2021 Moderator Election

nomination began
Jun 28 at 20:00
election began
Jul 5 at 20:00
election ended
Jul 13 at 20:00
candidates
5
positions
3

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

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

Our general criteria for moderators is as follows:

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

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. If you make a ruling (e.g., closure) and a cogent argument is presented against your ruling by one or a very few users, will you tend to reverse your ruling, or will you (a) insist on many users making the argument, and/or (b) think you know best anyway? I specify one or a few, because traditionally not many users jump on a bandwagon. For example, Sue and I alone argued for the inclusion of birds as a valid topic on TGO, and convinced Rory to allow a bird question. Charlie Brumbaugh and I argued alone against the closure of a question about identifying a litterer, and prevailed. In both cases Rory's opposition caused us to make a solid case, and then Rory's open-mindedness reversed his earlier stance. So, force us to make a good case and be open to a good case when it is made. Do you agree?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 4 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 5 here]

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

[Answer 6 here]

WedaPashi

I have been a user for over 8 years now. I must admit that my involvement in here since last two years have been questionable, but I had my reasons and looking at the position I am at now, I think I look forward to spend a good amount of time at The Great Outdoors.

I have seen this community grow and have been a tiny-little part of the development with 151 questions, 138 answers, 5618 votes (3rd highest overall) and 377 badges (Yeah, including Peer Pressure badge).

I must admit that my nomination might come as a surprise since I haven't had any stints as a moderator on any of the SE communities/sites.

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?

As the term indicates, valuable answers and questions are what we look forward to. It is good to have a user who contributes with valuable answers, helping the community grow. However, if the user tends to engage in controversial/unnecessary arguments and is being flagged repeatedly by community, I'd first try to communicate the situation by soft/polite comments. In my opinion, arguments happen because of some misconception and miscommunication. If these comments invites further backlash then I'd suggest that the user pops up in a private chat and have a discussion over there of course with involvement of all concerned people. That said, if the situation aggregates further, I am afraid the user would likely to be handed with temporary suspension.

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

This might be happening on SE as we speak. So, the only tool to have a common-agreeable result is from a proper discussion/communication. As mods, I'd prefer discussing this with the concerned mod to understand why it was acted upon that way. This might open-up a perspective which as a mod I may have missed.

If somehow the difference of opinion continues to linger in mod's minds, the other amicable solution would be to open it and let the community vote in favor of it or against it.

  1. If you make a ruling (e.g., closure) and a cogent argument is presented against your ruling by one or a very few users, will you tend to reverse your ruling, or will you (a) insist on many users making the argument, and/or (b) think you know best anyway? I specify one or a few, because traditionally not many users jump on a bandwagon. For example, Sue and I alone argued for the inclusion of birds as a valid topic on TGO, and convinced Rory to allow a bird question. Charlie Brumbaugh and I argued alone against the closure of a question about identifying a litterer, and prevailed. In both cases Rory's opposition caused us to make a solid case, and then Rory's open-mindedness reversed his earlier stance. So, force us to make a good case and be open to a good case when it is made. Do you agree?

The short answer would be, 'it depends'. I know we at The Great Outdoors discourage answers that are just opinions, but in reality, it does depend on the topic and my own opinion towards it. Siting your examples literally, if it was about allowing inclusion of birds as a valid topic, and whether you and Sue had argued or not, I still would have advocated allowing them with other moderators because I do have an opinion with valid reasoning why it is on topic. That said, if it comes to a topic which I can't have a solid reasoning but have just an opinion upon, I would make sure that my vote would still be counted as a single vote rather than a mod's action. I believe that these situations will arise as we grow, but that's how adaptation in a continuously developing situation should be.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

I haven't moderated any of the SE sites so far, but I think moderator help maintain the discipline, and to a greater extent keep the Q&A clean by maintaining the quality of the posts by acting upon the content which shouldn’t be there.

Apart from that, I have seen moderators working tirelessly towards constant improvement of the community and site by engaging whenever required.

  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?

To be honest, the content I have posted on The Great Outdoors is purely as a user with no difference privileges. Looking from a different perspective towards past and future Q&A's, I still believe that eventually, a moderator is still a vital part of the community. It is just that, I'd tend to be more careful with questions that touches the boundaries of what's acceptable and what's not, but that's the whole point about understanding how this site works.

