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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. Due to the lack of submission count, we have selected all provided questions as well as some of our back up questions (one submission was quite similar to a backup so we ditched the corresponding backup) 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.

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!


Our answer rate is currently at 78%. Do you think moderators can and should do more than average users to improve that? If, so: how? If not: why not?

In case you already have more than 10k rep and thus access to moderator tools, why do you strive to be an elected moderator? What do you expect from being elected compared to just being able to do what moderators do?

How many hours a week do you plan to devote to moderation if elected? How does that compare to how many hours a week you currently spend active on this site? Please explain any differences in those numbers.

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?

What is your view about the relevance of questions about the implementation of specific plugins, such as WooCommerce?

What is your frustration avoidance process.

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?

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Our answer rate is currently at 78%. Do you think moderators can and should do more than average users to improve that? If, so: how? If not: why not?

If a user is not already doing more than the average user to increase the answer rate, that user is probably not a candidate for moderator, but a moderator can't force other users to answer questions. What moderator can do is help keep the site clean and civil, thus encouraging participation.

In case you already have more than 10k rep and thus access to moderator tools, why do you strive to be an elected moderator? What do you expect from being elected compared to just being able to do what moderators do?

High ranking users do have access to very significant moderation tools, but moderators do have additional capabilities. In fact, this question is flawed because high ranking users cannot "do what moderators do", but can only do some of what moderators can do.

How many hours a week do you plan to devote to moderation if elected? How does that compare to how many hours a week you currently spend active on this site? Please explain any differences in those numbers.

I have no idea how many hours I am active on the site. I am afraid to add that up. Nor do I know how much time is spent in the review queues, or voting, but I am sure I will continue to be quite active, and hopefully helpful.

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?

Valuable answers do not buy one the right to behave badly, but this would have to be handled on a case by case basis.

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

I believe there are moderator chat rooms...

What is your view about the relevance of questions about the implementation of specific plugins, such as WooCommerce?

Plugins are very tightly connected to the WordPress Core, and I do not think that questions concerning plugins should be automatically off-topic.

What is your frustration avoidance process.

Well, grab a dog. I have three, two of which are always at my feet. Also, Borderlands 2. Also, the cat, though is he is sometimes a source of frustration.

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Much what I already do as a 10k + user, but with fewer restrictions.

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?

Everything I have said already carries a "name" associated with me (in several variants) across several sections of the web, not just here. I have cultivated that "name". I already watch what I say. I am not worried about a diamond next to it.

  • 6
    +1 for the name next to your activity being more important than a diamond. – Chip Bennett Jan 22 '14 at 18:20
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Our answer rate is currently at 78%. Do you think moderators can and should do more than average users to improve that? If, so: how? If not: why not?

Moderators should be more active if they're to be effective moderators, and answer questions at the same time. I would suggest Rarst and Toscho as prime examples, examples of the highest ranking users on the site.

In case you already have more than 10k rep and thus access to moderator tools, why do you strive to be an elected moderator? What do you expect from being elected compared to just being able to do what moderators do?

Moderators are capable of things that high ranking users aren't, and while attempts to moderate as a high ranking user can be effective, there are situations when that approach doesn't always help, and it doesn't prevent the user from continuing to create work in the review queue

How many hours a week do you plan to devote to moderation if elected? How does that compare to how many hours a week you currently spend active on this site? Please explain any differences in those numbers.

I plan to ramp up my involvement significantly. Having had a new job, and a better home situation I'm now in a better position to contribute, and a moderator position gives me leverage socially and in my workplace to justify increased activity. As a normal user I am helping, whereas as a moderator I have much greater responsibilities.

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 would attempt to deal with the arguments and flags, while making clear that the user needs to resolve their problems. If the user doesn't make attempts to improve their conduct then they will need to be moderated accordingly. No matter their contributions, they can't be lead to believe they've earnt the right to ignore good conduct if they contribute good answers.

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

I would discuss it with the other moderator and make my objection known, though I'm sure the moderator had their reasons and would want to understand the decision.

What is your view about the relevance of questions about the implementation of specific plugins, such as WooCommerce?

There are a lot of questions in these areas, the problem is not a lack of relevance, but a lack of expertise dealing with those plugins. Managing expectations of some users who become frustrated by this problem can always be an issue.

Having said that, the question must be a WordPress question, rather than one that just happens to involve WordPress somehow.

What is your frustration avoidance process.

Patience and an attempt to speak from the other persons point of view.

Should that not work, or isn't possible, modded Minecraft and if I'm particularly frustrated, timeout with friends and wine. In particular Minecraft lets plays videos, I recommend direwolf20. It takes the mind off of things.

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators prevent abuse between site members and help the functioning of the site by preventing arguments and other problematic distractions such as flamewars, trolling, and spam that are not relevant to the site.

