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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. We selected the 8 questions submitted by the community, plus 2 pre-set questions from us.

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!


What have you personally done to make Server Fault a more enjoyable place for professional system administrators?

There is a lot of discussion about the quality of questions on SF; this is a topic that comes up regularly in meta. In fact, meta sometimes feels like the same two questions over and over again: "Our site is dying! How can we encourage better questions?" and "Why are you guys so mean?" Do you believe that site quality is really a problem? Do you believe the two questions are related? If so, where do you stand on how to encourage better questions? and is it your opinion that our site is "too nice," "too mean," or "just right"?

Do you as a nominee feel that moderators should have term limits or be required to be re-elected? Do you feel there should be a way to formally ask a moderator to "step down" for inactivity based on a vote of the users or is this something that should only be handled by other moderators and/or SE staff?

Since mod-decisions remove questions and answers from the review-queue which can become later audit-items to trip up other reviewers, will you continue to delve the review-queues at your current rate?

As a moderator you can see how other people are reviewing content. What would it take for you to consider a review-ban on someone for persistent over/under reviews?

What is your strategy for improving the quality and professionalism of questions users first encounter when visiting Server Fault?

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?

Do you agree with this proposal? Would you believe it to help us? Would you still want to be a moderator if this became effective?

Is there an administrative requirement to post on Server Fault? Do you need to be in control of policy, or is it enough to know your job (as a sysadmin)?

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Comments

(I started this write-up before the election started thinking we'd just get the usual boring election questions, but then things got rancorous, so this is partly my take on the State of ServerFault and partly answers to the questions.)

Overall, SF is working - questions get asked and answered, bad ones get downvoted and closed. There's a core of extremely knowledgeable regulars that participate widely in the site (except they never vote enough!) and a trickle of new people coming in and becoming regulars. As a moderator, I'd expect to contribute to this: respond to flags, delete unneeded comments, clean up bad posts.

As to the problems...

I vehemently disagree that SF is a toxic, hate-filled community. It's incredibly disheartening to hear multiple SE staff throw those terms around, lumping all of us together as being responsible for SF being that way.

I see complaints about questions being closed or downvoted unfairly on every SE site I follow, whereas here on SF, I'm sure we've had fewer accustions of "you guys are mean!" over the past year or so. Maybe the flag stats will show me to be wrong, and I'm sure some will dismiss this opinion with "you guys have scared everyone away," but I stand by it: ServerFault is not any more horrible than other SE sites.

OTOH, if I were a moderator, I would see the flags and just as I clean up as much stuff as a normal user can, I'd be quick to get rid of crappy, unconstructive comments. In addition to using the moderator tools, I'd continue to be active on meta, explaining how the site's intended to function.

The thing that most of the regulars - including me - think is the biggest problem with SF is that the site is swamped with lousy questions. Clear, interesting questison are drowned out by (just to mention a couple common examples) questions from people who are in way over their head ("Could you give me a complete step by step guide to do...") and questions about how to use a certain tool to solve a problem, but it's the wrong tool.

To be clear: "lousy" doesn't mean beginner questions, and it doesn't mean simple ones. The most common thing that identfies a lousy question is that the person asking doesn't really understand what they're doing and why. So if you try to clarify a question, they don't understand what you're asking them in comments, or they won't consider a different approach. Regardless of the exact definition, the result is that good content is hard to find, which for many people is a turn-off. We've had regulars disappear completely and we've had others drastically cut back their participation. Although new people do come along, it's harder for them to find good questions and then even though they give some excellent answers, they don't get the same acknowledgement because there are fewer people voting.

Can anything be done about the flood? I really don't know, and it's not obvious to me that a moderator can make a huge difference. Being able to mod-hammer questions closed might help a bit: I'm currenly slowly chipping away at old, questions by downvoting or voting to close (which then lets the auto-delete faeries get rid of them) but I regularly use up all my votes. It's been a couple years since I regularly read every single question on the site, but when I do go through them all, there are certainly a lot that could do with swift closure, so I think I'd focus on that: trying to make the good questions stand out as much as possible.

It's been suggested that iffy questions can be cleaned up and turned into gems, and maybe that would help, but I don't think that's a job for the moderators. Mods can encourage this sort of behaviour, but the bulk (and it's a huge bulk) of that work has to come from the larger community.

Specific Questions

What have you personally done to make Server Fault a more enjoyable place for professional system administrators?

I vote. A lot. The most. This election focussed on what to do about bad posts, but don't forget that voting up good posts is also important - it makes the good posts visible and motivates people to participate.

do you as a nominee feel that moderators should have term limits...

No, I'd let anyone who's ever been a mod, stay a mod. I'd like to see some of them participate more, but if the load on active mods gets too high, SE has shown they'll add more mods.

will you continue to delve the review-queues at your current rate?

I don't think that's possible. I'd step back from the review queues and give someone else a chance to do the most reviewing. :) As one close or reopen voter in 5, I've got no problem being pretty quick to judge, but if I were hammering questions closed or open, I'd be more circumspect. Since I'm not sure which questions become audits, I can't answer that part of the question, I'd have to wait and see how that works.

What would it take for you to consider a review-ban on someone for persistent over/under reviews?

I'm not sure what you mean by over/under reviews, if you mean incorrect reviews, I'd certainly consider banning people. I'm only active in close and re-open reviews and haven't seen too many signs of bad reviewing there (with one very noteworthy exception.)

Katherine's question(s) - "too nice," "too mean," or "just right"?

I think I've mostly answered these, but to be clear - I think we're close to "just right." I'd nuke unpleasant comments, I'd continue to vote, I'd try to give little nudges to improving the questions that have a hope of being salvaged.

The boring, standard SE questions:

The Q&A from the last election in early 2013 had similar questions if anyone wants to check them out: 2013 Moderator Election Q&A - Questionnaire

Do you agree with this proposal?

Is there an administrative requirement to post on Server Fault?

I think these are covered by my previous comments.

