7
$\begingroup$

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.

Not every question was compiled - as noted, we only selected the top 8 questions as submitted by the community, plus 2 pre-set questions from us.

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. You check the review queues and stumble upon a question that's about cryptography, but the way the asker formulated it renders it borderline on-topic. There are already three downvotes and two close votes. What do you do? Do you simply skip the question? Do you drop your moderator vote to close the question? Or something else? Explain why you chose your course of action, as well as what that course of action is if it is something else.

  2. 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)?

  3. You've just deleted / closed a question alone (with your super-vote). The author is accusing you of abuse of your moderator powers, via meta or chat. How do you react?

  4. You migrated a question with answer(s) because it was off topic here, but on topic on another site. A second after you've pushed the button, you notice the whole thing has been migrated to that site's meta instead of the site itself. Outch… Now, you can not revert that derailed migration with some magic moderator button and the users at that other site are already posting comments at their meta, wondering why you migrated the question to their meta in the first place. How do you react? How are you going to handle this situation to resolve the issue as quickly as possible?

  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. Give us an elevator pitch in a single sentence. Why do you want to become a mod?

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

  8. How would you help make the site more educational?

  9. 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?

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

$\endgroup$
7
$\begingroup$

Ella Rose


  1. You check the review queues and stumble upon a question that's about cryptography, but the way the asker formulated it renders it borderline on-topic. There are already three downvotes and two close votes. What do you do? Do you simply skip the question? Do you drop your moderator vote to close the question? Or something else? Explain why you chose your course of action, as well as what that course of action is if it is something else.

Leave a comment indicating this information to the poster, with a suggestion to make some edits to bring it back on-topic, and list what changes might help to do so.

We should help them to learn what is expected of a question instead of just simply closing it. If we only close it and forget about it, then they don't learn to ask better questions, and we miss out on content for the site.

The moderator close-vote is probably a tool that should be used when it is a clearly inappropriate question.

Some wise advice I received last election from our retiring mod: Let the community decide.

  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)?

Well, one issue that has been brought up on meta is that of voting - sometimes, we just don't vote enough on questions. Discounting HNQ, asking a question that will be highly up voted on crypto.se can be pretty challenging. I think that this may just be the nature of the material, rather than a symptom of a problem. Such questions need to be technical enough with a non-obvious answer to be interesting, but not so deep that only few can comprehend it. It takes a knowledgeable user to ask such questions, so I guess we could try to attract more to the site (which is really a good idea anyways).

It's not fun to talk about, but there are some low-quality answers that do get posted here. Questions about entropy and the testing of random numbers tend to garner conflicting and/or low quality answers. Down voting such answers can help, but it has not prevented this from being a reoccurring and persistent issue. The maxim "Let the community decide" is probably most applicable here.

  1. You've just deleted / closed a question alone (with your super-vote). The author is accusing you of abuse of your moderator powers, via meta or chat. How do you react?

Clearly explain the reason(s) for the action that was taken, and allow them to explain why they feel the reasons were not appropriate or applicable in the situation. I would also ask for review from other mods, though this is something that will certainly happen before taking such an action anyways.

  1. You migrated a question with answer(s) because it was off topic here, but on topic on another site. A second after you've pushed the button, you notice the whole thing has been migrated to that site's meta instead of the site itself. Outch… Now, you can not revert that derailed migration with some magic moderator button and the users at that other site are already posting comments at their meta, wondering why you migrated the question to their meta in the first place. How do you react? How are you going to handle this situation to resolve the issue as quickly as possible?

Apologize, then point out how funny it is that this hypothetical situation from the election questionnaire actually happened...

Depending on the site, going to the chat and talking about it will probably produce the fastest response, as well as attempting to communicate the issue directly to the mods of that site if possible.

  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?

Unless it is clearly obvious that the question is inappropriate, then "Let the community decide" is probably the best course of action. So my account will probably end up dropping fewer close votes.

If a question has 4/5 close votes already, then my vote would have equal power as it would as if I was not a mod. So it's probably fine to close vote as normal in such a situation.

