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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 - but there was a split on the last slot and after review, we decided to keep them and push it to 11 questions total.

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. Oh, and 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.

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!

Index (in alphabetical order):


  1. One of the main difficulty for moderators (as well as high-rep users) is to consistently respect the scope of the site. There have been quite some discussions about it here on meta. But I would like to know the views of the candidates on two critical elements of our scopes, namely idea generation/broadness and individual actions/plot questions How do you view those questions? Can you specify their limits and own definition?

  2. Why do you want to be a moderator?

  3. 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?

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

  5. What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Worldbuilding site at the moment and how should we approach those challenges?

  6. Right now, a lot of the candidates are really high-rep users. If elected moderator, how will you be more effective than as a 10k or 20k user?

  7. The scope of the site is generally the result of a consensus. As a moderator, you are expected to participate and to lead that continuous definition. How do you feel about enforcing definitions on which you do not necesarily agree?

  8. During what (UTC) times of day, and on what days, are you most likely to be active on the site? Our site is an active one, and having moderators able to check in on the site around the clock allows keeping closer tabs on activity and handle problematic behavior quickly. Let's look at when you might be available during the week rather than timezone. Please give times and weekdays in UTC to allow for easy comparison between different candidates.

  9. What has your review queues activity been like so far? How do you expect this to change when a single vote from you results in immediate action on the post? Having a diamond associated to your name isn't just a fancy gimmick; it effectively means that you are no longer participating as a "mere" high-reputation community member. Particularly in this case, it means actionable votes are binding and take effect immediately. You can close, reopen, delete, undelete, spam-flag, migrate, etc. posts with just a few clicks regardless of how the rest of the community feels about the post. You can lock posts such that they cannot be touched by community members. Explain the ways in which your review queue behavior might change (or remain the same) in light of these privileges.

  10. What do you like most about the current moderation and want to preserve?

  11. Are you active elsewhere on the Stack Exchange network? If so, where and in what ways? On the flip side, are you active in non-SE worldbuilding communities? If so, tell us more.

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  • $\begingroup$ May I suggest editing the list to single out the candidates who made it to the election phase? $\endgroup$ – Jerenda Feb 12 '16 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Jerenda, those are now in bold. $\endgroup$ – bilbo_pingouin Feb 15 '16 at 8:33

16 Answers 16

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I'm Tim B I've been pro tem moderator since Beta and wish to continue.

  1. One of the main difficulty for moderators (as well as high-rep users) is to consistently respect the scope of the site. There have been quite some discussions about it here on meta. But I would like to know the views of the candidates on two critical elements of our scopes, namely idea generation/broadness and individual actions/plot questions How do you view those questions? Can you specify their limits and own definition?

Questions that are Too Broad or Idea Generation are ones where it is impossible to give one “best” answer or cover the subject in a single reasonably sized answer. Generally the question needs to be more constrained or have more objective ways to rate answers. The name "Idea Generation" is misleading and needs to change but until we can pin down what a better name and definition would be we need to work with it.

Individual Action or Plot questions are harder to pin down as some individuals are part of building a world. Classic examples would be a pantheon of gods for a fantasy world. Creation of that pantheon is Worldbuilding even though you are building individuals.

I’ve been very active in the scope discussions both in the original beta and the ones that have just started again recently so I’m hoping we can bring a lot more clarity to this situation soon.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator?

I really feel like a part of this site, having helped it grow from nothing into a thriving community. I’d like to help it continue to grow into the future without losing any of the imagination and the structure that has made us such a success so far.

  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?

Initially I would check the records of that user to see if there were already moderator messages or annotations, and depending on the urgency of taking action I would discuss the user with other moderators.

In terms of taking action I would start by deleting any provocative comments and any replying to them and then try a moderator message to the user suggesting more appropriate ways to behave.

If that still was not sufficient then I would begin to suspend them for gradually longer times until they learn their lesson or leave. One toxic user drags the site down for everyone and can let others think that such behavior is acceptable. No amount of good answers are valuable enough to warrant that as we have plenty of people who can provide good answers without causing trouble for other members.

For every good answer the troublesome user posts how many good answers are lost from people they have driven away?

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

This has happened a few times over the past year and in each case I discussed it with that moderator and we were able to reach an agreement. If we still did not agree then I’d ask another moderator to act as a deciding vote or suggest that we write a neutral-tone meta post asking for community feedback.

  1. What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Worldbuilding site at the moment and how should we approach those challenges?

The biggest challenge is scope creep, particularly with the rapid growth in both users and questions over the past few months. We need to revisit the discussions we had during beta and really nail down what I’ve been calling the “Risk Factors” for making a post on or off topic. The idea is that we define a set of things such as List Generation, Individual Action, etc and clearly specify for each of those factors where the line is drawn along with having a custom close reason and meta posts to explain how to fix the problem.

  1. Right now, a lot of the candidates are really high-rep users. If elected moderator, how will you be more effective than as a 10k or 20k user?

The main difference is that I can handle things such as comments, flags, and similar behaviour that even a 20k user does not have access to. I could continue to provide some moderation by things like being active in the review queues if not a moderator, but my interventions would be slower and more limited in scope.

  1. The scope of the site is generally the result of a consensus. As a moderator, you are expected to participate and to lead that continuous definition. How do you feel about enforcing definitions on which you do not necessarily agree?

I think this is unlikely to happen as our guidelines are sensible and I'm actively involved in the process of bringing them up to date with what we have learned over the past year. If it should happen then I would enforce the definitions fairly and wait to see how they work out, if after at least 6 months to a year I still thought that they could be improved then I would think about raising a discussion to see if the policy should change.

  1. During what (UTC) times of day, and on what days, are you most likely to be active on the site? Our site is an active one, and having moderators able to check in on the site around the clock allows keeping closer tabs on activity and handle problematic behavior quickly. Let's look at when you might be available during the week rather than timezone. Please give times and weekdays in UTC to allow for easy comparison between different candidates.

I'm most active in the evening (19:00 to 23:00) and at weekends (11:00 to 23:00) but I am nearly always online via my phone and on breaks at work (08:00 to 23:30) so I monitor situations and can deal with them as they arise.

  1. What has your review queues activity been like so far? How do you expect this to change when a single vote from you results in immediate action on the post? Having a diamond associated to your name isn't just a fancy gimmick; it effectively means that you are no longer participating as a "mere" high-reputation community member. Particularly in this case, it means actionable votes are binding and take effect immediately. You can close, reopen, delete, undelete, spam-flag, migrate, etc. posts with just a few clicks regardless of how the rest of the community feels about the post. You can lock posts such that they cannot be touched by community members. Explain the ways in which your review queue behavior might change (or remain the same) in light of these privileges.

I'm not active in the review queues at all since as pro tem moderators we have been making a conscious efforts to let the community handle things where they can and only step in as "exception handlers". In this respect things will not change.

  1. What do you like most about the current moderation and want to preserve?

Me :)

On a more serious note, we have a really strong team at the moment but equally a lot of the candidates are also very strong. I'm confident that we will see an excellent team after the election, no matter who gets the position. I hope the emphasis will remain on light touch moderation and exception handling. Trying to guide rather than force the community has produced excellent results so far.

  1. Are you active elsewhere on the Stack Exchange network? If so, where and in what ways? On the flip side, are you active in non-SE worldbuilding communities? If so, tell us more.

I'm active on Stack Overflow (27k reputation) and have similar reputation to that on Worldbuilding (29.5k), I am also occasionally active on other sites such as Role-Playing Games, Workplace and Arqade. Beyond that I'm not active in worldbuilding communities as such, however I do frequently use worldbuilding in my hobbies (where I run RPG games over the internet, LRP games in real life, and also write Pathfinder Adventures, and even short stories).

I was also recently interviewed for our community blog Universe Factory (normally I do the interviews but bilbo_pingouin decided to turn the tables) and so you can find out a little more about me there if I haven't already said enough here!

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I'm Monica Cellio.

  1. One of the main difficulty for moderators (as well as high-rep users) is to consistently respect the scope of the site. There have been quite some discussions about it here on meta. But I would like to know the views of the candidates on two critical elements of our scopes, namely idea generation/broadness and individual actions/plot questions How do you view those questions? Can you specify their limits and own definition?

As I've written more than once, speculative, open-ended questions of the form "I have this situation -- now what?" are problematic. They don't fit the Stack Exchange model, a model that has been built up over several years based on 150+ sites (mostly) using it to get good results. We're not a discussion site, and we also shouldn't be trying to emulate XKCD's successful "What If" blog series -- which is great for a blog, but not for SE.

But "idea generation" itself isn't really the problem. Most good, on-topic questions are going to be looking for ideas; people have a problem and are seeking solutions, after all. "Idea generation" is a symptom; if that's the main thing you're noticing about a question, rather than the astronomy or the magic system or the geography or the sociology or the biology, then the question probably has deeper issues. Usually, in my experience, these are either too broad or primarily opinion-based.

Questions that are too broad can be narrowed or split into multiple questions. We should work with askers to help them focus each question such that it can be answered here. If the question is little more than a one-liner -- "earth, but with three moons -- what happens?" -- then there's not much we can do, but if the person has put some work into the world already and explained what he's trying to do, we can probably help. Either way, we should put the question on hold pending improvements.

As for the second part of the question: we're a site about worldbuilding, not about plotlines or the behavior of individual characters. Writers.SE has a similar problem: questions about what to write are off-topic there. In both cases, there's a clear connection (plots are set in worlds; plots are explained through writing), and that may seem too nuanced to newcomers. I sometimes try to direct people to our chat room, which is usually populated and often lively, for plot/character discussions.

In retrospect, our Santa challenge (which I supported) might not have been a good idea. It tried to walk the line between a type of mythological creature (ok) and a specific creature (not ok). Some questions focused on the broader mechanics, including teleportation and time-travel. That's fine. Other questions were more about the specific character, and we could have managed that better.

Our scope has been getting a little fuzzier recently, and I'm very glad to see the community-initiated case studies. Let's use this to evaluate where we are and what we need to be more clear about, and then explain it clearly on meta, in the help center, and in applicable close reasons.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator?

Enjoyment and efficiency.

I really enjoy this community, and I'm thrilled that I've been able to help keep things running smoothly and offer a guiding hand throughout the beta. I've found moderation -- both here and on other sites -- to be personally gratifying.

Diamond or not, I'm going to continue to be an active and influential member of this community. This community operates by consensus, and having a diamond doesn't make my argument on meta about scope or custom close reasons or topic challenges any more right. But for some other things, most especially comment curation, being a moderator sure does make things easier -- instead of flagging a bunch of comments individually, or flagging the post and asking a moderator to dig through it, I can just handle it. That's more attractive to me than the Marshal badge I'd inevitably get as a regular user.

  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?

This can, alas, be a common problem with people who come from a "forum" background -- they think comments are for discussion or even arguments, just like they are on lots of other sites. After cleaning up any messes that need attention, the first step is (ironically) a comment pointing out the problem, linking to "what comments are for" in the help center. If the behavior continues, the next step is a private chat (keeping the other mods in the loop). I'd emphasize that we value his positive contributions and then talk about what's expected in comments. I would presume that he has good intentions and doesn't yet understand our norms.

