10

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. Due to the submission count, we have selected all provided questions as well as our back up questions for a total of 9 questions.

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):


  1. One of the most delicate situations is flags and issues with long time members. Some more than others feel a sense of entitlement which they have valid reasons for. At the same time, we need to recognize the delicate line between respecting all that they've done for the community and acknowledging when they're perpetuating issues or putting off potential new members. How will you handle having to approach a member that may have been a part of this community much longer than the other person in question, and quite possibly longer than you?

  2. This site has always seen a significant influx of low quality questions, especially tech support. This is unlikely to ever change, because it seems for a lot of beginners graphic design equals design software. Recent initiatives have sought to alleviate this issue. Although these are a good start, they alone will not stop the torrent of low quality and tech support questions. As I understood from recent discussions, there are two approaches to this issue: bear down on low quality posts with downvotes and close votes, or incite better questions to set an example and 'drown out' low quality posts. What would be your strategy to help alleviate this issue? How would you go about raising the question standard? Do you see other approaches aside from those two?

  3. GDSE has a few sister sites on the SE network that can be seen as close to our core theme, or at least affiliated. These include UX (e.g. UI design, usability), Blender (e.g. 3D design), Arts & Crafts (e.g. print & physical media), Photo (e.g. post-production), Computer Graphics (e.g. image processing). Even the Project Management stack or Stackoverflow can be said to have something to do with graphic design. What is your view on the interaction between our stack and other stacks? Do you think cooperation is necessary, or even viable? How would you approach members of those communities into our community? Would you encourage our members to become active in those communities also?

  4. 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?

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

  6. Most actions you take as a moderator; flagging, close voting, deleting etc. are now binding and will take effect immediately, without input from other users... Will you (and if so; how) adapt your current flagging and voting to accommodate this?

  7. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

  8. 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?

  9. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

  • For general info on how the Election Process will proceed, please consult meta.stackexchange.com/questions/135360/ – WELZ May 26 '17 at 17:56
15

CAI FOR MAYOR!!

  1. One of the most delicate situations is flags and issues with long time members. Some more than others feel a sense of entitlement which they have valid reasons for. At the same time, we need to recognize the delicate line between respecting all that they've done for the community and acknowledging when they're perpetuating issues or putting off potential new members. How will you handle having to approach a member that may have been a part of this community much longer than the other person in question, and quite possibly longer than you?

We should appreciate and listen to long time members—they have put a lot in to growing this site and making it what it is today. How much a user has contributed to the site shouldn't give them any more entitlement than any other user though. Site policy, scope etc. should be decided through community consensus and not decided by any specific users based on their rep or anything else. Disruptive behaviour shouldn't be any more acceptable from long time users than new users either...

So while long time users will by their very nature have more influence in the community and may be given the benefit of the doubt in any disputes; they aren't necessarily any more "entitled" than any other user.

  1. This site has always seen a significant influx of low quality questions, especially tech support. This is unlikely to ever change, because it seems for a lot of beginners graphic design equals design software. Recent initiatives have sought to alleviate this issue. Although these are a good start, they alone will not stop the torrent of low quality and tech support questions. As I understood from recent discussions, there are two approaches to this issue: bear down on low quality posts with downvotes and close votes, or incite better questions to set an example and 'drown out' low quality posts. What would be your strategy to help alleviate this issue? How would you go about raising the question standard? Do you see other approaches aside from those two?

If we aren't happy with the quality of questions then encouraging users to ask the types of questions we would rather see is a complete no brainer to me. That in itself isn't going to stop the low quality questions but it will increase the number of "good" questions.

Downvotes and close votes are an important part of filtering out low quality content... that's exactly what they're there for. For clearly off-topic questions that works fine; for some of the more edge cases where the questions aren't off-topic but do see a lot of low quality questions I would much prefer the community come to a consensus via meta on what exactly a "good" question would be, we can then use that to guide users on exactly what is wrong with their question and how to improve it (much as we've done with e.g. font-id and critique questions)... rather than just piling on the downvotes, which isn't a nice experience for a new user who doesn't necessarily know what they've done wrong. That helps us improve question quality and be more welcoming to new users at the same time. Win-win.