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?

Empowered, and humbled, that people voted for me and a reminder that I'm under extra scrutiny.

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Our answer rate is currently at 78%. Do you think moderators can and should do more than average users to improve that? If, so: how? If not: why not?

Moderators are split personalities. When moderating they serve a different purpose then when asking or answering questions. I think this is perfectly reflected by the system itself: Moderators still have reputation points, get up- and downvotes, their actions can get flagged and so on. When I'm in a moderator role, my purpose is to quickly handle everything that clutters the site, therefore helping others to answer quicker or find an already existing answer to their problem faster. In short: Yes, moderators help raising the answer rate, but not directly.

In case you already have more than 10k rep and thus access to moderator tools, why do you strive to be an elected moderator? What do you expect from being elected compared to just being able to do what moderators do?

As I already stated in my nomination, I preferred to not nominate myself for the previous election to make way for lower rep users to have more people with access to mod tools. As time passed, I flagged a lot, pinged our mods in chat and cast votes over votes to help moderating the site. As these actions brought a lot of discussions with and feedback from our already existing moderators, I think I'm at a point where I understand quite well what has to be handled this or that way. Therefore I think that I'm much more effective and helpful to this sites community as moderator.

How many hours a week do you plan to devote to moderation if elected? How does that compare to how many hours a week you currently spend active on this site? Please explain any differences in those numbers.

As I experienced often enough in life: You never know what happens. At my current point, I'll donate as much time as I currently spend on the site. You can look up my stats or badges to get more insights.

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?

With a carrot and a stick. Most people who provide valuable answers are professionals. And exactly such a user should be able to understand that other users with less knowledge are potential clients and not enemies in Call of Duty.

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

As one of the moderators of the WP Developers group on Google+, I know that there will be such situations. And those can be handled without escalation. And I know that there's a mod chat room to discuss exactly such cases - even if I doubt that there will be many when I look at the current and possible future moderators.

What is your view about the relevance of questions about the implementation of specific plugins, such as WooCommerce?

Good questions bring up good answers. And they are the fuel of this site. The problem we're facing with plugins like BuddyPress or WooCommerce is, that we have a huge lack of expertise and without the support of the people behind that plugin we can't face the amount of questions we get. That doesn't mean that they are off topic. It just means that the idea of having plugin specific tags as external plugin support routes didn't work out. And I hope that we find a way to attract more experts on that topic to our site.

What is your frustration avoidance process.

Cat videos

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Laying at a pool, getting a sunburn and being fed with grapes by models? Well, that was what I always hoped.

In the real world mods help users overcome their frustrations, try to handle tag mess, react on comment floods and users on flag spree. And lots of other stuff that gets in the way of keeping this site searchable and valuable questions and answers visible. Moderators help users to have the best possible experience when searching for a solution for their problem.

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?

From time to time I stumble upon some of my old answers and find code that is far away from how I write code nowadays. As I can't go and rewrite them all, I see them as a proof that I started where everybody started: At the bottom.

  • 1
    +1000 for cat videos. – Chris_O Jan 29 '14 at 0:52
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I apologize in advance for the length of my responses. In my mission to eliminate ambiguity, I am something of a (some say overly) verbose author!

Our answer rate is currently at 78%. Do you think moderators can and should do more than average users to improve that? If, so: how? If not: why not?

Rather than an obligation that moderators should do more than average users to improve our answer rate, I am inclined to think that moderators desire to improve our answer rate more than average users as a result of their relationship with, and investment in our community. I believe that of their own accord and internal drive (as opposed to external expectations or guidelines), moderators can and will use the full range of their privileges more thoroughly and more frequently than the average user to this end. Efficiently moderating our questions and answers is after all just as important to our answer rate as the answers themselves. What a moderator should do is lead by example, and encourage "average users" to do the same.

In case you already have more than 10k rep and thus access to moderator tools, why do you strive to be an elected moderator? What do you expect from being elected compared to just being able to do what moderators do?

Not applicable. But if I were, I would seek to open a Catvertising Agency on the merit of my newfound status in the interest of keeping kaiser's stress levels down. Also I would simply like to be surrounded with felines - some of my favorite people are cats.

How many hours a week do you plan to devote to moderation if elected? How does that compare to how many hours a week you currently spend active on this site? Please explain any differences in those numbers.

Currently I spend a great deal of time on the site (in excess of 30 hours/week), if only in the chatroom. While I am not terribly active in other regards to our community at present, I have recently begun forming trends in my behaviors achieving a greater level of organization than I have ever before (we're talking color-coded budgets and auto-sorting inboxes, here!).