  1. Give us an elevator pitch in a single sentence. Why do you want to become a mod?

Well, someone has to, and I use the site enough that I should try to give back to it.

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

Noooo~͘o҉o~o̷ white doesn't the parish bi͝r͝d leave it's eģ̠g̣̻̙͇̯͔ș̠͓̝̙ in the air? Noǫͮ͋̏o̒ͪͧͪ̃͊ͭ~ơͬ̌͊o̓~̶ͮ̊ͩͫ̂ͤo͠O̾̎͐̊͘o Wise dove and pa̩̫r̼͙͢iś̩̠̮͙h̩̼͙͖̞͇̕ ͎̟b͚͍̘͢a̴̟r̜͚̦͠s͇̫̦͝ lazy land in the ire Ṋo̱̳͍̠̺̖̙͝ò̫͙̤̹̟o̮̝̱̲̻̤͠~̟̬̜͙̻̪̀o̰͕͇̭̳͉̫o͎̙̮̘̳͖ͅo̗͢ͅ wiş̭͚͈͉̼e̛̙ ̥͘a͓̺͍s̢̺͕̘͍̱̞̮k̗̩̪͎̻ ̥̪̻̜͖̕ţ̖̭̹̱h̻̠̻͈̣è̤̻̭ͬ̆͌̾́̑͝ ̰͉̤̝̫͈̫ͪp̷͙̯̈̅ͥ̇ȍ̱̮̥̤͓͗ͭͥ͑̚o̡͍̩ͥ̓̆r̟̭̦͙̺̮͝ͅ ̭ͅr̗͎̈́̀̓̒̌̊̂i͈̭̳̤ͤ̄ͧ̉̃̾̐ͅc̗̫͚̃ͮ̚ͅh͕͈̳͖͌̔̈͠ ͭb̖͊̀ͯ͋a͆̾͂͑̔ͩr̳̻͒̈́ṅ̵͌́ͩ̿̉I̞̖̲̳̻̊ͤ͗̐ͭ͐̂͝NͬͮG ̆҉h͌ͮ̈̔͆͛ͪoͦͫ̋̃͢nͦ̈́͝ġ̍D̍̇̍ͬͪ̎E͒͆ͣ͌͊̇Lͬ͠Āͧ̽̐̀ͧ̑Y̔ ̍ͨl͌̂̽ͤás̽̈́̽͑̽̕ë́͜r̡̈̒̇s͐ͩ̋ͤ̀ ̍̇̉͑͆ͪ͘e͑͐̒̅͜d̽̓̽͑̌̈́̀g̎ͥeͥͨ͆ͥ̆̐͋͟ ̛̑̑̓̄̅ͤ̐i̡n̋̓̾͆͗̌̓͘ ̢tͪ̒h͂ͦͪ́̐ͫ͞e̊͑̉͑͊ ͒͐̅̾̅́̈́f͑͌ͮͯ̾́̚a̍̔̽ͯͮiͯ̈̔̓̈́ͬ̚r ̨̈̅T͛͛ͬ́̓ͨḧ̴̴̨́̌́̅ͦ̃̚ę͛ͫ́ͣ̅͛̿ ̊̍̑̕͝D̵ͮ͆͌ͭͪo͊ͤ͆͗̃ͮ̒͟͝ç̊ͣ͐̑̀ͦ͒t̡̢̆̔ͧ́ŏ̓̀͊r̶͆̿̚͏ ̸̷̉͂ͪÏ̊͒̀͟s̶ͥ̅̊ ͦ̊͛̃͏U͐̎̈́͑͗n̶̡̢̉h̵̨̍ͭͤͤͮ͟a̎̒̒̑͜p̡͗̇͢͠p̧ͩ̍ͬͫͪͨ͏y̴̧̨ͧͣ

̨ T͏rac̸e͡bac̷ḱ (̛m̷o҉s͢t͟ ́ŕe̢ce҉nt̡ ćal̷l la̷st̵): ̷ ̀ ̷ ̡ ͠Fi҉l̀e̸ "̴"̷, l̴in̷e͜ 6͢6̶6,҉ in ͠ ͟ ͘S̵ys͜te͢mErro̷r

If only it had been written in Rust...

