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In connection with the 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.

Not every question was compiled - as noted, we only selected the top 8 questions as submitted by the community, plus 2 pre-set questions from us. Though one of the backups was adapted via a suggestion.

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, and will be appropriately linked in the Election page.

Good luck to all of the candidates!

Oh, and 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.

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

quid's answers

Jack D'Aurizio's answers

SchrodingersCat's answers

Zachary Selk's answers

kingW3's answers (Withdrawn from the election)

Simply Beautiful Art's answers

Tatan's Answers

Deep Sea's answers

Przemysław Scherwentke's answers

Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen's answers


  1. Have you ever been suspended from this site or another StackExchange site? If so, please provide a description of the situation that led to the suspension, and how you have reacted to it.

  2. A question is asked and receives some very good answers. The asker then flags this question and asks for it to be deleted because having it up will cause them trouble at school. Do you delete the question?

  3. 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?

  4. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

  5. What would you do if someone opposes a decision you've made? For example, opposition to removing some comments, closing/reopening/deleting a post, etc. Such opposition may come from direct comments or votes to reopen a question closed by a mod, etc.

  6. Most users here have multiple commitments. And likely, those commitments aren't going to go away if you are elected to be a moderator on MSE. Can you provide any assurance that you'll make the time, as needed, to moderate on MSE? This may only amount to an hour each day, consistently (perhaps more on some days, and less on others). In any case, how can you assure us you're not biting off more than you can chew?

  7. Do you see your (eventual) moderator role primarily as one of the following? You can assign weights or only pick a few, however you'd like: Civil rights advocate, Senator/congressman, Judge, UN Blue Beret, Detective/ police officer, Home plate umpire/ referee, Janitor

  8. This is a question to those candidates who do not have the Deputy badge (which is given for 80 helpful flags). Dealing with flags is a big part of moderation. How do you think that your lack of experience is going to affect your handling of the flags? And how do you expect to compensate for it (at first, of course)?

  9. What are, according to your opinion, the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of MSE?

  10. Do you feel that moderators are obliged to be transparent about their actions whenever possible?

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not entirely sure if I like the formatting on question 7. I'd prefer to take out the square brackets please? $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 2 '17 at 20:33
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    $\begingroup$ I edited #7 a bit. I hope this is ok. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 2 '17 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ What should we do if we have the Deputy badge for question 8? $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 2 '17 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ @SimplyBeautifulArt briefly answer that you have the badge, or something like that. It's better not to drop the question entirely as it might create confusion. $\endgroup$ – quid Oct 2 '17 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ Aw dang, I'm totally late on this, but I came up with the idea that we could add "If you do have the Deputy badge, do you check your flag summary? How has this changed your flagging experience?" or something to that effect. $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 2 '17 at 22:53
  • $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen Not sure how one would fix this, but when I click the "view source" button, it still has the square brackets. $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 3 '17 at 0:53
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    $\begingroup$ @SimplyBeautifulArt In revision history you can get to the source of any of the revision. For example, the revision just after Jyrki's edit is available here. (Or simply click on the edit and copy the text directly from the post to get the most recent version.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Oct 3 '17 at 6:16
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    $\begingroup$ It seems to me that these answers are all alike. I guess it is too late for new questions, but could subsequent candidates just state how their answers differ from everyone else's. $\endgroup$ – Ron Gordon Oct 4 '17 at 19:53
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    $\begingroup$ @RonGordon My dear, it's like trying to read a 5 page essay down there. $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 5 '17 at 23:53
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    $\begingroup$ @GraceNote What hour (time) does the election (or primary if needed) start on October 9th? $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 7 '17 at 17:31
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    $\begingroup$ A thought about the next election: it will be better to elaborate a questionnaire having more than a essentially unique reasonable answer to each question :D $\endgroup$ – Jack D'Aurizio Oct 8 '17 at 1:50
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    $\begingroup$ The first question is: "Have you ever been suspended?" For most candidates the response is probably going to be: "No, never." Will somebody check whether this is indeed the case? $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Oct 8 '17 at 14:25
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Indeed, I'm sort of shy on editing SE staff posts. But It's done now. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 8 '17 at 21:47
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    $\begingroup$ @JackD'Aurizio Yeah. This set of questions is kinda meh. A few comments: 1) I think asking about past suspensions will remain popular. Forever. Call it Lex Gone/Number. 2) I downvoted the question about deleting questions for the purposes of hiding the tracks of a homework cheater. But to no avail. 3) Did you participate in the creation of the Questionnaire? You had every right to suggest more interesting ones. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 11 '17 at 12:50
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    $\begingroup$ Next time, could we have a question like "So... why do you want to become a moderator?" Feel like this would spur some more personal/unique answers. $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 14 '17 at 23:41
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quid

  1. Have you ever been suspended from this site or another StackExchange site? If so, please provide a description of the situation that led to the suspension, and how you have reacted to it.

I was never suspended, on this site or anywhere in the SE network, including MathOverflow (where my account was deleted1 only due to my explicit request, and I was in good standing on the site).

  1. A question is asked and receives some very good answers. The asker then flags this question and asks for it to be deleted because having it up will cause them trouble at school. Do you delete the question?

No, but depending on the nature of the problem I might be able to help them in other ways and would try to do so.

I do not at all intend to enable cheating, but there could be problems unrelated to cheating.

For example, if some frustrated student in addition to asking a reasonable math question went on a rant against their instructor and then had second thoughts about the rant, it should suffice to edit out the rant and remove the relevant revision. (The editing part should be done regardless the posters request, the extra step of removing the revision would be the help moderators can provide.)

Disassociating a post from a profile in certain scenarios may also be of help to users getting worried about how a post might reflect on them.

Merges can also be helpful at times, and I recall a precedent on this site where a judicious merge allowed to address conflicting concerns, the answers could be preserved while the question could be removed without much loss.

In short, I would strive to preserve the valuable content while still trying to address the concerns of the poster (within reasonable limits), via editing, redacting revisions, disassociating, or merging.

  1. 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?

The rules of conduct of the site apply to everybody. Being good at mathematics does not confer the liberty to behave poorly.

This notwithstanding I feel it is important to look at such things in a relative way, too. If a user is highly active each and every day and gets into a conflict once a months then this is not the same as a user posting twice a month and also getting into some conflict each months.

The type of activity the user engages in should also be factored in. A user that engages in community moderation is more likely to get into conflicts than a user that just answers questions.

By analogy, I am pretty certain that most waiters break more glasses than I. Of course not because they are more clumsy than I handling glasses, but just because they handle way more glasses than I and do this in more difficult situations.

The above maybe answers a different question than intended, so let me also so what I would do.

If I notice a pattern of behavior that I find problematic, I might first just inject a comment here or there, more low-profile just like some advice from one user to the other trying to diffuse the conflict and hoping they pick up they need to change.

If this fails, I'd start with an invite to a mod-only chat, first, trying to understand why the user even behaves in the way they do. The motives might not always the same, some might not be able to control their temper and even realize this, others might think in a misguided but rational way that their approach is efficient. Both are a problem, but very different and will require different types of help. Then, I would explain that and why their behavior is problematic and propose ways to improve the situation.

If this has no effect, I would escalate to a mod-message, repeating the points and making clear the behavior must change or a suspension will ensue.
If this still has no effect, I would go through with a suspension, making clear that they are still welcome but only if they address their behavior.

On the way, I would exchange with fellow moderators, especially while I am new to the job, to be up-to-date with any back-story and other relevant information.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

First, I think it is a terrible idea for moderators to get into public open-close wars and alike. It not only gives a poor impression, it is also pointless. They have the same power, no-one can win. In the end they need to find an agreement anyway (or have SE-staff force it upon them). It's way better to find some agreement beforehand.

Thus, I would try to find out why the other moderator took the action and explain why I disagree (if I still disagree after the explanation). Usually, we two should be able to find some common ground. If not we might involve other members of the team, and if all else fails maybe just do an internal vote to decide the course of action.

The above applies to situations where I believe the other moderator made an actual moderator decision. If it is just a dupe-closure that I am sure was incorrect and based on an oversight, I might as well just undo and leave an explanatory comment (as if the original action was taken by a non-mod).

  1. What would you do if someone opposes a decision you've made? For example, opposition to removing some comments, closing/reopening/deleting a post, etc. Such opposition may come from direct comments or votes to reopen a question closed by a mod, etc.

First, I firmly believe in explaining moderator decisions preemptively. This can avoid conflicts. If this failed at some point, I will try to understand the point of view of the other party and also try to make my point of view clear. A moderator is not always right. It is perfectly possible for a moderator to misjudge something and there is a reason why the software allows the community to undo moderator closures. Thus, it may well happen somebody convinces me, and I might even undo my vote. Or I just let the normal process play out, I close, five others reopen, moving on. It's not a big deal if it happens occasionally, but it should not happen frequently.

Let me be clear on this: for a site this large a well-working community-moderation by users is key. Being an activist moderator who is heavily involved in decisions the community can take for itself, such as open-close and alike, is detrimental to this. This is even the case when the moderators decisions have much community support and of course it is much worse if this is not the case.

I do not intend to cast many votes.

However, what I do not like is users objecting to moderators casting votes on principle. This goes too far. I am of the opinion that a moderator that is not willing to ever use the powers they got, is not quite fit for the job, either.

I do intend to cast a few votes.

  1. Most users here have multiple commitments. And likely, those commitments aren't going to go away if you are elected to be a moderator on MSE. Can you provide any assurance that you'll make the time, as needed, to moderate on MSE? This may only amount to an hour each day, consistently (perhaps more on some days, and less on others). In any case, how can you assure us you're not biting off more than you can chew?

One never can be sure, but I do not expect any major changes in my life in the next few years to come. I have a tenured position and do not plan to change it. It is true that I have a variety of commitments but since several years SE activity fits in nicely, and I see no reason why this would change drastically. I spend a lot of time in front of my computer. I am the type of user that checks numerous times a day for shorter periods of time, which is I think useful for a moderator.

