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 submission count, we have selected the positively scored 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 first set of three dashes.Please consider putting your name at the top of your post so that readers will know who you are before they finish reading everything you have written, and also including a link to your answer on your nomination post.

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.

Good luck to all of the candidates!

Oh, and when you've completed your answer, please provide a link to it after this blurb here, before that set of three dashes. Please leave the list of links in the order of submission.

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


  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?

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

  3. What do you think Crypto.SE's biggest challenge is? (E.g. question/answer quality/quantity, too many/few closures, too many/few questions of a certain type, bad tools/guidance, …) What do you think should be done about this (not necessarily as a moderator, it's ok if this requires the whole community or Stack Exchange staff)?

  4. As a mod, you will have to sometimes shield the community from so-called "toxic" behaviour. For example you may have to deal with users who are desperately in need of an answer to a heavily off-topic question, or you need to deal with a user who got very upset and resorts to inappropriate language. This can psychologically and emotionally be very exhausting and tends to require a lot of patience while kindly trying to put such users on the right track. Are you aware of this and do feel ready to serve the community as a mod nevertheless?

  5. Votes of moderators are definitive. If a moderators votes to close a question he doesn't need to ask anyone and none has to agree before the question is closed. With this in mind, will you change your voting activity (= vote more / less / equally often) if you'd be elected?

  6. What time zone do you live in?

  7. Do you think you have any negative relationships / had any negative events with the existing mod team that may negatively impact future cooperation?

  8. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

  9. 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?

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

  • 1
    What does upvoting or downvoting the answers to this question mean? I saw everyone else was doing it so like a good little community lemming I jumped on the bandwagon and now I'm wondering whether this is a self-fulfilling prophesy about pollsters or something. – Squeamish Ossifrage Feb 5 at 22:11
  • 1
    Upvoting and downvoting answers, in this specific case, is meaningless and is done purely reflexively by onlookers. Except when they downvote you, in which case that means they hate your face. – Thomas Pornin Feb 5 at 22:35

SEJPM


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 kind of comments. If these flags are largely unwarranted, then of course I shall discard them. If these flags are actually on-point and show rude or otherwise disrespectful behavior, then I will escalate things step-by-step. That is, first I will talk to him in the comments (and inform my co-mods so they're in the loop with this user and / or can provide other / better ideas). If this fails, the next step would be a private, direct message. If this continues to be unfruitful, then bans will happen (temporary with increasing length).

Just because somebody provides good answers doesn't mean he can just scare away / disrespect away all our other users. After all Crypto.SE is too small of a community to be able to stay at its size / grow if it allows toxic behavior.

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

I'll give the mod a ping and ask them why they closed it. Then I will explain why it should stay open and we'll see from there. I'm confident that this will work with our mods Sushi and Codes and we'll be able to constructively find the best for the posts.

What do you think Crypto.SE's biggest challenge is? (E.g. question/answer quality/quantity, too many/few closures, too many/few questions of a certain type, bad tools/guidance, …) What do you think should be done about this (not necessarily as a moderator, it's ok if this requires the whole community or Stack Exchange staff)?

This is a hard one. I fear we may get flooded with cryptocurrency questions, now that "crypto" means "cryptocurrency" rather than "cryptography" to many people. But actually I fear our biggest challenge will be to have more academics (or rather people in general) join our site, to make it a central place for all levels of cryptographic questions. Ideally like a mix of Math.SE and Mathoverflow with lower volume.

As a mod, you will have to sometimes shield the community from so-called "toxic" behaviour. For example you may have to deal with users who are desperately in need of an answer to a heavily off-topic question, or you need to deal with a user who got very upset and resorts to inappropriate language. This can psychologically and emotionally be very exhausting and tends to require a lot of patience while kindly trying to put such users on the right track. Are you aware of this and do feel ready to serve the community as a mod nevertheless?

Given that Crypto.SE is kind of a niche site, we don't actually get those all that often, so I hope that the stress will distribute over a large enough time-frame to be easily digestable. If not, of course I will coordinate with my co-mods to take pressure away and maybe take myself some time away from Crypto.SE (a.k.a. "appropriate actions").