  • 11
    I'm troubled that you think SE staff have said (or even think) that all this community's members are hostile or toxic. I won't speak for my peers, but I know for a fact that SF has tons of awesome, generous participants, many of whom are also patient and kind, sometimes even to some folks who haven't earned it. I do think this community has been more challenged than others by lost drive-bys, and the result has been much more visible pockets of hostility than almost any other of our sites have, but we know there are tons of givers here, including those who've lost patience of late. – Jaydles Nov 24 '14 at 22:14
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    @Jaydles I'm referring to Shog's comments on HopelessN00b's nomination and Zyper's answer and Kyle's comment here: meta.serverfault.com/a/6703/6177 We're all lumped together as being "a community full of hate" – Ward Nov 24 '14 at 23:13
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    Regarding review-queues. There are some admin stats available that really show the differences between reviewers. In the last 30 days, of the people with >100 close-reviews, the close-vote percentage ranges from 59% to 95%. – sysadmin1138 Nov 25 '14 at 0:58
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    @Ward A large part of why I took that the mod comments so poorly was because it left me with a feeling that we're avoided by SE until opportunities to say things like this present themselves. This is a really crappy, morale murdering impression that I hope I remain in the minority on. A 24 hour break got my head back in the game, but this isn't exactly the best way for multiple mods to make their reintroduction. – Andrew B Nov 25 '14 at 5:15
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    @AndrewB Don't worry the jewellers shop full of diamonds will be as absent as ever before the year ends. – Iain Nov 25 '14 at 6:19
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    @AndrewB "this isn't exactly the best way for multiple mods to make their reintroduction" What you said. – Katherine Villyard Nov 25 '14 at 12:37
  • @sysadmin1138 regarding the close review queue. Call me selfish, but once I hit 1,000 reviews in it, I really stopped caring to go in there often. There was no fake reward to be had at that point. Maybe the badges could reset at 1,000 after giving the gold reward and start over for multiples of the same review badges? – TheCleaner Nov 25 '14 at 14:10
  • In the sense of the hostility, SO is much worser as SF. – peterh Nov 28 '14 at 20:13
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    I just want to point out, this guy has the best overall combination of experience in activities relevant to moderation--reviewing, flagging, editing, meta.sf & MSE participation, participation at multiple SE sites. His voting record (both number and up/down ratio) shows understanding of what makes SE sites tick (poor questions should be downvoted, but more importantly upvotes encourage positive participation). And I think his answers show the right approach to helping SF succeed--get rid of truly useless noise without being too exclusive and chasing people off for not being advanced enough. – Adi Inbar Dec 2 '14 at 0:56
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What have you personally done to make Server Fault a more enjoyable place for professional system administrators?

I answer questions, and when I have a question I can't easily answer myself or something useful to share with the community, I ask questions. This is one of the most important things there is to do.

I also review a lot, and vote a good bit. This helps people use the site, and helps preserve the site's focus. It also helps me keep an eye on potential problem areas or trends.

There is a lot of discussion about the quality of questions on SF; this is a topic that comes up regularly in meta. In fact, meta sometimes feels like the same two questions over and over again: "Our site is dying! How can we encourage better questions?" and "Why are you guys so mean?" Do you believe that site quality is really a problem? Do you believe the two questions are related? If so, where do you stand on how to encourage better questions? and is it your opinion that our site is "too nice," "too mean," or "just right"?

The quality is a bit of a problem at the moment, and it has been a problem for the past 1-2 years. That we hear so much about it on meta supports that there is a problem. I wish we didn't hear quite so much about it, which was the idea behind the tag. You'll see me involved in a few meta Q&As in that tag.

There are several facets to this complex problem, and there isn't one easy or simple solution.

Obviously, we need to have a quick reaction time when it comes to absolute garbage finding its way to the front page. A lot of things that are absolute garbage here are decent questions elsewhere:

  • Abstract or basic UNIX questions
  • Non-admin webmaster questions (cpanel et. al., shared hosting)
  • User or home questions
  • Very niche database questions

We want to migrate those ASAP. They will get more attention on other sites, and they will only attract negative attention here.

Other types of questions merit immediate closure:

  • Questions with no research effort and no problem statement
  • Questions asking clearly and only for product recommendations or tutorials
  • Questions requesting one-on-one help and with no other content
  • Questions that are clear and exact duplicates of canonical questions
  • Spam

Others merely require editing to remove lightning rods:

  • Questions that include superfluous things that people zero in on and ignore the rest of the question
  • Questions full of broken English
  • Questions with an implicit and slightly unclear problem statement

If we made use of these user moderation tools more, we would have less trouble in general, and we would set a good example. Migration would help show people which site is right for them, without being mean.

That would help get us all out of the ornery mentality the river of terrible Q&A has put our high-rep users into. There are a lot of mediocre but alright questions getting closed too.

On the other hand, we also need a better way to close duplicates. Closing questions as duplicates is another usually-positive closure that helps prevent us from always seeing the same questions, and gets the asker an answer, but it's hard because the search is so bad. This could stand some development action and should be a higher priority.

Continually adjusting the close reasons is also helpful. I appreciate the removal of "minimal understanding"; there are better, less overbroad reasons. That one in particular had an unfortunate flavour and use of calling people idiots.

I don't think the site is dying, and I think that we can encourage better questions by encouraging user involvement. Moderators lead that by example. If we stopped being mean in the few ways we are actually mean, we could also create a positive and more attractive environment for the kind of people we do actually want here.

Do you as a nominee feel that moderators should have term limits or be required to be re-elected? Do you feel there should be a way to formally ask a moderator to "step down" for inactivity based on a vote of the users or is this something that should only be handled by other moderators and/or SE staff?

I don't see a clear problem right now that this solves, besides perhaps the general issue of equity and fairness. However, it's probably the case that people elected moderator should be removed from the post if they don't even visit the site for a year or so. You have to remain in touch with the community to represent it.

I think re-elections would create a lot of election fatigue for very little gain. If there were a moderator who was causing strife and refused to step down, that would be a problem that should be dealt with individually, and prompted by discussion in meta.

Since mod-decisions remove questions and answers from the review-queue which can become later audit-items to trip up other reviewers, will you continue to delve the review-queues at your current rate?

Absolutely not. There are a lot more reviewers than just me. I intend to assist in clearing out the queues when the community can't keep up, and review with a very light hand otherwise.

Another consequence that isn't mentioned here is that a moderator acting alone has less appearance (and form!) of community consensus than several high-reputation users acting in concert. You can expect to see me accelerate inevitable and correct reviews by "signing off" on them, I suppose, but I'd prefer to act with the community rather than instead of it wherever I can.

On the other hand, you can expect to see me taking an active role in the front page.

As a moderator you can see how other people are reviewing content. What would it take for you to consider a review-ban on someone for persistent over/under reviews?

A great deal of wrong. One thing about the review queues is that just one person acting badly, or acting in the interest of their review stats without contributing to the site, has very limited impact. Closing, for instance, takes 5.

There is a balance here. Robotic reviewing, or gaming the review queue for stats, does paradoxically indicate that the reviewer places some value in the community. On the other hand, bad reviews are slightly harmful, and annoy people who are actually contributing.

