# Questions for Moderator Candidates

The community moderator election has begun, and the election page is rather sparse when it comes to feedback from the candidates. In the interests of keeping discussion organized and fair, we've decided to post this question as a central location for Q&A between the candidates and the community. Post your questions for the Community Moderator candiates here!

Disclaimer: I am running in the election, but please ignore my authorship of this question in your decision making process, and instead focus on the answers to the questions below.

W5VO: One portion of electronics is identifying and acquiring parts. To that end, price and availability are important things for consideration. However, this goes against the general StackExchange philosophy, as shopping advice is typically localized in time (price can change, distributor goes out of business). Additionally, the more specific the requirements, the fewer people who will benefit from the answer.

What is your position on shopping questions? If you support shopping, is there a limit to how "lazy" a question can get? (e.g. What's the digikey part number for a cheap 0805 47pF capacitor) For those opposed to shopping, how tolerant of price or purchasing questions will you be?

reemrevnivek/Kevin Vermeer: I've consistently been an outspoken opponent of what Jeff's blog post calls shopping recommendations. I'm all in favor of questions about identifying and acquiring parts which lead to learning, but many of the people who ask these questions are too focused on getting a distributor URL to be bothered to learn anything. Not only does the question asker fail to learn, but the question and answers also have a negative impact because future readers will be looking at obsolete (temporally localized) information. I've posted answers to most of the questions, read, for example, this answer to get a more in-depth perspective. To echo the proverb yet again, 'give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime, assuming overfishing and pollution haven't killed off all the fish yet.'

Kortuk: People seem to consider me a larger opponent of shopping questions then I actually am. I fall almost perfectly in line with what reemrevnivek has posted. I have seen well ask shopping questions that no one even realizes are shopping questions. In these questions someone is trying to learn and asking a questions that will be useful to the broad audience of the internet.

As a moderator it is my job to steer the community in the direction that is "correct". The general advice is to lead by example and over time the community will learn the rules and enforce them on their own. When someone asks a question wanting to know what suppliers have a better deal on a part, or when someone asks what they can buy that is cheaper then their current solution with answers that are just links to solutions, I close them. This is part of what I was asked to do and I agree.

The post Jeff had sums it up, "QA is hard, lets go shopping." QA is hard and it is very easy for a site to become a one stop shop for asking people where to buy things cheaper. We have all seen the results of very easy questions with very clear and simple answers, they get many many upvotes because the entire community is qualified to judge the technical quality of the information. With shopping you do not even need to know anything technical, you just need to be able to judge the prices that are acquired. This becomes the easiest way to get reputation on the site and will give positive feedback for asking basic shopping questions.

I think that is enough of a rant. As with all of my opinions, they are subject to change.

Kellenjb: I have to agree with both @Kortuk and @reemrevnivek, but I have more to add to them. I don't believe the shopping issue is as big as people have made it out to be. What I think has happened is there has been an extremely negative response toward the people who asked the questions. So negative that it has caused many of them to get worked up over their question being closed.

So I see 2 parts that need to be done to fix this issue. The first is to clearly define our sites stance on shopping questions, basically this would be taking what @kortuk and @reemrevnivek have talked about and turn it into an FAQ form. The second part is to help teach people how to transform their shopping questions into proper questions.

Nick T: My personal stance is that questions that are looking for sources for components, modules, or tools for some volume (1-10 vs. 10k+) are fine. Generally the distributors are companies that aren't exactly ephemeral ("too localized" in time), so the rate at which useful answers die should be acceptably slow.

Additionally, I have recently rethought my position to be OK with questions that are geographically specific like this one, as per some of the thoughts of 001 and 002 in a podcast. That question could very well apply to many more people than the average question detailing a specific problem. Pricing, however, is extremely volatile and should be avoided.

In any case, if the community reaches some sort of consensus on these questions, my personal stance means nothing. Though what 'consensus' would be on such a topic, I have no clue.

Daniel Grillo: As a moderator, I'll continue following the official guideline, until our community be able to change it.

My personal opinion is very similar to what others candidates answered. I really enjoyed of answers of the question Nick T linked and it benefited myself. But I had to close it.

For me, and I think many others, this question in SO is one of the best questions ever, but it's not considered a good and on-topic one. So, like them, we have to continue steadfast in our purpose in be the best resource available, even if it means sacrificing good questions.

Madmanguruman: I'm generally opposed to providing specific purchasing information here, in so far as 'buy part x from supplier y' or 'expect price z' since this sort of information is fluid. Telling someone about major suppliers, distribution channels, quantity discounts, minimum order quantities and the need for multiple sources where necessary is broad enough to benefit the community at large, and would be how I would approach a specific pricing question

• @Kellenjb, it is in the faq that the site is not for shopping or buying recommendations. It has been there. New users whom ask these questions do not read the FAQ. Second part, often users whom do not take the time to read the FAQ and ask a quick, where can I get it cheaper, do not have a "good" shopping question. – Kortuk May 5 '11 at 1:03
• @Kellenjb, I am a strong supporter of helping those that are having issues asking what is a great question along, spending days of our time trying to "find" a good question that is not there does no one any good. No answer will be accepted, it is not the intended question. Often they do not return to the site after asking(almost always), I check this often with mod powers. Normally these users do not ever return after the first ask. Those very basic questions that could be answered in 5 minutes are normally answered in 5 minutes and the user has no need to return. – Kortuk May 5 '11 at 1:06
• @kortuk but hostility is not the right way to approach them. This could even be why they don't come back. – Kellenjb May 5 '11 at 1:17
• @kellenjb, I am sorry if you think I have approached a person with hostility, I often work hard to stop people from being hostile. I do think that spending hours trying to make their question something acceptable is wrong. If you think this question after modification, and normally heavy modification, is worth it, ask it yourself. They do not ask that question. On the note of them not coming back. Often their last time visiting the site is when they asked, before anyone even made a comment or answer. I can tell down to the second when you were last here. Creepy? – Kortuk May 5 '11 at 1:33
• I don't seem to have the ability to 'answer' this question (despite being in the election) so I'll go with my response to the top-level question here. I'm generally opposed to providing specific purchasing information here, in so far as 'buy part x from supplier y' or 'expect price z' since this sort of information is fluid. Telling someone about major suppliers, distribution channels, quantity discounts, minimum order quantities and the need for multiple sources where necessary is broad enough to benefit the community at large, and would be how I would approach a specific pricing question. – Adam Lawrence May 8 '11 at 19:38
• @madmanguruman, it will not let you edit it in? – Kortuk May 9 '11 at 1:43
• Thanks to whoever edited my response in. (I don't think iOS was rendering the page correctly when I tried to respond.) – Adam Lawrence May 9 '11 at 15:27

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