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The purpose of this thread was to collect the candidates' answers to 2019 Community Moderator Election questionnaire. The elections are now over, you may find the outcome here.

In connection with our very first 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've selected the top 9 scored submissions (edited slightly to be more concise).

As a candidate, your job is simple - post an answer to this question, citing each of the questions and then post your answer to each question given in that same answer. For your convenience, I will include all of the questions in quote format with a break in between each, suitable for you to insert your answers. Just copy the whole thing after the first set of three dashes. Please consider putting your name at the top of your post so that readers will know who you are before they finish reading everything you have written, and also including a link to your answer on your nomination post.

Once all the answers have been compiled, this will serve as a transcript for voters to view the thoughts of their candidates. If voters have further questions, feel free to comment on the answers here, or discuss in the election chatroom.

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

Good luck to all of the candidates!

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


  1. You stumble upon an answer to a question that is currently on the HNQ list. There are comments asking the answerer to add backup. The user has responded that everything in their answer is "common sense" and their answer wouldn't have gotten upvotes if it didn't clearly work, so the community has decided their answer is valid. Since the question is in the HNQ, the votes might not reflect that exactly, though. What do you do?

  2. A user has been leaving chatty or unnecessary comments over an extended period of time. While they don't comment on every post, they are consistent in leaving these comments over time - for example, leaving 2-3 chatty comments a week, for weeks on end. How do you approach this situation?

  3. A user writes a well-backed-up frame challenge, but isn't very kind towards the OP in it. Some of the language seems to be bordering on violating the Code of Conduct. What do you do?

  4. 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?

  5. 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?

  6. 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)?

  7. A new user answered an old question, dating from before the backup requirements were enforced. You review the answer and post a comment asking for backup. The user is now complaining that the other answers aren't backed up either. What do you do?

  8. A new user makes a few posts, which do fulfill the site standards, but you suspect they may be fake and trolling. However, it's only a gut feeling - there's no clear inconsistencies in what they've written. What do you do?

  9. 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?

12

avazula | meta profile

  1. You stumble upon an answer to a question that is currently on the HNQ list. There are comments asking the answerer to add backup. The user has responded that everything in their answer is "common sense" and their answer wouldn't have gotten upvotes if it didn't clearly work, so the community has decided their answer is valid. Since the question is in the HNQ, the votes might not reflect that exactly, though. What do you do?

I begin with rephrasing the issue with the answer, as I've come to realize that some people think we want them to "state the obvious" when asking for backup. If it was not provided yet I would link to this meta post that explains why there is no such thing as "common sense", among other things. I would quote the post in saying that if someone asks for a citation, then it is probably needed and the answerer should edit their post to provide this citation. I would say that common sense is a concept that heavily relies on cultural context and brain construction and that while many people may get what they're suggesting, some others may not.
Upvotes do not mean much in the equation for me here; they may be from people with a similar cultural and neurological background and therefore didn't need the citation to understand what was suggested by the answerer (plus, if it's on HNQ, chances are those upvotes come from new users who are not familiar with the site requirements and guidelines yet).

If they still insist that their answer does not have to be edited, then I'd ask the other mods what they think. If they agree, I'll inform the answerer that their answer is being deleted and that they can ask for undeletion once they provide the info for backing their post up. If they don't, I'll let them discuss with the user and see if they can explain the issue better than I could.

  1. A user has been leaving chatty or unnecessary comments over an extended period of time. While they don't comment on every post, they are consistent in leaving these comments over time - for example, leaving 2-3 chatty comments a week, for weeks on end. How do you approach this situation?

I delete everything that is not either asking for clarifications or suggesting improvements. If they raise the point in comments or on meta, I'd redirect them to our commenting policy (or provide a chat room if they're discussing with someone and have been for quite some time). If they don't, I'll keep on silently deleting them.

  1. A user writes a well-backed-up frame challenge, but isn't very kind towards the OP in it. Some of the language seems to be bordering on violating the Code of Conduct. What do you do?

If I only find it unkind, I may ask other mods and community-moderating users what they think about it. And if they think it's unkind too, I'd let the answerer know that it'd be great if they could try to rephrase their post to make it less offensive. If I'm made aware by another user (be it either the OP or someone else) that they were hurt by the language used in the post, I'd write the same comment mentioned in case #1. Either way, if the answerer refuses to make the edits, I'd rephrase the offensive parts myself.

  1. 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?