  1. Do you see your (eventual) moderator role primarily as one of the following? You can assign weights or only pick a few, however you'd like: Civil rights advocate, Senator/congressman, Judge, UN Blue Beret, Detective/ police officer, Home plate umpire/ referee, Janitor

Janitor, in the broader sense of facility manager, captures most of it quite well. The job is mostly to make sure that others (the users) can go about their business without problems and distractions. Whatever gets in the way of this or is detrimental to this needs to be addressed.

This also includes working out rules on how to use shared resources and conflict resolution (so the senator and peace keeping). At times it might also be needed to figure out who is at the root of some problem and this may require some detective skills, but that's not the main thing. And sometimes decisions need to be made, which touches upon the judge part. I prefer this over the umpire analogy, as the latter one suggests to me constant calls on minor issues, which I think is not what a moderator should mostly do.

I believe strongly that users, also or maybe even especially, new and transient ones, should be treated with respect. We should not accept every type of question and we cannot help with every type of problem, but there is no need to be rude, snide and condescending in communicating this.

In the other direction, I do not believe that we must tolerate every type of content or contribution, and if we don't this makes us oppressors, censors and what not.

In brief, I think it is mostly about facility management, making sure that users can do what they need to do without problems, sprinkled with numerous other tasks.

  1. This is a question to those candidates who do not have the Deputy badge (which is given for 80 helpful flags). Dealing with flags is a big part of moderation. How do you think that your lack of experience is going to affect your handling of the flags? And how do you expect to compensate for it (at first, of course)?

I have the badge on this site. Being a moderator on another site I am even familiar with all types of flags, and the mod-interface.

  1. What are, according to your opinion, the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of MSE?

The greatest strength is that this is by now a pretty huge and diverse gathering of people passionate about mathematics. I especially like the diversity of profiles, students, retired professors, professionals from other fields, independent researchers, etc.

The greatest weakness is that over some differences of opinion different groups of users can tend to forget that there is much more that unites than that separates us.

  1. Do you feel that moderators are obliged to be transparent about their actions whenever possible?

Yes. Uncertainty creates distrust and maybe even fear. To the extent possible, a moderator should be willing to explain and to justify their actions. I will try to do this, and it should come easy to me. This is the up-side of my penchant for discourse, if needed, I will go to great length to lay out my point of view.

But, maybe this post is now long enough, and I stop here.


Footnote 1: The question was raised on my nomination about the reasons and the context of my account deletion on MO. While I answered it in comments there let me also answer it here briefly.

The reason I asked for my account on MO to be deleted, after a rather long and active time there, which was overall a good time, is that I did not agree with certain parts of the site's policy and direction that are important to many users there. Over time I grew ever more frustrated about this, and since I felt there was no hope for change and the trend in part was rather in the opposite direction, I eventually decided to leave. (It is still a good and useful site, in my opinion, just not one I want to be part of.)

To leave in a clear yet clean and discreet way (at least this was my intent) I took some precautions (handing over a chat-room ownership and informing somebody about the action beforehand), and then simply asked SE to delete my account. Of course, as usual with account deletions, all my content there was kept in place, I did not delete anything (only some mostly spurious posts fell victim to the auto-delete script that is more aggressive to posts of deleted accounts).

Could this also happen here? The policies and direction that mostly frustrated me are essentially not present here. In that sense, no. Of course, I cannot exclude that at some point in the distant future something will make me want to quit this site, and I think realistically nobody could exclude this for them. What I can assure you though is that if ever I decide to leave or just to stop moderating I will try my best to organize a clean hand-over and try to avoid friction.

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    $\begingroup$ I am not happy how my very first mod action went over. It was comment deletions in a thread on a subject people can hold strong opinions (related to religion). Beyond me being new, there was the further complication that in the period where SE staff moderated as there were no per site mods yet, already some action was taken on the thread, and I felt the sole option was to show some consistency and delete the rest of the flagged comments too. Many users agreed with the action I took, but some were quite unhappy and in hindsight to communicate more before taking action could have been better. $\endgroup$ – quid Oct 3 '17 at 15:11
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    $\begingroup$ @quid Do you want to add your comments from the nomination thread regarding your MO account to question 1 here? $\endgroup$ – Trevor Gunn Oct 3 '17 at 19:20
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    $\begingroup$ @quid, if I may, how much attention in your opinion should be given to old questions, both editing (formatting issues, extreme grammatical mistakes) and answering unanswered ones? As compared to new questions? The actions I described are encouraged by badges, however the users who originally asked the question might be long gone from the site and bumping old posts en masse seems to be frowned upon by the community $\endgroup$ – Yuriy S Oct 5 '17 at 23:38
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    $\begingroup$ @YuriyS sorry for the delay in responding. I consider it as useful to take care of old content. The priorities should be a bit different though. For example for a brand new question it can make sense to quickly fix the worst problems. For an old question one should rather try to for a complete service. Answering old questions can also be useful, but I might focus on the better and rarer ones. I think what is mostly poorly received are edits of old posts that come of as a bit lazy (though it's maybe not always a fair judgment). $\endgroup$ – quid Oct 6 '17 at 21:47
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    $\begingroup$ @BAI I think a moderator should visit the site on most days multiple times , which I do anyway, and deal with the issue that require a moderator. How much time this takes will depend on the amount of issues there are on a given visit. To give a number, about 10 hours a week seems like a reasonable allotment of time to me. $\endgroup$ – quid Oct 8 '17 at 19:09
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy I am afraid there is no general and quick remedy. It can only happen in small steps. As one step, in open-close conflicts I would try to negotiate compromises. I for one find it much easier to give in if at least part of the other side acknowledges there might be some point to my side. A difference in opinion over this or that question is not that much of a problem. What is a problem is a negation of the legitimacy of the other sides view. $\endgroup$ – quid Oct 9 '17 at 1:19
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    $\begingroup$ The most important question for any moderator candidate: do you like Abstract Algebra's notation for permutations? ;) $\endgroup$ – EJoshuaS Oct 9 '17 at 20:15
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    $\begingroup$ @quid: It is common for experienced mathematicians to ask interesting yet elementary questions on here, they do this not because they don't know the answer, but rather because the question is of such a nature that it would 1) help beginners in some topic gain intuition about certain features 2) generate a wide range of various explanations, some of which may even be fairly unique. As I see that you have asked only question ever on here (very recently too), would you consider asking the kind of questions that I have described once you become a moderator? $\endgroup$ – Fine Oct 9 '17 at 20:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Fine I once had the idea to write-up some stuff on (finite) abelian groups. Maybe I'll get to it at some point. That said, I do not see generating good content as part of a moderator's job specifically. I intend to continue to create content for the site, but I see this as orthogonal to me becoming a moderator. $\endgroup$ – quid Oct 9 '17 at 21:07
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    $\begingroup$ I don't understand how quid can be a mod if he didn't even fill the "about me" section in his profile. $\endgroup$ – Yanko Oct 11 '17 at 19:43
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    $\begingroup$ @yanko I have difficultly to understand the concern. Could you please be more explicit what worries you about this? I mean I could address the literally expressed concern in an instant, by just writing something there, e.g., "Hello world!" $\endgroup$ – quid Oct 11 '17 at 19:57
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    $\begingroup$ @yanko Thank you. Please note that I said in this post that "I have a tenured position[...]" (see point 6), which I felt describes my qualifications.To put it more directly, I am a university professor of mathematics. I do not see how my location could have much influence on a site about a subject as universal as mathematics, which is why I did not bother mentioning it. However, on the math-ed site where this is of more relevance, I state that I am in central Europe. $\endgroup$ – quid Oct 12 '17 at 19:49
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks, that answers my questions. $\endgroup$ – Yanko Oct 12 '17 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelHardy I do not believe that this would be particularly helpful. The SE preferred way to support a feature-request is to upvote it not to multiply answers or comments. If you did not yet, you might consider to support an existing related feature-request on the main meta, such as this one meta.stackexchange.com/questions/210314/… // I added a link to your request there. I hope this is in your interest. If not let me know and I'll remove it. $\endgroup$ – quid Oct 13 '17 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ Congratulations, @quid! $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 17 '17 at 20:41
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Jack D'Aurizio

  1. Have you ever been suspended from this site or another StackExchange site? If so, please provide a description of the situation that led to the suspension, and how you have reacted to it.

I have never been suspended. The worst I did is to take the passive-aggressive side in some discussions occurring in the comments space. It happened only occasionally and I believe the heat did not rise over the warning level. On the average, I am a very peaceful guy.

  1. A question is asked and receives some very good answers. The asker then flags this question and asks for it to be deleted because having it up will cause them trouble at school. Do you delete the question?

No. I do not think I should "steal" from MSE valuable answers, and it is not my duty to compell with the moral code of the involved school/institution. Cheating is despicable and people prone to that should be aware (from the start) that their actions have consequences. I won't take the burden off from them.

  1. 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?

I believe in the power of numbers and words. From my point of view a discussion is always an option, so I would try to understand why such user is behaving in such a simultaneously constructive and destructive way, then try to convince him/her to improve his/her behaviour. We all are very complex people, we all deserve a chance to explain our reasons. If neither the first, nor the second nor the third discussion has any effect, it might be the case to switch from words to actions. The hypothetical level is now so high that I am not able to answer how in a more detailed way. It depends, case by case. On the other hand, if such situation really occur, I won't probably be the only one to ponder what to do, and I will have the chance to value other's opinions, too.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

From my perspective, the answer to this question is more or less the same to the previous question. There are spaces to discuss it, there is a time for changing one's beliefs, if stronger reasons come. Settling in a middle ground may be a good choice too, in real-life situations. Maybe it does not apply really well in this case, since there are not many intermediate states between open and closed, but still, as a general principle, I try not to be too fast in pulling the trigger.

  1. What would you do if someone opposes a decision you've made? For example, opposition to removing some comments, closing/reopening/deleting a post, etc. Such opposition may come from direct comments or votes to reopen a question closed by a mod, etc.

All right, my way to behave would be the same outlined in the previous answers. I would try to understand why, value my position, value the others position, come out with a peaceful resolution.

