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2022 Moderator Election

nomination began
Oct 31, 2022 at 20:00
election began
Nov 7, 2022 at 20:00
election ended
Nov 15, 2022 at 20:00
candidates
2
positions
1

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

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

Our general criteria for moderators is as follows:

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

Every election has three phases:

  1. Nomination
  2. Primary
  3. Election

Please participate in the moderator elections by voting, and perhaps even by nominating yourself to be a community moderator!

Additional Links

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

[Answer 1 here]

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

[Answer 2 here]

  1. We get a good amount of hot questions on provocative topics. Sometimes the questions seem so incredible that people question whether they are genuine. Sometimes the questions seem genuine but evoke strong negative reactions. Either way, these questions attract a lot of attention, comments, flags, and discussion in chat. How should questions like these be moderated?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. According to SE statistics available here, the number of questions posted daily on The Workplace is 3.1. Some of the community's most popular network questions are also made exclusively by new contributors who never edit or even post a comment once their question is submitted. To what extent do you consider the low number of questions a problem for the site? What can be done to encourage participation and engage new users?

[Answer 4 here]

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator on The Workplace Stack Exchange?

[Answer 5 here]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 6 here]

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

[Answer 7 here]

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

[Answer 8 here]

nvoigt

The moderation of The Workplace has always been a role model in my view. I like moderation that uses a soft touch and only steps in when needed, only fixing what is really broken and leaving the rest to the community.

The natural follow up question is: if you don't want to change anything, why run?

Well, moderators are humans, not robots, and the more people on the job you have, the more ground you can cover, the better the average reaction time is, if there is an emergency.

Of all the boxes to tick, I probably tick most of them. I'm not a big fan of the boxes to tick because they are just paperwork, but then, sometimes paperwork is neccessary. I am not afraid to spend my time in review queues, although you have to check my SO account to verify, because there rarely is something in the actual review queues here on The Workplace and with the small amount of questions, I read all of them anyway when I browse the site.

I am active in both our meta and the common SE meta sites although maybe not with an opinion the company is too fond of sometimes.

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

Just as any other user that gets a lot of flags and arguments. The value of their contribution does not factor into the need to follow the rules. That said, flags are just that, flags. A huge number of flags might also mean that the user holds a very controversial opinion, which is not against any rules. The sheer number of flags is irrelevant, it is important to check each of them whether they have merit.

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

If it's an edge case, I'd just let it go. There is better things to waste time on than to discuss whether this is a 40/60 or rather a 60/40 closure case. If I really disagree completely, I'll ask why (I'd hope there is some private moderator channel for this). Maybe I did not see something. Maybe they did not see something.

  1. We get a good amount of hot questions on provocative topics. Sometimes the questions seem so incredible that people question whether they are genuine. Sometimes the questions seem genuine but evoke strong negative reactions. Either way, these questions attract a lot of attention, comments, flags, and discussion in chat. How should questions like these be moderated?

The first line for me would be to regulate comments. Narrow it down to what comments were meant for: asking for clarification. Anybody who has an "opinion" can invest the extra mile and craft that into a useful answer. Comments are not for discussion. If people do not react to a friendly reminder and cleanup, posts can be protected in a way that editing the question and answering is still possible, but commenting is not. But if the question could be genuine, it should be allowed to stand and be answered.

However, I do recognize proven trolls. If I see someone asking another variation of the question about pooping in their bosses office again, it will be nuked from orbit.

  1. According to SE statistics available here, the number of questions posted daily on The Workplace is 3.1. Some of the community's most popular network questions are also made exclusively by new contributors who never edit or even post a comment once their question is submitted. To what extent do you consider the low number of questions a problem for the site? What can be done to encourage participation and engage new users?

Compared to Stack Overflow, the Workplace has highly personal topics. While nobody cares whether you asked for help on HTML checkbox handling (the checkbox definetely does not care), one's boss might care what a person wrote about them. So "throwaway" accounts for privacy are perfectly fine. In my view the main disadvantage of "The Workplace" is that we do not actually represent "The Workplace". We represent "People that speak English and use Computers, that also have a job". You will never see a German fisherman here. Because it does not cross their mind to ask for help on the internet and certainly not on the foreign language internet. I'm pretty sure the same goes for Peruvian coal miners or Maroccan tax accountants. I don't think we actively do anything to keep them away, we are just not their natural (or even at all possible) resource for problem solving. No amount of inclusivity or SEO improvements or other actions will change that. So while I wish we had a more diverse clientele, I don't think that is a realistic goal. As far as the number of questions from Computer using English-speaking people is concerned, I think we do good. To me, the most insightful counterpart to my agnostic nerd male self was kicked from the platform in the name of making this site "more welcoming", so I really do not want it any more welcoming by that measure, I like all the people here and don't want to lose any more.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator on The Workplace Stack Exchange?

