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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. Due to the lack of submission count, we have selected all provided questions as well as one of our back up questions for a total of 10 questions.

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.

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!


Sometimes, a new user doesn't understand how the site works. They will ask questions that are off-topic, they ask for product recommendations, their posts don't have enough information to be answerable, etc. They will keep asking questions, not stopping to ask why their posts were closed, and will quickly accumulate multiple closed questions. Assuming the close reasons are accurate (the questions should be closed), how would you handle a new user that asks several questions that get closed in quick succession?

As a moderator you'll be able to instantly re-open any question put on hold by the community, when would you feel that was appropriate? Can you think of any circumstances where it may actually harm the person asking the question rather than help them?

According to the FAQ Arduino is explicitly on topic on EE.SE. But there is also Arduino.SE in Beta. What characteristics in a question on EE.SE would make you decide to migrate an Arduino related question, leave it on EE.SE, or close it? What is your view on migrating questions to "competing" stacks? The above question specifically mentions Arduino because it is explicitly mentioned in the EE.SE FAQ, but a somewhat similar challenge goes for Raspberry PI for which many questions are on topic on EE.SE. Some programming questions are a good fit for SO.EE, similar issue.

If you had the ability, is there anything in the site that you would change? How would the mod privileges help you in that?

As a moderator, your votes become binding. Actions you used to take like flagging, closing, and deleting will take effect immediately without any input from any other users or moderators. How will you adapt the way you currently flag and vote to deal with this change?

How would you respond to the accusation that our site is unfriendly towards "newbies"? Do you consider it a real problem? If so, what steps are you prepared to take to curb any perceived unfriendlyness?

Is there a particular issue or problem on the site that, as a moderator, you believe you can address? What is it and what steps would you take to resolve 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?

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?

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Sometimes, a new user doesn't understand how the site works. They will ask questions that are off-topic, they ask for product recommendations, their posts don't have enough information to be answerable, etc. They will keep asking questions, not stopping to ask why their posts were closed, and will quickly accumulate multiple closed questions. Assuming the close reasons are accurate (the questions should be closed), how would you handle a new user that asks several questions that get closed in quick succession?

It is sometimes difficult to engage a particular user who isn't paying attention to feedback. But if a new user genuinely wants to learn how to participate, I will be available on the chat and meta pages to provide guidance.

As a moderator you'll be able to instantly re-open any question put on hold by the community, when would you feel that was appropriate? Can you think of any circumstances where it may actually harm the person asking the question rather than help them?

(That's two questions! :-)

I occasionally see questions that have been closed by the community as "unclear what you're asking", even though it's perfectly clear to me what the question is — and it's specific and on-topic. Such questions should be edited as needed for clarification and reopened.

When someone other than the OP edits a post, there is the danger of unknowingly changing the meaning or intent of the post. However, the OP can still participate in clearing matters up, so no, I don't really see the potential harm in the process.

According to the FAQ Arduino is explicitly on topic on EE.SE. But there is also Arduino.SE in Beta. What characteristics in a question on EE.SE would make you decide to migrate an Arduino related question, leave it on EE.SE, or close it? What is your view on migrating questions to "competing" stacks? The above question specifically mentions Arduino because it is explicitly mentioned in the EE.SE FAQ, but a somewhat similar challenge goes for Raspberry PI for which many questions are on topic on EE.SE. Some programming questions are a good fit for SO.EE, similar issue.

There are plenty of Arduino questions that are clearly specific to the Arduino hardware and software environment and have no relevance outside that environment. Those are the questions that should be migrated to Arduino.SE. However, questions that are about general engineering topics that just happen to be using Arduino for context should remain on EE.SE.

Programming questions are a very grey area, since there's a lot of overlap between programming for embedded systems and "general" programming. It's really a judgement call each time it comes up.

If you had the ability, is there anything in the site that you would change? How would the mod privileges help you in that?

No, I'm not looking to make changes to the site.

As a moderator, your votes become binding. Actions you used to take like flagging, closing, and deleting will take effect immediately without any input from any other users or moderators. How will you adapt the way you currently flag and vote to deal with this change?

