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


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.


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.


NullUserException ఠ_ఠ NullUserException ఠ_ఠ asked: All of you have amassed a fairly large amount of reputation. If you are elected, how are you going to balance your time between posting answers and moderating?

Neal Neal answered: I do not plan on posting as much. But when It comes to it I believe that if I see a great question that needs answering, i will post. otherwise i would stay on with mod duty

genesis genesis answered: Handling moderator duties would be the first thing I would do.

casperOne casperOne answered: Moderator duties come first. My current actions lean mostly towards editing, etc (I just moved 100+ entries from the ASP tag to ASP.NET or ASP-CLASSIC for example). However, the pursuit of rep is not important to me at this point (as stated in my nomination), so moderator duties come first.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: My time for answering to questions will not change, but moderating will not become my predominant task.

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: See my previous answer for more, but I don't post many answers nowadays and instead focus on cleaning things up. Reputation no longer has the same draw for me as it once did, and I care more about maintaining the site as a great resource.

minitech minitech answered: I wouldn't devote less time to answering questions, just more time to moderating. I have plenty of time.

Stu Thompson Stu Thompson answered: I don't feverishly answer questions like I did in the early days. The FGITW behavior annoys me. I tend to comb through older questions and answer them. That's the same time when I clean stuff up with edits, comments and the occasional flag.

awoodland awoodland answered: My posting activities would shift towards answering older, unanswered questions, or questions where the current answers were lacking and I have specific knowledge that would be benificial

Moshe Moshe answered: As I answered @MrDisappontment, I'd probably spend larger amounts of time moderating than asking/answering. Moderating is a responsibility, but also a privilege - which I'd like to take advantage of, given the opportunity.


studiohack studiohack asked: A fellow mod gets called out by an irate user on Meta. How do you handle the situation? Ignore the situation? Lend your support? Or?

Neal Neal answered: Try to lend support and see what the situation is. if it was blatant then I might act differently

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I try to intermediate, if it is possible.

genesis genesis answered: I would like to get some knowledge about the situation and afterwards, I would try to help

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: Usually, I've found that the moderator in question can defend themselves quite well in these situations. If I could provide another perspective on the matter than the person being accused, I would most likely add a polite comment or two.

casperOne casperOne answered: It depends on why the user is irate; if the mod acted in an improper way, then I'd work to resolve the situations. Loyalty towards other moderators is not assumed with the title, loyalty is earned, and even then, loyalty should not shape moderator decisions; what is best for the community should, first and foremost.

awoodland awoodland answered: It depends what they were called out for - in general though if it looks like a misunderstanding/disagreement I'd try and analyse the situation in an answer and explain why I thought the action the user objected to was taken if they are seeking clarification. If I can't make it better (missing details) I would avoid it though and if it looked unambiguously like a genuine accidental click I'd take corrective actions as appropriate

BoltClock BoltClock answered: Lend my support.

Moshe Moshe answered: Keep an eye on the situation, try and determine who's right. If the user is correct, privately discuss with the mod and try to work it out with them. Never question another mod in public.


Rebecca Chernoff Rebecca Chernoff asked: Final thoughts from the candidates?

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: Where are the sandwiches I have heard of?

casperOne casperOne answered: Same as last night, thank you, it's a wonderful experience, and I'm happy to be here among so many other qualified candidates. Thank you for the opportunity, and no matter what, SO is going to be better off as a result.

Neal Neal answered: Thanks and have a great day! ^_^

BoltClock BoltClock answered: This was just as stressful as the last, but I'm glad to have experienced it.

genesis genesis answered: I would like to thank you for the chance to participate here, it was a wonderful experience. Have a nice day!

awoodland awoodland answered: Thanks if you've voted for me so far. (If you're hesitant I'd be glad to chat more - I'm regularly in the C++ chat room if I've got a web browser to hand) I'd like more moderator tools to increase the usefulness of the things I do. In exchange for that I'll do my best to be fair, efficient and reflect the will of the community.