It might just be best to talk to the reviewer, using a review ban only to provide weight to the discussion so it cannot be ignored.

What is your strategy for improving the quality and professionalism of questions users first encounter when visiting Server Fault?

To answer that, one needs to start with a detailed understanding of what users are seeing when they first visit us. I don't think most of them first visit the front page. I'd imagine it goes something like this:

  1. Search google
  2. See a slightly related SF Q&A
  3. Read it; see that there is/isn't an answer

If there is an answer, this person will probably use it, and might click on other things and see the front page. They already have the right impression, probably.

If there isn't an answer, this person will probably ask a new question. Their impression will have been the question they landed at.

This is why it's important to deal with the front page rapidly, but it's also why we need to close and delete old low-quality content.

What often happens right now is that the person asks a mediocre question after not reading the FAQ-like material they are presented, and gets dogpiled. This is a pretty bad first impression that prevents the community from growing. Slow question closure makes that dogpiling worse.

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?

Talk to them! Also, deleting comments that are merely flapping is appropriate. They give people a bad impression and are useless to people reading the Q&A.

I would want that user to stay on the site.

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

Again, talk to them! I think this situation is rare, but if the diamonds are incapable of speaking with one voice it just discredits them all.

I'm very loathe to engage in reversion wars with people. I prefer to address patterns, and in this case, the only way to address the pattern is to sync up.

Do you agree with this proposal? Would you believe it to help us? Would you still want to be a moderator if this became effective?

I've been thinking and saying this for a long time. I've answered a lot of easy questions. Sometimes I go in the close queue, and pull things out of it to answer. I wish that were less of a thing.

I don't think easy questions are inherently bad.

What is bad then?

  • Repetitive questions. Close them as a duplicate, especially of a canonical question.
  • "Do my job for me" questions. It's better to have questions that other people can learn from.
  • Questions about things that aren't really system administration: info systems homework, home questions (even with a complex home setup), questions about media servers for personal use, questions about how to stand up an email server for sending spam, etc.

If it isn't like that, and it's just a simple question with a simple answer, we should write the answer! The beauty of it is that lots of people can answer these questions. If you're bored by it, don't, and someone newer and fresher or maybe just someone else will do it.

Not all our questions need to require extremely specialized knowledge to solve. In fact, our field will be better if we answer simple questions that help newer or less skilled sysadmins build foundational skills.

Is there an administrative requirement to post on Server Fault? Do you need to be in control of policy, or is it enough to know your job (as a sysadmin)?

I think that you need to have enough access to your environment that it doesn't create artificial constraints. Working around other people isn't a feature of our profession, it's a failing of an organization. And, it's a very thin gray line between circumventing another department's complacency and circumventing policy or breaching security.

I don't think a lot of the highly skilled sysadmins we want to keep around here are very interested in countenancing that kind of thing. I know I don't like answering those questions.

You don't need to be the director of IT to post here, but you do need to accept an answer that has components you'll need to work with someone else (support; other people in your organization) to implement. If the asker comes back in a comment and angrily complains that we need to give them another answer because they "can't" do something the right way, they are in the wrong.

We've had that discussion a lot in meta, and generally come up with this answer. Here's one such meta Q&A: http://meta.serverfault.com/q/6259/126699.

I addressed basically this exact issue here: http://meta.serverfault.com/a/5932/126699.

I said this, among other things:

A question is thoughtless if the asker is mindlessly doing inadvisable things and is not open to alternatives that follow BCP. This is the "My boss told me to bathe all our servers in water; how?" type of question, or the "We will be using windows for workgroups until 2038; how do I secure it?" type of question.

Thanks for staying with me for these complex responses to the deceptively complex questions! I'd be happy to answer more of them, if anyone wants.

  • Great answers, thanks! A couple little follow-ups, if you don't mind: you can expect to see me taking an active role in the front page - I think I understand what you're saying but just to confirm, this means squashing the kinds of questions you mentioned earlier as meriting immediate closure? Questions about things that aren't really system administration - Would you include "questions from someone who says they're a developer, but they're doing sysadmin work" in that category? – Shane Madden Nov 25 '14 at 0:44
  • Questions from developers are often bad, but aren't automatically bad. Most of them don't merit immediate closure, though a few of them merit immediate migration. An active role in the front page means both commenting and immediate closure where warranted, but again, only in very clear cases. – Falcon Momot Nov 25 '14 at 1:05
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    Thanks for clarifying - you have my vote! – Shane Madden Nov 25 '14 at 1:16
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    I really like your answer about easy questions. As a newer person to the IT world I often dread asking something because someone else might find it easy... Which is a difficult position to be in (at which point is my question hard enough?) – Reaces Nov 25 '14 at 15:36
  • If I had just one vote, I think this would be it (though tough call between him and Ward). Excellent mix of relevant experience (reviewing, flagging, editing, meta.sf and MSE participation, participation at multiple SE sites, frequent voting), but in particular I think his answers here and in meta are exceptionally sensible and thoughtful, and show both the right temperament for a mod and exactly the right approach to fostering both the site's participation level and usefulness. – Adi Inbar Dec 2 '14 at 1:12
  • If there's anything here I disagree with, it's that, being an avid reviewer myself, I think he's WAY too nice to robo-reviewers and rubber-stampers. :) But I do see the point about the occasional bad reviewer having limited impact that might not be worth risking offending people who are trying to be helpful...perhaps SF has a lower proportion of careless reviewers than what I'm used to at SO, making it less important to weed them out. – Adi Inbar Dec 2 '14 at 1:14
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What have you personally done to make Server Fault a more enjoyable place for professional system administrators?

The same things I would as a moderator :)

Answering and cleaning up relevant questions and I'd continue to move or delete off-topic questions and answers. I'd like to think I already set a good example there.

There is a lot of discussion about the quality of questions on SF; this is a topic that comes up regularly in meta. In fact, meta sometimes feels like the same two questions over and over again: "Our site is dying! How can we encourage better questions?" and "Why are you guys so mean?" Do you believe that site quality is really a problem? Do you believe the two questions are related? If so, where do you stand on how to encourage better questions? and is it your opinion that our site is "too nice," "too mean," or "just right"?

There is a reason that for the past 20 years Simon Travaglia's long running BOFH series continues to have enormous appeal to system administrators.

Many problems really require only a generous application of the LART. In SF terms, they need migration to SuperUser. Some of our contributors are polite about that, others leave PC where it belongs, in the office where they get paid for it and prefer to make unambiguous comments.