If the behavior continues, the next step would be a mod message. If that doesn't help, or if he crosses from arguments to outright trolling or other abusive behavior, then it's time for a short suspension (in consultation with the other mods). I hate having to suspend people, but sometimes you have to.

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

When this happens I ask the other mod about it. Sometimes that's in the private mod room, but I don't see a problem with a public discussion (like in the main chat room) of public actions like closures. If there's fuzziness in our scope or policies then the whole community, not just moderators, should be weighing in, after all.

When raising an objection (not just here but in general), I strive to ask questions or talk about my own understanding, rather than making assertions about the other. "I'm having trouble understanding X" or "this seems on-topic to me; can we reopen?" invites conversation; "you're wrong" or "this is unclear" invites conflict. I assume that we're all adults who want to get along, and that we all have different communication styles and assumptions about what's obvious.

  1. What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Worldbuilding site at the moment and how should we approach those challenges?

One of our greatest challenges is scope fuzziness; see question #1 for my thoughts on that.

Another challenge -- a good problem to have, but a challenge nonetheless -- is volume. We get a lot of questions, and those questions get a lot of answers. It's easy for a newcomer to fly under the radar, to make several posts that aren't really what we're looking for without getting attention and guidance. There isn't a single "right thing" to do here; we just all need to be attentive, to take the time to leave that helpful comment if no one else has yet, to remember that we were all new once and a kind word and a "welcome" before telling them what they did wrong goes a long way. Maybe we can harness chat for help here; when someone in chat links to a post that needs some help it usually gets it.

New users aren't the only ones who can go unnoticed for a while; more than once I've seen a user with thousands of rep and said to myself "who?". I feel like we could be making stronger connections within our community than we are. Stack Exchange isn't a social network, but we're still a community made out of people. I find that chat (where people have talked about their blacksmithing and woodworking projects, for instance) and the blog interviews help me get to know the worldbuilders. Let's keep that up.

One final challenge: when we get our new design soon, the reputation requirements for privileges will go up and some of the people who've been reviewing, voting to close or reopen, protecting, and maybe even editing will lose those privileges (until they earn them back). The rest of us will need to do more there to cover the gap.

  1. Right now, a lot of the candidates are really high-rep users. If elected moderator, how will you be more effective than as a 10k or 20k user?

Well, for starters, I'm a 5k user, not a 10k or 20k one. After the privileges change, I'll be able to vote to close or reopen. (And review, edit, and flag.) I'd certainly use the privileges I still have, but as a moderator I'd retain access to more of them, thus making me more effective.

  1. The scope of the site is generally the result of a consensus. As a moderator, you are expected to participate and to lead that continuous definition. How do you feel about enforcing definitions on which you do not necessarily agree?

As a moderator, it's my job to enforce community policy. If the community has decided that such-and-such is off-topic, then the fact that I think it should be on-topic doesn't matter when I moderate. I'll close, edit to bring into compliance, explain on meta, clarify in the help center, and whatever else is needed. I've done this at some point on every site where I'm a moderator.

As a user I still have a voice in those discussions. If I feel strongly that a community policy is mistaken, I'll make my case on meta the same as if I were not a moderator. I'm allowed to do that. Should I do so, I'll be extra-careful to not let my diamond interfere: I'll say clearly that I speak as a user, I'll leave moderation of that post (and anything related) to other moderators, and I won't use mod fiat to force perpetual discussion of something that everybody else has agreed I'm wrong about.

As a liaison to Stack Exchange, if I see the community headed in a direction that's really out of sync with the network in general, I'll bring it up and try to nudge us back on-track before SE has to become involved. I can't think of a case where this has been an issue, but I include it for the sake of completeness: it's possible that the community has consensus on something that nonetheless we are not going to do, and if that happens I'll be careful to explain why and tell people how they can appeal it to Stack Exchange.

  1. During what (UTC) times of day, and on what days, are you most likely to be active on the site?

I'm generally online and paying attention to the site from about 14:00 UTC to 05:00 UTC, six days a week. I'm offline one day a week, approximately Saturday UTC, give or take a couple hours. The graph in my chat profile is a pretty accurate representation of overall activity.

I do most of my reading of questions and answers on main at times when I'm not at work, but I can jump in and look at specific questions that come up in flags, on meta, or in chat as needed.

  1. What has your review queues activity been like so far? How do you expect this to change when a single vote from you results in immediate action on the post?

I try to review suggested edits and first posts, when bowlturner isn't hogging them all. :-) As a moderator I tend to stay out of the queues where my vote is binding, preferring that the community handle those. I've been a pro-tem mod since a few weeks after public beta started, so I therefore don't have a lot of reviews to my credit.

  1. What do you like most about the current moderation and want to preserve?

I really like how much the community is community-run. On some sites moderators are fairly active in closing and deleting posts, but here the moderators are pretty hands-off about that. Sure we close and delete things sometimes, but I (and I think the rest of the pro-tem mods) first consider whether this action is needed right now. I want to keep the sense of community empowerment that currently works about 99% of the time. (For the other 1%, I hope moderators will continue to take action -- and to be able to recognize when they need to do so.)

  1. Are you active elsewhere on the Stack Exchange network? If so, where and in what ways? On the flip side, are you active in non-SE worldbuilding communities? If so, tell us more.

I'm an elected moderator on Mi Yodeya and The Workplace. I'm also a pro-tem moderator on Writers. I talked a little about those experiences when TimB interviewed me for Universe Factory. I'm active on Meta.SE, which helps me stay in touch with, and sometimes influence, network-wide concerns. I also participate on assorted other SE sites; see my network profile for details.

My participation in non-SE worldbuilding activities has been less formal. Through our blog I've come to know about other worldbuilding communities and authors on Medium, which I now follow and interact with. For years I've been a kibbitzer and informal editor for friends' SF&F fiction (most recently Seven Deadly Tales), where poking at world consistency is one of my strengths. Offline RPGs have also honed my worldbuilding skills and interests.

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I'm ArtOfCode, and these are my answers. They're also some random thoughts I had while writing answers.

1. Views on Scope

  • Idea Generation
    Not long ago, I posted Is Worldbuilding a What If Site?. For anyone who hasn't seen it, it's the result of my observation that Worldbuilding has changed its focus to more what-if type questions over the past few months. In it lies my opinion of idea generation questions: I think Stack Exchange's model got it right when they banned (well, not banned, but discouraged without specific criteria) opinion-based and idea generation questions.

    Worldbuilding does do these questions better than many other sites on the network ever could, but the root problem still lies firmly where it started. There's no objective way to judge answers. And with that issue comes another, which is that it's suddenly rather difficult to define what an answer is, which in turn makes flagging as NAA and subsequent deletions problematic.

    I think Idea Generation questions should generally be out of scope, unless they're directly about worldbuilding and can be objectively answered. Yes, that's a flaky definition - though Green has sort of got it here - and we need to do some definition of it. I intend to get that done after this election, whether I'm elected or not. Expect plenty of Meta posts!

  • Individual actions/plot questions
    You may not be surprised to learn that I think much the same of these. Worldbuilding is not plot-building, character-building, or scene-building. We have a Writers site, which can deal with some of this. Worldbuilding should be more about, well, building the world. Unless your character is so pivotal to the world itself that a single action of theirs effects change on a global scale, Worldbuilding is not the site for these.

There are always exceptions, of course - and part of the meta-discussion I intend to do after this election is to start defining more exactly what those are.

2. Why do you want to be a moderator?

Honestly? Because it's rewarding. So I guess my reasoning is a little bit selfish, though it does also get the job done. It's nice to be able to come onto the site, and be someone who is seen to be capable, trustworthy, and reliable.

In my experience moderating on Stack Exchange (Hardware Recommendations and Open Source), it's also fun. Some may disagree with me on that one, but I'd certainly enjoy the post, and I think that's important - a moderator who doesn't enjoy their job won't be as dedicated to the site and its community as one who does. Having a great community is also a massive boon, which Worldbuilding has in bundles.

3. How do you deal with a valuable but controversial contributor?

(Is it really a good idea to keep these old questions in circulation, when they've been answered many times over? Hmmm... there's a discussion for MSE.)

Contributions are great. Arguments, flags, and the disputes in the community that stem from them, are not. The latter outweighs the former by far. Of course, it's not just down to that - for a successful community, you can't allow anyone to get away with breaking the rules, no matter how valuable the content they produce is.

Someone like this needs to be contacted. On noticing the pattern, I'd be sending them a mod message about it. Communication is always the first resort: it's entirely possible that the user is just unaware of the issues they've caused, and informing them of that is the first step to solving the issue.

There's also the option of taking the user into a private chatroom, if I think their actions aren't so egregious that it's worthy of a mod message and the permanent stain that leaves, but I want to engage with them and have a conversation about what can be done.

4. How do you handle a moderator action you disagree with?

Communication is the basic answer to most of these types of question. If a moderator has taken a moderator's binding action on a post, they clearly thought there was something wrong enough with it to warrant that. Perhaps I've missed what it is they saw. Unless I talk to them, I'm not going to know.

Most sites have a moderator-only chatroom, for moderators to talk about their duties and issues surrounding the site. This is a prime example of what such a chatroom should be used for - I would head over there, and ping the mod in question to ask them why they took that action. That starts a discussion, which leads to a resolution either way.

5. What are Worldbuilding's greatest challenges?

Our biggest challenge right now is nailing our scope down. I've talked about that in my answer to bilbo_pingouin's question, which is honestly demonstrative of the challenge it is. That's my opinion there; other people will have different points of view that are equally valid. Scope changes are always heavy on the discussion front, which as a mod I could facilitate. I feel like once this election is over, we should be trying to make a decision on Idea Generation questions.

Our second biggest challenge is, I think, cross-site communication. And that's hard. Code Review had to build a bot so that they could monitor Stack Overflow recommending questions being moved to CR when they were off-topic on CR, and even now I believe they still run it and have the occasional issue with Stack Overflow sending them stuff. This is partly linked to the last point: I think one of the reasons we get so many what-if type questions is that other sites don't understand our scope and see us as more of an "anything goes" site. We need to challenge that and change it, or we'll never solve our scope issues.

6. Why are you more effective as a moderator than as a high-rep user?

Well, to be pedantic, I'm not one of the high-rep bunch!

Reputation is a figure, a measure of your participation on a site. It's never been a good judge of who you are - there are some high-rep users on some of the larger sites whose behaviour is truly appalling. A moderator's diamond shows everything you do in a different light, and makes you not only an 'authority' figure, but respected.

Firstly, you get access to a bunch of extra data and tools. Those allow you to perform your primary duty as a moderator, which is to handle flags. This can't be done by the community in any tangible way (yes, there are a few ways in which the community handles flags, some even before they get to the mod dashboard, but they're... convoluted).

Secondly, you become an ambassador. This means that you're looked at by other sites on the network to be knowledgeable about your site matters, and by your own community to be able to, well, moderate - to mediate and arbitrate discussions and generally facilitate the running of the site.

While some of that can be done as a regular user, I've found it's generally easier as a mod, and would allow me to represent the site.

7. Are you OK with enforcing definitions you don't agree with?

In a word: yes. I already do that on HR, where part of our scope is "pre-purchase inquiries". I don't think that they should be part of the scope for a number of reasons (which aren't relevant here, so I won't detail them), but since the community has decided that we want them on the site, it's my job to enforce that scope.

