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

Mathematics Stack Exchange is scheduled to begin an election next week, July 20, 2020. In connection with that, we will be holding a Q&A with the candidates. This will be an opportunity for members of the community to pose questions to the candidates on the topic of moderation. Participation is completely voluntary.

Here's how it'll work:

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

  • We, the Community Team, will be providing a small selection of generic questions. The first two will be guaranteed to be included, the latter ones are if the community doesn't supply enough questions. This will be done in a single post, unlike the prior instruction.

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

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

  • At the start of the nomination phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions. We reserve some editorial control in the selection of the questions and may opt not to select a question that is tangential or irrelevant to moderation or the election but we'll make a note of it where appropriate.

  • Once questions have been selected, a new question will be opened to host the actual questionnaire for the candidates, typically containing 10 questions in total.

  • This is not the only option that users have for gathering information on candidates. As a community, you are still free to, for example, hold a live chat session with your candidates to ask further questions, or perhaps clarifications from what is provided in the Q&A.

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

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This question is inspired by this meta question.


The CURED chatroom (formerly CRUDE) is extremely active and plays a large role in closing and deleting questions and answers.

  1. Are you aware of this chatroom?

  2. Do you think this chatroom is healthy for this site, unhealthy, or somewhere in between? Please justify your answer.

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    $\begingroup$ Hopefully this question is clear, but I am obviously happy to edit it to clarify points. Although CURED stands for Close/Undelete/Reopened/Edit/Delete, it is most felt through its C&D actions which is why it is only them mentioned in the preamble. $\endgroup$ – user1729 Jul 14 at 9:01
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    $\begingroup$ That closing and deleting of posts is the most frequent actions is do to the requests posted in the chatroom. Everyone is welcome to post requests for any of the actions you list, and they do. But by popular demand of users across the site, most requests are lodged for closure and deletion. We can't consider there what isn't regularly requested. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Jul 16 at 22:14
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Regarding actions by moderators, do you think that MathSE is (over/under)moderated? If so, can you elaborate on which aspects, why, and what would be your suggestions regarding this?

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MSE seems to, in practice, fulfill dual purposes: to be a repository of mathematical knowledge in a Q&A format, and a place for people to get specialist, individual help with mathematics. Often these purposes align, but sometimes they clash.

Which do you see as the primary purpose of MSE? Please describe a situation, real or realistic, where the two purposes clash, and how you would preference one over the other.

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    $\begingroup$ It could make sense to ask for the "situation" to be sketched out by the answerer. If not it gets very vague. Maybe something like "Describe a type of situation, real or hypothetical (but preferably realistic), where the two purposes are in conflict, and which purpose would you typically preference." $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 15 at 11:04
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    $\begingroup$ @quid Thank you for the suggestion. I've updated the question. $\endgroup$ – Theo Bendit Jul 16 at 3:18
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A recycle from previous election:

A classic, but crucial question, for historical reasons on MSE

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.

Would you have suspended a user for a similar behavior today?

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What do you think is the biggest problem facing Math.SE in 2020, and how do you think we should approach it as a community, and as moderators?

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Moderators disagree with each other all the time on issues large and small.

How will you deal with disagreement with other moderators? At what point do you reverse their actions?

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you propose this as an alternative to the second guaranteed question? "How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?" ? I feel like they're similar enough that we could merge or reword one or the other. Question 9 on the SO mod election was a case where I did something like this: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/399106/… $\endgroup$ – Catija Jul 15 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ Well, kinda, but this is not about actions "facing the community", but also about internal disagreements. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 15 at 14:31
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    $\begingroup$ I like Asaf's version better for this team. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Gruber Jul 15 at 23:11
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In discussions about the quality of questions the word "context" is frequently invoked. The perception of "missing context" is the most frequently selected reason for closure of questions.

What role should "context" play in assessing the quality and suitability of a question on Mathematics Stack Exchange?

Ideally, please be explicit what you mean by "context" and discuss potential actions to be taken (or not taken), rather than giving an abstract answer.

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When and how much do you think a moderator should get involved in activities such as undeleting, closing posts, or other stuff that normally would require more than a single user in order to be accomplished?
Furthermore, as a moderator, would you change your approach regarding those activities in any way?