  1. How would you help make the site more educational?

We all make the site more educational by asking and answering questions. It doesn't take a moderator to do so.

  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?

Politely remind them about the be nice policy and mention that they are generating a a large number of flags, and that we don't want to have to take action against a useful contributor (or anyone, really). Being a quality contributor means being respectful, not just being technically correct.

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

Clearly explain the reasons for why the action should not have been taken, and listen to their reasons for doing so - either one of us could be missing something important.

$\endgroup$
7
$\begingroup$

Maarten Bodewes

  1. You check the review queues and stumble upon a question that's about cryptography, but the way the asker formulated it renders it borderline on-topic. There are already three downvotes and two close votes. What do you do? Do you simply skip the question? Do you drop your moderator vote to close the question? Or something else? Explain why you chose your course of action, as well as what that course of action is if it is something else.

If it is borderline on-topic then generally the question can be edited to be more on topic. It is possible to do that yourself if you're sure that you stay inside the original intent of the question. If that's questionable you should ask the person that asked the question to make amends.

If no response is forthcoming then it is probably better to close the question and leave a comment why the question was closed - if that's still necessary. Otherwise the question will just gather more downvotes and the question - and possibly the asker - should be considered lost.

  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)?

I do think that crypto.SE is a healthy community. Cryptography is however a pretty broad subject, and the core group of people providing answers is relatively small. I'm mainly afraid that good questions are not answered because they are missed by the few people that can provide good answers. More upvotes of good questions would be nice, and stimulating people to look at missed questions would be a good idea as well.

There is also a whole slew of badly formatted homework questions being fired at the site. I do however think that they are handled adequately, and all the regular answerers are already on the same page. They are a necessary evil that comes with the popularity of the site I suppose.

  1. You've just deleted / closed a question alone (with your super-vote). The author is accusing you of abuse of your moderator powers, via meta or chat. How do you react?

I kindly explain why I closed the question. I should be able to adequately explain myself, otherwise I should not have closed it. The other user is allowed to have his opinion on it and may try to convince me to be correct.

However, in the end the rules will have to be abided. Sometimes that also means to indicate that the discussion is at an end and to ignore additional comments: agree to disagree.

It would not hurt to ask the other mods for a second opinion of course. Crypto.SE is a relatively well mannered place, so we shouldn't have to deal with this all to often.

  1. You migrated a question with answer(s) because it was off topic here, but on topic on another site. A second after you've pushed the button, you notice the whole thing has been migrated to that site's meta instead of the site itself. Outch… Now, you can not revert that derailed migration with some magic moderator button and the users at that other site are already posting comments at their meta, wondering why you migrated the question to their meta in the first place. How do you react? How are you going to handle this situation to resolve the issue as quickly as possible?

That's a long text - allow me to answer it with a sentence or two.

I would apologize to the users of the other site in the comments and flag for the local mod to let them migrate it to the site. Usually I also indicate that I flagged the post in the earlier comment - no need for the mods to receive multiple flag texts on the same issue.

  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 will not change my voting behavior. I vote to close if it seems logical to me that a question needs to be closed. Fortunately the other users seem to agree with me most of the time (small amount of false positives).

It is of course possible that I'm proven wrong in the comments or in the chat. Fortunately the close "hammer" is accompanied by a set of pliers, allowing you to reopen questions as well.

  1. Give us an elevator pitch in a single sentence. Why do you want to become a mod?

I feel I'm already acting as a mod, and I'm having fun doing it; I might as well focus on it a bit more and do it "for real".

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

Because it likes to look at the sunny side of things.

