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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.

Due to the submission count, we have selected all provided questions as well as our back up questions for a total of 9 questions.

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. Please consider putting your name at the top of your post so that readers will know who you are before they finish reading everything you have written, and also including a link to your answer on your nomination post.

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!

Oh, and when you've completed your answer, please provide a link to it after this blurb here, before that set of three dashes. Please leave the list of links in the order of submission.

To save scrolling here are links to the submissions from each candidate (in order of submission):


  1. We get a good amount of hot questions on provocative topics. Sometimes the questions seem so incredible that people question whether they are genuine. Sometimes the questions seem genuine but evoke strong negative reactions. Either way, these questions attract a lot of attention, comments, flags, and discussion in chat. How should questions like these be moderated?

  2. In your opinion, what is the biggest problem/challenge The Workplace is currently facing? How would you propose to solve it?

  3. A user has been posting valuable content for a while but at the same time refuses to follow the site's guidelines with a consistent pattern of bad usage of comments, unkind if not rude remarks to other users, angry rants, etc. How would you handle such a user?

  4. There are two posts on meta that describe what it's like to be a moderator and what their daily activities are. Have they affected your decision to nominate yourself? Do those match your idea of what a moderator should be? Has anything in particular given you pause or made you think you'd approach things differently?

  5. A significant proportion of our new questions get put on hold. Do you see this as a problem? If yes, what can we do to improve the situation?

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

  7. 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?

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

  9. What is your take on the Hot Network Questions concept? Moderators are able to remove questions from Hot Network Questions, do you see yourself doing this often?

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motosubatsu

We get a good amount of hot questions on provocative topics. Sometimes the questions seem so incredible that people question whether they are genuine. Sometimes the questions seem genuine but evoke strong negative reactions. Either way, these questions attract a lot of attention, comments, flags, and discussion in chat. How should questions like these be moderated?

The rules for how users behave is the same regardless of what the question is about - so in that sense how these questions should be moderated is the same as everything else. Where there is a difference is that these sorts of questions can lead to situations that may escalate rapidly and as such are best observed closely so that issues can be dealt with quickly before things go too far.

In your opinion, what is the biggest problem/challenge The Workplace is currently facing? How would you propose to solve it?

While I think the overall health of the site is good I think the site does still suffer somewhat from Stack Overflow-induced myopia, the bulk of the site's users are developers or other IT pros and this can make it difficult for the site to truly encompass the broader workplace sphere. But that's not something that I think is really addressable directly by moderators. They can ensure that non-IT questions are given a fair shake, not closed unnecessarily etc but other than that there's nothing much else they can do.

A user has been posting valuable content for a while but at the same time refuses to follow the site's guidelines with a consistent pattern of bad usage of comments, unkind if not rude remarks to other users, angry rants, etc. How would you handle such a user?

If the behavior is new and otherwise out of character for the user I'd probably attempt to approach them through a chat first - see if a reasonable conversation can resolve things. If this doesn't work or this has been a consistent element of the user's behavior on the site then escalate to a mod message and ultimately a suspension if warranted. Valuable content is not a license to ignore the rules or to treat other users badly.

There are two posts on meta that describe what it's like to be a moderator and what their daily activities are. Have they affected your decision to nominate yourself? Do those match your idea of what a moderator should be? Has anything in particular given you pause or made you think you'd approach things differently?

They haven't really - I'm already a moderator over on Writing SE so that's been the primary factor in informing my moderation-knowledge.

A significant proportion of our new questions get put on hold. Do you see this as a problem? If yes, what can we do to improve the situation?

I do think it's a problem - although it's perhaps been a bit better of late. My personal focus during my time on SE has always been towards helping people rather than the purist Stack Overflow approach of creating a curated knowledge base, and as such I'm always looking to invest my time towards an answer than for looking for a reason not to. Our subject matter here at TWP is people-orientated and so our approach to those asking questions should be too. That said a moderator is not a king - and I don't have any intention of trying to impose my views on others. I'll encourage people to think before they close (as I always have done) but I'm not about to swing the hammer around in vast swathes unilaterally opening and closing things.

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

First things first I'd talk to them privately - see if I could understand why they did what they did. Even if after that we still don't agree I'm unlikely to directly reverse their actions unless it's a particularly extreme situation.

