The following is a "digest" version of the February 2013 Moderator Election Town Hall Chat. 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.

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 @GraceNote or @TimStone in the chat room and let us know!

closed as off-topic by Sonic the Bracketed Hedgehog, Nathan Tuggy, Robert Longson, curiousdannii, rene May 1 '18 at 6:32

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

  • "This question's topic is only applicable to one specific site in the Stack Exchange Network. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should relate to features or policies that commonly apply to the network or the software that drives it, within the guidelines defined in the help center. You should ask this question on the meta site where your concern originated." – Sonic the Bracketed Hedgehog, Nathan Tuggy, Robert Longson, rene
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  • 15
    Thank you for compiling this! We know how difficult it was. Here, have my +1! – Madara Uchiha Mar 7 '13 at 19:33
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    Where's the plus int.MaxValue button? Fantastic work Tim! – mattytommo Mar 7 '13 at 19:44
  • 2
    I'm being serious: Do you have a script for that? – slhck Mar 7 '13 at 19:52
  • +(unsigned)-1 – Daniel Fischer Mar 7 '13 at 19:56
  • 3
    @slhck Yeah, I have a script that pulls out all responses to whatever I select as a question and reverse-engineers the appropriate Markdown, which is part of the reason why explicit replies are encouraged. An older version just formatted individual posts, but that's extremely tedious. There's still some manual work involved, but I've managed to cut down the time pretty significantly from the early digests at least. – Tim Stone Mar 7 '13 at 20:15
  • Question, wasn't the meeting took place on March? :P – Madara Uchiha Mar 7 '13 at 20:41
  • @MadaraUchiha Yes, but the election itself technically started on February 25th. – Tim Stone Mar 7 '13 at 20:42
  • 1
    This is great material to help me decide. But it will still be tough to pick only 3 candidates! – bfavaretto Mar 8 '13 at 16:55

37 Answers 37


Neal Neal asked: What drives you to want to be a moderator for Stack Overflow?

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: I have learnt a lot from this community. While I may not have too many questions, I have found a lot of solutions by reading questions posted by other users. I want to give back to and help maintain this community.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: It drives me the willingness of doing something useful.

minitech minitech answered: Cleaning! More! Faster! (If you mean the reason behind that, I have no clue.)

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: I want to be a moderator to have all three chat mod powers (j/k). I want to be a mod, because I can make a real difference there. More than I can without the diamond.

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: That's an interesting one, Neal. I'd say that the critical reason is a striving for excellence on this site - both in my answers and others. I have made many edits to posts over the time that I have been here, and in fact most of them I come across while searching. I don't feel like it's simply enough to find the problems and flag them - I want to be able to handle these spammy situations on my own.

JNK JNK answered: I'm already a mod on another site and I find it very satisfying work. It is work, though, so you have to really want to do it. And if you enjoy it, SO is the big leagues.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: I hate seeing mis-spelled words in posts >.< But, seriously, I just want to give back to people who help me out. Also, I sometimes see rudeness, and I want to keep this place happy. Help new users understand what to do and not yell at them for doing it wrong.

Kolink Kolink answered: I just want to help out, and I believe mod powers can help me do a better job of that. StackOverflow is my number one resource for information, just from reading other people's questions and answers, so I want it to stay as high-quality as possible.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: I'm seeing a lot of activity on other sites (particularly Programmers) from users who have troubles on Stack Overflow. If I can see more information on both sites I can help them make the most of both sites rather than being simply blocked from all sides.

animuson animuson answered: Primarily the ability to do more for the site, as well as the idea of trust from the community to act on behalf of them.

Gordon Gordon answered: A lot of people encouraged me to nominate myself because of my work in the PHP tag. That is one of the major drivers for me. They believe in me.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: I want to be able to contribute to the site in a different way. I would be able to benefit the site but not having the restrictions of oops you hit your flagging limit for the day. Without these in place, I think I could perform more cleanup.

Flexo Flexo answered: I like the site. I learn a lot from reading and participating in the site. I really like the Q&A model - it works in a way that changed programming problems online for me. I hope I can help further that vision by keeping a small patch orderly.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: As I said in my nomination blurb, I don't actively want to be an SO mod, at least by the conventional definition of "want." However, I love the SO community, I think SO has a great system, I know mods are important for keeping everything running smoothly and I believe I can do the job well.

Lix Lix answered: As I mentioned in a previous answer - binding close votes. (whip crack)

mattytommo mattytommo answered: My passion to give back to the fantastic community that is Stack Overflow. I feel that I've learned an incredible amount, solely thanks to this community. I feel a sense of pride when performing tasks such as flagging/voting etc. as I'm playing my part in upholding the fantastic community. As a moderator, I feel I'd have even more tools to be able to give back so much more and help maintain the community.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: That's easy as pie; I want to be a moderator because I have gained so much knowledge from this site precisely because it is moderated in the way it is. I really only became active about two years ago; had I been here from the start, I'm not sure how impressed I would have been with it, compared to other sources. But I'm here now, and I love how the community has decided to moderate things, overall; and I want to help with that.


Shog9 Shog9 asked: This answer pops up in the flag queue, with the flag "not an answer". What do you do?

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: I wouldn't delete it. I would edit it, improving the quality, and send it back off into the wild. Which is what I'm doing now.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: Close the question as "non-constructive" and/or make the answer a comment.

Neal Neal answered: I would have to read the context. And then I see that it is basically a link pharm question -> Question should be closed/deleted --> answer was just because of the question.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: delete it

minitech minitech answered: I do this first. Then I close the question.

JNK JNK answered: Make a comment to the user about the policy on self promotion, then delete it. If he wants to clean it up and flag for undelete he can do that. It's obvious from his profile that's a product he is associated with that he doesn't disclose in the "answer". Looking deeper that is a questionable account and he may need a mod message. All his answers are self-promotion.

Kolink Kolink answered: Dispute the flag, but comment to the person leaving the answer requesting that they elaborate further on the benefits of the solution they're proposing.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: Comment requesting elaboration after disputing flag. If no elaboration/improvement is made, delete and convert to comment.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I decline it: The user is trying to answer, and it is not one of those "me too" answers, or answers asking a different question.

Wooble Wooble answered: Convert it to a comment.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: Comment, wait (for several hours), and delete. Depending on the case, I might convert to comment.

animuson animuson answered: I believe I already voted to close that question when you brought it up in the Tavern. ;P

ChrisF ChrisF answered: It would depend how old it was when it was flagged. If it's a new answer leave a comment asking the poster to leave more information. Possibly down-vote. If it was an older link only answer then I'd probably convert to a comment (if it pointed to a useful resource) or just delete.

ChrisF ChrisF continued: Of course the other thing to do is check the profile to see if there's any information that would indicate whether it was actually spam. In which case I'd flag it as such (which would immediately remove the answer) and see whether it was necessary to suspend or even destroy the user.

Gordon Gordon answered: I'd delete the entire question.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: Ugh. Leave it, since its low quality is mostly a function of the fact that it's a response to a bad question in the first place. I'd probably close the question if it wasn't already closed, though.

Flexo Flexo answered: take a look at other activity from the user and linking to the same URL. The post linked to looks like the whole question is problematic rather than just the individual post. Close on the question seems like a sensible place.

Lix Lix answered: Yep.. this is self promotion (the link is the same as listed in his profile under 'website'). If the user is spamming the site with links to the post then some serious action needs to be taken against that account. Otherwise delete the answer with a comment (perhaps with a link to the "attribution required" post) explaining why.

mattytommo mattytommo answered: Deem it as invalid, open the link, research the tool, edit the answer to provide a synopsis of what the tool offers. It's too easy to downvote and write something off, whereas a good mod in my opinion works to salvage the post.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: For that specific answer, I delete it on the basis of being Spam, because that person is connected with the product, has no disclosed that fact, hasn't provided any context or helpful information, and has made multiple posts just like it. Also, though, I vote to close the question, as it is a typical 'shopping question'. As a mod, that means the question would be closed immediately. Finally, I think the question needs to be deleted.

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    Shog9, @minitech: those links have disappeared - can you please post as JPEG next time, or archive some other way? – smci Mar 12 '13 at 19:57

Grace Note Grace Note asked: Of the other candidates, who is the one user you think would be most qualified for the position of moderator, and why?

ChrisF ChrisF answered: Andrew Barber - because he gets what Stack Overflow is about and seems to know what's required to keep the signal to noise ratio under control.

JNK JNK answered: Probably @ChrisF I have talked to him at length in the moderator chat room and he is very even-headed and no-nonsense about his job as a mod.

animuson animuson answered: Definitely Andrew Barber, even though I think he will push his radical haircut policies on all of us. He has an outstanding record of being useful with both flagging and on Meta, and he would be invaluable to the moderation team.

Neal Neal answered: @AndrewBarber --> heck of a lot of flags! Imagine what he can do with mod powers!

  • Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III remarked: Flags !== to being a good mod. Yes, they are important, but I could easily get 1000 flags in a month by patrolling the /tools/flagged page.

    Neal Neal responded: That is possible.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I think that would be ChrisF. I read many of his answers on MSO, and he shows to know well what the moderator's task is.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: Andrew Barber. He's been a great example and done a lot of work to keep the site clean.

Kolink Kolink answered: I'm in favour of @minitech. We talk on Skype and frequently run into each other on the site as we patrol. Our names seem to show up often side-by-side on the "Closed by..." messages.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: I'd have to say @Gordon, although Andrew Barber is also high on my list.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: Definitely Andrew Barber, I think he has the skills needed for the job

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: Kolink because he seems like a cool guy, and I see his answers when I go post an answer and he's usually right :)

minitech minitech answered: @animuson. My most important criterion is number of edits, and his really show that he's dedicated to improving it all :)

Gordon Gordon answered: I havent seen much of the other moderators work, but from their nomination texts and stats I'd say Andrew Barber. He seems really dedicated and doing even more moderation than me already. My favorite is not on the list on the though (that would be Pekka)

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: Andrew Barber. As I said in response to an earlier question, I think flagging is huge for a mod, and he's got the best flag history of any candidate, hands-down. In fact, I'll repeat here the promise I made under his nomination blurb: even though I decided to run, my first vote is going to him.

Flexo Flexo answered: Andrew Barber and animuson. I've seen them around a lot and always felt like their actions were correct.