Tim Post Tim Post asked BoltClock: If elected, you and I would be the only moderators in our time zone. Do you have any ideas on how we could promote Stack Overflow in SE Asia?

BoltClock BoltClock answered: Aside from what @StuThompson said (which I agree with), I can only think of spreading word of SO via social media, and in my school, for now. I don't know many programmers beyond these two.

  • Tim Post Tim Post asked BoltClock: Would you have the time to help organize events, since the whole concept of DevDays is basically NULL at this point?

    BoltClock BoltClock responded: I'm not good at that stuff, to be honest...


Robert Harvey Robert Harvey asked: Jeff Atwood has a super-veto for issues raised on Meta ("The community is run by YOU" notwithstanding). Have you ever disagreed with any of his [status-declined] decisions (which ones?), and how would this affect your moderation?

Neal Neal answered: I have disagreed. I was once banned from asking questions on Meta due to all the poor results from the ones I already had. I had emailed support for SO and Jeff responded and got my meta account active again.

Neal Neal continued: Ahhh but this meta Q has always been annoying me that Jeff did reject: Create comment-spawned chatrooms for the post, not for the users

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: The only time I disagreed with him, he stepped back, and changed his decision.

casperOne casperOne answered: I can't recall any decision I've been in violent disagreement with. Even if I did, it wouldn't be something that impacts me. Disagreements are a part of life, this is no different, and Jeff does have that authority, which I respect.

Stu Thompson Stu Thompson answered: Yes, I've disagreed with some of Jeff's decisions. But that's part of team work: not everyone can have their way at all times. That the way the cookie crumbles, as my mother used to say...

genesis genesis answered: Few of them, but I don't think I have enough time to look back at his answers and find these I don't agree with

genesis genesis continued: None of them were concerned about the moderation

BoltClock BoltClock answered: I haven't gotten him to follow up on one of my meta questions, but that was about a technical issue with the site so I doubt it'd affect my moderation.

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: I can't dig up the Meta issues that I've disagreed with him on, but I do recall emailing the team and having an argument back in the day about the value of votes on questions vs. votes on answers. I thought they should count less on questions and he did not. In the end, he did respond to the community and lowered the question vote value. As with everyone, be polite and explain your reasoning clearly.

awoodland awoodland answered: I dislike that so far all of the "block bad migrations by X" have been declined. Some bad migrations are painful to watch (although can often be averted by a plain vote to close + a mod flag and comment). I don't think that's a big problem though!


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.


Adam Davis Adam Davis asked: Do you miss TheTXI or RichB or both? (if you don't know who they are/were, you may safely ignore this question)

genesis genesis answered: I'm not sure what they are

Neal Neal answered: Guess i am not old enough to know who they are...

casperOne casperOne answered: Miss, no, but at the same time, I think it's important for users like that (in small doses), as it helps the site grow and learn. If the site isn't challenged, then it won't evolve.


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


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.


Adam Davis Adam Davis asked: It seems some candidates feel that moderation is something they can do during the existing time they spend on site. Do you feel you have a good grasp of what you'll spend your time doing, and that you'll be able to do so without adjusting your current schedule?

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I think I can do it without adjusting my current schedule. If I moderate most of the time, I would get worried of the decisions I take.

Neal Neal answered: I think I do. I just will have to be more careful with my decisions.

casperOne casperOne answered: There are two questions in there; I admit openly that I don't understand completely (see my "getting over the hill" section in my nomination) what moderation will bring, but that doesn't mean I'm completely ignorant of what is required of me or what I'll be able to do. To answer the second, yes, I'll easily be able to do so without adjusting my schedule.

