The following is a "digest" version of the 2012 Moderator Election Town Hall Chat. The format, as described on Meta Stack Overflow, is one answer to this question for every question asked in the Town Hall, containing all the candidate's answers to that question.

To view the digest chronologically, please sort the answers by "oldest".

If you have questions or comments about this, please do not answer this question as the answers are designed to be used for the questions from the Town hall itself. Instead, please ask on the parent question or in the Town Hall Discussion Room.

If you see any corrections which need to be made to this digest, or if you were a candidate who was unable to attend the town hall and would like your answers included, please @Rebecca or @TimStone in the chat room and let us know!

25 Answers 25


Mark Trapp Mark Trapp asked: How do you feel about Programmers today? Headed in the right direction? Wrong direction? Needs a lot of work, or not so much?

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: Generally, we're in the right direction. I just think we need a bit of refinement in what qualifies as on or off topic.

  • Anna Lear Anna Lear asked: What sort of refinement do you have in mind?

    Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson responded: I just feel that there is not a true consensus on where the line is drawn in the sand. There are guidelines, and they are largely fine, but it seems as though what one may consider fine another considers off-topic is not certain.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: I think it's going in the right direction. There's always plenty of things to do, though. I see the blog being discussed again. You (Mark) have a great idea for keeping tag cleanups organized so they can continue. I would like to see some topicality cleanup, though, to reduce some ambiguities.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: Well, I have no idea if it will be the right direction in the long run, but I like where we are heading. We do need a lot of work, especially with cleaning up our broken windows. Lately we've been doing a lot of work clarifying the FAQ, there's always room for improvement, but I think we are very near "good enough"...

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I think it is a little of both. Mostly the right direction, we've risen out the quagmire that was the beginning of the site but we are still seen as rather brutal or elitist toward new users even if that response is warranted. We also get great deal of misunderstanding in terms of the site's purpose and scope. Getting Stack Overflow to quit using us as a dumping ground is definitely a top priority. Getting some kind of extremely clear "algorithmic" asking guide should be done.

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: I'm still here, so I'm quite happy. On/Off topic has been a controversy for a long time, for better or worse. At best it keeps a focus on certain topics, at worst it can drive away some topics and askers that are programming/programmer related that are very interesting and insightful.

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: P.SE hosts a great deal of quality content. However, in recent times with SE doing an awesome job of marketing, the sites continue to attract the high- and low-quality participants. The so-called 'work' required is tricky to define, but isoutside the realm of a moderator.

Jae Jae answered: I think, overall, we're in the right direction. There are a few things we may have to do in the long run, but basically, this site is doing a great job.


Jarrod Jarrod asked: How much time do you feel you can dedicate to P.SE on average? And do you feel that it is an appropriate amount of time to properly moderate the site?

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I have a window open to stack exchange a huge amount of the time. Pretty much any time I'm on a computer that I own I'm on P.SE. I'd say that's enough time to moderate it.

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: I can dedicate an hour or so in the morning, and mid-day. The evening allows for more time as well. I feel at least 2-3 hours would be a good amount for both moderation and participation in general.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: Various SE sites are usually open in a browser when I'm at work. I pop on in when I need to jump out of work for a few minutes. SE sites are usually open when I'm at home, too. If I was on and things needed attention, or there were new interesting posts (on main or meta), I'd respond. As a diamond mod, I'd probably spend more time here than on any other SE site (I already do, but it would shift more).

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: 2-4 hours a day on average. I can't say for certain, but that seems sufficient for P.SE. I'd be interested to hear from existing mods to hear if they think that's accurate.

  • ChrisF ChrisF replied: I don't keep track. I tend to moderate in the odd minutes I have during the day when I'm waiting for builds/inspiration.

    Mark Trapp Mark Trapp replied: ~an hour a day, usually

    SnOrfus SnOrfus responded: I find that surprising. You seem to do a lot in that hour.

    Anna Lear Anna Lear added: I probably spent 15-20 hours a week on SE... maybe half that on actual moderation. I'm not sure anymore.

    Josh K Josh K replied: Typically about an hour total a day. Maybe less. I normally drop in 3-4 times a day and if something comes up I check it. That's why flags rock, it's a simple little note that I need to check something instead of digging through stats to find something.