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 already experienced this over on Writing - I can't say it's been a problem, sure the ritual sacrifices people dedicate to me are flattering and the occasional vitriol that gets hurled your way can be amusing but mostly it's just another day.

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

The thing about spending a fair amount of time on a stack, especially at the higher rep levels is that it gives you a good sense of he rhythm of the site, what sort of behavior is OK, who's acting out of character, what topics are likely to kick up a storm. What new user might be a frequent troll under a new guise. That sort of thing. Being a moderator not only increases your knowledge of these things it gives you the ability to act, I'm sure most of our long standing users would be able to remember a time when they saw something turn unpleasant but were unable to do something about it.

What is your take on the Hot Network Questions concept? Moderators are able to remove questions from Hot Network Questions, do you see yourself doing this often?

HNQ is the great double-edged sword, yes it can bring lots of people to discover the site exists and yes it can expose a question to a wide audience who can come in and help. I can also attract dog piles, trolls or people with an axe to grind. I like the existence of the ability to remove questions on a case-by-case basis and I think case-by-case is exactly how it should be handled. If a question being on HNQ is hurting the site, the users of the site or impeding the question from being answered effectively then it should be removed from there. How often would I use it? Don't know is the honest answer. Currently we have two entries on HNQ, I wouldn't remove either.

Re: ColleenV's question in comments:

I am interested to know what your thoughts are about the recent meta question How can we make the Workplace more welcoming to people in marginalized groups?. Is there an issue? How severe do you think it is? What do you think we should do about it (if anything)?

I don't think it should come as a surprise that any community (online or not) that is a subset of the larger community of humanity is going to inherit many of the same dynamics and issues. So the question of whether there is an issue at all seems rather moot, but it's not an issue that is uniquely "ours".

Attempting to quantify how large or severe an issue it really is isn't particularly helpful in my opinion. When someone is stabbed and they report it to the police you wouldn't expect the police to start explaining how you are the only one to be mugged in the neighborhood this month so it's not a problem in this area and they aren't going to do anything. The law says it's no more or less of a crime depending on how often it happens. Likewise the Code of Conduct doesn't say it's okay to be bigot if you keep it below a certain frequency - if a person sees content from another user they consider to be inappropriate/rude/sexist/racist/abusive or otherwise contrary to the Code of Conduct they are entitled to flag that and have a moderator consider their complaint with the same level of consideration and respect whether it's the first, second or thousandth such complaint that month!

As to what's to be done about it..Honestly I think your answer on that meta question was excellent, providing a sound template for how to tackle such behavior and create a welcoming environment at the same time.

Addressing unwelcome behavior in the community is the job of the whole community, the best way for users to do their part is to treat others with respect and kindness and if/when they encounter someone who doesn't they should disengage and flag, and the moderators' part is to treat those flags fairly, and respectfully, and where it's something that has gotten over and above what a mod can handle there's the CMs

I do think the The Workplace Moderators during my time here (past and present!) have been pretty damn good at doing this, and if elected I'd hope to do as good a job as I've seen them do!

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    Oy, where are all my ritual sacrifices? I feel like I've missed out! ;) Pagan rites aside, I'm glad to see your nomination here. :) – Lilienthal Mar 18 at 20:03
  • Thanks! When I asked "how severe" I was asking (to borrow your analogy) "Do you think we live in a crime-ridden neighborhood where people are afraid of getting stabbed, or is our neighborhood pretty safe?" If our neighborhood isn't safe, then we should probably prioritize doing something about that. If a portion of the community thinks we're crime-ridden and a different portion thinks we're pretty safe, well, that is probably something we should figure out. – ColleenV Mar 19 at 18:35
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    Greatly appreciate your answers here. Of particular note to me is your acknowledgement of the heavy IT background that many users have as well as your thoughtful answer to Colleen's excellent question. Hope to see you past the post shortly! – Pyrotechnical Mar 29 at 14:06
  • @Pyrotechnical thanks! – motosubatsu Mar 29 at 14:47
10

Snow


  1. We get a good amount of hot questions on provocative topics. Sometimes the questions seem so incredible that people question whether they are genuine. Sometimes the questions seem genuine but evoke strong negative reactions. Either way, these questions attract a lot of attention, comments, flags, and discussion in chat. How should questions like these be moderated?