  1. 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 don't see how that changes things to a greater extent. I had been doing the clean-up of unnecessary comments, with a total of 382 out of 3,534 reviews of the site, I think nothing would change a lot. Its just that as a moderator, I'd have to a little more reasonable with my actions.

Rory Alsop

I have been a pro-tem moderator here for 7 years, and a moderator on other sites in the Stack Exchange network for more than 10 years. My experience across the sites I currently moderate (which range from technical to subjective) helps me be fair and even handed, and my time on new sites struggling to grow has given me an understanding of what makes communities stronger, as well as what disrupts communities.

I did go through a bit of soul-searching when it appeared SE had lost its way a couple of years back, but I am generally willing to give second chances. As SE seems to be doing the right thing, and we are growing as a community, I am happy to moderate the site in the way I have done for the last few years.

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?

Valuable answers are good, but no one individual is more important than the community, so I have a few stages I work through on things like this: initially a quick informal comment asking them to refrain from that behaviour, and to think about the effect they have on other individuals, as well as removing those comments. If that doesn't work, escalation to short suspensions with specific guidance in the mod message usually gets attention pretty quickly. At the extreme end, if they don't improve behaviour, the suspensions get long enough they stop being a problem.

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

This happens. I've done it. We're all human. The simple solution is to discuss it. One of the reasons we have 3 mods or more on sites is so we can easily get a consensus. That said, if we really can't, we can always escalate to a CM. The key thing for me is not to get personally attached to a decision. If another mod or two tell me I'm wrong, that's fine. It doesn't upset me.

  1. If you make a ruling (e.g., closure) and a cogent argument is presented against your ruling by one or a very few users, will you tend to reverse your ruling, or will you (a) insist on many users making the argument, and/or (b) think you know best anyway? I specify one or a few, because traditionally not many users jump on a bandwagon. For example, Sue and I alone argued for the inclusion of birds as a valid topic on TGO, and convinced Rory to allow a bird question. Charlie Brumbaugh and I argued alone against the closure of a question about identifying a litterer, and prevailed. In both cases Rory's opposition caused us to make a solid case, and then Rory's open-mindedness reversed his earlier stance. So, force us to make a good case and be open to a good case when it is made. Do you agree?

Erm... yes! One of the good things is the community can continue to develop the scope of the site - if I close a question, or think something is out of scope, I'm absolutely open to the community telling me I'm an idiot. I will have taken action based on my interpretation of scope, but as with the previous question, if the community prefers a different interpretation or scope, then discussion can bring that to a positive conclusion. Mods are not here to define the community, we are to support the community definition.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

We don't do anything very special - it's just a small level over what you all contribute to here. We do the moderation that either can't be done by the community, or that may take too long (eg we can remove spammers or trolls immediately, whereas members of the community need to vote to remove), we mediate as needed, and we spend a lot of time cleaning up - which is where the community really defines our work, through flagging posts that need our attention. We also are a route to change - if you want a scope change, the usual route is to create a meta post describing it, the community votes, and the mods support the scope change, through moderation, but also in editing site guidance etc.

  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?

Having had this be the case for over a decade, I assume things I say will be taken as a mod. This sometimes means I am the brunt of frustration with the way SE works, or unhappiness with votes, or a million other things. It's part of the role.

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

Similarly to 4, the difference is in immediacy, only needing 1 vote to close or open, and accessibility to a small handful of extra tools to help keep things running smoothly. Other than that it doesn't change the way I approach review queues, editing or voting.

Willeke

Having been a moderator over in travel and a user in TGO I think I have the knowledge needed to be part of the moderator team.

I am less of an outdoors person than many on the site but that might mean that I am around more often to help moderate the site.

I do hike, cycle (and on special cycles as well) and have specialized knowledge in some outdoors fields (like tying knots.)

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?

[Answer 1 I would suggest them to be more friendly, remind them of the rules of the first rule of the site, 'be nice' and if the user does not change their attitude, together with the other mods, suspend the user for shorter and later longer periods.