Karl Bielefeldt Karl Bielefeldt answered: I check it several times per day, and am often the first or second close vote, answer, or comment, so I think I'm getting to the site often enough to moderate effectively.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: About an hour per day, for moderation duties. So far I'm spending about a couple of hours each day, and if there's need for more time for moderation, well I'll remove Sceptics and Code Review from my bookmarks...

  • Current mods only get on an hour or two a day? I'm surprised, I was sure they were on more than that!
    – Rachel
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 20:48

Anna Lear Anna Lear asked: What will you do if the community can't or won't vote on a question that falls outside the Stack Exchange/site guidelines?

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: It depends on just how far. If it is total mismatch for the site, I would be inclined to close/migrate/delete depending on the context. If it is a "fringe" question, I say let the community be the judge on that one.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: I think it's pretty clear to everyone that moderators are supposed to be the one's making the unpopular decisions. If I honestly believe that a question is outside the scope of the site, or otherwise troublesome, I will close it. If it's a borderline question, I'll probably wait for a couple of close votes or a few flags. If there's anywhere else it fits, I'll probably ask their mods before migrating.

  • psr psr asked for clarification: It's pretty clear to everyone that moderators are supposed to be the one's making the unpopular decisions? Isn't that a logical contradiction? If it's clear to everyone isn't it popular by definition? What do you mean?

    Anna Lear Anna Lear suggested: The decisions aren't popular, but the fact that moderators make them is clear. Does that help?

    Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos responded: A question may be extremely popular, but that has nothing to do with how a moderator should handle it.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I'll try and address the question if it a near miss, get the poster to change it to something acceptable. Otherwise I will go ahead and purge it if it is way off base whilst providing a precise reason as to why.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: If it's extremely obvious or needs action, I would close or delete as appropriate. However, I would tend to defer to the community. I don't want to be the only close vote on a question, though, unless it's absolutely necessary - I think seeing questions closed by fewer than 3 non-moderators looks bad (it isn't in actuality, but has that appearance).

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: The site guidelines are the guidelines. It's my view that debating them is left to meta and it's a mod's responsibility to vote-to-close in line with the guidelines set forth.

  • Jarrod Jarrod asked: So would say that you take more of a "policeman" moderator view, rather than a "judge" view?

    SnOrfus SnOrfus responded: I'd like to think of it as more of a traffic cop. Directing people to better questions/answers and stopping traffic if things are going to get messy.

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: Make sure one of the more-experienced moderator sees it. Learn from how they deal with the situation.

Jae Jae answered: If there is somewhere that the question can be migrated, it will be edited and migrated. If not, basically the question will be closed, or possibly edited to make them on-topic.


Mark Trapp Mark Trapp asked: Many of the candidates have very low flag counts and very low meta participation. Do you see flagging and meta participation as an important part of being part of the community? Why or why not?

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: Flagging, not so much. I have less than 50 flags because I only flag things that need immediate or drastic action. Most of the time, the community can take care of things on their own, without moderator intervention. Meta is far more important since that's how the community is defined.

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: I do see flagging and meta as important. Regarding flagging, unless I saw something that was truly inappropriate, I used my "vote to close" option. Meta is what plays a role in how the site is run which I feel is more important. As for my low count on the matter, that is simply my lack of formal involvement (I've tended to lurk in the past) but regardless of the outcome of the election, I intend to become much more involved in Programmers overall.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I think flagging is definitely an important task, without it, moderation would be exhausting and difficult to keep up with bad posts. It gives new users a feeling that they can stop bad stuff from happening. Meta is definitely important but as I said in reference for other questions, I post when I have a question and answer when I have an answer. I do read through meta to make sure that I'm keeping up though and encourage others to do likewise.

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: There are many ways to participate. Flagging and meta are some of the ways. Do I believe that moderator status requires a higher level of such participation? Yes.

Karl Bielefeldt Karl Bielefeldt answered: I have generally reserved flags for things that can't be addressed via other means, like spam or not real answers. I prefer voting to close, editing, or commenting as a means of participation in site improvement.

Karl Bielefeldt Karl Bielefeldt continued: As for meta, I read meta far more often than I post, mostly because there are usually sufficient answers given, or I don't feel I'm the right person to answer. If I were a moderator, I would feel like "the right person" much more often.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: Well, having over 300 helpful flags, you'll allow me to skip that one...