BoltClock BoltClock answered: Yes, I have a rough idea. I can imagine myself doing the same thing I'm doing now, only with slightly more moderation work and less answering. I don't think one's going to adversely affect the other.

genesis genesis answered: Yes, I'll. I decide a lot of time on Stack Overflow, so it's not a problem for me to divide normal participation and moderation duties

Stu Thompson Stu Thompson answered: I'd definitely have to adjust my reunite, but that does not scare me. For the most part my editing/flagging activity has usually been a task I enjoy--fun time for when I can squeeze it in. If similar tasks like moderation were a duty, a responsibility, then that would be motivational.

awoodland awoodland answered: I think I already do a fair amount of moderation. How my time is spent clearly would shift to focus on different tasks, but fundamentally not a huge change for my usage patterns.


phwd phwd asked: There are a lot of high views / highly voted questions that are closed as "Not Constructive", what is your stance on this? Throw them under the rug (i.e. leave them), edit so it could be reopened (if so how) or kill it with fire (delete)?

Neal Neal answered: Leave them for now.

casperOne casperOne answered: If they can be edited to be constructive then edit them. However, if they cannot, then leave them, they serve as a bellwether for what isn't accepted/what not to do on the site.

Barry Barry answered: That all depends on the question. Just because it has high views or votes doesn't make it a good fit for the site. If breaches what is defined in the FAQ then there is no point in trying to save it.

BoltClock BoltClock answered: I leave them alone. I still find these very controversial, and touchy, and I'd rather not touch them in case I get a "shock".

Moshe Moshe answered: Edit them if possible.

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: Leave them. I'm loath to straight-up delete content that has some value and that people have put significant amounts of time into. I do like some of the edits and comments that other moderators have placed on these older questions, indicating that they were once appropriate for the site but are no longer accepted. This seems to be a fine way to not have these be broken windows, yet still have them survive.

awoodland awoodland answered: It depends what value the question delivers by still existing. closed/locked is a sensible status for questions which were topical and were interesting, but the community sense of "topical" has shifted.

slugster slugster answered: As I mentioned in my moderator spiel, this is an area that needs to be cleaned up. However I do believe that some of these old questions need to be preserved because they are part of the fabric and history of SO, and some of them can be quite enlightening or educational.


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 :)


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


Adam Davis Adam Davis asked: You are hoping to join a very hard working crew. If selected, in what way will you change how much time you spend on site, and when you spend it? If you were asked to set the "minimum hours per week moderating" requirement before a moderator was to be dismissed, what would you say the minimum should be?

Neal Neal answered: I am not sure anyone can answer that. It all really depends on the quality of their work

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: There isn't a minimum; moderating should not be the most predominant activity done in a site, nor the predominant activity done during the day.

casperOne casperOne answered: Mandatory hourly contributions are unfair IMO. Only if you took a least-common-denominator approach would it be fair. Everyone performs at different rates, everyone has varying amounts of time. And remember, this is a community-driven site. If you feel a moderator isn't doing what they should, or enough, then I'd recommend bringing it up in meta and opening a slot for the next election.

casperOne casperOne continued: I'd simply be grateful that there are people willing to step up and do the work that is asked of them with no expectation of remuneration in return.

genesis genesis answered: I spend a lot of time on Stack Overflow, so I think this wouldn't be a problem for me, and I'd say that there shouldn't be a minimum

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: This would depend on the work load required to deal with the amount of flags, etc. on the site, given the number of moderators available. I don't believe that there was a definite answer to number of hours or number of flags required in the related Meta discussion on this topic, so I think this will be a matter of feel rather than hard numbers.

awoodland awoodland answered: I don't think my time on the site would change hugely. My use of mod tools (10k and otherwise) clearly would but I'm not going to make unsustainable promises. As far as minimum hours per week goes I don't think it's a great metric, people take holidays etc. I'd say the alarm bells should ring when a mod is out of touch through a lack of activity but defining a solid figure without good data to begin with seems premature

slugster slugster answered: IMO, 3 hours a day or more is a good minimum benchmark. Personally I spend considerably more time than this so being elected would not mean I had to change my attendance pattern. Of course I say this without knowing the specifics of exactly how much mod work needs to be chewed through per day, but IMO if you can't spend the 3 hours then you are only a light user of the site.


