Skip to main content
Share Your Experience: Take the 2024 Developer Survey

2023 Moderator Election

nomination began
Jun 13, 2023 at 20:00
election began
Jun 20, 2023 at 20:00
election ended
Jun 28, 2023 at 20:00
candidates
3
positions
1

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

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

Our general criteria for moderators is as follows:

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

Every election has three phases:

  1. Nomination
  2. Primary
  3. Election

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

Additional Links

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

[Answer 1 here]

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

[Answer 2 here]

  1. 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.

[Answer 3 here]

  1. 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?

[Answer 4 here]

  1. Are you going to go on strike?

[Answer 5 here]

  1. 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?

[Answer 6 here]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 7 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 8 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 9 here]

Inuyasha Yagami

Hi everyone, I nominate myself for moderator.

I have been a member of the community from the past 4 years. However, I started actively participating 2 years back.

I like answering questions on the site. But I find it equally satisfying to keep the site clean. The second task is exceptionally important and quite underrated. After becoming a moderator, I will do it more responsibly and regularly. It would be good for the community.

Brief Intro:
I have recently completed my Ph.D. in Theoretical Computer Science. My thesis focused on designing approximation algorithms for clustering problems. Currently, I am working in Industry on designing efficient algorithms for the hypergraph partitioning problem. My current area of knowledge encompasses the following subjects: approximation algorithms, FPT algorithms, computational geometry, machine learning, and elementary number theory/linear algebra.

citations: 62
h-index: 6
i10-index: 2
Erdős number: 3

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 will be thankful to the user for their valuable answer. In case of large number of arguments, I will suggest the user to take the discussion to chat. However, depending on the severity of the flag, I will issue a warning and escalate the issue to the company.

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

If the question has any scope of improvement, I will ask OP to edit it, or I will edit it myself. Moreover, I can discuss the issue with other moderators in the chat room. We will go with the majority opinion. However, if the discussion does not conclude, I will prioritize the opinion of the moderator with the most experience.

  1. 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.

Yes definitely. I have not been using review queues for reviewing the questions. However, I review the questions directly when they get posted. Reviewing is indeed important and I will continue to do so.

  1. 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 it is primarily the course instructor's task to catch cheating in exams or contest. On our end, the best we can do is to ask OP to reference the copied material, the motivation for the question, and the efforts they made. Obviously, that does not fix the issue, but it does cause an interruption, making OP more aware that it is wrong.

For homework questions, I share the opinion with Pseudonym: "At the other end, a well-asked, specific question, even if it originally derives from homework, is not "cheating" in my book."

5.  Are you going to go on strike?

No. I have not studied it enough to comment on the issue.

  1. 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 have a nag to keep the questions and answers understandable and error-free.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Since moderators are chosen from the community itself, they are more aware about the good and bad practices within the community. Moderators do all the things that a regular community member do. In addition to that they keep regular check on the flagged issues. They step in if something inappropriate happens and take action immediately. Moreover, they act as a liaison between the community and Stack Exchange the company as explained in detail 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?

I will feel a great sense of responsibility to be a good example for fellow community members, and a good guide for the new users. It would be a great honor.

  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?

After becoming a moderator, I will do the same things more responsibly and consistently. Afterall, it will be no longer a choice but a responsibility.

Pseudonym

(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
h-index: 7
citations: 594
Erdős number: 3

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?

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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...

  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 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.

  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?

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.

Dmitry

I have mixed feelings about this community. When you see someone who got stuck while genuinely doing their best trying to solve their problem, it's a very pleasant experience to be able to help them. On the other hand, it is frustrating to see questions that show no effort, no search, and often no minimal understanding, and this frustration keeps accumulating. My huge list of ignored tags speaks for itself.

Based on what I see, these feelings are not mine alone: some users react much more aggressively than I would (and I believe the fact that the moderators don't interfere says a lot). I long stopped commenting on what can be improved in the questions, and I believe my voting rate decreased substantially as well (again, I feel that I'm not alone).

As a moderator, I will actively spend my effort improving the quality of the material (and I believe that having my decisions implemented immediately will keep me motivated). I hope that it'll lead to a more pleasant experience for other users. See my answer to questions 4 and 6 for more details.

If you don't agree with my sentiment or with my plans (as described below), don't vote for me.

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?

Depends on the arguments and the flags. For example, if the user behaves hostilely, then, after the first warning, if there are no signs of improvements, I will suspend them. Overall, if I feel that their behavior can drive away a valuable contributor, I will interfere. If the only ones they can drive away are help vampires, I probably won't interfere.

