5
\$\begingroup\$

The following is a "digest" version of the July 2012 Moderator Election Town Hall Chat. The format, as described on Meta Stack Overflow, is one answer to this question for every question asked in the Town Hall, containing all the candidate's answers to that question.

To view the digest chronologically, please sort the answers by "oldest".

If you have questions or comments about this, please do not answer this question as the answers are designed to be used for the questions from the Town hall itself. Instead, please ask on the parent question or in the Town Hall Discussion Room.

If you see any corrections which need to be made to this digest, or if you were a candidate who was unable to attend the town hall and would like your answers included, please @GraceNote or @TimStone in the chat room and let us know!

| |
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ It would be nice if we could up/downvote each person's answers privately and then see a tally of which had the most answers we liked the best :) \$\endgroup\$ – endolith Jul 27 '12 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @endolith Seems simple but these answers represent views but their history represents action. I see your logic also, but this stops a popularity vote here from influencing the election overly much, dont want to give people and answer that tells them which candidate they "should" vote for. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Jul 28 '12 at 13:24

19 Answers 19

2
\$\begingroup\$

Kortuk Kortuk asked: Tags are currently a point that is starting to come up on meta, what ideas do you have on ways to improve the way we are currently using the tag system?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: Perhaps some auto-tagging logic may help - if certain keywords in the questions match defined tags, auto-populate the tag field.

W5VO W5VO answered: Tags are tricky. With the flat tag structure (no hierarchy) there can be some really bizzare combinations that fall under a single tag. Tags should have better definitions (tag wikis) and non-trivial organization needs to be discussed in Meta. Cleaning tags is going to be a massive project, and I am willing to undertake it.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
2
\$\begingroup\$

jmort253 jmort253 asked: Some nominees may not have the highest meta participation rates. How important is this, and will you commit to spending more time on meta?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: Meta participation is to me a moderator requirement. It's where the 'big issues' are discussed, so participation there is needed. I'm one of those meta lurkers - I read but don't generally talk. That being said, a new role would change my perspective and responsibilities, so obviously more meta participation would be no problem for me.

W5VO W5VO answered: Meta participation is very important to me. It is the official way for the community to interact with moderators, and it is where the community and moderators come to a consensus on site policy. I believe I spend a decent amount of time on Meta now, but I can see the need to increase participation as site policy needs further explanation from an official source.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
1
\$\begingroup\$

Kortuk Kortuk asked: We currently have a number of users whom often can be aggressive towards new users with quality concerns. They feel they are in the right as the questions low quality shows a lack of respect, although the same behavior is often acceptable on other forums. What ideas do you have for improving this situation, or do you find it acceptable?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: As with any public site, some people will hold your hand, and others will spank you. New users need to see that there's a mix of nice people among the bully-types, and need to be taught how to participate without inciting the 'haters'.

Madmanguruman Madmanguruman continued: I doubt there's any way to change those stubborn types, given their rep and how they've resisted change in the past. Ultimately I think the best way is to empower the new users so they don't get intimidated and run to the hills.

W5VO W5VO answered: The issue isn't the insistence on adhering to a higher standard, the problem is usually in how the high standards are articulated to the new users. Often, these users have valid points about the quality of questions, but they choose to act somewhat rude. The solution is to work with the existing users to explain things nicely, and to help encourage the new users to improve the quality of their questions and answers.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
1
\$\begingroup\$

Grace Note Grace Note asked: Everything you vote on (both close and delete votes), once elected, will be a binding Super Vote. How will this change your voting habits?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: Obviously binding votes will require a calm demeanor and certainty. I would expect that for clear non-abuse situations, I would defer to comments instead of voting.

W5VO W5VO answered: I vote to close a lot, and many times I rely on the community to help decide on borderline questions. This will cause me to vote more cautiously, and in some cases not "cast the first stone".

clabacchio clabacchio answered: As said before, also as a common user I try to make sure that I'm taking the right action, so I wouldn't cast a vote to close if not sure about the need.

jippie jippie answered: I believe 'mod tools' are 'last resort' tools. Something bad has happened and it has to be handled quickly. To me this means when things are not obviously bad, I have to step back for a while and let the stack do its job. I do see a task to clarify in a comment about what I see is about to happen.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
1
\$\begingroup\$

Grace Note Grace Note asked: Moderating is a lot of work. Do you expect to be able to keep answering questions or will you spend all your time here moderating?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: I expect that moderation will cramp my reputation, so to speak, but I intend to still put in my $0.02 on topics that I'm passionate about.