Technology is often like that, unambiguous. You're either doing it right and it works, or you're doing something wrong. They're no shades of grey, almost doesn't make it work.

That simple fact is reflected in our professions communication.

People often attribute too much emotion to what gets written online and those should probably stick to interpreting poetry instead of requesting advice from acerbic system administrators giving blunt direct answers or, heaven forbid, who are trying to be funny.

Do you as a nominee feel that moderators should have term limits or be required to be re-elected? Do you feel there should be a way to formally ask a moderator to "step down" for inactivity based on a vote of the users or is this something that should only be handled by other moderators and/or SE staff?

Inactive moderators don't hurt the community, only when there are insufficient active ones problems can arise. AFAIK there is no upper limit to the amount of moderators that can exists within a SE site.

In the past moderators have stepped down (for reasons I'm not privy to) and there's a community process mentioned/detailed in Meta on moderator removal as well. I don't think there is a current problem that would be solved with fixed terms, but I might be mistaken.

Since mod-decisions remove questions and answers from the review-queue which can become later audit-items to trip up other reviewers, will you continue to delve the review-queues at your current rate?

I haven't seen the moderator tools yet, so I don't know...

As a moderator you can see how other people are reviewing content. What would it take for you to consider a review-ban on someone for persistent over/under reviews?

How long is a piece of string?

Typically excesses are blindingly obvious and those will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

What is your strategy for improving the quality and professionalism of questions users first encounter when visiting Server Fault?

What I already often do, leave a hint as a comment with their question or edit it directly.

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?

Generally speaking discussion and critical thinking is a good thing.
Some of those discussions do not warrant preserving for future readers after their conclusion though. Let's delete those.

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

That depends on how much I care about the particular question/answer. I'd probably request clarification in SF moderator chat.

Do you agree with this proposal? Would you believe it to help us? Would you still want to be a moderator if this became effective?

The active members of the community are the ones who decide on the scope of the site and are the principle arbiters of whether any question merits an answer or not.

The scope of the site is not immutable, technologies change (I hesitate to say improve), trends and fashion change and we change with them. I don't know when might be too much.

Is there an administrative requirement to post on Server Fault? Do you need to be in control of policy, or is it enough to know your job (as a sysadmin)?

The moderator role only works when it is respected by the community. Actions speak louder than words, and posting on Server Fault is one way to establish your credibility, but also not the only one.

15

What have you personally done to make Server Fault a more enjoyable place for professional system administrators?

Mainly answering questions, a lot of voting and a bit of reviewing. I believe that asking good questions and providing good answers is the single most important thing to do on Serverfault.

There is a lot of discussion about the quality of questions on SF; this is a topic that comes up regularly in meta. In fact, meta sometimes feels like the same two questions over and over again: "Our site is dying! How can we encourage better questions?" and "Why are you guys so mean?" Do you believe that site quality is really a problem? Do you believe the two questions are related? If so, where do you stand on how to encourage better questions? and is it your opinion that our site is "too nice," "too mean," or "just right"?

Yes, I believe the quality of a lot of questions is a major problem (I think it is the most urgent problem we have) and that this is also a major contributing factor to people becoming less friendly then we would like them to be, as seeing a steady stream of crap has the potential to make people angry.

The sad thing is that this problem is at least as old as the Usenet and BBS systems and that we are in fact still in the Eternal September. It's a simple but unfortunate fact: If you don't enforce it by effective and strict limitations on what can get published, there will always be a large number of people ignoring every hint, help and regulation as long as they have a chance to get their crap published. For some reason, StackExchange was modeled in a way that just ignores this and only provides tools to deal with it afterwards.

I don't see how I really could encourage better questions in the current system. I just can try to deal with the bad ones and as a moderator, I would have more powerful tools to do that.

Do you as a nominee feel that moderators should have term limits or be required to be re-elected? Do you feel there should be a way to formally ask a moderator to "step down" for inactivity based on a vote of the users or is this something that should only be handled by other moderators and/or SE staff?

I don't think term limits are really necessary, but I have no real preferences regarding this. Regarding a formal "please step down" vote from users, I dont' think it's a good idea. Life has many ways to make other things more important and getting told you are not wanted as a mod anymore while dealing with a major situation in your life is something I wouldn't want to experience. However, communication is key - you should tell at least your fellow mods if you are out for bit and step down on your own accord if it gets clear you are not coming back in the foreseeable future.

Since mod-decisions remove questions and answers from the review-queue which can become later audit-items to trip up other reviewers, will you continue to delve the review-queues at your current rate?

I can't really say, as I don't know what other tools would be at my disposal as a mod. I will however hijack this to say what I always say when the review audit system comes up: Please get rid of this now. In my opinion, this is the most absurd and outright stupid feature StackExchange has. Just stop handing out useless internet points ("badges") for clicking the same button 20 times a day and you don't need to insult real reviewers anymore.

As a moderator you can see how other people are reviewing content. What would it take for you to consider a review-ban on someone for persistent over/under reviews?

I don't know what "over/under review" means but I would consider a ban when I get the impression someone wants to get a few useless internet points by clicking the same button 20 times a day (why can he still get those?) or he is out to wreak havoc. This would not be an instant action though, a proper warning as a first step is necessary.

What is your strategy for improving the quality and professionalism of questions users first encounter when visiting Server Fault?

See above. We have no real tool to prevent crap from being posted, but I think about how outright deleting instead of just closing it might help. That's something I often thought about in the past: Why not insta-delete this garbage? I have some other ideas, but those would require changes to how the site works, which I can't influence as a mod.

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's a cost-benefit consideration really. Is he more worth than the trouble he costs? Try to make him play nice and clear up behind him when necessary. If things get out of hand, send him into the sin bin for a bit. If even that doesn't help, show him the red card. This really should be a very last resort though, and discussed among the mod team.

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

If it's an obvious error, reopen it. Otherwise: If I feel it's important, likely get in contact with the other mod, but not every question is worth doing this, even if I wouldn't have closed it.

Do you agree with this proposal? Would you believe it to help us? Would you still want to be a moderator if this became effective?

Yes. I managed to completely misunderstand it when first reading it (and strongly disagreed with what I thought Shane proposed) but to a large degree I do agree with what he really proposes.

I would likely draw the line at something like the hobby project on the VPS though.

Is there an administrative requirement to post on Server Fault? Do you need to be in control of policy, or is it enough to know your job (as a sysadmin)?

I really don't get what is asked here, but I believe this question comes originally from someone disgruntled with our "no firewall/policy/whatever circumvention" rule, which I consider important.

Other than that: Of course, your role in your organization must allow you to implement what you have learned here.