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: Flagging is certainly important. In order to learn the stance of the existing moderators, I have watched the result of each flag I've casted (whether it has been accepted or rejected). So, when I reached the reputation ability to cast my own close votes, I could do so with confidence. Meta reading is certain required because you learn how to deal with controversial matters.

Jae Jae answered: Flagging is important for any user. Honestly, the fact that your flagging and editing rates are low (of course, based on the amount of time you've been here) shows that you are not very used to the janitorial duties of a moderator. As for Meta, it is very important. You cannot make too many major decisions without a strong meta backing you up.


Robert Harvey Robert Harvey asked: How will your moderation style differ from the existing mods? How will the site change as a result of the way your style differs?

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: As I mentioned in my "speech" on the election page, I will moderate moderately, taking action where only definitively necessary.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: I'm going to try to defer to the community as much as I can. For example, minimizing the number of times I close a question without at least two or three other members voting first, or if I notice a trend, raise a question on Meta.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I refuse to use downvotes and I try to explain in detail why things happen and what to do about them if it is possible to do something about it. I want questions to be answered even if they are bad fits. I do realize that there are people who will never be able ask a good question but I think there are a great deal more who can be shaped into good questioners. I generally refer to community will but people get angry and vindictive, as a moderator I can't let emotion cloud my judgement.

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: Not really. It was a bit of the opposite actually. I see people that I admire for their technical skills, people skills and community involvement - and aspire to emulate it. Will my personality come through? Certainly, but I can't say how that will affect my moderating style.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: There was a similar meta question, and my answer there was that there isn't really much room for differentiation. Moderators are exception handlers and janitors, not much room for personal style...

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: It won't. I'm applying to be part of a team, not an individual enforcer who has the audacity to "do things my way". The moderation required by everyone will be less - we're just sharing the work.


BlackJack BlackJack asked: How can we get more users involved in community efforts? For example, it was mentioned earlier that we'll have more organized tag clean-up. How can we encourage newer/younger members (such as myself) to participate?

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: Lead by example. Additionally, I think have providing clear direction on the objectives of a cleanup will help encourage new participants who may not be sure of what the proper actions are.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: A great many users don't check meta from what I can tell so it might behoove us to have some way of encouraging meta discussion. I do think leading by example is important but at the same time we have a lot of veteran users who are already active on meta. I think meta needs to seem to matter to new users in a way that it may not now.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: I agree with @GlennNelson - lead by example. Setting down good examples is the best way. That means moderators and non-moderators alike. Even if I don't get a diamond mod position, I still plan on helping with cleanups, writing tag wikis, meta discussions, and the blog.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: I've noticed a couple of newer users doing some great edits, so I approached them through chat and gave some basic guidelines, mostly pointing out to relevant meta discussions. I'd like to do that in a more organized effort, possibly chat events for major cleanup efforts...

Jae Jae answered: I don't think you can force anybody to visit the Meta and do these things. Yes, you can lead by example, but even so, newbies to the site barely know how the main site works. So really, before we can get more Meta participants, we must have more active Main site participants.


Andrew Andrew asked: To follow @AnnaLear's question: There is an apparent dichotomy between the site being a "community" site and a site governed by a set of "guidelines." In theory, the guidelines are set by the community, so governing by the guidelines should be governing by the community. If that were actually the case, @AnnaLear's question would be meaningless. When the community, or at least a vocal subset of the community, appears to be at odds with the guidelines, how do you resolve the conflict?

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: The guidelines exist, and at any given moment in time, the community needs to function within those guidelines. However, if any user (moderator or otherwise) has a problem with those guidelines, it should be raised on meta and discussed. However, there's also the overarching goals/objectives of Stack Exchange that must be supported.

  • psr psr asked: Which overarching goals of Stack exchange are you referring to and how would you support them?

    Thomas Owens Thomas Owens responded: There are some guidelines in place. For example, the six guidelines for subjective questions, the desire for expert answers, and the general making the Internet a better place. Regardless of what we, as a community, decide to do, we can't break any rules or guidelines set down by a higher power.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens continued: What I would like to see is more of a dialog between moderators and the rest of the community, though. These types of town halls on a regular basis. I'm just beginning to see the actual value of the chat, so I think that putting everyone in the same location at a coordinated time might help community building (and consensus building.)