It's important for a moderator to be open-minded, and this is part of that. If a moderator attempts to force their idea of a scope onto their site, it's going to go badly and has done in the past. Moderators' points of view are of course still valid, but they're not worth any more than an opinion from any other community member, and can be shot down just the same. If that happens, it's time to shrug and move on - trying to argue will only cause more issues and arguments.

8. When are you active?

Ooooh, this is an easy one! I'm in the UK, so GMT or BST depending on the time of year. That's UTC+0 or UTC+1.

I'm generally around the sites a good proportion of the day - not necessarily actively participating, but certainly able to respond to anything urgent that comes up. I become more active from 16:00, all the way through the evening. That pattern is pretty consistent through the week, and the weekends see a little more activity.

And yes, I do need to get a life.

9. What's your review activity like, and how will it change?

My review queue activity is consistent with my general activity profile. It dropped off as my participation here did a couple of months ago, but it's coming back now as I do. I generally try to be as active at reviewing as possible, because it's really useful community moderation. If you like numbers, then I am currently:

  • 9th in reviewing Close Votes
  • 9th for First Posts
  • 13th for Late Answers
  • 7th for Low Quality Posts
  • 8th for Reopen Votes
  • 11th for Suggested Edits

As for how my activity will change, I'd be reviewing here with much the same attitude I take to the review queues on other sites where I'm a moderator. If a case is clear-cut and I'm certain enough to act on it unilaterally, I'll act on it. That's the purpose of a mod's binding vote - to expedite the normal community moderation processes. If I'm not sure, then it's just a case of pressing the Skip button. I come around the review queues and have a look at the outcome of some review tasks I've skipped every now and then, so that I can get a feel for how the rest of the community is reviewing. That's a good practice, actually - I'd recommend it whether you're a moderator or not.

10. What do you want to preserve about the current moderation?

Currently, I can see deleted posts. Looking through some of those, it's obvious that the approach to moderation on Worldbuilding is pretty hands-off. The cases where I see a mod-closed question, or a mod-deleted post, are rare - especially in cases where it's debtable.

The mods here are doing an excellent job of letting the community get on with the moderation, and that's a great advantage to the community. When a community is left to moderate itself in all but the most egregious and clear-cut cases, it ends up being more of a community site than it ever could be if we just relied on the moderators to enforce the standards for us.

That's what I want to preserve most. There are other things too, obviously, notably how friendly our mod team is, that I'd love to keep, but if I were to pick one thing that's it. I think that's important to the well-being and community spirit of the site.

11. Where else are you active?

As I've mentioned, I moderate Open Source and Hardware Recommendations, so I participate on both of those. Open Source generally sees more participation and less moderation (because there's less moderation to do and more stuff I'm interested in to answer), while the nature of Hardware Recommendations means that a significant amount of time there is spent moderating and checking through for quality.

It's important, while moderating, to remember that you're not a thin blue diamond line against a tidal wave of incoming spam, low-quality and off-topic posts, but in fact you're a welcoming face who should be giving helpful advice and guidance on how to improve a new poster's posting. That's the moderation philosophy I try to practice, and I believe it works.

Other worldbuilding communities? Um. Not really. I guess you could say I helped build a world for an RPG campaign once, though that wasn't so much of a community as a tiny group. I do also try to watch social media for interesting worldbuilding stuff - but I don't have masses of involvement in other worldbuilding communities, no.

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Serban Tanasa

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  1. One of the main difficulty for moderators (as well as high-rep users) is to consistently respect the scope of the site. There have been quite some discussions about it here on meta. But I would like to know the views of the candidates on two critical elements of our scopes, namely idea generation/broadness and individual actions/plot questions How do you view those questions? Can you specify their limits and own definition?

It seems that many of the most dedicated users feel the site is losing focus on worldbuilding. I would start a consensus building discussion on meta, and if the general opinion is in favor and once the specifics have been worked out, I would consider adding What-If questions into the “off topic” category.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator?

I'm the sort of person who is drawn to cleaning up messes; for instance, I’m always the one sent in at work when the projects are stalled and need someone to veer them back on course. With my current reputation, I already have many moderating duties. On WB in particular I find clean-up and review work room rewarding and spend at least 20 minutes of my time moderating each day, and more time in the chat-rooms and the meta. As a diamond mod I could expand the reach and impact of my moderation by addressing the range of issues raised through the flag queue.

  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?

That largely depends on what the comments and flags are all about. If the valuable-answer-generating user is being actively rude and disrespectful of other users, this requires immediate moderator attention, and such behavior should not be tolerated. If the discussion is about substantive issues, I would prefer to keep a low profile, and leave it to the community to resolve the issue through votes.

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

I would never get into a close-war with another mod. Sausages are not made in public, neither should mods air their disagreements in public. If I feel really strongly about it, I’ll contact the mod in private asking for reasons and whether perhaps they might be amenable to being persuaded to change their opinion.

  1. What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Worldbuilding site at the moment and how should we approach those challenges?

Cross-site-communication (we kinda end up as a dumping ground for all sorts of questions that are out of scope elsewhere but not necessarily in scope here). This perception has fed into a creeping scope shift here on WB.

  1. Right now, a lot of the candidates are really high-rep users. If elected moderator, how will you be more effective than as a 10k or 20k user?

Data!!! and Tools!! Better access to the statistics and metrics would allow me to moderate far more effectively and holistically than I do now.

  1. The scope of the site is generally the result of a consensus. As a moderator, you are expected to participate and to lead that continuous definition. How do you feel about enforcing definitions on which you do not necessarily agree?

Perfectly fine. I am not the dictator who makes all decisions, it is a community who decides.

  1. During what (UTC) times of day, and on what days, are you most likely to be active on the site? Our site is an active one, and having moderators able to check in on the site around the clock allows keeping closer tabs on activity and handle problematic behavior quickly. Let's look at when you might be available during the week rather than timezone. Please give times and weekdays in UTC to allow for easy comparison between different candidates.

I am active on the EST time. 2pm UTC to 12am UTC. I am active every day, minus some weekends if I'm travelling.

  1. What has your review queues activity been like so far? How do you expect this to change when a single vote from you results in immediate action on the post? Having a diamond associated to your name isn't just a fancy gimmick; it effectively means that you are no longer participating as a "mere" high-reputation community member. Particularly in this case, it means actionable votes are binding and take effect immediately. You can close, reopen, delete, undelete, spam-flag, migrate, etc. posts with just a few clicks regardless of how the rest of the community feels about the post. You can lock posts such that they cannot be touched by community members. Explain the ways in which your review queue behavior might change (or remain the same) in light of these privileges.

My review activity has been ok, I have about 100 reviews in all the major categories. With so many active reviewers, there is little chance to hit the review thresholds quickly without constantly refreshing the site minute by minute. My hat's off to users like HDE who have managed impressive review counts.

  1. What do you like most about the current moderation and want to preserve?

Light footprint. I like the light footprint. High-rep users and the community do lots of the work. That's good.

  1. Are you active elsewhere on the Stack Exchange network? If so, where and in what ways? On the flip side, are you active in non-SE worldbuilding communities? If so, tell us more.

I'm active on the main SO, but not extensively as a poster, although I do occasionally answer on R, Python, SQL. I'm active in DC in a bunch of Data Science Meetups, as well as a few social organizations.

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I'm bilbo_pingouin,


  1. One of the main difficulty for moderators (as well as high-rep users) is to consistently respect the scope of the site. There have been quite some discussions about it here on meta. But I would like to know the views of the candidates on two critical elements of our scopes, namely idea generation/broadness and individual actions/plot questions How do you view those questions? Can you specify their limits and own definition?

There are some discussions on meta to try to provide a more precise and general definition for those cases. If I were elected as a moderator, I would of course make mine the view of the community. But as a personal view, prior to other conclusions, I could give the following points

  • Idea Generation is a horrible name. It has to be renamed to something more precise. We are often ask to generate new ideas. The main issue is when the OP is asking for a brainstorm. Where they want to get as many answers as possible. While it is interesting as an author or even a world builder, it is not the idea of the Stack Exchange network. Nevertheless most of those questions appear to fall in the too broad and/or opinion-based categories.
  • Too broad. On SE, the questions should be answerable. For that the OP should provide a reasonable scope, and provide some information about the kind of answer they are looking for. Failing that, the question likely falls into the too broad spot. And will be voted to close.
  • Off-topic: plot. I think we should add a category for closing posts: plot question (the name could be discussed). We are either building worlds, or helping others doing it. Setting up a scene is also fine. But the actions of the characters is part of a plot, and is the responsibility of the author. So individual characters, who by their position (and not themselves) affect the whole world, might fall on the right side of the fence. But others should be avoided and closed.

Just to provide some illustrations

  • Cheating on their partner is legally allowed, how does John reacts when his girlfriend tells him she did? Is off-topic: individual characters.
  • How does my society works if cheating is legalised? is too broad
  • Take a country like the USA now, and the newly elected government decides to set a new law which removes cheating as an argument in a divorce trial. How does the society reacts in the first weeks? is probably ok.
  1. Why do you want to be a moderator?

Since I joined Worldbuilding.SE, I have active (almost) every days. I appreciate the site a lot. And I am spending a big part of my time on the site supporting the community as much as I can.

I think I would be able to be good moderator, and being moderator would allow me to go further in that support of that great community.

  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?

This is an interesting question. As I have never been in front of such a case, I would guess that I would try to see if I can identify some patterns on the flagged comments. And then take it on trying to discuss it with the user.

I am confident that in most cases, a clarification/discussion with the user would be enough to solve the issue. However, I don't want Worldbuilding to descend into a flame war ground. And no-one is above the community.

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

Depending on how it appears, I would take it up to them, and discuss the subject. Maybe I would learn a new perspective. Maybe they would learn one.

I believe in discussing a set of rules with my peers, and try to keep to that in order to provide an unbiased moderation. But those rules may evolve.

  1. What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Worldbuilding site at the moment and how should we approach those challenges?

The greatest challenge at the moment is the scope of the site. From the beginning there have been some continuous discussions about what makes a question fit for the site and what doesn't. Now that we graduate, and a lot of newer very active users have joined, we need to clarify the scope.

As a second point, it is likely that the new moderator team faces what I would call a generation change. At some point, as months or years passes, the users who were there at the beginning will lower their activity. We have seen that to some extend. The moderators will be responsible to transmit the flame from the older to the newer users, and continuous promotion of the site, so that it does not start accumulating dust.

  1. Right now, a lot of the candidates are really high-rep users. If elected moderator, how will you be more effective than as a 10k or 20k user?

I don't have that reputation. But in any case, I want to be there to help anyone in the community. And by being a moderator, I can really do. Very high-reputation users are active in producing material for the site, with great questions and answers. Moderators are there for cleaning up, solving potential conflicts, helping new users, etc. There are sometimes and overlap, but it does not mean that that is the best solution.

  1. The scope of the site is generally the result of a consensus. As a moderator, you are expected to participate and to lead that continuous definition. How do you feel about enforcing definitions on which you do not necessarily agree?