  1. Most users here have multiple commitments. And likely, those commitments aren't going to go away if you are elected to be a moderator on MSE. Can you provide any assurance that you'll make the time, as needed, to moderate on MSE? This may only amount to an hour each day, consistently (perhaps more on some days, and less on others). In any case, how can you assure us you're not biting off more than you can chew?

:D Really? :D In the past few years, I believe to have spent at least two hours each day on MSE, with very few exceptions. I love to be here and I like to serve this community, it is just a matter of converting a certain amount of time I previously used for writing answers&questions in the right amount of time for my duties as a moderator (if elected). And I can still make some room, since, to be honest, I do not sleep really much. So, no problem at all. By the way, I live in Pisa, Italy, in the GMT+1 time zone, if it is relevant.

  1. Do you see your (eventual) moderator role primarily as one of the following? You can assign weights or only pick a few, however you'd like: Civil rights advocate, Senator/congressman, Judge, UN Blue Beret, Detective/ police officer, Home plate umpire/ referee, Janitor

I pick the peace force since I believe a peace force is essential in keeping this place polite and well-functioning. I pick the janitor since flag management may be a boring activity compared to spreading the knowledge through questions&answers, but it is essential as well, for the same reasons. And I pick the congressman since moderators have more power than the common users, and that is a heavy responsibility, to be carried with a large amount of good faith (in a ideal world, and MSE goes pretty close to being an ideal world).

  1. This is a question to those candidates who do not have the Deputy badge (which is given for 80 helpful flags). Dealing with flags is a big part of moderation. How do you think that your lack of experience is going to affect your handling of the flags? And how do you expect to compensate for it (at first, of course)?

I have the Deputy badge and I think to be confident enough in flag management. I have to learn about using the moderators interface, but (again, if elected) I hope it will not be horribly difficult to handle.

  1. What are, according to your opinion, the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of MSE?

Without any doubt, the greatest strength of MSE is the possibility it grants to virtually anyone to acquire a fairly good level of mathematical knowledge, on-demand, for free. The possibility it grants to "teachers" like me to improve their communication skills, too.

Then I have not a single concern, but a couple of them. For instance, the integrated search system still seems to handle $\LaTeX$ not so well. There were some interesting proposals on the table (I am talking about Approach0) but I honestly do not know if they still are on the table, or if they are really feasible. And I am concerned about the questions queue, since with an increasing amount of users, lovely questions might become too quick to catch, and the general activity a bit more dispersive. At last, the PSQs (problem statement questions) issue bothers me. From the introduction of the homework tag since its removal there has been no widespread consensus on the matter. I recall my position for users I never interacted with: I think that PSQs should not be closed-by-default. When facing a mildly interesting question, I think we should suggest the OP to improve it; when facing a really interesting question, we should ponder about leaving it as-it-is, since it might turn into a valuable piece of Mathematics through its answer only. Of course there is a huge grey area here, since the difference between mildly interesting and really interesting stands on a personal judgement, and if the volume of PSQs really becomes unbearable, a strict policy might turn into the only option. I would like to hear from the community, and I would like to enforce a shared vision on the issue, no matter if different from my original vision.

  1. Do you feel that moderators are obliged to be transparent about their actions whenever possible?

In everyday's life, I love to be transparent about my ideas, my beliefs, my actions. I never retracted when asked why did you act this way?, and I intend to keep the same line here. Of course, there might be details which cannot or should not be disclosed for solid reasons. For instance: some resolution took by myself and other people. In such a case, even assuming the right to privacy of a third party is not involved, I feel free to only share my contribution to the discussion, if the other people agree about that. Probably, this hypothetical situation belongs to the complement of whenever possible.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't know what to you call it, maybe a complement. But someone once said, Jack D'Aurizio is national treasure. :-P $\endgroup$ – Vidyanshu Mishra Oct 3 '17 at 9:40
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    $\begingroup$ "I'm not a miracle worker - I'm a janitor. The math on this is simple: the smaller the mess, the easier it is for me to clean up." dailymotion.com/video/x4e21a $\endgroup$ – Ron Gordon Oct 3 '17 at 15:08
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    $\begingroup$ @J.M.isnotamathematician: if we exclude the management of my personal site and my high school journal (ages ago), I have no previous modding experience, this would be my first time, on a very big scale. Am I a bit worried about that? Yes, of course. But I do not lack self-confidence as well. $\endgroup$ – Jack D'Aurizio Oct 3 '17 at 16:06
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    $\begingroup$ That's great, congratulations! and good luck in the election. I'll vote for you:-) $\endgroup$ – user296113 Oct 3 '17 at 19:01
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    $\begingroup$ I see that you invest a big effort into Math.SE, giving a lot of high quality answers every day. I congratulate you for your achievements and your high reputation earned on this site which is a reflection of the valuable contribution of yours. However, in math.stackexchange.com/questions/2313245/… your answer is simply wrong, and I pointed it out to you several times. You responded to my first comments, but then ceased to respond to the forthcoming comments. $\endgroup$ – san Oct 4 '17 at 1:45
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    $\begingroup$ At the beginning it was not clear that your answer was wrong, but after I found some counterexamples to your claims, it is completely clear that your answer is wrong. I let it go and just cast a downvote for the incorrect answer and urged you to put a disclaimer in your answer (in a comment). I did nothing more because you never responded, and because I saw your positive contributions to this site and the effort you put into it. I thought that you may overlooked the problem, given the great number of your posts, and I still think that I made my point sufficiently clear, so I let it go. $\endgroup$ – san Oct 4 '17 at 1:45
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    $\begingroup$ However, if you want to be a moderator, who should help guarantee the quality of the answers, you should begin with your own answer. $\endgroup$ – san Oct 4 '17 at 1:45
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ @san: fair point. I am going to delete such flawed answer, thanks for pointing that out. $\endgroup$ – Jack D'Aurizio Oct 4 '17 at 1:46
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    $\begingroup$ Your profile says you are hosting matemate.it (with a very familiar series on the side I see). Is there anything you would like to make mention of on this? $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 7 '17 at 23:33
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    $\begingroup$ At Jack. Suppose someone asks in a question: "Show step-by-step solution: $$\int xe^x dx$$ If you are in the review queue, looking at candidates for closure, this question comes up, would you agree with a voter(s) vote to close as off-topic: lacking context? If not why not. What about a question that contains absolutely no words, but shows a formatted integral which might be a bit more challenging, but not at all undoable. Would you want to answer it? You see, I'm still rather uncomfortable with your history of answering PSQ's, $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 11 '17 at 18:22
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    $\begingroup$ ...cont.. and the anger you've expressed towards users who show more restraint in what they are willing to answer. It seemed, until maybe (less than) one year ago, that you put "gaining rep" as your sole concern. Is this self-oriented focus going with you if you're elected as a moderator? $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 11 '17 at 18:27
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you, @Jack. I appreciate your comment. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 12 '17 at 19:36
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    $\begingroup$ @JackD'Aurizio You tend to be very aggresive most of the time. We dont like this kind of behaviour in here. $\endgroup$ – Brethlosze Oct 14 '17 at 10:59
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    $\begingroup$ Jack D'Aurizio doesn't like criticism. Once I pointed out an error in his answer to my question and then he downvoted two of my questions. This kind of person should not be a moderator. $\endgroup$ – Nemo Oct 15 '17 at 13:42
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    $\begingroup$ I pointed out an error in your answer and said that your answer just reiterated what I said in the body of the question. All this was done in a neutral manner, I even did not downvote your answer. But you interpreted this negatively and went on a downvote spree. $\endgroup$ – Nemo Oct 15 '17 at 14:21
27
$\begingroup$

Zachary Selk

  1. Have you ever been suspended from this site or another StackExchange site? If so, please provide a description of the situation that led to the suspension, and how you have reacted to it.

I have never been suspended.

  1. A question is asked and receives some very good answers. The asker then flags this question and asks for it to be deleted because having it up will cause them trouble at school. Do you delete the question?

I'm not sure exactly why this is a question, I can't imagine any reasonable candidate saying they would delete the question.

Math.SE is bigger than any individual user. It is not fair to delete content (especially answers that DON'T belong to the original poster), robbing other users.

I guess I can use this question to make a broader point about "homework questions". It is not our role to play investigator into offsite matters, such as whether a problem is homework or not. I would prefer students don't cheat of course and as a professional educator, I do my best to catch students in my class. However on math.SE it is simple untenable to play academic police.

What people object to isn't necessarily "homework questions" but homework style questions, with no accompanying context. I have asked questions on here about homework problems (always with context). I think www.physicsforums.com does do this correctly. They emphasize that "homework problem" is really shorthand for "homework style problem".

I think math.SE should adopt (officially or unofficially) such a policy.

  1. 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?

Communication

As a moderator, I would try to discuss things with such a user and remind them of our be nice policy. I would try to figure out why they were so argumentative and try to find a peaceful resolution.

If that is not possible, and they continue to cause problems, rules apply to them too. I would take whatever measures I would take with anyone else; high rep or not.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

As always, the answer is communication. I would discuss with them why they did such a thing. I would like to think that most other mods are reasonable and wouldn't close/delete a question for no good reason. Even if they have different reasoning than me, I would prefer to not think that it was completely arbitrary.

In the very rare case that we couldn't come to a conclusion, I would perhaps confer with other mods. If other mods disagree with me, I would just let it be. The site is way bigger than one individual question.

  1. What would you do if someone opposes a decision you've made? For example, opposition to removing some comments, closing/reopening/deleting a post, etc. Such opposition may come from direct comments or votes to reopen a question closed by a mod, etc.

Same answer as the previous two questions: communication.

I would discuss the issue with the person who disagreed and try to explain my actions, and listen to them. I'd like to think that most people are reasonable and wouldn't disagree for no reason. If we couldn't find a resolution, then I would discuss with other moderators, preferably more senior mods to find the right course of action.

However, I do anticipate that I could make a decision that someone disagrees with and we can't find a resolution. If the other moderators agree with my decision, I would let it stand. I would do what I think is best for the community, and what the community wants. Sometimes that's not what a particular individual wants.

