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Worldbuilding Stack Exchange is scheduled for an election starting next week, February 6th. In connection with that election, we will be hosting a Q&A here for candidates. This will be an opportunity for members of the community to pose questions to the candidates on the topic of moderation. Participation is completely voluntary.

The purpose of this thread was to collect questions for the questionnaire. The questionnaire is now live, and you may find it here.

Here's how it'll work:

  • Until the nomination phase, (so, until Monday, February 6th at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 3:00 pm EST on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.

  • We, the Community Team, will be providing a small selection of generic questions. The first two will be guaranteed to be included, the latter ones are if the community doesn't supply enough questions. This will be done in a single post, unlike the prior instruction.

  • This is a perfect opportunity to voice questions that are specific to your community and issues that you are running into at current.

  • If your question contains a link, please use the syntax of [text](link), as that will make it easier for transcribing for the finished questionnaire.

  • At the end of the collection phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions. We reserve some editorial control in the selection of the questions and may opt not to select a question that is tangential or irrelevant to moderation or the election. That said, if I have concerns about any questions in this fashion, I will be sure to point this out in comments before the decision making time.

  • Once questions have been selected, a new question will be opened to host the actual questionnaire for the candidates, containing (up to) 10 questions in total.

  • This is not the only option that users have for gathering information on candidates. As a community, you are still free to, for example, hold a live chat session with your candidates to ask further questions, or perhaps clarifications from what is provided in the Q&A.


If you have any questions or feedback about this process, feel free to post as a comment here.

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    $\begingroup$ It's worth noting that we had an election last year. So if people want to see what questions were used last year and how they worked in practice, they can click the questionnaire link under Related on the right. $\endgroup$ – Brythan Feb 1 '17 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ Grace Note, you might consider tweaking the template for either these posts or the election pages themselves to say something about elections adding to the team. It seems like we get questions about who's stepping down or reached the end of a term in every single election (I've now seen it three weeks running, in three different elections, and I know I've seen it before that). Thanks for all you do to keep our sites running! $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Feb 7 '17 at 15:52

13 Answers 13

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What do you think about the current moderation style with regard to closing and reopening questions?

We, the current mods, generally have a laid-back style in a few areas. While we won't hesitate to move long, unproductive comments to chat or delete spam on sight, we'll often let the community delete posts on its own, and we almost never mod-hammer a post closed or open.

Do you agree with this method of dealing with closing and reopening questions, and if not, how do you think it can be improved? How would you, as a mod, work to change it?

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Good Subjective, Bad Subjective describes what makes a good subjective question -- it inspires longer answers explaining "why" and "how", it encourages answers that are backed up by facts and references, and it's more than mindless social fun. Worldbuilding gets a lot of questions in the gray area here. Some of them get closed as primarily opinion-based or too broad, others are left open and attract 10+ answers, and members of the community are confused about which precedents to follow. As a moderator with a binding close (or reopen!) vote, as well as the usual abilities to edit and comment, how will you handle questions like these, and their answers?

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How do you feel about the scope of World Building SE?

  • What if anything would you want to change about the site's scope?
  • How would you go about ensuring community involvement in the conversation and decision of scope change?
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    $\begingroup$ IMO this would be better if it asked "would you want to change" instead of "would you change". The full discussion on why is too long to fit in the margin, but the bread and butter of it is that it's not a diamond moderator's job to enforce change, as the first bullet point question can make it sound like. $\endgroup$ – user Feb 3 '17 at 8:19
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling That is better phrased, Ill change it. $\endgroup$ – James Feb 3 '17 at 15:00
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Why do you want to be a moderator?

Similarly to what Grace Note said, there are motives behind every action. It's important to distinguish if someone is in it for the title or if they have genuine intentions.

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What do you bring to the table that the mod team doesn't yet have? What unique skills, talents, or views are you introducing?

Are you familiar with the current mods? Do you know how you differ? Why is this difference for the better (not all differences are), and why should it make me want to vote for you?

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Here is a set of general questions, gathered as very common questions asked every election. As mentioned in the instructions, the first two questions are guaranteed to show up in the Q&A, while the others are if there aren't enough questions (or, if you like one enough, you may split it off as a separate answer for review within the community's 8).

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

  • In your opinion, what do moderators do?
  • A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?
  • In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
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A genie appears and grants you one wish related to Worldbuilding Stack Exchange. You can change one aspect of the site. It could be something about the community (people post more questions, people post higher-quality answers, people deal with review queues quicker, …), about moderators (they start closing more/fewer questions, …), about the way the site works (some feature request gets fulfilled), etc. The genie adds, “no funny business about what ‘one aspect’ means!”. What do you wish for?