Votes of moderators are definitive. If a moderators votes to close a question he doesn't need to ask anyone and none has to agree before the question is closed. With this in mind, will you change your voting activity (= vote more / less / equally often) if you'd be elected?

I feel like none of my voting patterns would actually change, as I mostly vote when I'm confident about my opinion on how to handle something. Although I fear I will be issuing more Vote-To-Deletes than right now because doing those as a normal user is kinda pointless with our low number of high-rep users.

What time zone do you live in?

UTC+1, a.k.a. Germany (which also sometimes is UTC+2).

Do you think you have any negative relationships / had any negative events with the existing mod team that may negatively impact future cooperation?

No. I have a good relation with our existing mods Sushi and Codes and in fact I already met them in person.

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

In my opinion, our mods are there to handle the obvious cases quickly because we kinda lack voting activity / users for some things to go really quickly. Additionally they are there to represent the community externally and of course to handle users who get aggressive or act otherwise inappropriately. Finally they are there to avoid any question to become a tumble-weed because of structural issues!

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 think I'm ready for that. Of course I probably made mistakes, but then mods shouldn't get special consideration on the content. The main thing affected will (hopefully) be the comments and while of course not every comment is a role-model on ideal behavior, I feel like most come reasonably, realistically close enough.

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

Well, I already have >20k rep, so I will be more effective by carrying out obvious actions quicker than with my current reputation, having access to the binding mod-votes.

Why does the porridge bird lay his egg in the air?

Because he didn't want potatoes to grow onto his eggs!

Ella Rose


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 I would likely remove the offending comments with a note to the user as to why I did so. If the comments were of exceptionally poor taste, the user may be reprimanded. Users are the heart of the site, so I likely would only hand out suspensions/bans in exceptional cases, when the line has clearly been crossed.

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 see if there is any way that the question can be salvaged. I know that there are a few questions with very low score, some of them possibly closed, that received useful and highly upvoted answers just the same. I feel that new users deserve to have their questions answered, provided it is not clearly off topic according to the sites policy.

What do you think Crypto.SE's biggest challenge is? (E.g. question/answer quality/quantity, too many/few closures, too many/few questions of a certain type, bad tools/guidance, …) What do you think should be done about this (not necessarily as a moderator, it's ok if this requires the whole community or Stack Exchange staff)?

I think we need more users, and one step to getting there involves being understanding to new users. They are almost certainly not as familiar with the rules and etiquette of crypto.se, and so rather than simply close their questions outright, they should be salvaged when possible.

As a mod, you will have to sometimes shield the community from so-called "toxic" behaviour. For example you may have to deal with users who are desperately in need of an answer to a heavily off-topic question, or you need to deal with a user who got very upset and resorts to inappropriate language. This can psychologically and emotionally be very exhausting and tends to require a lot of patience while kindly trying to put such users on the right track. Are you aware of this and do feel ready to serve the community as a mod nevertheless?

I am certainly aware of it, as I have had personal experience with it in the past. I believe I am capable of handling it. I have been told a few times by new users that I am very kind and understanding.

Votes of moderators are definitive. If a moderators votes to close a question he doesn't need to ask anyone and none has to agree before the question is closed. With this in mind, will you change your voting activity (= vote more / less / equally often) if you'd be elected?

I tend to vote-to-close only when it clearly conflicts with the sites policy on questions. I do not believe that there will be any controversy when I invoke this power.

When it is not clear that the question is inappropriate, I will likely let the community decide instead with close votes/flags instead of handling it by myself.

What time zone do you live in?

UTC-5, American/Canadian eastern time zone

Do you think you have any negative relationships / had any negative events with the existing mod team that may negatively impact future cooperation?

Nope, quite the contrary in fact. I get along well with codes and e-sushi.

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are responsible for maintaining the quality of the site in general. They can also function as representatives of the site.

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?

Representing the site sounds like a responsibility that I am cut out for. I don't believe that any of the content that I post would reflect poorly on crypto.se. Most of my answers tend to be regarded as helpful. I do have some low quality questions that I asked when I was new to the site and newb to crypto, but I certainly hope those will not be held against me - everyone has to learn at some point.