I will have to refrain from taking such actions in cases that I consider to be "borderline" and let the community have its say. As I non-moderator, I currently participate in the review process rather freely, knowing that my votes will be tempered by those of other reviewers. Instead, I'll focus on cases that clearly need prompt, unambiguous action.

How would you respond to the accusation that our site is unfriendly towards "newbies"? Do you consider it a real problem? If so, what steps are you prepared to take to curb any perceived unfriendlyness?

I really don't think the site is unfriendly at all. There are lots of people here who are more than willing to help a person starting out in electronics. Engineering in general, and electrical engineering in particular, demands precise use of terminology and attention to detail, so participating in this site isn't going to be the same kind of experience as participating in many of the others.

Is there a particular issue or problem on the site that, as a moderator, you believe you can address? What is it and what steps would you take to resolve it?

Well, one area that often frustrates me is the lack of easy-to-find documentation about how the site works, and seemingly limited choices that are available on any given page. For example, not long ago, you could go directly to the EE.SE chat area from the questions page, but now that link seems to have disappeared altogether, and it's actually quite difficult to navigate to the chat area.

Another more recent example: When I nominated myself for this election, I did so on a page where I wrote a self-introduction, and various people commented on it. Just yesterday, I was notified that a new comment had been made, but for the life of me, I can't figure out how to navigate to it.

I really don't know if moderator priviledges will help with any of this, but I'd like to think that I can help improve the situation in some way.

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?

Honestly, I don't know. I have a thicker skin than most and take those kinds of comments in stride. I regard them more as "clutter" than as anything actually harmful to the site, and so I generally take a "live and let live" attitude toward them.

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

I'm not here to butt heads with the other moderators. If such a situation came up, it would have to be discussed on meta/chat in order reach a consensus.

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators do what any participant in the review process does, only wielding a bigger hammer that must be used judiciously.

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Sometimes, a new user doesn't understand how the site works. They will ask questions that are off-topic, they ask for product recommendations, their posts don't have enough information to be answerable, etc. They will keep asking questions, not stopping to ask why their posts were closed, and will quickly accumulate multiple closed questions. Assuming the close reasons are accurate (the questions should be closed), how would you handle a new user that asks several questions that get closed in quick succession?

Take one of their questions and walk them through bringing it up to the standard. Perhaps, do some of the editing myself. However, this would have the desired effect only if the person is diligent, and his only shortcoming is that he hasn’t wrapped their head around how the site works.


As a moderator you'll be able to instantly re-open any question put on hold by the community, when would you feel that was appropriate? Can you think of any circumstances where it may actually harm the person asking the question rather than help them?

If the question has been edited and improved by the original poster or by community, and the reasons for which it was closed are no more, then I could make sense to fast-track the reopening of the question.


According to the FAQ Arduino is explicitly on topic on EE.SE. But there is also Arduino.SE in Beta. What characteristics in a question on EE.SE would make you decide to migrate an Arduino related question, leave it on EE.SE, or close it? What is your view on migrating questions to "competing" stacks? The above question specifically mentions Arduino because it is explicitly mentioned in the EE.SE FAQ, but a somewhat similar challenge goes for Raspberry PI for which many questions are on topic on EE.SE. Some programming questions are a good fit for SO.EE, similar issue.

I'm glad that @jippie, who wrote this question has put "competing" in quotes. They are overlapping, not actually competing. Here’s my short list of stacks which overlap with EE.SE (in alphabetical order):

Not quite overlapping, but worth mentioning. EE.SE trades questions with these stacks continually and uneventfully:

  • DIY.SE (home improvement stack)
  • Mechanics.SE (motor vehicle maintenance stack). Public beta.

For this Q&A, I’ll limit the scope to Ardiono.SE and StackOverflow.
The common theme is: Make the situation such that the qualities of EE.SE don’t suffer, the O.P. gets a good answer.

Arduino.SE

Arduino.SE had a thorny path to public beta, but the 6th attempt made it to public beta, which is doing fairly well [knock on wood]. What could be behind such persistence?

