As we've done in the previous election, we will be holding a Q&A with the candidates. This will be an opportunity for members of the community to pose questions to the candidates on the topic of moderation. Participation is completely voluntary. Rules are the same as last time but there's no reason for you to have to dig back there unless you wanted to, say, reassert previously submitted questions.

The purpose of this thread was to collect questions for the questionnaire. The questionnaire is now live, and you may find it here.

Here's how it'll work:

  • During the nomination phase, (so, until Monday, August 31st at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 4:00 pm EDT on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.

  • We, the Community Team, will be providing a small selection of generic questions. The first two will be guaranteed to be included, the latter ones are if the community doesn't supply enough questions. This will be done in a single post, unlike the prior instruction.

  • This is a perfect opportunity to voice questions that are specific to your community and issues that you are running into at current.

  • At the end of the phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions. We reserve some editorial control in the selection of the questions and may opt not to select a question that is tangential or irrelevant to moderation or the election. That said, if I have concerns about any questions in this fashion, I will be sure to point this out in comments before the decision making time.

  • Once questions have been selected, a new question will be opened to host the actual questionnaire for the candidates, containing 10 questions in total.

  • This is not the only option that users have for gathering information on candidates. As a community, you are still free to, for example, hold a live chat session with your candidates to ask further questions, or perhaps clarifications from what is provided in the Q&A.

If you have any questions or feedback about this new process, feel free to post as a comment here.

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    There really is no point in this charade. No one who needs to ever reads anything. The hordes of voters streaming in from SO to get a shiny badge won't read this they will simply look at the candidates REP, vote accordingly and move on. – user9517 Aug 27 '15 at 6:10
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    It always has been an optional process, so if it's desired we could simply terminate the Q&A process. I don't see the point in extra busywork for the candidates if it's not even going to be read by the ones who would read it in normal circumstances. – Grace Note ModStaff Aug 27 '15 at 15:03
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    Oh, I think it's worth while, just so candidates who think, "I'm going to IP block Asia!" is a great platform will go ahead and say that before voting starts. That's always handy information to have. – Katherine Villyard Aug 28 '15 at 2:29
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    Hmm... hadn't considered that as a moderation policy. Might go edit my nomination speech... – womble Mod Aug 28 '15 at 3:00
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    If nothing else, it might mean that if StackExchange staff find a user's platform unacceptable they could say so in advance, instead of firing them after the fact... – Jenny D Aug 28 '15 at 8:46
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    @JennyD unfortunately I tried that argument on Shog9 during a recent debacle, and was told that the election position didn't count as a clear statement to the community (or, more precisely, the community's votes for a particular moderator didn't constitute a community endorsement of his/her platform in the same way that upvotes on a proposal in meta did. – MadHatter Aug 29 '15 at 6:01
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    See chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/22861?m=21106876#21106876 and the three entries that follow, if you're curious. – MadHatter Aug 29 '15 at 6:12
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    @MadHatter That discussion seems to be about how SE regards the community. I was aiming more at the fact that if Shog and the rest of SE saw Noob's platform as ultimately unacceptable and counterproductive, they could have stopped his election in advance, instead of allowing it to go forward and then kicking him out when he did what he'd said he would. – Jenny D Aug 29 '15 at 7:06
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    @JennyD yes, that might well have been better. My point was that as SE say that moderator election platforms don't constitute a community endorsement, what need have they to pre-vet them? Simpler for them, surely, to parachute in after the event and unilaterally remove a lawfully-elected moderator. – MadHatter Aug 29 '15 at 7:40
  • Since there has been a more positive reception, as well as an influx of yet more community questions, we will indeed be going through with hosting the Q&A as normal. Well, normal minus the bonus stock questions. – Grace Note ModStaff Aug 31 '15 at 11:54

I'd like to drag an elephant into this room (I'm sorry in advance), and see what people think now that some time has passed. Perhaps the amount of exposition is too much, and the subject aged. But I can't help but feel like it will color this years election whether we bring it up or not.

We had an election last year that ended with some parting and drama.
And I can't help but think of Ryan Ries` comment...

I don't know why anyone would want to be a moderator, now.

Let's be honest here, things went wrong after the last election.
Communication was a major issue, and there were some divisive opinions on what should or shouldn't have been done.

Last year, we voted on someone who was running on a platform of extreme, desperate measures, we voted for someone who put up the following campaign slogan:

A vote for me is a vote to put my cruelty and viciousness to work for the site, against the horde of stupidity that threatens it.

And while it definitely wasn't a landslide victory, talks of stupidity dealt with through cruelty did garner enough votes to win a second place.

So for our candidates:
Do you think the extreme rhetoric used last year is still viable today?
Would you consider picking up some of the work that helped win last year, and if so will you take a different approach?

What do you think went wrong last year, and what would you do differently if put in the same situation?