Lix Lix answered: The most qualified candidates are those who have already qualified to be moderators on other SE sites. From them I'd say, partly attributed to my interactions with him on meta, @ChrisF is a solid choice and would make a great moderator.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: It's difficult to pick one. I so much wanted to list three here. But since you are making me pick one, I would pick @animuson. I think the 'raw data' available certainly more than qualifies him, but more than that, I have seen his Meta participation, and it makes me feel like his feelings about the site follow that of the community - and myself.


Lamak Lamak asked: I know from posts and meta and chat some of you, but not all names are familiar to me. Why should I trust the moderation of this site to you?

ChrisF ChrisF answered: Partly because I'm already trusted on three other sites. I know what moderation is all about and it won't come as a shock to me (hopefully).

JNK JNK answered: I haven't banned you on DBA yet! But seriously, we don't need anything revolutionary on SO, we need consistent forward movement and maintenance. I know I can provide that.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: You should look at the facts before voting. Raising a bunch of flags is nice, but anyone with 10k and enough dedication can do that. I actively review, edit, close, delete and vote, in order to moderate the site. I don't leave jobs for moderators if I can do it myself.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: I have already demonstrated my dedication to keeping the site clean with over 1400 helpful flags, and similar amount of reviews in other review queues, along with lots of edits and closing.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: I think I have already proven my commitment to the site through my editing, flagging of answers. I know I would be a good mod on SO.

Kolink Kolink answered: I'm lead administrator on the sites I've made, and my job there is pretty much the same as a diamond-mod here: to perform certain administrative tasks and handle anything regular users with mod priviledges can't. My sites are now four years old and doing well, so I like to think I do a good job. Of course, I'm just some guy on the internet to you, so it's really your call.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: Because I'm awesome! No, but seriously, because I am very diligent in my work and take myself seriously and because I am nice to new users.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: My only answer to that is the usual claims that everyone makes; I'm fair, I'm patient, I can deal with random Internet people yelling at me, I know how the site works. I encourage you to look at my activity history -- and the other candidates' -- to see if you agree with my -- and their -- past actions.

Flexo Flexo answered: In all the time I've been a user I don't think I've done anything that would cause you not to trust me. My history is clean. The only contact I've had with team@ was initiated by me because the character limit on the flag box was too short for a specific problem.

Gordon Gordon answered: you should trust if you share my/our vision of a searchable quality resort of Q&As on the web

minitech minitech answered: History. If you haven't noticed anything particularly trustworthy in passing, I suppose it would just be a matter of looking back at what's available. Previous actions are probably the most important thing I could do to sway anyone, personally.

Lix Lix answered: I'm a pretty friendly guy who's active on meta and keen on assisting as much as I can to the maintenance of the site.

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    Oops! I totally missed this question! Wouldn't be fair to answer it now, though. – Andrew Barber Mar 7 '13 at 20:51

Grace Note Grace Note asked: In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Jon Clements Jon Clements answered: Maintain some form of sanity ;)

ChrisF ChrisF answered: Clean up the spillage in aisle 5

Neal Neal answered: Moderators can be anywhere from glorified garbagemen to principals of the school.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: Handle exceptional situations that the usual community moderation system can't.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus continued: As well as reviewing the flags that are raised as part of the usual system, of course.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: They are the exception handlers that keep the trashcan clean.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: Moderators lead the community. Plain and simple. It's more about garbage disposal, it's about giving people an image to look at and mimic.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: They make sure this site is clean and friendly. We make sure everyone uses this site the way it should be so that everyone is happy! :)

bluefeet bluefeet answered: Moderators work to maintain and lead the community.

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: An excellent question, Anna. I think that the core of what moderators do has to do with the custom flags around the site, and overall maintenance.

Gordon Gordon answered: As little as possible if we take the Theory of Moderation. In a nutshell I'd say keep StackOverflow a place everyone can enjoy and find quality answers on.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: Moderators keep the site clean and act as examples of good community members.

Flexo Flexo answered: My view: handle the stuff that the community can't. "Can't" could mean lack of traffic but got flagged still, it could mean disputed and resolving disputes and it could mean privileged actions that no amount of rep confers to non-mods.

minitech minitech answered: Moderators remove spam and help angry people. (And clean up stuff in a vote.) (Yeah, I went non-metaphorical for once!)

Wooble Wooble answered: The role of moderators is to do the little maintenance tasks the community can't handle or doesn't want to handle.

Kolink Kolink answered: As little as possible, but they do it well. For the most part, flagging, deleting, closing etc. is handled really well by high-reputation users. Mod should only need to get involved if there is a disagreement, such as disputed flags, although that doesn't mean they shouldn't take part in the normal voting system too - just so long as it's done right.

JNK JNK answered: Depends on the site. On smaller sites they do a more diverse set of tasks than on larger ones like SO. SO is unique in that there are a lot more users with mod privileges than on most of the rest of the network. On DBA I do a lot of hand holding and community building. On SO I plan to focus mainly on the flag queue and more specific admin tasks like migration/deletions.

animuson animuson answered: Ultimately, they speak for the community - primarily through flags, but also but providing feedback and guidance.

Lix Lix answered: Deal with situations beyond the control of the community.

mattytommo mattytommo answered: Moderators are "human exception handlers". They play a fundamental part in the large task that is regulating and maintaining the community, with the help from many StackOverflow users be it from the flagging system, editing, voting etc. Without them, the majority of the content on this site wouldn't be anywhere near the level of quality that it is at the moment, but things can only get better! If I was voted, I'd love to strive to make that even better.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: Moderators handle those things that the community and automated systems can't (very well) handle themselves; things that are so exceptional that they need a faster and perhaps 'stronger' response than the community can provide, or a more nuanced response than automated systems can provide.


Brad Larson Brad Larson asked: When do you feel that closed questions should and should not be deleted?

minitech minitech answered: Are they useful closed, even in the slightest? If yes, keep.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: They should be deleted when they are very bad examples of questions to ask.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: You mean closed, and still kept? I think only really bad posts, like "can I have teh code plz" should be closed.

JNK JNK answered: If the question has any potential redemption value, I'd leave it for a while at least. If it's obviously a throw-away question there's no need to keep it. But you do need to give the OP a chance to clean it up.

Neal Neal answered: When a question is useful and/or it has value to the community --> many views and upvotes etc.

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: Well, brad, questions should be left open if they have a significant number of answers that could potentially be useful to future visitors - regardless of whether the question is on-topic, constructive, or whatever. Questions should only be deleted if they are too localized & have no answers, or are spam.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: Blatantly offtopic/spam/super low quality should be deleted. Slightly to properly useful questions should be kept

Jon Clements Jon Clements answered: If a closed question is of absolutely of no use - delete it - otherwise, I consider it for re-opening

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: Easy, a closed question should not be deleted if it has any value. Is it salvageable using edits? Is the OP likely to expand on it? Does it have good answers? No need to delete it then. Also, I tend to avoid deleting a post in the first 24 hours (unless, of course, it is spam).

Kolink Kolink answered: Duplicate questions should be kept, especially now that they are specifically labelled as dupes rather then just "closed". By having multiple questions with different titles but the same purpose, they can help future users search for what they need. On the other hand, questions that are not constructive would probably be the biggest candidates for deletion, but only if they don't seem salvageable with a suitable edit.

Wooble Wooble answered: I'm probably rare in being in favor of deleting (or, possibly, merging) most of the duplicates, because they make Google searches frustrating; I shouldn't need to follow a chain of duplicate posts to find a good answer.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: I think that questions should be closed and deleted if it was closed with no answers to it. If the question is closed but has a great answer, then it shouldn't be deleted.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: Duplicates shouldn't be deleted. They're useful to get hits from alternate search terms. Otherwise if the question is completely unsalvageable then it should probably be deleted sooner rather than later. However, there should be ample opportunity for it to be improved and reopened if it can.

Gordon Gordon answered: That's a tough one. In general, I am in favor of deleting what was closed. But I decide on a case by case basis. We have some Q&A that are closed but provide very nice answers with good information. These should be kept. By like I said: case by case.

Flexo Flexo answered: Closure is only temporary. So is deletion but it makes things much harder for users to find and fix. I dislike quick 20k deletion of bad questions before the OP even has a chance to see why it was closed. Nobody wins from that because the OP goes away wondering if it ever got posted at all (was it just lost by a bug?) and often just reposts the same bad question again. Closure is a good stepping stone that sends a clear message ("this isn't fit for purpose, fix it or lose it").

Flexo Flexo continued: I have no qualms with a question being closed quickly after it was asked though - the OP had all the time in the world up until they hit the post button to get it into a good state.

Lix Lix answered: This is exactly why the site needs moderators. That question is impossible to answer without having a specific post to reference. delete/undelete wars ensue and someone needs to step in and lock it down.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: Would it be too glib to just say I'd follow the current guidelines? I'd reserve deletion for questions that are blatantly off-topic, unanswerable or offensive, excluding historically locked posts. Closing is for stuff that just doesn't meet standards.

mattytommo mattytommo answered: If a closed question still provides useful knowledge/information, or contains solutions that are likely to be searched for, then the question should remain un-deleted to help bring in further traffic from people encountering the same issue. If however the question is of no use to anybody, then it is best that it is deleted.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: I feel that closed questions should be deleted when their visibility does not serve any worthwhile purpose. Well-worded duplicates serve as signposts, for example, and should remain. Beyond that, I feel most closed posts which don't get reopened should be deleted; if it remains closed, it's because the community feels it lacks the quality to be here in the first place. Why should it, then, remain visible? There are exceptions, like those the community has decided are 'Historical'.


Shog9 Shog9 asked: Sooner or later, you'll do something as part of your normal moderator duties that offends someone, and he'll jump on MSO cursing your name and demanding vengeance. How will you respond to this?

Neal Neal answered: I would try to let the other moderators handle it at the start and then, when I can, write a well thought out response that will try not to slight the user.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: I've had an example of such a case but it got deleted. Answer constructively, don't feed the trolls. Provide evidence of you being right, and apologize if you were wrong.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: I will post an answer to his question and explain the reasons for which I took whatever action offended him. If it is found that I was wrong, I will reverse the action, apologise and learn from my mistake.

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: Tell him he's a liar! No, not really. I would be calm, and try to explain the situation from an impartial point of view. The most important thing here is to not loose your 'cool'. And not try to silence a user, but let them vent towards me, while not hurting the site.

Wooble Wooble answered: I'll attempt to address their concerns rationally, keeping in mind that most people doing that just want to vent and aren't going to be persuaded by rationality.