I'm quite a sensitive person, I won't lie about that. However, I believe I can make the difference between insults and critiques on my work. Should my moderating style be questioned (and it has in the past), I would listen and try to improve my techniques. If it's purely personal however, then I would disengage by stopping the conversation and sticking to the moderating needs. Politeness is crucial in these cases, and should someone disrespect me or other users, I would consider a temporary ban.

  1. 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?

I would close questions way less often, as mods may close them single-handledly and we'd prefer other users to review them as well, unless it really needs to be put on-hold quickly. Same applies for reopening. For the rest I plan to do as much as before alongside the new mod duties, keeping in mind that handling flags surely is very-time consuming. If I find myself not to have enough time to do everything I would rather slow down with asking and answering rather than on the other activities.

  1. 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)?

First of all I would listen to their arguments and try to understand how they see the situation. I really don't like disputes (I don't communicate that way) and I came to know some of IPS mods through the chat and I believe we could handle disagreements without coming to a fight. However, if after listening to the fellow mod's arguments I still don't understand their point of view, I would ask the other mods what they think about the situation - this is not a solo activity, there are several mods, a handful of "regular users" with quite high moderating powers and many others who already have access to mod actions. This is a common job. So if the other mods stand by the fellow mod's opinions, I would happily step away and stick with the majority's preferred way of handling this situation.

  1. A new user answered an old question, dating from before the backup requirements were enforced. You review the answer and post a comment asking for backup. The user is now complaining that the other answers aren't backed up either. What do you do?

I gently remind them that this is a work in progress and that all previous Q&A will be reviewed eventually to meet the new requirements. I ensure them that I understand that it may be bothering and I remind that backup helps people know what to expect when they suggest something to try - explaining why it's useful usually helps people in understanding why they should add backup.

  1. A new user makes a few posts, which do fulfill the site standards, but you suspect they may be fake and trolling. However, it's only a gut feeling - there's no clear inconsistencies in what they've written. What do you do?

To be honest I have such a crazy past myself I sometimes wonder how come people don't think I'm a compulsive liar. So I'd follow what this user posts for a while and seek inconsistencies in their speech but unless I'm sure something is incoherent, I wouldn't confront them and accuse them of lying their way to provide fake backup to their answers. I surely would talk about it with the other mods too and ask them what they think about it.

  1. 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?

To me the most important goal is to allow new users to quickly understand the site's scope and requirements so they know enough before diving in the Q&As. We've already done some things towards that goal, with the project of an FAQ and featured meta posts tackling the basics of IPS so that new users can get the site's essence immediately. It's also very important that they feel welcomed, which is why we stopped using canned comments and that we try to welcome new users and make them feel that we truly care about solving their issue. It's important to make sure that when we close their question, they know that it does not mean we don't like it or think it was a stupid thing to ask.
There's still work to do about this and we should pursue what we have already started, but I believe we're on the good track.

  • Sometimes, there is an issue/post requiring a swift action and no fellow mod is around. What will you do in this situation? – A J Jun 11 at 4:23
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    @AJ In that case, I'd search whether similar actions had to be undertaken before. If so, I'd review the process that the other mods used for handling the situation. If it's brand new, I'd follow my gut and let them know what I did so that we can discuss together whether it was the best action plan, and how we should handle it should it happen again in the future. – avazula Jun 11 at 6:10
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    @avazula you would also have access to moderators on other sites / forums as a moderator. Good LUCK!! – Mister Positive Jun 14 at 16:20
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    Are you willing to back up moderator decisions with citations and evidence? – Johns-305 Jun 17 at 21:05
  • @Johns-305 sure. I'm not a fan of not explaining why I made such a decision, and I think that it's not the general atmosphere on IPS either. We're lucky to have several interesting resources already, and IPS meta and MSE are great places for discussing and making the guidelines evolve as the stack grows. – avazula Jun 19 at 10:43
8

Rainbacon | Meta Profile

This is a link to my nomination, and here are my answers to the questions posed by the community.

  1. You stumble upon an answer to a question that is currently on the HNQ list. There are comments asking the answerer to add backup. The user has responded that everything in their answer is "common sense" and their answer wouldn't have gotten upvotes if it didn't clearly work, so the community has decided their answer is valid. Since the question is in the HNQ, the votes might not reflect that exactly, though. What do you do?

My first action would be to leave the user a comment gently reminding them that common sense is not necessarily shared and given that the OP is asking for help, they probably don't share the same understanding of common sense. As part of my comment, I would reference the comments asking for backup and reiterate the need for showing proof that the answer works. I'm hesitant to unilaterally delete content that isn't obviously rude or spam, so I probably would not cast a delete vote unless there were already multiple delete votes on the post.

