6
votes

It's probably unfair to expect the candidates here to answer any of these questions in total, or arguably at all. But a post here should give the option for those who'd like the opportunity. Clearly Expats is not as trafficked a site, and thus does not face quite the same issues, as StackOverflow. Some of these questions may never really apply here. If anybody wants to ask their own question here, please edit it in, or post a comment on this question and it will be added. There doesn't seem to be any practical reason why that would be an issue, though keep in mind that this meta is not visited often. You many have to prompt the candidates in the posts below.

The following is a direct copy/paste from the SO meta original post with edits to relate to Stack Exchange in general:


To save scrolling, here are links to the submissions from each candidate (in order of submission):

When you've completed your answer, please provide a link to it in the bulleted list immediately above. Please leave the list of links in the order of submission.


  1. The general atmosphere amongst the moderators is currently not the sweetest. A lot of them have resigned due to the issues on the site in the past year, and many others have significantly reduced their activity. COVID-19 has put pressure on our real lives, which is dragging the remaining ones down. The flag queue has been increasing, and has been higher than what it used to be in the past couple of years. In these testing times, what would you do to bring back happiness in the community, and motivate them to do more moderation tasks? Do you think you have the mettle to handle these gloomy situations, and help the Stack Exchange community bounce back on the moderation front?
  1. With all of the drama that has happened on the site in the last few months, why do you still want to run? What is it that drives you? What motivates you to still want to serve the community in good faith given your efforts will almost always go unnoticed, and that the folks you think have your back may at any point turn against you?
  1. A high rep user of the site has started to link their own library in many of their answers. Tipped off by a flag, you see that they are overtly self promoting themselves, and handle it by deleting their answers and sending them a mod message asking them to update their answers and provide affiliation. The user is arguably furious after reading your message. They then post their own version of the story on meta without giving much information, and cite that you deleted all their answers. The meta crowd, who is half informed about the situation has brought out all pitchforks, as a high rep user has been contacted. What do you do here to de-escalate the increased tensions? Additionally, do you feel that high rep users must be given more leeway than low rep users, or should the law be the same for all?
  1. How aware are you of the controversial events on the network from Q3-4 last year? Assuming you are aware, what makes you still feel you wish to nominate now? Show us you know exactly what you are doing when you are running in this election. In particular, moderators are (should be) representatives of the community and its best interests, not the company. How can you find balance in representing what is the best for community and at the same time avoid conflicting the company to the point where the company may decide to remove your privileges?

    (Edited to remove negative implications. For the original copy, see Dalija Prasnikar's original submission.)

  1. Here are two questions but you only need to answer one. It is about how you would interact on Meta.
    • Your candidate score is > 20
      Stack Overflow is moving into a new era with the next generation of developers / engineers / enthusiasts emerging. As you have a high candidate score you have been here long enough to not remember what it was like when you started here as a user (things changed, okay?). Why do you think you are the right person to guide / understand / support the upcoming community that is so much different with different needs and a different attitude? Please elaborate.
    • Your candidate score is <= 20
      Stack Overflow has a history with a vocal community, focused on quality. As you still have opportunities to develop yourself in certain aspects of moderation, you can approach problems with a new and fresh vision. How will you leverage your relative inexperience in engaging with the longstanding users and encouraging the upcoming generation in contributing to the knowledge base SE wants to be? Please elaborate.
  1. A user has replied to an increasingly heated comment chain and used an ambiguous yet colloquial word that can be gender neutral to many people, but carries an implicit male context by itself ("dude", "guys", etc.). This comment draws a few red flags, including a custom moderator flag that accuses the person of violating the pronoun code of conduct. There's nothing else flag-worthy about the comment. How would you handle this?
  1. There have been several unpopular features lately, changes in moderation policy forced prompted by SE, and a promise by the company (I am not stating this promise has been kept.) to listen to feedback from the community. Given this I have a two-part question (with the second part being the more important part in my view):
    1. What do you think a moderator's role should be when an unpopular feature is rolled out by SE?
    2. What would you, as a moderator, do when faced with a controversial decision announced by the company, one which you personally disagreed with, and felt was bad for the community at large?
  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?
  1. Do you see moderators as a cooperating team or as a collection of individuals with the "nuke" button? (Note: "nuke" is used as a general term here, referring to the fact that all actions by a moderator are binding and take effect immediately.)