Tim Cooper Tim Cooper asked: Do you feel that SO users with higher reputation are more likely to have their answers voted higher, regardless of the quality? Do you think that hiding a users' reputation when they answer a question would benefit the site?

genesis genesis answered: No, I don't think so, it's more about the speed and quality of the answer

genesis genesis continued: I don't think that hiding their reputation would help. I have never considered a user's reputation when voting

casperOne casperOne answered: I think that effect definitely does exist. However, I don't think that hiding rep is the answer, people worked hard to earn it and should be able to have it displayed.

casperOne casperOne continued: I'll also add that I don't think that it's a systemic issue. Do I care if Jon Skeet gets more rep on an answer than I do even though we have eerily similar answers? Not in the least.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: As a user with high reputation on three sites, I can say there is the same chance that my posts are down-voted. Hiding the reputation would not benefit the site; there have been a request to hide who answers, at least for a short time, but the feature didn't have a warm welcome.

Neal Neal answered: I believe people are fooled by high rep. When I first started on SO my low rep lead to my answers not being chosen as much. I belive that once you reach a certain point your rep really shouldnt be shown on the page (>10K maybe?)

BoltClock BoltClock answered: Actually, that's exactly what I notice with my answers. However, hiding a user's reputation pretty much defeats the purpose and concept of reputation at all, so we might as well rename reputation to something else instead...

awoodland awoodland answered: I was thinking about this today. There's possibly an element of that, but it's also likely that high rep users are providing better answers, both technically and in terms of presentation and distilling a question to the core point.

NullUserException ఠ_ఠ NullUserException ఠ_ఠ answered: It does, but I believe hiding the reputation would go against the idea of having the reputation system in the first place. A user with high reputation has shown to have good communication skills and ability to post relevant answers. Why should that be hidden? I don't think hiding reputation would have any discernible effect on the overall quality of answers on the site, but it will drive away some users who are attracted to the gaming aspect of SO.


badp badp asked: Where do you come from? Stack Overflow has 6 moderators from the US, 3 from Europe and just poor @TimPost from Oceania. A site this large needs moderation around the clock; how well would you fill in the gaps if you were elected?

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I come from Europe, and I would fill the gaps, as I have flexibility on when to be on SO.

Stu Thompson Stu Thompson answered: I'm in Switzerland and generally stay within +/- 1 time zone.

casperOne casperOne answered: I live in NYC, I'm not going to change my sleep schedule to "fill in a gap" (sorry) but I pitch in with all the time I am able to.

  • badp badp clarified: That's not what I meant, I just wanted to give a little chance to mods from non-standard timezones to shine.

    casperOne casperOne responded: Apologies then, take it away @TimPost!!!

Barry Barry answered: I live in London, UK and am usually on around 7am GMT for an hour or so and usually from 4pm until about 9pm GMT. If it's a slow day then I could be active for most of the day too :)

Neal Neal answered: I come from US EST.

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: I'm located in the U.S. Central time zone, so yes, I'm another person from that region. My heaviest hours are early in the morning, around noon, and later at night. That spans a bit of time in the day, but others can judge if that is not enough coverage for the growing non-U.S. presence of the site.

BoltClock BoltClock answered: I'm in Singapore. @TimPost is in the Philippines. We share the same timezone (Southeast Asia). I'm active for many hours in the day, and often find my activity overlapping with users in other timezones. I believe timezone is an important factor in considering me for a position, albeit a small one.