Arduino uses its own dedicated hardware and software, and has its own hardware standards. A lot of seasoned people on EE.SE are not familiar with Arduino standards. The statement “I’m using Arduino model B with shield C and library D” would require a lot of looking up from somebody who is not into Arduino stuff. On the other hand, somebody who is into Arduino would have an idea of what that is about, because he’s familiar with the Arduino field. This is even more prominent, when it comes to reading Arduino code.

Case in point. This Arduino question didn't get any traction on StackOverflow. Pretty much the same question by the same user on Arduino.SE got a +2 and 3 answers (also with upvotes).

We get Arduino questions that deal with issues that are endemic to Arduino ecosystem, such as: problems with Arduino IDE, coding for Arduino, compatibility of Arduino hardware. I've dubbed such questions as “too Arduino and not enough EE”. This is where Arduino.SE's built-in familiarity with Arduino ecosystem benefits all.

We get other questions, which are tagged , because the O.P. happens to be using Arduino. But the question is about electronics design. The word “Arduino” can be mentally replaced with “microcontroller”, and the question would still work. Case in point.

Finally, Arduino consumers should be aware of the Arduino.SE existence.

StackOverflow

Sometimes purely software coding questions are posted to EE.SE. For example, somebody asking about how to set up a for loop in ANSI C to iterate through an array which is declared in RAM. While they are running it on a μC, that doesn't have an impact on the question, and the answer still comes straight from Kernigan & Ritchie. We can migrate such questions to StackOverflow. But there are not very many of such questions. Over the period of last 90 days, we have migrated only 2 questions to SO.

At teh same time, we should keep programming-related questions that:

  • Have ties to hardware: interrupts, registers, etc
  • Require familiarity with specialized professional IDEs for embedded work: IAR, TI Code Composer Studio, etc. I suspect that EE.SE community knows more about these tools than StackOverflow.

Afterword

There may be a larger question lurking behind this: are (and should) the stacks defined mainly by subject, or mainly by user population? Neither empirical nor theoretical answer to this is straightforward.


If you had the ability, is there anything in the site that you would change? How would the mod privileges help you in that?

  • EE.SE chat is underutilized. It can be a useful tool for users to pre-process their questions. Unclear questions can be clarified. Questions that are too broad can be narrowed. I have asked quite a few questions in chat, which would get closed if they were posted on the board.
  • We need to improve migration options. If the subject of Arduino.SE is too hot at the moment, we can leave migration to Arduino.SE per se out of the discussion, and revisit it 3 to 6 months later.

As a moderator, your votes become binding. Actions you used to take like flagging, closing, and deleting will take effect immediately without any input from any other users or moderators. How will you adapt the way you currently flag and vote to deal with this change?

The instantly binding vote will take some getting used to. I have some experience with community moderation. I think that community moderation works very well on EE.SE. I will not interfere with that. For instance, I’ll somewhat cool down my enthusiasm towards Close and Reopen queues, at least in the beginning.

(Interestingly, long time ago there was a feature request for non-binding option for diamond moderators. The feature request was denied.)


How would you respond to the accusation that our site is unfriendly towards "newbies"? Do you consider it a real problem? If so, what steps are you prepared to take to curb any perceived unfriendlyness?

EE.SE has high standards for questions, but it doesn’t have prejudice against “newebies”. If the person is diligent and considerate, many EE.SE’ers will work with them on improving their question. If the person is chronically helpless and inconsiderate, they will perceive humor as unfriendliness.


Is there a particular issue or problem on the site that, as a moderator, you believe you can address? What is it and what steps would you take to resolve it?

Educate newcomers about standards on EE.SE.
I’ll check if I can set up a zero- or low-reputation chat room for newcomers. It could be done as an experiment at first. (This is not a new idea. This was previously brought up on meta.)

Improve ties between EE.SE and the rest of StackExchange ecosystem.


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:

  1. The nature of the flags. There is a difference between very caustic humor and trolling (abuse for the sake of abuse).
  2. The quantity and quality of their answers

In that order.

There is a good method of dealing with difficult people: try to look through their eyes and see what pains them.


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

Talk to that other mod, understand what his rationale was. Either try to gradually convince him that his decision should be reversed, or agree with his rationale.