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

The ability to close questions that are clearly off topic will enable me to ensure that the site stays clean, rather than the current situation of having to wait until such questions receive enough flags/close votes.

Squeamish Ossifrage


  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?

Have a chat out-of-band and ask them to moderate their argumentation. Give them a few chances to sort out their own behavior first—unless they want someone to moderate their own argumentation for them. But people who refuse to cooperate with community norms should be prepared to be reminded that crypto.se is a privilege, not a right, and the damage to a community can outweigh the value of a few technically good answers.

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

Have a chat out-of-band to talk over the reasons. I err on the side of leaving questions open and not deleted—deleting someone's question sends a powerful negative signal to them, which especially for newcomers can put off potentially valuable contributions.

Sometimes I write answers that address the cryptographic essence of a question even if it is couched in off-topic verbiage, because that can be very useful to further the understanding of crypto for people who are not immersed in the field—example: https://crypto.stackexchange.com/a/54340/49826

  1. What do you think Crypto.SE's biggest challenge is? (E.g. question/answer quality/quantity, too many/few closures, too many/few questions of a certain type, bad tools/guidance, …) What do you think should be done about this (not necessarily as a moderator, it's ok if this requires the whole community or Stack Exchange staff)?

Not enough breadth of deep expertise in all fields of cryptography. Certain fields are overrepresented; questions in other fields languish too long. This is not something that can be addressed directly as a moderator. There are two somewhat counterposing issues that could be construed to be relevant to moderation:

  1. Radical inclusion to make the site as useful as possible for as many people in the world as possible to help the world have good crypto, which means tolerating questions from novices and encouraging them to grow.

  2. Attracting world-class crypto researchers, for a wide breadth of deep expertise in the state of the art, by keeping concentration of interesting technical content high.

I aim to support part (2) not by deleting novices' questions but by writing high-quality answers with liberal citations to the literature so that users will take the site seriously, and part (1) by encouraging novices to grow by giving them the opportunity to phrase questions to maximize the value they can get out of them rather than deleting them because they are not high-brow enough. And with any luck, maybe some of them will become the world-class crypto researchers advancing the state of the art and contributing back in a few years!

  1. As a mod, you will have to sometimes shield the community from so-called "toxic" behaviour. For example you may have to deal with users who are desperately in need of an answer to a heavily off-topic question, or you need to deal with a user who got very upset and resorts to inappropriate language. This can psychologically and emotionally be very exhausting and tends to require a lot of patience while kindly trying to put such users on the right track. Are you aware of this and do feel ready to serve the community as a mod nevertheless?

I can take inappropriate language from pseudonymous strangers on the internet. I have had experience defusing situations on the internet among volunteer advice forums for many years and I have ample patience for it. I'm not interested in escalating a battle with someone who chooses to use their voice to express a feeling of bratty entitlement for advice from volunteers in clear violation of community norms—I'm interested in escalating only the depth of crypto discussions.

  1. Votes of moderators are definitive. If a moderators votes to close a question he doesn't need to ask anyone and none has to agree before the question is closed. With this in mind, will you change your voting activity (= vote more / less / equally often) if you'd be elected?

I don't know who ‘he’ is—I'm a ‘they’—but obviously I would be more judicious about soliciting input for potentially controversial closures before whacking those moles with such a sledgehammer.

  1. What time zone do you live in?

I live above time zones.

  1. Do you think you have any negative relationships / had any negative events with the existing mod team that may negatively impact future cooperation?

No. I think they're both cool. e-sushi put me in my place once when I deserved it and we're cool about it.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

We rate mods, 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 think the diamond will complement my beautiful plumage just dandily. My only concern is whether anyone else thinks I deserved it, which is not mine to decide—but after all, that will just reflect what my name has already come to mean in the community anyway.

  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?

To be honest I didn't really think this one through before I impulsively nominated myself.

  1. Why does the porridge bird lay his egg in the air?

I think we're all Boazes on this PUF. Or maybe Zookos. After all, the future is HERE—the future is NOW; otherwise it wouldn't be ‘after all’.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .