2013 Moderator Election Q&A - Questionnaire

In connection with the moderator elections, we are holding a Q&A thread for the candidates. Questions collected from an earlier thread have been compiled into this one, which shall now serve as the space for the candidates to provide their answers. Due to the lack of submission count, we have selected all provided questions as well as our back up questions for a total of 10 questions.

As a candidate, your job is simple - post an answer to this question, citing each of the questions and then post your answer to each question given in that same answer. For your convenience, I will include all of the questions in quote format with a break in between each, suitable for you to insert your answers. Just copy the whole thing after the three dashes.

Once all the answers have been compiled, this will serve as a transcript for voters to view the thoughts of their candidates, and will be appropriately linked in the Election page.

1. One of the biggest schisms the site has is the divide between the experienced developers who are active on the site and the mass of inexperienced but enthusiastic people wanting to develop games. What is your stance on the issue, and what role, if any, do you see diamond mods as having on making sure the site remains a useful tool for getting answers to game dev questions?

2. 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?

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

4. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

5. 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?

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

7. Do you want to make this site more friendly to newcomers and beginners? If yes, how do you want to do it when these people are most likely to ask questions, that are discouraged here?

8. How do you compare against the other candidates?

9. Being a moderator will definitely take some of your time. Candidates are usually people with reputation gained by answering questions. Are you still going to take the same time to actually answer questions? Or are we losing some of the great answers because you are becoming a mod?

10. Aren't you afraid that you will burn out solving mundane issues that you could ignore before?

• Could this post be edited to show more clearly where one question ends and the next begins? – Nicol Bolas Jun 17 '13 at 20:17
• @NicolBolas I added some numbers – Tetrad Jun 17 '13 at 20:55
• Where is everyone? Why have only two potential moderator candidates answered these questions? Or is this an indicator as to who's serious about being a moderator? – Nicol Bolas Jun 19 '13 at 20:19
• The post for collecting the questions said: "Participation is completely voluntary.". I would also like to see posts from more candidates, but I suppose they're not compelled to answer. – MichaelHouse Jun 20 '13 at 1:25
• @Byte56 There's still six days left in the final election phase - don't forget you can change your votes up until it ends. Some may still be working on their answers and intend to post soon, it's not uncommon to see a few answers added in the last few days. – Tim Post Jun 20 '13 at 4:14
• @TimPost Great. I'll be interested to see what the others have to say. – MichaelHouse Jun 20 '13 at 4:38
• It's been a busy week -- I'll post tomorrow, promise! – Anko Jun 20 '13 at 22:08

1: One of the biggest schisms the site has is the divide between the experienced developers who are active on the site and the mass of inexperienced but enthusiastic people wanting to develop games. What is your stance on the issue, and what role, if any, do you see diamond mods as having on making sure the site remains a useful tool for getting answers to game dev questions?

I think the inexperienced but enthusiastic people bring some of the most interesting questions. They bring up the questions that many of us take for granted. The answers given to these questions can even be informative to experienced users who just hadn't thought of other ways of doing things. I think the moderators task is to ensure these questions are within a reasonable scope and on topic. They do that by commenting, editing and closing.

2: 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 think that a user in that situation clearly finds value in the site, but is overzealous in their reactions. A conversation with a diamond moderator about the situation would be a great first step. If the behavior continued, and further conversations were fruitless. The next step is a temporary ban. Even if a user is contributing to the site, being hostile to other users doesn't support the kind of community we want here.

3: How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

Talk with the other mod about it. Attempt to compromise on a version of the question that both of us can agree on. I believe the other mod would be reasonable too, and we'd come to some kind of agreement.

4: In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are here to make things run smoothly. They both guide the community and are guided by the community. Keeping the site clean by closing or migrating blatantly off topic questions and responding to user flags. Since their votes are binding, moderators take more of a background role in closures. Only for the extreme cases do moderators act first. Moderators are judges in a community that primarily police themselves, they don't have to act often, but when necessary they act impartially and with conviction.

5: 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 already attempt professionalism in all my questions, answers and comments. I don't have any problem with my activity being seen in the new light.