Moshe Moshe answered: I'm from the US, but I'm usually up either early or late, depending on my sleep cycle. I don't think location is that much of an issue for me.

awoodland awoodland answered: GMT/BST depending on time of year - that means I wake up before the US and could start to look at some of the Oceania timezone issue build up relatively promptly still

  • Looks like @BoltClock wins this one! Second place goes to kamlaluno, Stu Thompson, Barry, and awoodland. – Kevin Vermeer Nov 17 '11 at 15:21
  • I missed answering this question..l I'm from New Zealand, which is UTC+12, and about 18 hours ahead of EST in the USA. This puts me about 4 hours ahead of BoltClock and Tim Post. – slugster Nov 18 '11 at 0:33

quantumSoup quantumSoup asked: Bill Gates passes away during your tenure as a moderator. You feel he deserves a banner like the one Steve Jobs got. What do you do? Or, some other mod puts a banner for him. Users are irate on meta saying that Dennis Ritchie didn't get his. Do you remove the banner?

genesis genesis answered: I would first discuss it on meta, and with other moderators.

casperOne casperOne answered: That's a substantial site change which I feel should be brought up in meta; users will sound off about it in meta, and action (by me or someone else) will be taken based on the way the wind blows there.

Barry Barry answered: Remove the banner. They should be there for important site or network messages. Adding a "memorial" banner just irritates people a) It's there and distracting b) They don't think the person mentioned deserves it or c) The banner isn't there for such a person or other.

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: If I recall correctly, the Jobs one was posted by Jeff, without the interaction of the moderators. I would not feel that it was my place to post something like this, unless there was an overwhelming consensus to do so. The debate over the last one is still continuing.

  • Paŭlo Ebermann Paŭlo Ebermann noted: Actually, it was posted by Joel while Jeff was away.

    Brad Larson Brad Larson corrected: Sorry, misremembered this. In any case, it wasn't a moderator-level decision and I think it should remain as such.

Stu Thompson Stu Thompson answered: Moderators can set banners? That sounds dangerous, only "the powers that be" should have that kind of power...not mere demi-god-like moderators.

BoltClock BoltClock answered: I feel that the banners are meant for site announcements, and nothing else. A rule of thumb I think about is that if doesn't even come close to being on meta, neither does it on the banner.

awoodland awoodland answered: I'm not in the business of designing banners or deciding who is most famous

NullUserException ఠ_ఠ NullUserException ఠ_ఠ answered: I was the first one to point out the Jobs banners was not appropriate in the first place and I got an avalanche of negative responses for that. Of course, after the "Dennis Ritchie debacle" some people realized it wasn't such a great idea after all. I am strongly opposed to (ab)using the system message feature for "memorials."


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.


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

Adam Davis Adam Davis asked: Have you ever voted to close a post you knew you could edit if you had more time?

Neal Neal answered: Yes.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: No.

minitech minitech answered: No.

genesis genesis answered: No. That's a wrong step. If I do not have time, I let it as-is. It might be edited by someone else.

casperOne casperOne answered: No, but at the same time, "more time" is subjective. If I think I can improve a post, I usually favorite it and come back if I don't feel I have "enough time".

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: I've voted to close questions, then realized how I could edit them into shape afterwards. I then would generally edit the question and leave behind a comment telling people to ignore my mistaken close vote.

Stu Thompson Stu Thompson answered: No, I've never closed that could be saved by editing. I, somewhat masochistically, like to cleanup newbie posts. If it is beyond my capabilities (eg.: don't know language x well enough to format the code to a presentable state) or time then I'll leave it.

BoltClock BoltClock answered: Yes, and in that case my close vote is often intended as a chance for the OP to do so.

awoodland awoodland answered: I don't think so on that one - edits that save a question are more far more rewarding than simply closing in my view.

Moshe Moshe answered: No, but I've flagged.


badp badp asked: As a Stack Overflow moderator, you'll also have moderation powers on this very chat site; unlike all other sites, mods from other sites can't help you. Are you active in chat? Are you aware of the problems chat.SO currently has, if any? Do you have any plans in place for that?

casperOne casperOne answered: I am currently not active in chat, or aware of problems in chat (if there are any, because of said inactivity). If there are, then my hope is that these would be brought up in meta, and I'd plan on spending some more time in chat to see if/where problems lie.

  • badp badp noted: There used to be trouble with room deduplication or lack thereof and language barrier issues. I don't idle here either, though.

Neal Neal answered: I am very active in php and javascript chatrooms. I see a few problems in chat including hyperflagging by some people.