Moderators have tools that enable them to remove hot questions from the Hot Network Questions list - this helps to prevent users from dogpiling onto a popular questions and validating them with large amounts of votes, answers and comments. Ideally, click-baity titles should be changed so that they reflect the actual question being asked, and the content should be edited to remove any salacious and extraneous detail that don't add to the quality of the question.

  1. In your opinion, what is the biggest problem/challenge The Workplace is currently facing? How would you propose to solve it?

I don't see any huge issues at the moment aside from a temporary dip in moderation. The amount of questions and people answering those questions appears to be healthy right now.

  1. A user has been posting valuable content for a while but at the same time refuses to follow the site's guidelines with a consistent pattern of bad usage of comments, unkind if not rude remarks to other users, angry rants, etc. How would you handle such a user?

I would engage the user through chat and attempt to understand their point of view on the whatever issue is at hand and do what I could to improve the situation. If this method didn't work out and the behaviour leads to disrupting other users on the site, then I'd move to a temporary suspension with periodic assessments and suspensions following that. Any difficult or contentious situations may need to be referred to other moderators (both on or off-site) to gather their views and advice.

  1. There are two posts on meta that describe what it's like to be a moderator and what their daily activities are. Have they affected your decision to nominate yourself? Do those match your idea of what a moderator should be? Has anything in particular given you pause or made you think you'd approach things differently?

No. I've been a moderator before, so I know what to expect and what's expected of me.

  1. A significant proportion of our new questions get put on hold. Do you see this as a problem? If yes, what can we do to improve the situation?

No, this isn't a problem as long as the reasons for closure are sound. We do want to maintain a certain quality of questions that lead to good, clear answers. Questions that aren't clear about the problems and what the user needs to resolve those issues don't lead to good quality answers. The questions and answers here aren't only for the benefit of the individuals asking those questions - they're there for everyone following who may have the same problem in the future and are looking for a resolution.

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

Simply talk to the moderator in question and understand their reasoning for closing a question. I'd also look at flags/comments on the question to understand how users feel about the closure. I wouldn't assume that my own point of view is the only one, or the correct one.

  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'm absolutely fine with that. I'm aware of the impact of my words whether or not I have a diamond.

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

Being a moderator will allow me to more effectively support the community by removing excess baggage (flags, comments, spam) and clearing the way for people to do the great jobs that they do here.

  1. What is your take on the Hot Network Questions concept? Moderators are able to remove questions from Hot Network Questions, do you see yourself doing this often?

When needed, of course. Removing a question from HNQ doesn't mean that the question dies. There are, of course, questions that should be in HNQ as those bring external users to the site and encourages them to participate (and hopefully stay). So, I'd be happy to remove low quality HNQ questions, but allow high quality questions (or encourage the editing of HNQ questions to make them a lot better in terms of quality).

  1. (I'm taking this as an optional) Recently all our mods used OUR diamonds to protest things outside TWP that had zero to do with our community, leaving us without mods at one point. What will be your commitment to TWP if similar situations arise?

TWP wasn't left without any moderators at any time. As well as the serving moderators here (Lillienthal never stepped down), CM staff members and moderators from other sites helped to plug the gaps.

Our boss got fired, the network management (at the time) acted with little regard to transparency or recourse. A lot of moderators and a lot of users reacted strongly in not letting that action go uncontested. Things have changed since then, and hopefully things are better, more transparent, more interactive.

Answers to questions from ColleenV:

I'm glad that you're active again! I am interested to know what your thoughts are about the recent meta question How can we make the Workplace more welcoming to people in marginalized groups?. Is there an issue? How severe do you think it is? What do you think we should do about it (if anything)?

Thanks! Yes, this is a concern, both on this site and of course the wider world. The core of your question surrounds sexism, but the outcome and behaviour relates to many other kinds of discrimination (whether it's covert, overt, or unconscious in nature). Everyone on the Stack Exchange network deserves to be treated with respect and an attempt made to understand the underlying issues of any situation.

The severity of the issue is much the same as anywhere else. Many people conduct themselves with respect and understanding, some people would rather be "brutally honest" and display their cultural roots.

What can we do about it? Lead by being respectful.
What do we have problems with? Understanding context and meaning both from people commenting here on TWP and those third parties who are referenced in the original question - it's so easy to assume intent without really knowing. What can we do about that? Ask for clarification. If something is ambiguous, don't assume - ask!

Also, if it's not too personal, I would also like to know why you chose to delete your account instead of just to go inactive. I understand the emotional toll that participating during the fallout from 2019's events had for a lot of people, including myself, so feel free to ignore the question.