    How would you handle a situation where another moderator closed/deleted/etc. a question that you feel shouldn't have been? Could you be convinced by fellow moderators to revert one of your moderating decisions (delete/close/undelete/reopen/suspend/unsuspend)?

  1. Given the trials and tribulations that Stack Exchange is facing—not just with some high profile departures from Stack Exchange moderation—what makes you believe that you'll be motivated and capable of handling the many responsibilities of moderation?
  • 2
    Lot of these questions are obviously not really relevant for a low-traffic, non-technical site like Expats.SE – SztupY Jul 9 at 20:43
  • @SztupY, I agree with the questionable relevance. But I wouldn't say this site is non-technical. Some of the detailed factual information provided here is highly 'technical' within the subject matter of long-term immigration and international law. So... shrug – ouflak Jul 10 at 6:56
  • Someone please add my answers to this post. I don't have enough rep to edit: expatriates.meta.stackexchange.com/a/420/3715 – JoErNanO Jul 15 at 13:00
  • @JoErNanO, Done. – ouflak Jul 15 at 13:23
3
votes

ouflak

profile for ouflak at Expatriates, Q&A question and answer site for people living abroad on a long-term basis.
profile for ouflak at StackExchange, Q&Communities built by people passionate about a focused topic.

  1. The general atmosphere amongst the moderators is currently not the sweetest. A lot of them have resigned due to the issues on the site in the past year, and many others have significantly reduced their activity. COVID-19 has put pressure on our real lives, which is dragging the remaining ones down. The flag queue has been increasing, and has been higher than what it used to be in the past couple of years. In these testing times, what would you do to bring back happiness in the community, and motivate them to do more moderation tasks? Do you think you have the mettle to handle these gloomy situations, and help the Stack Exchange community bounce back on the moderation front?

I tend to apply my somewhat odd sense of humor at appropriate times and that usually helps me and those around me to keep perspective. My own perspective on my life also helps me to remember just how important the situations here should affect me personally and affect my efforts to keep this site going. I'm open and approachable. My 'mettle' has been tested in much more harrowing situations than any that have, or will ever, come up here. I'm still humming right along and chipping in. That fact that I'm willing to do more says a lot, I believe.

  1. With all of the drama that has happened on the site in the last few months, why do you still want to run? What is it that drives you? What motivates you to still want to serve the community in good faith given your efforts will almost always go unnoticed, and that the folks you think have your back may at any point turn against you?

I suppose I have a rather unflappable character. I've long since enjoyed contributing in different ways on the site, mainly because of the knowledge that others will come to this site and get help. Since that intent doesn't really depend on StackExchange, that motivation remains unaffected.

I already have expressed stances which are not consistent with StackExchange pandering, as well as positions which have not been received at all well by the general users of this site (if meta downvotes are to be considered). I don't always expect or need anybody to 'have my back'. At the end of the day, I'm volunteering my time. The primary target for my efforts are those users who will only ever visit the site (likely never registering) and are unable to give their feedback with the current structure and format.

  1. A high rep user of the site has started to link their own library in many of their answers. Tipped off by a flag, you see that they are overtly self promoting themselves, and handle it by deleting their answers and sending them a mod message asking them to update their answers and provide affiliation. The user is arguably furious after reading your message. They then post their own version of the story on meta without giving much information, and cite that you deleted all their answers. The meta crowd, who is half informed about the situation has brought out all pitchforks, as a high rep user has been contacted. What do you do here to de-escalate the increased tensions? Additionally, do you feel that high rep users must be given more leeway than low rep users, or should the law be the same for all?