  1. GDSE has a few sister sites on the SE network that can be seen as close to our core theme, or at least affiliated. These include UX (e.g. UI design, usability), Blender (e.g. 3D design), Arts & Crafts (e.g. print & physical media), Photo (e.g. post-production), Computer Graphics (e.g. image processing). Even the Project Management stack or Stackoverflow can be said to have something to do with graphic design. What is your view on the interaction between our stack and other stacks? Do you think cooperation is necessary, or even viable? How would you approach members of those communities into our community? Would you encourage our members to become active in those communities also?

I'd encourage everyone to be active in any and all communities that they're interested in.

There is a definite overlap of disciplines and interests with a few other sites and encouraging users active on other sites to participate here is a great idea. Community ads and meta posts on other sites are probably the easiest and most obvious ways to attract users from those sites but I'd like some input and advice from active users on those sites first. Engaging with those sites in chat first is probably a good idea (any users active both here and on related sites would be in a good position to liaise or advise on how to approach the subject too).

  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?

Contact the user in private to try and diffuse the situation and deal with any issues. If the user's behaviour doesn't show any willingness or effort to improve over time then a day in the penalty box...

Positive contributions are more than welcome and appreciated but they don't excuse any ongoing disruptive behaviour.

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

Discuss it in private with the mod. Hopefully we can come to an agreement, either way. If we can't come to an agreement then I may ask another mod or another user for an opinion, depending on the situation... I certainly wouldn't reverse the action publicly without discussing the issue first and I'd prefer to leave it as-is if we don't come to an agreement.

  1. Most actions you take as a moderator; flagging, close voting, deleting etc. are now binding and will take effect immediately, without input from other users... Will you (and if so; how) adapt your current flagging and voting to accommodate this?

Where the post is clearly off-topic or otherwise inappropriate then I have no problem in unilaterally closing (or flagging/deleting/etc). I'd prefer to seek a consensus through meta on how to handle certain posts if there is none.

More generally and for posts that aren't so clearly off-topic I'd prefer to leave the voting to the community. If mine is the last vote (e.g. there are already 4 close votes) I'd be more willing as my vote would weigh no more than any other user's.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are human exception handlers.

Ideally, moderators do as little moderating (and I'd hope as much non-moderating stuff) as possible. The community can moderate most things without the need to call in extra help. There are of course situations which can't be dealt with so easily and there are things that (as a site with a relatively small number of high-rep users) take a long time to be handled by regular users...

So, mostly...

  • Dealing with inappropriate content (spam, rude/offensive etc.)
  • Moderating content (editing, closing clearly off-topic questions, deleting non-answers etc.)
  • Diffusing disputes, disagreements and other disruptive behaviour
  • Guiding, encouraging and engaging with the community (e.g. through meta and chat)
  • Reviewing lots of flags...

Also...

  • Asking and answering questions (I think moderators continuing to be active in the community is important)

Moderators should also be able to respond to support issues and liaise with the Stack Exchange team if needs be.

...and cook a mean Chilli. That's important.

  1. 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?

I look forward to it!

I always try to be professional and respectful and I can't think of any contribution I've made that I wouldn't be happy to have my name against. Being a moderator means being a representative of the community and being held to a higher standard—which I am more than happy with.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

Being able to instantly deal with inappropriate content. As a 20k+ user, it's frustrating to see spam, offensive or otherwise inappropriate content sitting there after I've cast my delete vote just because there's no one else around to see it.