I was heavily involved in the events of late 2019, a lot of that was on Main Meta, and a lot of it was within the moderator spaces. Seeing what was happening and not being able to do anything about it weighed a lot on my mind, caused sleepless nights and affected my home life. Stepping away wasn't an option because it's so easy to request reinstatement - I really did need to impose something drastic to remove myself from the network and deleting my profiles enabled me to make that break and allowed me to heal. I feel a lot more settled in myself now that I've taken a year out.

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KILISI

We get a good amount of hot questions on provocative topics. Sometimes the questions seem so incredible that people question whether they are genuine. Sometimes the questions seem genuine but evoke strong negative reactions. Either way, these questions attract a lot of attention, comments, flags, and discussion in chat. How should questions like these be moderated?

I believe they should be judged on their merits, I don't see a problem with how we currently handle them. We already have troll filtering in place and a solid core user base that will quickly remove them even without mod intervention.

In your opinion, what is the biggest problem/challenge The Workplace is currently facing? How would you propose to solve it?

We don't have any huge internal issues, this is a solid site with good regulars. Issues we face tend to be from outside TWP. I'd ignore them and concentrate on this sites needs.

A user has been posting valuable content for a while but at the same time refuses to follow the site's guidelines with a consistent pattern of bad usage of comments, unkind if not rude remarks to other users, angry rants, etc. How would you handle such a user?

I have no problem with people having differing personalities and styles, it may be a cultural difference causing this perception in some, rather than any sort of malicious intent. And cultural diversity is critical for the health of this site. But if they do something too outrageous then they need a talking to.

There are two posts on meta that describe what it's like to be a moderator and what their daily activities are. Have they affected your decision to nominate yourself? Do those match your idea of what a moderator should be? Has anything in particular given you pause or made you think you'd approach things differently?

No.

A significant proportion of our new questions get put on hold. Do you see this as a problem? If yes, what can we do to improve the situation?

Most questions put on hold should be. But even one question being put on hold unnecessarily is a problem because it prevents a person getting the help they're asking for. Unsure what I would do about it as a mod (possibly nothing), I don't know what tools are available to ameliorate this. Currently the user base has long recognised this problem and works well together to discuss and reopen questions when necessary.

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

Probably just trust their judgement. If I felt strongly enough I'd talk to them about it.

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?

Diamonds on other peoples posts have never made a difference to me, so I assume that's true for the majority of users.

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

That would be something to find out. I already have the software-industry, interviewing, management, communication and professionalism gold badges. So I can already single-handedly do things others users cannot. None of our current or previous mods have these badges. I earned these privileges the hard way and rarely use them.

What is your take on the Hot Network Questions concept? Moderators are able to remove questions from Hot Network Questions, do you see yourself doing this often?

HNQ is not something that interests me much, I have never seen it as a big problem. In a discussion it was found that most of our valuable users originally came to the site through HNQ. It's a problem in some ways, an asset in others. On the whole I think it a positive force in our favour. Some posts should be removed perhaps, that would be a judgement call.

Colleens question:

How can we make the Workplace more welcoming to people in marginalized groups?

I don't think we have a problem with this because we already do our best to

Answer their questions

That's what people come here for, answers to problems. Anything else is largely irrelevant unless in the context of the question.

Lilienthals Question:

You previously were in favour of fixed terms for moderators, do you still feel the same?

Yes I do. It's a basic check and balance. I don't believe people should be elected to a position of responsibility for life. People change, priorities change, life is fluid. They should periodically have to reaffirm the user bases support and trust. Plus having a rest, going back to the coal face, seeing things from an enlightened third perspective without the responsibilities can be invigorating in many facets of life and work.

Anthonys Question:

As a moderator, would your background influence how you would moderate questions touching upon race / affirmative action / perceived discrimination?

Yes, having a multicultural, multilingual background will give me some insights. Most conflicts are misunderstandings caused by communication and cultural differences, which is something I have dealt with daily for a long time.

Masts Question:

Will becoming a moderator affect your posting activity in any such way? (tone)

Perhaps to some extent, I will have to ensure they are within the constraints of the mod requirements. But I would think this would be minimal.

Additional: TWP is mostly self-moderating in my opinion, there are a host of committed, intelligent and experienced people here. I don't view moderating as being much more than keeping things tidy.