Jon Clements Jon Clements answered: I spend my life living with someone that believe's she's always wronged because the hours I work etc.. etc... I think I can live with some criticism

  • Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III remarked: The point isn't dealing with the criticism here - it's about dealing with the accusation more than anything, IMO.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: I'll explain myself, casually, and try to keep my cool. If he can give me a valid reason why he's right and I'm not, then we'll talk. If he's just angry, I may just ignore it and let the community tell him what's up.

JNK JNK answered: Get someone on the SE dev team to attribute the posts to casperOne so nobody is surprised :) Honestly, I have no problem defending my actions to a user. If I WAS wrong, I also have no problem admitting that. We aren't doing open heart surgery hear, this is programming questions on the innertubes. Nothing is life-and-death and excited users may need to be reminded of that once in a while.

Kolink Kolink answered: I would laugh my backside off. Heck, I already have one blog dedicated to my assorted "screwups" (entirely hearsay, the creator doesn't even use my site), and it is a perpetual source of entertainment.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: I'd first see if it was anything I could fix myself straight away, if not then I'd leave it for another moderator to review my actions and decide what they thought was the right action. Second guessing yourself will lead you to make more bad decisions down the line.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I will let other moderators answer.

animuson animuson answered: Letting other users and moderators deal with the situation is usually a better way to put out any flames than directly confronting the user. I would generally keep track of the topic and post specific responses in order to clear things up that users are confused about, but try and avoid interacting too much.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: I would explain the reason for any action that I took while keeping my cool. I can fully acknowledge when I have made a mistake and have no issue admitting my faults.

minitech minitech answered: Close it, assuming that rantiness implies unconstructiveness~!

Gordon Gordon answered: Try to talk to the person and settle things. Only reasonable thing to do. If s/he cannot be reasoned with, defer him to someone else.

Flexo Flexo answered: If I'm doing it right then there's a rational, calmly expressed justification for every action. My instinct would be to post that, but not get drawn into a mud bath. If there's a broader issue at stake then I'm all for drawing that out from the specific incident. If a reasoned response doesn't work I hope the other moderators would help deal with the situation.

Lix Lix answered: There will always be super-active users on meta who I trust will dull the blow :P I would respond in the same way as any interaction on the site. Friendly but stern (when necessary). I won't let it turn into a cussing match, but I'll be very willing to explain the rational behind whatever action the user found offensive, and if needed, I wouldn't have a problem reversing the action should I be satisfied that a mistake was made.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: Actually, if history is any guide, I won't have to do anything. When anti-mod polemics show up on MSO, other users typically jump in pretty quickly. If I really did screw up big time, I'd just explain what happened calmly and professionally, promise to resolve the issue and then get right to work with fellow mods to fix it and make sure I didn't repeat the mistake.

mattytommo mattytommo answered: Diplomatically, I'll respond by ensuring that the user knows that I did it purely on what I thought was best for the community, not for any other personal agenda or otherwise.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: I'll deal with Meta complaints about my actions as Mod in close to the same way I've dealt with it as the 'flagging user', though there is a major difference: I get to choose whether to 'out' myself as the flagging user, but I won't have that choice as a mod. Simple answer: explain why I made that decision, and be open to being wrong. And always remember that every moderator action needs to be defensible, in the first place, before I even do it.


Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha asked: How relevant do you think the age factor for moderators are? We have some pretty young candidates this year. Do you think it'll affect their moderation?

Jon Clements Jon Clements answered: step back - if it's a topic I'm "good in", then I'd normally cast a vote or submit an edit, otherwise... the community around us has to be more informed and respect their opinion

Neal Neal answered: "with age comes knowledge" is the old saying... I do not think it applies in this context.

Wooble Wooble answered: I'm sure there are mature teenagers. I can't say that when I was a teen I knew anyone I'd trust as a moderator. I know what I was like in my teens and early 20s and I wouldn't trust that version of myself.

JNK JNK answered: I think experience in life is helpful in making thoughtful decisions, generally speaking. I don't think that precludes any of the younger candidates from being qualified, but there's a reason we don't let kids drive or vote - decision making is biologically impaired until a certain age.

minitech minitech answered: Not at all! (Averages are meaningless.)

ChrisF ChrisF answered: Age has nothing to do with how good a moderator you are. Some of the better ones are still teenagers. However on a personal note I'd say that if you think age is a factor, vote for me :)

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: I don't think I'm exactly qualified to answer that (as I'm 16), but I'll try: The real reason that people are concerned is about maturity, right? Personally, I think that maturity is shown by your experience on the site, and the quality of the posts/flags you make.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: It surely affect the way they moderate, but that doesn't necessarily mean in a bad way. Probably they have a different point of view that allows them to see things differently.

animuson animuson answered: Age is just a number. There are plenty of young people out there that are plenty mature to handle a responsibility such as this. Focus on whether they are a good candidate should entirely be placed on their activity and how they've been interacting with the site.

Kolink Kolink answered: I don't think the user's age is that much of a big deal, but I do believe that an account's age (ie. how long ago they joined and how active they have been in that time) does matter. After all, a 50-year-old who just got enough to nominate themselves wouldn't be as much use as a 17-year-old with 5 years on SO.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: I'm one of the young candidates here. I believe my age will not be a problem. In 7 years of working with code and people related to it, my age has never been a problem.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: I think there are plenty of teenagers who have proven that they could be good moderators. So I don't think age plays a factor.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: The only reason people talk about age is that it's an approximation for maturity. But we have a better metric than that: we can actually look through individual candidates' post, revision and comment histories and see whether they're mature or not. So it's essentially pointless to consider age as a factor.

Gordon Gordon answered: in general, I'd favor someone older over a teenager because of the general life experience they will have. But that doesn't mean that the younger candidates are ill-suited. If the have the dedication and the skill, let them have a diamond.

Flexo Flexo answered: On the internet physical age is less obvious. There are some middle aged adults who act like spoilt teenagers and there are some teenagers who act 30+. For all we know someone who hasn't declared their age could be the youngest one here.

Lix Lix answered: I think the age factor is just as irrelevant as the reputation factor.

mattytommo mattytommo answered: Age is but a number. Maturity doesn't correlate with age, which is incredibly evident when you see how young and how mature some of the users on StackOverflow are.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: I don't feel age should be an issue in choosing moderators, beyond them being of appropriate age to be on the site in the first place (13+). Beyond that, I don't care about their age. I want to know if they have a level head; if they know the difference between what they want and what the community wants, if they are able to take criticism, if they are patient, etc.


NullUserException NullUserException asked: How do you think moderating will affect your participation as far as asking and answering questions go? ie: Do you think you'll have enough time for both, or are you willing to forgo "normal" participation in order to moderate?

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: I believe I will have enough time for both.

minitech minitech answered: I'm both willing to forgo normal participation in order to moderate and in the belief that I won't need to often. After all, there's a rep cap :( Anyways, I found time to go through two review queues every morning.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: I already spend too much time here as it is, so I should have enough time to do both.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I will have the time to do both.

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: Right now, I don't focus on answering questions, and nor do I ask them frequently. I'll still pitch in in situations where I feel that I can add something that others can't, but I wouldn't expect anything more than what I contribute now

Neal Neal answered: As I answered @Shog9, I do not think I would be answering as much as I used to because I will have a lot more on my plate.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: I don't see a contradiction between both. We already have moderators both answering and moderating (also, isn't that what we already do?)

Kolink Kolink answered: With the amount of time I spend on SO, there's time for both participating and moderating.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: If my experience on the other sites is anything to go by I'll be answering a lot fewer questions than I do now. But that's not a bad thing.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: I currently do both. I answer questions and flag/edit posts throughout the day. I don't expect my behavior to change.

JNK JNK answered: I think my ability to contribute as a mod far outweighs my ability to contribute knowledge in my main area of SQL. There are a lot smarter people than me answering questions, but they don't all have the stomach or patience for moderation. I know I already have those and I enjoy it.

Wooble Wooble answered: I'm already answering a lot less than I used to, concentrating on moderation (it helps to be mostly expert in Python where most questions have good answers 10 seconds after they're posted.)

Flexo Flexo answered: my "normal" participation has shifted away from answering the questions that tend to attract many answers quickly towards unanswered harder, older questions. I see that trend continuing.

Gordon Gordon answered: I will likely not answer more than I do today, which is already very little. Most questions coming up nowadays are dupes anyway.

Jon Clements Jon Clements answered: As I said in my nomination - my focus is more towards community building now anyway, so wouldn't bother for a moment - in terms of time - I'm normally here about 10 hours a day anyway

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: I'm already not much of an answerer, as I stated in my nomination blurb, so no big loss there. I really only ask when I've exhausted all other research options, and I don't expect that to change; that's coming out of a different "pool" of time than moderation time would be.

animuson animuson answered: As stated in my nomination post, I don't tend to participate much in the normal sense anyways. I do browse questions occasionally looking for things to answer, but I'm much more content with helping out.

Lix Lix answered: I'm sure my "normal" participation will decrease a little bit but I doubt moderating would prevent it altogether.

mattytommo mattytommo answered: As mentioned in my original nomination, I have recently seen question answering taking more of a back seat more and more and this is the direction that I'd like to head in. My SO day used to be answer, answer, answer. Now it's review flags, review review queues, vote questions/answers that I like, then answer if I have time left (I usually do :). Answering is now last on my list, the moderator-esque duties take full priority, which they would do so even more if I was a Moderator.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: I expect that moderating will have some effect on my asking/answering, and that is OK by me. However, I already spend a significant amount of time doing 10k-related moderating tasks, and then answering things also as I come across them. I can see still doing that as I flip through the home page listing of questions.


Anna Lear Anna Lear asked: If you are elected, a diamond will be attached to everything you do and everything you've ever done. How do you anticipate dealing with that? Will it affect the way you're making decisions, and if so how?

Jon Clements Jon Clements answered: no my intent wouldn't change

Jon Clements Jon Clements continued: just because I had a "binding vote" wouldn't change my attitude as to bad posts and those salvageable via an edit

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I am already a moderator, and I am used to that. It doesn't change the comments I leave (if not in the case I leave them for moderating posts); it doesn't change the answer I give.

JNK JNK answered: Nope, this won't change how I operate. I may have to edit some of my comments and such from 3 years back but otherwise I'll operate the same.

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: No, I don't think so. It makes little difference, as it's just a visual thing. My mindset has always been that of one who is interested in the long-term. I wouldn't ruin my reputation as a person due to a little icon.

