The following is a "digest" version of the November 2011 Moderator Election Town Hall Chat #2. The format, as described on Meta Stack Overflow, is one answer to this question for every question asked in the Town Hall, containing all the candidate's answers to that question.

Be sure to also check out the digest from the earlier session.

To view the digest chronologically, please sort the answers by "oldest".

If you have questions or comments about this, please do not answer this question as the answers are designed to be used for the questions from the Town hall itself. Instead, please ask on the parent question or in the Town Hall Discussion Room.

If you see any corrections which need to be made to this digest, or if you were a candidate who was unable to attend the town hall and would like your answers included, please @Rebecca or @TimStone in the chat room and let us know!

42 Answers 42


Mr. Disappointment Mr. Disappointment asked: With some of your actions no longer going through an 'authoritative filter', what influence do you think this will have, if any, on your speed of decision making?

minitech minitech answered: None. (I never make decisions like that based on personal issues.)

Neal Neal answered: Not much

genesis genesis answered: "Measure Twice, Cut Once". I would consider the action twice before doing so.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: It will just influence the actions for which other users can act on, and for which I would wait for any response from other users.

casperOne casperOne answered: My decision making might be slightly impacted. As a moderator, one has to be aware of the impact of their decisions. That doesn't mean I'd make my decisions out of haste. The impact of being a moderator will always factor into my decisions.

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: I will be more deliberate in my actions, because I won't be able to defer to the community on close or delete votes to see if others agree with my thoughts.

BoltClock BoltClock answered: I'll be more cautious with my close and delete votes depending on the situation, and only cast if I'm 100% sure something has to be closed or isn't worth keeping.

awoodland awoodland answered: My current actions are mostly via votes (flags are effectively votes that moderators set the bar on). That means if I'm not sure a "vote/flag" is implicitly a question to others with similar or greater voting powers. Without that ability to seek a consensus my actions would be reduced to the cases where there is far less doubt involved.

Moshe Moshe answered: I'm sure that my answer to this will be change based on experience. At first I'll start slowly, but as I become more comfortable, I'll move faster.


Adam Davis Adam Davis asked: As the site has grown the community has chosen to become more exclusionary in their approach to poor questions. Do you see the site as more or less approachable, and more or less fun than when you started? Is the current level of exclusion and fun appropriate, or do you feel it would be good to nudge it in one direction or another?

Neal Neal answered: Yes, it has become much more serious than even one year ago. I am not sure what one mod can do about that, but I can try.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: It is as fun as it was before. Poor questions don't make the site funnier.

casperOne casperOne answered: I don't think exclusion of someone who genuinely wants to participate and be part of our community in any form is acceptable. I don't like how SO is becoming more exclusionary. We can change that however, with better approaches towards those that we feel "shouldn't" be here to make them valued members of the community.

Barry Barry answered: It is less forgiving than it used to be. I think it needs to cut some people some slack - especially new users. A gentle nudge in the right direction (FAQ, editing questions/answers) not just straight closing everything. If posts get closed yes they can be reopened but I don't feel it's immediately clear to new users.

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: At the risk of being a spoilsport, the primary mission of Stack Overflow is not to have fun, but to help people find solutions to their problems. There are plenty of outlets for jokes, cartoons, etc. on the Internet, and Stack Overflow doesn't need to be another one. I think the recent quality filters and other improvements have done a great job in managing incoming content quality.

Stu Thompson Stu Thompson answered: It's not as fun as it used to be when I started, but those days where filled with self-selected interested coders who were exploring a new land of J&J's creation. Now the that the roads are not only defined, but pathed with ample sign posts, the community needs everyone to accept the now formalized rules of the road. All this development has given SO users outlets for their 'fun' needs, including a sandbox for the kids (chat).

awoodland awoodland answered: I don't think it's any less approachable for users who ask good questions (they're still well received). I think it might be less approachable to users who don't ask good question - the key thing here is that they're fed appropriate constructive advice. Good questions are fun questions in my view - "fix this code I've not shown you" or "do my job for me" aren't fun.

awoodland awoodland continued: I think the appropriate direction to take would be better feedback in the case of well intentioned, but poorly executed questions (and answers) from new users.


Tim Post Tim Post asked Brad Larson : How much time (daily) do you have to devote to janitorial tasks?

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: In the range of 2-4 hours, scattered throughout the day, with interruptions from occasional commitments like conferences and other events. I have a fairly flexible work schedule, given our small company.


casperOne casperOne asked genesis : What do you think of all the criticism you've received due to your past behavior? Is it fair or not?

genesis genesis answered: It is fair. I have done a lot of mistakes before, I have admitted it. I'm trying to chang as I'm being older on Stack Exchange and trying to make the site better place to stay

  • casperOne casperOne countered: Do you feel they are truly mistakes? Many people say it was intentional.

    genesis genesis responded: You have to trust me, no mistake I have done here wasn't an intentional. I am not even sure why would I want to do that

    quantumSoup quantumSoup questioned: You have received a lot of criticism from a few users in particular. How would that affect your moderation when it comes to posts made these users?

    genesis genesis responded: I would be more careful (and I'm) (and even more when moderating) after these accidents and I would firstly learn from my mistakes.

