2023 Moderator Election

nomination began
Aug 22, 2023 at 20:00
election began
Aug 29, 2023 at 20:00
election ended
Sep 6, 2023 at 20:00
candidates
4
positions
3

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

Full elections have three phases and an optional fourth phase (Primary):

  1. Question Collection
  2. Nomination
  3. Primary
  4. 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. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 3 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 4 here]

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

[Answer 5 here]

Philip Klöcking

Hello,

I just recently started to become active on this site so bear with me as my stats will not look that great at the moment. I nominate myself as I care about this recently-discovered stack and I want to enable a proper vote if possible.

I am on SE for almost 8 years and a moderator on Philosophy.SE for six years. I am a major in philosophy and started over to train as a physiotherapist, which is why I will certainly continue to contribute increasingly valuable content to the site. I am also a certified Judo coach for 18 years now.

My interest is to uphold the high standards of the original SE networks and have as much state of the art knowledge represented here, as well as the personal expertise of people having decades of experience.

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?

Rules are the same for everybody. If their conduct becomes destructive for the community, even the most valued member needs to face the same consequences as everyone else.

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

I head to the mod chat room and chat about the issue, asking about the motives. Most things can be dealt with pretty easily and without anyone having to notice. It may well be I have overlooked something that motivated them, after all.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Apart from being exemplary users still, they help the community when there are problems that cannot be dealt with by the moderation capabilities open to high profile users. They also try to facilitate a good community and a working Q&A in general.

  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?

As I am a moderator for 6 years now I know it makes a difference at times but I never had any issues with it. I tend to use powers conservatively and can admit mistakes where they happen. Otherwise, I am still a simple user, even if there are some buttons added to play with.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

The main difference is that one can act faster an more decisive in urgent situations instead of having to wait for other community members to vote or moderators to come online. Since I am fairly active, this helps in keeping tue site more clean.

JohnP

Hello all. I am a fitness major in a previous life (Exercise Kinesiology) and have been an avid competitor and fitness advocate for the past 40 years. I have also been a moderator on the Fitness stack since 2016. I believe in helping people with their fitness questions, and maintaining the Fitness stack as an excellent resource for both beginners and experienced athletes alike.

I agree with Thomas that our tags need a categorization and revamp effort, and I also think that we can do more in promotion of the site and increasing the net knowledge and participation.

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?

I would look to see if this is a trend across the board (Such as harsh responses when being challenged in any way), or if it is a problem with one or two specific users,. Both can be mediated and handled, however it is much easier to talk to two or three people having a conflict than it is someone that is ruffling the entire community.

Unfortunately, in the end it may come down to the user themselves, and their willingness to change to conform to the expected behaviors on the site. Knowledge is valuable, but it can't come at the expense of others. Be Nice and similar always apply.

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

Conversation. I would talk to the other moderator(s) and get a consensus on why they handled it the way they did, and the reasoning behind it. It is a moderation team, not a multiple headed dictatorship. If the mods cannot agree, it could point to a problem with scope definition, which is where the community would be consulted. It would be brought forth, with the close reasoning and the opposite side, and the community would have a chance to indicate their support for one stance or the other.

If it does point to a scope problem, that would be a separate meta conversation about possibly changing the scope of the site.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators ideally step in when it is not something that the community can handle on their own. This includes situations where a user is defacing their own posts (rage quitting), actively working to harm the site, spam, or other similar situations. Preferably the community would be handling off topic and other moderation tasks through the voting mechanism, the moderators should be acting when the moderation that needs to be done is outside the ability of the regular community to handle it in a timely fashion.

The other major responsibility of the moderators is to guide the site as it grows and adapt the will of the community in the growth of the site. Initially we included nutrition, however as the site grew it became apparent that this was not a great match. The moderators at the time guided the site through the scope change and name rebranding to match the community. This is a prime responsibility of the moderators and something that I will continue to do if elected.

  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?

This is something that I have grown to adapt to. Initially I looked heavily to my fellow moderators for guidance, especially when I voted to close questions, as a single moderator action is all that is needed to close, delete or otherwise moderate a question/answer. Moderations is a serious responsibility, but again, the majority of the moderation comes from the community, we merely serve as the stewards and intervene only when necessary.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

There are still actions that moderators can take that are beyond the tools that become available to high rep users. This includes regrettable actions such as suspending or banning users, curating and maintaining the tag system, guiding questions and responses on meta around scope and topicality, as well as figuring out ways to promote and grow the site. Moderator tools tend to have actions behind them, trusted user/access to mod tools is more informational in nature. Moderators also have a more direct access to the actual employees of the Stack network as well as other very experienced moderators on other sites.