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Here is a set of general questions, gathered as very common questions asked every election. As mentioned in the instructions, the first two questions are guaranteed to show up in the Q&A, while the others are if there aren't enough questions (or, if you like one enough, you may split it off as a separate answer for review within the community's 8).

  • How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?
  • How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

  • In your opinion, what do moderators do?
  • A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?
  • In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
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This is a refinement of a question that was asked in the last election, and in the election before that. Thanks to Jyrki Lahtonen for the original.


The following is basically a refinement of "In your opinion, what do moderators do?" I just feel like making it a bit more ... role oriented.

Question: How would you describe the primary role of a moderator? For example, is the primary role of a moderator to be...

  • ...a civil rights advocate?
  • ...a senator/congressman leading the formulation of policies?
  • ...a judge?
  • ...a UN Blue Beret, i.e. peace enforcement?
  • ...a detective, police officer?
  • ...a home plate umpire/referee (depending on whether baseball or association football is your sport)?
  • ...a janitor?
  • ...something else?

Please explain what this means to you, and how this will influence your actions as a moderator.

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    $\begingroup$ Where's the "all of the above" choice? :) $\endgroup$ – Omar S Jul 13 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ @OmarS "something else". $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Jul 13 at 22:24
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    $\begingroup$ I am joking.. considering mods are always expected to handle all of the above :') $\endgroup$ – Omar S Jul 13 at 22:28
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I am marking this question "Community Wiki" in an effort to get other people to provide input. I think that the handling of "PSQs" has been incredibly controversial on this site, and I think that any future moderator should take a stand, one way or another—I think that the voting community should know how a moderator feels and will act on this issue. However, there are likely some disagreements about the scope of the term "PSQ", and I would very much like this question to avoid using loaded or suggestive language. I have done my best to present a neutral question, but would very much like the rest of the meta-community to weigh in. I am particularly interested in getting input from those with whom I have disagreements with on this issue.

Question: There is a great deal of tension on this site with respect to "problem statement questions" (or "PSQs"). These questions are typically short, written in an imperative voice ("Prove this..." or "Solve that..."), and written in the style of a textbook exercise or (perhaps) copied verbatim from an exam ("47. (5 points) Evaluate..."). Are you aware of this tension and are you familiar with past arguments regarding PSQs? How do you think that the community should respond to PSQs, particularly in borderline cases where a question's status as a PSQ is controversial? As a moderator, how will you help steer the community with respect to the treatment of PSQs?

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    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Jul 14 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ Please, let's attempt to keep this post to the point. Discussions are best done elsewhere. (Math meta chat, for example, or the election chatroom.) $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Jul 14 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ I believe this is an important question, but that it would be better to reword the question to not try to pin down PSQ explicitly and rather to ask the candidate to describe what sorts (if any) of questions they would take action upon on the basis of "PSQ-ness." I'm not terribly interested in what a moderator would do on a question that might neutrally be judged as a PSQ (esp. since I think "close it" becomes significantly less controversial of an opinion on something like an exam question) - much more interested in how they might view a question whose status as a PSQ is controversial. $\endgroup$ – Milo Brandt Jul 15 at 2:39
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    $\begingroup$ @MiloBrandt: Are you aware that there are a number of users who even undelete undeniable PSQs that are cheating attempts despite having been informed that it is in fact a cheating attempt? $\endgroup$ – user21820 Jul 17 at 8:52
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And one other good question from the last election:

Question: It is an unfortunate yet incontrovertible fact that some users see Math.SE as a way to cheat on homework and tests. What ethical obligation, if any, do you believe the moderation team has to investigate and combat academic dishonesty? What actions, if any, would you take if an instructor flagged potential dishonesty in a Math.SE question? Is it ever appropriate to sanction a question-answerer for abetting academic dishonesty?