W5VO W5VO answered: I spend a lot of time on the site, but I don't answer a lot of questions. I focus on quality over quantity, and I hold my answers up to my own high standard. I look for As a result, I currently spend more time reading/improving questions and participating in community discussion. I don't expect it to affect my question answering rate significantly.

clabacchio clabacchio answered: I'll take this first :). Since there are so many guys with more knowledge then me, I've always taken a step aside for them to give better answers, and spent more time in chat or meta. So I'd just continue in that direction, answering only where I know it can make a difference

jippie jippie answered: I spend my time at EE.SE because I enjoy learning and teaching electronics. Like I read an electronics magazine from cover to cover, so I try to keep up with EE.SE (which obviously isn't always possible). When at the same time I'm able to keep an eye on stack quality, then it only adds to enjoying the time. I realize sometimes modding can be a lot of work, but I also expect it to vary the other way. Also I'm not alone.

jippie jippie continued: It is a volunteer's job and although I can get very enthousiastic about things I like/care about, I still have to find joy and fun at what I do. I think what I'm trying to say is that there needs to be a balance (as with everything in life).

| |
\$\endgroup\$
1
\$\begingroup\$

Tim Stone Tim Stone asked: A post is flagged. All moderators have looked at it. No one's taken action/cleared it because you're all unsure what to do with it. What do you do now when there is no consensus?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: Inertia can be as bad as a hairtrigger decision. In a vacuum of indecision, I'd take whatever action I deem as appropriate. There can be no reward without some risk, after all.

W5VO W5VO answered: Either act on the flag, or find a fair way to delegate "problem" flags, such as a rotating through moderators.

clabacchio clabacchio answered: Discussion amongst all moderators, and meta post.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

Tim Stone Tim Stone asked: Is there anything about the way the site is currently run that you would like to change? If so, what would you try to change if you were to become a moderator, and why?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman continued: Perhaps new users could get a moderator-approved list of 'good' and 'bad' questions/answers/comments as part of a sign-up orientation, much like the examples of good and bad questions listed when the site was on area51. This may help with those early questions that tend to get scrutiny.

Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: I feel that some new users may not stick it out if their first few attempts at interacting aren't successful. There is a bit of a learning curve associated with the site, admittedly. Maybe the first few actions a new user takes (new Q, new A) should need moderator approval before the hounds get released...

W5VO W5VO answered: The organization on the site (tag-wise) hurts my inner OCD. This would be my first priority project (after day-to-day moderation duties).

| |
\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

Grace Note Grace Note asked: As we approach the close, final thoughts from the candidates?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: I think I got to everything. Thanks for the forum. Please remember to vote, everyone!

W5VO W5VO answered: thank you for helping put on this Town Hall Chat, I know we all appreciate the effort.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

Grace Note Grace Note asked: 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?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: The diamond is transparent as far as I'm concerned. I have made a point of being respectful and fair in the past, so there isn't anything in my past on the site that I believe I should be ashamed of, and I don't see any reason to behave differently moving forward (regardless of the outcome of the election).

W5VO W5VO answered: I feel like I have behaved maturely in the community, so I don't have an issue with my previous comments and actions. I try to not take sides, and try to understand where everyone is coming from. This lets me feel better about having a more official stance in the community.

clabacchio clabacchio answered: Well diamond or not there is my name and my face attached to every post of mine, so I already take care of the quality of my posts. Other than that, I accept my limits and the fact that I can be wrong; fortunately this site allows to clarify yourself and correct some errors.

jippie jippie answered: I never noticed these diamands to be honest and I had to take a look at the site to figure out about them. I always try not to offend/insult/... other people (and I know how hard that can be when so many eyes are reading my writings as on a public website like EE) aswell as to make good arguments. I don't regret any message I made on SE, so I don't see any problem with a diamond appearing next to it.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

Grace Note Grace Note asked: New users often are not accustomed to the Stack Exchange system, and sometimes struggle to present themselves properly, either in the way they use the site or their attitude. How willing are you to work with "problematic" users, and at what point do you decide that someone isn't worth the effort?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: All new users obviously deserve the benefit of the doubt when getting their feet wet with SE sites in general. Other moderators and senior users have taken the time to steer new users in a good direction, and of course I am more than happy to take that time as well. I guess that someone isn't "worth the effort" only if they demonstrate unwillingness to put effort into improving their interactions with the site. Someone who's unsure but willing to keep trying is certainly worth helping.

