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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 submission count, we have selected all provided questions as well as our back up questions for a total of 7 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. 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, and also including a link to your answer on your nomination post.

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!

Oh, and when you've completed your answer, please provide a link to it after this blurb here, before that set of three dashes. Please leave the list of links in the order of submission.

To save scrolling here are links to the submissions from each candidate (in order of submission):


  1. Moderation takes time, and dedication. How much time do you plan on setting aside for moderation, what is your expectations for moderating, what time zone do you live in?

  2. How do you plan on working with existing moderators and the community to make EE.SE a better place? What are things you think need to change or stay the same?

  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. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

  6. 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?

  7. 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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    \$\begingroup\$ @Passerby, you are nominating yourself for moderator election, but why have you not answered this question? \$\endgroup\$ – Shashank V M Feb 24 at 8:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ShashankVM well I guess it indirectly answers Q1 "Moderation takes time, and dedication. How much time do you plan on setting aside" \$\endgroup\$ – PeterJ Mar 1 at 12:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @peterj there is some back end shenanigans involved so let's not assume. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Mar 1 at 14:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ What back-end shenanigans are you referring to, @Passerby? You should be able to post an answer here, no? \$\endgroup\$ – JNat ModStaff Mar 1 at 15:16
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Candidate: SamGibson

  1. Moderation takes time, and dedication. How much time do you plan on setting aside for moderation, what is your expectations for moderating, what time zone do you live in?

I appreciate all the time spent by moderators, and other users, keeping this site what it is - a structured Q & A site, and not a free-for-all forum. Forums aren't bad, just different. If I was elected, I would intend to spend time helping to keep the quality of both questions & answers high, as that is a large part of what differentiates Stack Exchange from the more informal forums.

For the last 3 and a half years, I have visited the site every day and I would expect to do that (give or take the occasional day) for the foreseeable future as a moderator. (I've only missed something around 5 days in total, in the nearly 5 years since I joined the site.)

I am based in the UK, mostly Southern England, so that's UTC timezone (UTC+1 during daylight saving time). This fits in nicely with a gap between the two existing moderators, to help give moderator coverage during that part of each 24 hr period.

I am usually able to make several, short, site visits per day. I have been using those visits mainly to read questions for my own interest, to improve questions & answers via edits (over 2800 edits so far), vote where appropriate (over 9000 votes cast) and also to flag issues (over 4700 flags, with less than 2% declined by moderators). If I was elected as a moderator, I expect that my time would be redistributed to focus more on things like the flags queue and Meta, in order to be respond quickly to issues raised by site users.

  1. How do you plan on working with existing moderators and the community to make EE.SE a better place? What are things you think need to change or stay the same?

I believe the moderators should work as a team, be open to feedback from users, and I would look forward to doing that. Overall, I don't see a radical need to change direction on this site. However I would be open to listening to suggested improvements that could be made, including to moderation (either generally or to me specifically), or regarding change requests to take "upwards" to SE (although obviously changes at that level are outside of what moderators can directly affect).

I would continue to guide new users via comments & edits, where I think a question or answer can be improved, while having a zero-tolerance for spam or abuse.

I believe the current site consensus, that homework questions need to include a genuine attempt by the OP and a clear explanation of where they are stuck, is a good approach.

One change I would like to discuss with the other moderators, would be re-introducing the chat room where users can chat to a moderator e.g. for advice on a topic which doesn't reach the level of opening a question on Meta, and also doesn't fit with raising a flag on a specific posting. When I used that chat room before, I found it useful, so perhaps other users would find it useful too.

  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?

It would depend on what the flags are.

If the person is being genuinely abusive then that needs to be dealt with, quickly, via the existing mechanisms - irrespective of their valuable answers. We can't allow the site to degenerate into a "slanging match", just because people give valuable answers. That situation would drive away other people and the site's value to all users would be reduced.

For non-abusive flags, then calm de-escalation would likely be my approach. Some people are naturally more abrupt than others and, within the limits of the site's Code of Conduct, we can't expect everyone to behave the same.

If the arguments are technical but polite, then that shouldn't be flagged. If people disagree with the technical contents of an answer, that's what downvotes are for.

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

It depends how strongly I felt that it shouldn't have been closed/deleted/etc.

As I've got older, I have learned more to "pick my battles". I have occasionally seen moderators close questions where I would probably have left it open a while longer, in case things improved, but mostly I think the balance is about right. So in most cases, I expect I would (like now) accept that the existing action was "good enough" and move on.

If I felt really strongly about that topic, I would contact that moderator privately to understand their motivation behind what they did, and explain mine in wanting a different result. Perhaps I misunderstood something, or perhaps they did. Communication is key.