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think we should be deleting questions from here. It's not like all the questions posted here will be on the official questionnaire. Voting to delete is effectively an unnecessary act of censorship. So please, to those who voted to delete, and those who might be considering it: don't. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 14 at 0:48
  • $\begingroup$ Should we also mention contests here ? $\endgroup$ – Arnaud D. Jul 14 at 7:46
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    $\begingroup$ @ArnaudD. Given that there is already a policy on contests, I didn't feel it was necessary. $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Jul 14 at 12:37
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If PSQ has become a naughty word, then a more neutral way of approaching the theme might be:

Our Help Center refers to our policy on How to ask a good question, outlining what is expected from, e.g. a question about a homework assignment. How well do you think this policy is guideline should be enforced? What steps would you be willing to take to make sure that the askers as well as the answerers follow it?

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Jul 16 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ Please, let's attempt to keep this post to the point. Discussions are best done elsewhere. (Math meta chat, for example, or the election chatroom.) To be even more specific: comment with the intent of requesting or suggesting clarifications of the proposal. $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Jul 16 at 19:43
  • $\begingroup$ This question was criticized for not pointing at a clear policy, and that lead to a bit of back-n-forth that I apologize becoming a part of. One of the moderators informed me semi-privately that the policy is clear enough, but it is somewhat scattered over a few threads. It would be a service to the community to collect the pieces to one place, and then refer to that for the sake of clarity. I will do my best when I find the time. I should possibly edit this question before it can serve in the intended role. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Jul 17 at 8:19
  • $\begingroup$ quid's suggested question, focusing on "context", overlaps somewhat in the sense that it also asks for the type of actions a candidate would use. I quite understand, if some of you prefer that to end up in the list. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Jul 17 at 8:49
  • $\begingroup$ At present this question has 9 upvotes and 3 downvotes, but it is impossible to know which votes were cast for the original version of the question and which for the revised version. $\endgroup$ – MJD Jul 21 at 13:47
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    $\begingroup$ @MJD Given that the election has advanced to the nomination phase, that is of academic interest only :-) $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Jul 21 at 14:00
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Take this with a grain of salt, as I'm a relatively new user.

Looking at the current moderators, they were elected $\{8,8,7,7,6,6,3,2,2\}$ years ago (rounding up). My limited experience with them has been positive: as far as I can tell, they are doing a great job to keep the site working as it's supposed to. However, two-thirds of them have served for over five years, which is a rather long time, especially when elections- and not re-elections, as far as I can tell- happen somewhat infrequently.

My questions:

  1. If elected, how long would you plan to serve?
  2. Do you feel that gentle term limits should be imposed?
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for "they are doing a great job " ;-) More seriously, it is actually an interesting question that does come up at times in informal discussions. $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 16 at 23:16
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    $\begingroup$ Regarding question number 2., while it may be interesting to know the opinion of a candidate about whether those limits would be a good idea, it may be worth it to point out that this status quo (of no term limits) is something that is an aspect of the entire network. Pragmatically speaking, this isn't something that will change. (Or if it does, we would have little control over.) I'm pointing this out because maybe the intent of the question was to see suggestions by candidates regarding the implementation of those limits, which is not realistic. $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Jul 17 at 0:06
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    $\begingroup$ "Until I get sick of it or get kicked out", which is nearly impossible to know in advance (or left ambiguous). I agree it's a nice thing to dwell on, but I cannot, in good conscience vote for this question to be on the official questionnaire. I'd be very happy to see it in the comments below each answer, as an informal follow-up, though. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 17 at 0:48
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    $\begingroup$ This is an interesting question, but probably not one that it is pressing for the nominees to address. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Jul 17 at 4:08
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for your input. I see now that this is perhaps not the best time/place for this question. $\endgroup$ – Integrand Jul 17 at 19:39
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    $\begingroup$ (2) is an interesting question anyway, which anyone can have an opinion about (it is not mod-specific). Have you considered asking it as a meta question (possibly on the main meta unless you make it specific to math.SE somehow)? This question on the main meta is asking what you are asking, but it is over 10 years old. $\endgroup$ – user1729 Jul 18 at 8:05
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I give full credit to @Shog9 for this question.

Imagine a time in which the site has become divided between two groups, each of whom desire a future which is anathema to the other. The status quo is unstable; it is all but guaranteed that one group will be seen as ascendant and the other will leave in frustration. And... You've been elected to serve both groups.