  • These answers are very hard to understand. How can we elect a moderator who can't write clear sentences in English? I understand there is a language barrier and I'm sympathetic, but there is no denying this would be an issue. – theChrisKent Nov 17 '11 at 16:40

random random asked: New users now have to register to ask on SO. Was this a good idea or the greatest idea ever? What other measures might help SO from getting reamed so violently and so often?

casperOne casperOne answered: Greatest idea ever? Perhaps you'd want to make that "Greatest idea ever on SO" =) I run an SO clone and I've found registration through OpenID/OA to be invaluable in keeping out spam. It is a small price to ask people to pay to maintain the general health of the community.

casperOne casperOne continued: However, I do feel that becoming an identity provider puts strain on the development team, because now, security and attacks on that security are additional burdens they have to deal with. I trust in them, but less burdens there are, the more they can focus on other issues.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: It was necessary. It could not have been the greatest idea, but it would have been a worse idea not to take any action.

genesis genesis answered: It was a good idea, I think. There were many people which have been using this to spam the site

BoltClock BoltClock answered: I cannot think of a single disadvantage to this. I'd always thought not requiring any registration in any form was a backdoor to spam, if not a front door (as well-defended SO is against spam...).

Neal Neal answered: I think it was a good idea. and renaming adds flavorr ^_^

Moshe Moshe answered: I personally hate the idea of collecting logins on every website that I visit, but enforcing OpenID login here provides some sort of necessary accountability. What do you mean by "reamed so violently"?

awoodland awoodland answered: This looks like it was a good move from what I've seen. I might be in favour of some kind of "question purgatory" for first questions which could be handled by comparatively low rep users for a rep bonus, but I'm not too sure on that one. I definitely don't favour a two-tier system as has been proposed on meta a few times in the past

NullUserException ఠ_ఠ NullUserException ఠ_ఠ answered: Considering the policy change came after I suggested a change in that direction, I think it's a good idea. My reasoning behind it is in the aforementioned suggestion.


Xeon06 Xeon06 asked: If you do not get elected to this election for any reason, do you plan on entering the next?

Neal Neal answered: For sure ^_^

genesis genesis answered: Sure I would try to do so.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: Yes. I think I can contribute, and I would try the next elections.

Barry Barry answered: Yes

casperOne casperOne answered: Yes sir! It's a great experience. I (obviously) wasn't elected last election, and I've come to appreciate the moderator position more in that time; last election, I just "threw my hat in the ring", this time, I'm all out.

BoltClock BoltClock answered: For me, as much as I want to, I can't admit much honestly - it depends on what happens in the next year. Private personal issues to deal with, and such.

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: It depends on if I still feel that I would be able to help in the position. I ran last time and didn't make it past the primaries, yet I looked at it and still felt like I could take some of the load off of the existing moderators. I'm still content helping out as a non-moderator by acting as a 20k user and flagging, voting to close, and voting to delete bad content.

Moshe Moshe answered: Yes.

Stu Thompson Stu Thompson answered: If not elected, I'd only enter the next election if the pool of available candidates was equally as select as this election. Being a moderator is not something I'd actively considered or desired until discovering that SO considered my a viable candidate. It sounds mushy, but I've been flattered by the support I've received so far.

awoodland awoodland answered: If I don't get elected my views on the site won't change. I'd probably re-run baring some major change


Shog9 Shog9 asked: Philosophical question: editing to correct flaws in other user's answers: merely admirable, or worthy of a medal?

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: It's worth a badge.

Neal Neal answered: I think its admirable. Whose to say that those corrections are correct? :-D

casperOne casperOne answered: Depends on the flaw. Remember, we are never supposed to make an edit which changes the intent. Assuming that the change is not to change the intent, it's always admirable. Whether or not it's worthy of the badge depends on the quality of the edit (adding a missing semi-colon to the end of some C# code is not worthy of a badge, but admirable). In short, always admirable, sometimes worthy of a badge.

genesis genesis answered: I do not think that it would be admirable. I'm correcting other's answers, if possible, to help them, not to get medals. If the flaws are in grammar/spelling, they should be edited, not otherwise, not to change the intention

BoltClock BoltClock answered: Most of such edits that I commit would be too minor to deserve a real reward IMO. Those that do would be too substantial and could potentially change the meaning of posts, which is something I'd rather not deal with.

awoodland awoodland answered: Depends how big the flaw was - I wouldn't edit to correct a major flaw (that would be changing the meaning of the answer in my view). I'd probably comment and vote with a view to changing the vote once the flaw was corrected if it was major

slugster slugster answered: Worthy of a medal once enough has been done. The badge is to reward consistent behaviour, without it people would be less inclined to be admirable for long periods of time :)


random random asked: Another mod spends their time on the site just answering questions, rarely touching flags and only closing when it happens to be something they come across while looking for more things to answer. How would you oust them from a position they're clearly not interested in?