  • badp badp noted: Good news - moderators can see who cast the first flag on all but your chat messages.

    Neal Neal remarked: That would be very very useful ^_^

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: To be honest, I've tried to get into chat, but the rooms that I've tried using have always been either inactive for days or filled with help vampires and other noise. I don't understand why chat seems to be so much less robust than the discussions on Meta, and I don't have a good solution for this either.

awoodland awoodland answered: I am active in chat and I've witnessed some of the problems you refer to I think. I don't have a silver bullet solution to it I'm afraid though. I've taken the "make things no worse" path so far, which mostly resulted in doing nothing

Moshe Moshe answered: I participate both on SO chat, and on Meta chat. I consider myself to be knowledgable in the workings of chat.


Robert Harvey Robert Harvey asked: How important do you believe the use of good grammar, spelling, punctuation and capitalization by users is? How do you respond to such deficiencies?

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: It's important to allow other users to understand the question being asked, but it should not be the only measure of the posts' quality.

casperOne casperOne answered: I typically edit for such things, I think they are very, very important. SO prides itself on organic search results. Because of that, it's important that the content on the site is quality content that makes it easier for search engines to do their jobs. It's also why there is a wiki component to the site; it's so we can constantly refine content to make it better for all.

Neal Neal answered: Well both of my opinions on that subject were turned down on meta: Is Stack Overflow a forum? and Should others downvote my posts for "grammatical" reasons? I stand by the 1st one and the lol one I now understand more, but i feel it is not a reason to downvote or ridicule people because of it.

Barry Barry answered: To ask a great question (which is what the site is about yes?) the post needs to be coherent and readable. I'd edit the post and post a comment pointing them to the FAQ and my edit as an example of how to format/spell/construct their question. I'd probably post the link to the article Jon Skeet created for asking questions.

genesis genesis answered: To be honest, I'm not so good at English, but I'm always using the correct punctuation and capitalization. When I see a post with some i instead of i, r instead of are, u instead of you, I'm always trying to correct them as my knowledge of English lets me

minitech minitech answered: If it's unreadable, it's an issue - but regardless, I edit the post to correct all issues. It helps people learn good English.

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: Language is not as important as having a good core question. It's trivial to edit a roughly worded question into shape, but you can't fix truly bad content. With a growing population of users that don't have English as their native tongue, we have to be willing to help people with their wording, not just reject them outright. The one exception to this is the use of txtspeak, which really grinds my gears.

BoltClock BoltClock answered: As long as it makes sense, and doesn't look more like chatspeak/laziness than an imperfect but OK ability to form sentences, I'm fine with it.

awoodland awoodland answered: For non-native English speakers I respect and appreciate the fact that they're making an effort to communicate in a language that might be quite hard for them. for native English speakers it can be an indicator of lazyness which I don't like, however I recognise that even for some native speakers there can be good reasons for poor writing style. As a non-mod I try to fix these. As a mod I would defer to the community generally unless...

awoodland awoodland continued: ...the post was attracting the wrong kind of attention (e.g. abusive comments, close for what was otherwise reasonable)

Stu Thompson Stu Thompson answered: I do believe proper it is important. Programmers should like proper syntax, right? Posts with a stray missing capitalization are not worthy of an edit, but posts that in really bad shape do. All of my coworkers are non-native English speakers, they prefer me to correct them. I've taken this habit to SO. The only time a post should be deleted because of poor grammar is when it is totally incomprehensible that it is beyond salvage and the user has not cleaned it up. Nobody's perfect.

Moshe Moshe answered: Spelling and grammar are important for communication. Capitalization is also important. Generally, I'd try to assess where the deficiency stems from. If the user uses textspeak, it's not the same as just plain poor grammar skills. Sometimes it's negligence and sometimes it's a result of lack of knowledge.


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.


NullUserException ఠ_ఠ NullUserException ఠ_ఠ asked: You actually make a mistake and get called out on meta. An overwhelming amount of users agree with the complaint and protest. How do you respond?

