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

Interpersonal.SE is scheduled for our first election! It will take place next week, June 10th. In connection with that, 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.

Here's how it'll work:

  • Until the nomination phase, (so, until June 10th 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.

  • If your question contains a link, please use the syntax of [text](link), as that will make it easier for transcribing for the finished questionnaire.

  • This is a perfect opportunity to voice questions that are specific to our community and issues that we are running into at currently.

  • At the start of the nomination phase, we will gather the top 8 positively scored questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use. The Moderators reserve some editorial control in the selection of the questions and may step in to opt not to select a question that is tangential or irrelevant to moderation or the election.

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

  • 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 process, feel free to post as a comment here.

19 Answers 19


You (a moderator) stumble upon an answer with several upvotes and downvotes to a question that is currently on the HNQ list.

Two users have commented asking the answerer to "add some citation or backup" to their answer. The user has responded that everything in their answer is "common sense" and that a swift resolution clearly logically follows their solution. They further cite that their answer wouldn't have gotten upvotes if it didn't clearly work, so the community has decided their answer is valid.

What do you do?


A user has been leaving chatty or unnecessary comments, spread out around the site, over an extended period of time. While they don't post comments on every post, they are consistent in leaving these comments over time - for example, leaving 2-3 chatty comments a week, but consistently for weeks on end.

How do you approach this situation?


A new user answered an old question. You review the answer and post a comment asking for back-up. The user is now complaining that the other answers aren't back-up either.

What do you do?


As a moderator, how would your current activities such as asking, answering, commenting, closing, reopening, editing, and reviewing change? Would you increase some activities, but lessen others, or would you continue at roughly the same level of activity for these?


How do you handle a dispute with a fellow moderator? How would you approach a situation in which you and a fellow moderator disagree on an action that has been taken (or will be taken in the future)?


A new user joins and makes a few posts. After reading, all the posts do seem to fulfill the site standards, but for whatever reason, you have a hunch that they're fake.

For instance, maybe they wrote an answer and argued briefly with a user about how the backup policy was silly, before editing in a perfect story for the occasion -- too perfect?? Or maybe they've asked multiple questions that are on-topic, prime HNQ fodder, and taken altogether strike you as unusual for one person to be asking about.

However, it's only a gut feeling - there's no clear inconsistencies in what they've written. What do you do?


As a moderator, part of your job involves dealing with the worst behaved and most stubborn people on the site. How well do you take and respond to any abuse that is directed your way (such as personal attacks and insults)? Are you able to stay composed, or step away, and not react badly?


A user always left good answers but isn't always nice toward the OP on those good answers (that are mostly well backed up frame-challenge). Using direct and harsh words like "YOU. DON'T." and borderline calling OP an idiot for wanting to do that.

What do you do?

  • 2
    This is pretty broad. How is the user being "not nice" to others? Is this in chat? Is it in a comment response? Or have they called out another user in one of their answers? – scohe001 Jun 6 '19 at 13:44
  • @scohe001 I edited to be more focus on one specific aspect of "not being nice". What do you think? – Ael Jun 6 '19 at 13:50

What area do you feel the site could use the most improvement in and do you have any possible ideas for trying to tackle that issue?

Blatantly copied from Movies & TV questionnaire


An old, highly-voted answer has recently attracted attention. It has been flagged as not meeting IPS's backup requirements. It dates back to a time before those policies were in place. Some users want to delete it; others think it should stay because of its age and score.

How do you approach this situation?

  • This shouldn't need to be a question... current site standards always apply. – curiousdannii Jun 7 '19 at 6:13
  • @curiousdanii that may be the case, but I think the important part here is the disagreement between users. Is there a solution where everyone will be happy (or at least placated)? And how would you find it work toward that solution? – scohe001 Jun 8 '19 at 17:03

Someone writes an answer to a question, citing as backup "This is based on personal experience" without elaborating. When you comment, they say they are uncomfortable providing more information about that experience due to how personal it is. What do you do?

  • (I know, it's another question about backup, but I feel like the answers to this might show some more nuance and insight vs. if someone is simply rude or refuses.) – Em C Jun 9 '19 at 0:13

One question is receiving a lot of off-topic answers (not suggesting an interpersonal solution but mostly "life-hack" instead).

What do you do?


In cases where your personal conscience conflicts with the status quo, how will you handle that? Do you follow your conscience, or do you follow the rules?

How will you handle being called to account in these cases?


You post a comment asking for back-up under an answer. The user reacts poorly and starts arguing with you (for example by saying that making the requested edit is unnecessary and that you are an idiot).

What do you do?


A user asks an off-topic, non salvageable question that lets you think they could use some informal advice (i.e. not throughout IPS' main site, and not about something that requires professional help). Do you invite them to come talk about it in chat or do you only stick to the (community) moderating procedure? Why?


In your opinion, how well do you feel that you are able to clearly and coherently convey messages, and understand what is said in return? How well do you interpret what people say?

  • I think this is an important question--especially since we'll have several non-native English speakers as candidates. However, I think this is something they should address in their nomination as this question won't apply to all of the candidates. – scohe001 Jun 6 '19 at 15:41

An HNQ question is receiving a lot of not backed-up answer.

What do you do?

  • I'm curious as to why the downvote here? This situation happens fairly often and I'm curious to know why people would think this isn't a good question to ask to future mod? – Ael Jun 6 '19 at 9:57
  • @scohe001 I was more interested in "what would you try in order to gather better (backed-up) answers?" – Ael Jun 6 '19 at 13:42

An answer is getting a lot of attention which seems be quite polarized (lets say around 10 down and 25 up votes). What was the conclusion you'd get from the score and which actions would you take (if any), independent on the answers content?

  • 1
    This question seems to be more about how the candidates vote than how they moderate. – Rainbacon Jun 6 '19 at 13:42
  • @Rainbacon no its actual about how they moderate posts with possibly hidden controversial advices. Dunno, my personal votes are independend from how a post was voted on so far. Dont know why this would be even related to voting behavior – dhein Jun 6 '19 at 14:05
  • 1
    This isn't answerable independent of the content. – IMightBeAmelia Jun 6 '19 at 15:07
  • @bruglesco that was my initial thought, but then I realized that a valid answer would be "I take no actions" – Rainbacon Jun 6 '19 at 15:27
  • @Rainbacon: Yeah. Or another valid answer would be "I'm gonna check what the reason for this strong disagreement might be, having a second (or in case you usually take no actions at all a first) read on it, to figure if there is any controversial message hidden." But yeah, sure. Taking no actions would work as answer, too. – dhein Jun 11 '19 at 5:19

What makes you think you are the best candidate to become a moderator?

  • 5
    This is something that I'd expect candidates to address in their nominations regardless, so I'm not sure we need to explicitly put it on a questionnaire. – Em C Jun 6 '19 at 14:00

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