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What do you think the key traits of a moderator are, and how have you demonstrated them thus far in your activity on the site?

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    $\begingroup$ "Be like Monica" $\endgroup$ – James Feb 2 '17 at 20:11
  • $\begingroup$ @James So that was your plan all along... $\endgroup$ – Ranger Feb 2 '17 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ Monica, u understand that the answer to the question is pretty standard one, and it do not differ too much from place to place - be a stealth ninja of order. I was stealth, patient, and brought order by my edits(voter can't check), my responsible and useful comments(not a lot of voter might check). $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Feb 3 '17 at 9:45
  • $\begingroup$ @MolbOrg the second part is the key to this question, but I've seen variation in answers to the first part. I mean, everybody says "be fair", but beyond that there are differences. I'd like to see what candidates do with this fairly open-ended starting point. (Voters can check most of what you said, too.) $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Feb 3 '17 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ hm, ok, you have your own personal metric to judge the answer, understood. Seems your metric is more popular them my :))) $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Feb 4 '17 at 3:49
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What are your qualifications?

I'm assuming there are more questions to be asked than the ones on this post - but just in case.

  • Do you have previous moderating experience on SE or from somewhere else?
  • What qualities make you suited for this position?
  • Is there proof of your convictions on this site; can you show us examples of circumstances in which you helped, or could have helped?
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    $\begingroup$ -1: Most people tend to answer this question right during the nomination phase. So I feel this question is not needed $\endgroup$ – Pavel Janicek Feb 3 '17 at 9:09
  • $\begingroup$ @PavelJanicek Not everyone on the site is aware of what is answered "right during the nomination phase" and the question here seems to ignore the idea of other questions so that people answer more. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Feb 3 '17 at 12:50
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How would a diamond change the way you discuss on Meta?

A lot on discussions on Meta require the finding of a "sweet spot" between extremes (mostly, the definition of some closing reasons).

In those discussion, the voice of a moderator tends to have a higher influence than others. This is mostly a good thing: a moderator spends time thinking about it, has a lot of meta-experience and has been elected "because they're good at it". As a casual user though, I also find it intimidating as it always feels like the discussion is closed after one of our moderator has answered.

  • How do you feel about it?
  • Where would you position yourself between "discussion ender" and "casual dude"?
  • How is it going to change your tone? (if it does at all)
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    $\begingroup$ I am sorry that you (and presumably some others) find answers from moderators intimidating; we certainly don't intend it that way. Occasionally we'll answer something definitively in an "SE doesn't work that way" way or the like, but most of the time we're just other users. We don't get bigger votes than others on scope, tagging, close reasons, whether questions should be closed or reopened, etc. Thank you for making me aware of this perception. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Jan 31 '17 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ I know that this is a perception problem, and that moderators are users of the forum first. But that was how I felt when I began hanging around meta (no longer true now that I've met the people a bit). I think that even though you don't consider your diamond as important, people that don't know you guys know only that about you. $\endgroup$ – PatJ Jan 31 '17 at 23:04
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I get it, and I hope you didn't think I was criticizing people who feel that way. People feel how they feel; you've made me aware that the things we do to try to mitigate against that aren't always enough. That's helpful, thanks. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Jan 31 '17 at 23:06
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Do you believe that the titles of all questions should be the actual question?

Are the titles of questions supposed to be the actual question being asked? Or are the titles meant to draw in readers to attract eyeballs to the topic?

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    $\begingroup$ What moderator-specific concerns do you have in this area? As opposed to the community reaching a consensus on meta and anybody with edit privileges editing titles, I mean. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Feb 1 '17 at 4:11
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    $\begingroup$ There are undecidable questions. Matters of personal taste. But those matters of taste guide the site overall. When judging a moderator, I want to know where their personal tastes lie. Those affect how they'll judge other situations. $\endgroup$ – SRM Feb 1 '17 at 4:38
  • $\begingroup$ Gotcha. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Feb 1 '17 at 4:50
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Have you ever been suspended (from any Stack Exchange main site or chat), and if so for what? Are you willing to release moderators from their confidentiality agreement to confirm or rectify your answer?

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Define goal and purpose of WB.SE existence in 3 sentences or less.

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    $\begingroup$ Soliciting new site introductions, eh? $\endgroup$ – user Feb 3 '17 at 8:22
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling no, just checking is there understanding of the difference of WB from other SE sites. It is more ammunition for the opinion-based question definition stuff. $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Feb 3 '17 at 9:40

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