.

Comments are a problem because I agree with what jmort253 mentioned in chat: the value of any individual comment approaches zero with each comment added. When I google something and land on any SE page, chances are it is close, but not exactly the same as the problem I am facing. My goal is to figure out if the SE question and answer are applicable to my situation as quickly as possible. One or two comments on a post mentioning that a particular answer is out of date or pointing out some subtle detail are very useful. Trying to get through a whole wall of jokes, or +1/-1, or restatements of things already mentioned in the post just to get to those useful points is very frustrating.

Unlike vote to close/vote to reopen, I don't see a community mechanism to undo deleting a huge swath of comments and I know that it is plastered all over the place that comments are temporary, but given that the community still pushes back when comments are deleted, I would prefer to leave a comment mentioning that the comments will be removed in time period X, then come back and remove the comments after the warning period elapses.

I would also leverage the newly released migrate comments to chat tool where appropriate.

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?

I would post on meta or raise it in chat so that the community can weigh in and future visitors can see our thought process. If possible, I would try to find some acceptable middle ground that is not great, but is at least agreeable to everyone involved. I would lean more towards any available options that are more reversible so that our hands are not tied should the community evolve and change its mind later on.

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    Thanks for your answers. The issues raised in several of the questions can apply to both questions and answers. It's pretty clear what your approach is with questions (close early, close often); what about answers? Or are they not as important? – Monica Cellio Aug 12 '14 at 3:00
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    @MonicaCellio An excellent point, and I have edited my responses to mention specifically how I would handle answers. At a very high level, I would prefer to focus on getting question quality up, as good questions tend to prompt good answers. Community voting and multiple answers on each question also seems to provide a better check on answer quality, as users can look to higher-voted answers to see examples of how to they can write better answers. – Matt Giltaji Aug 12 '14 at 17:13
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I'm not going to requote every question, so that my answers are easier to find.

The Forum Problem To me, the biggest symptom of the forum problem we have is duplicate questions. Closing questions "as a duplicate of" seems to work quite well. I believe this approach has been very effective. There will be a constant issue of new users joining and not understanding the tools and scope of the site, which is where moderators need to step in. Migrating questions to more relevant sites is certainly useful, as well. In fact, that's how I came to the Workplace site, as a question I had answered on another site was migrated here.

Challenges - The biggest challenge facing Workplace is the contradictory nature of WIKI tag creation against the site rules. The availability of tags such as "Ethics" - which, by definition, is a question of "What should I do when ...," are in direct opposition to the prohibition on "What should I do?" This fundamental conflict in the site's implied structure needs to be addressed.

Exception Handler / Janitor In my mind, a moderator is an administrator, in the classic sense of the word. To fit the scope of the question, then "Janitor" is my answer. The community has to guide the conversations. The role of the administrator is to execute the will of the community. The real question becomes whether this site is to be run as a Constitutional Republic or a Representative Democracy. That is, do the "FAQ and Guidelines" trump the expressed will of the Community, or does the will of the Community trump the "FAQ and Guidelines?" I believe it is the role of the Administrator to "sweep up" downvoted answers and questions, only stepping in preemptively when posts become abusive or ad hominem attacks.

Unilaterally close more popular questions... - In short, no. If a question is "popular," then by definition, the Community has accepted it. The post provided in this example is a very good demonstration of the opposition of having an "Ethics" tag while simultaneously having the prohibition on "What to do" in the guidelines. The site, itself, is in conflict and that conflict is not properly settled by heavy-handed moderation, but rather by addressing the root conflict and resolving it. Perhaps an "Ethics.StackExchange.com" site is in order, but that's a little too "Sword of Solomon" in my mind. I believe the FAQ needs to be modified to concur with the expressed will of the Community.

Q/A with Major Issues - Argumentative answers are not necessarily bad, but they don't stand well out-of-context if the answer being "argued" with is removed, later. Answers with personal attacks in them are an issue. Answers/comments that are attacks I have flagged as such, and as a moderator will remove. Answers that are argumentative I would edit to just the content being advanced, removing references to the content being argued against.

Badly written questions/answers are difficult. If it's a question of bad grammar, vaguely defined pronouns, or limited English skills, I edit as best I can discern, being careful not to alter the OP's content to the point it's no longer representing their position. If it's indiscernible, I leave a comment asking the OP to edit it.

User w/ valuable answers, but arguments/flags The first question would be is the user advancing a consistent argument, or are they "trolling?" If a user is advancing a position, rather than attacking another user, then their positions should stand unless downvoted by the community.

...closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been? This is actually the very reason I am running for moderator. Very valuable questions have been closed and deleted, recently. Questions that clearly belong on Workplace and that the community has supported. If we are to stand behind the claims made at The Workplace Tour, that good questions are voted up and good answers earn reputation points, then the unilateral deletion of popular questions in blind obedience to "The Rules" absolutely has to be stopped. If that is allowed to continue, then the entire premise of Workplace is flawed. This has been a fundamental failing of the existing moderation team, in my opinion, and needs to be stopped. Either that, or we admit that the tour is not representative of this site, and with every claim, add the caveat "at the moderators' discretion."

Two experienced users... just can't get along. First, realize that you're the site moderator, and not their parents. As a moderator, you can't make them like each other. Questions, answers, and comments with personal attacks in them, be they passive-aggressive or explicit, need to be pulled down immediately for the sake of the site. If a moderator is abusing their authority in these "battles," they should be asked to step down immediately. If the party were staff, then the SE management would need to be contacted.

Comments Problem Issue? Yes. Problem? No, but getting there. The "Issue," IMO, is that the comments have become a place for retorts to an answer, rather than requests for clarification or explanation. I believe this is something moderators can do a lot about, by explaining that users should downvote answers they disagree with, rather than debating them. Users who disagree with answers should post their own, "competing" answers, and let the votes speak. Goes against the grain of human nature, a little bit, but it's how the site (apparently) was intended to function.

Divided Community I would run for moderator to implement change. Beyond that, it is difficult to answer without knowing the specifics of the hypothetical issue. As a principle, though, I support the right of individuals to advance their own positions, but not to attack others. Libertarian, for lack of a better definition. I would try to arbitrate the issue based on that principle.

For those who have slogged their way through all of the above. Thank you, and I ask for your support.

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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?

There are a lot of gray areas left by our site's rules that are intended to allow a wide variety of questions and answers. Unfortunately, this only works when moderators use the gray areas to widen the scope of questions, and not limit. As a moderator, I will only halt messages that very clearly violate the rules of this forum.

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?

As with many sites like the Workplace who have taken time to cultivate a strong group of like-minded people to answer questions, there are some things that moderators can address: people, personalities and progress.

People represent the reason for our presence. If no people participated in the Workplace, our site would die. As such, as moderators, we have a duty to ensure we and our site is welcoming to new people and providing wise answers to thier questions.

Personalities are what drives our questions/answers in the directions they go. Just as we cultivate our members, so too should we embrace the different and varied personalities that make our site interesting.

Progress is the tangible result of our ability to shepherd our site as it becomes more welcoming to new people. Growth in new directions is a great thing, as long is this progress is in-line with the purview of the Workplace.

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 personally believe any moderator who closes out questions prematurely is failing to do thier job well. Folks come here to ask questions important to them; I have seen many strong topics that need to be addressed closed out because of moderators' heavy-handed closing. I would rather work with an OP to improve a question or answer (thereby retaining a person) than simply shutting it down.

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.

This site is made of people who have a number of varied points of view, backgrounds, and goals. Who are we to summarily shut down a question of a high degree of interest to the community simply because it may not be fully compliant with our rules?

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?

I prefer to discuss it with the individual via e-mail. This way I can get a good understanding of where they are coming from, and if the argumentative nature of the post was intended.

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?

I don't feel this is a problem. It leads to clarification and opens up new ways of thinking about questions and answers.

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?

I would speak with other moderators about it and encourage us to come together as leaders with a unified voice on the issue.

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    +1: I personally believe any moderator who closes out questions prematurely is failing to do thier job well. – Jim G. Aug 13 '14 at 11:54
  • -2: I prefer to discuss it with the individual via e-mail.: This doesn't scale. – Jim G. Aug 13 '14 at 11:55
  • Jim G: It scales if there is one person who is having concerns. If there are more than one, discussing the issue in the comments before holding appears to be the accepted method of handling issues here. – Mike Van Aug 13 '14 at 16:35
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    Hey Mike, check out A Theory of Moderation if you haven't already. Basically, unless an issue is of an extreme serious nature, almost everything should be discussed publicly so that the thousands of other visitors viewing the post learn the site norms. When we leave helpful comments, the goal isn't just to help the asker (or people with visible concerns) but also anyone who might be lurking and is also thinking of posting. Hope this helps. – jmort253 Aug 14 '14 at 0:34
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    Mike, you have 6 revisions, all this month. You don't need to be a mod to help keep questions open or to help OPs improve them. None of your answers seem to explain how being a mod would help the site with things you cannot do as a normal user. What can you do to improve the site as a mod that you can't do now? – jmac Aug 15 '14 at 2:21

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