  1. A user has been leaving chatty or unnecessary comments over an extended period of time. While they don't comment on every post, they are consistent in leaving these comments over time - for example, leaving 2-3 chatty comments a week, for weeks on end. How do you approach this situation?

At first I would delete the chatty comments. If the user continues to post chatty comments, I would send them a direct message politely reminding them of why chatty comments are harmful to the site. In addition to this, I would mention the pattern I'd seen to the other mods. If the behavior persists after that, a short suspension may be in order. If a pattern of chatty comments persists to the point that I feel a short suspension is in order, I would consult with the other mods before issuing the suspension.

  1. A user writes a well-backed-up frame challenge, but isn't very kind towards the OP in it. Some of the language seems to be bordering on violating the Code of Conduct. What do you do?

The first thing I would do is edit out the parts of the post that are unkind to the OP, while leaving the frame challenge and it's backup intact. If there are any instances in the post that I can't seem to fix, I would leave the author of the post a comment explaining that certain parts of their post might be unkind to the OP. Given that the language is borderline and not a blatant violation, I would stop short of deleting the answer. Moderators should not be the sole determinants of what is considered acceptable behavior on the site. If other users feel that the answer is problematic and flag it, then I would be willing to take stronger actions up to and including deletion of the post.

  1. 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?

In my mind, this question is the perfect example of why there are multiple moderators. I am certainly capable of taking small amounts of abuse directed at me while remaining composed. In such instances I would remind the user about the code of conduct. If the user's abusive behavior toward me gets to a point where I am no longer able to remain composed, I would disengage from the user and explain the situation to another moderator who is online and ask them to step in. If there are no other site moderators online, I would either reach out to the CM team for assistance or simply disengage until another mod comes online that could handle the situation.

  1. 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?

As a moderator, I would comment more. SE as a whole has a reputation of being unwelcoming to new users, and IPS specifically has a bad reputation within the network of being a very difficult place for new users. One big reason for this is that we often have content deleted with no feedback given to the user who posted it. I myself have been guilty of occasionally voting to close or delete without leaving a comment, but over the past few months I've been making an effort to get better about always leaving a comment to explain why I'm voting to close or delete. The goal I am working towards is to never take an action to close or delete content without leaving a comment explaining why. I will keep working towards this goal whether or not I am elected. If elected, I will absolutely not ever vote to close or delete without first leaving a comment to the user explaining why I am doing so and what they can do to improve their post and get it reopened/undeleted.

Along the same vein, I would scale back on my voting to close and delete since moderators can do these actions unilaterally. For close votes, if there are already more than 50% of the required votes, I would still use these votes the same as I do no. If there are fewer than 50% of the required votes, I would only add my vote if the post was very obviously in need of closure. Deletion is a bit different because it was pointed out in chat that posts deleted by a moderator can only be undeleted by a moderator. Taking that into consideration, I would be a bit more hesitant to cast a delete vote as a moderator. What I might do instead is to bring the post to the attention of high rep users in chat (this is something I've seen the current mods doing and it has worked fairly well). I wouldn't direct users to take any specific action, only make them aware that there is a post which has collected a few votes. If the community doesn't end up deleting the post and I feel that deletion is warranted, I would cast the last delete vote, but not before I left a comment explaining how to improve the post and what the process is for getting it undeleted (flag for mods).

  1. 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)?

My first step would be to contact the other moderator and get their point of view. I've already made a habit of pinging the moderators in chat to ask them why they took certain actions, and I will continue to do so when I disagree with or don't understand something that they have done. If, after talking through the issue with the other moderator, we are still in disagreement, I would seek the opinion of the other moderators, and I would accept whatever the majority decision of the moderators is.

  1. A new user answered an old question, dating from before the backup requirements were enforced. You review the answer and post a comment asking for backup. The user is now complaining that the other answers aren't backed up either. What do you do?

I would review the other answers. If I'm reviewing an answer, it was probably brought to my attention via a review queue or a recently active post on the front page. I probably don't know that the other answers don't meet the guidelines because I haven't looked at them. If it's brought to my attention that the actions I've taken on one answer are inconsistent with a lack of action on the other answers, I will go look at those other answers and take any actions necessary. As Monica Cellio pointed out in this answer, new users look to existing content to determine what is acceptable. Answers on SE should evolve as our quality standards do. When old answers fail to meet new expectations, we should work with the authors of those answers to bring them up to date.