Thanks for reading all this and for participating in the election process. Are things unclear? Do you have further questions or remarks? Please feel free to ask.

  • 2
    I'd like to quickly comment on your "delete instead of close" comment. As a person who's still relatively new to SE and SF I'd like you to reconsider. I've removed my own question before, when someone was able to point me to a similar question (worded in a way that didnt occur to me when I was researching the issue). And allowing for deletions will at some point (probably, most likely) lead to the kind of question I posed being deleted. With all the frustration and confusion that comes with that. – Reaces Nov 26 '14 at 9:25
  • 2
    @Reaces: What I was talking about was to more often delete clearly off-topic, redundant or irrecoverably bad questions. As an example, this question posted this morning would be a candidate for deletion (if you can't see it, it's gone as even non-mod users with >= 10k rep can vote to delete closed questions without answers and three downvotes). Care has to be taken to take a measured approach for this and it's something I would discuss with my co-mods first. – Sven Nov 26 '14 at 10:02
  • I think getting rid of review audits and badges would be a very bad idea. The "gamification" system flat-out works, and no amount of pontificating about how people "should" be motivated by wanting to improve the site and not by gaining "useless internet points" can change the reality that if those "useless internet points" were removed, reviewing activity would crater, and, I want to emphasize, the supply of diligent reviewers would dry up almost to the same extent as the supply of reviewers who just want internet points for the least amount of effort. I'd put money on it. – Adi Inbar Dec 2 '14 at 1:22
  • I do think that the gamification system is a double-edged sword, and that it incentivizes abuse as well as conscientious contributions, but dumping out the baby with the bathwater is the wrong approach. The right approach is the one taken: hand out the badges and stats, but actively weed out those who abuse the system. On the contrary, I think the audit system should be strengthened and honed rather than abolished. – Adi Inbar Dec 2 '14 at 1:26
  • @AdiInbar: I strongly disagree with the idea that you can use something like the audit system to solve a people problem, especially if it as crappy and broken as this audit system. Technology can't solve people problems. Also, as usual, this crap was introduced network-wide to solve a SO problem that just doesn't really exist on SF. Anyway, I wouldn't even care if there at least was the option to not be eligible for collecting a few pixels of nothing in exchange for unhindered review. They could take away all my stupid badges if they would just stop to insult me... – Sven Dec 2 '14 at 12:34
  • @Sven Could you elaborate on where your repeated "Insult me" statement comes from? Is this some SF thing I'm as of yet not aware of? – Reaces Dec 2 '14 at 15:29
  • @Reaces: It might be irrational, but I feel insulted when some programmer decides it's OK to implement these nonsensical checks that do nothing but slow me down and steal my time (whenever something appears to be strange, I open a link to the original question because of this) and then manage to top it up with messages that feel condescending even if you "pass" the test and get real insulting if you fail it because a) you have a different opinion if something should be closed or b) the programmer failed to anticipate yet another special case that will trip you even if you are careful. – Sven Dec 2 '14 at 15:50
  • @Sven This would be in the review process for closing posts? I can't really see how the whole process works because I lack the points to access it. And it'll probably take a long time at my rate getting those points :P (Seeing as how I mostly comment and ask questions, as opposed to answering them) – Reaces Dec 2 '14 at 15:53
  • Case in point: Just yesterday, I got an failed audit because of an answer where somewhere made a verbatim copy of another answer and was downvoted and deleted because of it. The original answer was OK, so I acted accordingly because I couldn't see the whole picture. No, dear unknown StackExchange programmer, it wasn't me who failed... – Sven Dec 2 '14 at 15:54
  • @Reaces: Yes, it's about the review process. Some time ago, SE decided to introduce an audit system where they inserted special review objects that need to be answered in a special way to pass a test. The idea is to prevent people to just click through the review process to earn some badges you can earn for participating in the review process without paying attention. – Sven Dec 2 '14 at 15:58
  • @Sven Hmmm..."technology can't solve people problems" has a nice aphoristic ring to it, but I think it's too broad and vague a generalization to be very meaningful. My question is whether the audit system serves a useful function, and my answer is absolutely yes. The kinds of things you seem to see as objections to the system as a whole, I see as specific issues that could be improved. That's what I mean when I say it should be honed rather than eliminated. – Adi Inbar Dec 2 '14 at 17:53
  • For example, regarding audits being a waste of time, I don't think it would be a bad idea to implement some system for achieving "trusted reviewer" status after one has a demonstrated track record for diligent reviewing. I also think there are some methodological flaws in how review audits are selected, and the case you raised pertains to one of them. Too long for comments, I'll get around to discussing this at MSE one of these days. But, I see these as areas for improvement, not reasons for getting rid of the system. – Adi Inbar Dec 2 '14 at 17:55
  • In any case, it's hard for me to identify with being personally insulted by a canned message that I know results from an imperfection in an automated system. It should be no more insulting than getting an error message saying you've entered invalid data due to a bug in some program you're using. It may be annoying, but not an insult. In fact, I think you make a case for why it shouldn't be insulting--if you know that you only "failed" because some programmer who doesn't know you from Adam made a tenuous assumption in designing how audits are selected, then what's there to be offended about? – Adi Inbar Dec 2 '14 at 18:00
  • To be fair...if you say that the audit system addresses an SO problem that doesn't exist at SF, I'll have to defer to you on that, since my reviewing experience comes from SO. However, if that's the case, it's only because SO is an order of magnitude more popular. If SF achieves its goal and becomes the preeminent IT Q&A resource on the Internet, you can bet you'll see those same problems. – Adi Inbar Dec 2 '14 at 18:20
  • @Sven Funnily enough, just to see what you ment I tried out the review. And I ended up "passing" a test by upvoting an answer you provided :) – Reaces Dec 2 '14 at 20:58
9

What have you personally done to make Server Fault a more enjoyable place for professional system administrators?

By ensuring I'm active in all aspects of the side and contributing what I can to the site (voting, asking questions, answering questions) I help make Server Fault a better place by setting some examples of content that is welcome on the site. I've climbed the reputation ladder relatively quickly which speaks to my participation on the site.

There is a lot of discussion about the quality of questions on SF; this is a topic that comes up regularly in meta. In fact, meta sometimes feels like the same two questions over and over again: "Our site is dying! How can we encourage better questions?" and "Why are you guys so mean?" Do you believe that site quality is really a problem? Do you believe the two questions are related? If so, where do you stand on how to encourage better questions? and is it your opinion that our site is "too nice," "too mean," or "just right"?