  • The rhetoric subquestion isn't clear. Please consider re-writing it. – Deer Hunter Aug 25 '15 at 14:35
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    @DeerHunter I thought the quoted slogan was enough to exemplify the rhetoric that was used last year. I'll think about how to rewrite the question, if you have a suggestion feel free! – Reaces Aug 25 '15 at 14:37
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    The elephant you dragged in is completely relevant. The interests of the management team and board of directors of Stack Exchange are the bottom line, and any moderator who wishes to be elected is only doing their (unpaid, volunteer) work at the pleasure of the overlords. – Hyppy Aug 25 '15 at 16:44
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    I don't know why anyone would want to be a moderator, now. - I know I'm not even the slightest little bit interested now despite having stood in the past. – Rob Moir Aug 26 '15 at 13:14
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    @Hyppy: I don't know if this makes it better or worse, but the decision to remove a moderator elected last year was made entirely by the Community Team and had nothing at all to do with "the bottom line". It was a difficult decision to make because we really do value democratically elected moderators. (Not many sites and none of our scale allow users to become elected moderators.) A big part of our decision was that the moderator acted on their own and did not communicate with the community. We remove elected moderators rarely and reluctantly. – Jon Ericson Aug 26 '15 at 13:56
  • @JonEricson I would like to remind the community team about Katherine's remarks about post election comments last year. It caused some reactions in the ensuing back and forth that further divided SO from some of the SF regulars, that was unfortunate to see. – Reaces Aug 26 '15 at 14:58
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    Hey @Jon, I'd like to invite you to review your interactions with this community ... Yeah, you only ever turn up when there is drama and add petrol to it. – user9517 Aug 26 '15 at 15:26
  • @Iain: I can't tell if you are using "you" in the singular (in which case, fair, but tangential point) or in the plural. Either way, I think there's plenty of blame to be assigned to our team. The point of the above comment was to help people understand our motivations a bit better. We don't always make the best (or even particularly good) decisions. But believe it or not, the people who are listed on the answer I linked to really care about guiding communities to be as productive as possible. – Jon Ericson Aug 26 '15 at 15:51
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    @JonEricson I believe that's one of the contentions at play: "the moderator acted on their own and did not communicate with the community." That is an inaccurate statement on at least two different points. But, I suppose it's stagnant water under the bridge, since that inaccuracy was largely passed over during the heat of the debacle. ツ – Wesley Aug 26 '15 at 18:12
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    @JonEricson It was directed at you in particular but you're right there are a number of employees who only turn up when there is a bit of a flap on fan the flames or wail about how how bad things are, promise to do more then fade into the background until the next flap. – user9517 Aug 26 '15 at 18:58
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    A big part of our decision was that the moderator acted on their own and did not communicate with the community. - Hey @JonEricson you misspelled "A moderator communicated with the community but for some reason we over-looked that and fired him unilaterally and no-one explained that properly to the community because SO staff don't give a flying f*ck at a rolling donut about the SF community and only ever show up to cause drama." -- you're welcome. – Rob Moir Aug 26 '15 at 19:26
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    If multiple, long-drawn-out threads of discussion complete with linked evidence, wasn't enough to quell the Community Team's decision making tide, I doubt an impromptu live chat during work hours would do much more than waste billable hours. The proverbial "Let's do lunch" after a kangaroo court. I think it's best left alone at this time since I suspect nothing will change in the favor of the Server Fault community. – Wesley Aug 26 '15 at 19:52
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    I repeatedly asked for clarification on this comment and never got it. I have very little confidence in the role of super moderators. I'm not going to further speculate why the accusation of lying was never touched on in the post mortem or comments, other than to say that I'd certainly never put myself in a position to be judged in this fashion. – Andrew B Aug 26 '15 at 23:27
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    I'm probably going to try and split this question into multiple chunks for the Q&A. Not entirely sure how I'll split it yet, so I'll be thinking on it over the weekend. – Grace Note ModStaff Aug 28 '15 at 15:39
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    @GraceNote I edited the questions a bit, putting the two about how the last election platform went together, and the one about how the aftermath went seperately. – Reaces Aug 30 '15 at 6:59

Do you agree with the statement "ServerFault needs professional-quality questions, not just questions from professionals"? What does the word "professional" mean to you, within the context of the phrase, "professional-quality questions"? Do you believe that in addition to professional-quality questions, ServerFault also needs professional-quality answers and comments?

(Hope it's OK to propose questions, even though I'm a candidate)

  • 2
    I like the question "what are professional quality questions to you?". +1 – Reaces Aug 28 '15 at 7:43
  • I'm drunk/not reading carefully/don't hang out here much. Why should I vote for you instead of some other person?
  • What problems does Server Fault face that are unique to Server Fault?
  • 3
    @FreeBooze for moderator! Hic! – MadHatter Aug 29 '15 at 6:02
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    Upvoted for the second question - that appears to be the one where the "oldtimers" have a radically different view from the general public and the SE employees. – Jenny D Aug 30 '15 at 13:58

Briefly explain the role of a moderator, and what you plan to do to fill that role. What is awesome about your approach?


Here is a set of general questions, gathered as very common questions asked every election. As mentioned in the instructions, the first two questions are guaranteed to show up in the Q&A, while the others are if there aren't enough questions (or, if you like one enough, you may split it off as a separate answer for review within the community's 8).

  • How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?
  • How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

  • In your opinion, what do moderators do?
  • 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?
  • 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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