If it is the consensus here that a specific set of posts that go against the policy of StackExchange are allowed, then I will argue my stance, point to the policy and how it applies, and move on. It's probably just a matter of time before it's flagged again for the exact same reason anyway. Eventually, even the 'pitchfork' crowd will see the light.

It is literally built into the culture and system here that high rep users are treated with preference, whether deserved or not. It should surprise no one that in almost all contexts here, high rep users will get the benefits of most doubts.

On meta(s), I have argued that higher level moderation tools should be based far more on experience and interest rather than on reputation. This hasn't been met popularly, but I do believe that this approach would solve the problem of newly minted 3k+ users flying blindly into the review queues and promptly getting banned, as well as increasing the workload of other reviewers who have to go back through to repair the damage. I remember clearly the days before I was even registered and my frustration at not being able to improve the site. I've always been a 'low rep' user myself.

  1. How aware are you of the controversial events on the network from Q3-4 last year? Assuming you are aware, what makes you still feel you wish to nominate now? Show us you know exactly what you are doing when you are running in this election. In particular, moderators are (should be) representatives of the community and its best interests, not the company. How can you find balance in representing what is the best for community and at the same time avoid conflicting the company to the point where the company may decide to remove your privileges?

    (Edited to remove negative implications. For the original copy, see Dalija Prasnikar's original submission.)

I was very aware of the situation as it played out. I suppose it's still playing out really. My top voted meta post on the StackExchange network is related to the fallout from those events. I've always despised blind pandering and consider such things off-topic for a site that primarily provides technical/professional/advisory information. I will not be a mouth-piece for the company. Heck, even for the company that pays me money to do stuff for them, I've made it crystal clear to Human Resources that I do not approve of pandering and will not be a part of it. If that's a problem for them, it will just work itself out the way it needs to (I mean that for both companies). My skills and interactions with my fellow professionals are not dependent on my race/gender/orientation/ethnicity/immigration-background/religion/etc... nor is any of that dependent on theirs. That will not change if I become a moderator and it will not be forced on me.

I do not consider efforts to get women professionally interested in careers in engineering and science as 'pandering'.

  1. Here are two questions but you only need to answer one. It is about how you would interact on Meta.
    • Your candidate score is > 20
      Stack Exchange is moving into a new era with the next generation of developers / engineers / enthusiasts emerging. As you have a high candidate score you have been here long enough to not remember what it was like when you started here as a user (things changed, okay?). Why do you think you are the right person to guide / understand / support the upcoming community that is so much different with different needs and a different attitude? Please elaborate.
    • Your candidate score is <= 20
      Stack Exchange has a history with a vocal community, focused on quality. As you still have opportunities to develop yourself in certain aspects of moderation, you can approach problems with a new and fresh vision. How will you leverage your relative inexperience in engaging with the longstanding users and encouraging the upcoming generation in contributing to the knowledge base SO wants to be? Please elaborate.

All moderators still have opportunities to develop themselves in all aspects of moderation, regardless of their 'candidate score'. If I ever get to the point where I feel that's not true for me personally, then I'm probably so conceited as to be of no use to anybody as a moderator anyway. Considering I've been registered and active for around a decade, I'm not sure how 'new and fresh' my vision will be, but I'm an individual with striking characteristics. That will come along into my moderation style. I do not consider myself to have 'relative inexperience'. I've just been around here too (perhaps far too) long for that.

  1. A user has replied to an increasingly heated comment chain and used an ambiguous yet colloquial word that can be gender neutral to many people, but carries an implicit male context by itself ("dude", "guys", etc.). This comment draws a few red flags, including a custom moderator flag that accuses the person of violating the pronoun code of conduct. There's nothing else flag-worthy about the comment. How would you handle this?

Well, if I understand this policy correctly (and I may not), this is only an issue if an aggrieved user explicitly states they wish to be referred to by some other pronoun or contextual expression. I think there is some sort of neo-speak list of acceptable alternatives, though there is also room for some creativity on this point apparently. And after the matter is specifically brought up, it is the responsibility of other users to learn and apply this list accordingly. So unless that policy has been explictly voilated, which I would look into for certainty, I'd probably decline the flag. If the policy has been violated, then it is likely that things took a turn for the worse well before the pronoun issue came up (or shortly thereafter). At which point, comments are going to start getting deleted.