I have no problems with that. I have presented my views, and will any time there is some discussion. But in fine it is the community who decides, and I will apply the decision it comes with. That is what it means to be supporting the community.

  1. During what (UTC) times of day, and on what days, are you most likely to be active on the site? Our site is an active one, and having moderators able to check in on the site around the clock allows keeping closer tabs on activity and handle problematic behavior quickly. Let's look at when you might be available during the week rather than timezone. Please give times and weekdays in UTC to allow for easy comparison between different candidates.

I am usually there during the week days 7:00-15:00 and most evenings 19:30-22:00. During the week ends, my participation during the day is less predictable. All the hours are provided in UTC.

  1. What has your review queues activity been like so far? How do you expect this to change when a single vote from you results in immediate action on the post? Having a diamond associated to your name isn't just a fancy gimmick; it effectively means that you are no longer participating as a "mere" high-reputation community member. Particularly in this case, it means actionable votes are binding and take effect immediately. You can close, reopen, delete, undelete, spam-flag, migrate, etc. posts with just a few clicks regardless of how the rest of the community feels about the post. You can lock posts such that they cannot be touched by community members. Explain the ways in which your review queue behavior might change (or remain the same) in light of these privileges.

With my reputation, I have access to vote/reopen/first posts/review/low quality/late answers. I have been very active on all of them, and I am amongst the most active on each of them. In particular, I have a Reviewer badge for closing questions. And close to one for First Posts.

Of course, as moderator, I would let the binding reviews to the community, except as a last vote. And of course, with exception of flagrant violation of the rules. But for questions closer to the line, the community, should prevail.

  1. What do you like most about the current moderation and want to preserve?

I really appreciate the activity of the current moderators. They are reasonably often reachable and are very helpful. I would like to do that.

  1. Are you active elsewhere on the Stack Exchange network? If so, where and in what ways? On the flip side, are you active in non-SE worldbuilding communities? If so, tell us more.

I am much less active on any other sites of the network. I contributed to a few others, but I mostly read a lot from many different sites. I have been active on internet communities on-and-off since more than 15 years. But at the moment, I am not.


Thank you for reading my answers, and if you have any question, don't hesitate to comment, or join me in the chat.

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HDE 226868

  1. One of the main difficulty for moderators (as well as high-rep users) is to consistently respect the scope of the site. There have been quite some discussions about it here on meta. But I would like to know the views of the candidates on two critical elements of our scopes, namely idea generation/broadness and individual actions/plot questions How do you view those questions? Can you specify their limits and own definition?

I’m not a fan of either of these types of questions, and I would like to see their prevalence on the site greatly reduced.

My definitions:

Idea Generation: A question qualifies as Idea Generation if it asks for ideas about what features a world should have. For example, I would argue that a question asking what type of government a city should have is Idea Generation (unless it specifies enough factors that it clearly narrows down the question to only a few options). Individual Actions/Plot-building: A question qualifies as being about plot-building if it is about a sequence of events that are mostly opinion-based. So a question asking what the protagonists of a story should do to fight a dragon would be off-topic as being about individual actions. Currently, we allow questions about individual actions if the individuals will clearly influence the entire world (or a large portion of it). I would personally like to see that change, designating these questions, too, as off-topic.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator?

Moderators are exception handlers, but they are also ambassadors. I would love to represent Worldbuilding in cross-site affairs, letting people know what we’re about and who we are. Being a moderator also means being - in many cases - a leader, and I think I can help propel us through the changes in scope we’re currently experiencing - although I’ll be there just as much if I’m not elected.

  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?

This depends on how persistent the problems are. If the user’s had two or three instances where this is the case, I would leave a comment or two explaining a few of our policies (the Be Nice policy included) and how the user is violating or coming close to violating them.

If the problem persists - which is likely - then I’d talk to the user in a private chat room, maybe with another mod there. I don’t think this is a common strategy, but on a middling activity site like Worldbuilding, community is extremely important, and each user matters. Going straight to a suspension in a case like this seems a bit impersonal.

If the behavior continues, though, I will go for a suspension, after talking with the other mods. I’d most likely start with a day or two, then increase that with future infractions. Once the length gets to a week, I’d mod message the user. If s/he continues after that, I might jump to a year-long suspension, given all the previous warnings and chances the user has been given.

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

On the sites I’m a moderator on, we the mod team act together. We don’t have a lot of issues where we have to take unilateral action on a question or on a user. We generally conference when something like this happens, in private if things haven’t already been public. Unity is important to us.

I’d like to continue this on Worldbuilding. If I disagree with another mod, I’d talk with him or her - again, in private, if the disagreement between the mod and other users isn’t already public. Hopefully, we can come to a consensus. Optimally, the entire mod team would be onboard with the resulting decision.

  1. What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Worldbuilding site at the moment and how should we approach those challenges?

Two things: Scope and external image.

We’ve been having some major meta scope talks lately, especially about What-if? questions (kudos to ArtofCode for bringing that to fruition). This is something that we need to fix. We’ve seen way too many questions that are not about worldbuilding and are too broad. I feel like we’ve strayed from the early days - certainly from when I first joined, a week or two into public beta.

This leads to a problem of how other sites view us, our external image. I brought this up in What do users from other Stack Exchange sites think of Worldbuilding Stack Exchange?, and Wad Cheber’s answer seems to describe the opinions of other sites well: amused but confused.

We need to fix this problem. If outside users don’t understand our scope, then we’ll have a hard time with making any changes to it after our ongoing discussions on What-if? questions! This will lead to issues for new users and migrations.

As a final note: I’m active on a lot of the sites we migrate questions to and get questions from: Physics, Astronomy, etc. I’ve had to dissuade users there from migrating some questions here that would be off-topic. I hope that in the future, I can reduce how many times I have to say so.

  1. Right now, a lot of the candidates are really high-rep users. If elected moderator, how will you be more effective than as a 10k or 20k user?

As I said before, moderators are ambassadors. I’m confident that I can be more effective by helping to maintain our network-wide, cross-site imagine and let other sites know who we are and what we’re about.

  1. The scope of the site is generally the result of a consensus. As a moderator, you are expected to participate and to lead that continuous definition. How do you feel about enforcing definitions on which you do not necesarily agree?

It’s not a mod’s job to enforce things according to how s/he thinks. I’ll enforce policies if I agree with them or if I disagree with them.

That said, if I disagree on a decision the community has made, I may voice my dissent, either in chat or on meta, and give my reasons for doing so.

  1. During what (UTC) times of day, and on what days, are you most likely to be active on the site? Our site is an active one, and having moderators able to check in on the site around the clock allows keeping closer tabs on activity and handle problematic behavior quickly. Let's look at when you might be available during the week rather than timezone. Please give times and weekdays in UTC to allow for easy comparison between different candidates.

Monday-Friday, I’m active from ~UTC 21:00 - ~UTC 0:400, although I check occasionally from ~UTC 12:00 onwards. On weekends, I can be on the site sometime between ~UTC 12:00 - ~UTC 0:400.

  1. What has your review queues activity been like so far? How do you expect this to change when a single vote from you results in immediate action on the post? Having a diamond associated to your name isn't just a fancy gimmick; it effectively means that you are no longer participating as a "mere" high-reputation community member. Particularly in this case, it means actionable votes are binding and take effect immediately. You can close, reopen, delete, undelete, spam-flag, migrate, etc. posts with just a few clicks regardless of how the rest of the community feels about the post. You can lock posts such that they cannot be touched by community members. Explain the ways in which your review queue behavior might change (or remain the same) in light of these privileges.

I’m pretty active in the review queues, although bowlturner has stolen the spotlight from the rest of us! I’m working on my third Reviewer badge - one Low Quality Post review to go.

On HSM and Mythology, I’m way less active in the Close/Reopen queues; I like the community to decide things for itself. I’ll try to avoid unilateral closings, meaning that I won’t be in those queues. However, I’ll still be active in the others, especially First Posts and Late Answers.

  1. What do you like most about the current moderation and want to preserve?

The team’s been pretty hands-off when it comes to unilateral actions, which I think is fantastic. I also see a lot of stuff going on that’s not highly visible but is still important, like editing and flag-handling. They get things done quickly, and don’t let problems accumulate. This is all great, and I would love to see it continue. It will certainly be part of my moderation policy if I’m elected.

  1. Are you active elsewhere on the Stack Exchange network? If so, where and in what ways? On the flip side, are you active in non-SE worldbuilding communities? If so, tell us more.

I’m highly active in asking/answering/moderating on a bunch of other sites. I’m a pro-tem mod on HSM (~ 15 months old) and Mythology (~ 9 months old). I’m also one of the highest-rep uses on Astronomy, and quickly becoming one on Health, it seems. On non-beta sites, I’m most active on Physics. I also have experience on Mathematics, Skeptics, Science Fiction & Fantasy, and Law, as well as some on quite a few other sites. Oh, and I’m quite active on Meta Stack Exchange. The places you won’t find me on Stack Exchange? Many places, but, notably, all the coding sites, and others about related topics.

I’m not yet active in any non-SE worldbuilding communities, although I’m considering joining the Cartographers’ Guild.

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Samuel

To avoid wearing out your mousewheel, I've quoted the questions in my answer. Upvote for mousewheel conservation!

One of the main difficulty for moderators (as well as high-rep users) is to consistently respect the scope of the site. There have been quite some discussions about it here on meta. But I would like to know the views of the candidates on two critical elements of our scopes, namely idea generation/broadness and individual actions/plot questions How do you view those questions? Can you specify their limits and own definition?

The primary issue with both types of questions is that they're often poorly constrained. As I said in meta these questions are often of the "extrapolate from here" type rather than the "what happens between here and here" type. Asking Worldbuilders to extrapolate on a presented idea is generally a bad question. On the contrary, asking Worldbuilders to fill in the blanks (interpolate) is generally a good question.

An in-scope question is one that has asker provided bounds on either side of it, this lets us exclude "spitballing questions" and also provides a clear way to determine the best answer by determining its fit between those points.

Why do you want to be a moderator?

To maintain and improve the Worldbuilding SE. I thoroughly enjoy this site and I want to help others see the best of it.

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'd ask them about it in chat. There are several users who can be abrasive without seeming to know it. I think having a quick discussion is the easiest way to determine the tone of the comments and then asking them to clarify or remove intentionally offensive comments.

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

I'd prefer to leave that open to the voting process in place. If a mod is using their privilege inappropriately, then we could discuss it, but I don't believe that's likely in this community.

What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Worldbuilding site at the moment and how should we approach those challenges?

It's out-of-scope but sensational questions. It's a similar problem to news on the internet, many stories aren't really news, but if they're sensational enough they will get published. Luckily we have moderators to keep the worst offenders out. We'll continue to improve our definition of scope so new users can easily see what is on topic and what is not.

Right now, a lot of the candidates are really high-rep users. If elected moderator, how will you be more effective than as a 10k or 20k user?

I'm one of the highest rep-users and I don't think it's effective measure of moderation ability. A more important determinant is time on the site and participation in the community. There is a correlation between high rep and site experience, but it's not one that should be used for decisions.

The scope of the site is generally the result of a consensus. As a moderator, you are expected to participate and to lead that continuous definition. How do you feel about enforcing definitions on which you do not [necessarily] agree?