We deal with peoples problems, not equations. To deal effectively with these we need a user base with a wide range of experience, and industry and cultural diversity. So some conflict is both expected and necessary. A light and empathizing hand is needed if there is any steering to be done. We deal with issues that can change peoples lives.

I don't know if it's critical for a mod team to have diversity itself, but I believe it important that we have a moderator with multicultural, multi-industry experience that makes it a primary focus because it is directly relevant to the quality and usefulness of answers.

My focus is on TWP. I know little and care less about issues within stack exchange. It's not my company.

TWP is specifically to do with the respectful discussion of Workplace issues, strategies and problem resolutions, anything else is irrelevant. It's not a venue for furthering agendas outside that context. We assume good intentions in the first instance as a matter of course here. If I'm voted in I will view all issues based on that premise.

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    These answers are exactly what I expect. No nonsense but fair, as a moderator should be. You have been around longer than I have and were a big help getting me started. Thanks for that. – Neo Mar 17 at 16:15
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    "how we currently handle them" - how is that? You mention talking to others a few times. What would you say? What would you do if they don't respond in the way you'd like? You say you don't know how you'll be more effective as a mod, and your answers give the impression that you don't have a great idea of what mods do. Why do you want to be one? Can you convince us that you would actually enjoy the day-to-day responsibilities of a mod? I ask to get a better idea of what you'll be like as a mod, although the terseness of these answers, and your posts, already gives some idea of that. – Bernhard Barker Mar 17 at 18:23
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    @BernhardBarker "your answers give the impression that you don't have a great idea of what mods do". That's unnecessarily rude, and hostile. That's not a question, it's an accusation – Old_Lamplighter Mar 18 at 17:22
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    @Old_Lamplighter I didn't read it as being hostile. It's just stating their reaction to the terseness of the answers. It is constructive to say "the way you've written this gives me this impression". If that impression is mistaken, then the author can take steps to correct it if they care to. – ColleenV Mar 18 at 18:03
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    @Old_Lamplighter It's an assumption based on what I've read that felt like necessary context to make the two questions I asked after that make sense. Reading between the lines, it could also be interpreted as an invitation for them to review their answers to avoid people getting that impression (if they feel it's an inaccurate impression). I did try to walk the line of being honest and constructive (and perhaps a little blunt) without being rude, but whether I actually did a good job of that is probably for others to judge. – Bernhard Barker Mar 18 at 18:11
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    @Kilisi Pretty much, yes, thanks. – Bernhard Barker Mar 18 at 18:57
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    I am an equal opportunity annoyance, and ask all the candidates the same question I asked Snow earlier: I am interested to know what your thoughts are about the recent meta question How can we make the Workplace more welcoming to people in marginalized groups?. Is there an issue? How severe do you think it is? What do you think we should do about it (if anything)? Kilisi, I know you've already answered the linked question, but if you do become a moderator and have more influence, does that change your answer in any way? – ColleenV Mar 18 at 20:36
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    You previously were in favour of fixed terms for moderators, do you still feel the same? – Lilienthal Mar 19 at 11:18
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    @Kilisi Clear, thanks for clarifying your stance! Do note that generally a moderator won't be stood down unless there are very severe issues of the sort that would likely prevent them from ever running for the position again. Resignation is a different matter of course. (General note: even when moderators go on extended hiatus they are not normally asked to relinquish the diamond but instead just mark themselves as inactive. The long-term inactivity policy was recently sharpened up though: What is the process regarding moderator inactivity removals?) – Lilienthal Mar 19 at 11:32
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    @Kilisi Indeed, sorry, I know you're aware, that's really just for the benefit of anyone else reading this later. Personally I would probably dodge the question by saying that absent a way to measure performance it's hard to do anything different here. The position isn't so much for life as it is for the duration that a moderator remains active. I suppose I'd answer that I believe the current systems and controls we have are sufficient. – Lilienthal Mar 19 at 12:58
  • (q.1) How does any SE site remove trolls? Don't trolls need to be first suspended by mods? From your answers it seems clear that you don't consider the role, the tools, the "power" and duties of a mod to have any significant weight. If the site can take care of itself, and you believe "talking" to a potential troublemaker (q.3) is suffice to resolve problematic behaviour, you're not the right person to hold this position. – Mari-Lou A Mar 22 at 12:24
  • q1 and q3 refer to the order of questions you answered. I missed out q2 because in your opinion there isn't a single large or imminent problem/challenge that is facing TWP, and I think you are probably right about that. – Mari-Lou A Mar 22 at 12:36
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    I don't vote on candidate questionnaires, but I want to let you know I appreciate your latest round of updates. – ColleenV Mar 22 at 13:23
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    Kilsi, if I remember, you are from a nation in the Asian Pacific Islands. On occasions there have been questions touching upon race / affirmative action / perceived discrimination. Generally these attract not always positive attention and can lead to bickering. I liked your tone to answers on these: following process, assuming good faith, and keeping a cool head. As a moderator, would your background influence how you would moderate these questions? – Anthony Mar 22 at 21:04
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    I've read a lot of your posts and have come to know you as a very no-nonsense user indeed. While I find your take (and tone) on some of the subjects very refreshing, I remember others taking offence at the bluntness at times. I also know a lot of highly active users tend to become more careful with what and how they post the moment they get elected. Will becoming a moderator affect your posting activity in any such way? – Mast Mar 23 at 18:43
6