With our without acquiring the position of an elected moderator I will be aiming to devote a bare minimum of 10 hours a week to answering and meta-tasks. If elected, in understanding the gravity and import of my new position, I will be striving more towards 15-20 hours per week (something akin to a part-time job, as I mentioned in my omnomnomination) at the sacrifice of side-projects. In a year I will be returning to college to finish my Computer Science degree, but even then I will guarantee ten devoted hours per week.

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?

First I would attempt to resolve the disputes in the comments themselves - hopefully after a few instances the user would learn the err of their wicked ways and repent. Failing that, I would take the user aside in a private chatroom or email conversation and do my best to convey how and why their commenting behavior was inappropriate without attacking the user or criticizing them for it - in seeking to sympathize with the user I would hope that we may more effectively find common ground and an acceptable resolution. Failing that I would turn towards our other moderator staff seeking advice on the situation, as I am not presently aware of what additional courses of action exist, nor their appropriateness.

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

First and foremost I would open a private chat and seek to comprehend their stance on the matter before debating or arguing about it. I think it best that the moderation staff appear decently unified in their approach (though a variety of viewpoints within the mod staff is definitely desirable for the sake of a broader collective perspective), and as such would refrain from broaching the matter within the comments unless a healthy, unheated conversation on the matter was already being conducted there. Either between the two of us or the mod team as a whole, I would hope that we could come to common consensus on the appropriate course of action to take with the question.

What is your view about the relevance of questions about the implementation of specific plugins, such as WooCommerce?

I am not overly fond of such questions, but I mean, Woo you gonna call? GhostToastBusters?

By and far I believe that plugin developers should be responsible for their own support - this goes doubly or even triply for commercial developers like Woo. We're a community dedicated to an open-source project - it's one thing to provide support for open-source plugins, but to provide support for commercial code very nearly seems to counter our mission, and serves as a great threat to our answer rate.

If an open-source plugin developer would like to use WPSE as the official avenue of support and they themselves commit to answering the questions that arise on our site regarding their plugins, I could get behind that.

But providing a location for a free alternative to Woo's commercial support is not something that I believe to be our responsibility. We're meant to cater to the WordPress-project community, not Woo's limited customer-base. In the words of Hunter S. Thompson, "Buy the ticket, take the ride" - if you purchase a Woo product you should be prepared to pay for Woo support.

In any scenario, regardless of my personal feelings on the topic, if the community decides otherwise I will maintain and stand behind their decision. It is not my place to dictate our position on such matters - I will be a part of the decision process, but as a moderator my first responsibility is to uphold and enforce the decisions made by our collective community.

What is your frustration avoidance process.

I approach situations slowly and try not to dive in to any issue without first understanding any opposing viewpoints. Failing that, I turn to the reactive and run off of a mountain (with a paragliding wing), or rain fire down on my enemies (as a helicopter pilot in Battlefield 4).

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are the people responsible for facilitating smooth communication within the site and steering straying community members towards adhering to our site's guidelines and rules of conduct. They are our community's shepherds (or sheep-dogs when things get frantic).

Moderators lead the community's conduct by example. They additionally fill the roles of various ambassadors - ambassadors between our community and the world, and our community and the StackExchange network (and network staff).

As a blanket summary, moderators are here to improve upon the quality of our community however possible. As well as their routine meta-tasks, they must adapt to emerging situations in a manner that best benefits our community, in whatever scope those situations arise (on the site, on the meta-site, within the meta-meta-site [I think that would the SE network]).

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 believe it drives home the gravity of the position - the diamond serves as a badge recognizing our invested ambassadors. Acquiring it should see that a user acts less in the interests of personal opinion and more in striving to reflect the collective opinion of our community.

As a moderator, I do not believe I should be worried about accurateness or cleanliness of my previous questions and answers (though I would nonetheless seek to ensure that they were all high-quality and on-topic in striving to lead by example) - it is not a moderator's job to be the most knowledgeable about or subject - moderators are just as prone to error or ignorance as any other user.

More importantly would be the reflection of my conduct. I do not believe that I have ever acted in great discord with the guidelines for our community, and as such do not fear my previous actions reflecting poorly on our community or the greater StackExchange network. But as ambassadors, a moderator's conduct holds added weight, and should be regarded carefully before committing to action. As I implied in previous answers, I would strive to reflect our community rather than myself wherever possible and practical.

  • 3
    My name is GhostToast, and I support this message – GhostToast Jan 22 '14 at 2:57
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Our answer rate is currently at 78%. Do you think moderators can and should do more than average users to improve that? If, so: how? If not: why not?

The easy answer here is, no one even remotely average can be voted as moderator; and most likely the eligible persons have done more than the average share answering questions and keeping the rate high.
Beside that, guiding and assisting others to make their questions and answers better in quality is in my opinion definitely part of what a moderator should do, which should automatically lead to improvement regarding the rate. Also filtering out unfitting ones should add to that.