I have no problem understanding that rules are useful even if I don't agree with them. I don't believe I have any disagreements with our existing definitions (except perhaps the term "Idea Generation", like most people). If it's clearly a consensus definition, I'll gladly enforce it.

During what (UTC) times of day, and on what days, are you most likely to be active on the site?

I'm on Pacific Standard Time. I usually log in at work (typical 9-5) and check the site regularly during weekdays. On weekends my activity is less regular but usually quite frequent. I also use the Android app and regularly check notifications.

What has your review queues activity been like so far? How do you expect this to change when a single vote from you results in immediate action on the post?

I go through the review queue multiple times a day. It's generally quite quick. I will gladly cast a regular vote, but would prefer to be light on decisive action when there is some grey area, the community is usually quite quick to figure it out without a mod hammer intervention.

What do you like most about the current moderation and want to preserve?

It's light. I like that, we're supposed to be a community driven site and for the most part that works. The current moderators are quick to act and have always seemed very even handed in their actions. I'd like that to continue.

Are you active elsewhere on the Stack Exchange network? If so, where and in what ways? On the flip side, are you active in non-SE worldbuilding communities? If so, tell us more.

I began my SE participation on the Electrical Engineering Stack while I was in grad school. I'm still active there, though my Worldbuilding participation has far outpaced the EE work. It's a lot more fun here, and I already do electrical engineering every day, so it brings diversity. My only other Worldbuilding is with RPG games like D&D (SCL).

Cheers! Cast your votes here!

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bowlturner

  1. One of the main difficulty for moderators (as well as high-rep users) is to consistently respect the scope of the site. There have been quite some discussions about it here on meta. But I would like to know the views of the candidates on two critical elements of our scopes, namely idea generation/broadness and individual actions/plot questions How do you view those questions? Can you specify their limits and own definition?

There are some questions that are obviously to broad or complete Idea generation, when someone basically is asking us to do their thinking for them or would need a doctoral thesis to give a good answer. Many are very much on the money. However there is a decent grey area. I tend to be a little more lenient, because I tend to be trying to think of an answer on intriguing questions before thinking if the question is a good fit for the site. I tend to answer 'broad' questions with 'broad' answers when it seems to fit. I mostly call idea generation when someone has no clue what they want, just for us to do the brainstorming for them.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator?

I'm willing to do the job and I think I'd do a good job of it. I am currently a mod on Woodworking and I appreciate the difference between being a mod and a user, even a high rep user.

  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?

Tough question. I would start by trying to reason with them, and ask them to try and reduce their flag collecting. As it continues I would be more and more willing to delete their inappropriate comments. I would also discuss it with the other moderators to see what the team thinks is most appropriate. Then follow through.

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

I would first contact that mod to see why they closed it. Maybe I missed something. Did the user edit it after it was closed? We all read things a little differently and it helps to understand why.

  1. What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Worldbuilding site at the moment and how should we approach those challenges?

Currently it is deciding which questions are in scope and where the lines are for closing, especially for too broad and idea generation.

  1. Right now, a lot of the candidates are really high-rep users. If elected moderator, how will you be more effective than as a 10k or 20k user?

Yes, since I am a 30K user, I would then have the added powers of the mod.

  1. The scope of the site is generally the result of a consensus. As a moderator, you are expected to participate and to lead that continuous definition. How do you feel about enforcing definitions on which you do not necessarily agree?

If there is a consensus, I will follow it. If I disagree, I will make my opinions known, why I hold them and try to change the consensus. But these sites don't work if mods just do what ever they feel like regardless of decisions being made.

  1. During what (UTC) times of day, and on what days, are you most likely to be active on the site? Our site is an active one, and having moderators able to check in on the site around the clock allows keeping closer tabs on activity and handle problematic behavior quickly. Let's look at when you might be available during the week rather than timezone. Please give times and weekdays in UTC to allow for easy comparison between different candidates.

My most active is 2-10:30 UTC M-F, but I do show up evenings 14-16 utc and weekends

  1. What has your review queues activity been like so far? How do you expect this to change when a single vote from you results in immediate action on the post? Having a diamond associated to your name isn't just a fancy gimmick; it effectively means that you are no longer participating as a "mere" high-reputation community member. Particularly in this case, it means actionable votes are binding and take effect immediately. You can close, reopen, delete, undelete, spam-flag, migrate, etc. posts with just a few clicks regardless of how the rest of the community feels about the post. You can lock posts such that they cannot be touched by community members. Explain the ways in which your review queue behavior might change (or remain the same) in light of these privileges.

The biggest area it would change is in the close/reopen queues. At woodworking I only vote on those when it is very obviously not an appropriate question or if I agree and there are at least 3 and preferably 4 VTC already cast. In general I feel voting to close and reopen are community issues (most of the time) and the mod hammer should be used sparingly.

  1. What do you like most about the current moderation and want to preserve?

The even and fairhandedness the current mods show. Also the team work.

  1. Are you active elsewhere on the Stack Exchange network? If so, where and in what ways? On the flip side, are you active in non-SE worldbuilding communities? If so, tell us more.

I am a mod for the SE Woodworking site and have 10K there as well.

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I'm Michael Kjörling.

  1. One of the main difficulty for moderators (as well as high-rep users) is to consistently respect the scope of the site. There have been quite some discussions about it here on meta. But I would like to know the views of the candidates on two critical elements of our scopes, namely idea generation/broadness and individual actions/plot questions How do you view those questions? Can you specify their limits and own definition?

Just as stated, this is a difficult area, and the distinction is far from always crystal clear. This leads to different people applying these topic scope points in different ways.

My definition of "idea generation" is simply where the set of answers is large or even potentially unbounded, and there are no objective criteria given for evaluating answers. Both of these criteria need to be met for a question to be "idea generation"; if they are not, then the question might be "too broad" or maybe "primarily opinion-based", but it is not "idea generation".

"Individual actions" or "plot" questions can be very difficult to spot, even more so than "idea generation" questions. This centers on whether the question is about the world itself or a character, and is not a fixed distinction. Sometimes a question that looks like a question about individual actions is really about the world; sometimes one that looks to be about the world is really about an individual's actions, or of plot.

Of course, virtually all questions on this site are some kind of "idea generation" questions; people who have a problem and are looking for ideas or suggestions on how to solve it. So simply "idea generation" isn't reason enough to close a question, just like a question mentioning "the president of the United States" or "the CEO of Big-Name Tech Company" doesn't make it about the actions of an individual character. These have to be viewed in context.

The purpose of our site is clearly to help people solve their problems when building the worlds their works are set in, but also to help build a repository of knowledge for future visitors. Questions that deal with individual characters' actions, or plot elements, are very unlikely to be of any help to anyone other than the person originally asking them. When in doubt, the measuring stick should be "is this question of value to people other than the asker, who want a similar element in their world?". If the answer to that question is no, then the question is highly likely to be off topic.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator?

I want to help guide the site further, ultimately toward its goal of world supremacy (just kidding about that last -- I think). I hope to offer my experience from being a pro tem moderator here since early in the beta period, while also helping to moderate the moderation activities taken. I enjoy the site and want to help it grow further while retaining its unique character as well as the occasional hard-science parts.

Whether or not I am elected a community moderator, you will keep seeing me on the site.

  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?

By the time we are seeing "a large number of arguments/flags", I expect the user has already been instructed in comments by other users on the kind of behavior we want to see, and what comments are for. If there is a consistent pattern of flags, I would look at some comment threads the user has been involved in, and aim to start there, as well as by cleaning up any inappropriate comments and moving longer discussions to chat instead.

If that does not stop the problematic behavior, the next step would be to contact the user through private messages and attempt to both determine the root cause for the behavior in comments, and to guide the user in what type of behavior we expect of users. Since this is a user who "tends" to get into this kind of situation, I would also deal with the situation in cooperation with the other moderators on the site, to ensure that all moderators respond to the situation in a similar way. (A similar situation has already happened, which was discussed among us pro tem moderators and eventually more or less resolved.)

Should the disruptive behavior continue despite attempts to talk it out with the user, timed suspension may become necessary. I would be hoping that the situation can be resolved long before it comes to that, however; timed suspension is the last, not the first or even among the first, option that a moderator should reach for.

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

This should be brought up either with the specific moderator, with all the moderators on the site (both of those almost certainly in the private moderator chat room), or on Worldbuilding Meta, which is meant for discussion about the site. Exactly which of these avenues is most appropriate depends on the specific circumstances. Taking the matter to Meta may be particularly appropriate should the action that the moderator was involved in not be something only a moderator took part in; for example, if a moderator cast a delete vote after the post had already been delete-voted by community members, but I disagree with deletion.

Moderators are humans, too, and even with just four moderators there are bound to be disagreements on various issues. Those disagreements need to be ironed out in appropriate forums; we might not all always fully agree on what we each think is the best course of action, but we should be able to determine whether a given action is the one that most closely matches the community consensus on similar issues. Sometimes that does mean bringing the discussion right out in the open, and letting the community chime in.

  1. What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Worldbuilding site at the moment and how should we approach those challenges?

Clearly, topic scope is the site's Achille's heel at this time; we get quite a number of questions that, while not obviously off-topic, are not obviously on-topic either. Several users have already mentioned that this is going to be discussed after the election ends, which is a good thing. There is the case study series going on. We need to spend time on Meta and perhaps in chat, figure out where to draw the lines on various question types even when that means that we end up closing old, popular, previously well-received questions, and then update our help center with guidance that both new and old users can use to judge whether a given question is, or is likely to be, on topic or not.

  1. Right now, a lot of the candidates are really high-rep users. If elected moderator, how will you be more effective than as a 10k or 20k user?

Many of the moderation privileges, after the reputation requirement changes associated with the graduation and design, will be above my current reputation level. That will leave me without access to most of the features needed to effectively moderate the site.

I would obviously still be doing things like voting on posts, close/reopen voting, and so on, and might even do so somewhat more boldly knowing that my vote is not the only one that counts. However, something as simple as viewing deleted posts would be out of my reach until I earn sufficient reputation, which with my relatively low number of posts here will take some time.

  1. The scope of the site is generally the result of a consensus. As a moderator, you are expected to participate and to lead that continuous definition. How do you feel about enforcing definitions on which you do not necesarily agree?

Everyone has a different exact idea of what the site's scope is. This is even more evident given that our site's scope is, by its nature, somewhat flexible. As a moderator, you are a representative of not just yourself but also the larger site community. If the community has agreed on a scope, then it is almost a moderator's duty to uphold that. It is my hope that such community efforts to determine the site's scope should include also, but not rely entirely upon, the opinions of the community elected moderators. Should I find that the scope drifts so far that I more often than not find myself unable to enforce that which the community has determined, then at that point it may be appropriate to consider resigning as a moderator; I do however hope that it will not come to that.

  1. During what (UTC) times of day, and on what days, are you most likely to be active on the site? Our site is an active one, and having moderators able to check in on the site around the clock allows keeping closer tabs on activity and handle problematic behavior quickly. Let's look at when you might be available during the week rather than timezone. Please give times and weekdays in UTC to allow for easy comparison between different candidates.

I have been mostly active in the mid-day to evening periods UTC, all days of the week, and I do not expect this to change.