Server Fault is geared towards professionals, so it's understandable that people will close and/or downvote questions that don't meet the criteria. While this is fine (and encouraged to ensure a healthy site), I feel that because SF is such a close-knit community in some respects, we tend to slam the hammer down on new users right away. I attribute this to burn-out - because of the sheer volume of off-topic questions we receive on a daily basis, the same people end up closing/downvoting the questions and eventually just stop caring altogether. We really should work harder at educating users and encourage them to ask a better question. We should broaden our "criteria" a bit and make it clear what's definitely not appropriate, because after all, what seems as a very simple question to a seasoned sysadmin may leave someone relatively new to server administration stumped. We all started as newbies!

Do you as a nominee feel that moderators should have term limits or be required to be re-elected? Do you feel there should be a way to formally ask a moderator to "step down" for inactivity based on a vote of the users or is this something that should only be handled by other moderators and/or SE staff?

Mods should be able to serve as long as they are willing to. If a moderator simply does not have the time to contribute to the site and hold onto their position, they should resign and allow a new face on-board.

Since mod-decisions remove questions and answers from the review-queue which can become later audit-items to trip up other reviewers, will you continue to delve the review-queues at your current rate?

If anything, I'll be reviewing more and more as these queues can help shape the site's content and what our community is like.

As a moderator you can see how other people are reviewing content. What would it take for you to consider a review-ban on someone for persistent over/under reviews?

If someone is outright abusing their access to the review queues, action of course would need to be taken. This is usually caused by people who simply don't pay attention and try to badge-farm which is frowned upon.

What is your strategy for improving the quality and professionalism of questions users first encounter when visiting Server Fault?

We really need to encourage voting to push the well-asked questions to the front page. Those with knowledge in the subject areas of the questions can edit them to be more concise, and of course asking for additional information from the asker always helps.

Of course, there comes a point where questions are simply unsalvagable and should be closed. In this case, the community acts by casting close votes and downvoting them.

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?

The simplest way I think would to be have a dialogue with the user in question to figure out why the user lashes out against others. A user who doesn't get along well with others is just as toxic as a user who posts poor answers consistently, so a possible restriction on posting/commenting may be warranted in extreme cases.

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

Talk to the mod in question to find out their reasoning behind it. Often, they have a good reason for taking action against the question (in question...) and often it's best to trust their judgement.

Do you agree with this proposal? Would you believe it to help us? Would you still want to be a moderator if this became effective?

Absolutely. I truly believe that by embracing some of the "beginner"-quality questions, we can help the users who really need it which will drive them to contribute instead of driving them away when we slam the door on their face. As a moderator I would thoroughly support this.

Is there an administrative requirement to post on Server Fault? Do you need to be in control of policy, or is it enough to know your job (as a sysadmin)?

Even a user doesn't necessarily control the machine in question, it's still important to entertain the question so that the user understands what they're getting into and what is required to resolve their problem. If administrative access is what it takes, telling them this so they get pointed in the right direction is the right way to do it. I believe that Stack Exchange as a whole is a valuable learning tool (I've learned tons myself from my visits), so posting what seems to be an obvious question to an expert may yield valuable information and a second look onto things.

8

What have you personally done to make Server Fault a more enjoyable place for professional system administrators?

Well, like the other high rep users, my primary method of making Server Fault a more enjoyable place for professional admins is by providing high quality questions and answers. I'm also one of the more active voters on the site (3rd this this year, 11th overall), one of the more active reviewers, with over 6,000 reviews (and 5 steward badges), and to my knowledge, have more helpful flags than anyone, with over 2,000.

I also like to go the extra mile by helping with humor and guiding with glibness. Whether it's a poor IRC user who needs to be told that slugs (and animals in general) don't usually come with Ethernet ports, or a server admin who needs to be told that a flashing orange warning LED indicates a warning condition of some kind, I relish the opportunity to help my fellow man while providing a chuckle to to future readers.

There is a lot of discussion about the quality of questions on SF; this is a topic that comes up regularly in meta. In fact, meta sometimes feels like the same two questions over and over again: "Our site is dying! How can we encourage better questions?" and "Why are you guys so mean?" Do you believe that site quality is really a problem? Do you believe the two questions are related? If so, where do you stand on how to encourage better questions? and is it your opinion that our site is "too nice," "too mean," or "just right"?

Of the options provided, "just right." Though, if I can pick my own, it would be "too tolerant of whiny non-sysadmins." The flood of crappy non-sysadmin questions and the occasional over-reaction by the community to marginal questions are definitely linked, and something that a motivated moderator can mitigate - by hammering the crap before it has a chance to be seen by and sour the rest of the community.

Do you as a nominee feel that moderators should have term limits or be required to be re-elected? Do you feel there should be a way to formally ask a moderator to "step down" for inactivity based on a vote of the users or is this something that should only be handled by other moderators and/or SE staff?

Not especially. I don't think it's a problem at present, and am not a fan of preemptive policy. If it becomes a problem in some way or another, I feel confident that the existing moderators and SE staff are equipped to handle it.

Since mod-decisions remove questions and answers from the review-queue which can become later audit-items to trip up other reviewers, will you continue to delve the review-queues at your current rate?

Yes. I expect I'll use the "Skip" option a lot more, but there's plenty of clear-cut review items that benefit from having a mod hammer them.

As a moderator you can see how other people are reviewing content. What would it take for you to consider a review-ban on someone for persistent over/under reviews?

A primary account at Stack Overflow. Or other indicators of flagrant abuse/harm.

What is your strategy for improving the quality and professionalism of questions users first encounter when visiting Server Fault?

Hammering shut the crap and handing out bans to those who can't manage to ask an on-topic, coherent 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?

Being one such person, and being able to confidently say that I'm awesome, it would depend on the nature of the comments. In my case, I'd probably message me to say that the flagged comments are amusing, and the flaggers clearly lack a sense of humor. If the comments aren't funny, I'd probably tell the user to try to be nice, as hard as it can be, and probably delete the comments.

Bottom line, they're comments. Stack Exchange has made it abundantly clear that they couldn't care less about comments... so why should we?

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

I would politely, calmly, and logically tell the other moderator why they were wrong, and so long as the other moderator agreed to not be wrong in the future, there would be no problem.

Seriously, is this a real problem? Seems like the trivial kind of thing any two grown adults could sort out with a minimum of conversation and no drama to me, but maybe I'm just extra-awesome.

Do you agree with this proposal? Would you believe it to help us? Would you still want to be a moderator if this became effective?

I agree that the word "professional" is evidently confusing to a lot of people, somehow, and would be fine with changing it to be more clear about our focus on a certain minimum level of quality, and "doing it right."