  1. A new user makes a few posts, which do fulfill the site standards, but you suspect they may be fake and trolling. However, it's only a gut feeling - there's no clear inconsistencies in what they've written. What do you do?

I would run my suspicions by a few other moderators. If they agree that the situation seems suspicious, I would reach out to the CM team to see if they have access to any additional data that could validate my suspicions. If I can gather evidence that the posts are fake and trolling, then I would take action, but I wouldn't take any action against content that appears to be good content unless I had very solid proof that it was not made in good faith.

  1. 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?

New user integration. I've watched a lot of new users come here, post once, have their post moderated in some way, and then leave. I think that IPS is a very difficult site for new users for a number of reasons. The subject matter here is very personal, and I think that users tend to take feedback about their posts more harshly than they might on a less personal site. My ideas for tackling this issue are to be extra nice. It doesn't help us to simply be "not unwelcoming". We need to be over the top welcoming and show that we understand that these are people with real, personal problems that they need help with. I would love to see this site grow far larger than it currently is. To do that though, we have to have new users join the community and stay here.

How to address this issue: Over the past several months I've asked a couple of new users about their experiences with the site. The thing that they most commonly found deterring was the comments. We've had some downright awful comments made to newer users. Unfortunately, the only way to entirely stop these comments is to disable the commenting feature entirely. What we can do is flag and remove unkind and rude comments as quickly as we can. Another thing we can do is to leave kind comments. I could write an entire meta post (and maybe I will when I have the time) about ways that we can be nicer to users in comments, but one big one that I see is this: if you see an unkind comment to a user that is telling them there is something wrong with their post, flag the comment and then write a kind comment that explains how the user can improve their post.

Responses to questions in the comments

AJ: I'm hesitant to unilaterally delete content that isn't obviously rude or spam, so I probably would not cast a delete vote unless there were already multiple delete votes on the post. Remember, normal users can't cast delete votes on positive-scored answers. So, what will be your approach when it comes to deal with positive-scored non-answers?

If the post was a true non-answer (obvious spam, not interpersonal related at all), then I would have no qualms with deleting it. If it is an answer that just lacks back up, I would look at a few factors: the number of flags on the post, how old the comments are, etc. If there are no flags, then I would hesitate to delete. I also would likely not delete if the comments asking for backup weren't more than a few hours old. I'd give the author a chance to see the comments before deleting their answer. If they've had sufficient time and have not addressed the comments, I would delete and leave a comment explaining that they can edit and then flag for undeletion.

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    I'm hesitant to unilaterally delete content that isn't obviously rude or spam, so I probably would not cast a delete vote unless there were already multiple delete votes on the post. Remember, normal users can't cast delete votes on positive-scored answers. So, what will be your approach when it comes to deal with positive-scored non-answers? – A J Jun 11 at 10:49
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    @AJ If the post was a true non-answer, then I would have no qualms with deleting it. If it is an answer that just lacks back up, I would look at a few factors: the number of flags on the post, how old the comments are, etc. If there are no flags, then I would hesitate to delete. I also would likely not delete if the comments asking for backup weren't more than a few hours old. I'd give the author a chance to see the comments before deleting their answer. – Rainbacon Jun 11 at 12:49
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    If they've had sufficient time and have not addressed the comments, I would delete and leave a comment explaining that they can edit and then flag for undeletion – Rainbacon Jun 11 at 12:49
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    Are you willing to back up moderator decisions with citations and evidence? – Johns-305 Jun 17 at 21:05
  • The new user stuff is important for sure. On this site I feel comments to a user suggesting improvements on their answer are often taken as personal attacks as the answer itself is usually deemed as "best advice" by the user due to things such as them honing in on a specific in the question that they think only they have the life experience to respond to. This can be a culture shock to people coming from other stack exchanges where suggesting improvements to answers is seen as a good thing working to a collective. – Philbo Jun 18 at 11:09
  • @Johns-305 Yes. IPS meta as well as Meta Stack Exchange have some excellent posts to reference regarding the policies and guidelines of both IPS and SE as a whole. In addition, as a mod I would have access to the mods from other sites in the network. I will always be willing to hear constructive criticism of my moderation efforts. If you ever feel unclear about my actions, feel free to ask politely about them on meta or in chat and I will gladly respond to your concerns. – Rainbacon Jun 18 at 11:48
  • @Philbo That's a really good point about users taking improvement suggestions as personal attacks. I'll remember that for the future when I'm leaving comments. – Rainbacon Jun 18 at 12:03
6

ElizB | Meta Profile

ElizB Nomination profile

  1. You stumble upon an answer to a question that is currently on the HNQ list. There are comments asking the answerer to add backup. The user has responded that everything in their answer is "common sense" and their answer wouldn't have gotten upvotes if it didn't clearly work, so the community has decided their answer is valid. Since the question is in the HNQ, the votes might not reflect that exactly, though. What do you do?