  1. How would you help make the site more educational?

As a mod I think it is mainly important that the questions and answers themselves are easy to read and easy to find. I would try and comment or edit if I think that readability can be improved. As always, I'll try and make sure that especially the title is as specific as possible and that all tags are present, otherwise the questions and answers will not be found. Finally, I'll also indicate how SE can best be used to find answers, especially to new users.

  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 would try and convert long discussions to chat, and I would indicate to the user that the chat may be a better place for discussions. If there are a lot of flags then it is likely that the user is argumentative or even abusive, so I would indicate that we value his/her opinion, but that his opinion would be better served with a different attitude.

All that said, it would very much depend on the user and type of flags what approach would be best.

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

I'd discuss it with the mod and the other mods of course. I would not re-open without consensus that we should reopen it.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Because the she-bird took the nest". "To mash up the young taters". "To learn the young birds how to fly at an early age". "Well, when it's time, it's time". "In flight transfer to stork sky services". $\endgroup$ – Maarten Bodewes Dec 10 '18 at 15:48
4
$\begingroup$

M'vy


  1. You check the review queues and stumble upon a question that's about cryptography, but the way the asker formulated it renders it borderline on-topic. There are already three downvotes and two close votes. What do you do? Do you simply skip the question? Do you drop your moderator vote to close the question? Or something else? Explain why you chose your course of action, as well as what that course of action is if it is something else.

As a user, and furthermore as a moderator, I always try to see if the question is salvageable within the intent of the OP. Improve first, ask for clarification if needed (or more review), keep a tab open to monitor how it evolves.

  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)?

I'm going to take back some of my answers from a previous [security.se] election, since I think these challenges are also valid here.

To my opinion, the biggest challenge would be consolidation of our knowledge. There are now a lot of questions, lot of good ones with as good answers. I think effort should be made to improve the searchability of these questions. Most notably, bring back some kind of FAQ like we used to have, where we gather the most common questions (maybe a different format). Then a lot of tags probably need cleaning, because they yield improper results, or some questions are missing tags.

The second main thing, that is common to any stack, would be providing better guidance to newcomers. Lot of questions got closed, usually with good reasons, but users are left without any comments. Most of the closed questions (even duplicates sometimes) are opportunities to make better questions, new users are not usually motivated to do it when they see their question downvoted and closed fast.

  1. You've just deleted / closed a question alone (with your super-vote). The author is accusing you of abuse of your moderator powers, via meta or chat. How do you react?

Deleting/closing a question on my own would happen for a case of blatant off-topicness, or because some mod action would have been needed (lilke not respecting the terms of usage). Nevertheless, I believe there is a right for a user to at least get the information as to why I acted this way and eventually how to make a better accepted question. Then it's always good to get a second (or more?) opinion from a fellow moderator and/or community directly, then revert that action if it is deemed unfair in the end. Obviously, the user being unrespectful of the chat/meta (being repeatedly rude, spamming, ...) as a result of his/her question being removed would be dealt with the appropriate action if need be (as it would be for a normal post/chat anyway).

  1. You migrated a question with answer(s) because it was off topic here, but on topic on another site. A second after you've pushed the button, you notice the whole thing has been migrated to that site's meta instead of the site itself. Outch… Now, you can not revert that derailed migration with some magic moderator button and the users at that other site are already posting comments at their meta, wondering why you migrated the question to their meta in the first place. How do you react? How are you going to handle this situation to resolve the issue as quickly as possible?

First, leave a comment to signal there has been a mistake. Then communicate with the sister stack moderators to get it fixed, eventually apologise if this is causing way to much agitation as a result. We're all humans.

  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?

Usually the community doesn't require mods to act that fast, and questions get closed organically as a result of reviewers. There is no need to change my closing behaviour to close more question more quickly. It might be better to ease off on the closing votes so as to get a better community consensus on the voting. Stack is the community's space, not the moderator's world. There are also obvious cases where questions need or will be closed, in this case there is no deterrent to use mod-vote.

  1. Give us an elevator pitch in a single sentence. Why do you want to become a mod?

I feel the stacks are carried by their communities, and it's part of the deal to offer to help it grow and stay on track by being a moderator.