In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators maintain smooth operation of the board. This is true for moderation functions which are built into a community. This is true for dedicated diamond moderators, which are trusted with certain potent tools, because they can be called to step in as human exception handlers.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm very interested to read the answer to the Arduino.SE migration question, because comments like "I will take actions, which will improve Arduino.SE's chances of surviving." make me feel that you are strongly opinionated regarding the issue and your moderator privileges will be used towards relocating Arduino questions there. I have also noticed this comment posted under some Arduino questions, in my eyes it is perceived as a suggestion for users to post future question there. \$\endgroup\$ – alexan_e Mar 4 '14 at 8:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @alexan_e As requested. See above. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Mar 5 '14 at 21:08
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Sometimes, a new user doesn't understand how the site works. They will ask questions that are off-topic, they ask for product recommendations, their posts don't have enough information to be answerable, etc. They will keep asking questions, not stopping to ask why their posts were closed, and will quickly accumulate multiple closed questions. Assuming the close reasons are accurate (the questions should be closed), how would you handle a new user that asks several questions that get closed in quick succession?

I would contact the user (probably through comments though potentially by direct message or a private chatroom) and encourage them to fix their existing questions. I would clearly explain the problems with their questions, and suggest ways to fix them (or alternatively why they aren't appropriate for the site). If the user refuses to fix their questions (either through inaction or directly), and continues to post bad questions, I would consider a temporary question ban (but only after consulting the other moderators).


As a moderator you'll be able to instantly re-open any question put on hold by the community, when would you feel that was appropriate? Can you think of any circumstances where it may actually harm the person asking the question rather than help them? The most obvious case where it would be appropriate would be when a question has been fixed according to whatever criticisms it received, especially if it has already received some reopen votes. I would step in and reopen it to give the OP another chance at getting answers.

There might be some cases where I feel a question had been in unfairly closed (for example, due to some minor grammar or formatting issues which I can easily fix myself).

Reopening a question could harm the user if I carelessly reopen a bad question, thinking the close votes are unwarranted. I will do my best not to get into this situation.


According to the FAQ Arduino is explicitly on topic on EE.SE. But there is also Arduino.SE in Beta. What characteristics in a question on EE.SE would make you decide to migrate an Arduino related question, leave it on EE.SE, or close it? What is your view on migrating questions to "competing" stacks? The above question specifically mentions Arduino because it is explicitly mentioned in the EE.SE FAQ, but a somewhat similar challenge goes for Raspberry PI for which many questions are on topic on EE.SE. Some programming questions are a good fit for SO.EE, similar issue.

A question belongs on this site if the OP cares about underlying EE concepts. Questions belong on the "competing" sites when the OP only cares about the how and not the why. Migrating a question just because someone mentions a "shield" or a "sketch" is a knee-jerk reaction.


If you had the ability, is there anything in the site that you would change? How would the mod privileges help you in that?

I'm not sure how I feel about this question; I only want to talk about things that I can do with mod privileges, not wish I could do... That being said:

I think the community has grown large enough that we should reconsider whether we want our own blog. I would pose that question to the community again, and if they are in favor of it, do what I can to make it happen.


As a moderator, your votes become binding. Actions you used to take like flagging, closing, and deleting will take effect immediately without any input from any other users or moderators. How will you adapt the way you currently flag and vote to deal with this change?

Having these powers will certainly force me to be more thoughtful with my votes. I think as normal users we are more prone to flag/vote first, ask questions later. As a mod I would take the opposite approach.


How would you respond to the accusation that our site is unfriendly towards "newbies"? Do you consider it a real problem? If so, what steps are you prepared to take to curb any perceived unfriendlyness?

I'll be frank about this.

By all means close questions and leave constructive feedback. That's how the system is supposed to be used. This community is really really efficient when it comes to regulating for quality. And that's great!

What's not OK is the attacks on users on the basis of trivialities like formatting and grammar. Yes, you should close poorly formatted questions (and down vote them if that's your thing), but insulting them, accusing them of being lazy, stupid, etc. is NOT okay. Yes, users should read the FAQ before posting but we know they won't. So be welcoming, instead of rude and abrasive.

As a mod, I would do my best to eliminate the above "unsavory practices" from the site, by deleting rude comments and speaking with repeat offenders.