I would gently point out that cultural and background differences define what "common sense" is, and I would invite them to a chatroom to discuss what they believe is common sense. While I do that, I would ask that they add some back-up as per our site policy and explain why.

  1. A user has been leaving chatty or unnecessary comments over an extended period of time. While they don't comment on every post, they are consistent in leaving these comments over time - for example, leaving 2-3 chatty comments a week, for weeks on end. How do you approach this situation?

I would start by deleting the chatty comments silently, because comments are not made to be entirely permanent if no helpful information is asked for or provided there. If this continues or meets resistance, I would quietly message the user and explain the comment policy, and explain why myself and other moderators have been deleting the comments. By that time, if they ramp up or become abusive, a short suspension is in order. If they accept, then I continue to encourage and welcome them into the community (positive reinforcement).

  1. A user writes a well-backed-up frame challenge, but isn't very kind towards the OP in it. Some of the language seems to be bordering on violating the Code of Conduct. What do you do?

I would quietly edit the answer to make it not violate the code of conduct. If it is reversed, I would once again edit it, with a warning and some information about the code of conduct. If it happens a third time, the answer is closed.

  1. 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?

I have experienced IRL (in real life) someone pushing my buttons (a family member) and I have had to build up my patience and my defenses. I would ignore first, and silently delete any comments or targeted statements in questions or answers on Main or Meta. I would probably discuss with other moderators to get a gauge on how many times the user may have said things that violated the code of conduct. I usually use the rule of threes in many situations like these. If it's their first offense, I edit or delete the comment/answer/chat message and let them know that they can look at the code of conduct for guidance on what is appropriate to post. Second offense, I delete the comment/answer/message again and I warn them directly, and I usually keep an eye on the user and warn other moderators at that point if they are unaware. Third- they may experience some type of rebuke/punishment when agreed upon or suggested by at least one other moderator.

  1. 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?

I would use the moderator privileges on closing questions carefully, only when it's urgently in need of editing because of language, violation of the code of conduct, or having no apparent context, goals, or question. I would increase my activity of watching questions (keeping tabs open on my computer and phone browser). I would also discuss with other moderators about my actions such as reopening, editing, commenting and reviewing change and make sure I choose carefully. I would keep in mind that my actions are partly representative of the community I serve, and I want to represent well. All other activities would be about the same. I would allow the community time to close, edit, comment, and reopen questions without stepping in unless I have to. "have to" may include weekends when less people are around, during the work day and during the evenings (my time) when people are away from the computer.

  1. 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)?

If I am in a dispute, I would first step away and write down a few thoughts and meditate/take a walk about what the dispute is about and why, and what their perspective is. I would also open up the discussion in a room so that we can come to an agreement. Personally, I don't like being in dispute with most people. I always try to see as many perspectives as I can, so that I can understand the world around me and the lovely people in it. I would discuss with all other moderators and the majority would choose the preferred action.

  1. A new user answered an old question, dating from before the backup requirements were enforced. You review the answer and post a comment asking for backup. The user is now complaining that the other answers aren't backed up either. What do you do?

I would explain that the site is still in public beta, and we are still working on getting the kinks out, and older questions still are out there that are not backed-up. It doesn't mean that they're not valid. It is just the rules at the time didn't have the backup policy.

  1. A new user makes a few posts, which do fulfill the site standards, but you suspect they may be fake and trolling. However, it's only a gut feeling - there's no clear inconsistencies in what they've written. What do you do?

I would first discuss with the moderators about what actions to take. If they don't violate the code of conduct, I would probably leave them alone. I would ask them for more clarification on the context, goals, and situation that the question came from. They may end up either deleting the question themselves, having the question deleted by the community, or adding edits to make it a great question and we find it's not a troll.

  1. 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?

I feel like we still are working out the kinks in defining what the rules are, and communicating that in the comments. The regular users are good about commenting about the back-up policy these days. I would like to continue to add to and expand the FAQ, and I would also love to keep on genuinely welcoming new users to IPS.

Rainbacon's question: How would you respond if a users made a meta post complaining about the silent removal of content that you had deleted?