  1. There have been several unpopular features lately, changes in moderation policy forced prompted by SE, and a promise by the company (I am not stating this promise has been kept.) to listen to feedback from the community. Given this I have a two-part question (with the second part being the more important part in my view):
    1. What do you think a moderator's role should be when an unpopular feature is rolled out by SE?
    2. What would you, as a moderator, do when faced with a controversial decision announced by the company, one which you personally disagreed with, and felt was bad for the community at large?
  1. My role when an unpopular feature is rolled out is, in my opinion, unchanged. I will speak out against it just the same as I've done in the past. As I pointed out in the comment of my Moderator Questions post, no part of the Moderator's Agreement or the linked Terms of Service state that any of us, moderators or otherwise, have to support SE actions.
  2. The same as I've done in the past. Take a peak at my meta/Meta posts. At one point, I advised them that they should tell their lawyers to take a hike.
  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?

Possibly take part in arguing-with/flagging them myself from time to time. In fact, I may already have. It's been my experience that users like this eventually burn out and fade away. Just keep tabs on things and see if anything ban-worthy comes up.

  1. Do you see moderators as a cooperating team or as a collection of individuals with the "nuke" button? (Note: "nuke" is used as a general term here, referring to the fact that all actions by a moderator are binding and take effect immediately.)

    How would you handle a situation where another moderator closed/deleted/etc. a question that you feel shouldn't have been? Could you be convinced by fellow moderators to revert one of your moderating decisions (delete/close/undelete/reopen/suspend/unsuspend)?

Probably leaning towards the individual side... but with cooperating elements strewn within. The whole point is that we are all working together to make this a great site. What that entails might not exactly be the same across the board, probably guaranteed not to be. But I think the desired end-result is likely very similar for all of us.
"How would you handle a situation where another moderator closed/deleted/etc. a question that you feel shouldn't have been?" Bring it up. If they agree, so be it. If they don't, so be it. If it's a good question or answer that deserves to be on the site, it will come up again, especially in the higher traffic tags.
"Could you be convinced by fellow moderators to revert one of your moderating decisions (delete/close/undelete/reopen/suspend/unsuspend)?" YES. For d/c/u/r, especially if I'm not an expert on the subject. For sus/unsus, if there is context which I was unaware of.

  1. Given the trials and tribulations that Stack Exchange is facing—not just with some high profile departures from Stack Exchange moderation—what makes you believe that you'll be motivated and capable of handling the many responsibilities of moderation?

After all of this time, I'm still here perusing the review queues, editing, voting, posting on meta. Since my motivations have always been independent of StackExchange, they haven't really changed. At this point, StackExchange would probably have to run me off the site to get rid of me.

2
votes
  1. The general atmosphere amongst the moderators is currently not the sweetest. A lot of them have resigned due to the issues on the site in the past year, and many others have significantly reduced their activity. COVID-19 has put pressure on our real lives, which is dragging the remaining ones down. The flag queue has been increasing, and has been higher than what it used to be in the past couple of years. In these testing times, what would you do to bring back happiness in the community, and motivate them to do more moderation tasks? Do you think you have the mettle to handle these gloomy situations, and help the Stack Exchange community bounce back on the moderation front?

I work as a software developer for a company that handles hotel bookings, and we just went through a round of redundancies that saw off 25% of our company's entire workforce. I know a thing two about operating in suboptimal conditions.

I try not to get too bothered by circumstances over which I have no control, and am a pretty level-headed person, with a very laid-back approach to everything.

  1. With all of the drama that has happened on the site in the last few months, why do you still want to run? What is it that drives you? What motivates you to still want to serve the community in good faith given your efforts will almost always go unnoticed, and that the folks you think have your back may at any point turn against you?