  • After reading the last section: Just a note - spam and rude/abusive stuff shouldn't be voted to delete. It should be deleted via spam flags, which causes extra stuff to happen behind the scenes, and being deleted manually means that it can't be deleted via flags, because it can't be flagged except for mod attention and only 10kers can even see it, so just wanted to point that out. – Arwen Evenstar May 24 '17 at 20:44
  • @Arwen sure, I don't actually delete vote spam; read "delete vote" as "the appropriate action that will result in the content being removed" :) – Cai May 24 '17 at 20:52
  • 1
    Oh @Arwen it's you... that's sneaky – Cai May 24 '17 at 20:55
  • What do you think is different about moderating chat compared to all the other moderation duties? – DavidPostill May 26 '17 at 17:36
  • 1
    @DavidPostill I think much of it is the same; dealing with inappropriate content, disruptive behaviour etc. A few differences being what is inappropriate (e.g. just being "off-topic" isn't necessarily reason to delete something) and immediacy (e.g. comment flags may sit around for a while before being acted on whereas a dispute in chat could become a problem much quicker). – Cai May 26 '17 at 18:30
8

Wrzlprmft

  1. One of the most delicate situations is flags and issues with long time members. Some more than others feel a sense of entitlement which they have valid reasons for. At the same time, we need to recognize the delicate line between respecting all that they've done for the community and acknowledging when they're perpetuating issues or putting off potential new members. How will you handle having to approach a member that may have been a part of this community much longer than the other person in question, and quite possibly longer than you?

I agree with the following piece of wisdom that I heard several times from other moderators (though I never had to apply it): The contributions of a single member cannot be so valuable that they justify a disruptive behaviour. However, this does not mean that I will treat long-time members exactly the same way I will treat completely new users, but take their overall behaviour and the context into account – not because I am privileging over new users but because for new users, there is not much of an overall behaviour to consider.

For example, when a long-term member without negative history suddenly violates the be nice rule, I can hope that they will listen to reason and need not be acted against immediately. The situation would be different if the member has a history of borderline behaviour. And it is yet again different for a completely new member.

  1. This site has always seen a significant influx of low quality questions, especially tech support. This is unlikely to ever change, because it seems for a lot of beginners graphic design equals design software. Recent initiatives have sought to alleviate this issue. Although these are a good start, they alone will not stop the torrent of low quality and tech support questions. As I understood from recent discussions, there are two approaches to this issue: bear down on low quality posts with downvotes and close votes, or incite better questions to set an example and 'drown out' low quality posts. What would be your strategy to help alleviate this issue? How would you go about raising the question standard? Do you see other approaches aside from those two?

There is nothing wrong with inciting better questions, but I do not think that it can solve the problem in question. This site (like many other Stack Exchanges) has the problem that many users want it to be an expert-questions utopia and close all questions they are not interested in. I do not think this can work.

Of course, this site needs experts. However, these experts cannot fully entertain themselves but need to be entertained by non-expert questions. Unfortunately, not all experts are entertained by the same sort of non-expert questions, so most experts have to live with some non-expert questions they do not care about. Moreover, while a single non-experts are less likely to ask expert questions, non-experts in total are more likely to do so due to their sheer number. (I wrote down a very similar argument here, search for expert site.)

My approach would be to raise awareness of this issue and move towards a more constructive handling of such low-quality questions, possibly with pragmatic adjustments to our scope. I think this Meta discussion was a good first step in this direction.

  1. GDSE has a few sister sites on the SE network that can be seen as close to our core theme, or at least affiliated. These include UX (e.g. UI design, usability), Blender (e.g. 3D design), Arts & Crafts (e.g. print & physical media), Photo (e.g. post-production), Computer Graphics (e.g. image processing). Even the Project Management stack or Stackoverflow can be said to have something to do with graphic design. What is your view on the interaction between our stack and other stacks? Do you think cooperation is necessary, or even viable? How would you approach members of those communities into our community? Would you encourage our members to become active in those communities also?