How might you approach such a situation? If you would seek compromise, how could you hope to garner agreement from enough people to make it work?

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I basically submitted this in the previous election, and though it wasn't well-received then I still feel it would be a good indicator of (1) the nominees' awareness of actions taken on the site, and (2) the nominees' philosophical viewpoint about moderation. So I'll try again and hope for a better response.

What moderating action by Mathematics Stack Exchange diamond moderators (either past or present, but not including Stack Exchange employees) that occurred since you joined this community have you most disagreed with? Explain your disagreement, and how would you have handled the situation differently.

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    $\begingroup$ It's a good question, but since there had been at least one period where some moderators were in open war about some moderation issues (neither is a moderator at this time), it's kind of meaningless if you just look at those decisions then either one side or the other will provide you with plenty of examples. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 14 at 8:25
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila I only know about that occurrence anecdotally through reading other threads on meta. Though you certainly have a point. Maybe I'll try to limit to events that the nominee witnessed. Thanks for the input at any rate. $\endgroup$ – fəˈnɛtɪk Jul 15 at 10:47
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    $\begingroup$ To put what @Asaf said somewhat differently, I think the focus on the "most" makes the question less interesting especially if 'action' is not limited. In the more distant past there were clearly iil-advised moderator actions on the site for which SE even got involved. It is not very interesting to have users list things most everyone will agree were ill-advised. Maybe you could add a phrase like: '"This is about actions that seemed to have support of the moderators as a team, not so much isolated actions that can be seen as individual errors or transgressions." $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 15 at 11:00
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What are your favourite and least favourite aspects about MSE?

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How have you moderated MSE so far and how would being elected change your role? An experienced regular user can take quite a significant role in leading the community, moderating content, and discussing the site itself (in addition to its content matter, mathematics).

Rationale: The line between high reputation users and moderators is thin by design. I wouldn't want to choose a moderator who isn't already acting in that capacity to some extent. The best proof of future action is past action.

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  • $\begingroup$ This seems similar to one of the default questions, no? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 20 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila I don't think so. My focus here is on the personal history as a moderator prior to formal moderatorship, and I didn't find that on the default list. I find this more interesting. (And similarities to the default ones should not be an issue; they can be reworded to fit our community better and not all default ones are used if there are plenty of other good questions.) $\endgroup$ – Joonas Ilmavirta Jul 20 at 21:41
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Asking and answering duplicate questions happens frequently on the site even though relatively efficient tools aiding the search have been introduced. This has the negative effects that it increases the site entropy by making searching more difficult. It also makes the reputation game somewhat unfair when prolific answerers simply refuse to search for (near) duplicates. How serious do you think this problem is? What should be done about users who leave searching to others?

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    $\begingroup$ The fact that "relatively efficient tools" for searching is complete news to me (I've been here 4 years). This is a good question for prospective moderators to answer, but I'll add my perspective to the mix: Until there's a "search for duplicates" button right next to the box where I can dash off and submit a quick answer, I'm probably not going to use it. I understand how identifying duplicates makes a better site, but the incentives on this site all work against it. And let's face it -- this place is gamified every which way possible. $\endgroup$ – JonathanZ supports MonicaC Jul 20 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ @JonathanZsupportsMonicaC Here I outline what I think should happen.If nothing is done, I might as well go back to using the "retired term". The most aggravating part is the questions that everybody knows there is snowball's chance in hell we haven't already handled it. Yet, they answer rather than search. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Jul 20 at 19:39
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    $\begingroup$ I wonder if it's possible to reward users with reputation for (correctly) flagging duplicates. After all, helping to close a duplicate question does service to the site, just like posting good questions and answers do. (Indeed, arguably at least as much, if not more.) $\endgroup$ – Theoretical Economist Jul 20 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the links, Jyrki. Those will take me a while to digest. And again, I'm sort of new to and up in the air as to what should be done about it, but I'll again I'll provide the evidence of my experience (4 years, 3k points) and say that it's only recently (probably since getting on the Close Queue and reading math.meta more) that Ive become aware that duplicate questions are meant to be closed. I know there are some stand-out examples of high-rep members who just farm simple question, but I'd bet there are scads of mid-level people who have zero idea about duplicate handling. $\endgroup$ – JonathanZ supports MonicaC Jul 20 at 21:07
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    $\begingroup$ I'll add that it would be a bummer if you quit the site because of the fundamental hypocrisy of the management, claiming to be creating a well manicured repository of knowledge but (as we all know) advancing professionally based on member count and number of visits. $\endgroup$ – JonathanZ supports MonicaC Jul 20 at 21:11
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    $\begingroup$ FWIW I would not see it as an improvement, if the race to answer is replaced with the race to find a duplicate. The users who no longer need more rep should, IMHO, simply not seek rep rewards as a priority. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Jul 21 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen There is a post on Meta SO that is tagged [status-review] which proposes badges for finding duplicates. So, it's possible that that's the direction SE is going to go, for better or worse. $\endgroup$ – user279515 Jul 21 at 19:17
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What would be a good idea(s) to encourage more participation on math.meta ?