People turn against you even when the going is good. It's just part of life, and there's not a whole lot you can do to stop it. As such, it's not something I let get me down. In a former job, I used to put my name forward as a nominee to become a member of the board of directors every year, and finally one year I was elected to the position and the first board meeting I attended was the meeting where we decided to wind the company down because we had just lost our main client. Such is life :)

  1. A high rep user of the site has started to link their own library in many of their answers. Tipped off by a flag, you see that they are overtly self promoting themselves, and handle it by deleting their answers and sending them a mod message asking them to update their answers and provide affiliation. The user is arguably furious after reading your message. They then post their own version of the story on meta without giving much information, and cite that you deleted all their answers. The meta crowd, who is half informed about the situation has brought out all pitchforks, as a high rep user has been contacted. What do you do here to de-escalate the increased tensions? Additionally, do you feel that high rep users must be given more leeway than low rep users, or should the law be the same for all?

The law should be the same for all, of course. A high-rep user is simply a user that has answered a high number of questions, and a low-rep user is a user who has not yet answered as many questions.

I think that perhaps too much emphasis is put on 'reputation', partially by calling it 'reputation'. Someone who has been on the site for years, and consistently retags questions and suggesting edits, gaining reputation at a slow pace for their efforts - is at least as valuable as someone who answered a relatively simple group of questions that could have been google queries, and managed to get a high reputation in a few months.

  1. How aware are you of the controversial events on the network from Q3-4 last year? Assuming you are aware, what makes you still feel you wish to nominate now? Show us you know exactly what you are doing when you are running in this election. In particular, moderators are (should be) representatives of the community and its best interests, not the company. How can you find balance in representing what is the best for community and at the same time avoid conflicting the company to the point where the company may decide to remove your privileges?

    (Edited to remove negative implications. For the original copy, see Dalija Prasnikar's original submission.)

I was aware of the events as they transpired, but I could not get too worked up by it as it was happening simply because I don't see why it was even an issue. I don't know why so many people wanted to get into such a state of anger over a site which is basically where people ask questions, and people answer them.

The whole pronoun thing made no sense to me - if someone says "call me she" then call them "she". Why is that difficult?

And as for diversity in technical fields, I work in a culture where around 50% of the programmers, QA people, development managers in the company I work for are female. And a culture where people's sexual preferences are their own business. At least half of my team is female, and a good quarter are not what you would call "straight" - and that's just fine. They have their own lives to live, and how they choose to live them is entirely up to them.

  1. Here are two questions but you only need to answer one. It is about how you would interact on Meta.
    • Your candidate score is > 20
      Stack Overflow is moving into a new era with the next generation of developers / engineers / enthusiasts emerging. As you have a high candidate score you have been here long enough to not remember what it was like when you started here as a user (things changed, okay?). Why do you think you are the right person to guide / understand / support the upcoming community that is so much different with different needs and a different attitude? Please elaborate.
    • Your candidate score is <= 20
      Stack Overflow has a history with a vocal community, focused on quality. As you still have opportunities to develop yourself in certain aspects of moderation, you can approach problems with a new and fresh vision. How will you leverage your relative inexperience in engaging with the longstanding users and encouraging the upcoming generation in contributing to the knowledge base SE wants to be? Please elaborate.

The "candidate score" is only an indication, and only shows an approximation of how "moderator-like" the candidates' behaviour has been, using a set of criteria based on how many badges of certain types they have. I think we all have our own style in the way we do things, and that applies to moderation as well as every other part of life. I have been one of the three moderators in ham.SE (the amateur radio SE) for a few years, and it has been a very eye-opening experience. There are some things you don't think about until you have moderated a site. For example, on this site I like to vote to close questions if I think they are off-topic, but on ham.SE I do not do that (unless it is totally off-topic), simply because a moderator's vote-to-close closes a question immediately, and does not allow other people to cast their votes.

  1. A user has replied to an increasingly heated comment chain and used an ambiguous yet colloquial word that can be gender neutral to many people, but carries an implicit male context by itself ("dude", "guys", etc.). This comment draws a few red flags, including a custom moderator flag that accuses the person of violating the pronoun code of conduct. There's nothing else flag-worthy about the comment. How would you handle this?

