(Shameless repeat of previous nomination, because laziness is a virtue.)
G'day, everyone. I would like to nominate myself for moderator. Thank you in advance for considering me.
I chose this handle when I was a teenager (at some point in the 1980s) after reading Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid.
I have been a mostly-active member for over 10 years. I still have my launch t-shirt, although it never really fit me. The mouse mat is long worn out.
Over the years, I've worked in disparate areas of CS-heavy programming, including but not limited to: compilers, visual effects (the teapot avatar is a giveaway), database servers, bioinformatics, urban planning, scientific programming (e.g. fluid simulation), and most recently GIS. The intersection of these is, surely, the null set.
Time zone: AE[SD]T
Erdős number: 3
- 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?
Thankfully, cs.SE is not the sort of community where this happens often!
We highly discourage comment discussions, preferring that they move to chat. I would be aggressive in doing this, especially in this situation. I wouldn't want to discourage healthy disagreement if it was on-topic, even if it digressed into a different (still CS) topic, but there's a time and a place, and the comment area is not it.
Of course, one possible cause is that nobody caught that the question would generate opinion-based answers, in which case putting a pause on the question and asking for a rephrase is an option.
Dealing with flags is, of course, the main day-to-day job of a moderator. Reasonable flagging represents a problem with the answer or the user's conduct. Unreasonable flagging represents a problem with the users who are flagging. Either way, this is where the power of the diamond steps in.
Although I have never moderated a SE site before, I have moderated other communities, and I am a firm believer that if it's a troll/spammer the banhammer may be the first response, but if it's not, then it's the last resort. A "ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour" (to paraphrase Sir Robert Peel) goes further.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc. a question that you feel shouldn’t have been?
As noted earlier, I've never been a SE moderator before, but I assume there's a discussion area where moderators communicate. If there isn't, there is a chat. That would be the proper venue to seek clarification from the mod who did the action.
Unless the reason why the mod took action is no longer relevant (e.g. the question/answer has been edited), I would never reverse a fellow mod's action without getting some kind of consensus first.
In the highly-unlikely event that I genuinely believed that a moderator's action was wrong, and I didn't get an explanation that satisfied me, I would seek the consensus of the other moderators and follow that. I have interacted with the current moderators here enough that I can't envisage this ever happening.
- It takes most time to review questions. One of our existing moderators has been doing a fantastic job reviewing questions. Are you planning to learn from that example? By reviewing questions, I mean checking whether a question can be understood and answered as-is and vote accordingly. If not, improve and correct problems. Or leave a helpful comment. Or take some other action. I am aware that reviewing questions is not even mentioned on the page who are the site moderators, and what is their role here?. I believe one can be a good moderator with little reviewing new questions. However, the answer to that question will carry the most weight for my vote by far. Half of the value of a question-answer site lies in the questions. It is fortunate that we, or at least I have been enjoying our moderators' excellent question-review.
We do have a wonderful moderation team, don't we! I would love to learn from their example, but the timezone in which I live means that it's often all been done by the time I turn up in the morning!
As a user, I regularly review questions where, based on the title and tags, I feel like I would be in a good position to give an answer, but on clicking through I discover that the question could use some improvement. I would certainly do more of this as a moderator, assuming other moderators hadn't done it first.
- What is your opinion about cheating (homework, exams, and ongoing contests) on CS.se? In case you believe that the cheating situation should change, what actions do you plan to take to that end as a moderator?
I think we're pretty good at handling such questions already. We can't stop people from asking questions of this kind; some people will not read or ignore the site rules no matter how much you ask. So the question is how you respond.
At one end of the spectrum, a homework dump is easy to spot. As a user, a close vote combined with the all-purpose "What did you try? Where did you get stuck?" template is my usual response.
At the other end, a well-asked, specific question, even if it originally derives from homework or an exam, is not "cheating" in my book.
The area in between is where the previous question is a good approach. If the question isn't good, work with the questioner to make it better.
I'm not above teaching, even here. But the best kind of teaching is not an answer dump, it is a conversation where you lead the student into understanding the precise misunderstanding or knowledge gap, and then working on that.
- Are you going to go on strike?
I knew someone would ask this. The short answer is "not yet".
I'll start by noting that the problem of AI generated content is real, although it doesn't seem to have affected our community in the way that some others have. We are in a privileged position where it's much harder to fake answers here than in many places on SE.
I have looked over the signatories list, and there are names on that I recognise and deeply respect, including one person I've known for decades and count as a friend.
However, I don't feel that I can or should participate at first. Here is my reasoning:
Running on a platform of "I will not work on day 1" is a sure-fire way not to get elected.
The reason for the strike is based on conversations and experience that I have not been a part of. I don't feel like I have to have first-hand experience to take action, but I honestly haven't had an opportunity to form strong opinions about the necessity of a strike.
As with the current strike on the robot-themed site, I feel that, to be effective, an action of this kind is best taken as a community, not as individuals. Not that I begrudge anyone their conscience, of course.
- Why should we vote for you specifically? Will be something unique about you as a moderator? In case we are convinced that all candidates can moderate reasonably well, what can be that unique thing convincing us to elect you?
I feel like I'm not going to answer this question well.
I'll assume that you're not looking for negative campaigning. There are some very high-quality candidates who expressed interest this time around, and I won't pretend otherwise. You should definitely consider them seriously, should they nominate.
I guess the main thing that I bring to the table is experience with the community. I have been here for over a decade, and so I have a track record of sorts that I can point to. Whether or not it's a good one is something that you can judge by looking at it.
I live in a different time zone from the current moderation team, and I guess having good coverage is useful for the community.
I also have a demonstrated willingness to go through all this a second time. That surely counts for something.
- In your opinion, what do moderators do?
A moderator is the servant of the community, not the boss of the community. Moderators are given special tools, to be sure, but their job is to give fuller attention to what is incumbent on every member. SE gives moderation tools to all users of sufficiently high reputation for a reason.
Of course, the main day-to-day part of the job is dealing with flags. But flagging things, dear community, is what we all do. Alongside asking great questions and giving great answers, of course...
- 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 hope this doesn't mean that my bad jokes are now taken more seriously! The thing I probably feel worst about is that I'm sure there are promises I made to edit an answer in response to feedback, that I never got around to doing.
- 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?
My answer to question 7 is incorporated by reference, but the main thing that being a moderator buys you is immediacy. A moderator can act more quickly if there's a problem.