  1. Most users here have multiple commitments. And likely, those commitments aren't going to go away if you are elected to be a moderator on MSE. Can you provide any assurance that you'll make the time, as needed, to moderate on MSE? This may only amount to an hour each day, consistently (perhaps more on some days, and less on others). In any case, how can you assure us you're not biting off more than you can chew?

I have been on here for 936 consecutive days as of writing this.

I joined when I was between undergrad and grad school when I had a ton of free time, and now that I am in grad school I have less time of course. But I am still here everyday. I am addicted to this site. I don't have any major changes in commitments coming up, I am still on this site for at least 30 minutes-hour each day, sometimes a lot more. I don't anticipate this changing anytime soon. I expect to stay on here as much as I have been for the foreseeable future.

  1. Do you see your (eventual) moderator role primarily as one of the following? You can assign weights or only pick a few, however you'd like: Civil rights advocate, Senator/congressman, Judge, UN Blue Beret, Detective/ police officer, Home plate umpire/ referee, Janitor

I think a moderator is primarily a janitor. Lets be honest here, there is garbage on this site. A lot of garbage. Terrible questions, terrible answers, terrible comments, terrible everything. There is a never ending flood of pure garbage. As a regular user, I close/delete/downvote garbage to get rid of it. As a diamond mod, I would be able to remove so much more garbage much more efficiently.

Secondarily, I see mods as a peacekeeper. However this is basically a glorified janitor. Heated arguments are just another form of garbage, they rarely if ever contribute anything, and if they do contribute the same result could have been achieved by being nice. If I can use communication to stop heated arguments, and remove some current/potential garbage that is just as effective as using other tools.

  1. This is a question to those candidates who do not have the Deputy badge (which is given for 80 helpful flags). Dealing with flags is a big part of moderation. How do you think that your lack of experience is going to affect your handling of the flags? And how do you expect to compensate for it (at first, of course)?

I have the deputy badge. As a matter of fact, as of now I have 1,096 successful flags.

  1. What are, according to your opinion, the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of MSE?

This goes back to question 7. The greatest weakness of math.SE is the garbage. Terrible questions, answers, comments, heated arguments, etc. All the awful things we see.

The best thing about math.SE is everything else! I love math.SE and am addicted. I love reading the wonderful answers from many brilliant mathematicians. I love helping out inquisitive students. I love the ability to practice my problem solving and pedagogical skills.

There are many things I love about the site, but what makes math.SE so unique is the community aspect. Everything is democratically decided. Usefulness of answers, of questions, even moderators are decided by the community. This is unique to math.SE, I haven't really found a site with this strong of a community aspect.

I like that anyone with a computer and interest in math can come on here and learn, teach and discuss mathematics. Math.SE is egalitarian and meritocratic in this sense, and that is what really makes math.SE stand out.

  1. Do you feel that moderators are obliged to be transparent about their actions whenever possible?

As I said above, communication is very important.

From a purely practical point of view, it is not necessary/possible to explain every little thing you do. But I would definitely try to explain myself if anyone asked questions as a diamond moderator. It is my duty to the community.

There are of course extreme cases where it might not be possible to explain your actions, even if a user wanted an explanation. However I don't anticipate this happening much, if ever. I would like to think that most actions would not fall into one of these extreme cases.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Zachary, same question I asked Jack: what previous modding experience do you have, if any? $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Oct 4 '17 at 0:39
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    $\begingroup$ @J.M.isnotamathematician My only real modding experience is on here, being a regular user. Other than that I have never been a mod of another forum or SE. $\endgroup$ – user223391 Oct 4 '17 at 17:05
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    $\begingroup$ Your sentence with "It is not fair to delete content..." reads broader than the question was. Do you mean that it is unfair to cast delete votes on questions and answers by other users? $\endgroup$ – user357151 Oct 5 '17 at 0:33
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    $\begingroup$ I vaguely remember the times where 936 consecutive days seems like a lot. Good times... :P $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 5 '17 at 5:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Desire I meant in that specific context. It is totally fair to delete garbage. But it is not fair to delete good content just for the sake of one user. $\endgroup$ – user223391 Oct 5 '17 at 17:41
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila You're the record holder in terms of consecutive days here. EVERYONE here pales in comparison! ;-) $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 5 '17 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila I haven't even been a member for 936 days, cut me some slack. $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 6 '17 at 1:30
  • $\begingroup$ You mention'd that you have the deputy badge. If I may ask, do you check your flag summary? If so, how has it affected your flagging experience? $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 7 '17 at 23:23
  • $\begingroup$ @SimplyBeautifulArt I do check my flag summary. I think one thing is I used to be a little more liberal with the "very low quality" flag. Now I'm a little more conservative with it. I don't flag something VLQ unless it's something I can't see being edited to an acceptable state. $\endgroup$ – user223391 Oct 8 '17 at 0:09
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding weaknesses of the site: Could you share with us another / different weakness of or at MSE, or expand on "The greatest weakness of math.SE is the garbage. Terrible questions, answers, comments, heated arguments, etc. All the awful things we see. " "All else is a strength? Surely there must be some 'tweens' in between. You answered the questionnaire question wonderfully, but other than identifying the lowest of the low, could you share another issue or two that MSE might need to work on, and how you would propose making a dent in in turning around a "lowish" weakness of the site? $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 8 '17 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy Hmm, I guess something that doesn't really bother me THAT much but it ties in with "fluff" etc: really chatty conversations that can obscure the actual point; I don't mind a little chat and even if it gets to be a lot it really isn't THAT big of a deal - but sometimes it is unappealing to wade through personal conversations to find an answer. I know moderators can delete comments/move them to chat. If you go to tools>stats>most commented, you can see a list of very chatty posts. I would probably spend a lot of time cleaning up chattiness using these tools. $\endgroup$ – user223391 Oct 8 '17 at 21:08
  • $\begingroup$ At least, one moderator, Jyrki Lahtonen, supports the feature request decribed at the following page. Do you? math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/26524/… $\endgroup$ – Michael Hardy Oct 13 '17 at 1:36
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHardy Sure. I agree the phrase "off topic" doesn't really fit. I would support that. But like Jyrki said, it's up to the devs $\endgroup$ – user223391 Oct 13 '17 at 1:46
  • $\begingroup$ @ZacharySelk : The developers act only when a sufficient number of people have spoken. So will you join those who say something to them? $\endgroup$ – Michael Hardy Oct 13 '17 at 2:26
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHardy I'm not sure what you mean, I upvoted your post and can post a note, but it would basically be what Jyrki said. I upvoted his answer instead. I think that's the best I can do as of right now. $\endgroup$ – user223391 Oct 13 '17 at 20:53
14
$\begingroup$

SchrodingersCat:

  1. Have you ever been suspended from this site or another StackExchange site? If so, please provide a description of the situation that led to the suspension, and how you have reacted to it.

No, I have never suffered any such suspension from any SE site. I am an active member on many SE sites; Physics, Chemistry, Stack Overflow, Chess, Music Theory, Academia- just to name a few. But I have never gone against the site rules to get suspended. The maximum I remember, is getting into a few disputes with fellow users, regarding questions and answers on MSE as well as PhySE, which we finally cleared up like mature adults.

  1. A question is asked and receives some very good answers. The asker then flags this question and asks for it to be deleted because having it up will cause them trouble at school. Do you delete the question?

A straight NO. If the answers contribute something really good to the question asked (provided the question asked is not extremely silly, hence getting showered by downvotes- then I might close it down), it will serve to enrich the community. Interests of particular individuals is not what a mod is supposed to look at. The concerned user must be mature enough to realise the consequences of asking questions, which are part of assignments, homework etc. which might be deemed as "cheating" in the concerned user's school/college/institution. At best, the user might change username and delete his account to shrug off responsibility from asking the question. But, as a mod, it will be my duty to keep high quality educational material inside the community.

  1. 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?

Well, valuable answers are always appreciated and praised by words and upvotes but, at the end of the day, this is a community of, for and by the people. If one person constantly argues with people unnecessarily and puts offensive words in his/her comments, thereby disturbing other users, that person will be warned about his/her poor behaviour. And on further repetition, his/her account will be put on suspension.

However, there are 2 sides to a coin- more than often, one does not argue disruptively until and unless that person has been instigated by some other person(s). I will then have to judge from the comments made, whose fault it was. And warn all the concerned people in accordance to their behaviour; because irrespective of whether you are instigated or not, you must not offend anyone, rather you should flag the concerned comment and ask the mod for help.

I agree, that while answering a question, even though a mathematical one, there may be difference of opinion. That is what is expected of the users- Rationalism. The Chat option is there for this reason. But if that discussion turns into a noisy or foul argument, it is bad for the community and appropriate action must be taken. A good example of such a case is Ron Maimon.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

Maybe, I would discuss that with the concerned mod and come to a meaningful conclusion. This is a question whose answer depends upon a particular situation. In some cases, I might finally agree with my fellow mod's closure decision; in some cases, my fellow mod might feel that my opinion has a strong point.

  1. What would you do if someone opposes a decision you've made? For example, opposition to removing some comments, closing/reopening/deleting a post, etc. Such opposition may come from direct comments or votes to reopen a question closed by a mod, etc.

Well, in all cases, it is recommended that peace is maintained. I generally tend to remain calm in these situations. Everyone has his/her own opinion and is allowed to express it, provided it is constructive and non-offensive. I also have my opinion and if elected to be a mod, I will have some special powers entitled to me, just like my fellow mods. And what the majority of the mods will decide, is what is going to happen. I being a member of this community, believe in the way MSE is moderated as an open science platform. And I believe in that structure and ready to abide by it.

  1. Most users here have multiple commitments. And likely, those commitments aren't going to go away if you are elected to be a moderator on MSE. Can you provide any assurance that you'll make the time, as needed, to moderate on MSE? This may only amount to an hour each day, consistently (perhaps more on some days, and less on others). In any case, how can you assure us you're not biting off more than you can chew?