Neal Neal answered: Have a meeting of the minds with them and find out what is going on

Barry Barry answered: Send them a chat message in the Mod Chat room and ask them why they are answering questions all the time instead of moderating. No point in cloak and daggers when you can just ask them outright. Ask them if they want to carry on with their moderator duties.

Moshe Moshe answered: Mention it to them first in private (Mod chat or email), try to clarify, perhaps encourage them to be more involved. Then I'd let other the senior mods deal with it.

casperOne casperOne answered: It's not up to me to oust him. It's up to the community. Make a case in meta; bring up a suggestion on how to address those kinds of moderators as a feature request. Being an MVP, I'm used to having to retain responsibilities; it's not something you achieve once and then you are forever an MVP, we are re-evaluated every year for the award.

BoltClock BoltClock answered: I could try to talk to them about it, but if any real action needs to be taken I leave it to the other mods.

awoodland awoodland answered: I don't think it's particularly my place to "oust" anyone. I hope that the answer to "who will mod the mods?" would lead to more senior people (e.g. SE employees) spotting such things

slugster slugster answered: You need to raise it with them first, remind them that modding is a duty and responsibility, not just the ultimate badge. You then discuss your concerns with the other mods. If enough agree then you can form a witch-burning mob and.... ask them to step down.


quantumSoup quantumSoup asked: Say you are elected, but due to unforeseen circumstances, you ca no longer dedicate enough to moderation. Do you resign?

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: Yes.

Moshe Moshe answered: Yes.

Neal Neal answered: Yes.

Barry Barry answered: Yes. If you know that you can't dedicate enough time that is required then you should resign. Another person can be elected and take the work load. If you were doing a good job you can always nominate yourself again in another election (providing you can dedicate enough time of course)

casperOne casperOne answered: Yes, if I cannot perform the responsibilities delegated to me because of other circumstances, then I'd resign, and I'd do it graciously, content that I was able to help while I could.

genesis genesis answered: Sure. I do not think that it would happen though, until I have some serious problems with the school

BoltClock BoltClock answered: Yes, and I do my best to explain why if circumstances permit me to do so, in order to be accountable.

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: Of course. It's not helpful to occupy a post that you're no longer capable of acting on. This can help the site administrators better know when to run new elections.

awoodland awoodland answered: That would depend on how long term and how low the lack of dedication would be, but I think it would be the right thing to do for long term low activity


quantumSoup quantumSoup asked: You find out that a fellow moderator is possibly engaging in questionable behavior, like having sockpuppets upvoting their posts. How do you handle the situation?

Neal Neal answered: Again. meeting of the minds. private chat to see what is going on.

genesis genesis answered: I would discus it with the other mods, and with the mod which has the sock puppet account. I do not think this is even possible to happen

Barry Barry answered: Check it out and if they are, contact the team and let them know. Banning them won't work as they are moderator. by team I mean team@stackoverflow.com

casperOne casperOne answered: Again, bring it up in meta; meta is the perfect venue for these types of actions. One of the reasons it exists is to ask what to do when we don't know what to do.

  • quantumSoup quantumSoup asked casperOne: So you would publicly expose the mod?

    casperOne casperOne answered: Not in meta, at first, plenty of people's actions have been questioned in meta without exposing the person themselves. If the discussion in meta showed a resolution, then I'd enact it as a mod, referencing the original discussion in meta.

BoltClock BoltClock answered: Report it to the other mods and the team immediately.

awoodland awoodland answered: Avoiding a confrontation here would be best. that probably means an email to 'team@', although a private chat might be appropriate if possible

slugster slugster answered: Treat them the same as any other user, they shouldn't get preferential treatment in this area just because they are a mod. But having said that, I would expect a mod to be of good character and not engage (or even need to engage) in that sort of behaviour.


NullUserException ఠ_ఠ NullUserException ఠ_ఠ asked: There are 20+ candidates and 4 slots. Why should I elect you instead of someone else? What do you bring to the table the others don't?

casperOne casperOne answered: I'll defer to my answer given last night: November 2011 Moderator Election - Town Hall Chat Digest #1 =)

Moshe Moshe answered: I'm great with grammar and spelling, and, I enjoy editing.


Tim Cooper Tim Cooper asked genesis and minitech: Being two of the youngest candidates (under 18), do you feel that there could be age discrimination towards yourselves that could hinder your ability to moderate?

genesis genesis answered: Sure there could. I think however, that I would be able to handle that.

minitech minitech answered: Age discrimination? For sure. However, I don't believe it would hinder anyone's ability to moderate. I don't intend to start any fights with anyone, and I'll show people that age is no problem by making good moderation decisions.


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