Kolink Kolink answered: As mentioned in my last answer, everything I do on the sites I own is labelled with an @ sign and a purple name. I'm used to the effect of being highlighted wherever I go ;)

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: I don't think I'll change.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: That my goal! It will affect the way I make decisions only in the aspect that my vote is binding. I won't close questions (Even if I know they are technically unanswerable) unless 4 votes have already accumulated. (Obviously, for questions that needs to be closed, I won't hesitate).

Neal Neal answered: I think I will look at flags in a different light and weigh my decisions based on what I learned in the past. But all in all I do not think things will change that much.

  • Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III asked: I'm interested in that. How, specifically will you look at them 'differently'?

    Neal Neal responded: well by close/delete votes are much more binding as a moderator and I have to take that into consideration

bluefeet bluefeet answered: This will not change how I operate.

bluefeet bluefeet continued: To clarify my behavior won't change because I already an invested in improving the quality of the site. I go through old posts for editing or flagging, I would continue this same process as a mod just with fewer steps.

minitech minitech answered: It will affect the way I make decisions in regards to closing — I'd be less strict on that. Apart from that, not at all.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: As long as others don't get intimidated by me, my attitude will stay the same. I'm usually very helpful and I will continue to be. I don't yell, I explain myself :)

ChrisF ChrisF answered: It will make me slightly more hesitant to cast close and delete votes, simply because they are binding. However, if stuff needs closing or deleting I will cast a vote even if I'm the only one. As I said earlier there's stuff that needs handling more quickly that the community can manage.

animuson animuson answered: If I had to predict, I'd say yes. I've always tried to view things from a moderator's perspective, but you can never quite get the correct mindset until it actually happens.

Gordon Gordon answered: I will likely be more cautious with decisions. Right now, I am quite stern and dedicated when it comes to pruning dupes and low quality stuff.

Flexo Flexo answered: For the most part I'm totally happy with that. I think it will make me less likely to act on border line cases I see through general browsing rather than from the flag queue - gauging the feeling of the rest of the community by being 1 vote out of many won't be an option any more.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: I'm happy to have a diamond attached to any of my past actions. It's a cliche, but I like to think I hold myself to a high standard whether I'm an official authority figure or not. Going forward, I might be a bit less likely to take actions that the community could do on its own, just because a binding vote is inherently different than a "regular" one.

Lix Lix answered: I'd like to think that it wouldn't affect my decisions at all. I intend to remain consistent with my methodologies.

mattytommo mattytommo answered: I think I'd take extra care when speaking around the community (I do already) because it's the extra responsibility, "wearing" that diamond means that I'd be a representative of the SO team and that's a great reputation I'd strive to uphold/maybe even increase!? In terms of flagging, I think I'll take extra care when reviewing items and looking at things in more detail, as I'll be the final say in the matter.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: Having a diamond after my name will definitely make me think twice (thrice?) about everything I say and do, because I am no longer representing just myself. I already consider it important to represent myself well, but there are things that are OK for "me" which are possibly not OK for me as a Stack Overflow moderator. I plead the fifth on what those things might be...

  • What kind of "Hot Air" question is that? – Lukas Knuth Mar 9 '13 at 12:10

NullUserException NullUserException asked: As a regular user, you cast votes to close and delete posts. But these votes only take effect when more users agree with you. How will binding close/delete votes affect your decision making?

Wooble Wooble answered: Not at all. I don't vote to close or delete unless I'm sure.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: I will comment first and explain why the post is bad, so the user can fix it before I cast my "uber-vote".

JNK JNK answered: None at all. If I think it needs to be closed then I feel as strongly about it as a mod as I do as a regular user. I don't vote on things unless I am sure either as a mod or a voter.

Jon Clements Jon Clements answered: Mods are basically garbage collectors

minitech minitech answered: As I said earlier, I'd be less strict with close votes (this isn't because I'm less sure of them, but rather because moderator closing feels horribleish sometimes), but everything else would be the same.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: No difference. I don't cast my vote unless I am sure that there is no other option. In other cases, I prefer to leave a comment first and try to salvage the post.

Kolink Kolink answered: I don't think a mod should cast the first vote, unless it's a really obvious case. I believe it'd be better for a mod to respond to existing votes to make a binding decision rather than jump the gun.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: It will not affect my decision, except that as moderator I vote to close those questions that are blatantly off-topic, not a real question, not constructive, or too localized. In any case, I will not vote to close those questions that I don't think deserve to be closed. The fact other users already voted doesn't influence my decision.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: None at all. If it needs to be closed then it should be closed.

Gordon Gordon answered: Unless it's a clear candidate for closing, I will wait until there is four votes before throwing in my vote.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: I will be a bit more restrained. Even well-meaning binding votes can come off as "I'm the big powerful mod screwing over the little guy," especially to new users. But I'll still go through the same process of deciding whether something is close- or delete-worthy.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: I'm not sure if I've already answered this - but if stuff needs closing/deleting it needs closing/deleting. My actions can always be reversed.

Flexo Flexo answered: I expect that this would push me away from the borderline posts and away from the higher volume tags where the community tends to be much better at self-policing.

animuson animuson answered: I may be more careful when deleting things since posts deleted by a moderator can only be undeleted by a moderator, but closing is easily reversible by the community so I can't say my close-voting behavior will change to drastically.

Lix Lix answered: Not at all (I hope). Many times I feel myself wanting to close a question with a binding vote. I'd want to leave a comment when casting a binding vote but this isn't always possible.

mattytommo mattytommo answered: The same with flagging, I'll spend more time weighing up the evidence before making a decision as the decision is final, so I think I should go out of my way to ensure that it is the right decision.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: I think having that extra-powered Moderator vote to close is definitely a major ability, and I would exercise it very carefully. Right now, an 'incorrect' close vote is simply wasted (which is still a concern of mine, since I often use up all of my votes), but the more heavily my vote would count, the more extra-certain I would have to be.


Grace Note Grace Note asked: Is there anything in becoming a moderator that makes you uneasy or nervous?

JNK JNK answered: Nope, not at all. I'm comfortable with all the tools and processes already.

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: Yes, the distinct lack of unicorns in my name.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: I hope people aren't intimidated by me when I ask or answer a question. :P

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: There is nothing about being moderator that makes me nervous.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: I'm feeling uneasy and nervous that I'm probably own't be elected this time round, but no. I'm looking forward for moderatorship.

Neal Neal answered: As a moderator one would be much much more in the public eye and scrutinized for everything he or she does (oh wait... I think I am already in that category...)

minitech minitech answered: I'm kind of nervous about offending people. It happens almost no matter what when you do moderatey things :/

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: I've used the tools for a while now, so no.

Kolink Kolink answered: I'm usually confident in taking action, and in my experience if a leader can't show confidence then they're no leader.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: Only the risk that I neglect the other sites I moderate.

animuson animuson answered: Just the three-week process it takes to become one.

Jon Clements Jon Clements answered: it won't change

Jon Clements Jon Clements continued: I could do the same thing I'm doing with more privilege - so errr...

bluefeet bluefeet answered: Nope if I felt that way I would not have nominated myself. :)

Gordon Gordon answered: not at all. I am looking forward to join the team.

Flexo Flexo answered: Finding my feet without being a burden on the existing moderators will be tricky, but I'm confident it's something I can adapt to.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: Sure I'm nervous. I don't ever want to make the wrong call, but I'm human, and at some point I'm going to screw up. Heck, I already feel bad about it. I also worry that I won't live up to the standard of the current mods. But I think I have the healthy kind of nervousness, the kind that will keep me sharp, not the crippling kind that will prevent me from doing the job.

Lix Lix answered: Being in the spotlight is always a little bit nerve racking but all in all I'm very excited by the possibility!

mattytommo mattytommo answered: I wouldn't say so, it's nothing that's not to be expected. I know what I'm signing myself up to and I'm so committed to do so that I have no unease or nervousness :)

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: I think the thing that makes me most uneasy is that I would like to never make a mistake as a moderator - but I know I will. I always try to take criticism constructively, but the perfectionist inside of me dies a little bit every time I "fail" in some way.


swasheck swasheck asked: To those who said they'd moderate while on the job. What do you believe your boss would say if they discovered this level of involvement?

Kolink Kolink answered: I am my boss. Kolink.boss === Kolink

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: Umm... Can I plead the 5th ammendment?

minitech minitech answered: I'm sure they'd be happy.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I don't have a boss.

Gordon Gordon answered: I'm a freelancer and can use my time as I see fit :)

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: I won't moderate on the job. (Sadly, no internet computer access from there yet). But when I would, only on free-time and not during productive time. I like to have a separation between the two.

Neal Neal answered: 5th

JNK JNK answered: I hope they would be OK with it. If not I'll work for SE!

ChrisF ChrisF answered: Well most of my Stack Exchange activity is first thing in the morning or at lunchtime (with the odd 5 minutes here and there during the day) so it doesn't affect my work anyway.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: I won't tell him.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: Probably nothing. I'd only be popping in while a build was running or during lunch, not spending the entire afternoon clearing flags. (Sorry, current mods.)

mattytommo mattytommo answered: My boss and all of my coworkers voted for me, so they fully support my standing (My boss is actually an active user on StackOverflow too :))


Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha asked: Which do you view as more important for a candidate, raising flags, meta participation, or close/delete activity? And why?

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: Meta. Raising flags means absolutely nothing other than they can patrol the review queues or /tools/flags, and close & delete means nothing towards how they can improve questions. Edits & meta are the most important things.

Wooble Wooble answered: Close/Delete; most of the flagging reasons are for stuff a 10K user can do without flagging, and while reading meta is very important, I don't see that being quick to pounce on questions with answers is all that important a criteria.

Neal Neal answered: flags and close/delete because even if a user is not on meta, it does not mean they do not know how the system works.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: Close/delete activity. This shows that we know what belongs here and what doesn't. Flags usually represent very bad posts, which I hope to not see too often (but they do happen).

Kolink Kolink answered: All of the above. A moderator shouldn't specialise in just one aspect of the site, lest other parts be left abandoned. A good mod should be well-rounded.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I would say raising flags, and meta participation; between them, meta participation is more important, IMO.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: Quality edits and meta participation. Casting close votes and raising flags is done by literally thousands of other users. The candidates should focus on working on things which fewer people are working on.

JNK JNK answered: I don't think any are particularly indicative of future performance as a mod. Close/deletes are probably closest to what you actually do as a moderator. Raising flags for most scenarios becomes redundant when you can cast votes.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: All three, though these activities should be secondary to answering questions, editing posts and generally guiding users to the best way to use Stack Overflow.

animuson animuson answered: I can't say that any one is more important than the other. While flagging and close/delete history reflect on your views more personally, meta participation also plays a key role in analyzing situations and explaining why things occurred (since we all know replying to flags is a bit difficult).

bluefeet bluefeet answered: I look at all three activities but I think that contributing to the community by answering questions is very important.

Gordon Gordon answered: I consider all duties that the regulars cannot moderate as most important. So, flag handling first and then closing/deleting.

Flexo Flexo answered: I think they're all important. I don't think coming in "cold" in any of those aspects would be a good thing. If I had to single one out I'd go with meta participation since it reflects activity from the other categories as well as the broader community.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: Certainly all three are important, but I'd say raising flags is the most important of the three. That's because mods are the ones who end up handling the flags, so they need to have really deep understanding of not only how the mechanics of flagging work but also what sort of things are flaggable and the philosophy behind the system. Meta, closing and deleting are a bit more open to the community.

minitech minitech answered: Neither of those: edits. In my opinion, it's the best gauge of willingness to improve stuff.

Lix Lix answered: In order of importance -

  1. Helpful flags (the ability to recognize problems with a post/user. Close votes also fall into this category).
  2. Meta Participation (the pretty much means reading through the endless hidden FAQ posts that every and all meta posts get closed as duplicates of. A healthy knowledge of "how the site works").
  3. Delete activity (the ability to recognize junk).

mattytommo mattytommo answered: I think that a good balance of all of those makes a well rounded Moderator. It's pointless focusing all of your effort in one of those areas, it's all of those combined that help maintain the community.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: As a candidate, I feel they are all important. Although much has been made of my helpful flag count, I feel that my Meta participation possibly gives a better idea of what I'm really about. For flagging and voting, I think I more feel like there is a level that makes you 'acceptable', and it has meaning otherwise, but ultimately, that's just a number; what can you tell from just a number? For instance - what if my 9200+ Helpful Flags also included 5000 Not helpful flags?


swasheck swasheck asked: How would you encourage notable experts who frequent the site but are frustrated by what appears to be laziness by other high-rep users?

  • Neal Neal asked for clarification: Can you expand on that?

    swasheck swasheck clarified: Essentially it's a weight-pulling question. if an expert sees another high-rep user not "pulling their weight." how do you encourage the disenchanted expert?

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: I'm not sure how you can. If someone is discouraged by the lack of quality on questions or answers, then they should attempt to make a difference themselves.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: Show them good questions, where even low-rep users give good answers to good questions. High-rep doesn't mean you're awesome. You can be awesome and still be low-rep. Or show them that I am high-rep and not lazy :P

Jon Clements Jon Clements answered: That's down to the community - let them decide - as a mod, we're only corner case exception handlers

JNK JNK answered: Encouragement. We have some of this on the DBA site, where a lot of big names in the SQL world participate. There are also a lot of strong personalities (they are DBAs after all) and they require some management. Mainly if you let the frustrated user know either verbally or through action that their contributions are appreciated, they stay happy. Most folks like that are motivated by helping and may need some positive feedback from time to time.

Kolink Kolink answered: I'd probably scour the First Posts section of the Review tools. There can be some real gems there from low-rep users, which I believe can make up for the blunders of high-rep ones.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: There's really not much you can do for these users. At best, we can try to show them other high rep users who are not lazy.

minitech minitech answered: Depends what the laziness in question is! Laziness that bothers people tends to make for bad questions; I might edit them, close them, leave a note if they don't get the hint... it really depends on a lot of things.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: We, as moderators cannot affect single people. We need to inspire the community to raise the quality level, that's done by serving an example, answering questions yourself, and being active in chat, where experts lie.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: I think most experts have already formed an opinion about Stack Overflow. The ones that like it (Eric Lippert, Jon Skeet etc.) are already participating fully. The ones that don't probably won't come back despite your best efforts to persuade them.

Wooble Wooble answered: I don't think it's reasonable for anyone to demand that an unpaid question answerer do more work just because you are.

Neal Neal answered: Hmmmm I would show them that "rep" does not really mean much, and that a low rep user can still answer questions and get great results!

Gordon Gordon answered: talk to them. give them a hug.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: This can be difficult on a site as big as SO but you cannot solely rely on experts to make the site what it is. There are many people with low-reps that provide fantastic answers to questions. They can't be ignored either.

Flexo Flexo answered: that's a tough one and in a way it's a broader problem than the moderator role - there are SE employees who are paid to promote and encourage and evangelise the sites and I hope it's something the community as a whole is addressing too. Being approachable and fair counts a lot in that respect though - everyone from new users to experts notices moderators.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: I haven't given that any thought, actually. In my opinion, attracting and retaining good users is a tertiary mod responsibility at best. For now, I would say that I wouldn't do anything different than I would as a non-mod, i.e. leave a comment thanking them for how much they've helped me (if they have) or doing nothing if I don't know them.

Lix Lix answered: Drop by the tavern on meta. There's always someone there who will listen to your story!

mattytommo mattytommo answered: I think that giving them some praise, or "positive reinforcement" as psychology calls it would spur them on to either expand/correct a "lazy" answer, or to answer it themselves with what they deem to be a better answer. A bit of healthy competition, humor and praise is enough to encourage anyone to participate more :)

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: I would encourage those notable experts the same way I would encourage any would-be contributor to the site; We have people all over the place working to make the site better, all the time. Some of us - from 3k voters to 10k queue browsers to mods - who work on the 'negative' end; but we also need everyone to work on the positive end, contributing superb content; and we all appreciate it. Everyone.


swasheck swasheck asked: What is the most useful thing (personally, professionally, technically, or otherwise) you've learned from your time on StackOverflow?

Neal Neal answered: Patience.

Wooble Wooble answered: Never, ever, try to parse HTML with regular expressions.

JNK JNK answered: SQL Server programming anti-patterns. I learned a lot about what NOT to do early on which helped a lot.

Kolink Kolink answered: The ability to learn from others' mistakes.

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: Unicorns are better than ponies. But seriously, I feel that I've learned that it's important to keep a professionalism on any interaction where you use your real name.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: People will help you simply because they want to. They expect pretty much nothing in return, and help you simply because they can.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: I've expanded my knowledge on Stack Overflow on that just under year and a half, more than I have for 10 years. Not only technical knowledge, but virtues like patience, strictness and avoiding troll feeding.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: I've learned that if I am really stuck and I can write a good question, I can get some help! Also that JavaScript is silly.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: 1. How to get my ideas across in written answers. 2. It's improved my search skills.

minitech minitech answered: How to deal with other people's code. (Hell?)

bluefeet bluefeet answered: SQL Server programming. I started coming to SO as an MS Access developer and I have learned so much from reading and answering it is truly amazing.

Flexo Flexo answered: Stack Overflow has really taught me to appreciate clear technical communication. I had some appreciation of what makes a good/bad question (and psychic debugging services) having come from a usenet background before, but this has really nailed it home and made me think about how I present my own answers as well.

Lix Lix answered: Markdown! I love it! Can't get enough of it...

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: I've never learned any single technical thing on SO that was truly mind-blowing, so I guess it'd have to be something about how awesome programmers are, as horribly generic and saccharine as that sounds. But really, there are a lot of amazing SO users, in terms of how they are at coding and at being human beings, and it's really motivating. Okay, let accusations of pandering commence.

mattytommo mattytommo answered: That no matter how right you think you are, there is usually always someone that will provide a much better solution. That's part of the beauty of the community, learning while helping! Not only am I doing the OP a favour, I'm also benefiting by expanding my knowledgebase

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: Perhaps I have not learned this so much as had it reinforced, but I would definitely say that Stack Overflow shows that being precise about things is important. We're all supposed to be technically-minded people; askers and answerers, alike. We can't be expected to know every fact, but we should all know we get better results when we carefully explain what is important to an issue.


Brad Larson Brad Larson asked: If there is a high-reputation subject matter expert who has a history of leaving rude and abusive comments, how do you deal with them when they are flagged for this?

minitech minitech answered: Tell said expert to stop doing that, politely, and fix things up.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: It shouldn't matter who you are. If you are rude, you will be dealt with. It'd be a shame to lose someone like John Skeet (if he were rude, which he isn't), but oh well :P

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: You handle it just like any other flag. If they are being rude and offensive, delete them, and let the 'expert' know that they are doing something wrong.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I would handle it in the same way I would do with other users. Being a high reputation user is not an excuse to be rude.

Kolink Kolink answered: If it were a first offence, a simple warning would suffice (after deleting the comments in question, of course). But at the end of the day they could be Stephen friggin' Hawking for all it matters when it comes to being abusive ;)

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: For a high reputation user? Contact him privately. Either superping him to chat, or even go as far as a mod message. When a high reputation user is "abusive", that's the message taught to the "younger" folks "Oh, this guy has 50k, what he's doing is right for sure!"

Neal Neal answered: Hmmmm good question.... I would leave a comment responding to the user the reasoning for why his comments were deleted. And if it persists I would have a meeting of the mods to discuss it and maybe send him a mod message.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: Their reputation is irrelevant. If they are abusing the system, or hurting other users on the community, they need to be treated as such. I will personally take any such problem user to a private chat, request them to stop. Repeat offenses == timed suspension.

JNK JNK answered: Private chat most likely, then a mod message. Let them know their contributions are appreciated but the less constructive stuff is not. Nobody is so important to the site that destructive behavior needs to be tolerated.

animuson animuson answered: Politely letting them though which behaviors are undesirable for the site and asking them to stop, as with any other user. Reputation and status is not an excuse for rudeness.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: In the first instance a "be nice" comment or a message in chat would be often enough. If that fails or the situation is larger than one or two comments a warning mod message. If that doesn't help or the user is being particularly rude then a day's suspension is probably called for. It all depends on how bad the situation is. There's no single approach that will work for all.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: It should not matter if you are a high or low rep user. But for a high-rep user I would use a private chat to discuss the matter with them.

Gordon Gordon answered: talk to them. explain the issues. try to find a solution.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: No differently than any other user. Start out with warnings in comments, maybe deleting offensive material where necessary, then elevate as needed to stronger warnings, suspensions... checking of course to see what prior action has been taken and what prior experiences other mods have had with the user. It's a great feature of SO that we have so many experts that we don't have to pander to one or two arrogant power users.

Flexo Flexo answered: Check with the other moderators on this in private chat - I have relatively little inclination what the "normal" response is, in particular how it escalates. Doing nothing is bad. Doing too much is bad. The balance is a fine one and there are people who've been walking that line for a long time.