Well, I too have my commitments. But this is not like a commitment. Its more like a part of my life. Everyday, I visit MSE at least 15-20 times a day in search of good questions (on the App, however). Any free time, I get; I promise to devote it to MSE and my fellow mods will be there too; and I believe that they will also help me in doing my job.

  1. Do you see your (eventual) moderator role primarily as one of the following? You can assign weights or only pick a few, however you'd like: [Civil rights advocate], [Senator/congressman leading the formulation of policies], [Judge], [UN Blue Beret, i.e. peace enforcement], [Detective, police officer], [Home plate umpire/ referee (depending on whether baseball or association football is your sport)], [Janitor]

40% judge/referee (deciding if a question should be kept/closed/deleted, checking if any abuse is going on in the comments section), 40% janitor (cleaning junk and making this community a better place) and 20% UN Blue Beret (checking if there is any dispute and warning users accordingly, trying to keep this place calm by taking appropriate actions against offenders).

  1. This is a question to those candidates who do not have the Deputy badge (which is given for 80 helpful flags). Dealing with flags is a big part of moderation. How do you think that your lack of experience is going to affect your handling of the flags? And how do you expect to compensate for it (at first, of course)?

I have the Deputy Badge and I am confident that I can deal with flags properly and efficiently, if elected moderator.

  1. What are, according to your opinion, the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of MSE?

There are many, on both sides, but I can't recall all. The greatest strength is undoubtedly, the huge database of Q&A's that MSE presents. Alongwith MathOverflow, MSE has the answer to almost the majority of discussed math questions. I don't remember a single topic in math that when asked on google doesnt produce a MSE result.

Again, the greatest weakness, I believe, is the in-built search functionality. It is quite weak. You search for some question here and you get a poor set of results. Ask it on google and you get a better set of results. (Of course, the comparison is meaningless, Google is famous for the search engine). However, mention must be made of Approach0, a quite decent search engine for this math site; and thanks to Simply Beautiful Art for finding it.

  1. Do you feel that moderators are obliged to be transparent about their actions whenever possible?

Obviously. Just like the political leaders, they are also elected by the users and hence, users have the right to ask what action the mod is taking in a certain case and why (except certain delicate issues involving internal analytics). However, it is not always necessary for a mod to explain his/her actions since the users voted that person due to the fact that they trusted him/her to make good decisions.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Don't forget to mention Approach0, which I've found to be a really good search engine just for this site! $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 6 '17 at 0:17
  • $\begingroup$ @SimplyBeautifulArt Well I will be frank that I didnt know much about this. So I searched about this and found what a great thing it was. Added it in. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – SchrodingersCat Oct 6 '17 at 4:52
  • $\begingroup$ Man... everyone being fancy with their percentage rankings on question 7... $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 7 '17 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ You mention'd that you have the deputy badge. If I may ask, do you check your flag summary? If so, how has it affected your flagging experience? $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 7 '17 at 23:24
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    $\begingroup$ @SimplyBeautifulArt Yeah, I do. Butnot often. Perhaps twice or thrice in two months. And truly speaking, it didnt change much. Actually my flags have been turned down more at PhySE, so I used that experience to flag better here. Nowadays, my flags are almost always upheld. $\endgroup$ – SchrodingersCat Oct 8 '17 at 3:22
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding strengths and weaknesses of the site: Could you share with us another strength, and another weakness wrt MSE? $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 8 '17 at 20:13
  • $\begingroup$ In particular, I agree that the lack of better search functionality is a weakness that forces us to employ "work-a-round". But I'm surprised you list it first in answering "What is the greatest weakness of MSE": Again, the greatest weakness, I believe, is the in-built search functionality. Could you share other weakness you recognize? $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 8 '17 at 21:11
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy Well, lets first go to the strengths: <1> Majority (almost 90%) of the questions get a quick reply (comment, hint or answer) compared to similar large SE sites (like Overflow, Server Fault although the traffic at Overflow is maximum); At present, on an average, 260 new users register on MSE (neglecting that in its beginning it had a slow growth), which is a maintainable traffic for a site like this and hence the posts are better handled; on Overflow, an average of 3000 users register everyday and as a result, posts cannot be efficiently handled, taking an average answer time of 8.7 days $\endgroup$ – SchrodingersCat Oct 9 '17 at 9:52
  • $\begingroup$ (Contd.) For MSE, the answer time lurks around 4.59 days. These are two more strengths, as per my point of view. $\endgroup$ – SchrodingersCat Oct 9 '17 at 9:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (Contd.) Speaking of weaknesses, one thing that comes to my mind is ratio of number of active users in last 30 days to total number of users. For MSE, the ratio is low at 0.0101 while Overflow has 0.078. If that ratio was a bit better, perhaps we would enjoy more beautiful questions and answers. Well, I see very few weaknesses of this site, maybe my bias; thats why I spend most time here, when on SE. And I don't consider the garbage posts/answers as a weakness for any site; nothing can be defined garbage, it depends on its contents and usage. BTW all data has been gathered from data explorer. $\endgroup$ – SchrodingersCat Oct 9 '17 at 10:29
  • $\begingroup$ At least, one moderator, Jyrki Lahtonen, supports the feature request decribed at the following page. Do you? math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/26524/… $\endgroup$ – Michael Hardy Oct 13 '17 at 1:36
8
$\begingroup$

Simply Beautiful Art

  1. Have you ever been suspended from this site or another StackExchange site? If so, please provide a description of the situation that led to the suspension, and how you have reacted to it.

No, I've never been suspended.

  1. A question is asked and receives some very good answers. The asker then flags this question and asks for it to be deleted because having it up will cause them trouble at school. Do you delete the question?

Generally, I wouldn't. Good content deserves to stay on the site (with a few exceptions like current exam problems and such), however, I would provide recommendations on how to delete their account. (Though I'll admit I'm currently blind as to how that process is handled.)

From my experience in the math mod office/chat room, I think the usual approach would involve making the question a community wiki or something to that effect with a deletion of the user's account.

  1. 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?

React on the same scale as I would anyone else. Just because a user has valuable content does not give them more rights than another user.

I think my immediate reaction would be to try and sit down and 'talk' to this user, make them aware of the possible trouble they may be in, try to understand their side of the story, etc.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

I would consult the other moderators to gain a consensus on what action seems best for the scenario and act accordingly. We all make mistakes, and we don't all see things eye to eye, but I'm certainly willing to follow the majority judgement of the moderator table.

  1. What would you do if someone opposes a decision you've made? For example, opposition to removing some comments, closing/reopening/deleting a post, etc. Such opposition may come from direct comments or votes to reopen a question closed by a mod, etc.

I would consult the other moderators and allow the majority consensus ruling to be enforced, regardless of what I think of the matter. After all, my judgement isn't perfect, and I'm still human.

  1. Most users here have multiple commitments. And likely, those commitments aren't going to go away if you are elected to be a moderator on MSE. Can you provide any assurance that you'll make the time, as needed, to moderate on MSE? This may only amount to an hour each day, consistently (perhaps more on some days, and less on others). In any case, how can you assure us you're not biting off more than you can chew?

If life keeps floating at its current rate, I'm fairly certain I will be able to manage at least 2 hours per most days on this site. On the average weekend, we can go with "I'm basically online from morning to sunset", unless I have other plans.

  1. Do you see your (eventual) moderator role primarily as one of the following? You can assign weights or only pick a few, however you'd like: Civil rights advocate, Senator/congressman leading the formulation of policies, Judge, UN Blue Beret, i.e. peace enforcement, Detective, police officer, Home plate umpire/ referee (depending on whether baseball or association football is your sport), Janitor

In order of 'seeing myself as' to 'not seeing myself as':

  1. Janitor

  2. Detective/Police officer

  3. Blue Beret/Peace Enforcement

  4. Civil Rights Advocate

  5. Senator/Congressman

  6. Umpire/Referee.

I see myself most as a janitor and police officer since I spend a lot of time going through posts and reviewing them, and occasionally trying to enforce the sorts of policies I'd like this site to have.

  1. This is a question to those candidates who do not have the Deputy badge (which is given for 80 helpful flags). Dealing with flags is a big part of moderation. How do you think that your lack of experience is going to effect your handling of the flags? And how do you expect to compensate for it (at first, of course)?

I have the deputy badge, as of Sep 2, 2017. As another note, I'd like to mention that I do check my flag summary and try to adjust my flagging behaviors appropriately.

  1. What are, according to your opinion, the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of MSE?

I believe that MSE's greatest strength lies in its database. This is the place I go to to find information about certain math problems, sometimes to cite myself, or find links to information elsewhere. Overall, MSE is the largest and broadest collection of mathematics I'll probably ever see.

I believe that MSE's greatest weakness is its never ending flow of new users. I can understand that many do not care to read about site policies and all of that mess, and I will admit that when I first started out, I was just the same. However, the problem arises when they blatantly refuse anything other than answers, and ask for more help than what the hints provide without elaborating on what they've tried to do with the hints, vandalize their question by editing it with "e wuipfhwe hfwe a", and/or repeatedly post low-quality posts that get closed and in some cases deleted.

  1. Do you feel that moderators are obliged to be transparent about their actions whenever possible?

Not entirely sure I understand what transparency means, but anyways... Some moderator actions should, in my opinion, be very much public. This helps the site make sure the moderators aren't doing anything bad :-) Of course, some actions are best left invisible to the public, but I do not believe all should.