Quality of answers does not weight against bad behavior and bad behavior will often result in a site which is nasty and spoils the site for many others.]

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

[Answer 2 contact the other mod and see if they have a good argument for it. Often one of the mods misses a reason to close or re-open a question and a friendly chat about that will sort it.]

  1. If you make a ruling (e.g., closure) and a cogent argument is presented against your ruling by one or a very few users, will you tend to reverse your ruling, or will you (a) insist on many users making the argument, and/or (b) think you know best anyway? I specify one or a few, because traditionally not many users jump on a bandwagon. For example, Sue and I alone argued for the inclusion of birds as a valid topic on TGO, and convinced Rory to allow a bird question. Charlie Brumbaugh and I argued alone against the closure of a question about identifying a litterer, and prevailed. In both cases Rory's opposition caused us to make a solid case, and then Rory's open-mindedness reversed his earlier stance. So, force us to make a good case and be open to a good case when it is made. Do you agree?

[Answer 3 Sites develop over time and discussions on what is to be included are good. It is not only moderators but also regulars who have a good reason to argue for or against decisions so yes, I do agree.]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 4 Moderators keep the site clean and working, for the users and visitors. In many cases that is spam deletion but also migrating questions, cleaning up comments and encouraging users. And handle flags 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?

[Answer 5 I feel fine about getting a diamond next to all activity. As a normal user I have always tried to post as a mod should, not be negative and so on.]

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

[Answer 6 here]

JJJ

I'm sure my nomination is even more of a surprise, but then that's part of the fun of an election. I know my submission is a bit late so if the comments have been disabled, feel free to ping me in the chat room. :)

I've not been a very active user here, I haven't written many posts, I've not been part of many meta discussions, and I don't have a lot of rep here but I do have some experience as a mod on other SE sites (Politics and Coffee). I decided to run because there don't seem to be many candidates (yet) and I'm happy to help out. If elected I will try to be more visible in guiding new users, regularly check in on the chat and participate on meta. Like I do on other sites I moderate, I try to check in a few times a day to monitor the flag queue for issues that need attention.

I'm not as experienced in the outdoors (daytrips at most) which explains my lack of Q&A participation. I'm fully aware I'm not the ideal candidate, as a relative outsider I'm not very familiar with the particulars of this community. Nevertheless, I'm happy to give the voters some more choice and I'll be content with whatever the voters decide. :)

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?

It depends on the nature of the comments. If they are problematic (abusive toward others, overly repetitive, not constructive) then I would focus on reducing that unwanted behavior. A mod message with some links explaining the site's focus on Q&A (rather than discussing) often helps, otherwise a suspension may be necessary. On the other hand, I would not seek to punish useful comments that may be helpful to other users. In my opinion, useful comments can stay and if they evolve into a discussion then we have the tools to move them to chat. If the user is particularly chatty but not in a problematic way, then I would encourage them to take it to chat (either the main chat room or a new one dedicated to the topic of discussion).

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

I'm generally quite agreeable if someone (a mod or a number of users) has put some thought into a specific closure or deletion action. When I don't agree with the action, I might ask about it and discuss a bit if I still disagree. I don't see my disagreement with a single closure or deletion action escalating so far that it needs a tie-breaking vote or even CM involvement. Of course, if it does come to that, then I'm happy to settle with a mod consensus or to defer to the community.

  1. If you make a ruling (e.g., closure) and a cogent argument is presented against your ruling by one or a very few users, will you tend to reverse your ruling, or will you (a) insist on many users making the argument, and/or (b) think you know best anyway? I specify one or a few, because traditionally not many users jump on a bandwagon. For example, Sue and I alone argued for the inclusion of birds as a valid topic on TGO, and convinced Rory to allow a bird question. Charlie Brumbaugh and I argued alone against the closure of a question about identifying a litterer, and prevailed. In both cases Rory's opposition caused us to make a solid case, and then Rory's open-mindedness reversed his earlier stance. So, force us to make a good case and be open to a good case when it is made. Do you agree?