I would respond that I don't want to make a big show of moderator privileges, and I wanted to help guide users to post content that fits the site criteria. I would point them to other meta posts such as Catija's fantastic answer about deleting things quietly. I want to follow in her footsteps by 1. not getting drawn into arguments 2. think hard on how we react because "how we react defines us". I would ask that they keep in mind what the community criteria are, and to keep on posting content that everyone can enjoy. I hope this answers your question :)

Tinkeringbell's question: what are your thoughts on avoiding conflicts of interests while you "silently delete any comments or targeted statements in questions or answers on Main or Meta"?

here's the definition I'm gonna use for this situation- please correct me if you thought differently. "a situation in which the concerns or aims of two different parties are incompatible." i.e. myself and the user that I'm deleting the comments of. If this person is personally insulting me and trying to "get at me" I would discuss my actions with at least one other mod and depending on how severe the insults are, I would ask another mod to step in so that the user knows it's the community rules, not "ElizB's Rules". Doing that would further reinforce the community collaboration concept that Stack Exchange has worked hard to accomplish and demonstrate. I've seen situations where other mods stepped in to correct and possibly discipline users that were not being kind to a particular mod or user. That way, the personal conflict of interest of that targeted mod would not come in the way.

  • You mentioned a few times that you would silently take actions (deleting chatty comments, removing abusive content, etc...). We've had a few instances that I can recall where users have complained on meta that moderators were running around "silently deleting" content. How would you respond if a users made a meta post complaining about the silent removal of content that you had deleted? – Rainbacon Jun 17 at 13:36
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    As for point 4, what are your thoughts on avoiding conflicts of interests while you silently delete any comments or targeted statements in questions or answers on Main or Meta.? – Tinkeringbell Jun 17 at 16:58
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    @Tinkeringbell I'm making sure I understand what you mean by conflict of interest- here's the definition I'm gonna use for this situation- please correct me if you thought differently. "a situation in which the concerns or aims of two different parties are incompatible." i.e. myself and the user that I'm deleting the comments of. If this person is personally insulting me and trying to "get at me" I would discuss my actions with at least one other mod and depending on how severe the insults are, I would ask another mod to step in so that the user knows it's the community rules, not "ElizB's rul – ElizB Jun 17 at 17:06
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    @Tinkeringbell Continued: not "ElizB's Rules". Doing that would further reinforce the community collaboration concept that Stack Exchange has worked hard to accomplish and demonstrate. I've seen situations where other mods stepped in to correct and possibly discipline users that were not being kind to a particular mod or user. That way, the personal conflict of interest of that targeted mod would not come in the way. I hope that makes sense, let me know if you need any further clarification! – ElizB Jun 17 at 17:08
  • Are you willing to back up moderator decisions with citations and evidence? – Johns-305 Jun 17 at 21:05
  • Yes I am. That is definitely something I find that moderators and community members should try and do their best to do. – ElizB Jun 17 at 21:11
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    @Tinkeringbell_ I am wondering a little what you mean by conflict of interest here. As I know that term as having a meaning, I can't really find fit here for. – dhein Jun 18 at 5:35
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    @dhein A conflict of interest when moderating basically applies to moderating content that is about you, or e.g. if you have answered a question, you don't really go deleting the other answers there, no matter how bad they are. For both, you usually get another moderator involved to make sure no-one can claim you're treating the user unfairly by something like deleting their comments or posts. Eliz answer of 'ask another mod to step in' was what I was after ;) (Also, if you use an underscore attached to the @ Tinkeringbell like you did I won't get the notification... ) – Tinkeringbell Jun 18 at 6:55
  • @Tinkeringbell: Interesting input. Actually I was trying to use an ":" instead. must have missed the key. But thanks for telling me anyways '^.^ Ok, yeah thats infact inline with my understanding. But thanks for clarifying the scenario, that wasn't clear to me. – dhein Jun 18 at 8:24
0

Ælis | meta profile

This is the link to my nomination.


  1. You stumble upon an answer to a question that is currently on the HNQ list. There are comments asking the answerer to add backup. The user has responded that everything in their answer is "common sense" and their answer wouldn't have gotten upvotes if it didn't clearly work, so the community has decided their answer is valid. Since the question is in the HNQ, the votes might not reflect that exactly, though. What do you do?

I leave a nice comment explaining that "common sense" doesn't really exist. Probably something inspired by this comment from Tinkeringbell:

Common sense doesn't exist, it's neither common (what's common differs a lot among cultures, and cultural differences make up a huge part of some of the problems on IPS) or sense (otherwise, we wouldn't have to learn things are hot by touching them and/or being told by someone that has touched the hot thing).