The best way to condition users to ask good questions is by showing them how it is done. That's why I try to copy-edit questions whenever I feel I can improve their readability. As a mod, I would do plenty of this (which will be easier than it is now because I won't be beholden to the suggested edit system).


Is there a particular issue or problem on the site that, as a moderator, you believe you can address? What is it and what steps would you take to resolve it?

Please see the previous question.


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 contact them, and attempt to work with them directly to solve the problem. If that doesn't work, I would work with other moderators to determine the best course of action. I would never suspend or ban a user without first consulting other mods (except in the case of obvious spammers or malicious users)


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

I would not undo another mod's actions without first discussing it with them in a private chat room. From what I have observed, the other mods (at least the current ones) seem to think like I do, so I can't imagine encountering this situation very often.


In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are there to keep the peace between users, and to handle exceptional cases that the community tools aren't designed to handle (like conflicting flags, edit wars, etc.) They handle troublesome users, keep review queues clear, and help articulate community requests to the rest of the Stack Exchange network (especially on SE Meta).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I will add line breaks tonight once I am off my mobile devices and on a real computer. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Laplante Mar 3 '14 at 21:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you get elected, are you going to moderate off your mobile device? \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Mar 3 '14 at 21:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev: Not from my phone, but I have a tablet which is great for visiting the site between classes. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Laplante Mar 3 '14 at 21:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GraceNote: thank you for the editing! \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Laplante Mar 3 '14 at 21:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was concerned that you were going to moderate from the phone. Moderation is a serious endeavor. Fortunately, you are not planning to do it from the phone. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Mar 3 '14 at 22:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev - I will primarily do it from my laptop, but the tablet is an option when I'm out and about. I will try to avoid using my phone. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Laplante Mar 3 '14 at 22:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev for an engineer, your aversion to someone using a mobile device seems very luddite. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Mar 4 '14 at 1:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I will mention that the mod tools are really only supported on the full site. \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO Mar 4 '14 at 13:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Doesn't personally dealing with each new user with a bad question constitute a tremendous work burden?? Do you really think such a protocol is necessary to maintain a viable and useful stack? \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Mar 4 '14 at 13:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman; the question was not about a user who asks a single bad question; it was about a user who asks several bad questions in quick succession. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Laplante Mar 4 '14 at 14:00
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Sometimes, a new user doesn't understand how the site works. They will ask questions that are off-topic, they ask for product recommendations, their posts don't have enough information to be answerable, etc. They will keep asking questions, not stopping to ask why their posts were closed, and will quickly accumulate multiple closed questions. Assuming the close reasons are accurate (the questions should be closed), how would you handle a new user that asks several questions that get closed in quick succession?

There are many good questions on the site which can serve as examples to the uninitiated. Direct and private communication with the user is the most effective way to bring them on board without risk of embarrassment in my opinion. I would explain to them clearly why their questions were closed and attempt to recommend ways to rephrase their questions or illustrate how they could improve them.

As a moderator you'll be able to instantly re-open any question put on hold by the community, when would you feel that was appropriate? Can you think of any circumstances where it may actually harm the person asking the question rather than help them?

My general expectation (based on what I've seen so far) is that the moderators around here are a rational bunch of folks, so I wouldn't expect that a question would often be closed for unjustified reasons. If a 'rogue' moderator reopened a bad question to 'punish' a poor user, I could see that being quite harmful, but again, I don't see it happening with the current site's staff.

If a user meaningfully addresses what was wrong with the question in the first place, I would have little qualms about reopening it.

According to the FAQ Arduino is explicitly on topic on EE.SE. But there is also Arduino.SE in Beta. What characteristics in a question on EE.SE would make you decide to migrate an Arduino related question, leave it on EE.SE, or close it? What is your view on migrating questions to "competing" stacks? The above question specifically mentions Arduino because it is explicitly mentioned in the EE.SE FAQ, but a somewhat similar challenge goes for Raspberry PI for which many questions are on topic on EE.SE. Some programming questions are a good fit for SO.EE, similar issue.