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

Because they can. Why wouldn't they?

However, as for every question, it all depends on the context. Are we talking about European porridge birds, or American ones? Are they related to swallows? This is an easy question, but it hides far more complex implications for the scope of this post.

  1. How would you help make the site more educational?

Very good question. I have yet to see more 'educational-targeted' content come from any stack I'm currently on. As a first idea on the spot, I would say curating and maintaining a good FAQ/Resources thread, linking to external tutoring as well as our own internal very good question/answers, would be a good start. This probably would be better addressed in a meta post to engage other users too.

  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 think that the best thing is to inform the user about it, communicate before taking any harsh action. Chat, message are here for this. In the last resort (if no improvements come out of this), I suggest to discuss it with the other mods and/or with the community to find the best answer to it.

I'm gonna quote Rory Alsop here: "We need to encourage the good behaviours and be robust with the bad".

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

Get in touch, communicate, get to know why and see if it was a 'close call', or if there is real hard reasons why this shouldn't be here. If it's arguable, try to find a suitable course of action by including the necessary people.

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

Rory Alsop


You check the review queues and stumble upon a question that's about cryptography, but the way the asker formulated it renders it borderline on-topic. There are already three downvotes and two close votes. What do you do? Do you simply skip the question? Do you drop your moderator vote to close the question? Or something else? Explain why you chose your course of action, as well as what that course of action is if it is something else.

If it already has 3 down votes I would either leave a comment about the improvement needed and then put it on hold, or edit the question to be on topic while retaining the core.

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)?

There are still not enough questions, and we get quite a few low quality / homework questions. I don't see this as a huge problem that needs a dramatic fix, as this is a relatively niche subject, but there is a bit of moderation effort required (from mods and high rep folks) to stay on top of it.

You've just deleted / closed a question alone (with your super-vote). The author is accusing you of abuse of your moderator powers, via meta or chat. How do you react?

This does happen to all mods on occasion. First, a quick sanity check to ensure the close was okay, and if I'm in doubt, check in with another mod. If the author is happy to politely discuss in chat then I'm always happy to do that. There is also the usual education piece that is required: new folks especially seem to find the quality control model here hard to understand (both community editing and mod abilities)

You migrated a question with answer(s) because it was off topic here, but on topic on another site. A second after you've pushed the button, you notice the whole thing has been migrated to that site's meta instead of the site itself. Outch… Now, you can not revert that derailed migration with some magic moderator button and the users at that other site are already posting comments at their meta, wondering why you migrated the question to their meta in the first place. How do you react? How are you going to handle this situation to resolve the issue as quickly as possible?

Yep. I've done this. Residually when moderating from mobile device... Quickest fix is to pop into the teacher's lounge, admit I have done something dumb, ask mods from they other site to reject and then re-migrate to the correct site.

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?

Not really. If there is a question I'm really unsure of, or if there is a sensitive situation regarding a particular user I may wait until it has 4 votes anyway (which lets me act as an unprivileged voter)

Give us an elevator pitch in a single sentence. Why do you want to become a mod?

I enjoy making things work better, I enjoy growing communities, I enjoy seeing things become successful and I enjoy resolving problems.

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

She doesn't. It's fake news. It just looks like it is laid in the air because the porridge bird is a smart builder of trebuchets and mangonels, out of nothing more than twigs and blockchains.

How would you help make the site more educational?

It already is educational. The key answerers here tend to provide not just the answer but context that helps educate. I am keen to help with community visibility (encouraging a marketing presence at crypto conferences etc)

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?

While an author of good answers is valuable, if they negatively impact the community then the net value is reduced significantly. So to improve that, first a quiet word and deletion/migration of comments, then if necessary suspensions can be useful. It might sound harsh, but giving folks a wee time out to reflect has often helped.

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

Ping them for a quick chat, after discussion if there is agreement either revert or accept the action. If there isn't agreement there is the option to escalate to an independent mod or even a CM, but to be honest I'm never that precious about a post.

$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

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