Lix Lix answered: The comments should be removed and the user reminded of appropriate etiquette (either in an additional comment or a PM if this is a repeat offence)

mattytommo mattytommo answered: Send him a polite mod message, get him to engage, maybe talk out his angst, there could be other issues behind it. Just be someone to listen, try and re-draw the positives and his love for the community that spurred him on to get a high reputation in the first place.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: I think that a high-reputation, subject matter expert who behaves in a bad way can be a significant drag on the site. Flags for them must be handled no differently than for anyone else, but it is perhaps more important to exercise some potential 'external' means to try to impress upon them the importance of being civil, due to their high profile.


Grace Note Grace Note asked: As we approach the close of our hour, final thoughts from the candidates?

Kolink Kolink answered: VOTE FOR ME PLEASE! Kidding, vote for whoever you think is the best fit. But preferably me. :p

Neal Neal answered: Good luck everyone! I am sure whomever wins will be a great moderator!

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: Good luck to everyone!

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: Thank you for the cookies, the good time, and the questions. I would have preferred bread and salami, but I have still to get that. :)

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: I think I did my thing here. I'm probably not going to get elected this time, but I have learned a lot, and will improve towards the next election. I'd like to wish good luck for @Gordon, I think he'll make one hell of a mod here.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: I hope that I didn't say anything stupid here. I'd love to be a moderator. I feel I would be fair, and I would talk to users before closing questions and banning people. I love to edit posts to fix grammar. So, please vote for me :)

Gordon Gordon answered: Yeah, good luck everyone.

Gordon Gordon continued: Before I forget: as a mod, I'd make everyday a Caturday and we would listen to Rebecca Black on each Friday (we already do so in the PHP chat room)

Wooble Wooble answered: A vote for me is a vote for even more close votes.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: I can't think of anything I'd like to add. People can see what sort of moderator I'll be from my activity on the other sites.

animuson animuson answered: Whatever happens in the end, this experience has been well worth it, and I am very satisfied with how things have gone so far.

JNK JNK answered: I think good judgement and an even temperament are the most important aspects for a moderator, and I have those. You have to look beyond the surface frequently. For instance, very few people noticed the account that Shog9 linked too only posts self-promotional answers. Editing the answer is not a solution there, the account is a problem and needs to be dealt with.

  • Kolink Kolink remarked: I stand humbly corrected and will take this into account for future cases that come my way.

    JNK JNK responded: Live and learn!

bluefeet bluefeet answered: I think I have the level of patience and judgment that is needed to be a mod on this site.

Flexo Flexo answered: There's a great selection of candidates here. My suggestion would be to vote based on what you've seen people do, actions speak louder than words. That's how I've picked who I'm going to vote for. I hope you agree with my actions and trust me to be fair and open.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: I encourage you to check out my activity history (comments, revisions, reviews) as well as the other candidates' histories. If you think of any other questions you'd like to ask me, feel free!

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus continued: Leave comments under my nomination blurb or find me in the election or Tavern chatrooms (in The Tavern, my name is "Popular Demand").

mattytommo mattytommo answered: Whilst I'd say vote for me, I say vote for whoever you think will be the best for the community. As, after all, that's what we're all here for! :)

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: My final thoughts (though I see other questions coming!) are that I hope people can look beyond the simple fact of my flagging counts, and also see a tiny bit of what my hopes are for the site; to keep it of the highest-quality possible, so that it continues to be as helpful for people as it has been to me.


Anna Lear Anna Lear asked: If your answer was that moderators are exception handlers or used a metaphor, can you elaborate on what situations you think are exceptional?

  • Neal Neal asked for clarification: Can you explain that a little more?

    Anna Lear Anna Lear clarified: "Moderators can be anywhere from glorified garbagemen to principals of the school." - What does that mean? Specifically. What does being a garbageman mean for Stack Overflow?

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: Exceptional cases are cases that the community alone cannot handle. Abuse, spam, sockpuppeting, and cases which require immediate attention.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: Users who regularly cause trouble by posting offensive content, harassing other users, attempting to mess with the rep system by using multiple accounts, &c.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: Users abusing the system, picking fights with/insulting other users, spamming, sock puppet accounts, attempts to game the system. Other cases like bad questions, or off topic questions are easily and well handled by the community

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: Each situation should be handled individually, abuse is different than just posts that aren't very good.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: There are many exceptional situations, such as blocking sock puppets.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: There are things that the community just cannot maintain including spam, sockpuppets. There are cases when a moderator is needed.

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: One interesting place where moderators may be needed which isn't focused on right now is tag synonyms & maintenance there. I think that that should be focused on more as a whole.

JNK JNK answered: Exceptions would be rude comments, spam users that need to be nuked, questions on the wrong site (without a votable migration path), comments posted as answers...

ChrisF ChrisF answered: There's always stuff that needs deleting and otherwise cleaning up more quickly than even a large community like Stack Overflow can handle. We need to be there to warn users about potentially disruptive behaviour etc - something that the regular community can't do.

Neal Neal answered: It means cleaning up what might have gone wrong, spam and disruptive users who might not be what is wanted on the network per se.

Lix Lix answered: When submitting a custom flag, it's not a good idea to make the "complaint" public (>10K) - someone needs to be there to review these cases. Also when a message needs to be sent to a user; perhaps a warning or suspension notice. Here again, it has to be coming from one source - I imagine that suspension notices wouldn't be very clear/consistent/constructive if they were community wikis :)

mattytommo mattytommo answered: Exceptional circumstances I would say are when there's an element of investigative work, or when thinks aren't "black or white". Such situations could go against the majority of participants in said situation, but the Moderator must have the community's interests at heart and not be swayed by personal or social agendas.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: I think I roughly covered this one, but one of my prime items to tackle with my 10k tools and flagging ability is spam and 'Not an Answer' posts; Down-voting these posts as answers is what is generally available to the community, but that does not completely remove them. Downvoting and voting to close (then eventually delete) is what the community could otherwise do to spam questions, but that can take a significant amount of time. These are good examples of items for Moderators.


Grace Note Grace Note asked: What do you consider the most important job of a moderator, amongst all their duties?

Wooble Wooble answered: Keeping up with the flag queue.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: Maintaining the integrity of the Site.

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: The most important part? It has to be the flagging. That's what they're there for, right?

minitech minitech answered: Calming things down, first and foremost — not that it’s too terribly common to need to do that.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: To filter out abuse and keep this place friendly. That or to help new users understand how to use this place.

Neal Neal answered: Keeping the users happy :-)

Jon Clements Jon Clements answered: Get my flag review queue down to nothing - it bugs me having it on the screen

Flexo Flexo answered: The primary function of the site is Q&A - the single most important thing is making that work for the whole community. Without users and content the site would be dead.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: I'd say that would be guiding the community, its users (specifically its newer users), so that they learn to be productive and mini-moderators on their own.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: It is too keep the level of tolerability to the right degree.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: Being the link between the community and Stack Exchange.

Kolink Kolink answered: Keeping on top of flags. There are a lot of them, and they need to be cleared as often as possible to maintain the quality of the site and boost the signal:noise ratio.

JNK JNK answered: Again this depends on the site. On DBA we do community building and try to increase awareness/involvement. On SO you have big city problems, so I think the biggest responsibility on SO would be taking care of broken windows.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: Leading the community through your behavior.

Gordon Gordon answered: Cleaning out low quality stuff and handling flags.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: Similar to my answer to the first question, but: dealing with any sort of problem that can't be handled by others. That is, it's more important for mods to deal with suspensions than editing for grammar (and I say that as someone who loves editing).

Jon Clements Jon Clements answered: good point I can already vote close/delete... but for instance, I'd still rather have the option to bind delete and get rid of unncessary Q's and answers

Lix Lix answered: In the big picture to spread the ideology of the site... The most obvious way to do this is lead by example. I think beyond the actions of a moderator, the most important thing is to be able to communicate the ramifications and rational behind their actions.

mattytommo mattytommo answered: The most important job of a moderator I would say is to do the right thing for the community, however unpopular that decision may be, your main focus must always be the community.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: I definitely think the most important job of a moderator is to do those things that only moderators can do. That really boils down to one thing: handle the moderator queue. As someone who puts a lot of things in there now, I think that is extremely important. Pretty much everything else a moderator should do - the community can also do.


Shog9 Shog9 asked: If you made it this far, you're already moderating Stack Overflow - what do you look forward to doing differently as an elected moderator?

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: Being able to take matters into my own hands. Sometimes I feel I can fix a post myself, and being able to do so would help.

minitech minitech answered: Getting things done faster, for the most part.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: Being able to do certain things more quickly - especially on Meta (assuming that the meta diamond comes along with the Stack Overflow one)

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: I think that moderators need to do more about the tags on the site. There way too many bad ones that slip through the cracks, and while we have many users dedicated to retagging, it simply isn't enough. As a moderator, I wouldn't have to get the required score in a tag to add a synonym, speeding up the burnination process.

Wooble Wooble answered: My biggest frustration as a 20K user is seeing 49K in the close votes queue and having used up my pitiful 50 votes on the front page before noon.

Neal Neal answered: Well for one thing, I might not be answering as many questions -- I will try to go through all of what is on my plate (flags and the like) and try to get others to help me in my endevours

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: At the moment, my biggest complaint is that there's a limit to how much I can do everyday. I've run out of mod flags and close votes many, many times. The tag which I mainly work on needs a major cleanup. Mod powers will enable me to do more not only on the Android tag, but on the entire site. Also, helping with site maintenance tasks like tag cleanups, burninations etc.

Kolink Kolink answered: Having the ability to migrate questions would allow me to better deal with the "Off-topic" close votes, so they can be moved to their relevant site and get a better answer there.

Flexo Flexo answered: I look forward to having more tools available to combat problems and more autonomy to handle things without simply passing the buck to someone else.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: Good question, I want to take on the role of a leader, people listen to you more when you got the diamond. I want to educate users to be patient and gracious about newcomers, even when they asked the silliest of questions.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: There are many things I cannot do without to be moderator; once of my aims would be to coordinate between the Drupal community on Stack Overflow, and Drupal Answers.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: Having the ability to remove answers without the two-step process of flagging first. Getting things done much faster as a mod.

JNK JNK answered: I think being able to handle issues faster (single vote power) is key on SO since the flood of questions - and related problems - rarely slows down. Closing/deleting/migrating more efficiently and without waiting for a consensus.