Because I am pretty active on the site and I think I can help keeping the site clean. I like the moderation as it is, and I'd like to offer a helping hand to cover more ground and keep it that way.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are exception handlers. For people not into programming, that means whenever something bad (TM) happens, to prevent the whole place going up in flames, there needs to be a unit responsible to contain the mess and clean it up. Otherwise, the program "crashes". That in my view is what moderators do. Watch out for exceptions, keep them from spreading and clean them up. You could compare that to janitors. Or firefighters. Or paramedics. The diamond enables you to do all this with the extra powers needed.

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

Everything I said already has my name under it. I signed it, I stand by it. A diamond does not change that. It would be great if we had a means of marking our posts as "this is private opinion" and "this is moderator duty", but we don't.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

The real exceptions cannot be handled with either 10k or 20k or any number really. Being a smaller Stack, it takes a while for the community to trigger the automated mechanism that are build around volume. So having the power to nuke spam without waiting for additional flags to drop, having the power to maybe remove a question from the hot network questions if they do not represent our site well topic-wise, or remove another "pooping" question before bewildered newcomers make an ultimately pointless effort to answer, that would make me more effective than just sitting there, twiddling my thumbs, hoping my flag might go through when enough others flag it, too.

WBT

With a mod score of 34/40, I fully expect @nvoigt to win this election and do a decent job as mod. However, I recognize from reading various comments around the site, including on responses to the mod policies, that support is not universal (in part due to past suspension for a Code of Conduct violation), and some folks want an alternative option. For more, see questionnaire answers below.

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

Assuming the flags are justified: Call out the specific behaviors, privately or publicly (the latter if others in a discussion could also benefit from the reminder of what's civil discussion) asking for correction or cooldown, and follow the normal ladder of rules enforcement.

Some extra attention to positive reinforcement of that user's good behaviors would likely be helpful too, and a steady stream of valuable answers suggests a potentially high return on "more like this, please" comments & feedback.

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

Discuss in mod chat, explaining my reasons and listening to others. My mind can be changed, and I suspect good reasons might be able to convince other mods too.

  1. We get a good amount of hot questions on provocative topics. Sometimes the questions seem so incredible that people question whether they are genuine. Sometimes the questions seem genuine but evoke strong negative reactions. Either way, these questions attract a lot of attention, comments, flags, and discussion in chat. How should questions like these be moderated?

In most cases, assume good faith and guide discussion toward reasonable answers: sometimes, crazy things do actually happen and guidance can be especially appreciated by askers at those times. Include reminders about civil discourse to those posting any inappropriately strong negative reactions. If it's really trolling, the enhanced troll detection & repellent tools that come in diamond mod kits will come in handy.

  1. According to SE statistics available here, the number of questions posted daily on The Workplace is 3.1. Some of the community's most popular network questions are also made exclusively by new contributors who never edit or even post a comment once their question is submitted. To what extent do you consider the low number of questions a problem for the site? What can be done to encourage participation and engage new users?

A low number of questions is not by itself necessarily a problem, if we can focus the site on being a repository of quality Q&A. Focusing on answer quality and comments that don't bite people for posting real questions can help grow the site long-term.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator on The Workplace Stack Exchange?

I'm running to give you, the community members and voters, a choice.

Here's your opportunity to vote for someone who has never been suspended/banned for a violation of the network-wide Code of Conduct, though who also agrees Monica was treated unfairly by network staff. Here's your opportunity to vote for a lighter-touch moderator who won't abuse the tools, but also might not make quite as much use of them as @nvoigt.

By all-time rep, I'm not in the top 0.1% of users on this site, but I am in the 1% of users just below that tier. Because I am not that active in writing content for the site (more in reading), this is your opportunity to vote for someone who can be a more neutral arbitrator of issues and disputes that come up due to not having a personal "dog in the fight" for most discussions.

Here is also your opportunity to vote for a mod that has enough technical background to dive into, diagnose, and advocate more specifically & effectively for fixes to user experience & interface bugs in the platform.

Also, not that I have any problem with @nvoigt's excellent English or think this should be a qualification, but I am a native speaker and that can help with understanding some of the subtleties that come up especially around pronouns and other workplace issues - sometimes subtle wording details do matter a lot.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are human exception handlers for issues that can't be taken care of through the usual community-driven moderation process.

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

Fine.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

I won't likely be reaching 20K rep anytime soon, though I do have over 40K rep network-wide. My highest-rep site is Meta Stack Exchange (and The Workplace is still in my top 10), so it's not like I'm completely inactive in meta discussions, even if I'm less active on this site specifically.

This election is over.