A main issue where cooperation is necessary are overlapping or bordering scopes. Both are fine but can lead to some problems if users think that questions belong on some site where they don’t or are not aware of other sites which where a question would be a good fit. As a moderator, I see my main duty here to identify possible issues (there are at least some tools for this) and initiate respective Meta discussions.

  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?

Part of this is already addressed in my first answer, so please refer to it for my rationale. My action would be that I send a moderator message (without suspension) to this user addressing the issue. Should the problem persist despite of this, I will resort to more drastic actions. All of this depends on the exact issue: Somebody who is not nice will be treated differently than somebody who just likes to post more comments than necessary.

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

I would start an edit war the likes of which you have never seen.

Honestly: I would talk to them and find out why we disagree. Usually this suffices to arrive at a consent. If it shouldn’t, I would consult a third moderator or the community on meta (depending on the situation).

  1. Most actions you take as a moderator; flagging, close voting, deleting etc. are now binding and will take effect immediately, without input from other users... Will you (and if so; how) adapt your current flagging and voting to accommodate this?

For most of these actions, there would be no problem if experienced users performed them unilaterally if it weren’t for the possibility of abuse or carelessness. I do not intend to abuse my powers and I will use these actions with extra care knowing that nobody is double-checking my decision.

However for some cases (mostly close votes), decisions are more complex and requiring the input of multiple users does not only act as a safeguard but also because other users may see other solutions or aspects of a situation. For example, some other user may understand (and clarify with an edit) a question that I don’t. In these cases, I will leave the decision to the community (unless there is already sufficient input from the community, e.g., when my close vote would be the fifth).

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators mainly handle issues that cannot be handled by community moderation due to privacy, extremeness, or time pressure. They also act as a liaison between the community and Stack Exchange. Finally, they can steer community discussions, which happens mostly through the authority of the mandate and the tag.

  1. 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?

I am fine with that. Should I be elected, I do not intend to change how I speak in any way except that I sometimes will speak explicitly as a moderator.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

While becoming a moderator would make me more effective in some activities that I can perform as a regular user and I will make use of this in clear-cut cases (see question 6), this is not why I am running for the job. The main difference is that I obtain special tools for special jobs that can simply not be handled by community moderation (see question 7).

7

Westside


  1. One of the most delicate situations is flags and issues with long time members. Some more than others feel a sense of entitlement which they have valid reasons for. At the same time, we need to recognize the delicate line between respecting all that they've done for the community and acknowledging when they're perpetuating issues or putting off potential new members. How will you handle having to approach a member that may have been a part of this community much longer than the other person in question, and quite possibly longer than you?

Long time users with high reputation scores have significant power on the site. Criticism from a user with a big rep number and loads of badges can be crushing for a new user and could put them off using the site altogether. I would encourage all such members to use their power for good and encourage new members wherever possible or as a minimum be nice! The internet is full of horrible people, don’t be one of them.

  1. This site has always seen a significant influx of low quality questions, especially tech support. This is unlikely to ever change, because it seems for a lot of beginners graphic design equals design software. Recent initiatives have sought to alleviate this issue. Although these are a good start, they alone will not stop the torrent of low quality and tech support questions. As I understood from recent discussions, there are two approaches to this issue: bear down on low quality posts with downvotes and close votes, or incite better questions to set an example and 'drown out' low quality posts. What would be your strategy to help alleviate this issue? How would you go about raising the question standard? Do you see other approaches aside from those two?

I think it’s only right that the dumbest of the dumb questions are removed from the site as quickly as possible, with an explanation as to why, they just lower the tone and get in the way of the good, interesting questions. However, I think more could be done to improve some of the questions that are either badly asked or that are not asking the right thing. I could certainly do more editing and commenting than I currently do and I think this is true of a lot of users; I often see questions with several down votes and close flags, but no explanation as to where the OP went wrong. This must be dispiriting for people who are struggling to learn or who are trying to communicate in an unfamiliar language. I think we need more comments in the style of “I think what you meant to ask was…” and I’ll certainly try to more more of this in the future, regardless of whether I get elected or not.