  1. What has your review queues activity been like so far? How do you expect this to change when a single vote from you results in immediate action on the post? Having a diamond associated to your name isn't just a fancy gimmick; it effectively means that you are no longer participating as a "mere" high-reputation community member. Particularly in this case, it means actionable votes are binding and take effect immediately. You can close, reopen, delete, undelete, spam-flag, migrate, etc. posts with just a few clicks regardless of how the rest of the community feels about the post. You can lock posts such that they cannot be touched by community members. Explain the ways in which your review queue behavior might change (or remain the same) in light of these privileges.

I have not been particularly active in the review queues, mainly because whenever I browse the site, there tends to not be anything in the review queues. (And I do consider that to be a good thing. It means that the community is handling most of the moderation, which is exactly the way Stack Exchange is intended to work.)

If I am not certain about the action to take on a post, I prefer to take no diamond-powered action at all. Expanding on what I wrote in my initial nomination, I aim to make every diamond-powered action I take on the site something that I am willing to explain in public on our Meta. This is occasionally limiting; whereas as a regular community member perhaps I would have cast a close vote where I felt a post is borderline off-topic, as a diamond moderator I won't cast that vote unless I am certain that the post qualifies as off-topic. Actions taken with a diamond attached to the name not only take effect immediately, but also tend to carry a lot more weight in the eyes of other community members. I strive to use that power wisely and only in times of need.

  1. What do you like most about the current moderation and want to preserve?

I want to try to preserve the community moderation aspect. While occasionally some super-powers are needed to sort out a situation, more often than not, Stack Exchange works as well as it does in part because it offloads moderation decisions onto not a few individuals bestowed with diamonds to their names, but onto the community. Diamond-powered moderation should be light-handed and done only when there is an immediate need, and should be accountable to the highest standards. Again, it is sometimes better to take no action, than to take the wrong action, when a single person's judgement can overrule that of the community.

  1. Are you active elsewhere on the Stack Exchange network? If so, where and in what ways? On the flip side, are you active in non-SE worldbuilding communities? If so, tell us more.

I am active on a number of sites in the Stack Exchange network, which should be obvious from my network profile. My highest-reputation accounts are on Super User, Unix & Linux, Stack Overflow, Worldbuilding, Amateur Radio, Meta Stack Exchange and Programmers, in that order. Other sites I frequent to varying degree are Server Fault, Space Exploration, Photography, Electrical Engineering, Physics, and many others. At this writing, to my count I have reputation beyond the association bonus on 49 different sites in the network.

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James

  1. One of the main difficulty for moderators (as well as high-rep users) is to consistently respect the scope of the site. There have been quite some discussions about it here on meta. But I would like to know the views of the candidates on two critical elements of our scopes, namely idea generation/broadness and individual actions/plot questions How do you view those questions? Can you specify their limits and own definition?

Both of these topics are grey areas and hence have been difficult to lock down. While most sites have a limited scope, the complication with world building is that in the end, all topics are on topic though it is also true that not all questions are on topic. That may seem counterintuitive but stick with me.

When we discuss off topic here what we really mean is the form of the question is not appropriate for the site.' For example, is baking on topic on world building? If someone came to the site and asked, "How do I bake a cake?" we would certainly close it and very politely recommend another site. If on the other hand the question was, "I want to tell a story about a bakery on an alien planet, what would the impact be on the baking process if I change x aspect of the environment." That would be a perfectly appropriate and I am guessing strangely complicated question to answer.

Addressing Plot and Idea Generation

Individual Actions and Plot Questions. These questions can be both on and off topic. Again let me explain.

If you ask a question about what a person should do, the question is off topic. We as world builders are neither here to write your story nor help develop the personality of a single character.

On the other hand if you were to ask about a system. Given x can my character do y? You are on-topic. Yes the question is in relation to the action of the character, but the question is actually about the system and would be the same question if the character were not even mentioned.

Idea Generation and Broadness

These questions are tough, and I predict they will continue to be difficult to manage. I know many prefer clear black and white, yes or no answers (we do after all have a lot of people that work in technology) but simply put this issue is neither white nor black.

When I review these questions I utilize the following system and it works pretty well, at least in my opinion/experience.

  • Ask: Am I helping someone gain knowledge to build a world?
  • Ask: Am I helping someone write a story

In a Yes, No situation no issues we are good to go.

In a No, Yes situation I vote to close

In a Yes, Yes situation I vote to close and suggest a way to rework the question to avoid the idea generation portion.

In a No, No situation I suggest deletion.

If you have questions on this topic feel free to ask in the comments.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator?

Simply put, I love this site. I have been around World Building since it was first opened on area 51 and helped get the proposal reopened when it was shut down. I volunteered to be a pro-tem moderator when the beta site was opened up but my experience on the network was somewhat lacking. Now that I am familiar with the tools available to high rep user I am far more able to fill the role, and would appreciate the opportunity 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?

I would start with a one on one conversation mentioning the following: - The issue has been raised, and explaining the problem. - Ensure the expectations of the community regarding behavior were explained. - Inform the person that if it continues to be an issue the impacts for them will gradually escalate...or less gradually depending on the nature of the offenses.

In short, it is situation specific, but I tend to give people clear explanations, open communication and ample opportunity to improve and adhere to community norms. Failing that enforcement of the rules is carried out.

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

This one is pretty straightforward. I would have a private conversation with the moderator in question and come to a mutual agreement on the proper course of action. If it is a matter of opinion I would be ok agreeing to disagree. Disagreements between moderators should generally not be public knowledge, it just serves to divide the community.

If the other moderator is abusing their authority or unwilling to discuss in a reasonable manner (not being a respectful community member) escalate to the proper authorities.

  1. What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Worldbuilding site at the moment and how should we approach those challenges?

I feel our challenges are all linked together. Namely, fairly rapid growth, site changes (graduation!) and the aforementioned (item #1) site scope.

Rapid growth means change and new people with new opinions. The best way to manage growth is to welcome new members and educate them on the expectations of the community. New blood means change and that is not a bad thing, but we do have to be careful to adhere to the expectations of the site, and network at large. These issues of course tie directly into the scope question answered above.

  1. Right now, a lot of the candidates are really high-rep users. If elected moderator, how will you be more effective than as a 10k or 20k user?

I don't believe it would make a significant change beyond what responsibilities/privileges are afforded to mods above and beyond what a 10k rep user can already do. If there will be a significant change in your behavior at this point I feel you are not performing the responsibilities you already have as a site user.

  1. The scope of the site is generally the result of a consensus. As a moderator, you are expected to participate and to lead that continuous definition. How do you feel about enforcing definitions on which you do not necessarily agree?

The site is the community what the community agrees upon is fine with me so long as it doesn't violate the expectations of the greater network of SO sites.

  1. During what (UTC) times of day, and on what days, are you most likely to be active on the site? Our site is an active one, and having moderators able to check in on the site around the clock allows keeping closer tabs on activity and handle problematic behavior quickly. Let's look at when you might be available during the week rather than timezone. Please give times and weekdays in UTC to allow for easy comparison between different candidates.

I am generally on the site from 1400 - 2300 UTC Monday through Friday. Were I to become a moderator I would make an effort to be more available Saturday and Sunday.

  1. What has your review queues activity been like so far? How do you expect this to change when a single vote from you results in immediate action on the post? Having a diamond associated to your name isn't just a fancy gimmick; it effectively means that you are no longer participating as a "mere" high-reputation community member. Particularly in this case, it means actionable votes are binding and take effect immediately. You can close, reopen, delete, undelete, spam-flag, migrate, etc. posts with just a few clicks regardless of how the rest of the community feels about the post. You can lock posts such that they cannot be touched by community members. Explain the ways in which your review queue behavior might change (or remain the same) in light of these privileges.

I am quite active in the site queues and generally in the top 5 for reviews all time. I expect this rate would significantly decrease as I would wait for at least 3 other close/reopen/etc votes before voting with moderator powers. Again, the community is the site and sets the standards, I don't want to take away from the value that adds. I would only use moderator powers to circumvent the community voting power in the cases of clearly off topic or clearly offensive posts.

  1. What do you like most about the current moderation and want to preserve?

The hands off approach. The moderators have been very good and frankly the site would do great if our current moderators all stayed in their positions. As mentioned in the previous few answers, the moderator is there to deal with conflict and disagreements not to control how the site functions and its scope.

  1. Are you active elsewhere on the Stack Exchange network? If so, where and in what ways? On the flip side, are you active in non-SE worldbuilding communities? If so, tell us more.

World Building is far and away my most active profile. I am active on several other sites, including SO, Writers, Woodworking, Home Improvement and a few others. I generally use those sites in far more specific as needed scenarios. Though I do tend to ghost around writers pretty regularly.

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Aify


  1. One of the main difficulty for moderators (as well as high-rep users) is to consistently respect the scope of the site. There have been quite some discussions about it here on meta. But I would like to know the views of the candidates on two critical elements of our scopes, namely idea generation/broadness and individual actions/plot questions How do you view those questions? Can you specify their limits and own definition?

First, I'll start with idea generation/broadness.

I think idea generation is actually okay, as long as there is a valid way to evaluate the answers in order to obtain a best answer. Some of our best questions are idea generation questions. For me, idea generation questions have to pass 2 hurdles. The first hurdle is whether an accepted answer can be validated properly. A question with a valid way to evaluate an answer would be able to treat the answers as something objective, something measurable, and comparable. Perhaps efficiency, or pros/cons listed out and counted. An invalid way would be an answer that is picked solely because the OP liked the answer more (completely subjective). The next hurdle I see with Idea generation questions is that they're almost always too broad, which leads me to point #2.

In terms of broadness, I very much like the definition someone once stated; I can't remember who, but it goes something like this: "if you have to write a book to get a good answer, it's too broad." So when I look at a question, the first limit for me is how long the answer is likely to be. I ask myself questions, like "How many components are there to the post?" "Is the person asking 90000 questions in the same post?" "Are the questions affected by other details that, due to not existing in the post, change the answers drastically?", etc. If the questions I ask myself can be answered by the OP to clarify and narrow the question down, I'll often ask them, but if there are too many missing details, I'll often vote too broad.

Next, I'll discuss individual actions/plot questions.

Since I don't deal with this kind of question often, a lack of experience is working against me. If I were elected a moderator and I came across a question like this, I'd probably ask another mod to have a look.

Personally, I don't like individual actions/plot questions, because they are way too specific to be of use to anyone other than the OP. Of course, the flipside is that often these questions can be generalized out to fit the scope of the site. Let me give an example:

Original question: Bob in situation X wants to achieve goal Y. What action Z does Bob take to do it? [insert details about Bob here]

The above question is very very specific to the individual character Bob, or the plot of the story. However, here's an edited version that would fit the site scope better: What is the fastest way a character can cause z to happen, given situation x?

The above is, in my opinion, more fitting of the scope of the site. It's not opinion based, as it can be evaluated properly using a factor of speed, and assuming enough details are given in X, it wouldn't be too broad. It asks about the action that any character can take in any similar situation to achieve a goal quickly, which could be applied to more than one story, which means it isn't too plot specific.