Gordon Gordon answered: I am looking forward to be part of the moderator team, coordinating my efforts with them.

Lix Lix answered: Binding close votes... no doubt. (bangs his gavel)

mattytommo mattytommo answered: Differently, I want to be the one that can act on situations, not just raise them for other people's attention. Whenever I flag it, I feel like I'm passing it off to somebody else. I'd love to be the one who was actually dealing with these matters.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: My goal in becoming a moderator might be obvious, since I already put it in my nomination message: To stop giving the mods more work via my flags, but instead to handle them. Related to that, of course, is to directly handle those things I come across organically as I browse.


Grace Note Grace Note asked: What times of day do you foresee yourself being active as a moderator, which days of the week?

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: All of them, why not?

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: Every single day, on Indian timings, where we are very short of moderation.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: Probably Mon-Fri 9-5 (while I'm at work)

Neal Neal answered: I see myself active during the 9-5 EST weekday and whenever else I can be in front of a computer.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I think to be active in late evening Italian time (GMT+1, for now).

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: Monday - Saturday, and from 10 AM EST - 10 PM EST.

Kolink Kolink answered: Every day, for sure. One of the first things I do when I wake up is check SO. One of the last things I do before going to bed is check SO!

bluefeet bluefeet answered: I am typically online anywhere from 2am Arizona time until 7pm, so pretty much all day.

JNK JNK answered: 8-5pm eastern M-F, off and on on the weekends

ChrisF ChrisF answered: 9-5 UTC (give or take 1/2 an hour) though not continually(!) and again 10-12 UTC approx

minitech minitech answered: Every day from 6:00-8:00, 11:25-12:18, 15:30-19:00 with the occasional important thing overriding from 6:00-23:00.

minitech minitech continued: Except on weekends, where my availability is literally 6:00-21:00.

animuson animuson answered: My schedule changes quite randomly. I can say, though, that I am rarely ever awake between 4am and 8am CST. ;)

Flexo Flexo answered: Typically ~1hr in the morning, 1 in the evening on weekdays. Similar total time on weekends.

Gordon Gordon answered: all days of the week, of course :)

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: A little bit during business hours and a bit more during evenings and weekends for eastern-central US time. I don't intend to set aside an "SO moderation hour" or anything; I'll pop in frequently for short periods of time between other activities.

Lix Lix answered: With close to 500 days consecutive visits to the site, I'm pretty sure that's every day of the week... With regard to timezone, I'm in GMT+2 (Israel).

mattytommo mattytommo answered: Predominantly weekdays, pretty much in and out from 8am-7pm GMT. Less frequent on the weekend, I'd probably say a 2-3 hours on Sat and the same on Sun (if not slightly more).

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: My primary activity is likely to be, coincidentally, similar to right now; very early morning US Eastern Time, primarily on business days, and then sporadically throughout the day, 7 days a week.


swasheck swasheck asked: What was your initial reaction to the "Summer of Love?" How do you think it went?"

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: It went fine, as far as I can see.

Neal Neal answered: I liked it at the start, it was a great idea! but I do not think it was executed fully

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: Great idea, not fully executed.

JNK JNK answered: I thought it was a good idea unevenly executed.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: I thought the summer of love was a great idea. I think that it worked for a time but people have gone back to some snarky behavior.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: I was a bit surprised as I didn't initially see the problem. When it was pointed out I could see that there was certainly the impression of prickliness (shall we say). I think it was a good reminder that one of the main rules on Stack Overflow is "be nice".

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: The summer of Love was a great campaign, but its worn off a lot of the users now.

JNK JNK answered: To clarify a little bit, I think it is good to encourage being nicer to new users. However on SO a lack of new users is not an issue - it's cleaning up the trash an keeping signal to noise ratio high.

Gordon Gordon answered: I was born only in 1976 so I didnt participate in the Summer of Love ;)

Flexo Flexo answered: My initial reaction was that it was an odd choice of branding. I think it raised an important point, I think to some extent the message got lost and lots of people seemed to try and use it as an argument not to close/downvote anything ever. Improving the user experience doesn't mean letting any low quality post go.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: I thought it was a nice idea, although for the most part it seemed like so many good ideas around here: the people who it was aimed at didn't know about it (or didn't care) and the ones who did know about it didn't really need to be told.

Lix Lix answered: I think it's fantastic that such a notion would be made "official policy", even for a certain period of time. I think overall it went well; I don't think it was meant to totally change the vibe on the site overnight. It drew attention to an important ongoing issue on the site.

mattytommo mattytommo answered: I think what was a fantastic idea could have been executed a little more thoroughly. Although I do appreciate it's a community-wide effort which makes execution incredibly more difficult!

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: My reaction was absolutely positive to the Summer of Love as an idea, and certainly how it made me think twice before responding to things. I know that I've seen others who seem to have tried to 'moderate' themselves. Sometimes it can become a little frustrating responding to something for the umpteenth time, but we have to remember it's not the umpteenth time for all of those we're responding to. I don't know if the S.O.L. reached 'everyone', though.


Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha asked: What would you do when a question is flagged for closing, but you aren't an expert on that topic (i.e. tag)?

JNK JNK answered: It depends on what the flag was for. If it's a dupe it's a dupe it's a dupe whether you know the subject matter or not. Same for off-topic. NARQ may be hard to judge though. It's impossible to make an honest general assessment on something so broad.

Neal Neal answered: I would try to let the moderators who know that tag deal with the closing unless it is a really obvious reason for closure (as in duplicate or not a question)

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: It depends on what it's closed for. If it's off-topic or NARQ, generally I can determine if it's valid or not. If it's "not constructive" or "too localized", then I won't do anything at all.

Wooble Wooble answered: The vast majority of close votes stand on their own and don't require intimate knowledge of the subject matter. If I honestly have no idea if something's a real question because it's over my head, I'd leave it for someone else to deal with

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: I've been programming for several years now. Deep subject knowledge is rarely required to judge whether or not a question can be answered within the scope of StackOverflow. If I am unsure on that question, I will take it to mod chat and ask for a second opinion.

  • Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III asked: That's a great stance to have - but what if someone brings up something completely contrary to everything you know, and you honestly can't understand the content of the post? What is your action in that situation?

    Raghav Sood Raghav Sood responded: Take it for a second opinion. You shouldn't act without being sure.

Kolink Kolink answered: I've often found that I don't need to know anything about the tag to recognise a bad question. Usually it's the quality of the content that tells the story, not the material contained, if that makes sense. I suck at explaining! But in edge cases, I've found myself hitting the Skip button on occasion. If I were a mod, however, I would bring it up with another mod who might know more.

minitech minitech answered: It depends what kind of close reason, but I usually leave duplicates out of my area well enough alone.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: It would largely depend what close votes it had, but most of the time you don't have to be a topic expert to recognise a bad question. If I'm really not sure - just leave it for someone else to deal with. There are other moderators who might well be tag experts and eventually enough tag experts among the community will see the question and vote if necessary.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: Depends. Does the tag have anything to do with the flag? If so, ask on meta for what to do with it (or can I message other mods to ask for help?)

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: Not being expert in a tag doesn't mean not to know when a question should be closed. Moderating doesn't require expertise, and flags that require expertise should be declined. (That is, generally speaking.)

bluefeet bluefeet answered: A mod is not limited to working in the tags they are comfortable in so you would have to make a decision based on what the flag or closing reason is.

Gordon Gordon answered: defer the decision. ask someone.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: Depends. If it's flagged for closing because the user posted "I need a program to do X in [unfamiliar language] in two hours," I'm fine taking it out. If it's flagged for closing because of some language-specific reason, I'll defer to the community or a mod who does know the language/technology in question.

Flexo Flexo answered: generally flags shouldn't be raising issues that need expert technical knowledge. The checklist of "what makes a good question" can usually be applied with only a very basic knowledge of the subject area. I never close a question because of purely technical knowledge. (The one exception to this is "exact duplicate" closes)

Lix Lix answered: That all depends on what type of flag was raised. Obviously spam and custom flags shouldn't necessarily be related to technical issues but for off-topic flags, I don't think you have to be an expert to recognize a problematic post.

mattytommo mattytommo answered: If I can't ascertain whether or not that the question is eligible for closing and I'm not comfortable on that topic, I'd leave it for another moderator who is more skilled in that topic enough to make an educated decision.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: Quite often, questions flagged/voted for closing do not require domain knowledge. But they sometimes definitely do. The greatest type of flag/vote where this seems likely to occur is in 'Exact Dupes', and I am already shy about voting 'Close as Dupe' for those. If I don't know - and this applies to any flag - I leave it alone.


Shog9 Shog9 asked: How embarrassed are you that, for all the time you've spent supposedly helping to keep the site clean, you've still cast waaaaay fewer close votes than Wooble?

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: Very. runs and hides in the closet No, but seriously, I did my best to help. If someone did better, good for them, but I still helped :)

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: Not embarrassed at all. rarely do I vote to close when I can edit something instead. It's not an important statistic to have IMO, as it just shows that you aren't willing to edit valid posts.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: That's like asking "How embarrassed are you that, for all the time you've spent supposedly helping answer questions on the site, youe still have waaaaaaay less reputation than Jon Skeet". I don't mind other people's business (until they hurt someone). Wooble's awesome, I can be awesome as well.

JNK JNK answered: Not embarrassed but good for him! Everyone can do more than they currently do for the site.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: Not in the slightest. Each person helps moderate the site in their own way, plus I don't spend all day on the site (despite appearances otherwise).

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I cannot keep casting closing votes; I much prefer to cast less close-votes, and let more users partecipate in that.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: Nothing to be embarrassed about. Everyone does their own work on the site. some answer, some edit, some ask, some flag, some close.

minitech minitech answered: I don't care! I edit more ;)

animuson animuson answered: I can't say that it's embarrassing at all. It's just a number, and I know that I will cast many a close vote more in my time here. We probably just interact with the community in vastly different ways.

Kolink Kolink answered: If closing votes were my pride and joy, I guess I'd be a little embarrassed, but not really. It's just a number.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: I am not embarrassed by it. I spend time flagging, editing and answering questions as well. We all perform different tasks when we are on the site.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: Just a little. I once read a quotation about how everyone takes different paths in life, and just because two people are on different paths doesn't make either of them more good or bad, more right or wrong. Close votes are an important cleanup task on SO, but they're just one way to help out. So I say good for Wooble! But I'm not going to hang my head in shame over my relative lack of close votes, either.

mattytommo mattytommo answered: Well done to Wobble I say :). We're all working for a common goal, keeping the community as relevant and as clean as we can, so one can only applaud Wobble's voting record.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: I definitely respect anyone who, as a moderator candidate, has shown that my massive 'Helpful Flag' count is not a be-all, end-all. There are other important metrics that I feel should be shared, such as close votes. We each concentrate in different areas, and I'm very glad to be among candidates who have differing - and superior - abilities and focus than mine.