And now here's some interesting statistics about myself you may not know: (all from the main site)

enter image description here

Here's a compilation of numbers related to me (I'm unsure how deleted posts may affect these numbers):

  • 5707 upvotes/352 downvotes

  • 719 delete votes/50 undelete votes

  • 1255 close votes/27 reopen votes

  • 9792 comments

  • 2073 edits

  • 408 reviews

  • 37 bounties offered for a total of 3700 rep in total

  • 214 questions asked/1821 questions answered

My most recent chat messages

These are the rooms I frequently visit:

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  • 6
    $\begingroup$ It is true that you can check your own closure votes by checking the corresponding tab in your profile. But other users cannot see your close votes. (Votes are private, every user can only see their own vote.) Still, the total count of close votes might be publicly available somewhere, but I do not know this from the top of my head. I guess that this is what @VidyanshuMishra is getting at. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Oct 6 '17 at 12:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You begin your answer to (10) as follows: "Not entirely sure I understand what transparency means, but anyways...". Did you research (google maybe) to find definitions of the term, and decide upon an understanding as to how this applies on this site, and moderatorship? $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 8 '17 at 0:59
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Even if I am a direct competitor of yours, I wholeheartedly support your nomination. You look as a kind, experienced and honest person, so I think you deserve the job. (+1) $\endgroup$ – Jack D'Aurizio Oct 8 '17 at 1:41
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ You explicitly mentioned in your nomination that you are quite active close voter. You also cast plenty of delete votes. It is natural to ask how will your behavior w.r.t. close/delete votes change if you become a mod. An important distinction that while votes from several regular users are needed for closure/deletion, one moderator vote suffices. As a mod would you vote only on clear-cut case? Would you vote the same as before, or try to restrict yourself? $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Oct 8 '17 at 12:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak No, and that is something I've been thinking about plenty. If I became a moderator, I would use my close votes and delete votes more sparsely, due to their super-powered nature, only in scenarios like clear-cut duplicates or obvious spam and stuff like that. I'm not entirely sure how flagging works, but if possibly, I would like to be able to send posts to the review queue by flagging them. $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 8 '17 at 12:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @SimplyBeautifulArt: (answering a comment which seems to have been deleted?) Exams often contain old problems (that have been either copied from a book or from another exam, or just have been rediscovered as it happens all the time in mathematics). So an old question may suddenly get flagged because it has appeared on an exam. This has actually happened on AoPS. $\endgroup$ – darij grinberg Oct 9 '17 at 22:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I would like to point out that exam problems aren't going to be known until the exam. So if anything pointing out the problem is what makes it useful for cheating not its existence. One of my professors one time gave us practice problems. 75% of the test ended up being those practice problems. If someone solved the problem on their own before the test and realized it was the case... does that make them a cheater? I hope not. The same is true here. $\endgroup$ – The Great Duck Oct 9 '17 at 23:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ On another note, you are younger than most users or at least not an adult. Will that affect your ability to work with other moderators judge fairly. Will you tend to be more lenient or more strict because you are younger? Just asking. Experience comes with age. $\endgroup$ – The Great Duck Oct 9 '17 at 23:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Typhon That is an interesting point. I'm not sure how well I can speak for myself, but experience isn't everything. Being young, I think I am a decently fast learner, and more willing to change to the expectations of others than some. However, experience does weigh in, and I've certainly made my mistakes (for example, wrong use of a close vote recently). If I may say though, a person isn't defined by their mistakes, but how they react to them (according to my cheesy On Course textbook). Hopefully, I react well to bad situations, because that often makes the greater difference. $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 9 '17 at 23:46
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You have a lot of reputation, but it seems that you aren't familiar with some important functionalities of the site: "not entirely sure how flagging works", "Why do we keep meta questions with lots of downvotes open?", Accessing the revision history. $\endgroup$ – Surb Oct 10 '17 at 16:05
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Typhon I disagree with regarding the last one, but I'm ready to take out my comment as apparently I misunderstood the flagging stuff. $\endgroup$ – Surb Oct 10 '17 at 16:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @surb fair enough. When I read that link nothing appeared to me as a lack of knowledge. It just looked like they were discussing issues with the revisions. $\endgroup$ – The Great Duck Oct 10 '17 at 16:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Surb I am decently familiar with the revision history, but I hadn't known that you can get the source from it. As with the flagging, I'm not extremely familiar with some of the smaller details of the site, though I am certainly familiar with most of them. $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 10 '17 at 17:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Surb I'll also say, though I've been very active on meta recently, there are still many things in it that I am not familiar with. No doubt, I am one of the newest to this site out of all of the candidates, and my meta activity mostly began only a few months ago. $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 10 '17 at 17:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MichaelHardy I actually agree with that, as I've mentioned a few times recently (under a recent meta question of mine) that I find closing some questions as "lacking of context" to be a bad option, though at the same time, I find it to be, currently, the best option. For now, I think that the best one can do is use the commenting features to voice if there is a more specific problem with the question at hand, or to explain the rules of the site, possibly including links. $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 13 '17 at 1:42
6
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Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen

My flagging history (on MathOverflow) (all the flags were found helpful): 9 post flags, 1 comment flag, 14 spam flags, 8 rude/abusive flags.

  1. Have you ever been suspended from this site or another StackExchange site? If so, please provide a description of the situation that led to the suspension, and how you have reacted to it.

No.

  1. A question is asked and receives some very good answers. The asker then flags this question and asks for it to be deleted because having it up will cause them trouble at school. Do you delete the question?

No, I think the moderators are in agreement not to do this.

  1. 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?

I guess I would discuss with other moderators, possibly with the user or with StackExchange staff. I guess there is always the possibility of a temporary ban.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

If it seemed very unreasonable to me I would probably discuss it with the other moderator; if only borderline I'd just let it go.

  1. What would you do if someone opposes a decision you've made? For example, opposition to removing some comments, closing/reopening/deleting a post, etc. Such opposition may come from direct comments or votes to reopen a question closed by a mod, etc.

I'd certainly be open to discussing it with the user and with other moderators.

  1. Most users here have multiple commitments. And likely, those commitments aren't going to go away if you are elected to be a moderator on MSE. Can you provide any assurance that you'll make the time, as needed, to moderate on MSE? This may only amount to an hour each day, consistently (perhaps more on some days, and less on others). In any case, how can you assure us you're not biting off more than you can chew?

I've been active on MathOverflow and will be able to keep a similar level of activity. Also I'm probably in a different time zone from the other moderators (Hawaii).

  1. Do you see your (eventual) moderator role primarily as one of the following? You can assign weights or only pick a few, however you'd like: Civil rights advocate, Senator/congressman, Judge, UN Blue Beret, Detective/ police officer, Home plate umpire/ referee, Janitor

Maybe Senator? To be honest I may not be one of the most active moderators, I'm more interested in ideas for the future of the site, but I would do a reasonable amount.

  1. This is a question to those candidates who do not have the Deputy badge (which is given for 80 helpful flags). Dealing with flags is a big part of moderation. How do you think that your lack of experience is going to affect your handling of the flags? And how do you expect to compensate for it (at first, of course)?

I've done a bunch of helpful flags on MathOverflow. I'm not sure that not having reached 80 is such a big deal...

  1. What are, according to your opinion, the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of MSE?

Strength: when doing research and needing some info from a different field than my own, I often find MSE to have the most useful info. Weakness: Well, there is the whole homework cheating issue...

  1. Do you feel that moderators are obliged to be transparent about their actions whenever possible?

Yes, sure.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not clear to me if you want to shift the focus from gamification in herds chasing questions to answer to something else, or do you want to promote such gamification to add even more bait? What about gamifying editing, reviewing, voting, accepted helpful flags? $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 9 '17 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy good question, I don't have the answers but I think we want the gamification to go in a "good" direction. For instance, refereeing of scientific papers is not very gamified at the moment, there is little reward for doing a good job. $\endgroup$ – Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen Oct 9 '17 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ BTW: I had typed the question to ask below your nomination statement, but my click on "Add Comment" was a second behind the freezing of the nomination page. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 9 '17 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy sorry about that... Another thing one maybe could gamify is finding answers to NP-complete problems. Sort of like "SETI at home" but with humans instead of computers doing the searching. In any case, my candidacy is a partly a quest for a mandate to keep working on this and talking to people about approaches (not necessarily at a fast pace). $\endgroup$ – Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen Oct 9 '17 at 20:43
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ You seem to have some ideas that may intersect with math.stackexchange in interesting ways, but how would you being a moderation help these ideas (moderation doesn't give you push rights on the software backend), and how would these ideas help you moderate math.stackexchange? $\endgroup$ – darij grinberg Oct 9 '17 at 22:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @darijgrinberg Thanks, and yes that's the question indeed. I suppose moderating gives me more insight in how SE things work a little closer to under-the-hood. And keeping some futuristic ideas in mind is a nice way to put the day-to-day grind in perspective. $\endgroup$ – Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen Oct 9 '17 at 22:28
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Okay, but this is somewhat vague and only answers the "how moderating helps your project" part, not the vice-versa part. I appreciate your answers on MO and m.se, but I have the impression that moderation would be somewhat of a side-gig to you and you might just "follow the flow" on non-obvious issues (e.g., someone repeatedly nagging you to have a question of theirs deleted, or someone flagging someone else's comments for offense) rather than moderate mindfully; this is something that happens often with "part-time"/"accidental" moderators. $\endgroup$ – darij grinberg Oct 9 '17 at 22:33
  • $\begingroup$ @darijgrinberg I agree, that might happen. I suppose not all moderators have to be leaders on those issues, but if that's a priority currently then we should vote for the candidates with demonstrated strength in that area (i.e. conflict resolution), which may not include me. $\endgroup$ – Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen Oct 9 '17 at 22:40
  • $\begingroup$ This site needs more leaders, not more "followers" who will sign off on whatever the other mods say. From what I understand, there's not a lot of opportunity to be a "senator" (policy maker) on this site; only in the sense of taking into consideration one's constituency. This site could use two mods willing to be janitors when needed, and I don't see you acknowledging such moderator tasks, nor how much time or what the frequency, you plan to spend on this site each week (on average). $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 9 '17 at 23:15
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, you are more than welcome to be a visionary of futuristic solutions, on meta, in terms of "feature requests" and such. But you don't have to be a moderator to do that. Which brings me to how very low any measures of your participation on this site, in terms of editing, flags, reviews, etc., are. Why haven't you shown much of any investment of time or interest on this site's well-being? Wanting to be a moderator solely because of the privileges and platform to pursue your personal vision of this site, sounds rather shallow to me. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 9 '17 at 23:21
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not trying to attack you. You'll have to understand that your last minute nomination leads me (and likely other users) to cover ground others have already covered over the course of a week, or a few days. Since you self-nominated only in the very last minutes before the deadline for nominations, you should be prepared to field such questions. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 9 '17 at 23:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ No, No, there's other clearer nominees for "clutter". It's not by definition wrong to have waited towards the very end of the nomination period to nominate yourself. It would simply help if you would share how long you've been considering running as a moderator candidate on MSE, and how much thought you've given to doing so. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 9 '17 at 23:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If I may, could you link your answer into the main post? Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 10 '17 at 0:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes indeed. Perfect answer! (That's one quality/ability that, anyone without it gives me pause.) $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 11 '17 at 19:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MichaelHardy I am thinking it may be okay to keep the off-topic part but make the other text say something like "To be considered on-topic, a question must include a brief description of the context in which it arose, i.e., something about why you're wondering about it." $\endgroup$ – Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen Oct 13 '17 at 2:49
4
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I have withdrawn my candidacy


kingW3

  1. Have you ever been suspended from this site or another StackExchange site? If so, please provide a description of the situation that led to the suspension, and how you have reacted to it.