Granted, pretty much any way you look at how I ask the OP the answer those questions is going to be met with resistance, since people don't like to be challenged, but hey, someone's gotta make a move and fix those questions.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator?

I spend a lot of time here and I really like the community. The feedback I get from my questions that I use for my stories always end up helping me, and our questions only get more interesting with each passing day. To be able to help moderate and upkeep the site, or even bring the site to a higher level, would be an honor; something I could do to give back to the community here, other than asking more questions and providing answers.

  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?

This would very much depend on the type of flags that are arising from the comments. Granted, most of the flags possible for comments are bad. First I would look at whether the flags are consistent - are they all for the same thing? For example, are they all rudeness flags? If so, I may ask the user to watch his language. Are they all "too chatty" flags? Perhaps recommend the user to use the chat room system more often. Valuable answers are what makes this site awesome, and I think it's important to make sure we don't push our users away, but it's also important to make sure that users don't offend other users. I'm not sure if there are moderation tools that can do "comment bans" for temporary periods of time, or something like that, but if the situation really gets big, I'd first confer with the other moderators before resorting to a tool like that.

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

I'd first go and talk to the mod who closed the question to ask why the question was closed/deleted/etc. If I can understand the reasoning behind the action, depending on the reasoning (if it's valid/weird/invalid reasoning) I would perhaps also ask another moderator, maybe make a meta post, or try to convince the moderator that acted on said question to re-open/undelete/etc the question. This is a community run site, so a meta post would probably be the next best course of action if talking to the mod didn't convince me that his decision was right, or if I couldn't convince him.

  1. What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Worldbuilding site at the moment and how should we approach those challenges?

I think that the greatest challenge right now is the large influx of poor questions. When I first started on this site, almost every single question was well researched and well thought out. More recently, question quality (in my opinion) has dropped - more and more questions are being put on hold, are out of scope, and don't show nearly the same amount of research as before. I think that we, as a community, should upkeep our high standard of quality, by introducing more good questions, and continuing to fix bad ones - in other words, do exactly what we're already doing, but at a higher rate. I've also noticed that most people don't downvote nearly as often as they upvote - this is also something that should be addressed, since the voting system is so crucial to the SO network. I think bad questions shouldn't be upvoted, but alas, it isn't up to me to tell people how to vote, and as such, I can't really think of a way to approach this problem. Perhaps we can decide as a community.

  1. Right now, a lot of the candidates are really high-rep users. If elected moderator, how will you be more effective than as a 10k or 20k user?

Seeing as I am not a 10k/20k user yet, being a moderator would allow me to operate at least on equal standing as the other 10k/20k users. Of course, at the current time of posting, I'm pretty sure 5k rep is all that's required to access all the tools - since I can already access all the tools, the moderator position really only amplifies my effectiveness by a bit, unless the rep requirement changes. Being a moderator, however, does give me more motivation to work harder and spend more time here, since to me, the moderators represent a beacon of light for which the users can follow, and I'd work harder in order to represent that light.

  1. The scope of the site is generally the result of a consensus. As a moderator, you are expected to participate and to lead that continuous definition. How do you feel about enforcing definitions on which you do not necessarily agree?

I feel that as a community run site, the general consensus must be upheld even if I am in the minority. Logic wins out here, and it's just numbers. Even diplomatic governments run on numbers, I don't see a reason why we can't take a tip from them in terms of scope direction.

  1. During what (UTC) times of day, and on what days, are you most likely to be active on the site? Our site is an active one, and having moderators able to check in on the site around the clock allows keeping closer tabs on activity and handle problematic behavior quickly. Let's look at when you might be available during the week rather than timezone. Please give times and weekdays in UTC to allow for easy comparison between different candidates.

Mondays - Sundays - 5:00 PM UTC to 7:00 AM UTC, +/- 1 or 2 hours depending on how tired I am. Note that I'm usually able to check the site at least once per 2 hours between those times every day.

  1. What has your review queues activity been like so far? How do you expect this to change when a single vote from you results in immediate action on the post? Having a diamond associated to your name isn't just a fancy gimmick; it effectively means that you are no longer participating as a "mere" high-reputation community member. Particularly in this case, it means actionable votes are binding and take effect immediately. You can close, reopen, delete, undelete, spam-flag, migrate, etc. posts with just a few clicks regardless of how the rest of the community feels about the post. You can lock posts such that they cannot be touched by community members. Explain the ways in which your review queue behavior might change (or remain the same) in light of these privileges.

I haven't actually spent much time in the review queues, because there is usually nothing there... however, I do spend most of my time browsing the questions directly, so this doesn't actually change my review queue activities that much. Since my actions are binding, I'd be more careful before VTC, or deleting stuff - while previously, I would vote directly on the question, I may instead choose to flag the question instead of voting, so that the community gets a chance, or I may wait until more votes come in before voting.

  1. What do you like most about the current moderation and want to preserve?

I really like how they current moderation isn't overly obtrusive or noticeable. It's subtle, but even while it's subtle they're able to make a difference and fix issues. For example, I don't see huge outroars on meta about moderator decisions, etc, at all. You don't think, "Oh, it's that mod again" when you see a comment with a diamond tag on it. The moderators blend in well, and I'd like to preserve this subtlety, since it's non-disruptive and promotes better meshing between the community and the moderators.

  1. Are you active elsewhere on the Stack Exchange network? If so, where and in what ways? On the flip side, are you active in non-SE worldbuilding communities? If so, tell us more.

I'm active on Stack Overflow, and I used to be more active on Puzzling.SE - I've actually been working on a big puzzle to post on Puzzling.SE, so it may seem like I'm inactive there but I'm actually working on something for it in secret.

Outside of the SE network, you can find me frequenting flash game sites, Moderating on Minecraft servers. I play a lot of other games too, to get inspiration for my stories and puzzles, but to list them all here would be a huge list.

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AndyD273

  1. One of the main difficulty for moderators (as well as high-rep users) is to consistently respect the scope of the site. There have been quite some discussions about it here on meta. But I would like to know the views of the candidates on two critical elements of our scopes, namely idea generation/broadness and individual actions/plot questions How do you view those questions? Can you specify their limits and own definition?

While broadness can be a real issue, "Idea Generation" is what this site is about. I think it is just the wrong term for asking to much from a single question. Many questions that are to broad should simply be put on hold until the asker has a chance to narrow the scope of the question and possibly split it in to several questions.

Character and plot questions on the other hand don't fit the scope of this site.
We can't write your story for you, and you need to decide what your characters are going to do for yourself, as each person would handle a situation differently.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator?

I'd like the opportunity to be more involved, and to be in a position to help with growing the site.

  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?

Take each flag on a case by case basis. Just because an answer is controversial doesn't mean it's bad or inappropriate for the site. Each answer should be judged by the Worldbuilding site guidelines.

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

Contact the mod in question in private and get their reasoning as to why they felt that it needed that attention.

I’d try to come to an understanding, but if that wasn’t possible and I felt strongly enough about it I’d take it to another mod to see what they thought. If it came down to it I’d let it go.

  1. What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Worldbuilding site at the moment and how should we approach those challenges?

The biggest challenge at the moment, with Worldbuilding coming out of beta, is to make sure that we don’t lose sight of what we’re here for, while balancing out any changes that the community agrees are important as the site grows and evolves.

  1. Right now, a lot of the candidates are really high-rep users. If elected moderator, how will you be more effective than as a 10k or 20k user? Most of the current candidates would make great mods.

I would just make sure to do the best job possible and work really hard to keep the site running smoothly.

  1. The scope of the site is generally the result of a consensus. As a moderator, you are expected to participate and to lead that continuous definition. How do you feel about enforcing definitions on which you do not necessarily agree?

If there was a definition that I didn’t agree with I would fulfill my duties as moderator.
If it was something that my conscience wouldn’t allow me to do (for whatever reason) I would step down.

  1. During what (UTC) times of day, and on what days, are you most likely to be active on the site? Our site is an active one, and having moderators able to check in on the site around the clock allows keeping closer tabs on activity and handle problematic behavior quickly. Let's look at when you might be available during the week rather than timezone. Please give times and weekdays in UTC to allow for easy comparison between different candidates.

I’m usually checking in periodically from 1 pm to 5 am UTC most days of the week.

  1. What has your review queues activity been like so far? How do you expect this to change when a single vote from you results in immediate action on the post? Having a diamond associated to your name isn't just a fancy gimmick; it effectively means that you are no longer participating as a "mere" high-reputation community member. Particularly in this case, it means actionable votes are binding and take effect immediately. You can close, reopen, delete, undelete, spam-flag, migrate, etc. posts with just a few clicks regardless of how the rest of the community feels about the post. You can lock posts such that they cannot be touched by community members. Explain the ways in which your review queue behavior might change (or remain the same) in light of these privileges.

Up to this point whenever I’ve seen something on the review area I’ve tried to address it quickly.
(Un)fortunately there are fairly few things brought up to review.

As a moderator, I would probably step back and let the community deal with most of the queue, only stepping in when the situation really required it, such as blatant policy violations and abuse, or to respond to flags.

  1. What do you like most about the current moderation and want to preserve?

I appreciate how the current mods keep the site running smoothly without throwing their weight around or imposing their will on everyone else just because they can.
If I’m elected I will let the site run, stepping in when flagged or for the protection of the sites users.

  1. Are you active elsewhere on the Stack Exchange network? If so, where and in what ways? On the flip side, are you active in non-SE worldbuilding communities? If so, tell us more.

I’ve been a member of Stack Overflow for many years, which was my introduction to the SE network, and have participated in off line creative writing groups.

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I'm Monty Wild.

  1. One of the main difficulty for moderators (as well as high-rep users) is to consistently respect the scope of the site. There have been quite some discussions about it here on meta. But I would like to know the views of the candidates on two critical elements of our scopes, namely idea generation/broadness and individual actions/plot questions How do you view those questions? Can you specify their limits and own definition?

To me, Idea Generation is pretty obvious. The OP asks "How can this come about" or "How can I justify ...". The thing with worldbuilding is that as a world builder, this is your responsibility. You can't get someone else to do it for you. You can ask all the questions you like about the things you don't understand, but it is up to you what you're going to do with the answers.

Broadness is another issue. I see quite a few questions that would effectively require a rewrite of thousands of years of history, or where pretty much any answer might be correct, and again, with such scope, it is up to the world builder to answer those sorts of questions.

However, I also occasionally see another type of "too broad" question - the one that the community has voted as being too broad, but that I - as an expert in the matter, usually in the field of biology - know has only one real correct answer. It's very frustrating to see these and to have to try to get other community members to vote to reopen.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator?

I lurk and post on Worldbuilding SE for the better part of each weekday. It is my favourite website, and as a world builder, I'd like to see the site flourish. Becoming a moderator would be a way for me to keep this community alive and relevant.

  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'd have to treat each flagged instance as a separate case until such time as it became apparent to me that this was a particular user's pattern of behaviour. I'd start by suggesting to the user in a private message that they should change their behaviour, and only if they could not restrain their flag-provoking behaviour would I consider more punitive action.

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

Communication is the key. I'd ask the other mod for their reasoning, and discuss their feelings on reopening it given my own reasons, and go from there.

  1. What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Worldbuilding site at the moment and how should we approach those challenges?