6: 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 frequently see spam or other blatantly off topic content sit on the site for more than a few hours. Since I'm on the site regularly throughout the day I can be more effective with moderator powers because I can respond quickly to content that doesn't belong here. I don't have any epic plans for changing the site, I just want to continue to ensure it's welcoming and helpful to beginners and professionals. Having the powers of a moderator would make me more effective in that goal.

7: Do you want to make this site more friendly to newcomers and beginners? If yes, how do you want to do it when these people are most likely to ask questions, that are discouraged here?

I think getting started questions are caused by being overwhelmed. There isn't much we can do to stop these questions being asked in the first place, but we can try to help those users by ensuring they know the resources available to them. Typically more research is the answer to these types of questions, and that's something the user will have to do on their own (we can't know what they know already, their style of learning or their end goal). A comment outlining the high level steps they should take and closing the question are sufficient in this situation. I'd make sure they know what kind of questions are on topic here, we want them to come back if they run into an issue that would generate a good question.

8: How do you compare against the other candidates?

My primary differences are how active I am on the site and my passion for teaching. I've also given a good amounr of rep in the form of bounties, this was primarily to bump a few users up to their next privledge level so they too could be participating in the managment of the site (and a few bounties for newer users that wanted new answers to old questions). Otherwise, you can learn for yourself how we compare by reading through these posts and our nomination posts :)

9: Being a moderator will definitely take some of your time. Candidates are usually people with reputation gained by answering questions. Are you still going to take the same time to actually answer questions? Or are we losing some of the great answers because you are becoming a mod?

Absolutely I'll still answer questions! I have one of the highest answer counts on the site, I'm not giving that up anytime soon. I really enjoy helping people understand the fun and power of programming and design. It's a passion I'll have even with my additional duties of being a moderator.

10: Aren't you afraid that you will burn out solving mundane issues that you could ignore before?

As the second most prolific flagger in the running (way to go Anko), I've been going for two years strong and still haven't burned out. I do care about this site and it's quality, it's not something I'd give up so easily on.

One of the biggest schisms the site has is the divide between the experienced developers who are active on the site and the mass of inexperienced but enthusiastic people wanting to develop games. What is your stance on the issue, and what role, if any, do you see diamond mods as having on making sure the site remains a useful tool for getting answers to game dev questions?

I wish that more of my fellow professional developers would openly contribute to this site, and sites like it. But I think that the reasons they don't have more to do with issues surrounding their own free time and the legal restrictions they are bound by. Any developer who has day-to-day issues concerning the Xbox One SDK won't be able to find help here because of the NDA they've signed (for example). Even developers on PC titles may worry about accidentally revealing things considered trade secrets by their employer.

I think we can do more to increase the appeal of this site for more experienced developers (professional and otherwise), but I'm not convinced there's anything that could be done on our end to encourage more professionals to visit and participate specifically.

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'm not familiar with the functionality afforded to moderators to communicate directly with members. Presuming there is some mechanism by which I can talk directly, in private, to a troublesome user, I would start there. I'd review the flagged actions and ask the user to correct the undesirable behavior. If necessary, I'd interject in the actual comments/discussions to suppress flame-wars (but I don't believe that the first response should be to delete a comment thread without warning or without public record).

However, in the long run I believe there are more users willing to contribute value to the site than want to harm it. A user who was doing too much harm to the site, and was not responsive to civil suggestions to change that behavior, is not something we need to keep around, regardless of how useful their future answers might otherwise be.

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

I would raise the issue in the chat or, if possible, privately, and attempt to come to an understanding as to the other moderators reasoning. "Revert wars" (or their equivalent) among moderators are uncalled for.

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators keep their fingers on the pulse of the community and act in such a way to provide agency to that community. They try to understand where the community wants the site to go and then provide guidance and support towards achieving that goal. When there is debate, they act as objective mediators (or at least respect when their objectivity has been compromised and defer to another moderator's judgement). When there is undesirable behavior, they police the site and work to correct any issues in a fair and reasonable fashion.

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 don't believe in obscuring who I am or what I have done on the internet. I've comported myself in a manner that I'm proud of since I joined this community, and happily remain accountable for everything I've posted in the past.

