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


Web Applications Stack Exchange is scheduled for an election next week, 2023-06-06. In connection with that, we will be holding a Q&A with the candidates. This will be an opportunity for members of the community to pose questions to the candidates on the topic of moderation. Participation is completely voluntary.

Here’s how it’ll work:

  • Until the nomination phase, (so, until 2023-06-06 at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 4:00 pm EDT on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.

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

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

  • We, the Community Team, will be providing a small selection of generic questions. The following two questions are guaranteed to be included:

    • How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?
    • How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc. a question that you feel shouldn’t have been?
  • The community team may also include the following three questions if the community doesn’t supply enough questions.

    • In your opinion, what do moderators do?
    • A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?
    • In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?
  • At the start of the nomination phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions. We reserve some editorial control in the selection of the questions and may opt not to select a question that is tangential or irrelevant to moderation or the election. We exclude any suggested questions that are negatively scored.

    • We will post the final questionnaire on the Election page. Candidates will have the option to fill out the questionnaire, and their answers will appear beneath their intro statements.
    • This is not the only option that users have for gathering information on candidates. As a community, you are still free to, for example, hold a live chat session with your candidates to ask further questions, or perhaps clarifications from what is provided in the Q&A.

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

10 Answers 10

5

You may find yourself being the only active moderator and the only active contributer to Meta. How will you handle this? Will you take more time to gather the community's input, even when it trickles in very slowly? Or do you anticipate having to make decisions by yourself if the other moderators and the community do not respond in a timely manner?

Background: Web Applications Stack Exchange currently has three moderators, two of whom were elected in 2011 and 2012. They have never won an election since, staying on by default, presumably because of the lack of nominees. The third moderator was elected in 2020. See more details in this post. Meta is not that busy compared to other websites, if you exclude the activity of a couple of busy users and moderator.

4

As a community moderator, you might face situations where you must explain Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange norms.

Stack Overflow banned using ChatGPT's generated text; some other Stack Exchange sites did the same, which led some people to use generated text detectors. Very recently, it was posted in Meta Stack Exchange What is the network policy regarding AI Generated content?, which claims that the results from such detectors should not be used as evidence, among other things. How would you proceed if you were a Web Applications community moderator and met such a situation? Please elaborate on how and why.

4

The community has raised concerns that the "needs details or clarity" close vote reason is being misused. A community moderator has unilaterally closed dozens of questions using the "needs details or clarity" close vote reason to mean that a question "does not meet the current quality standards" or "does not show research". What are your views on this issue? Do you agree or disagree with this moderation practice? Under what circumstances would you use your moderator privileges to unilaterally close a question, as opposed to letting the community handle the close voting?

2
  • 1
    This seems redundant to Franck Dernoncourt's question.
    – pppery
    Jun 1, 2023 at 2:16
  • 1
    @pppery There are commonalities, but from what I understand of his question is that he's asking about the moderation practice of closing questions despite the lack of a clear policy behind it. While this is asking about the (mis)usage of the "needs details or clarity" close vote reason to unilaterally close questions for what I described above. Jun 1, 2023 at 2:30
2

Most questions have a score 0. Since many questions don't receive answers, Roomba deleted many questions on this website. Do you think we should make the auto-deletion rules of Roomba more lenient to lower the number of questions getting deleted, e.g. by decreasing the required view count or not deleting questions of score 0?

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  • 4
    If there are so many questions with a score of 0, Roomba isn't the problem. It's the insufficient voting that's the problem. You're proposing to fix the wrong problem.
    – Mast
    Jun 3, 2023 at 19:00
  • 1
    @Mast it's easier to fix one line of code than human behavior. I'm not aware of any attempts to increase voting that worked, aside perhaps from the new button design. But let's see if anyone has a good idea: webapps.meta.stackexchange.com/a/5053/18147 I'm not here to debate, just to see what candidates think. Jun 4, 2023 at 3:46
  • 2
    Breaking Roomba like this will actually worsen the quality of the site by leaving much uninteresting or shoddy questions around. It exists for a reason. If the question wants to be answered, it has to be interesting enough to attract someone willing to answer. If people aren't even interested enough in it to vote, how much hope does it have of getting answered? You're just delaying the inevitable at that point and the site will lose value by being a pit of Q without A. It should be Q and A.
    – Mast
    Jun 4, 2023 at 10:15
  • @Mast many questions get answers but no votes. Score of 0 doesn't mean uninteresting or shoddy. It's not respectful towards users who write questions to destroy their content. How would you feel if all your questions were deleted? I've had more questions deleted by Roomba than all the questions you've posted across the entire SE network. Speaking of content deletion, that's my last comment here, since the comments are deleted easily here. Also the question was supposed to be for the candidates :) Jun 4, 2023 at 10:38
2

A Theory of Moderation states the Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange moderation principles. What are the conditions that make such a theory work?

Please focus on featuring the three most important conditions and elaborate on why. Also, share your opinion regarding the presence or absence of such conditions in Web Applications, and sustain your opinion on facts.

2

Web Apps SE has a goal. How well do you think it's going? As a moderator, would you hope to see more of the same, or would you hope to guide the community through some changes?

1

Most questions have a score 0. Since many questions don't receive answers, Roomba deletes many questions on this website. How do you think one can convince users to vote more?

0

Dozens of questions were recently closed by a moderator unilaterally on the grounds that they lack of research. Yet, current moderators haven't announced when they plan to clearly state whether showing research is a requirement. Do you think it is acceptable for a moderator to close these questions even though there is no clear policy stating that lack of research is a reason to close a question?

0

As you may already know, there have been a number of recent meta posts on Web Apps SE expressing concern about a moderator who has been unilaterally closing dozens of questions based on some yet-to-be-explained reason, e.g., [1], [2], [3].

The votes on these meta posts and their answers indicate that the community has generally expressed disapproval of these moderator actions. However, the moderator in question continued with the question closures despite the lack of community support.

How will you handle feedback or objections if you find yourself in a similar situation where the community disagrees with your moderation actions? Would you keep doing the same thing, disregarding community feedback, like in the case mentioned above, or would you respect the community feedback, even if you do not agree with it?

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  • 2
    Leaving a note to say that if this question gets selected, I will likely trim it down a bit.
    – JNat StaffMod
    Jun 5, 2023 at 9:47
  • 1
    @JNat No problem. As long as the core question about respecting community feedback stays intact. Jun 7, 2023 at 0:57
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Earlier this year, a member was suspended for some action they had done and discussed with a mod over 1 year before the suspension. Do you think it is ok to suspend a member some action they had done and discussed with a mod over 1 year before the suspension?

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