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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.


Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is scheduled for an election next week, 2021-10-18. 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 2021-10-18 at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 4:00 pm EDT on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.

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

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

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

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

    • In your opinion, what do moderators do?
    • A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?
    • In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
  • At the start of the nomination phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions. We reserve some editorial control in the selection of the questions and may opt not to select a question that is tangential or irrelevant to moderation or the election. We exclude any suggested questions that are negatively scored.

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

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

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    \$\begingroup\$ For reference, here are the election Question Collection posts from previous years. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Oct 11 at 20:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ A reminder to users: the final questionnaire and prospective mods' responses will now live on the Election page itself. This is a change from how it worked in previous years, but it's an improvement that makes things easier for both CMs and prospective mods (and voters, too). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Oct 19 at 1:26

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One of our recurring stress points recently within the community has been over differences in how different community members interpret close and delete guidelines. As a diamond moderator, you'll be navigating this issue from a position of additional authority. How do you think you'd approach this situation?

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Recently we had a situation where one user was performing a series of actions that the community disagreed with; users regularly flagged these actions and complained to moderators to do something about it. However, based on the Code of Conduct, Help Center, and consultation with a CM, it was clear that the single user's actions were not the problem.

As a moderator, how would you handle a situation where you receive repeated requests from a large group of users to take action on something that doesn't require moderator intervention? Or worse, a situation where the action they are requesting is the wrong one (as it was in this case)?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Now that's a great question! \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15 at 0:34
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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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    \$\begingroup\$ This is one of the staple questions that might get onto the questionnaire. I'm proposing it because I feel it's important, so I want it to definitely get onto the questionnaire. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 13 at 13:36
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During moderation, you'll run into conflicts with community members over how to handle a situation. Unlike them, you'll have unlimited capacity to unilaterally close, reopen, delete, undelete, etc. In your view, what's the proper way to handle a situation like this as it escalates (though it hopefully doesn't)?

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What is your - personal - idea of ideal moderation and in what ways does it conflict with the Stackexchange's A Theory of Moderation?

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Do you believe RPGSE needs best practices and guidelines, or policies?

Please explain.

Context: In the past four years, the defense of "It's policy!" has been harmful to the user experience on this site.

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In your view, what role should Meta have in guiding and governing site practice and community moderation? What do you see Meta doing well, and where do you see that it may be harmful?

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Often moderators are power users of the stack. Accepting moderator duties means doing less of the things you do daily. Many moderators don't feel like they have enough time to do their duties and still use the stack like a normal user. That's fine - they are volunteers, after all; however, it does push moderator duties to the wayside. How do you feel about the fact that you will have less time to spend asking/answering questions, editing posts, commenting, normal user stuff?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Copied from this suggestion that slipped in past the deadline on last year’s election question collection. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 14 at 2:12
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A user flags as spam or rude and abusive/votes to close/votes to delete/indicates in some other way they want your (or your friends) post to be closed or deleted. What do you do, and how do you respond?

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Becoming a new moderator can be daunting, but is also a big opportunity. What are you worried or fearful about in your transition to becoming a moderator, and is there anything you're looking forward to? Is there anything we can do to help support you in those areas should you be elected as a new moderator?

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A lot of attention recently has been brought to the general limitations of Meta as a reliable means of deciding, collecting, and disseminating our practices. Discussions are general, theoretical, and tend to focus on best-case or worst-case scenarios, and in any event receive relatively limited attention and can fall out-of-date quickly. These problems and more are widely known and commented upon, here and within the wider Stack Exchange network (including by Stack Exchange Inc., who even seriously considered removing Meta altogether).