Some people choose to get offended by the way other people behave. I live in a Buddhist country, and learned quite early on that if what someone says offends me, that is because I choose to be offended by what that person says.

However, culturally the way we speak can carry a lot of baggage - there are some words we simply do not use, because culturally we have reached a consensus that those words are beyond the pale. Anyone using words like that would get their comment deleted, and would get a warning to tone it down. However, there are cases where someone has asked to be addressed in a certain way, and someone else refuses to offer them that courtesy. To me, that is just angling for a fight - and behaviour like that needs to be stopped as well.

If someone asks to be referred to by a pronoun such as "xe", and someone else says "that's ridiculous, that's just a made-up word. I am going to call you 'he' because you look like a male to me", simply means that the person responding is putting their fists up in the playground and asking for the first person to punch them. This is not acceptable behaviour in a playground, and it's not acceptable behaviour on a public website.

In the direct case presented in the question, I would read the comment thread to get an idea of the context, and then either edit the comment to replace the pronouns with something gender-neutral, or decline the flag if it is all a storm in a teacup. However, if a thread has been going on long enough that there is a lot to read, I would probably move all the comments to chat, as comments are not for extended conversation anyway ;)

  1. There have been several unpopular features lately, changes in moderation policy forced prompted by SE, and a promise by the company (I am not stating this promise has been kept.) to listen to feedback from the community. Given this I have a two-part question (with the second part being the more important part in my view):
    1. What do you think a moderator's role should be when an unpopular feature is rolled out by SE?
    2. What would you, as a moderator, do when faced with a controversial decision announced by the company, one which you personally disagreed with, and felt was bad for the community at large?

For the most part, SE know what they are doing with their own website, and nobody knows which features will or will not be popular before they are rolled out. I think if a new feature is rolled out (or an old one is removed), I would usually try to work with the site as it now is, unless there is enough push-back that people are actively complaining about it - at which point I would escalate to the Community team.

  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?

Ah, the Orson Scott Card question ... I would ask the user to tone down the comments, and if they didn't then would consider sending them a moderator message, and perhaps a suspension.

  1. Do you see moderators as a cooperating team or as a collection of individuals with the "nuke" button? (Note: "nuke" is used as a general term here, referring to the fact that all actions by a moderator are binding and take effect immediately.)

    How would you handle a situation where another moderator closed/deleted/etc. a question that you feel shouldn't have been? Could you be convinced by fellow moderators to revert one of your moderating decisions (delete/close/undelete/reopen/suspend/unsuspend)?

I believe the moderation team is a team. Much communication is needed.

In ham.SE, I am in constant communication with the other moderators, and if we do delete posts that are not spam or directly against SE policies (e.g. porn, downright offensive posts), we explain our reasoning in the moderators' chat room. If there is a disagreement, then we all discuss it until we come to agreement, and then either undelete the post or leave it deleted.

  1. Given the trials and tribulations that Stack Exchange is facing—not just with some high profile departures from Stack Exchange moderation—what makes you believe that you'll be motivated and capable of handling the many responsibilities of moderation?

Because I enjoy being here. After many years, I still go over the queues, and retag questions several times a week - and that's just as a regular user. As a moderator, I would also be on the lookout for stuff that should not be here, and would try to be fair, even though I have a "nuke" button. I would definitely stop voting to close questions as quickly as I do now!

  • I am sure you agree that there is a difference between saying "let's calm down, guys", and "someone asks to be referred to by a pronoun such as "xe", and someone else says "that's ridiculous, that's just a made-up word. I am going to call you 'he' because you look like a male to me"" – JoErNanO Jul 15 at 12:57
  • But if someone flags the “let’s calm down, guys” comment, I don’t see a problem with changing it to “let’s calm down, everyone”. If tensions are already mounting, calling everyone “guys” can be seen as inflammatory, and being neutral can’t hurt at that point – Scott Earle Jul 15 at 13:08
1
vote

JoErNanO

profile for JoErNanO on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites

My answers below will be focused specifically on Expat.Se and not on the rest of SE/SO. The reason is simple: Expat is a site with specific needs, which are different to those of SO, from which these questions were taken.

