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In connection with the Stack Overflow moderator elections, we will be holding a Q&A with the candidates. This will be an opportunity for members of the community to pose questions to the candidates on the topic of moderation. Participation is completely voluntary.

The purpose of this thread was to collect questions for the questionnaire. The questionnaire is now live, and you may find it here.

Here's how it'll work:

  • During the nomination phase, (so, until Monday, February 17th at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 3:00 pm EST on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.

  • We, the Community Team, will be providing a small selection of generic questions. The first two will be guaranteed to be included, the latter ones are if the community doesn't supply enough questions. This will be done in a single post, unlike the prior instruction.

  • This is a perfect opportunity to voice questions that are specific to your community and issues that you are running into at current.

  • At the end of the phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions. We reserve some editorial control in the selection of the questions and may opt not to select a question that is tangential or irrelevant to moderation or the election. That said, if I have concerns about any questions in this fashion, I will be sure to point this out in comments before the decision making time.

  • Once questions have been selected, a new question will be opened to host the actual questionnaire for the candidates, containing 10 questions in total.

  • This is not the only option that users have for gathering information on candidates. As a community, you are still free to, for example, hold a live chat session with your candidates to ask further questions, or perhaps clarifications from what is provided in the Q&A.

If you have any questions or feedback about this new process, feel free to post as a comment here.

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closed as off-topic by nicael, Martijn Pieters, Al E., random, Shadow Wizard Sep 28 at 14:53

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question pertains only to a specific site in the Stack Exchange Network. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should pertain to our network or software that drives it as a whole, within the guidelines defined in the help center. You should ask this question on the meta site where your concern originated." – nicael, Martijn Pieters, Al E., random, Shadow Wizard
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

11  
Is this in lieu of the town hall events of previous elections? –  Pëkka Feb 10 at 20:11
5  
@Pekka Yep, though that's not to stop people from organizing a chat session. –  Grace Note Feb 10 at 20:13
1  
"Did somebody ask you to run?" –  Uphill Luge Feb 11 at 0:23
7  
Chris Hansen walks in... - 'Why don't you have a seat over there?' –  PW Kad Feb 11 at 2:13
7  
Do I have a better chance to win if I smoke crack? –  Rob Ford Feb 11 at 22:52
5  
Why yes, @RobFord! Your willingness to stand against narcotics oppression is a sure strength in this candidacy. –  remus Feb 12 at 7:27
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@Andomar One could ask a question about what the candidate is inwardly enthusiastic about. Quite a few of the runs of this Q&A on others sites on the network feature questions like "What is the one big thing you wish you could change?" or "What do you feel is the most pressing topic?". –  Grace Note Feb 13 at 18:22
7  
Can we not do this again? Next time, let's just create an "ask-the-candidates" tag and let folks post genuine questions, instead of abusing the platform like this. The candidates could actually post genuine answers then. –  Robert Harvey Feb 16 at 23:38
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brb, flagging every answer as not an answer. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Feb 17 at 1:46
1  
Ah, then I misunderstood. Yeah, then I'm in favour of having a tag (maybe a mod-only tag that only questions with +5 votes can get?) –  Pëkka Feb 17 at 2:02
1  
So if you're using Meta to host the election for SO, I guess that means the MSO/MSE split is postponed till after the election? –  TRiG is Timothy Richard Green Feb 17 at 11:26

76 Answers 76

  • Which of the least-moderated but still popular tags would you bring experience to?

I tried to create a query using this start point: http://data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/query/148022/moderator-downvotes-this-month , but got stuck on splitting the tags in a post. Could someone help if this is a popular question?

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1  
Moderators aren't elected to bring domain knowledge to the table. Moderators tasks are specifically designed to not require domain knowledge. –  Servy Feb 17 at 18:17

Do you help those users who are struggling to articulate their questions?

Meaning English language is not native for most of the users, how do you help them? and have you improved any post before ?

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What strategies would you recommend for creating canonical FAQs / wiki answers to mitigate the ever-present problem of people asking similar-but-not-identical questions, where the poster may not see the similarity with other potential duplicates (or not find it with a cursory search)?

I'm talking about cases where people ask a specific question about a generalised problem, but we don't have a good candidate to merge to which the OP will understand is a generalisation of their problem

This is something I see a lot of on tags i'm active in, including facebook-* where many first-time programmers are trying to hack together examples using sample code or documentation and are encountering problems because they don't understand the code they're working with

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4  
This is generally a problem that users within a given tag community need to resolve, rather than an issue for moderators. It is up to the users to provide high quality canonical answers (and high quality canonical questions to go with them, if they don't come up naturally) rather than site moderators. –  Servy Feb 10 at 21:49
2  
Fair point, but I think moderators taking an interest in such strategies and initiatives improves the overall site quality significantly –  Igy Feb 10 at 21:57

In your opinion is it more important for a moderator to have:

  • a broader shallower knowledge and try to spread their time across more categories of questions
  • a deeper narrower knowledge and spending most of their time in that domain only.
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Do you think giving permanent bans is okay? Maybe you think everybody has to have always one more chance?

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A moderator's job is not easy, how do you expect to balance moderating two (or more) StackExchange sites efficiently? Wouldn't it be better to only allow a user to moderate one site?

If you aren't already a moderator, what are your thoughts on the statement below.

A user should not be allowed to moderate more than one stack exchange site.

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1  
To put this in perspective, Stack Overflow probably raises more flags every day than all other SE sites combined. –  Robert Harvey Feb 17 at 1:54
2  
Moderators and the Stack Exchange team are the only people who can judge meaningfully whether being a mod on multiple sites is doable or not. I don't see the point in everyone else discussing it. –  Pëkka Feb 17 at 2:03

What makes you think you can be a good moderate, I mean any thing other than reputation, helpful flags, etc. What if you lose your interest at some point; How will you deal with that situation.