Given these realities, how comfortable you navigating the best ways to use what Meta can do, and remain cognizant of what it can’t? Do you feel comfortable with your knowledge and experience of how the main site operates in practice, particularly in those cases where historical practice is perhaps not well-captured by Meta? As moderator, will you defer to historical practice and “emergent consensus,” or will you strive to enforce whatever Meta says exactly as Meta says it?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This question seems to have as a premise your personal view of moderation and what meta is for, and I’m not sure it’s appropriate to push that onto candidates with this form of question. I think a more neutral question would be better, something like “In your view, what role should meta have in governing site practice and moderation? What do you see it doing well, and where do you that it may be harmful?” Or something like that. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 12 at 22:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I proposed an alternative question with more neutral framing that I hope still gets at what you are after here. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 12 at 23:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov I mean, not solely my view, but more to the point, if candidates hold other personal views, and would push those views as moderator, I want to know that—want all voters to know that—before electing them. I don’t want a question that is “neutral” on the subject of meta—I want a question that is very pointed about the fact that Meta is inherently and irredeemably limited, if not outright flawed, and pointed in asking how any candidate would handle that fact as moderator. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Oct 12 at 23:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Of course it isn’t a perspective that is uniquely yours, but it also isn’t unanimous among the community. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not comfortable presenting a question to our candidates that frames hotly debated opinions as indisputable facts. I’d rather give them the opportunity to engage with that problem without having to concede assumptions they may not be comfortable with to be able to answer the question at all. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 12 at 23:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov It is trivial to answer this question by saying that such concerns are overstated, or that it’s nothing that can’t be fixed, or whatever it is that a particular candidate believes. But if that’s what a candidate believes, then yes, I want to put them in a position where they have to state that plainly before everyone. And since “having the pulse of the community” is so utterly crucial to the responsible use of moderator privileges (diamond or otherwise, really), all candidates really need to be asked about their familiarity and experience with them. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Oct 13 at 0:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't even understand the objection. Of course it's premised on the querent's point of view about the community and the role of moderation-- that is exactly the point, per the guidelines right up above: "This is a perfect opportunity to voice questions that are specific to your community and issues that you are running into currently." (Emphasis mine.) If it's well received, it'll get upvoted (and therefore by definition represent the community) and get asked. If it's asked and a candidate objects to it, they can frame challenge in their answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Oct 13 at 1:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Novak Actually, this very answer states that it getting upvoted does not by definition represent the community, at least not necessarily. The entire assumption of this answer is that Meta does not necessarily represent community consensus and so it is asking how prospective moderators will handle a disconnect/gap between Meta consensus and site practice consensus \$\endgroup\$ Oct 13 at 3:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 True—no matter who is elected, they are going to be elected on the votes of a minority of users. That’s an unavoidable fact. Therefore, how any moderator is going to handle that fact is a crucial question to ask. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Oct 13 at 4:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ What is this line supposed to say: "how comfortable you navigating the best ways to use what Meta can do, and remain cognizant of what it can’t?" Something like "How comfortable are you navigating the best ways to use what Meta can do? How comfortable are you with remaining cognizant of what Meta can't do?" \$\endgroup\$ Oct 13 at 4:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 pretty sure that should be "How comfortable are you, navigating...." \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Oct 13 at 6:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2, RE: representing the community-- (1) I see your point, but (2) I think there's a good case to be made that the ten top upvoted answers here will be representative of the interests of likely voters in the election. But also, (3) I recognize that we're edging close to unstable semantic ground. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Oct 13 at 6:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ In any event, the main thrust of my comment stands-- I don't see the problem in stating one's views as part of a question and (if it makes the final cut) letting answerers deal with it as they may. That's just life. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Oct 13 at 6:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree, there's no issue here with stating one's own stance. Questionnaire questions aren't obliged to take a neutral stance on topics, and moderators are free to disagree with the stance in the question. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 13 at 10:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Right, I was just suggesting what I thought was an improvement on the question, KRyan disagreed, and that’s okay. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 13 at 10:50
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What is the purpose of tags, and how should we curate them?

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    \$\begingroup\$ RPGSE practices diverge pretty strongly from general stack practices, AND tag curation has been a source of friction in the past. Regardless of the answer given, I don't think anyone unable to speak to this in the context of this stack should be a moderator. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Oct 17 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ When has tag curation specifically (and not the subject matter underlying the tags) been a source of friction? (Genuine question, I’ve only been around about two years and I don’t recall reading through any saucy tag metas of old). \$\endgroup\$ Oct 17 at 22:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov system tags, RAW, etc. Plus the perennial confusion on “what should we do with the tag for ____”, which, though less inflammatory, have little to do with standard stack usage. Layered on top of that, we have all of the discussion in the tiny clique in meta (not actually a criticism; that’s just a fact of life), and need to account for the the wider population somehow. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Oct 17 at 23:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov oh, and even when it’s not due to tag practices, I’m hard pressed to think of any past controversy that can’t be directly referenced by a tag (designer-reasons, game-recs, etc). So, while I acknowledge that this question looks innocuous, I think it’s on-point for this stack. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Oct 17 at 23:09

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