Skooba


  1. We get a good amount of hot questions on provocative topics. Sometimes the questions seem so incredible that people question whether they are genuine. Sometimes the questions seem genuine but evoke strong negative reactions. Either way, these questions attract a lot of attention, comments, flags, and discussion in chat. How should questions like these be moderated?

All questions should be assumed to have been asked in good faith. It is not up to us to determine if a question is "genuine". The situation may have actually happened or may be a hypothetical and a question is seeking to understand what hypothetical outcomes may be. As long as the question follows the guidelines and is not closeable under our given reasons (and remember a close vote is not a super down vote) it should stand. Discussions surrounding the question should be moderated based on actions, i.e. if you break site rules the appropriate moderator actions shall be taken. If in the course of discussion/moderation it is determined the question was asked in bad faith then it will be handled differently and likely closed/removed.

  1. In your opinion, what is the biggest problem/challenge The Workplace is currently facing? How would you propose to solve it?

To be fair, I have not been active on The Workplace recently. In terms of shaping site policy I would need to do some research on historical data and decisions as well as consulting with moderators and high reputation users for a best course of action. I do not have all the answers, but as a collaborative team a solution that is beneficial can be found.

  1. A user has been posting valuable content for a while but at the same time refuses to follow the site's guidelines with a consistent pattern of bad usage of comments, unkind if not rude remarks to other users, angry rants, etc. How would you handle such a user?

No user, regardless of reputation, is above following the rules. This is especially true when it comes respectful discourse. I would warn the user either in a comment or chat and if the behavior continues they would be placed on a suspension. Incremental suspensions are useful in the regard as maybe the user just needs to take a step back for an hour and everyone deserves a second chance, but if the pattern continues longer suspensions can be given.

  1. There are two posts on meta that describe what it's like to be a moderator and what their daily activities are. Have they affected your decision to nominate yourself? Do those match your idea of what a moderator should be? Has anything in particular given you pause or made you think you'd approach things differently?

They have not affected my decision. I have nominated myself for other moderation positions in the past (all unsuccessfully). I am active in trusted user activities (on SFF) and handle as many reviews as I can on sites where I have sufficient reputation (mainly ELU and Lit). I believe I have what it takes to be a good moderator and judge posts without bias. The only thing I know that is out of my league is technical questions; I do not have a programming/IT background so when bugs or things of that nature come up I would have to defer to those who do.

  1. A significant proportion of our new questions get put on hold. Do you see this as a problem? If yes, what can we do to improve the situation?

The only problem is that it may drive away new users. However, if proper guidance and explanation is given the user will be able to improve their question have it reopened. There is a balance to get users who are interested in contributing quality to the site and just leaving the doors open to drive-by questions from users who never had intentions of returning.

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

The great thing about SE is that no one person can determine whether a question or answers survives. If there is enough consensus from user with sufficient reputation the problem can work itself out. If the question is locked due to mod action and those user cannot reopen and I feel it should be, then a meta post would be made or I would talk to the other moderator about it in chat to come a resolution. I would not change a moderation decision unless I spoke to them about it.

  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?

Just fine. Authority should not change the way a person acts. I see any activity on this site a as privilege. I comport myself in manner that will have my actions well received; if I couldn't behave as a regular user why should I be expected to change my behavior just because I have a diamond.