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    $\begingroup$ If people are going to answer this question, I'll point out that is sort of assumes that more participation on math.meta is good for the site, and I think one could make a good argument that this is not the case. I'd love to see prospective mods address all the pluses and minuses of how math.meta works and what effects it has. $\endgroup$ – JonathanZ supports MonicaC Jul 20 at 18:50
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Question. I would like to know if you empathize with a (generic) New Contributor, we assume a young student, who after visiting the Tour and the site Mathematics Stack Exchange for first time asks a PSQ or homework question and this post is downvoted several times in a short lapse of time. I evoke the impact that these downvotes could to have potentially in his/her account. Many thanks.

Background for the question (this is just my interpretation). My concern is about the young students that maybe don't know how type formulas in MSE, that are humble, that don't know policies about the site asking bad questions after visiting the Tour. In my belief these persons, that aren't professionals, could interpret certain aspects of the Tour as an invitation to ask a question in the site Mathematics Stack Exchange. Compare if you want with https://pets.stackexchange.com/tour where are showed in my belief excerpts of https://pets.stackexchange.com/questions/23955/im-having-trouble-giving-my-cat-liquid-meds-with-a-syringe

Of course, I support the effort culture. My empathy is for these valuable students, I ignore what are their circumstances in the real life.

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    $\begingroup$ I think this question needs to be reworked a bit. It needs to be more opened-ended (currently "yes" is an answer). On the other hand, I do think a question on how they view new users would be beneficial (and possibly also those new users for whom English is not their native language, who are surely intimidated by the wall of text in the meta threads which they are directed to). $\endgroup$ – user1729 Jul 15 at 8:42
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    $\begingroup$ Many thanks, I'm going to avoid extended discussions with the purpose that the thread of comments aren't removed to the chat. I've upvoted your comment, but I believe that the right thing is doesn't update the question after I've asked it @user1729 With independence of what think third persons my Question is a proposal for the questionnaire of the candidates for moderators. $\endgroup$ – user759001 Jul 15 at 8:45
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    $\begingroup$ Do you realize that your elaboration of your question is an unfair one? Many users who close questions do not do so just because the asker did not type formulae. Majority of question closures are for other reasons, such as lacking effort or context. Also, do you realize that there are many cheaters who try to take advantage of Math SE to do their work for them? We cannot compare to other SE sites like Pets SE (there is no graded pet-care homework) or Arcade SE or CodeGolf SE. $\endgroup$ – user21820 Jul 15 at 13:30
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    $\begingroup$ Effort shown in uploaded images is usually well received, and I also find that most humble mathematics students react very positively to advice on how to improve their posts if they didn't provide effort or context the first time. And the ask-question page links to how to ask. If an asker posts a bad question and it gets closed for lack of context, the close-banner also links there. Users who attempt to follow the instructions there do get a positive reception. Lastly, downvotes on Meta indicate opinion. I didn't downvote your linked post on main. $\endgroup$ – user21820 Jul 16 at 3:51
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    $\begingroup$ Re the comment deletion and the addition of the comment, I had agreed with @user21820 that they can add one more comment summarizing their position. It is not an attempt to restart the discussion but a summary of what was said earlier. $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 16 at 11:21
  • $\begingroup$ At 4th August 2020 from the topic Culture and Education of the web page UN News was edited an article that refers the disruption to education due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes an estimation about how many students have been affected (first section) and a message from His Excellency António Guterres, Secretary-General of United Nations. $\endgroup$ – user759001 Aug 5 at 19:12
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The following question was asked on meta.stackexchange.com 1 year, 7 months ago:

Has or does SE suffer from shills or cabals of special interest groups looking to peddle influence or control narrative?

Replacing "SE" with "Maths.SE", here is my question:

Has or does Maths.SE suffer from shills or cabals of special interest groups looking to peddle influence or control narrative? If so, what can/would you do about this?


[Added] This question is, obviously, copied verbatim from Meta Stack Exchange. Yes, the wording in the original question is sharp. But a moderator to be, big parts of whose responsibilities will be handling conflicts justly and balancing the site so that most of the users can benefit from it, should be able to answer such a question.

The word "Cabal" is of course rhetoric. We are not playing politics here.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think we should be deleting questions from here. It's not like all the questions posted here will be on the official questionnaire. Voting to delete is effectively an unnecessary act of censorship. So please, to those who voted to delete, and those who might be considering it: don't. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 14 at 0:48
  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Jul 14 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ I've moved the discussion to chat and left comments of a moderator aspect. Please, let's attempt to keep this post to the point. Discussions are best done elsewhere. (Math meta chat, for example, or the election chatroom.) $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Jul 14 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ I removed my initial comment. With the clarified context, I find that this question is odd, to say the least. To my knowledge, in the decade of activity there were no external "interest groups" that specifically tried to peddle influence, barring the occasional spammers. I'm not sure how users with even less access to data can know or suspect something like that, and what kind of answers you expect. One may understand this in the context of groups such as the active users on CURED, but in that case the context should be clarified (and the use of words such as "cabal" avoided entirely). $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 15 at 13:10
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    $\begingroup$ I add with your permission the Wikipedia es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabale in my native tongue, feel free to remove my comment it is more a message than insist here with the same thing. Of course this term can to have different connotations for different persons or cultures (which is legitimate). In my understanding/interpretation from different sources the secret ins't the group itself, is the project of a certain group of persons, and in my interpretation this can be just a partial secret well-known for third persons @AsafKaragila $\endgroup$ – user759001 Jul 15 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ Let's put aside whether the words are nice enough. A main concern regarding the question is that it just does not ask what some think it asks. Do you really want to ask if there are users that are paid by a coorporation or other entity to post to the site in order to influence the perception of certain aspects of mathematics? That is what you are asking. (And that was the actual intent of the meta.se question. It could be relevant for other sites, but Mathematics it seems marginally relevant.) $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 15 at 16:13
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Do you think maths.SE is lacking participants of professional mathematicians? If yes, what would you suggest to improve the situation?

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    $\begingroup$ I don't see how this connects with moderating. Are you suggesting that moderators should be managing the site demographics somehow? $\endgroup$ – postmortes Jul 15 at 16:16
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    $\begingroup$ @postmortes: then you have already your answer to this question as "no, I don't think it relevant to moderators and it is none of my business." $\endgroup$ – T. S Jul 15 at 16:18
  • $\begingroup$ It's not for me to answer the question though, these are questions being proposed to be asked to nominees for moderator. As such, those candidates would expect to asked relevant questions: so can you explain what makes this relevant please? I have clearly not understood your intent :) $\endgroup$ – postmortes Jul 15 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ You did not ask if it is relevant to moderation. You asked for a personal evaluation "Do you think [...] is lacking [...]?" What you propose as answer does in fact not answer what you asked. Of course anything can be answered by declining to answer it or declaring it as not relevant. $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 15 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ I think the reason your questions so far are not very well received is a combination of things: (1) the number of slots on the official questionnaire is somewhat limited. (2) The questions tend to be somehow unrelated, or ambiguously related to actual moderation issues that may affect the site. The goal is to have the candidates answer questions that are not only revealing of their opinions and personality, but also relevant to the topic at hand: moderating this site. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 16 at 0:36

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