I often flag posts when I feel they would be better fits on sites like Superuser, Stack Overflow - sometimes even diy. I feel that pure programming questions, even if they are targeting an embedded product, are better served on the programming sites. Questions that have a tangible tie to the hardware itself (be it GPIO, interrupts, SFRs, assembly language) are more suitable for EE.SE and would be candidates to remain on EE.SE in my opinion. I wouldn't migrate a question asking about how to get I2C going on a Raspberry Pi, but would migrate a pure Python question that didn't involve the hardware in some way.

If you had the ability, is there anything in the site that you would change? How would the mod privileges help you in that?

I would have new users' question and answer posts put into a moderation queue, requiring moderator or trusted user (>20k) approval before being visible to everyone on the main site. Once visible, they would eligible for rep. I would put a cap of, say, 5 questions and/or answers before the user could be 'promoted' to be allowed to post freely.

As a moderator, your votes become binding. Actions you used to take like flagging, closing, and deleting will take effect immediately without any input from any other users or moderators. How will you adapt the way you currently flag and vote to deal with this change?

"If I were in user X's shoes, how would I react to this action?" A brief pause before taking the action, to contemplate this question, would be my initial approach to having much more power in terms of moderation. If I felt the user wouldn't understand the consequences of the action, I would post a comment explaining why it may happen, and what they can do to prevent it (if it's a negative).

How would you respond to the accusation that our site is unfriendly towards "newbies"? Do you consider it a real problem? If so, what steps are you prepared to take to curb any perceived unfriendlyness?

I tend to agree with it. I have been on the receiving end of a few strong comments in my time on this site and I can understand how the uninitiated may wonder, "WTF?" - I try to take the approach that honey attracts more flies than vinegar. It's difficult to muzzle the haters, but having some fair, constructive feedback available even when there's some negative vibes can help keep these new users from running to the hills.

Is there a particular issue or problem on the site that, as a moderator, you believe you can address? What is it and what steps would you take to resolve it?

I feel that the new user learning curve can be a bit tricky. I hope to be able to provide good examples for new users to ease their transitions into the SE community and help them become productive members of the community. I will point out how they may be going off track, show them how to improve, and hopefully inspire them to stick it out and learn what a great Q&A tool we have here.

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?

Troublemakers can sometimes be left to their own devices because their perceived value exceeds the damage from the trouble they create. If a user isn't willing to play by the rules by and large, I don't feel that they should be able to hide behind a large reputation shield. Misconduct deserves to be dealt with regardless of the perpetrator.

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

I wouldn't hold myself to be stronger or weaker than the other moderators. I would bring the question up to the moderation community and seek consensus as to how to proceed - the simple majority would rule (none of us is as smart as all of us, after all).

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators should keep the peace, root out abuse, provide help to those who need it and do whatever is in the best interest of the community for the benefit of everyone who uses the SE infrastructure. By and large, these goals are achieved on EE.SE, and I hope to be able to contribute to those goals moving forward.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ ` I feel that pure programming questions, even if they are targeting an embedded product, are better served on the programming sites. ` Except that directly contradicts the idea of migrating to sites based on what that site wants. SO and others are fairly consistent with the idea that programming questions with any connection to embedded design are persona-non-grata. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Mar 4 '14 at 2:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree with that mentality. Questions about trees and linked lists belong on programming sites, regardless of the processor. Questions about setting up dsPIC peripherals belong here. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Lawrence Mar 4 '14 at 2:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Logically, yes, they should be on there. but those stacks don't want them. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Mar 4 '14 at 2:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have problems w/ trusted users reviewing new users posts before being made visible. I like the thought, but the process runs counter to the open peer moderation that the stacks are known for. It certainly doesn't take 20k of rep to be able to handle such situations. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Mar 4 '14 at 13:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair point. If there are enough mods to handle new user postings for a given site, they could handle it alone. My justification for giving the keys to trusted users is simple: if they made it to 20k rep, they ought to know what's right and wrong for a given SE site. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Lawrence Mar 4 '14 at 16:14
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Sometimes, a new user doesn't understand how the site works. They will ask questions that are off-topic, they ask for product recommendations, their posts don't have enough information to be answerable, etc. They will keep asking questions, not stopping to ask why their posts were closed, and will quickly accumulate multiple closed questions. Assuming the close reasons are accurate (the questions should be closed), how would you handle a new user that asks several questions that get closed in quick succession?