W5VO W5VO answered: I'll answer that question a bit in reverse. A user isn't worth the effort when the user keeps causing issues with established users, and does not show any indication of improving their behavior. I will work with a user until it becomes clear that the user is unwilling to change.

clabacchio clabacchio answered: I'm quite fresh on the site, and I know the feeling when you don't know exactly how this strange site works. Therefore I try always to be as polite as possible when someone shows some misunderstanding. At the same time I know that it's not that hard to get in the mechanism if one is willing to, so I expect a bit of effort by the new users.

jippie jippie answered: In my experience, most new users are perfectly willing to adapt to the SE way of working, but the SE concept is somewhat different from most other websites people are accustomed to. Putting in a little bit of effort to get these new users on the SE-track, brings a two fold advantage. Existing users are willing to help find an answer to the question and equally important new users will get better results.

jippie jippie continued: I think most of the time it takes really little effort (a short comment) for new users to improve their writings. I think the Return On Investment (explaining the SE-way in a comment) is usually very good.

jippie jippie concluded: Problematic attitude, really depends on what is happening and how bad the behaviour is. In my opinion it is always important to create awareness of what is unwanted behaviour and why I think so.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

Tim Stone Tim Stone asked: When you see a question with major issues (poorly-written, argumentative, etc.), what tool do you reach for first?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: The best tool would be a sub-question comment, to give the original poster a chance to fix things up without downvoting. Downvoting should not be a first-resort tool in my opinion.

W5VO W5VO answered: My selection is usually (in order of severity, from least to most) Edit, downvote, close, flag.

clabacchio clabacchio answered: Comment, and possibly edit. If I'm in doubt, I usually flag or try to discuss with other mods/users in chat. Anyway I always look for the best tool available, being it comment, edit or vote to close.

jippie jippie answered: Depending on nature of the text, first a comment asking for clarification/specifics. Maybe an edit when poorly writing is due to not being a native english writer. Chat can be a good medium.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

Grace Note Grace Note asked: Reviewing, acting upon flags, voting to close - all gets repetitive more so as a Mod because you essentially don't have vote limits. What steps do plan to take to keep from getting burned out? If you do get burned out, how will you handle this?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: I think that if moderation starts to become a chore, I would revert to a regular user's perspective and divert some of my focus to answering questions. That plus 'going outside', 'reading a book', 'having a beer' ... the usual stress-busting activities : )

W5VO W5VO answered: Preventing burnout is very important. Repetitiveness and frustration lead to burnout. The moderator team should be willing to trade off responsibilities and give some mods breaks as needed.

jippie jippie answered: I have a day time job. Modding EE.SE is a volunteer's job on the side, just for fun, for enjoying spending time. Burn outs are for payed daytime jobs, not for hobbies. I couldn't care if modding gets too much for a couple of days, but if it is getting too much for a longer time then I'll rise a red flag to the others or the people at SE.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

Tim Stone Tim Stone asked: Do you feel like a representative percentage of the community participates in your site's meta? Based on that, how strongly do you think feedback presented on meta should factor into your decision making as a moderator?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: I don't think the general population plays much with meta. That said, most of the power users in meta have good ideas about how the site should work, and their opinions are valuable. I certainly would take their thoughts into consideration.

W5VO W5VO answered: I think that Meta participation is improving, but I don't think that it is the majority (number-wise) of users. Feedback on Meta is very important to me - it is how the will of the community is forged into a consensus.

clabacchio clabacchio answered: I really like the discussions that raise in Meta, and as I said I spend quite some time on it. Most often I see only the usual ~10 members as active there, and their opinion is always interesting. Moreover, you can see all the different points of view about the site.

jippie jippie answered: People have to find their way around the stack, and this doesn't necessarily go in sync with the privileges gained from reputation. Users that don't run into site-related questions or issues are not going to look for meta, let alone spend their time there. Users that run into uncertainty, doubt, problems with the site, ... those are the ones that usually have spent more time on the stack, those are usually the people that you find on meta.

jippie jippie continued: These people write from experience and the others in turn can vote on their view. If the majority of these senior users have an entirely different view on how the site should be run in contrast to my view, then probably my first rule "to enjoy spending time at EE.SE" no longer works out and I should make a choice: whether to keep modding or hand over to the next generation.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

Grace Note Grace Note asked: Two highly respected members of the community get in a comment war on a question. They both flag each other's comments and are cussing and it is clear that this is beyond a heated argument. What do you do, what don't you do?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: I would try and identify any comments that may have been misinterpreted as provocation, and attempt to defuse the situation by clearing up those misunderstandings. I may also use private messages to insulate both sides from 'he said / she said'. If there is legitimate bad blood and neither side wants to back down, it may be for the best to close the question and let both sides cool off.

Madmanguruman Madmanguruman continued: Being a moderator means being willing to 'take the heat' for these sorts of decisions. Just part of the job.

W5VO W5VO answered: Don't take sides, consider a brief suspension for users if the language is abusive, and delete offensive or inflammatory comments.

clabacchio clabacchio answered: I'd invite them in a private chat to discuss in private (this applies to every long discussion). Then I'd try to listen to each one's reasons and mediate, keeping in mind that probably they are both adults and have their reasons, but also that there are things (like the mechanics of the site) that have a reason to be what they are.

jippie jippie answered: Communicating is difficult and will always be. I think comment wars are born out of misunderstanding each other. Don't know how to solve them, other than trying to point out what is happening. On the positive side, we have numerous stacks at SE and a multiple of mods to manage them, I'm not going to be the first to run into this sort of problem, there is a whole bunch of subject matter experts that I can ask for advise (or if SE hasn't arranged a mechanism for mods to meet, that'll be my first proposal to improve SE)

| |
\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

Tim Stone Tim Stone asked: Why do you want to be a moderator (i.e., as opposed to a user with privs via high rep?)