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I try to get to the bottom of the reasoning behind the behavior and work out some kind of lasting solution. Care needs to be taken in both strengthening the community and living within the bounds that the stack exchange sets. It's a fine and tricky line to walk I'll admit but I feel I can handle it.


kiamlaluno kiamlaluno asked: In which areas do you think that a Stack Exchange site should allow non 10k users to participate more in the decisions?

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: I think one of the most important things is deciding what constitutes on-topic and what is not, which a user can do with 3.000 reputation.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: What exactly do you mean? Anyone can participate on Meta. The big thing is that as you are trusted by the community to ask good questions and give good answers, you get more tools. But everyone can participate fully in the core functionality and decision making.

  • kiamlaluno kiamlaluno clarified: For example, 5k users don't see the flagged posts. I am referring to the main site, not the meta site.

    Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: I'm perfectly fine with that. Until someone is more familiar and comfortable with the community, there's no need to give someone access to more powerful community management/participation tools.

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: I think the system works well as it is now in that regard.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: As someone with less than 10k, I don't feel like I am being shorted on discussions or not having my voice heard.

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: You're also talking about the system already implemented. We can speculate or whine about it as much as we want. I, however, think this is irrelevant to the election.


Anna Lear Anna Lear asked: And further to Mark's question, do you plan to be available in chat for frequent communication or do you prefer to be more autonomous?

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: I haven't been in chat much, but I'm not averse to it at all if it's required or needed.

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: I think being a monitor warrants an active communication between other members of the site and moderators. That said being available in-chat is a must.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I basically live in chat so I'm always up for a good talk. I can act as my own agent when necessary as well.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: Chat, probably not so much. If there were chat events, I would be around. I wouldn't be against more activity though. I'd be more responsive on Meta (and anyone can ping me via email if they want my input or take on a question - it's already in my profile).

Karl Bielefeldt Karl Bielefeldt answered: I have not spent much time in chat before because honestly, there's not often much going on. If elected moderator, I would make an effort to keep a chat window open anyway, because I think that's part of the job.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: Chat! Chat! Chat! I always have a tab open in chat as a user, and I don't see a reason to change that habit as a moderator.

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: Most definitely! I applied to join a team. I would love the opportunity to get to know the current moderators more - the easiest being accessible via chat or wherever else they're active.

Jae Jae answered: Frequent communication is key. You must communicate with the community to get things done.


Steve Jackson Steve Jackson asked: What facet of Programmers.SE do you feel deserves the most attention / needs improvement? Tags, community building, on-topic definition, etc?

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: A better understanding of what is on-topic throughout the entire site is a must and needs work.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: Tags and on-topic definition first. Broken windows, and all that. Topicality is 80% there, but there are ambiguities. Community building needs to be on going thing that's never going to be done.

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: Tough call. The community seems to be most vocal about on-topic definition, but I don't know if it's the most important. Being an active member and contributing the best quality possible as a user is probably most important.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I think interception of bad questions before they get asked is a good idea. People ask a lot of the same bad questions over and over. Some way of providing a stock answer that doesn't feel negative along with a close would be good.

  • Steve Jackson Steve Jackson asked: How would you steer them in the right direction and avoid dismissing their question as a "same old" bad question?

    World Engineer World Engineer answered: Have some guides ask to exactly why bad questions are bad, not just question off topic/question bad. Explain carefully why it is that there question is bad and try and help them make it better. I realize that it means more work for me but I'm willing to take that on.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: We haven't fully recuperated from the good old days, so I'd say that on-topic definition would be my first priority, but cleaning up our broken windows would be the best way to start. I've already volunteered for the blog as a user, and will do my best to be as much involved as a moderator, if elected.

Jae Jae answered: The tag cleanups need some work. Community building is pretty good. On-topic definition needs a lot of work.


Anna Lear Anna Lear asked: Suppose that someone objects to one of your actions and makes an incensed meta post calling you out. How would you handle this situation?

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: They're free to do that. That's what meta is for. I'd answer (re)stating my viewpoint or the rationale behind the decision and let the meta community further decide.

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: Again I'm not sure what facilities moderators are provided to communicate with users, but I would do my best to explain my reasoning for my decision and do my best to answer questions or issues the user has with my decision.