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 expect having extra visibility in to site activity will help me better understand where to focus my attention. I also hope to be able to use my binding votes and other moderator powers (sparingly) to achieve a swifter resolution to obvious spam, troll, or otherwise unpleasant activity.

Do you want to make this site more friendly to newcomers and beginners? If yes, how do you want to do it when these people are most likely to ask questions, that are discouraged here?

Yes. "Bad" questions (in the sense of questions that aren't welcome here) are almost always an opportunity to teach the asker about what a good question will look like, and thus hopefully grow them into a more productive contributor to the site. I think the majority of the population at close-vote level does an excellent job of explaining to users why they've posted a bad question and guiding them to ask better ones or to seek what answers they need elsewhere, if applicable. I would encourage more of that behavior.

How do you compare against the other candidates?

I think I differ primarily in the issues outlined in my nomination post: I'm one of the few professionals who actively contributes to the site, and I'm one of the highest-rated users here. Regardless, I don't believe the role of a moderator is to reflect his or her personal bias onto the site, but rather to gather an understanding of the community's view as a whole and act as agent for that view.

Being a moderator will definitely take some of your time. Candidates are usually people with reputation gained by answering questions. Are you still going to take the same time to actually answer questions? Or are we losing some of the great answers because you are becoming a mod?

I don't answer as many questions as others on this site, although when I do I try to put as much polish, research and depth into them as I can. But proportionally, the time I spend answering is less than the time I spend reading, processing review queues, exploring meta, and generally surveying the site. I don't feel that taking on a moderation role would negative impact the way in which I answer questions here.

Aren't you afraid that you will burn out solving mundane issues that you could ignore before?

This is a valid concern, and one that I considered before putting my name into the running. However, I ultimately decided that it would not be a problem since I've been moderating forums for years now without feeling that burn out. I expect it to be even less of an issue when there are many other skilled moderators on the team; we will be able to complement each other's occasional lapses in monitoring due to external pressures (like real-life concerns).

I am fully prepared to step down should I ever be unable to fulfill the time commitment required of moderation duties.

• Nice answers Josh, you have my support. – MichaelHouse Jun 18 '13 at 12:38

One of the biggest schisms the site has is the divide between the experienced developers who are active on the site and the mass of inexperienced but enthusiastic people wanting to develop games. What is your stance on the issue, and what role, if any, do you see diamond mods as having on making sure the site remains a useful tool for getting answers to game dev questions?

Leaves need roots and vice versa. Experienced devs' questions are good, but so are newbies' questions. Mods prune the hedge.

All is well that is on-topic, constructive and useful.

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?

The rare others should be handled case-by-case, with fair warning always given, and the boot only if it's not heeded.

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

Talk.

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

As mentioned for the first question, I see mods as gardeners trimming the Grand Hedge of Knowledge. Another (hilariously incompatible) analogy, to reiterate: Moderator-powers should be used to keep a boat afloat, not to steer it.

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've done my best until now and will continue that way, mod or not.

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

Some mod tools, such as handling "needs ♦ moderator attention"-flags or closing questions with a single vote can't be done by 10k "mini-mod" users.

I've flagged a lot of stuff (a lot) and I know moderator-level problems when I see them.

Do you want to make this site more friendly to newcomers and beginners? If yes, how do you want to do it when these people are most likely to ask questions, that are discouraged here?

Yes, but quality content always takes priority. I am against off-topic, unconstructive or "debug mai codez plz"-posts from any user regardless of how new or experienced they are.

The most important thing is for the reasons for question closure or deletion or anything else really to be explained to anyone (newcomer or not) who wants to understand. That's what StackExchange is about after all!

How do you compare against the other candidates?

I draw more and write less.

Being a moderator will definitely take some of your time. Candidates are usually people with reputation gained by answering questions. Are you still going to take the same time to actually answer questions? Or are we losing some of the great answers because you are becoming a mod?

Think of it this way: Both people writing answers (making more useful information) and people moderating (making more information useful) are needed. The reason we're having this election is because someone wise concluded we could use more of the latter. I answer the call.

Aren't you afraid that you will burn out solving mundane issues that you could ignore before?