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: I'm in a mentoring role in my current career. I get satisfaction from empowering people to grow and prosper, through guidance and sharing my experiences. I would like the same opportunity with this site and its users.

W5VO W5VO answered: I want the ability to help the community directly. I want to help make sure that potential issues are handled as quickly as possible, and help improve and grow our community.

clabacchio clabacchio answered: As I said I like the site and I'd like to see it growing in users and content. Since my technical contribution is not sufficient for me, I'd like to give a significant support to the staff, and give some relief to the existing mods.

jippie jippie answered: I can't afford real diamonds, so I guess my best shot would by a cyber-diamond.

jippie jippie continued: (seriously) It's not like I feel like I'm being called for this job. I spend time at EE.SE and I see things happen every now and then that just aren't the way that most visitors want to see it happen. So why not improve it right there and then? I have the time, I enjoy improving things for others.

jippie jippie concluded: It's not me wanting to be a mod, it's more like "oh, let me help you guys manage this job a bit".

| |
\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

Grace Note Grace Note asked: You strongly disagree with an action taken by a fellow moderator. How do you proceed?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: I don't expect consensus. I would of course ask for an explanation, as the other mod may well be aware of something that I'm not. If I'm not satisfied with that, I would state my case and ask the other mod to consider my perspective. Ultimately, I don't believe I'd trump the other moderator's decision, since we're all peers.

W5VO W5VO answered: I would first discuss the issue with the other moderator. If we are still at an impasse, I would ask all other moderators to participate so that the final decision would be more of a consensus than a 1v1 argument.

clabacchio clabacchio answered: First, examine again my position to make sure that I'm convinced about it. Then I try to discuss with him on chat, while looking for previous occurrences of that discussion and for evidences proving one or the other position. If it's a topic that needs debate, we may rise a Meta post to get the opinion of the community. If I'm proven wrong, I'll take a step back and accept the situation.

jippie jippie answered: Get the facts. Learn what made him/her decide what (s)he did. Maybe I overlook something, maybe the other did.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

Grace Note Grace Note asked: How would you deal with a user who contributes good content to the site, but consistently causes trouble in other ways (is rude, confrontational, makes bad edits/tag wikis, etc.)?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: It's a judgement call, as are most things in life. I've had to work with people who produce good work but were utterly miserable to work with (rude, insulting, demeaning) - a certain amount of badness can be tolerated, but can quickly poison everything. I think I would escalate efforts to rehabilitate the user, but if the badness persists, I think I would cast them out.

W5VO W5VO answered: If it is just being rude and confrontational, deleting the comments and rolling back changes, and giving warnings in the comments. More serious offenses would result in suspensions.

clabacchio clabacchio answered: If they are valuable users for the community I'd take in consideration spending more time to discuss with them, for two reasons: first, they have proven to contribute significantly with the with their valuable content; second, if they are experienced they have probably inherited some mechanisms that require more work to change. It's good to bring them to the good path as soon as possible, to avoid those habits to become even more radicated.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

jmort253 jmort253 asked: A recent topic that's come up in Stack Exchange is the concept of being nice, or the "Summer of Love". How do you plan to focus on welcoming new users without lowering the quality on the site and while still maintaining the standards?


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: Comments and personal messages don't lower the site quality. They're the best tools to get new users up to speed quickly - comments to steer questions and answers in better directions, personal messages to get someone's attention without possible embarrassment.

W5VO W5VO answered: Comments are a good way to visibly address the issue, but care must be taken to ensure that the comments are not cold-shouldered or dismissive.

clabacchio clabacchio answered: Just putting more effort in being polite, while making sure that the site policies are respected. But I think to be quite nice with people.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

Shog9 Shog9 asked: How familiar are you with the "moderation" tools available to normal users? (editing, closing, re-opening, flagging, 10k tools...)


Madmanguruman Madmanguruman answered: I've edited many posts, and done my fair share of voting and flagging. I'm thissssssss close to earning the 10k tools (come on everyone, more power supply questions! lol) so I hope to have some level of moderation access 'very soon now' regardless of the election results.

W5VO W5VO answered: I haven't had access to the "10k tools" since EE.SE was in beta, but I am very familiar with the moderation tools available to normal users - I use most of them regularly.

clabacchio clabacchio answered: I've done a consistent number of edits, and since I have the access to it, also some votes to close and of course flags. I think that I'm quite familiar with those tools, but I'm not at 10k yet.

| |
\$\endgroup\$

You must log in to answer this question.

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