The main issue is staying on-scope. OPs, particularly the newbies, tend to ask questions that are too broad or unclear, and I can also see questions being migrated from other SE sites that don't fit our scope either.

  1. Right now, a lot of the candidates are really high-rep users. If elected moderator, how will you be more effective than as a 10k or 20k user?

I believe that I'm one of the older candidates running in this election. That means that I have a breadth of experience that younger mods might not have. Anyway, reputation is important, but it isn't everything. A new user today may end up as a moderator in our next election, despite their lower rep, due to their other experiences.

  1. The scope of the site is generally the result of a consensus. As a moderator, you are expected to participate and to lead that continuous definition. How do you feel about enforcing definitions on which you do not necessarily agree?

Unless I have a very good reason for intervening when the community takes action to close or reopen a question or take some other action, I'll let such community decisions stand. WB SE isn't my community, I'm part of it.

  1. During what (UTC) times of day, and on what days, are you most likely to be active on the site? Our site is an active one, and having moderators able to check in on the site around the clock allows keeping closer tabs on activity and handle problematic behavior quickly. Let's look at when you might be available during the week rather than timezone. Please give times and weekdays in UTC to allow for easy comparison between different candidates.

I typically hang out on WB SE from 21:30 to 05:00 UTC, Monday/Tuesday to Friday/Saturday

  1. What has your review queues activity been like so far? How do you expect this to change when a single vote from you results in immediate action on the post? Having a diamond associated to your name isn't just a fancy gimmick; it effectively means that you are no longer participating as a "mere" high-reputation community member. Particularly in this case, it means actionable votes are binding and take effect immediately. You can close, reopen, delete, undelete, spam-flag, migrate, etc. posts with just a few clicks regardless of how the rest of the community feels about the post. You can lock posts such that they cannot be touched by community members. Explain the ways in which your review queue behavior might change (or remain the same) in light of these privileges.

I don't anticipate that much will change, except that I'll probably review a little more often. I'm always careful about my reviews as a user, and I can't really take any more care if I'm elected as a moderator.

  1. What do you like most about the current moderation and want to preserve?

At the moment, the pro-tempore mods are fair and don't intervene much that we can see. I'd like to continue in the same style. The mods are here to keep WB SE nice, not for their own personal glory.

  1. Are you active elsewhere on the Stack Exchange network? If so, where and in what ways? On the flip side, are you active in non-SE worldbuilding communities? If so, tell us more.

I'm most active in Stack Overflow, RPG SE and also Science-Fiction & Fantasy SE, as well as several other SE sites, though I'm not a moderator anywhere - on or off Stack Exchange - yet.

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This turned out to be really short. Let me know if you have questions, but I think I expressed my opinions well enough.

  1. I believe that the site has become too accepting of questions and answers that are too broad, not in scope, or generally not conforming to the Stack Exchange model. That said, I realize that Worldbuilding is a special case, and there really is no 'right' way to govern the site. That's why I've been contributing to the debates on Meta and in chat on these important issues, to come to a consensus on what should be done.
  2. I want to be a moderator because while I don't trust myself with power, I definitely don't trust someone who trusts themselves with power with power.
  3. If a user produces good answers, I will not moderate their answers. If a user produces bad comments, I will moderate their comments. If the user is active in chat or wishes to know why I am moderating them, I will explain my reasoning, and hopefully show them the error of their ways.
  4. If I can see and clearly understand their reasoning, and can tell that they missed an important detail, I will reverse their action. Otherwise, I will try to get in contact with them to understand why they made that action, so we can both decide who's right.
  5. The biggest problem we have now is differing ideas about scope. It seems like the newer the user, the wider the scope, and if we don't do something the levee's gonna break and we're going to drown. We need to figure out what's good and on-topic, and I think the current discussions are a step in that direction.
  6. I'll have mod privileges.
  7. I want this site to be 'fun', but I'll gladly vote to close 'fun' questions that are off-topic. As a mod, I'd be willing to follow the guidelines set down by the community.
  8. Looks like 2-10PM UTC, or 9-5 Eastern time, Monday through Friday, is when I'm most active. If elected moderator, I'd try to expand this to a few hours later on weekdays and similar times on weekends.
  9. I keep an eye on the review queue, but will admit I'm a bit conservative with my votes. I'll stick to this policy as a moderator, only taking action when absolutely necessary; at all other times, I'll let the system work and the community decide.
  10. Our moderators are fair, thorough, and communicative. Plus, they all seem like really nice people.
  11. Not very active elsewhere. I lurk around other SE sites, usually though the HNQ list. But Worldbuilding is where my heart rests, and that'll remain the case whether I get to moderate it or not.
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fi12

One of the main difficulty for moderators (as well as high-rep users) is to consistently respect the scope of the site. There have been quite some discussions about it here on meta. But I would like to know the views of the candidates on two critical elements of our scopes, namely idea generation/broadness and individual actions/plot questions How do you view those questions? Can you specify their limits and own definition? Personally, I view idea generation/broad questions as kind of to be expected. Often the best questions about Worldbuilding are about generating new, innovating ideas. Rather than idea generation as what we don't want on this website, I would use the term "brainstorming or conceptualizing". This refers to questions that simply give a scenario, and ask for a vague solution, or "what are the effects/implication of this?" type of question. These questions also often go hand in hand with broadness, in the respect that these brainstorming questions often have no correct answer, and so it can be difficult to mark an answer as accepted when several highly up-voted answer provide relevant yet contrasting information. These are the questions that should be closed as "too broad" or "idea generation".

In terms of plot being off-topic, I entirely agree. The point of Worldbuilding is to create a fantasy world or a part of a fantasy world or hypothetical situation. On the other hand, individual characters, their actions, and questions about plot seem far more suited for the Writers SE. Asking about a hypothetical situation is fine, but anything behind should be closed as off-topic.

Why do you want to be a moderator? I've only been active on this site for about 3 weeks, but I have already recognized the unique feel of this questions and answers on this SE compared to others on the network. I would love to play a greater role in this community by being a moderator.

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 first check what comments of theirs were flagged, and try to determine a pattern. Were they being rude? Being off-topic? Spamming? I would then try to communicate with them 1 on 1, talking in a private mod chat.

How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been? I would try to communicate with the moderator about why they closed the question. After talking, I would hopefully understand their POV and they would understand mine, and we could reach a friendly agreement.

What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Worldbuilding site at the moment and how should we approach those challenges? Definitely how vague the scope is. Everyday, I find myself flagging too many off-topic and broad questions that don't fall within the scope of Worldbuilding.

Right now, a lot of the candidates are really high-rep users. If elected moderator, how will you be more effective than as a 10k or 20k user? I don't have that reputation. Hopefully, being elected as a moderator gives me the privileges needed to make the community a better place.

The scope of the site is generally the result of a consensus. As a moderator, you are expected to participate and to lead that continuous definition. How do you feel about enforcing definitions on which you do not necesarily agree? If the community's view disagrees with mine, and I have presented mine, I have no problems with that. Through discussion, we can find a nice compromise.

During what (UTC) times of day, and on what days, are you most likely to be active on the site? Our site is an active one, and having moderators able to check in on the site around the clock allows keeping closer tabs on activity and handle problematic behavior quickly. Let's look at when you might be available during the week rather than timezone. Please give times and weekdays in UTC to allow for easy comparison between different candidates. 11PM to 3AM Mon - Fri. 2PM to 2AM on Saturday and Sunday. All times in UTC. I am in EST.

What has your review queues activity been like so far? How do you expect this to change when a single vote from you results in immediate action on the post? Having a diamond associated to your name isn't just a fancy gimmick; it effectively means that you are no longer participating as a "mere" high-reputation community member. Particularly in this case, it means actionable votes are binding and take effect immediately. You can close, reopen, delete, undelete, spam-flag, migrate, etc. posts with just a few clicks regardless of how the rest of the community feels about the post. You can lock posts such that they cannot be touched by community members. Explain the ways in which your review queue behavior might change (or remain the same) in light of these privileges. Unless there is something that really jumps out at me as broad or off-topic I would let the community handle it. Only clear violation of the rules would urge me into intervening and casting a definitive and final vote.

What do you like most about the current moderation and want to preserve? Definitely the helpfulness of the current moderators. I (and probably many others) like the fact that there's someone to reach out to when you need help or a second opinion.

Are you active elsewhere on the Stack Exchange network? If so, where and in what ways? On the flip side, are you active in non-SE worldbuilding communities? If so, tell us more. I am not extremely active on other SE sites, but I do maintain a presence on ELU and Stack Overflow. I'm not currently part of any other worldbuilding communities.

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RILEY SANTOS' QA BID

The Broad Question

I Believe that the definition of broadness is constantly fluctuating and often hard to grasp. However, I also think that if you are asking what can be clearly recognized as multiple questions, you are very likely pushing your boundaries. The same if you have a question with 4 or more conditions, or just generally longer than a typical answer. Questions are made to be concise, and you can always make another to explore new possibilities.

The Reason

I want to be a moderator because there are a lot of questions out there that are treated unfairly, users who feel almost bullied, unexplained random-flung downvotes, dupevotes, and closevotes, and because I believe that a lot of things can be improved with a patient, fair, and most importantly, not overbearing leader.

The Sneak

Yeah, I see that guy all the time, the person who makes good q's and awesome a's and then messes up his real-life reputation through the untouchable world of comments. But the answer is pretty simple. Flag, place a friendly comment, and even see if I can contact them personally. I already do that whenever I need.

The Close

If someone else (a moderator,) decides to close a post, I respect that. But if I disagree, I will do so in a polite and communicative way. Contact them personally, and see why they closed it. And then open-vote if I believe that their reason isn't valid. It's the most you can do.

The Problems

Random downvoters, the dropping of spam (Fish are delicious? What?) and lack of source citing are some of our biggest problems.

The Logos Trump

Yeah, other candidates have many much votes and all the fame and fortune and they're great. But. Some people just happen to duck the radar. I am sad to say that I am one such person. But happy to say that I don't mind not being rich and famous. If I know anything about the internet, its that -1s multiply, and +1s just as much. "Oh, They like it? Okay. Click. Move on." While rep may make you more rep, I feel like quality speaks for itself more than fame. This is not a popularity-contest tag.

The Scope Enforcement Quandary

Oh, boy. Enforcing definitions is such a highly opinion-based idea. I'll leave that one to Monica and DaaahWooosh. Sorry.

The Time

When am I on? Whenever I'm not doing things. When's that? Almost perpetually. I'll be around.

The Diamond

Can't say as I have the little diamond next to my name yet, but recovering from losing my account that had it will take a rather significant amount of time.

The Moderation

What do I like and want to preserve about moderation? How fair it is. The parts where it's fact based. The parts where people are helpful and correspond with you in non-public ways. The parts where people come in looking to help.

The Competition

I sometimes show in game-making and arqade, but I typically stay in WB.

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  • $\begingroup$ It would be less confusing if you copied the questions into your answer. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Feb 10 '16 at 1:03
  • $\begingroup$ I like how you don't answer any of the questions specifically asked in the OP. $\endgroup$ – fi12 Feb 12 '16 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ I answer all of them, but I don't make any pretenses. $\endgroup$ – Caleb Woodman Feb 14 '16 at 23:42

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