Nah. How do you think I flagged those 590 posts? :)

One of the biggest schisms the site has is the divide between the experienced developers who are active on the site and the mass of inexperienced but enthusiastic people wanting to develop games. What is your stance on the issue, and what role, if any, do you see diamond mods as having on making sure the site remains a useful tool for getting answers to game dev questions?

For me, the site is only useful if random people can Google-search for questions, get directed here, and find answers quickly. Sure, it's great if one person gets their question answered. But the whole point of an SE site is to become a repository of useful questions-with-answers. This means that the diamond folks need to help keep the site on topic, lest it degenerate into a what you would get with a poorly-moderated forum.

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?

Keep informing them through comments that their style of comment-interaction should be "toned down". If they continue causing trouble, I would use whatever tools I have in increasing order of restrictiveness to pull them into line.

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

I would discuss it with them and try to understand why they did it. If I continue to disagree, it would then depend upon the consensus among the other mods.

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

They keep the site on topic. As a crowd-sourced system, SE sites need tending to stay on track. Without tending, they will tend to drift off topic and/or become more like forums.

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'm used to being careful with my words as I represent both a corporation and an alliance in EVE-Online. I don't think there is anything in my past here that I need to be ashamed of, and I don't foresee my style of interaction changing much were I to become a mod.

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 want to contribute to making this a better place from a management perspective, and getting that much rep will take me a very long time.

Do you want to make this site more friendly to newcomers and beginners? If yes, how do you want to do it when these people are most likely to ask questions, that are discouraged here?

I think the most important thing is to make it easier to understand how the site is supposed to work. Without new users, the site will die. But without training those users on how the site should function, it will degenerate quickly. We have to strike a balance in that regard.

How do you compare against the other candidates?

I have less rep, but I have the right attitude and take the site seriously enough to make a good moderator.

Being a moderator will definitely take some of your time. Candidates are usually people with reputation gained by answering questions. Are you still going to take the same time to actually answer questions? Or are we losing some of the great answers because you are becoming a mod?

I do not have a load of answers on the site, as I only answer questions I can with authority. I will still browse for questions that I can answer well.

Aren't you afraid that you will burn out solving mundane issues that you could ignore before?

As a professional programmer, I deal with mundane issues all the time. :)

1: One of the biggest schisms the site has is the divide between the experienced developers who are active on the site and the mass of inexperienced but enthusiastic people wanting to develop games. What is your stance on the issue, and what role, if any, do you see diamond mods as having on making sure the site remains a useful tool for getting answers to game dev questions?

So-called noob'' questions should be answered but relegated to fixed set of questions.

Questions can't be closed because they are "too basic". At the same time we don't want endless discussion on "getting started". Having a canonical answer to "getting started", and always linking there every time a new question like that opens, can't really hurt.

So I see a need to keep the site fairly 1337 in terms of most of the questions, but I still think "noob" questions should be answered or linked to another question that already has an answer.

2: 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?

You have to review the flags objectively. If the flagging is flagrant, then decline.

3: How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

Vote to re-open.

4: In your opinion, what do moderators do?

They basically have a big mallet they use to close or delete things.

5: 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?

The diamond more says to me "oh, he thinks he's important." (sorry mods).

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

It won't.

7: Do you want to make this site more friendly to newcomers and beginners? If yes, how do you want to do it when these people are most likely to ask questions, that are discouraged here?

Not really. I don't really care one way or another. I just like things organized. If newbies will continue to come, you can beat them back with a big stick. Or you can redirect them.

8: How do you compare against the other candidates?

Well, I'm Galvatron, so like,

9: Being a moderator will definitely take some of your time. Candidates are usually people with reputation gained by answering questions. Are you still going to take the same time to actually answer questions? Or are we losing some of the great answers because you are becoming a mod?

No. I'm not going to spend extra time on moderator duty.

10: Aren't you afraid that you will burn out solving mundane issues that you could ignore before?

I will not spend extra time on mundane issues -- I see it as a privilege to make decisions on what to accept or reject in the community. If "modding" takes too much time from a single person, then you simply need more mods.

The group of mods should act like a sort of hivemind.