Karl Bielefeldt Karl Bielefeldt answered: I would point to the appropriate faq entry or precedent to support my action, and give them an honest hearing, possibly reversing or modifying my decision if they make a good case.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: First, I'd chill out a bit. Then, I'd explain my reasoning in detail and let the community decide. If, for some reason, I was out of line, I would admit my mistake and undo it (if it hadn't been undone by another mod already).

World Engineer World Engineer answered: Calmly, I've worked a long time in customer service. You've not seen irate until you reject returns. If I can stand my ground with someone screaming at me in real life, I can handle it on the internet.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: Leave the question mature for a couple of hours and then come back to it. If there is a satisfactory answer describing my actions, upvote it. If not, provide one describing my actions. If there is community consensus that my actions were incorrect, revert and apologize.

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: Thoroughly explain the notion behind the action(s). Be polite and open to feedback, but also accept that I may have done something wrong. Then, also get one of the P.SE godfathers or another moderator to review the case. And, apologise, if needed!

Jae Jae answered: They're supposed to object if they want to. But if I, and the majority of the community, think it's the right thing to do, then I'll do it. But yes, you need the majority vote.


kiamlaluno kiamlaluno asked: Do you think that participating on Meta Stack Overflow helps with being a better moderator?

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: Certainly. Some users see it as 'the complaint bucket' so addressing those complaints is a major part of the job.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I think we need to make a concerted effort to be appear gracious on Meta.SO while definitely tackling the issue of out negative perception.

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: I think that participating on the meta for a site will help get a better understanding of how Stack Exchange operates, as well as the particular "branch" of the network.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: Yes. I've started lurking around MSO a couple of months ago and I got a far better understanding of Stack Exchange than before.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: Participation on MSO is important for a moderator - that's where the decisions that affect all SE sites are made. I think moderators should keep an eye on the metas of other SE sites that are related to ours to assist with the process of moving questions and guiding users to the right place to get the best answers.


Robert Harvey Robert Harvey asked: Are you familiar with the protocol for migrating a question? What is the first principle?

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: Don't migrate crap.

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: My only experience with migration has been on a "vote to close & migrate manner", so not to any real extent.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: Check with the site in question before you migrate it. Read their FAQ, at least twice. Ask questions about fine lined stuff.

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: Only with respect to "off topic - belongs on so" when voting to close.

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: I haven't read an official guideline/rule for migrating questions, but I assume that only migrating questions that belong on P.SE would be part of the decision-making process.

Jae Jae answered: Basically, make sure the question is quality before you migrate it.


ChrisF ChrisF asked: How do you think being a moderator will affect your voting and posting patterns?

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: The thing I will miss the most is the non binding close vote... When it comes to up/down voting I don't think there will be much to change.

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: No affect. I upvote what I feel is interesting, I vote to close what I feel is off-topic. It's likely that I'll upvote an interesting question, and vote to close as off-topic. I downvote what I feel is harmful or very ill-informed.

  • ChrisF ChrisF asked: So even if you're the first to see an off topic question you'll vote despite it being binding? Wouldn't it be better to wait for other members of the community to vote first?

    SnOrfus SnOrfus responded: It may depend on the question, but for the average case, the rules are fairly 'set in stone' so no.

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: I would have to say I'd vote less often (to close that is) because of the binding vote.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I don't know that it will really change them all that much. I will provide more detail about why I post, I will definitely think more before I take action on bad posts as my actions will now reflect the community rather than just me. My posting will stay about the same, I'll answer when I have an answer and ask a question when I have one.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: I don't see it doesn't affect my answering or voting that much. It won't affect the content of any answers, that's for sure. Depending on the current state of the site, I might choose to moderate instead of answer, and if someone else posts a really good answer before I get a chance to answer, I'll just comment and upvote.

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: Up- and down-voting questions? None at all. Posting answers? None at all. Closing questions? I wouldn't like to see myself singlehandedly close too many questions, so I'd wait for another member or two to express concern on a question. Commenting? More care would have to be taken, since it's obvious to users that I'm a moderator.

Jae Jae answered: I don't think my habits of answering and voting will change too much at all. I will still vote when I think it should be voted on, and I will still answer questions that I feel I am able to answer.