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

In the case of this site, for sure. Again, I know I am not the best candidate here. I doubt I would reach 10k or 20k for years. Being a moderator would allow me access to the tools. On the sites where I do have access to user moderator tools, I do not a difference in effectiveness. The desire to be a moderator is to give back to site that gives to me; take care of the garden so it gives you good food.

  1. What is your take on the Hot Network Questions concept? Moderators are able to remove questions from Hot Network Questions, do you see yourself doing this often?

HNQ allows people to see interesting topics in sites they normally would not. Overall I think it is good thing for the network. In the past couple years SE has made great strides in giving user more choices in how they interact with the HNQ. I do not see myself removing many questions from the HNQ and would probably only do so if something was egregiously wrong or there was an overall community consensus that the post is not HNQ appropriate.


CollenV's question from the comments:

I am interested to know what your thoughts are about the recent meta question How can we make the Workplace more welcoming to people in marginalized groups?. Is there an issue? How severe do you think it is? What do you think we should do about it (if anything)?

I don't expect many people have, but if you read my profile you will see that I am not a member of a marginalized group. As such I don't pretend to know what people experiencing racism or sexism are going through. Certainly there is an issue, but it is global. There are no easy answers or solutions; even those fighting for equality have different thoughts on how it should be done. On the internet this is even harder as we have very limited ways of verifying a user's identity (really we just have to take their word for it). As I said before I assume questions are asked in good faith and I also believe answers should be given the same benefit. The only thing I think we can do as a site or network is handle situations and flags as they arise.

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Michael's answers:

We get a good amount of hot questions on provocative topics. Sometimes the questions seem so incredible that people question whether they are genuine. Sometimes the questions seem genuine but evoke strong negative reactions. Either way, these questions attract a lot of attention, comments, flags, and discussion in chat. How should questions like these be moderated?

My personal view on this is that moderators have to be seen to provide a consistent and steadfast voice of reason during times like this, which means having to exercise their powers but also provide an explanation for their actions. However, they should also be guided by the community as to how they want these types of matters to be resolved in the long term. This is what I have been trying to do over at UXSE.

In your opinion, what is the biggest problem/challenge The Workplace is currently facing? How would you propose to solve it?

I think the way that the physical workplace is changing is impacting on the types of questions and discussions that we see here. To remain relevant and innovative, we should also start looking at more questions and answers for the virtual workplace. It might take more time and effort from the moderators, but we should also get the community more involved.

A user has been posting valuable content for a while but at the same time refuses to follow the site's guidelines with a consistent pattern of bad usage of comments, unkind if not rude remarks to other users, angry rants, etc. How would you handle such a user?

Start with some public comments to address their contribution and input, and then assess whether it needs to be escalated by private conversations and then consulting with other moderators before exercising the powers that we are given in accordance with the community guidelines.

There are two posts on meta that describe what it's like to be a moderator and what their daily activities are. Have they affected your decision to nominate yourself? Do those match your idea of what a moderator should be? Has anything in particular given you pause or made you think you'd approach things differently?

There are always edge cases but I was advised not to do anything too differently from what I would normally do when I was first given the privilege of moderating. I haven't found any reasons to work outside those duties and guidelines, and they have also been evolving as the Stack Exchange community has evolved.

A significant proportion of our new questions get put on hold. Do you see this as a problem? If yes, what can we do to improve the situation?

This is the same challenge we face over at UXSE, and significant effort has been invested to educate new contributors about the community, but I think diving a little bit deeper and understanding the root cause of the problem will help provide a better solution. On face value I would say that some of the mechanisms being introduced to improve the structure and content of the question has been helpful and we may need time to see the effects taking place.

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

I think establishing a good working relationship with other mods is the key. As I mentioned before, the existing moderators were helpful in providing guidance and advice, and it is also important to recognize that there will be difference in opinions and mechanisms to resolve them. The community doesn't care how the moderators operate as long as they are cohesive and consistent in performing their duties.

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?

It hasn't had any major effect on my position in the UXSE community, but that's because I have been involved in the community more significantly than I have been here. But at the end of the day if you are entrusted with the responsibility, you just have to do your best and the next moderator election will let you know if you've done enough :)

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

I think having a good standing in the community doesn't just mean having high rep points. There are many ways to be involved and most of the rep points come about from asking or answering trending questions. If you crunch the numbers differently, no one gets a pat on the back for having offered the most bounty, answering the tough questions no one wants to answer, or all the activities in the chats. But a moderator isn't there to earn points but to play a more active role in shaping the community and serving their needs.