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2  
Please don't use code formatting for non-code. –  ThiefMaster Feb 17 at 9:13

How would you propose improving the question system to better promote quality answers and reduce the number of 'white noise' questions?

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4  
You don't need to be a mod to make such a proposal. If any of the candidates knew of some magic bullet to effectively promote quality answers and reduce the number of low quality questions I would seriously hope they'd suggest it on meta regardless of whether they become a mod or not. Of course, such magic bullets are very hard to come up with, so them not having an answer would generally be expected, in my mind. –  Servy Feb 11 at 14:29
1  
Yes, and that's why I'm posting a comment explaining the problems with the question; to help inform future readers of why they shouldn't upvote this post. Saying that the community will vote on posts doesn't mean we aren't allowed to discuss our opinions of the question, or how useful it is. –  Servy Feb 11 at 14:43
  • What is your goal as a moderator?
  • Why do you require special privileges to attain it?
  • What is lacking in your current status?

The above can be combined in the following loaded question:

Assuming that each moderator wannabe expects to produce positive effect to SO community, what will your contribution be and why can't you do the same in your current status without additional privileges?

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2  
Split these up. Otherwise which one are we voting for? –  random Feb 11 at 21:57
2  
@random - I actually consider my post as a single (obviously loaded) question. In my mind these questions are inter-dependent. I will post the clarification. –  PM 77-1 Feb 12 at 18:50

Do you see yourself more as a person who specializes in one (or a few) specific topics, and will spend the majority of your time there, or someone who consistently moves around different topics, and offers help and guidance (be it programming, or SE use) across the board?

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What will you not do when you will be Moderator?

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2  
Incredibly vague question. –  Robert Harvey Feb 16 at 23:37

Would you spend some of your reputation on bounties to encourage others to provide good solutions, or to reward existing answers?

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2  
This is not part of a moderator's duties. –  Robert Harvey Feb 16 at 5:25
2  
@RobertHarvey I know it isn't, it's just for personality analysis purposes. –  Omar Feb 16 at 8:14

Someone whom you did not like in the past or who might have opposed to your comments/answers earlier, would that by any means influence his profile - deleting posts, flags, down votes?

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7  
Anyone who answered "revenge!" or similar should be disqualified on sheer stupidity –  Richard Tingle Feb 11 at 12:55
1  
Yea but it would be interesting to know what answer does one give to this. Anyways this is gonna be diplomatic! –  Janak Feb 12 at 6:17

If you were given the position of moderating Stack Overflow, what would your short, long, and stretch goals be for yourself as a person, yourself as a moderator, and Stack Overflow as a community?

To rephrase,

You will most likely find yourself learning as you go. How will you measure (from the experience of being a moderator) your personal development, your community contributions, and community development in the future?

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What is the Goal of “Hot Network Questions”?

what the heck we are actually trying to achieve...

The list of questions from a variety of sites is in a great location screen-wise, it is readily accessible and does get a lot of eyes on it. But as with any marketing, the goal isn't just to grab eyes, it's to grab the right eyes...

So what are the right eyes? What type of people do we want to attract to our site? What would we determine as 'success'? How can we measure that success?

Please do not limit yourself to the very narrowly scoped topic above. Think outside the box if you'd like. On every page across the network we have a nice piece of real estate for showing off the rest of the network. How can that space best be used if not on a list of questions picked by an arbitrary algorithm?

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1  
Is this really something that matters on SO? –  ben is uǝq backwards Feb 10 at 20:26
4  
But is it really something that should matter to a moderator? They have no say in "political" decisions concerning the site (Edit: ah, I guess they may be able to influence the formula.) –  Pëkka Feb 10 at 20:28
1  
On any other site I'd agree @gnat, but SO has 6.7 million visits a day... a hundred thousand people arriving from the rest of the network would barely be noticed. –  ben is uǝq backwards Feb 10 at 20:31
2  
@benisuǝqbackwards But those 6.7 million visits are spread out over many millions of questions, leaving the views per question (over the span of a day or so) reasonably low. It's the concentration of so many views in such a short span of time on a single question that causes problems. –  Servy Feb 10 at 20:37
1  
@benisuǝqbackwards I would agree that it only really "ruins" a few questions, but how many really benefit? (And by how much?) If the feature as a whole has a net harmful effect, even if it's only a little bit harmful, it's still harmful. –  Servy Feb 10 at 20:39
5  
The truth is the SO Guys think they are more important than the rest of the SE and that our problems over there are irrelevant and SE is wasting resources that could be better spent on SO. –  Chad Feb 10 at 21:55

How well do you know Stack Overflow:

  • How many questions are on SO?
  • How many would you estimate have you read?
  • How many questions has an experienced SO user read?
  • How does this influence your moderation style?
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4  
Could you break this up into separate answers please? Lets folks vote on the ones they like. –  Shog9 Feb 11 at 3:34
8  
@Shog9 none of those fits in my opinion. It's not meant as a quiz for the future moderators. –  Shadow Wizard Feb 11 at 15:12
2  
The trivia test is pointless, but I don't think the tail end is a bad question...as it gets to "how much are you biased by statistics in your handling of moderation issues; where are your bias points, if they exist?". Kind of makes me wonder if there's a place for moderators who have less information; like they have to make calls on issues without being able to see the names, avatars, previous questions, or rep scores... –  HostileFork Feb 12 at 6:25

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