Mark Trapp Mark Trapp asked: What do you think the moderator's role is in community building? Should they stick to the janitorial duties, or be actively involved in the decision making process and promotion of the site?

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: When it comes to making decisions, the voice of a moderator shouldn't be any stronger than anyone else in the community. The only difference between a diamond moderator and anyone else is that they have access to tools to help keep the community moving forward in times of crisis.

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: The moderator should ideally be both a user and a "janitor". Any site needs some level of cleaning up, but should also be involved in promotion of the site which is just as important as cleaning in maintaining and cultivating a good community.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: Moderators should act as the morale officers in the army of stack-exchange, meting out justice and encouragement in equal measure. We should be the very best that the community has to offer and try to set examples in all things. Good ideas should be taken to the next level and bad ideas should be composted into good ones or incinerated.

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: Certainly similar to an evangelist, but I don't know what the relationship is personally between a mod and SE staff, so I wouldn't be so bold as to attempt to step on their toes.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: Janitorial duties should be a priority. But moderators are also users, and they should be involved in the decision making process as much as everyone. By default (?!) moderators are experienced users and their opinion may carry a bit more weight, but that has (or should have) nothing to do with the diamond...

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: A moderator should stick to his her moderator duties. However, as a P.SE user, enables me to share opinions regarding the site via Meta.

Jae Jae answered: I think the moderator needs to do it all. Janitorial duties are important. Promotion is important. Decision making is very important. So why not?


BlackJack BlackJack asked: Say a user posts 3-4 questions which are all closed for being off-topic. If this user continues posting questions that are somewhat related but still off topic, even after you show them the FAQ and all that, what do you do with them, if anything at all?

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: I'm not sure what the exact facilities are, but if after explaining to the user (and making sure they understand the situation) I would have to perform a temporary ban in some form.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: As far as I'm aware users who abuse the stack exchange can be banned but I'd definitely take serious care to make sure that we were doing so correctly and not just repeatedly misunderstanding each other.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: At that point, I believe there are moderator (or automatic) methods for limiting their posting ability. It really would be required at that point. One or two questions, especially borderline ones, I can see. But after 3 or 4, you should have learned and stronger action is needed.

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: Tough call. I've personally had trouble adapting to the six guidelines, so in the past a number of my questions were closed. In the end, there needs to be a cut-off point where it can be determined that the person is posting maliciously and if the case, banning is an option that I'd consider with caution (depending on the content of the questions). If it's deemed not malicious, continuing to close their questions by vote of the community seems reasonable to me.

Karl Bielefeldt Karl Bielefeldt answered: one thing that often happens is questions are closed for being off topic, but there's a part of the question that's on topic. I would try to edit to make it on topic, or redirect to a better place to ask, rather than just close and say "those questions aren't welcome here." Only after that doesn't work would I consider reprimands like temporary bans.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: It's always a per case decision. If there are a few helpful comments by community members (moderators or not, it doesn't really matter) and the user failed to improve his / her participation after a sensible amount of time, a temporary suspension would be justified.

Jae Jae answered: As was said by @ThomasOwens: There is already an "auto-ban" for those who have many low-quality questions.


Michael Mrozek Michael Mrozek asked: 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?

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: Excited.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: Not a problem at all. I have never said anything that isn't fully honest and my thoughts.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I'm entirely okay with that. I've nothing to hide and I do still update some of my better old answers to make them ever more useful. I realize that I will probably be resented more by many people but being a moderator is a duty and an honor not some weekend cruise. I will put a note in my profile to treat my oldest posts with a grain of salt since I was learning the ropes here at the time as to not mislead people.

Karl Bielefeldt Karl Bielefeldt answered: I've always made how my actions reflect on the site a major consideration, because I want it to be a site people come back to. I like to think I already behave as if my activity is in the spotlight, and having a diamond by my name wouldn't change that.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: I'll probably be a bit more careful & detailed in covering all my bases, before sharing my opinion.

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: All my interaction has been professional on this site; I would hope that SE would be proud to stick a diamond next to my name.

  • @MichaelMrozek: are you going to ask this question in all elections ? ;)
    – user2567
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 9:30

Jarrod Jarrod asked: A very wide range of programming topics are discussed on this site - do you feel you have a wide enough range of experience in the world of programming to appropriately guide and moderate topics that you might not necessarily be well versed in?