Thomas Markov

Hello everyone. I am Thomas Markov, recreational power lifter and retired swimmer. I've been a part of the fitness.se community for a little over two years now. In that time, I have been one of the most active contributors to the site here, both in terms of writing answers and performing curation and moderation activities.

I think fitness.se is a fantastic resource, and I care deeply about what we are working together to do here. I will continue to work hard to see fitness.se grow and thrive, and I think being elected moderator would further equip me to do that.

I originally hail from RPG.se, and there we have a very well maintained system of tags categorizing our questions. One of my visions for fitness.se is to see our tag collection reorganized and cleaned up so we can better connect our experts to our questions.

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?

I would first want to get the perspective of the other moderators: am I seeing something that isn't really there? And to double check myself, I would want to do a deeper dive into the flag history and the context of those flags, just to be sure there really is a meaningful trend, rather than just a few islands of conflict here and there viewed through the lens of selection bias.

Once we have determined there is something going on, the standard treatment I prescribe is: talk to them. Don't talk at them, rather actually talk to them, without accusation, being prepared to do more listening than talking. From there, we'll just have to see how it goes. First principles are easy to put to paper here, but a specific course of action will be specific to the situation.

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

Not to repeat the last answer, but talk to them. What am I missing? This is the beauty of a plurality of moderators - we will all see things the others don't. And when we disagree, this is okay, we have others we can defer to, such as other moderators and community opinion. But the important thing here is that we communicate, and continue to communicate.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

The primary function of a moderator is step in when the existing framework of the site's tools have failed. Stack Exchange has a robust system of quality control measures that connect content to the community to ensure our standards are maintained and everyone is treated fairly and respectfully. But sometimes these systems fail. The robot sitting under the hood cannot account for every exception us humans can come up with, so the moderators sometimes must step in to resolve these exceptions. Typically, the kinds of exceptions I am talking about are interpersonal conflict. Sometimes, we need someone to step in and redirect a conversation, or put it on hold. The moderators have tools for doing these sorts of things that are unique to the moderator toolbox.

But more than this, I think there is a sense in which the moderators can serve as directional leaders of the site, setting the tone and direction as the site moves forward. This is the sort of moderator I want to be. More than just a flag handler, I want to continue to help breathe life into our site and lead us to become a flourishing community.

  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?

I think one of the most important philosophies of leadership is to be doing the work of the leader before having the title of the leader. I have already been contributing to the site in the manner I would want to as a moderator, and will continue to do so regardless of this election's outcome.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

I touched on this a bit in my answer to (3) - moderators have a few more tools, and the community views them differently. I mentioned in my nomination statement that I want to get to work on reorganizing tags. This is something that moderators can more easily do with their secret sauce. Beyond this, I think the moderator is uniquely equipped to give direction to the site in ways that a regular user is not; both because of the tools they have access to and the way they are viewed by the community. I will use the secret sauce to further steer this community toward growth, while maintaining high quality Q&A.

Sean Duggan

My name is Sean Duggan, and I've been hanging around for almost nine and a half years (wow! Doesn't feel that long). I will admit that my interest in fitness is relatively recent. Growing up, I got decent exercise from just moving around as a kid, but I scoffed at people who actually ran or lifted heavy weights for fun. As I've gotten older, I've re-evaluated my approach, and now try to get more regular (and regulated) exercise.

What I lack in professional experience in exercise, I try to cover for with my research skills. I like to think I'm pretty decent at finding proper search terms, and determining what is well-sourced versus what is unfounded bro science.

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?

I would look at whether they're actually being abusive in their arguments, or just controversial. If it's the former, I'd have a private word with them about the need for civility (and offering an occasional ear for when they need to vent). If their behavior doesn't get better, citations start. It doesn't do much good if we have good answers if they're driving people away.

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

I would first try my best to understand exactly why they closed the question. Sometimes, there is more going on than seems evident. dog whistles or a pattern of bad behavior. And sometimes, there are biases that they have not recognized. Everything starts with communication.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

They act as a combination of janitor, referee, and gardener. Unfortunately, a good bit of the job is taking out the actual trash in the form of spam, abuse, and nonsense. Past that, you handle interpersonal conflicts and find ways to smooth out hurts. And lastly, you try to guide discussion to help people to learn, and to encourage good discourse.

  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?

More than a bit of trepidation, but I'm always willing to admit that I can be wrong, whether it is present me, or past me.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

It provides additional resources for things like dealing with automated attacks.

This election is over.