Neal Neal answered: Apologize, but not too overtly or else that could come out even worse

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I try to fix my error, and I ask apologizes.

genesis genesis answered: I would be trying to resolve the situation, revert back the changes if needed.

casperOne casperOne answered: You reverse the decision, simple. Moderators serve at the pleasure of the community.

Barry Barry answered: Post an answer to the meta post apologising for the error. Revert the action if it's not been done already. It's a mistake - everyone makes them. It's no big deal.

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: Correct the action and learn from the mistake. We're all human, and we occasionally miss things. The most important part is to not get angry or defensive, but to realize when you've done something wrong and thank people for pointing it out.

BoltClock BoltClock answered: Apologize, and see if I can work with the community to follow up and resolve the situation, whatever is necessary.

awoodland awoodland answered: Mistakes are mistakes - everybody makes them (this gets said time and again on meta). The important thing is how they get corrected. I'd do my best to correct the mistake and learn from it for the future.

Moshe Moshe answered: Respectfully back down. If the broad majority of users disagree, then they likely win. Although I'd also mention that it varies by situation. If other mods agree, I'd be more likely to "hold my position".


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.


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.


random random asked: You closed a question. That OP later finds your home phone number, calls you up at 3am and asks for you to clarify the reasoning. How many days should they be suspended?

Neal Neal answered: 42 days

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: The user would not get any suspension, from me.

minitech minitech answered: Hm... if anyone calls that early, I don't even answer.

Stu Thompson Stu Thompson answered: My phone number is fairly easy to find, borderline public. So none...after the first call, where I tell them something like "This is not an appropriate phone call, we need to keep our communication within the confines of StackOverflow".

casperOne casperOne answered: There's a larger issue than suspending them for SO; all due respect to the system, my first concern is to protect myself and my family, so I would call the police first. I'd bring it up on meta second. I'd let Jeff, Joel, and the community decide.

awoodland awoodland answered: My home phone number doesn't ring at 3am so I can't get awoken in appropriately. Timezones might account for odd hours to phone at. My action would depend on the tone. If the user was abusive I would consider taking action, but not if it was a genuine plea for help (I don't know what typical suspension times are, I'm not even sure it would be the right tool though so the first step would be to find out what a proportionate response would be)

Moshe Moshe answered: I wouldn't be the one to handle it. I'd defer punishment to another mod.


Tim Post Tim Post asked: Someone has dug up some bad things in your history, and questioned an action you took based on that. How will you deal with that?

genesis genesis answered: I would try to remember what happened, and in case that was my fault, I would do the action needed to rollback the action

genesis genesis continued: I would try to remember the situation, and in case I would think that I was really wrong, I would admit it and try to help to resolve the problems issued

NullUserException ఠ_ఠ NullUserException ఠ_ఠ answered: It depends. Was it the result of a policy change? If so, should the policy be applied retroactively or should the old content be grandfathered? That probably falls on Jeff. If not, and I truly made a bad call, I'll admit the mistake and correct it.

casperOne casperOne answered: I would ask the user to correlate the bad actions in my history with the action at hand. If there's a correlation, then I'd address the action to resolve it, if not, I'd not address it, but in the interest of transparency, bring it up with other mods to make the final decision.

Brad Larson Brad Larson answered: I use my real name on the site and elsewhere because I stand behind what I say online. I'm confident that I could defend things I've said in the past, or at least explain my reasoning at the time I said it. I can also admit mistakes that I've made before and how I've learned from them since.

Stu Thompson Stu Thompson answered: Call a press conference and deny everything! (Seriously...) I'd keep my response to the facts of the action I took: explain what I did, why I did it, and that is the only reason for my action. I'd also reach out to another moderator and give them a heads up.

awoodland awoodland answered: If I agreed with their assessment I'd take appropriate corrective action. If I disagreed I'd defer to seek a second opinion.

Moshe Moshe answered: Back down where appropriate. There's no reason to entertain confrontation.

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