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I have a comprehensive knowledge of programming topics and software engineering. I am good at doing research quickly and accurately so if I don't know something I will know it very very soon.

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: I suppose that would be a tough one on my part considering my young age and relative lack of experience in the industry. I think that largely, I can tell what is and what is not related to the world of programmers, but some times I will just have to step back and look into something if I am not sure of something or knowledgeable on the matter.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: I think so. I think I would bring a unique perspective to the moderation team in terms of my topic area knowledge to help better define topicality in gray areas. And if I see a gray area, I'd defer to the community members and moderators who understands the subject matter better to make an informed decision.

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: I don't think anyone knows everything, but someone has to do the job of moderating. I don't necessarily think it's a moderator's job to verify the accuracy of all questions and answers. That said, I'd like to think that I'm knowledgable and more-so every day.

Karl Bielefeldt Karl Bielefeldt answered: I have answers in 333 tags, most with upvotes. Does that answer your question? Also, I think moderation is less about subject matter and more about site quality. You don't have to know the subject to know a bad question or answer.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: Isn't that why every member is encouraged to participate in the moderation aspects of the site? There are quite a few topics I have no clue about, and when issues arise on those topics I would either refer them to fellow moderators or wait for a sensible amount of flags / votes.


Rebecca Chernoff Rebecca Chernoff asked: Final thoughts from the candidates?

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: Thanks for coming everyone! Get out there and vote. There are plenty of awesome candidates, and it was really hard to decide (well, my first vote was easy...). I hope you choose me to be one of the next moderators, but just get out there and get your voice heard.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens continued: It was fun.

  • World Engineer World Engineer added: Fun and a challenge. To all questioners I hope I did well. To everyone else, I hope I answered your implicit concerns.

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: There's a good group of candidates (both here, and not here). I don't think the community can go wrong with any of us. That said, vote SnOrfus! He's better!

SnOrfus SnOrfus continued: I'd like to thank everyone for coming out. Some good questions. I hope I didn't miss any.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I think Programmers is a great site with a garbage problem and an image problem. If elected as moderator I will do everything I can to help with those issues. Particularly tag clean-ups, new user management and pushing toward the launch and continuance of the blog. Communication is the core of what conceptual software is about. It should be the core of what we are too.

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: Programmers is a great site and a great addition to the SE network. There is a problem with inconsistency and difference of opinions, but we can work to fix it by being more active in the process either as a user or moderator.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: Thanks for taking the time to organize this...

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: I've done my best to answer most of the questions. There are a few in there that aren't deserving of time and energy. Sorry for not being available at the appointed time - blame the timezones!

Jae Jae answered: Thanks for the opportunity to do this! I hope I can get your vote soon :-)


Mark Trapp Mark Trapp asked: As Robert Harvey alluded to, you'll be joining an existing moderation team, unlike the last election. Do you see yourself fitting in to the existing team, or going against the grain?

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I see myself doing a bit of both. I like the current mods in terms of discussions I've had with them but I'm sure there will be the odd conflict in terms what should or shouldn't be done at a given point in time. Experience will be an excellent teacher.

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: I think the current moderation team has done a fine job and will continue to do so. I personally don't agree on the level of closing questions that are on the margin, but I don't see that being a conflict.

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: Depends on the moderator. I've disagreed with you personally a number of times on the site and meta, while the opposite is the case with some other mods. I've always had a good amount of respect for both however and when I haven't agreed, I've enjoyed the discussion.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: I've tended to have some very...strong (good word, guys) opinions on various policies and how things should be. However, once the community makes a decision, I'll fall into line and support it as appropriate. So in a discussion, I might go against the grain, but I'd fall in line when it comes to upholding those decisions.

Karl Bielefeldt Karl Bielefeldt answered: I think my meta answer here sums up how I will fit in perfectly. When I disagree with official policy, I will say so, but I'm still supportive of the consensus. In other words, I can disagree without being disagreeable.

Jae Jae answered: I think it will take a small bit of time to get used to the flow of things. But, I don't think it will take too long since I will be able to get help from experienced mods.