  1. The general atmosphere amongst the moderators is currently not the sweetest. A lot of them have resigned due to the issues on the site in the past year, and many others have significantly reduced their activity. COVID-19 has put pressure on our real lives, which is dragging the remaining ones down. The flag queue has been increasing, and has been higher than what it used to be in the past couple of years. In these testing times, what would you do to bring back happiness in the community, and motivate them to do more moderation tasks? Do you think you have the mettle to handle these gloomy situations, and help the Stack Overflow community bounce back on the moderation front?

The only way to deal with rising in moderator activity is to actually carry out that activity. This is what we can do as moderators. I think the current moderator team has been doing an excellent job. What the current team needs is an extra set of helping hands.

Motivating the community is in my opinion a by-product of proper moderation, which comes not just from appointed mods but also from an engaged community. Once started, it is (or should be) a self sustaining process, requiring occasional upkeep and boosting.

  1. With all of the drama that has happened on the site in the last few months, why do you still want to run? What is it that drives you? What motivates you to still want to serve the community in good faith given your efforts will almost always go unnoticed, and that the folks you think have your back may at any point turn against you?

I want to help. My objective is to ensure that quality Q/A activity is carried out on the site, and this is somewhat independent from drama. It is not true that efforts will go unnoticed as the site clearly prospers when it is taken care of by everyone (not just the moderators).

  1. A high rep user of the site has started to link their own library in many of their answers. Tipped off by a flag, you see that they are overtly self promoting themselves, and handle it by deleting their answers and sending them a mod message asking them to update their answers and provide affiliation. The user is arguably furious after reading your message. They then post their own version of the story on meta without giving much information, and cite that you deleted all their answers. The meta crowd, who is half informed about the situation has brought out all pitchforks, as a high rep user has been contacted. What do you do here to de-escalate the increased tensions? Additionally, do you feel that high rep users must be given more leeway than low rep users, or should the law be the same for all?

The law should be the same for all.

Direct contact is IMHO the way to go about this, using private messages to communicate with the users involved. Keep in mind that moderator action transparency is guaranteed on SE by recording and tracing all moderator actions. These records are available to other mods and SE staff so, at the end of the day, it is quite easy to prove what happened and de-escalate tensions.

Unfortunately, at the end of every argument people will remain more or less bitter. My experience shows that there is little that can be done to recover users who are convinced (or want to convince themselves) that they were wronged, after a heated argument. We've had people leave the site already, and then come back after a while only to leave again. At the end of the day, engaging in a community requires making compromises, the most important of which is being nice. People who are not prepared to compromise are typically unfit foc community engagement and end up leaving. This is life.

  1. How aware are you of the controversial events on the network from Q3-4 last year? Assuming you are aware, what makes you still feel you wish to nominate now? Show us you know exactly what you are doing when you are running in this election. In particular, moderators are (should be) representatives of the community and its best interests, not the company. How can you find balance in representing what is the best for community and at the same time avoid conflicting the company to the point where the company may decide to remove your privileges?

    (Edited to remove negative implications. For the original copy, see Dalija Prasnikar's original submission.)

I am aware of the events. I believe I am appointed as easily as I can be removed, and that the SE staff are ultimately the decision-makers when it comes to SE policy, rules, and strategy.

  1. Here are two questions but you only need to answer one. It is about how you would interact on Meta.
    • Your candidate score is > 20
      Stack Overflow is moving into a new era with the next generation of developers / engineers / enthusiasts emerging. As you have a high candidate score you have been here long enough to not remember what it was like when you started here as a user (things changed, okay?). Why do you think you are the right person to guide / understand / support the upcoming community that is so much different with different needs and a different attitude? Please elaborate.
    • Your candidate score is <= 20
      Stack Overflow has a history with a vocal community, focused on quality. As you still have opportunities to develop yourself in certain aspects of moderation, you can approach problems with a new and fresh vision. How will you leverage your relative inexperience in engaging with the longstanding users and encouraging the upcoming generation in contributing to the knowledge base SO wants to be? Please elaborate.