Attempt to reach out to them, and hope they reach back. The lack of private messaging on the site makes that hard to do. Some users just don't put in much effort on followups. But from what I have seen there has not been much of that type of activity since I have been here.

As a moderator you'll be able to instantly re-open any question put on hold by the community, when would you feel that was appropriate? Can you think of any circumstances where it may actually harm the person asking the question rather than help them?

I would feel it is appropriate if the close reason is blatantly contradictory to the site's scope, and I can articulate my exact reasoning with support of the site scope. With the sizable amount of valid questions closed simply for mentioning a commercial product in any way, that's fairly easy to do. As for harming the person asking, I don't see how that would.

According to the FAQ Arduino is explicitly on topic on EE.SE. But there is also Arduino.SE in Beta. What characteristics in a question on EE.SE would make you decide to migrate an Arduino related question, leave it on EE.SE, or close it? What is your view on migrating questions to "competing" stacks? The above question specifically mentions Arduino because it is explicitly mentioned in the EE.SE FAQ, but a somewhat similar challenge goes for Raspberry PI for which many questions are on topic on EE.SE. Some programming questions are a good fit for SO.EE, similar issue.

Questions regarding the commercial aspects of the Arduino ecosystem, intercompatibility between the parts (or clones), specifics about the Arduino IDE, low level/beginner questions completely about Arduinos, after consulting with the mods for Ar.SE. Same goes for RPI.SE. Questions regarding pure coding, with little focus on microcontroller extensions would be good for SO.EE. I have no issue with migrating to ""competing"" stacks, because I rather see a question get answered than shut down.

If you had the ability, is there anything in the site that you would change? How would the mod privileges help you in that?

Nothing specific.

As a moderator, your votes become binding. Actions you used to take like flagging, closing, and deleting will take effect immediately without any input from any other users or moderators. How will you adapt the way you currently flag and vote to deal with this change?

Flagging is essentially the highest level non-mod action a community member can take. Most flags are for blatant things like spam, or non-answers as answers, things like that. Those don't need input to act on. On the ones that do, there is always ways of communicating with other mods, or wait for a user to flag it, or mention it in the chat. Deleting is less common. Closures on the other hand, I would reserve any action unless exceedingly blatantly against the rules. As a mod, I would have to be more reserved in those actions.

How would you respond to the accusation that our site is unfriendly towards "newbies"? Do you consider it a real problem? If so, what steps are you prepared to take to curb any perceived unfriendlyness?

It is a real problem. Any direction action against those who are unfriendly would have to be agreed upon by the mods, to prevent personal feelings or power trips to get in the way. But the rest is easier. Unwarranted closed questions can be reopened. Rude comments (and comment threads related to said rude comment) silently erased. Discourage personal attacks.

Is there a particular issue or problem on the site that, as a moderator, you believe you can address? What is it and what steps would you take to resolve it?

As I have mentioned, unwarranted close votes that contradict the scope.

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?

Debate is good for the soul. And the site. Just because someone is unlikeable or possibly antagonistic, does not mean they are an issue. Why should someone be punished for simply being passionate and/or hardheaded? It's only if actual rudeness or personal attacks are involved that something should be done. Significantly Off topic comment threads will get deleted though.

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

The mods have previously been very reserved in deletions and close votes alike. In the case that that changes though, it would depend on the articulated reason why it was closed, and by talking to the other mods see if it can be salvaged. At the core of the question though, closures and deletes by a mod are not binding to the community or other mods, it's just a general guideline that mods are reserved in such actions.

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Silently lurk until it is time to strike.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In regards to #1, moderator->user direct private messaging is a feature: blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/02/moderator-messages \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Laplante Mar 4 '14 at 2:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ChrisLaplante well, since I'm not a mod or a problem user, I had no idea it existed yet :D \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Mar 4 '14 at 2:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Me neither :) - I suspected that it existed, and Meta confirmed it. Good to know. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Laplante Mar 4 '14 at 2:14

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