  1. GDSE has a few sister sites on the SE network that can be seen as close to our core theme, or at least affiliated. These include UX (e.g. UI design, usability), Blender (e.g. 3D design), Arts & Crafts (e.g. print & physical media), Photo (e.g. post-production), Computer Graphics (e.g. image processing). Even the Project Management stack or Stackoverflow can be said to have something to do with graphic design. What is your view on the interaction between our stack and other stacks? Do you think cooperation is necessary, or even viable? How would you approach members of those communities into our community? Would you encourage our members to become active in those communities also?

I’m a member of several SE sites, this just happens to be the one that I’m most active in. I only found GDSE because a question popped up in the sidebar when I was on Stack Overflow and I thought ‘I know the answer to that!’ which was nice for me because I almost never know the answers to questions on SO! I think the interaction between the sites is vital and I would encourage everyone to hunt through the other sites and join a few that look interesting. There are some (like this one) where I only ever answer questions and others where I only ever ask questions. The there are some where I just browse and click the occasional vote button. They are all valuable and educational.

  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 think the answer to this is the same as the answer to question 1. Good answers lead to a high reputation score, that makes you a member of the community with power, use that power for good, don’t be a bully and don’t put people down.

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

Discuss it, see if I can persuade them (or if they can persuade me), maybe see what other moderators think and then agree a course of action as a team and try to agree precedent for the future.

  1. Most actions you take as a moderator; flagging, close voting, deleting etc. are now binding and will take effect immediately, without input from other users... Will you (and if so; how) adapt your current flagging and voting to accommodate this?

I already tend to hang back a bit before flagging sub standard questions for closure. I let borderline cases go for a while to give them a chance to be improved and to see what other people think. I think that’s probably a good approach as a moderator and I’d only jump straight in quickly if something was offensive or had the potential to make the site look bad. I don’t currently do a lot of editing questions to improve them, but I think I would be more inclined to do that as a moderator.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

I see moderators as the last line of defence against low quality content and unacceptable behaviour. The community collectively has the skill and knowledge to self-police most issues that arise, but when all else fails, the job of the moderator is to use their special tools and skills to tidy up the mess.

  1. 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?

I think my behaviour on GDSE has been pretty much faultless so far, with the exception of that argument that I accidentally started about the correct the way to pronounce ‘GIF’, so I’m not worried. Being a little more in the spotlight will only make me more mindful of how I behave, like how I never break the speed limit when there’s a police car behind me and I don’t swear in front of my mum.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

I’ll have some extra tools at my disposal and I’ll feel a little more obligated to help out. Other than that, my approach will be the same - help out as much as I can whenever I can.

  • 3
    It sounds like what you're really asking is "how do stop people being mean to each other on the internet?" and if I knew the answer to that then I'd be a multi millionaire and Facebook and Twitter would go back to being worth using. Seriously though, there is a line. Just like there is a line between a question that needs editing and question that must be deleted, there is a line between a user who's anti social behaviour is outweighed by their contributions and those who's attitude means that we would rather they took their knowledge elsewhere. It's the job of mods to find that line. – Westside May 28 '17 at 19:29
  • Hi Westside! Suppose someone asks a question about UX Design (something that could be also answered in UX or SO, but is not offtopic here either). What would be your first approach to determine where the Q should live or how it should be adjusted? – Yisela May 29 '17 at 9:53
  • Hi @Yisela. If the answer would be mostly code then I would direct it to SO because that's where the best coders are, if the answer would mostly be about how the user understands and interacts with the website or app then UX would be the best place, if neither of the above is true and the question mainly concerns aesthetics then GD is the right place for it. In either case, I would consider helping the user to reword the question so that it was focused in the right direction. – Westside May 29 '17 at 10:01

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