I have plenty of experience on other sites. In particular, I am active on Travel, where I also serve as a moderator. I will transfer my experience here on Expats.

  1. A user has replied to an increasingly heated comment chain and used an ambiguous yet colloquial word that can be gender neutral to many people, but carries an implicit male context by itself ("dude", "guys", etc.). This comment draws a few red flags, including a custom moderator flag that accuses the person of violating the pronoun code of conduct. There's nothing else flag-worthy about the comment. How would you handle this?

First I would clean up the comment. Then, if this is a first offence, I would contact the user in private chat explaining the situation and pointing to the rules. In case this is a repeated offence, I would contact the user via moderator message in order to leave a written record for future moderation actions.

  1. There have been several unpopular features lately, changes in moderation policy forced prompted by SE, and a promise by the company (I am not stating this promise has been kept.) to listen to feedback from the community. Given this I have a two-part question (with the second part being the more important part in my view):
    1. What do you think a moderator's role should be when an unpopular feature is rolled out by SE?
    2. What would you, as a moderator, do when faced with a controversial decision announced by the company, one which you personally disagreed with, and felt was bad for the community at large?

In both cases, all moderators can do is express their opinion. Ultimately, SE belongs to the company and they are the ones responsible for taking all the decisions. If tomorrow SE staff decides to close SE there is nothing any of us can do except voice our opinions and move to some other site. The same applies to all other unpopulat features that might come along.

  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 have seen this happen on the site as a normal user. My approach has always been to talk directly to the user. As a mod I would do the same. I would contact the user explaining the situation and asking them for a change in behaviour, and telling them that mods will be closely monitoring their activity to ensure this happens. If this doesn't work then one can always opt for a suspension. Of course it is always sad to see valuable users get suspended over such attitude problems. Nevertheless, in my opinion Rule 1 - Be nice is more important than reputation acquired by posting valuable content.

  1. Do you see moderators as a cooperating team or as a collection of individuals with the "nuke" button? (Note: "nuke" is used as a general term here, referring to the fact that all actions by a moderator are binding and take effect immediately.)

    How would you handle a situation where another moderator closed/deleted/etc. a question that you feel shouldn't have been? Could you be convinced by fellow moderators to revert one of your moderating decisions (delete/close/undelete/reopen/suspend/unsuspend)?

My experience shows that moderators are a cooperating team in which actions are only taken after consensus is reached, and everything is traced in a way as to ensure accountability. There are a pair of nuke buttons none of which are used lightly.

I believe in open communication. The first thing to do in this case would be to contact that moderator to discuss the issue. I don't think that I am always right. On the contrary, since I'm the one with the issue there's a high chance that I might have misinterpreted something about the question. Contacting the moderator will allow me to understand their position and maybe even learn something new about the site. If, after discussing, the two of us can't resolve the problem, I believe that summoning the rest of the moderator team for an open discussion would definitely help to reach consensus. In addition, on Expats we have several active users which can be consulted to aid in solving disputes like these.

  1. Given the trials and tribulations that Stack Overflow is facing—not just with some high profile departures from Stack Overflow moderation—what makes you believe that you'll be motivated and capable of handling the many responsibilities of moderation?

The main reason I choose to spend some time on SE is that I'm always learning something new from this huge knowledge library. This is my motivation, regardless of whether or not I get elected. In a way, gathering knowledge and providing a learning experience should be the main goals of any SE community. As long as these objectives do not change I do not see why I should be losing motivation.

In the meantime, the rules set by SE staff to be part of the community can change, whether or not we like it, at their discretion. Quite simply, if one wishes to stay on SE one must accept these rules. As of now this is something I'm prepared to do.

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