  • @Thomas Owens: Good stuff.
    – Jim G.
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 17:43

kiamlaluno kiamlaluno asked: What is the main problem (including problems on how users use the site) that you actually see in the site you would be moderating, if you are elected moderator?

  • Anna Lear Anna Lear remarked: Seems like Steve just asked that. Are you aiming for something different?

    kiamlaluno kiamlaluno responded: I was referring to problems with the users using the site too.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: Are you referring to people? Separate the people from the problem. People usually aren't the problem, it's usually communication.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: The main problem I see is a misunderstanding what it is that programmers is about. We tend to see bad posts, react to them and that gives an impression that we are elitist/evil. This in turn turns away many people who might be given valuable contributors if they could be steered in the right direction without scaring them off.


Mark Trapp Mark Trapp asked: Why do you want to be a moderator? What motivated you to take this big leap?

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: A desire to become more active in something that I consider to be a great part of the internet. I've learned a good bit from this site and continue to offer what I can when I can

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I want to help get this site into a form where we are no longer seen as SO's dumping ground or those meanies over on programmers. I love being on this site and feel that this is a natural next step in my service toward helping people get questions answered.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: I've been a member of Programmers since Day 1. I saw it go from this confused mess of who knows to one of the most interesting SE sites out there. I just want the opportunity to take on a new role in the community to make it more awesome. Regardless of the outcome, I still plan on participating on the main site, on meta, and in community initiatives, but hopefully the community will elect me to serve them in a new way..

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: I have been doing a lot of clean up work, and for the most part I enjoy it. As I wrote in my nomination stub, becoming a moderator will allow me to do what I've already been doing with a lot more flexibility. Everything else I love about the site, I can do as a user, so it has nothing to do with my desire to become a moderator.

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: I respect the mindsets and aptitude of the current moderators (except one). I believe that like-minded people naturally gravitate together too. Aside from that, P.SE has taught me a lot and continues to do so now; moderating would be my (minimal) way of serving it.

Jae Jae answered: I'm running because I think that I can make an already great site and network a better place.


Gilles Gilles asked: Do you think the existence of Programmers has affected the scope of Stack Overflow? Should it?

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: Absolutely not. The act of writing code is a fraction of what I do. Well, these days, it's an insanely small fraction of what I do. There's plenty of room questions about writing code, tests, and so on. But there's also plenty of room for the whiteboard and soft issues in software development and we here fill that niche.

Glenn Nelson Glenn Nelson answered: I honestly don't feel I can offer my opinion on that matter as I haven't concurrently spent significant time on Programmers and SO. I also did not engage on SO in a serious manner before Programmers came about so I can't offer a true opinion on any changes.

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I do think we need to make sure that SO understands what they can and can't migrate here.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: What is this Stack Overflow you are speaking of?

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: Yes, P.SE is where the subjective questions is asked.


Morons Morons asked: Should we be encouraging more “High level” Questions? I personally feel there is a lack of design\architecture type questions.. if yes, how?

World Engineer World Engineer answered: I think our name is partially to blame, this is not "Software Engineering.SE". I do think we could address that with more specifics in the FAQ and maybe something along the lines of a "question of the week" and set it to architecture topics for a while.

Thomas Owens Thomas Owens answered: I don't know if there's anything that you can do to force questions. Perhaps looking at themed weeks for asking and answering questions in a particular category might be an answer, as it has worked on other SE sites. However, I want to make sue the questions stay real and not forced or pressured.

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: I would like that, but I don't think it's part of a moderators responsibilities to encourage a higher level of questions.

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: Sorry, but I don't know what you're saying here. If you're talking about higher-level questions from the users, I think that's outside of the moderator's scope.


Morons Morons asked: As a Balance of Power.. Do you feel that upon reaching a certain reputation a privilege should be given that allows the user to view moderator activities?

  • Robert Harvey Robert Harvey remarked: Moderator actions are always completely visible (except stats and private mod messages). Are you asking about something else?

SnOrfus SnOrfus answered: A moderators activities can be viewed by anyone of any reputation via our profiles, unless you meant something else?

Yannis Rizos Yannis Rizos answered: It's not about balance of power. Moderators have a very well defined set of responsibilities, and all their activities are monitored constantly.

Jonathan Khoo Jonathan Khoo answered: You're asking a question about an already-implemented system here. This is irrelevant to the election.

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