I would also add a note that, since the question is HNQ, lots of people voting aren't familiar with our site policy which would explain the upvotes.

I might also point out that, without proper back-up, the answer might lack some context and, without that context, people might apply the advice in a harmful way.


  1. A user has been leaving chatty or unnecessary comments over an extended period of time. While they don't comment on every post, they are consistent in leaving these comments over time - for example, leaving 2-3 chatty comments a week, for weeks on end. How do you approach this situation?

I would ask them to stop leaving chatty comments (either by commenting under a post they commented in or by using a special mod tool to send them a private message) and I would explain to them why leaving such comment is bad for the site.


  1. A user writes a well-backed-up frame challenge, but isn't very kind towards the OP in it. Some of the language seems to be bordering on violating the Code of Conduct. What do you do?

I'm very sensitive to people being not nice to askers. Not being nice to askers create a climate where people are afraid to ask a question and, without questions being asked, IPS will die.

So, if some answer is bordering on violating the Code of Conduct, I will:

  • Remove the not nice part if I can

  • Ask the person to be careful with their language and be nice toward people/OP

  • If I can't edit the not nice part out, I will ask around to see if people think that the answer can be deleted as being not nice.


  1. 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?

Sometimes personal attacks don't affect me at all. Sometimes they do affect me a lot. When this happens, I tend to completely close up and stop talking until I'm able to calm down and compose myself.

In this case, it's a good thing, it means that I won't say something stupid that I might regret later.


  1. 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?

I currently feel that IPS isn't active enough which leave me too much time to be bored. So I believe I will definitively still ask a lot of questions and I don't expect that I will be answering less.

I might comment a little bit more (no promise here) and, since my closing vote will be binding, I will definitively close less (except the weekend because, otherwise, bad questions stay open too long).

I will more or less stop reopening questions (unless I single-handedly closed it) but I will still edit as much as I am currently doing.

As for the reviews, I will single-handedly delete if an answer is just rude or spam. However, if an answer is just missing some back-up, I will most likely not intervene and let the review process follow his course because answers deleted by mod can't be undeleted by the community.

In the case of "Not an answer" with positive score, I will wait until there is five or six "recommend deletion" present on it before deleting and leaving a comment explaining to the user how to have their answer undelete.


  1. 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)?

First, I would ask them why they would make such a decision.

Second, I would ask them, why they wouldn't use the alternative action that I would rather use.

Third, if I believe they have overlooked something I will talk to them about it and see if they come to the same conclusion I did.

At this point, I might drop it (because I don't like conflict). However, if I truly find it important, I will ask a neutral third party (another mod I guess) to settle the disagreement.


  1. A new user answered an old question, dating from before the backup requirements were enforced. You review the answer and post a comment asking for backup. The user is now complaining that the other answers aren't backed up either. What do you do?

I will explain to that user that I only review their answer (becauseI saw it in the review queue) and didn't review the other answer (because they weren't on the review queue). I will assure them that, since they bring it to my attention, I will also take a look at the other answers in the near future. I will finish by saying that, however, their answer still needs to be backed-up.


  1. A new user makes a few posts, which do fulfill the site standards, but you suspect they may be fake and trolling. However, it's only a gut feeling - there are no clear inconsistencies in what they've written. What do you do?

I might ask the user for more details, I will definitively ask the other mods for their opinion and if there is something that can be done and, since I suspect that nothing can be done, just drop it and move on.

Note: I will probably downvote if I feel that the advices given can be harmful. But voting isn't something affected by the mod powers and this is why I am only mentioning this in a footnote.


  1. 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?

I believe that the site could do better in making clear to new users coming through HNQ that answers should be backed-up (by personal experience or external sources). I believe that having a "notice" like the "protected" on ("This question is protected to prevent "thanks!", "me too!", or spam answers by new users. To answer it, you must have earned at least 10 reputation on this site") would be helpful.