What is your take on the Hot Network Questions concept? Moderators are able to remove questions from Hot Network Questions, do you see yourself doing this often?

I don't mind the concept as it is hard work going through all the questions and having to pull things out for the community attention, and this has been one effective mechanism. It is also good that moderators can remove questions from this list but I don't think it is something I will do too much less inappropriate or undesirable questions are getting more attention than other worthy questions.

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  • I am an equal opportunity annoyance, and ask all the candidates the same question I asked Snow earlier: I am interested to know what your thoughts are about the recent meta question How can we make the Workplace more welcoming to people in marginalized groups?. Is there an issue? How severe do you think it is? What do you think we should do about it (if anything)? – ColleenV Mar 18 at 20:34
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    My first thought was that we should have a more 'inclusive' group of moderators to help create the diversity and inclusivity from the top. But given the ratio of moderators to community members it is not an easy thing to do. However, there is a moderator council and more training and process in place these days on Stack Exchange community sites and the activity on this particular question in meta, I feel like things are moving in the right direction. Therefore, as a moderator I will continue to make sure that we keep the community on this course. – Michael Lai Mar 18 at 23:01
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EJoshuaS

We get a good amount of hot questions on provocative topics. Sometimes the questions seem so incredible that people question whether they are genuine. Sometimes the questions seem genuine but evoke strong negative reactions. Either way, these questions attract a lot of attention, comments, flags, and discussion in chat. How should questions like these be moderated?

The mere fact that a post is "controversial" is not necessarily a valid reason to remove it (unless it's so clearly argumentative that one couldn't possibly write a factual answer to it, or it's just an excuse for the OP to rant; in that case, the question should be closed as opinion-based).

Obviously, if there's a clear reason to think that the OP is trolling or otherwise deliberately stirring up controversy, that would be a different story; they should be warned to stop the behavior and eventually suspended if they persist.

I'm also a big proponent of editing where possible (vs. closing or deleting). If a question has an argumentative tone but there's a valid question "buried" in it, then just edit it.

In your opinion, what is the biggest problem/challenge The Workplace is currently facing? How would you propose to solve it?

The relationship with SE has been quite... challenging of late. (My display name obviously refers to one of the major recent controversies). I admittedly don't have that great of a solution to that, but I would really like to see more open communication between the moderators, community, and company.

A user has been posting valuable content for a while but at the same time refuses to follow the site's guidelines with a consistent pattern of bad usage of comments, unkind if not rude remarks to other users, angry rants, etc. How would you handle such a user?

Give them a warning. If they don't respond to warnings, a short suspension may be in order. (I would admittedly be reluctant to give them too long of a suspension, though).

There are two posts on meta that describe what it's like to be a moderator and what their daily activities are. Have they affected your decision to nominate yourself? Do those match your idea of what a moderator should be? Has anything in particular given you pause or made you think you'd approach things differently?

No, these didn't really influence me either way.

A significant proportion of our new questions get put on hold. Do you see this as a problem? If yes, what can we do to improve the situation?

That's not just a problem here - it's also a big problem on Stack Overflow. While I obviously don't particularly enjoy downvoting or closing someone's question, the alternative is worse. Stack Exchange sites really do need to have high quality standards in order to avoid devolving into being just another discussion forum where you have to wade through tons of me too! comments and thread hijacking just to find the one piece of information you were looking for in the first place.

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

I wouldn't - moderators should be very careful about unilaterally overriding a different moderator's decision (and especially about criticizing another moderator's decision in public). I would address it with them privately. Even better, if there's some kind of "underlying" issue (e.g. with the clarity of site scope), a community member should bring that to Meta so that we can reach a community consensus on the issue.

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'm fine with 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?

The ability to handle flags, for one thing. Also, as a community member, I really have no way to "directly" address problem behavior (other than flagging, closing, or downvoting the relevant content).

What is your take on the Hot Network Questions concept? Moderators are able to remove questions from Hot Network Questions, do you see yourself doing this often?

I think it's great, honestly. It drives a lot of traffic to the site. It also helps people to be aware of interesting content from around the network that they otherwise might not have been aware of.

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