Never, I'm a calm person especially on the internet where you can always take a few seconds to cool down if needed.

  1. A question is asked and receives some very good answers. The asker then flags this question and asks for it to be deleted because having it up will cause them trouble at school. Do you delete the question?

The priority would be to preserve answers, the first attempt would be to delete all the personal information from the post, if the OP needs to remove his name from the post (disown it) I could temporarily delete and lock the question until administrators remove his name.

However I can't imagine a case where someone would urgently need a question deleted so in most cases I would just delete the personal info from the post, explain the OP that he can ask for his question to be disowned and let the question be.

  1. 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?

If someone is straight insulting I would have to be a little stricter, at first I would try to talk with the user, if nothing constructive comes from it and the user doesn't want to change I would notify the other moderators of the conversation I had with him, next time I would officially warn him, if he continues and others moderators agree he will get suspended.

For cases when the user is being rude but not straight offensive I would give more slack because such behavior is easier to correct and it does considerably less harm so perhaps something along the lines talking few times, and perhaps few warnings and then perhaps a suspension.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

We're all humans, we make mistakes, it's likely that I being a newbie moderator am missing something. Clearly I would talk with him about the question in private, if we both feel strongly and have contradicting opinions, I would ask the moderator at hand if he minds that we ask other moderators for opinions on the question. I'll accept whatever we agree upon.

  1. What would you do if someone opposes a decision you've made? For example, opposition to removing some comments, closing/reopening/deleting a post, etc. Such opposition may come from direct comments or votes to reopen a question closed by a mod, etc.

Moderators along with other duties are here to make sure that community made rules are uphold, if my decision was to delete unarguably offensive or bluntly off-topic questions I would explain the user that this is the policy of this site and that he can suggest a change in policy on Meta. On cases where I'm not 100% sure that my decision is the right one I would lock the question to try to deescalate conflict and suggest users take the issue to our meta site. Unless I myself see that I've made a bad decision at which I would apologize and reopen/undelete etc.

  1. Most users here have multiple commitments. And likely, those commitments aren't going to go away if you are elected to be a moderator on MSE. Can you provide any assurance that you'll make the time, as needed, to moderate on MSE? This may only amount to an hour each day, consistently (perhaps more on some days, and less on others). In any case, how can you assure us you're not biting off more than you can chew?

It's impossible to assure such a thing since life is unpredictable however out of 3 years and 7 months I've been a member I visited the site 952 day. So far I didn't have problems with keeping up at school and university and being active on this site.

  1. Do you see your (eventual) moderator role primarily as one of the following? You can assign weights or only pick a few, however you'd like: Civil rights advocate, Senator/congressman, Judge, UN Blue Beret, Detective/ police officer, Home plate umpire/ referee, Janitor

Senator - $0$% because I'm not here to make policies but to apply them when needed.

Detective - $10$% for hunting down vote frauds and people evading their bans.

Janitor - $40$% to clean up and fix things that only moderators can.

Referee - $20$%, $5$% for cases which need immediate judgement and $15$% for having to consult other judges for the final decision.

UN Blue Beret - $30$% a lot of times moderators have to stop conflict and ensure that both sides are satisfied. Alternative choice for the profession in my opinion would be "School psychologist\pedagogist" or at least in my country :)

  1. This is a question to those candidates who do not have the Deputy badge (which is given for 80 helpful flags). Dealing with flags is a big part of moderation. How do you think that your lack of experience is going to affect your handling of the flags? And how do you expect to compensate for it (at first, of course)?

I do have the Deputy badge, however I feel there is much more to handling flags then there is to flagging though I don't doubt that over time it will be easier.

  1. What are, according to your opinion, the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of MSE?

The greatest strength and weakness of MSE is that it is a huge community, huge community brings a lot of different users with different backgrounds which brings interesting questions and answers, also most question are answered quickly, and users also moderate the community usually nicely. Which brings as to the problem: the community is often inconsistent about what questions should be closed, some good questions get received as bad and get closed, while some bad questions don't get closed and have good answers. Unfortunately there isn't much moderators can do about that.

  1. Do you feel that moderators are obliged to be transparent about their actions whenever possible?

Yes, whenever possible.

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  • $\begingroup$ Could you explain your current position on PSQs (Problem Statement Questions: Questions asking us to do ..., solve..., prove..., evaluate... etc., which are also void of any other context or contributions from the asker)? And then there are the answerers of such a question, who answere even after the question has been excessively downvoted, and comments below the questions seek clarification, context, where the asker is stuck, what the asker has learned, and the asker has failed to address any of them... they still answer. What is your position on the asking and answering of PSQ's? $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 6 '17 at 1:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Could you also clarify whether you are running in the election? I saw your nomination statement 12 or so hours ago, but you've since removed it. Are you running, or not? $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 6 '17 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy I'm not running, I'm eager to be a moderator but I feel that I'll be more helpful as a normal user, hopefully I'll be running on the next election. I'm not quite sure what to do with the answers I wanted to either strikethrough my name or to put a disclaimer or to delete it, I didn't really want to bump the post, so I haven't done anything, any ideas on what to do? Also sorry for taking the time to answer, as for the PSQs if you're still interested I'll post it below (or perhaps for a self reference). $\endgroup$ – kingW3 Oct 6 '17 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ Questions which are bad PSQ i.e the OP doesn't show any efforts i.e he asks a totally unclear question, doesn't bother to write full sentences i.e prov x2+y2=z2 fr evry triangle,the answers follow directly from applying the definition. Such questions should be closed and down voted, answering such questions is bad and actively hurts this site. $\endgroup$ – kingW3 Oct 6 '17 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ Questions which lack formatting and where the OP might just be new to this site I feel should just be closed and NOT down voted or at least not below -2, for example take this question which I've stumbled in review, you've added the thoughts of OP from the comments, perhaps it might still be missing some context but having $-5$ score even if fit into shape wouldn't help much. $\endgroup$ – kingW3 Oct 6 '17 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ About people who answer PSQ questions I understand if someone see's a interesting question and gets that this is a real nice answer then he should post it but in cases when the answer is easy,trivial,not interesting, PSQ's which are classic homework which was posted a 100 times on this site then it's really counterproductive(though I have to admit I've done it myself). Though I don't have anything against answers which lead the OP to the solution or which leave some work to the OP $\endgroup$ – kingW3 Oct 6 '17 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your detailed response. At any rate, why have you deleted your nomination/candidacy statement? Are you second guessing running? At least is strikes me as rather noncommittal; and if you're waiting to the last minute to undelete your nomination post, some of us will notice and point this out. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 6 '17 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy Sorry if I wasn't clear, I have decided to withdraw my candidacy, I'm not quite sure how I should handle the answers here so I left it. $\endgroup$ – kingW3 Oct 6 '17 at 15:15
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ I was confused, and perhaps others might be too. It is fine to keep them, but with no header in the answers above I have withdrawn my candidacy, it will likely be confusing for others. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 6 '17 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ Man, you splitting you rankings for question 7 by percentages. Fancy =P $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 7 '17 at 23:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Would you mind removing your entry from the main post? $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 7 '17 at 23:35
  • $\begingroup$ You seem to imply that the greatest strength of MSE "is that it is a huge community, huge community brings a lot of different users with different backgrounds which brings interesting questions and answers, also most question are answered quickly, and users also moderate the community usually nicely." Any other more specific strengths? $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 8 '17 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ You also say the the greatest weakness "is that it is a huge community, huge community brings a lot of different users with different backgrounds which brings interesting questions and answers, also most question are answered quickly, and users also moderate the community usually nicely. You continue: "Which brings as to the problem: the community is often inconsistent about what questions should be closed, some good questions get received as bad and get closed, while some bad questions don't get closed and have good answers. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 8 '17 at 21:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Why the resignation: "Unfortunately there isn't much moderators can do about that." That's not always true. If you're closing the door on the possibility of handling extreme questions/answers/comments, that doesn't seem to me to be a great launching off pad. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 8 '17 at 21:42
2
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  1. Have you ever been suspended from this site or another StackExchange site? If so, please provide a description of the situation that led to the suspension, and how you have reacted to it.

No, never! On any site, not only Stackexchange.

  1. A question is asked and receives some very good answers. The asker then flags this question and asks for it to be deleted because having it up will cause them trouble at school. Do you delete the question?

Generally no. It shouldn't be a matter of cheating, because according to the policy om math.sx typical homework questions are rarely fully answered. If s/he has enough reputation, s/he can reformulate the question to avoid a simple search. And last but not least: questions and answers are for the community.

  1. 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?

It depends. I cannot be in someone's mind, but the initial assumption should be, that it is not done intentionally. Probably everyone of us knows mathematicians who are so far away from the real world, that their behaviour is atypical. If only I could see a good will, my role would be to preserve others from such a behaviour. I can delete some words or comments, but it should be only action for some time. Even if a bad behaviour seems to be intentional, there is always time for explanation. On tex.sx I have >25k reputation, so I can see many facts. Once a person gave a series of rude comments. I flagged them immediately. They were hidden. And a short time later he apologized for the situation, claiming that somebody made a stupid joke from his account.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

How can behave a pupil? He should learn, following the masters.