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

In particular, a part of the moderator's job is to handle the edge cases, where it's not clear how to apply the rules, e.g. if there are no relevant rules or if the rules conflict. And, naturally, we all can have different opinions in some cases. Unless I'm 100% sure of my judgment, I won't argue about the other moderator's decision. I might leave a comment explaining my position, but that's it. If the case is very insignificant, I also won't interfere. On the other hand, if I am sure of my judgment and believe the other moderator's decision is detrimental to the site, I will certainly discuss the issue to the end (or until it becomes clear that the discussion does more harm then then issue itself).

  1. 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.

I will visit the questions that I see on the main page, and, if needed, will take the appropriate actions. I believe that there are more than enough questions available on the main page, so I won't go to the review queries to specifically review the questions.

  1. 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?

About my current view on the situation: I believe that most users react appropriately. Some people give hints, which may or may not be OK depending on the situation. Unfortunately, it requires only one user to give an answer, and, since the cheating questions are often standard or simple, it might not take long for an answer to appear. And there are no rules preventing such answers (and they are often only encouraged by increasing reputations, which also devalues the reputation).

Let's me describe what I will do: as long as the question doesn't show reasonable effort, I will close it (and reopen it if the issue is fixed; I'll leave a comment communicating that). This will automatically include the cheating questions.

This doesn't solve all the problems, since I won't be there all day. I can just encourage other moderators to do the same (and other users to vote to close such questions). While this approach doesn't always align with the idea of building a repository of questions and answers (since a lazy question still can get a good answer), I believe filtering out the problem dumps is a must if we want to keep our users motivated and the reputation of our site preserved.

(A working solution would be some kind of disciplinary action towards the one who answers the question. Policy similar to https://math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/33508/enforcement-of-quality-standards might be a good idea.)

  1. Are you going to go on strike?

No, since I don't believe there is any point.

First, there are very few communities that really matter for stackexchange. CS.se is not one of them. I wouldn't be surprised if they won't even notice if CS.se just disappears.

Second, I don't believe even doing it on SO will work. SO is almost a monopoly: if you want to find a quality answer, then your options are either SO, documentation, or asking the developer. Everything else is usually unreliable (with exception of some very specialized sites). So, stackexchange has no economical incentive to take our will into account. Now, consider the worst-case moderation scenario: all moderators stop working, everyone stops voting, and a lot of users post a ChatGPT BS on every new question. It doesn't change the fact that SO already has a repository of good answers. It will take months or years before the average SO content becomes as bad as that of Quora or Reddit. I don't expect stackexchange to take any actions until it reaches the point of having a competition, i.e. becomes as bad as other sites. It's more likely that the users will give up first, especially the long-standing ones, since their heart would bleed when seeing what happens on SO.

The latter part is mostly a speculation, but I believe that the staff's attitude is clear from the Monica's and the license change cases. Also, as I recall, there was a similar endeavor at that time, with zero impact.

  1. 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?

My main selling point is that I'll handle problematic material quickly. I will visit the site several times per day, and if I see a bad question, I will:

  • either fix it if I can;

  • or close it, leave a comment, and reopen it when the question is fixed.

While the regular users can do the same. I believe that quick fix/removal of bad material is a must to keep the users engaged.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Enforce the rules (e.g. close posts, delete spam; usually, by handling flags). Make decisions for the edge cases. These actions are taken towards the goal of maintaining a healthy and pleasant atmosphere and gathering people who are ready to contribute to the site.

  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 will certainly be more careful in how I express things. Basically, most of my replies should be based on the facts and rules, which I should be able to support with a reference. As I mentioned above, there will be some edge cases where it wouldn't be possible, but I'll strive to reduce the number of such cases to the minimum.

Of course, my behavior should provide a good example, and hence I can't violate the site's norm myself. For example, I like to give an answer in a comment when I believe it fits; I'll have to stop doing that.

I don't think I feel anything else, and, in particular, about anything I did in the past.

  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?

First, the whole election started because current moderators believe that we need more moderators. We need them now, not when someone willing reaches 10k reputation.

Second, I have personal issue with reputation. There was time when I spent hours per day answering questions on SO. Even though it was, honestly, a frustrating experience, these raising numbers kept me going. It was similar to addiction. So, currently, I conciously avoid raising the reputation when possible.

This election is over.