  • "I will not single-handedly delete something as "Not an Answer" or "Low Quality" (even if I feel it deserves it)" - can you explain a little more about your reasoning here? Also to steal AJ's question from another nomination - Since normal users can't cast delete votes on positively-scored answers, what will your approach be when it comes to dealing with positively-scored non-answers? – Em C Jun 11 at 13:40
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    @EmC I edited to make it clearer and answer your question. Feel free to tell me if it's still not clear enough. – Ælis Jun 11 at 13:59
  • Are you willing to back up moderator decisions with citations and evidence? – Johns-305 Jun 17 at 21:06
  • @Johns-305 When I ask an answer for improvement (need back up for example), I always try to link to the relevent meta post. If a user have a question about a policy, I will always try my best to explain and give them a link to read if they want to know more. – Ælis Jun 18 at 7:11
-2

NVZ | meta profile

  1. You stumble upon an answer to a question that is currently on the HNQ list. There are comments asking the answerer to add backup. The user has responded that everything in their answer is "common sense" and their answer wouldn't have gotten upvotes if it didn't clearly work, so the community has decided their answer is valid. Since the question is in the HNQ, the votes might not reflect that exactly, though. What do you do?

Common sense varies between cultures. As per the community consensus from past discussions on meta, we require a certain level of explanation and context backing up an answer in order to prevent readers from misapplying the given suggestions. This is even more urgent when the question is exposed to a large number of readers quickly through the HNQ, who then vote based on the limited information, and their votes may not reflect the answer's quality as per IPS standards.

I'd start with politely letting the answerer know our community's expectations and guide them on how to improve their answers by leaving helpful comments.

If they aren't willing to improve the answer, I'd consult with the mod team to decide any further action.

  1. A user has been leaving chatty or unnecessary comments over an extended period of time. While they don't comment on every post, they are consistent in leaving these comments over time - for example, leaving 2-3 chatty comments a week, for weeks on end. How do you approach this situation?

Comments that aren't following our site policy, asking for clarifications, or suggesting improvements would be removed silently.

If they're especially new to the community, I'd guide them to our commenting policies more actively.

Lastly, if I think the discussions they're making could be put to better use by moving it to a chat room, I'd help with that as well.

  1. A user writes a well-backed-up frame challenge, but isn't very kind towards the OP in it. Some of the language seems to be bordering on violating the Code of Conduct. What do you do?

I'd start with letting the answerer know that it could be better received by more people if it was rephrased following our code of conduct.

I'd also help in editing it myself, given enough time.

  1. 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?

I've been on SE for a very long time and I've seen many abusive users. I do welcome constructive criticism - that don't resort to name calling or aggressive nitpicking over very minor things. If there seems to be no positive path forward interacting with a user, I'd stay calm, and if needed, distance myself from them, and let the other mods be aware of the abusive user so that they may have better solutions to dealing with them.

  1. 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?

Given that mod votes on closing and reopening questions are quick and requires no input from other voters, I'd use my votes only for those questions that require urgent action. Even still, if the community consensus from meta discussions tells me I've made a mistake by voting in a particular way, I'd be ready to rethink my vote.

I've voted a lot for closing and reopening questions as a regular user, but as a diamond moderator, I'd take a less frequent approach to the close and reopen queues.

My other activities - editing, flagging, etc will remain more or less the same.

  1. 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)?

I'd listen to understand their point of view, but if after all their tries I'm still not convinced, I'd ask what the other mods think about the matter. I'd be open to change if the majority of mods require it of me.

  1. A new user answered an old question, dating from before the backup requirements were enforced. You review the answer and post a comment asking for backup. The user is now complaining that the other answers aren't backed up either. What do you do?

Site policies constantly evolve. Back when the site started, there were not enough users to discuss, form a consensus, and enforce a major policy. I'd let them know that given time the other answers will also be subject to community moderation according to present policies - it's just that I happened to be reviewing theirs for the moment. I'd guide the user to our policies and meta discussions from where they can either learn how to improve their answers or challenge the community's policies with valid explanation of their own.

  1. A new user makes a few posts, which do fulfill the site standards, but you suspect they may be fake and trolling. However, it's only a gut feeling - there's no clear inconsistencies in what they've written. What do you do?

I will let my suspicions be known to other mods, but I won't take any mod action unless there was clear evidence that it's fake or trolling.

  1. 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?

I too think there's a lot of room for improvement in the way we welcome new users. We need to help set up a more friendly environment on IPS than other technical stack exchange sites. We have to be extra cautious and nice when leaving comments for them. Some users who visit us mistakingly assume we're here to solve all their interpersonal and intrapersonal issues. We need to ensure they're quickly informed of the kind of interpersonal matters we can and will help on before they lose hope and feel disheartened that they are being targeted for close votes and down votes. This should help most of them want to stick around longer and eventually become a regular contributor.

  • 1
    Are you willing to back up moderator decisions with citations and evidence? – Johns-305 Jun 17 at 21:07
  • @Johns-305 Yes, wherever it's possible. – NVZ Jun 18 at 2:14

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