As a moderator, I know that I could reverse their closure/deletion/etc. of that post, but that may result in a reversal of that action by the original moderator. Such "public fighting between moderators" doesn't help the smooth running of the site, as nobody "wins". So I would avoid that where possible. I believe that advice & guidance would be available via private moderator chat and, eventually, via the Stack Exchange Community Manager.

Similarly, not everyone will agree when I close things as a moderator. Moderators are human and can only do what they genuinely believe is best for the site, while being open to feedback if enough of the users feel that a decision should have been different.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

They help other users by keeping the site running smoothly, and improve it where possible & where needed. That means being responsive to user's flags and concerns.

As I know someone has said before, a moderator is "more janitor than king" (or something like that). I enjoy helping people and solving problems, and I expect to be doing both, if I'm elected as a moderator.

  1. 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?

I don't have a problem with that. I post using my real name anyway, so anything I post can already be associated with me.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

I would be more effective, because I can help the site and its users more as a moderator. As a moderator I would be actioning flags from other users, which I can't do as a 10k rep user.

Also instead of just flagging a problem that I see myself, and adding to the moderators' workload to deal with it, I can fix that problem immediately. Less than 2% of my flags have been declined, so I think my judgement has been confirmed as broadly matching site moderators overall.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I have no idea why someone would downvote this. You have my upvote for this post and, barring nomination(s) by even better candidate(s), my vote in the election. \$\endgroup\$ – Null Feb 22 at 16:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Null - Hi, Sincere thanks for your upvote and comments! I was a bit surprised by the downvote too, but I guess it's someone who won't be voting for me :-( If they had questions or disagreed with my approach in some way, then a comment would have been nice - I don't hold grudges. I just want to help keep the site running smoothly, if I get elected :-) Again, thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – SamGibson Mod Feb 22 at 16:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sam has been great at flagging and contributes to the site often, and has my vote \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Mod Feb 22 at 20:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VoltageSpike - Hi, Many thanks for your very kind comment! I really appreciate your work on the site :-) \$\endgroup\$ – SamGibson Mod Feb 22 at 20:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SamGibson - you are my candidate (voted already of course) ;) And, I would like to ask you about one thing: what is your attitude to questions related to or being part of homework, exams etc? \$\endgroup\$ – VillageTech Feb 22 at 23:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VillageTech - Hi, Thanks for your vote! I believe "good" homework questions can have value on EE.SE. A "bad" question just copies their original question to here, adds no analysis or attempt, and expects the full answer without any effort. A "good" homework question includes the question they have been asked, along with as much progress / analysis as the OP can do, an explanation of exactly where they are stuck and what they need in order to make the next step. That prevents someone here wasting time answering without a specific question & the OP then says they already know that part! OK? \$\endgroup\$ – SamGibson Mod Feb 23 at 0:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ok, I agree with you in 110% ;) \$\endgroup\$ – VillageTech Feb 23 at 0:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sam has been an outstanding participant in moderation and reviewing when I was a moderator. You have my vote. \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO Feb 23 at 4:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO - Hi! I sincerely appreciate all the time you spent as a moderator. Thanks for your very kind comment, and your vote! \$\endgroup\$ – SamGibson Mod Feb 23 at 14:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's (3) that's my greatest interest. In pro' engineering and in daily life, it's not what you say but how well you say it. There's a few hi-vote regulars with contrary views. There's "I'm so clever, you're so dim, you need me so I'll enjoy being obnoxious" types. A few think engineering ability means overlook a crud attitude. A few that use this site as therapy to mistreat others. That's got this site it's appalling reputation. In a workplace, they'd be knocked down to size or holding a written warning so fast it'd make their head spin. That's why they do it here instead. And that must go. \$\endgroup\$ – TonyM Feb 23 at 15:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TonyM - Hi, Thanks for that & I hear you completely. Whether I get elected or not, I encourage anyone who sees content that breaks the Code of Conduct to flag it, so that moderators can get hard evidence about the scale & source(s) of the problem. What you describe sounds like the "unfriendly or unkind" flag would be appropriate, unless the content crosses the line into personal/group attacks, when the "abuse" flag should be used. || I won't promise instant results, but if I'm elected I commit to working on this topic with the other mods. OK? \$\endgroup\$ – SamGibson Mod Feb 24 at 2:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sam, This is an awesome posting of the answers. You get my vote in this round of EE SE moderator elections. \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Karas Feb 24 at 5:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelKaras - Hi, Thanks very much for your comment and vote! \$\endgroup\$ – SamGibson Mod Feb 24 at 19:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Definitely got my vote. I've seen how much he contributes to the site, and it's a very significant amount. \$\endgroup\$ – Tyler Selden Mar 4 at 20:43

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