In case you already have more than 10k rep and thus access to moderator tools, why do you strive to be an elected moderator? What do you expect from being elected compared to just being able to do what moderators do?

---

How many hours a week do you plan to devote to moderation if elected? How does that compare to how many hours a week you currently spend active on this site? Please explain any differences in those numbers.

Lets say - I just can't tell exactly - I'm now effectively an average of 1 to 2 hours a day active, I'd say this won't change much. I'm on here pretty much all the time anyway. But like I said in my statement, the caveat of my candidacy is that I can't promise this much involvement for the whole year.

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?

Assuming the flags are righteous. First step, I'm trying to resolve the reason(s) for the arguments/flags by talking with the user about it and getting to the bottom of it, trying to change unwanted behavior this way. Second step, if the situation is unresolvable, there are possibilities for punishment, good answers do not justify otherwise wrong behavior.

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

I'd suggest to not do it in those situation and would try to persuade the other mod to think about undoing it, if possible.

What is your view about the relevance of questions about the implementation of specific plugins, such as WooCommerce?

I personally think it shouldn't be about if a question is plugin related and certainly not if it's a specific plugin, that's in my mind just ridiculous. It should be about the quality a question has and the further it's from core features the better the question has to be, so let us assemble some standards for that.

What is your frustration avoidance process.

I just never ever get frustrated - really.

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Isn't that quite self-explanatory? There are the tasks that come with the privileges of a moderator, which should be fulfilled. Besides that, I think, I explained myself pretty good on those other questions.

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?

Diamonds make me look even prettier, so I'm ok with it. Besides that, I haven't done anything nor do I plan on doing something, which would affect the diamond - or vice versa me.

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Our answer rate is currently at 78%. Do you think moderators can and should do more than average users to improve that? If, so: how? If not: why not?

I don't think moderators can and should do more than average users, but I think they can do something different. IMHO moderators' "mission" should be improve the quality of site acting on questions, more than on answers. That can be done in different ways: communicating with people that have posted poor quality question helping them by explaining how to post a good one, improving question by edit, deleting bad or comment-questions, and so on. I think that if quality of questions improve, other users are more intersted in answering, the site is cleaner, and all the community take advantage of it. Just as example, I remember when this question was posted by an user and get some down votes (-3 if IIRC). After @tosco edit, the score become +10 and the question ended up in a collective answers that involved a large part of active users here. For me that is the perfect example of what a moderator should do.

In case you already have more than 10k rep and thus access to moderator tools, why do you strive to be an elected moderator? What do you expect from being elected compared to just being able to do what moderators do?

I have 10k+ reputation since 1 week, so is to early for me to proper answer this question, because I had to little time to completely understand the new capabilities I got. However, I know that moderators have more powers, that help them to obtain what I think is moderators "mission" I tried to explain of previous answer.

How many hours a week do you plan to devote to moderation if elected? How does that compare to how many hours a week you currently spend active on this site? Please explain any differences in those numbers.

I don't think is really possible to answer this question, or the only possible answer is: I don't know. As I said in my nomination currently I am one of the most active users on this site, and being a moderator can only give me a reason to be more active, sure not less.

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 that moderation is all about communication. If a user provides valuable answers is reasonably interested in the quality of the site. So I think is possible convince that user to be more respectful and patient on comments. However, deleting unuseful, offensive and bad comments I think is another task that a good moderator should do.

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

Moderators are people with same aim. And people with same aim usually talk to find the solution is better for the common goal. Also, people sometimes make errors, but when people talk, one's error can be correct by another.

What is your view about the relevance of questions about the implementation of specific plugins, such as WooCommerce?

I think that, generally speaking, plugins are part of WordPress world, but are not WordPress. However, very very often, when someone write plugin code, is writing WordPress code. What I mean is that plugin questions are not automatically off-topic, but not automatically on-topic. If the question is about something useful for the WordPress community in general (something that happen in a plugin but can be applied in another, or something that can be solved using core features..) I think that question is perfectly on topic. I think that a moderator should investigate plugin related questions trying to understand the general relevance of them, decide if close/edit or no and communicating his thoughts and decision process to other users and moderators.

What is your frustration avoidance process.

Usually, wear earphones and listen to some good music.

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

I think I have already answered this question. I think moderators are people with the goal of making this site better. Main "weapon" on their hands is communication. So a moderator talks with other users and moderators, makes decisions on single question/answer/comment and on site general "politics".

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 can't assure anything wrote in this site was something I would write again now, probably not, but I don't think it's a problem: it does mean this community active partecipation improved me. Why in the world I should be ashamed or afraid of this?

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