  1. What would you do if someone opposes a decision you've made? For example, opposition to removing some comments, closing/reopening/deleting a post, etc. Such opposition may come from direct comments or votes to reopen a question closed by a mod, etc.

People can talk. People can discuss. I am a human.

  1. Most users here have multiple commitments. And likely, those commitments aren't going to go away if you are elected to be a moderator on MSE. Can you provide any assurance that you'll make the time, as needed, to moderate on MSE? This may only amount to an hour each day, consistently (perhaps more on some days, and less on others). In any case, how can you assure us you're not biting off more than you can chew?

I am here near every day. Two times a year I can have huge exams, where I am lost to the world for, say, three days. This time is easy to predict.

  1. Do you see your (eventual) moderator role primarily as one of the following? You can assign weights or only pick a few, however you'd like: Civil rights advocate, Senator/congressman, Judge, UN Blue Beret, Detective/ police officer, Home plate umpire/ referee, Janitor

Something between a janitor and a cleaner. I have no right to judge, I can only serve.

  1. This is a question to those candidates who do not have the Deputy badge (which is given for 80 helpful flags). Dealing with flags is a big part of moderation. How do you think that your lack of experience is going to affect your handling of the flags? And how do you expect to compensate for it (at first, of course)?

I have a Deputy badge on tex.sx, so I have some experience. I can see some differences in behaviour on math.sx and tex.sx, but I do not think, that they induce a lack of experience.

  1. What are, according to your opinion, the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of MSE?

All StackExchange seems to be one of most imortant pages helping people. On math.sx answers for typical questions are near immediate.

The policy of closing questions is much more unpleasant for beginners than its version on tex.sx. I think, that some elements, e.g., leaving enough time for correcting an answer, might make this page more friendly.

  1. Do you feel that moderators are obliged to be transparent about their actions whenever possible?

I think that moderators have good, trained for a long time rules, and following them is the better policy. I do not know, what happens hidden to eyes of ordinary users, so I cannot decide, which version is better. I hope however that there is near nothing to hide.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ If I may so point out, writing > in front of the numbers formats it like the other answers. Feel free to add in if you wish. $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 9 '17 at 23:55
  • $\begingroup$ @SimplyBeautifulArt Thank you! Edited. $\endgroup$ – Przemysław Scherwentke Oct 9 '17 at 23:58
  • $\begingroup$ If I may ask one more thing, it would be that you link your answer into the main post. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 10 '17 at 0:00
  • $\begingroup$ At least, one moderator, Jyrki Lahtonen, supports the feature request decribed at the following page. Do you? math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/26524/… $\endgroup$ – Michael Hardy Oct 13 '17 at 1:37
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHardy Certainly. Any additional method of describing the heart of the matter will help newbies. I remember that in my case the process of understanding the rules and features was really long. (I had luck that I mainly answered, not asked questions). $\endgroup$ – Przemysław Scherwentke Oct 13 '17 at 1:49
-15
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  1. Have you ever been suspended from this site or another StackExchange site? If so, please provide a description of the situation that led to the suspension, and how you have reacted to it.

No.I have never been.

  1. A question is asked and receives some very good answers. The asker then flags this question and asks for it to be deleted because having it up will cause them trouble at school. Do you delete the question?

It should be ideally NO and I support that no.We at SE have our own set of rules,policies and commitments.It is not that we are going to bend and be flexible always about our rules for the benefit of other organisations.However we may try to protect the privacy of OP to the maximum possible extent.How ever we do appreciate high quality questions and would always like to preserve them. We should abide by a strict set of rules and conduct and make others aware of the policies binding on them.Also, we don't support cheating and other misuse of this great facility.

  1. 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?

Behavior should be always be the first priority. We appreciate contribution of our fellow members.However we also expect as part of the team upkeeping the site that there will always be a healthy environment round here.

I believe that most issues should be solvable with proper discussion with the accused user maybe through an official thread.If situation so demands,suspension of account may have to done to prevent future misconduct.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

A fruitful discussion is always the best method.Most of the other mods around here are senior to me.So,I think we would like to understand why a particular conclusion is made and come to a common consensus that would further strengthen our relationship as a team.

5.What would you do if someone opposes a decision you've made? For example, opposition to removing some comments, closing/reopening/deleting a post, etc. Such opposition may come from direct comments or votes to reopen a question closed by a mod, etc.

Taking opposition positively is a great trait for a leader. So,I think that we must be tolerable and try to listen to others as opinion and not as an opposition.People may not always be of the same opinion but we always have the chance to uphold our thoughts with proper evidence and convince others.This should lead to a solution.

6.Most users here have multiple commitments. And likely, those commitments aren't going to go away if you are elected to be a moderator on MSE. Can you provide any assurance that you'll make the time, as needed, to moderate on MSE? This may only amount to an hour each day, consistently (perhaps more on some days, and less on others). In any case, how can you assure us you're not biting off more than you can chew?

Good question.However until now,we see only 7 nominations for moderators out of a total of 4,622 users with 1k+ rep who are eligible to participate.So, this shows that only responsible people have taken up the opportunity to participate in this and not randomly walked into a park.

On my part I assure that I am a fully willing to take up a responsibility here.

  1. Do you see your (eventual) moderator role primarily as one of the following? You can assign weights or only pick a few, however you'd like: Civil rights advocate, Senator/congressman, Judge, UN Blue Beret, Detective/ police officer, Home plate umpire/ referee, Janitor

I would prefer-Janitor>>Referee>UN Blue Beret>Senator>Detective/Police officer

  1. This is a question to those candidates who do not have the Deputy badge (which is given for 80 helpful flags). Dealing with flags is a big part of moderation. How do you think that your lack of experience is going to affect your handling of the flags? And how do you expect to compensate for it (at first, of course)?

I have 47 helpful flags.I am pretty confident to cross the 80 mark soon.I am looking forward to work. I may be treated as a newbie due to low number of flags but I may be given an opportunity to showcase my moderation skills.

  1. What are, according to your opinion, the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of MSE?

Strength- Obviously the vibrant community which includes mathematics enthusiasts from a school child to author of textbooks and those with higher education in advanced math topics.This helps everyone to get a glimpse the vast world of mathematics and maybe get more exposure to a wide range of topics. Also,we have a vast repository questions.

Also,this is perhaps the only website of its kind that is so well organised. There are few other sites for a similar purpose but none of them is as attractive and as well organised as this one.

Weakness-Nothing in particular.But PSQs and low quality questions from new users are a big issue.Also closing of questions sometimes becomes controversial. Many not so good questions are not closed while many good questions tend to be closed. This is because the not so good questions are not paid much attention and add up to the total junk.

  1. Do you feel that moderators are obliged to be transparent about their actions whenever possible?

Yeah.There should be always a democratic method. Mods are working not like dictators but they are responsible fellows who actively want to make the site a better place.So,they must cooperate as much as possible with other users.Transparency is necessary as it helps to build up trust between users and mod team. This ensures friendly relationship between all which ensures better outcomes.

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    $\begingroup$ "So, this shows that only responsible people have taken up the opportunity to participate in this and not randomly walked into a park." While I don't dispute this is the case, I should mention that in past elections we saw that a lot of people have no idea what moderators should be doing on this website. Including a handful that nominated themselves. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 7 '17 at 16:51
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    $\begingroup$ How do you know that people downvote randomly without any solid reason? Rather, what makes you think people downvote randomly without any solid reason? $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Oct 8 '17 at 5:07
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    $\begingroup$ If you aren't willing to reflect, rationally, on @GerryMyerson 's answer, or recognize and own what you feel, without stating as fact what you feel is fact, and offer evidence beyond some conspiracy theory you use to discount questions you don't want to answer; then, that reveals exactly what most of us need to know. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 8 '17 at 17:43
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know how you can see people downvoting randomly. I don't know how you can know people downvote without any solid reason. This is a good test of your qualifications to be a moderator on a mathematics group: what do you do when you are found to be spouting nonsense? $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Oct 8 '17 at 21:47
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    $\begingroup$ So you're admitting you made a false statement, then? That the downvotes aren't random after all? $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Oct 9 '17 at 4:05
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    $\begingroup$ You are ever ready to make unsupported allegations, tatan, but you have nothing to back them up. Again, this does not reassure me of your qualifications to be a moderator here. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Oct 9 '17 at 11:59
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    $\begingroup$ funny? Don't be surprised, then, that you're heading towards being laughed off the stage, and the joke is on you. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 9 '17 at 19:29
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    $\begingroup$ (Surely it is random downvotes without any solid reason.) $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Oct 10 '17 at 19:26
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy Yes. I am never too rigid. I am ready to acknowledge any mistakes... but in this case I don't exactly realise my mistake. If you please try to explain. $\endgroup$ – tatan Oct 11 '17 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy Oh.I see. Yeah I am ready to own upto any mistakes if I am convinced that I have made a mistake and I am quite ready to own up. That's never an issue $\endgroup$ – tatan Oct 11 '17 at 15:46
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy No. It's not that I cannot tolerate criticism. I can't send you an image here, but the thing is that a series of my posts have been downvoted continuously since the last few days. So, I was not getting what were the problem with the posts... $\endgroup$ – tatan Oct 11 '17 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ @tatan Hi, I don't think we've ever crossed paths, but you do realize that by being a candidate for moderator your history on this site, including posting history, is under close scrutiny? $\endgroup$ – Frenzy Li Oct 11 '17 at 16:13
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    $\begingroup$ tatan: in your post here, and comments, you show an inability to sincerely listen to others, consider their concerns, and give a reasoned answer. You've repeatedly deflected all questions that you don't want to answer. So you say: "Feel free to comment if you want...". And yet your actions and responses say otherwise. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Oct 11 '17 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ If you feel that you are being downvoted unjustly, this is not the place to air your grievance. Take it up with ... wait for it ... the moderators. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Oct 11 '17 at 23:40
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    $\begingroup$ Much quicker, tatan, would be to flag some question or answer for moderator attention, and lodge your complaint where it says to give your reason for flagging. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Oct 12 '17 at 3:45

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