At the end of the day, there's still the custom close reason that can be used to indicate that the question is poor quality, "doing it wrong" or just plain not-topical for Server Fault.

Personally, I think this is just going to lead to more drama from people who get their WAMP/crappy home setup/whatever questions slammed shut, but whatever.

Is there an administrative requirement to post on Server Fault? Do you need to be in control of policy, or is it enough to know your job (as a sysadmin)?

It depends to some degree on the question - questions about how best to implement policy or design a system or script [foo] don't generally require administrative access, but questions on how to fix something generally do require administrative access. Either way, though, questions from sysadmins who know their jobs would be an improvement over the current norm, so I'd be... somewhat hesitant to close a good question if the only problem was a lack of administrative access by the asker.

6

Howdy and thank you for considering me for the moderator position on SE. Just to be brief and concise, I'll be answering the specific questions posed in the base note.

What have you personally done to make Server Fault a more enjoyable place for professional system administrators?

Whenever I can I answer and comment on the questions that I am knowledgeable thus keeping this as a place for answers to questions. Where I see things that can be changed for the better, I have made requests and comments.

There is a lot of discussion about the quality of questions on SF; this is a topic that comes up regularly in meta. In fact, meta sometimes feels like the same two questions over and over again: "Our site is dying! How can we encourage better questions?" and "Why are you guys so mean?" Do you believe that site quality is really a problem? Do you believe the two questions are related? If so, where do you stand on how to encourage better questions? and is it your opinion that our site is "too nice," "too mean," or "just right"?

To encourage better questions, the first thing that this SE needs is do define more specifically what our charter is, i.e. who we are, what do we want to represent and then act via moderation, voting, and reviewing on these objectives. I know that this has been debated a number of times but the result has always been quite unfocused. The SF community are a informed and diverse group making specific consensus difficult. The communiity must decide what are "good" and "bad" questions for this forum. When SF started, there were fewer specific SE sites addressing more specific items. Now there are many more options that many of the posters are not aware of.

Do you as a nominee feel that moderators should have term limits or be required to be re-elected? Do you feel there should be a way to formally ask a moderator to "step down" for inactivity based on a vote of the users or is this something that should only be handled by other moderators and/or SE staff?

Moderation is much more work than just being a user, or a reviewer. Moderators, based on what the community dictates, should be there to educate, inform and enforce. This being the case, it is appealing to have this be a rotating post, as long as the group charter and objectives are clear and precise. Personally, if the moderator is doing a good job, I'd let them stay in their position unless the user community had some issues. Maybe what is needed is a periodic vote of confidence of the current moderation staff by the SE community. As it stands now, unless the moderator steps down there are no procedures that I am aware of to address recall of a moderator by the SE community.

Since mod-decisions remove questions and answers from the review-queue which can become later audit-items to trip up other reviewers, will you continue to delve the review-queues at your current rate?

Personally, I really hate the audit process as currently implemented. As an opinionated and informed reviewer, I disagree many times with some of the selections and some of the results. As part of a moderators' duty is review, I would continue to process entires in all of the review queues.

As a moderator you can see how other people are reviewing content. What would it take for you to consider a review-ban on someone for persistent over/under reviews?

SF is a COMMUNITY composed of a wide diversity of people with differing opinions and experience. That is why a vote of FIVE DIFFERENT people are needed to close questions. I think that with our informed community this is sufficient for control.

What is your strategy for improving the quality and professionalism of questions users first encounter when visiting Server Fault?

Good answers, constant reviews, constant comments and feedback to the community.

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?

Each case is different as are the many users in the forum. The question does not say whether these are valid arguments or flags. Of course, we cannot tolerate abuse but discussion and conflicting opinions can be something healthy.

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

The moderation team relies on trust between its members. If I personally felt there was a problem, I would contact the moderator directly to elicit some discussion. But undoing another moderators' actions is not something that should be done lightly.

Do you agree with this proposal? Would you believe it to help us? Would you still want to be a moderator if this became effective?

As a moderator, one has to take the community into account over the opinions of one single person. This would have to be a community decision and as a moderator, I'd of course follow any modifications in the guidelines.

Is there an administrative requirement to post on Server Fault? Do you need to be in control of policy, or is it enough to know your job (as a sysadmin)?

A moderator has more credibility if they have been involved with the forum for a period of time. Also, they can do a much more effective job knowing how thing in the forum work.

Thank you for your time and hopefully vote for me. :-)

-4

What have you personally done to make Server Fault a more enjoyable place for professional system administrators?

I've already marked some wrong post to move thems to superuser or stackoverflow...

There is a lot of discussion about the quality of questions on SF; this is a topic that comes up regularly in meta. In fact, meta sometimes feels like the same two questions over and over again: "Our site is dying! How can we encourage better questions?" and "Why are you guys so mean?" Do you believe that site quality is really a problem? Do you believe the two questions are related? If so, where do you stand on how to encourage better questions? and is it your opinion that our site is "too nice," "too mean," or "just right"?

I don't think ServerFault is dying, I prefer a quiet, but focused site over a wall whith thousand of tags...

Do you as a nominee feel that moderators should have term limits or be required to be re-elected? Do you feel there should be a way to formally ask a moderator to "step down" for inactivity based on a vote of the users or is this something that should only be handled by other moderators and/or SE staff?

No, I think that someone (like myself) could become busy for a while, but don't change for his interest. If there is a good person, inactivity could mean busy for now.

If it's a good person, I hope they want leave this moderator job by himself if they can't more supply.

Since mod-decisions remove questions and answers from the review-queue which can become later audit-items to trip up other reviewers, will you continue to delve the review-queues at your current rate?

I'm not very constant. If I'm in a big job, I could diseappear for some weeks...

Anyways, whenever I could invest some time, I try to browse approx everywhere... In this, ServerFault is located at top of my personnal stack (before LinkedIn and StackOverflow a little after SecurityFocus)

As a moderator you can see how other people are reviewing content. What would it take for you to consider a review-ban on someone for persistent over/under reviews?

Poor vocabulary, poor quality, bad words, no respect... All together, but I dislike the idea of ban. It must be real reasons before I use this kind of answers

What is your strategy for improving the quality and professionalism of questions users first encounter when visiting Server Fault?

Every time I downvote, I post a comment explaining why... (And hope to see the commented post edited in order to remove my downvote)

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?

Hmmm. My answer could differ on why. typos, small errors, bad words, specific usage/environment, unfinished answers... All this would become another answers from myself.

