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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. 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. Would you rather that someone become a moderator who is competent in cryptography, but has sub-par people skills, or someone who is competent with people, but has sub-par cryptography skills?

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

  7. 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?

  8. How much do you know about, and how do you keep up with, the current trends in the field of cryptography (and snake oil).

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

  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?

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  1. I would contact a valuable-but-criticized user privately to tell my appreciation, together with a humorous suggestion about how to be more appreciated by others.
  2. On a debatable close by a mod, I'd leave a comment on the question mentioning what I find interesting, perhaps a chatroom message to the mod, then wait and see.
  3. The main problems at crypto.SE are homework dumps, uninteresting questions, and dupes. We have to deal with them on a case-by-case basis, for there's no other way. I'm for hints about homework when there is some trace of effort, closing off-topic questions with increased tolerance for the interesting ones, and politely closing dupes.
  4. A crypto.SE moderator needs only be competent about crypto inasmuch as necessary to appreciate what's off-topic / pointless. Other qualities are paramount.
  5. I wouldn't voluntarily close a question without a reason, nor without leaving a comment on the why. I'd promptly correct any mistake of mine, reconsider my position if given an argument, and otherwise expand my rationale on closing, trying to damp any anger (If I have any interpersonal skill, that's it).
  6. I'd rather think thrice, then again, before hitting kill.
  7. Diamonds? So be it.
  8. I just can't keep up with all that happens in crypto, even what's decisively applied and in my sub-field (Smart Cards, mobile, embedded). However I have been watching crypto (and sci.crypt before crypto.SE) long enough to be a fair snake-oil detector.
  9. I want to be a moderator
    • to better help the community:
      • often there is a question that I know should be closed (as exact duplicate, straight homework dump, or far off-ptopic), and I wish I could.
      • on (fortunately quite rare) occasions, there's material (advertisement, cat-on-keyboard) that must be removed, and I'd rather do it myself and ASAP, rather than ping a mod, as I (seldom) do.
        Note: my threshold for urgent removal does not includes dull questions, e.g. proposing a new simple method to crack a well-studied believed-super-polynomial problem; I'd rather let these die naturally out of disinterest and a slightly negative score.
    • and to edit typos in my own comments!
  10. I don't care so much for rep, for rep can't buy me what mod status gives, see 9.
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    $\begingroup$ It would improve readability if you quoted the questions before your answers. Also "guy" in your first answer is a bit unfortunate. It's not really a gender neutral term. $\endgroup$ – Maeher Jun 10 at 5:25
  • $\begingroup$ Minor Note: Mods (when doing mod business) use a mod-only chatroom usually and not PMs (which do not exist in a neutral fashion on SE, only to warn / suspend users). $\endgroup$ – SEJPM Jun 10 at 7:50
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Answers from poncho:

  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?

Carefully. I certainly wouldn't want to discourage such a user from being such a fine resource; I might kindly suggest to him to consider before getting into an argument.

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

I would respect my co-moderator's position; after all, he is just as much a moderator as I would be.

  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)?

The biggest problem (not the biggest annoyance; that would be the homework dumps we get) would be the stream of novice questions that have already been answered (I don't mind novice questions; I do mind getting the exact same question 10 times). However, to be fair to such novices, it's not easy to search this site for answers - we might want to consider ways where we could improve that.

  1. Would you rather that someone become a moderator who is competent in cryptography, but has sub-par people skills, or someone who is competent with people, but has sub-par cryptography skills?

Personally, I would prefer someone who is competent with people, while not being utterly ignorant about cryptography. After all, the role of the moderator is not to answer questions, but instead to try to 'keep the peace'.

  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 would explain the reasons for my action; beyond that, I wouldn't take any action.

  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 expect I'd change my behavior that much. After all, when a question is closed, everyone could see who voted to close it. That means that you're still on the record.

  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'm fine with that; after all, with my rep, I assume I'm pretty much treated as a semi-moderator anyways, at lease in that respect.

  1. How much do you know about, and how do you keep up with, the current trends in the field of cryptography (and snake oil).

I do make some attempt to keep track of things.

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

As I mentioned when I tossed in my hat, I just believe that it's time for me to serve. If the people disagree, and would prefer someone else, that's fine.

  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's not making me "more effective" (whatever that means). And, I've reached 20k rep years ago...

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for the suggestion to think about how to reduce dupe questions. Even better tagging? FAQ with title+link, perhaps in or linked to the help? +1 also for bringing me here and out of sci.crypt, like 9 years ago, by mentioning crypto.SE there, IIRC. $\endgroup$ – fgrieu Jun 13 at 11:35
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  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 don't want to be the reason of losing somebody, we already lost some. Each case is separate since each person has different treats. In general, what I've seen here and real life is this; polite and informative warnings are enough and I always prefer this way.

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

Of course with communication. First I need to learn the logic behind the close/delete. Once we agreed there is no problem. If there is no agreement, the Meta is there for the general reconciliation.

  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)?

The biggest challenge is the unanswered questions as pointed before by Squeamish Ossifrage, we have lots of them and they are increasing. My current action, without being a mod, if there is a comment as an answer, write a comment so that the comment can be turned into an answer. I keep track of that so I'm awarding the answer with an upvote. I'll continue this way.

I see that, as a community, we are well keeping the quality of answers.

Duplicate questions; first of all, I always seek similar questions. The hardest is when the OP is asking many related questions at once and only one of them has no answer. The first action is informing the OP about the issue and wait for them to re-write their questions.

  1. Would you rather that someone become a moderator who is competent in cryptography, but has sub-par people skills or someone who is competent with people, but has sub-par cryptography skills?

If there is going to be one moderator, I would rather prefer someone who is competent with people but has sub-par cryptography skills. A moderator who is competent with people can get help from the community more easily and create a good environment for all. If more than one, I prefer mixed.

  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?

My first action will be to listen to them, understand them. I'm not perfect and obviously I'll make mistakes. If we agree we can continue, if not we have other moderators, and of course, the meta - guiding them to meta as the final case.

  1. Votes of moderators are definitive. If a moderator 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?

Obviously, I'll wait for the votes from the community. Note that there are obvious spams and very low-quality questions that need to be closed as soon as possible. If a get some warning from our users this means that I need to change my threshold for this.

  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?

It will not change me. Everything I wrote is already representing myself. This doesn't mean that I will behave inappropriately as a moderator and definitely there are moderators jobs/actions to learn. I'm already doing some of the moderator jobs as a side mod. Duplicate finding, latex editing, and close votes.

  1. How much do you know about, and how do you keep up with, the current trends in the field of cryptography (and snake oil).

I like to know and understand. That is my weakness. I'm following sites, news, and the Cryptography IACR conferences as much as possible.

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

Keep up the good work of the previous moderators and improve it as much as possible.

  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'm almost 20K. Being a moderator is a task to be executed. If the more effective is about answering that doesn't any relation. If it is about being effective moderation, I don't see any relation, too. Moderation is a task to be performed correctly without your reputation. The experience with some tasks due to the high reputation may fasten the learning curve.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not completely sure that I understand the answer for question 10. It might in general be a good idea to reread your answers and make them fit better to the question asked E.g. "How do you feel?" -> "Not so much" would normally worry me if not for the context :) $\endgroup$ – Maarten Bodewes Jun 16 at 9:58
  • $\begingroup$ @MaartenBodewes Maybe I did not understand the question. Hope it is more clear. $\endgroup$ – kelalaka Jun 16 at 10:32
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    $\begingroup$ Works for me :) $\endgroup$ – Maarten Bodewes Jun 16 at 11:28

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