Gordon Gordon asked: How important is it that a candidate has unlocked all privileges, e.g. 20k?

Wooble Wooble answered: 10K is important, 20K not really.

Jon Clements Jon Clements answered: not at all

minitech minitech answered: Sort of! Delete-voting and seeing what's been deleted is relevant, so more 10k.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: I feel a candidate should have at least got to 10k, though as @AnnaLear has shown us, it is not a hard and fast requirement to be a high rep user to be a good moderator.

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: Quite important to me. If they don't have the 20k on at least one site, then it shows me that they don't have the experience that I would like in a candidate.

JNK JNK answered: Not very, as long as they know how to handle the tools and can learn. None of this stuff is rocket science, but it takes good judgement. It's not hard to use a hack saw, but it's easy to screw something up seriously if you use it in the wrong spot.

Neal Neal answered: Well ever since I have passed the 10K mark I have learned that Stack Overflow is not as clean as I once thought it was. It taks a lot of scrubbing to get it how it is now, and with 4 new moderators hopefully it will only get better :-D

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: 10K is more important than 20K. I honestly have a hard time seeing someone without the delete priv going on moderatorship. And yes, I know @AnnaLear didn't have it. Still, I've learned much since my 10k.

Kolink Kolink answered: Fully agree with @Wooble. A good amount of Rep is ideal, but there's more besides that - otherwise they wouldn't be listed on the nominations!

ChrisF ChrisF answered: It's not important. What's more important is their temperament etc.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: They should be familiar with the tools we use before being handed them by the community.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: it is not that relevant; apart that, there are users who are not 10K users on Stack Overflow, and 20K users on some other sites. Being 20K, or 10K is not so important, as most of the moderation tools are not that hard to use.

animuson animuson answered: I believe 10k is an important mark to hit so that the user can be more familiar with the deletion process. Past that I don't see the other privileges as being too vitally important for a user to have achieved.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: I don't think it is very important. If they have access to the 10k tools they have a lot of privileges on the site.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: I think it's important that candidates have at least seen the 10k tools on some site (not necessarily SO itself) just so they know what the 10k tools panel looks like and how it works. The higher privileges (15k and 20k) are nice, but not critical.

Lix Lix answered: Not at all. Even the 10K tools take all of 15 minutes to figure out. Reputation and by extension, privileges are irrelevant to moderator potential.

mattytommo mattytommo answered: As long as a candidate has had access to the moderator tools and has had a feel for them, then I say they're ready. I for one am only at 11k, but I feel that when I hit 20k I won't magically become a better mod :)

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: I think it is definitely helpful to a candidate to have unlocked the 10k tools; I, for example, would not have the experience I do with flags if I did not have access to the "New Answers to Old Questions" list, which accounts for probably 99% of my flags and 80% of my votes-to-close. I don't think it's required, but it's more difficult for someone with less reputation to have been active enough to have enough of a record to consider.


rlemon rlemon asked: If elected, what is your stance on interweaving more Unicorns into the Chat/Mainsite UI?

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: They need to be everywhere. In the alt texts, in the logo, in the voting icons. Everywhere. UNICORNS FOREVA!

Wooble Wooble answered: I'd prefer jabberwocks.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: You might want to bold that. As for my answer, I'll work them in subtly ;)

Neal Neal answered: I am all for it.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: MOAR UNICORNS!

ChrisF ChrisF answered: Possibly nice as an Easter Egg at certain times of the year, but otherwise pointless.

minitech minitech answered: Ewno

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I want them free, not closed in a chat room.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: no unicorns, it must be smurfs

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: Seing as I am a unicorn. I think the background should be changed to one :) And every avatar should get a horn!

Gordon Gordon answered: I prefer ponycorns. they are cuter

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: Assuming this is a serious question: unicorns are a fun meme for SO addicts and Meta-heads to joke about in chat, but that's about it. It's a professional site, after all.

Flexo Flexo answered: interweaving like horses and burgers?

Lix Lix answered: As long as there is an opt-out button (for the haters), I'm not against some sparkle. Just not clippycorn ;)

mattytommo mattytommo answered: I have a Unicorn integration master plan. My mod nomination is simply phase 1 of Unicorn domination. huzzah!

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: Unicorns are the glue that holds us all together. I hope I have not offended anyone with visions of unicorns being sent to glue factories. I would never do such a thing. Unless the unicorn was old and weak. I feel like I am digging myself a hole here, so I am going to stop, before I also say that improperly-colored unicorns should probably also be made into some of the glue that holds this place together...


swasheck swasheck asked: If not elected to be moderator, how do you envision your participation to change (if at all)?

Wooble Wooble answered: Not at all.

Neal Neal answered: I do not think my participation would change at all.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: I don't see it changing at all.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: It won't. Well, I may try to use my /review and /tools a bit more, but otherwise the same :)

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: No change (either way, by the way).

JNK JNK answered: It would continue as it is today, and I would very likely run again. I don't think anyone in this group will ragequit if not elected.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: If not elected moderator, I continue participating as I have been, potentially even more if I can, and then try again next time.

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: I'll prepare to go for the next round. Improve my flag counts & meta participation.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I don't think it will change at all. It would eventually change what I can do to help moderate the site; that's all.

minitech minitech answered: Not at all. I'm used to disappointment by now ;)

animuson animuson answered: Work harder and try again next time.

Kolink Kolink answered: In all honesty I'd probably do a little less moderating for a few days, but I'd soon bounce back. It's not the end of the world!

bluefeet bluefeet answered: I will go hide in the corner and cry. No seriously it would not change my participation in the site. I love this site, it has made me a better developer at work so being a mod or not my participation wouldn't change.

Gordon Gordon answered: my participation wont be affected.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: I don't anticipate any changes. Why should an election loss impact participation?

Flexo Flexo answered: I'll probably take a short break and then business as normal.

Lix Lix answered: Not at all. When I start preparing my nomination post for the next election my participation might be affected slightly ;)

mattytommo mattytommo answered: It wouldn't change at all, I'd still go on being equally as passionate and committed to the community.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: If I am not elected a moderator, I will promptly go to my bouncy castle and throw a tantrum. Then, I will get back to flagging, voting, and Meta participation. Just like I did after the last two times I was not elected.


Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III asked: How will you, as a moderator, improve our standing in external communities (such as reddit) where we have a negative reputation?

Kolink Kolink answered: Reddit is not the kind of place we should be seeking reputation anyway. StackOverflow can stand for itself :)

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: Our community has nothing to do with reddit.

Neal Neal answered: I don't think the premise of this question is true at all...

Wooble Wooble answered: I pledge to upvote every positive comment about SO on reddit on my first day as moderator, because I can totally change the minds of trolls and arguing with people who are wrong on the internet is a great use of time.

minitech minitech answered: … what? I don't care. Stack Overflow users are the only ones in a position to know what's going on anyways.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: We don't care, nor should we. We are moderators, not publicity men.

JNK JNK answered: I'm not sure this is really an issue or the job of the moderator team. SO is a well respected resource already.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: Nothing. It is outside our control, and we were elected to moderate the community, not popularize the site.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: That is not a moderator's task.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: I don't think this is the job of the mod team. Anyone who participates is a representative of the community.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: People who post negative stuff on places like reddit aren't likely to have their minds changed by anything I could say. My "job" is to keep Stack Overflow on course and if that means that some people don't participate then so be it. We can't be all things to all people - that way lies Yahoo! Answers.

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: I don't use Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, HackerNews or anything else of the sort, so I would be a net zero.

Flexo Flexo answered: I don't have a reddit account. I saw a /. story today that was pleasantly positive. I hope I'll project a good image into my zone of influence. Reddit isn't the only programmers community out there and SO is highly regarded in many areas precisely because of some of the controversial issues.

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: Our standing in other communities, such as Reddit, is not at all a primary concern of mine. If we run our site how we feel it should be run, that's our business. They are entitled to their opinion too, of course. But that's their business.


swasheck swasheck asked: In matters of moderation, what do you believe would be your "go-to" tool?

minitech minitech answered: /questions.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: I don't understand the question.

Richard J. Ross III Richard J. Ross III answered: FALCON PUNCH! No, not really. I think that 'edit' is probably the most important one.

Raghav Sood Raghav Sood answered: Depends on the matter at hand. Not all matters can be handled with a single tool.

Rocket Hazmat Rocket Hazmat answered: My keyboard, OF DOOM! That and the "add comment" link. Explaining to people how to fix their post before I close it.

Kolink Kolink answered: /tools, hands down.

Jon Clements Jon Clements answered: I don't have any specific tool, just pen and paper and some common sense

JNK JNK answered: The flag queue and my disarming personality.

animuson animuson answered: I'm not sure if there is any "go-to" tool.

Madara Uchiha Madara Uchiha answered: Definitely the edit. It has a lot of power, for good or bad.

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno answered: I use all the tools moderators have; I don't have a preferred one.

ChrisF ChrisF answered: Moderators are more reactive and proactive - especially on a larger site - so the tools you use will depend on the flags being raised etc. I certainly don't go looking for stuff to moderate so I don't have a need to have a tool to help me find stuff to do.

bluefeet bluefeet answered: mod tools

Gordon Gordon answered: common sense (no, not the user formerly known as col shrapnel)

Lord Torgamus Lord Torgamus answered: I don't think it's wise to answer this without prior mod tool experience. If anyone decides to not vote for me because I don't already have a diamond on another site, that's his prerogative and I'm okay with that.

Flexo Flexo answered: Not 100% sure I've understood this question correctly - in terms of knowledge ("what's the precedent here?") chat has to be the most useful thing. I expect I'll largely be working with the flag queue.

Lix Lix answered: Any link to the users summary page

mattytommo mattytommo answered: My passion and dedication, that'll get me through everything :)

Andrew Barber Andrew Barber answered: My 'go-to' tool for matters of moderation (speaking here of handling flags) would be my more experienced, fellow moderators. I have already learned a bit from them there (though @BradLarson has had to remind me of some things more than once re my most frequent reason for declined Spam flags), and I expect that to continue.

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