When it comes to a broader discussion about whether an entire subject should be in scope or not then I'd prefer to consult the community on meta and see what the arguments in the community are. Based on that, I'd make up my mind, voice my opinion and go with the community consensus. In exceptional cases there might be a need to restrict some topic against the community consensus, but that would require good arguments with a consensus in the mod team. I think that would only apply if the topic is somehow harmful to the site; I don't have examples where that would apply.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

I think the basic task is to handle exceptions. Mostly that's handling flags which regular users cannot handle, but there may also be a need to handle problematic users (e.g. when users are upvoting themselves through sockpuppets or when users create new accounts to override their suspension). On top of that there's everything regular (high-rep) users do, but that's not necessarily a moderation task. As a moderator on other sites, I am not super involved in the regular Q&A either, but I try to show my presence in comments guiding (new) users, chatting a bit and participating in meta discussions.

  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 don't really recognise the premise of the question. Yes, a diamond is attached to a moderator's posts but it's clear to most users that it's just a regular person behind the diamond. At most a mod should be careful to separate their personal opinion (e.g. in a meta discussion) from a decision in their capacity as a mod. In my opinion, taking a constructive approach and being friendly to all users suffices in avoiding getting into hot water (and really that applies to regular users too).

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

As I see it, the flag queue is the most important tool for exception handling. While other users can flag stuff, there needs to be someone on the other end to handle those flags. That's something I've been doing for almost a year on Politics and for a few months on Coffee (in fairness, not a lot flags there :) ) and I think it's a vital task in keeping the site a friendly place. Without someone looking over the flag queue regularly, comment threads can spiral out of control and the site may look like an unfriendly mess when potential new users stumble upon the site.

Ken Graham

I love the outdoors and would like to propose myself as a moderator to this site. Currently, I am a moderator on Christianity SE and enjoy the community we have there.

I am more than willing to spend more time with this awesome community and hopefully being able to foster a great outdoors community.

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?

[First of all, a moderator needs to be a great listener in order to understand what is being said. Being able to discern what to do sometimes takes the work of the complete moderating team.

The comments creating an argument should be dwelt with in acceptable way and in accordance with what is being said. A quick note, by a moderator is usually enough to settle things down. Occasionally, the comments will have to be moved to chat.

If arguments to escalate then a moderator will have to decide whether to get more directly involved into the situation. Thus after after formal comment asking them to refrain from this behaviour and stick to commenting on the actual post at hand. If that doesn't work, escalation to short suspensions could be considered.]

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

[This happens on most sites at some point in time. That is what makes moderators a team for the community! They can talk it over in order to get a consensus in a fair way.

I have opened posts after taking consultation with the moderating team. Others have remain closed.]

  1. If you make a ruling (e.g., closure) and a cogent argument is presented against your ruling by one or a very few users, will you tend to reverse your ruling, or will you (a) insist on many users making the argument, and/or (b) think you know best anyway? I specify one or a few, because traditionally not many users jump on a bandwagon. For example, Sue and I alone argued for the inclusion of birds as a valid topic on TGO, and convinced Rory to allow a bird question. Charlie Brumbaugh and I argued alone against the closure of a question about identifying a litterer, and prevailed. In both cases Rory's opposition caused us to make a solid case, and then Rory's open-mindedness reversed his earlier stance. So, force us to make a good case and be open to a good case when it is made. Do you agree?

[One thing I keep in mind is that the site is constantly evolving and as such the merits of whatever subject matter should be taken up as reasonable, if based on a solid , yet logical foundation. Again it is team work. If the case is good then we should be willing to consider opening it up! If not it will remain closed.

Taking such ruling at times should go to meta, so that the whole community will get a chance to give feedback on a particular subject matter.

Consensus is quite often a matter for the entire community, not just the moderating team.]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Moderators are the oil that helps keeps the site flowing. We do not do anything special. We simply try to iron out the problems that come about every once and awhile.]

  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?

[The diamond is great to look at after one’s name, but it truly does not show all the work that moderator do. There are times they get frustrated at how things turn out. At other times it is quite rewarding. We are here for the community and that is what matters.]

  1. 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 real will not change anything for me other than trying to be extra careful with a single open and close vote privileges that moderators have. Again moderators are here for the community in order to help see to it that site runs as fine as possible. We must work as a team, both as moderators and a community as a whole.]

This election is over.