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2023 Moderator Election

nomination began
Oct 24, 2023 at 20:00
election began
Nov 7, 2023 at 20:00
election cancelled
Nov 7, 2023 at 20:00
candidates
2
positions
3

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

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

Our general criteria for moderators are as follows:

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

Every election has three phases:

  1. Nomination
  2. Primary
  3. Election

Please participate in the moderator elections by voting - this is a small site, so your vote really does matter - and perhaps even by nominating yourself to be a community moderator!

Additional Links

Questionnaire
The community team has compiled questions from meta for the candidates to answer.
  1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

[Answer 1 here]

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

[Answer 2 here]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

[Answer 4 here]

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

[Answer 5 here]

MadHatter

I'm Tom Yates, your other current pro tem moderator. I'm standing for re-election firstly because I'm a dyed-in-the-wool fan of free software, I object when people spin FUD about it, and this is a good way for me to help bring clarity to the understanding of how free software works and can be used; and secondly, I'm standing because the past four years have been OK, and I think I've done a reasonable job.

You can read my candidate statement from the last time I was elected, if you want to; I stand by that.

Questionnaire
  1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

I don't recall as this has happened during my tenure. We've had lots of users who produce valuable answers (yaay you lot!), and the odd user who causes lots of flags, but they've not yet been the same person, as far as I can recall. I note, also, that it takes two to argue, so I'm suspicious of the question's assumption that a user can single-handedly generate an argument. When two or more people seem keen to have a lengthy discussion in a comments field, I'm generally a big fan of the polite request to desist, and the transfer of a thread wholesale to chat (either at the time or after the dust has settled).

A single user can definitely act like a flaming idiot, and in those cases a polite public request or two followed by a firmer private approach coupled with a short ban would likely be my preferred course of action. But it's never yet got that far for me.

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

Again, I don't recall this happening to me. I think all your current and previous mods have been fairly gentle with the "mod hammer", except when the question is prima facie off-topic ("Can you help with me with my Microsoft licensing issue...").

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

We are human exception handlers. We step in when the normal voting mechanisms won't resolve an issue sufficiently quickly, or on those odd occasions when an outcome other than closure / deletion is needed. (Polite hint: you should all vote more. Except Mureinik, who should be proud!)

  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 don't think I've shamed my diamond so far, and I'm cautiously confident that I won't do so if I get to keep it.

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

Despite what the question implies and the site baldly states, there are quite a lot of tools that are only available to actual moderators, and although I don't use them often, sometimes they can be really helpful in reaching a decision about a course of action.


There was a late-arriving question on the Meta collection that I won't specifically answer, because I think that's against the spirit of the election process, but it raises an issue that I think is worthy of comment when it asks about the extent to which site management causes community problems, so I will briefly speak to that.

I'm not ecstatic about the way site management drives by and lays down the law from time to time. It's always done with great courteousness and patience, but it still happens. I don't begrudge the site owners the ability to make money off what the community does here, but I actively begrudge them the power to change what we do, or how we do it, in the interests of making more money - or for any other reason, however well-intentioned.

I used to be an active member of ServerFault, but I no longer frequent it because site management drove the site away from the direction its community and leadership, backed by specific moderator election pledges, wanted it to take. I think we are lucky on this site in that generally this doesn't happen, because we are generally a highly-civilised bunch, but I resent it every time it happens, patience and courtesy notwithstanding. I'm content to be bound by a policy with which I personally disagree, but it should come up from the membership, not down from the gods.

apsillers

Hi, I'm Andrew Sillers, a current pro tem moderator from the site's days in beta. I'm running for reelection because I want to see this site continue to be a source of information for FLOSS veterans and newcomers alike. I strive to be patient, welcoming, and curious in resolving disputes, to ensure everyone who wants to be a member of this site feels welcome doing so.

Questionnaire
  1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

There are two concerns I can think of under this category of problem, which I think ought to be differentiated: the user's comments may be (1) rude and/or (2) not constructively critical of the post's content. If the user's arguments are actually meaningful criticism of the Q&A they comment on, that's a meritorious thing for a user to do -- comments are meant to be a means to improve questions and answers! But if their comments are rude or aggressive in a way that violates Stack Exchange's standards for acceptable conduct, then I would first remind the user about our standards, and later, have to suspend the user if they persist.

Ultimately, I'd hope to kindly instruct the user that their criticisms, when valid and well-expressed, are a welcome part of the life of the site, but also recognize that their continued participation here hinges on their ability to do so politely.

On the other hand, if the comments are not Q&A-relevant and somehow voluminous to the point of raising multiple flags, I would hope the situation could be resolved by simply asking them to avoid writing pages of largely-irrelevant comments and save comments for actual concerns about the Q&A content. (Again, if they truly failed to slow down after a few reminders, it might be necessary to suspend them, but this scenario sounds unlikely to me.)

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

I would first privately talk to the other moderator in chat, and see if we can make a clarifying edit to the question that we can both agree is on-topic. When two moderators disagree on whether a question is on-topic, I find that it's usually because they disagree about what, exactly, the question is asking. But if we both agreed on the precise aim of the question and still couldn't agree if that falls in or out of scope for the site, then I think that ambiguity merits a discussion on Meta about whether or not the community wants to admit the question.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators oversee the enforcement of site scope by closing and removing content that isn't on-topic for the site, and they mediate disputes between users, by reminding users about (and, rarely, punitively enforcing) baseline standards for kind and constructive discussion. As the most visible members of the site, they also lead by example to set the site's tone in how to greet new users and talk through differing perspectives.

  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?

As a moderator of 5+ years, I feel very comfortable with this. :)

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

As someone with longtime knowledge of the site's scope and norms, I am able to more effectively help the site by immediately closing unambiguously off-topic questions and moving extensive, non-constructive discussions to chat. I still defer to the community in many matters, such as deciding if similar questions are true duplicates.

1

This election is over.