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

I will try to chat with other mod for ensuring good understanding of what and why, for myself as well as the other mod's point of vue.

Do you agree with this proposal? Would you believe it to help us? Would you still want to be a moderator if this became effective?

Hmmm, yes.

Is there an administrative requirement to post on Server Fault? Do you need to be in control of policy, or is it enough to know your job (as a sysadmin)?

Both are important, from my point of vue.

  • 4
    There is not enough material in your replies here to figure out where you actually stand on most of the issues. It's not ever clear you understand what same of the questions are about. If you want to inspire confidence in your candidacy I suggest you expand these answers to actually show your grasp of the material and clearly state your position (or at least give us some commentary or reflections on them) so we know what we would be voting for. – Caleb Nov 29 '14 at 14:48
-14

In the interest of participation, here's my take on the questions. Yes for the most part my answers are serious. I have no doubt others here would excel at moderating SF. However I would appreciate the opportunity to take a stab at it.

What have you personally done to make Server Fault a more enjoyable place for professional system administrators?

I'm not in the "Top X-Percent" of voters, but I do thoroughly read each question, answer, and comment, and vote/flag accordingly.

There is a lot of discussion about the quality of questions on SF; this is a topic that comes up regularly in meta. In fact, meta sometimes feels like the same two questions over and over again: "Our site is dying! How can we encourage better questions?" and "Why are you guys so mean?" Do you believe that site quality is really a problem? Do you believe the two questions are related? If so, where do you stand on how to encourage better questions? and is it your opinion that our site is "too nice," "too mean," or "just right"?

For the first, I can sympathize with the opinion that the quality of SF has declined. However, it's not just SF, it's everywhere. Once a forum gains enough popularity, the "lowest-common denominator" starts to grow.

How to encourage better questions? I think the ability to review actual questions themselves (similar to the "Scorecard" idea proposed by another member) is probably the next best idea.

Is the sight too mean/nice or just right? None of the above. I think it's "mean enough". "Mean" being the perception that started w/ the popularity the site began earning, and has "grown".

As the number of people that submit poor questions/answers grows, the number of people that get down-voted, questions closed, or otherwise get the Ax goes up. Along w/ complaints that people are being "mean".

Do you as a nominee feel that moderators should have term limits or be required to be re-elected? Do you feel there should be a way to formally ask a moderator to "step down" for inactivity based on a vote of the users or is this something that should only be handled by other moderators and/or SE staff?

I'm not a fan of term-limits or activity thresholds. The 'meat-world' gets in the way sometimes. I'm of the opinion that, barring aberrant behavior, once a mod always a mod.

Since mod-decisions remove questions and answers from the review-queue which can become later audit-items to trip up other reviewers, will you continue to delve the review-queues at your current rate?

Since my current rate is "none" or "what's a review queue", I'd say yes. I will continue at my current pace.

As a moderator you can see how other people are reviewing content. What would it take for you to consider a review-ban on someone for persistent over/under reviews?

Someone who's "negative" actions far outweigh their "positive" actions.

What is your strategy for improving the quality and professionalism of questions users first encounter when visiting Server Fault?

Any questions with less than two tags, no example code, poorly formatted, will get a comment asking to follow basic "How to Ask A Question" etiquette. If it's not changed in a day or so, give the Question the Ax. If the poster has a single-digit history, ban.

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 verify they're not just copy-pasta'ing answers from other sites (if they are, ban). If they're providing legit, relevant answers, I would message them to clean-up their commenting. (If they're being openly hostile/combative, etc.) If they persist, give them the a__-Hat badge.

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

If a more-experienced-than-I moderator (read: anybody else) did that, I would read/re-read and determine the criteria used. If I still felt it should not have been Ax'd, I would contact them. If they're justification did not suffice, I would attempt to re-open.

Do you agree with this proposal? Would you believe it to help us? Would you still want to be a moderator if this became effective?

Sure, a moderator's here to help everyone play by the same rules. Just because the rules change a bit isn't a reason to pack-up and go home.

Is there an administrative requirement to post on Server Fault? Do you need to be in control of policy, or is it enough to know your job (as a sysadmin)?

The only requirement I think there should be on SF to post is that of curiosity and basic proficiency to ask questions. I have seen too many "Please help me with this, need solution ASAP" posts from employees of a company who's actual troubleshooting policies include "Step 3: Post in the forums online"

  • 2
    Yikes. -5? Perhaps I should clarify some of my answers. If anyone has any feedback, it'd be nice. – Signal15 Nov 25 '14 at 19:50
  • 4
    We are posting comments in a troll answer – Basil Nov 25 '14 at 20:51
  • @JonEricson I've removed the IP-ban & reverse-captcha ideas. Regardless of intent, I'm not intending to troll. – Signal15 Nov 26 '14 at 15:09
  • 8
    You have 0 helpful out of 0 total flags according to the nominee list, and as of now have voted a grand total of 16 times since you joined the site a bit over a year ago according to your profile. Yet you claim to read everything and "vote/flag accordingly". At 434 rep currently, you don't even have access to the low-requirement review queues ("access review queues" privilege requires 500 rep). You have two site meta answers (the one other than this net voted -4, so not exactly violent agreement from the community), (continued) – a CVn Nov 27 '14 at 9:15
  • 4
    no site meta questions, a single main site question (voted +2), your highest main site answer is voted +4 (not terrible), and you have virtually no Meta Stack Exchange participation. Could you please elaborate on how you feel this shows you as an active member of the community, rather than just a relatively casual (judging by your visible activity) user of the site? – a CVn Nov 27 '14 at 9:16
  • 1
    I don't know why (1) less than two tags, (2) no example code, (3) poorly formatted was indicator that OP doesn't write a good question. Point (1) likely wasn't valid indicator because many good question has only single tag. We can edit to include relevant tags tough. Point (2) wasn't a bit confused me because we aren't SO, and we need configuration instead code. Point (3) can't be fixed by edit though. Maybe OP doesn't know how to write in Markdown. Single edit will help OP familiarize himself with formatting – masegaloeh Nov 27 '14 at 15:04
  • Yeah, I don't think the issue is lack of clarity, it's an almost total lack of experience, both here and in the SE network in general. And some of the answers demonstrate that lack of experience. @masegaloeh's comment gives some examples. Also: will you continue to delve the review-queues at your current rate? Since my current rate is "none" or "what's a review queue", I'd say yes. I will continue at my current pace. Do you really think that saying, effectively, "I've never done a review before and I don't plan to start" really sells you as a mod candidate? ;) – Adi Inbar Dec 2 '14 at 18:29

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