The following is a "digest" version of the 2012 Moderator Election Town Hall Chat. The format, as described on Meta Stack Overflow, is one answer to this question for every question asked in the Town Hall, containing all the candidate's answers to that question.

To view the digest chronologically, please sort the answers by "oldest".

If you have questions or comments about this, please do not answer this question as the answers are designed to be used for the questions from the Town hall itself. Instead, please ask on the parent question or in the Town Hall Discussion Room.

If you see any corrections which need to be made to this digest, or if you were a candidate who was unable to attend the town hall and would like your answers included, please @GraceNote or @TimStone in the chat room and let us know!


22 Answers 22


Rob Rob asked: My question: What do you see as the biggest problem at the moment for RPG Stack Exchange and how will you tackle/deal with it

wax eagle wax eagle answered: how we deal with campaign research and system recommendation questions. I think we need to renew some meta discussion on campaign research specifically. (I've got a post floating in my head, but haven't put it down to screen yet)

wax eagle wax eagle continued: Also the fact that we didn't get a Lawful Evil moderator candidate.

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: The huge numbers of edge-case games. Part of the way I'm solving the problem is making sure we're actually running games (and a high proportion of indie games too) to build expertise and attract non-mainstream gamers. Functionally, we need to make sure to not be "all D&D all the time." and the best way to do that is to have activities that appeal to those players to attract experts to generate and answer questions with real standing.

AceCalhoon AceCalhoon answered: Finding ways to get people to explain the context of their problems, rather than having them try to "purify" the questions into blandness.

DForck42 DForck42 answered: going through the review queue, one major thing that i've noticed is a tendacy towards keeping shorter answers, even awarding them as the accepted answer, even if there's very little context to the answer itself. My solution would be to encourage the community to encourge more detailed answers, such as many that @brian-ballsunstanton usually provides

  • Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton agreed: Short answers, especially ones that aren't grounded in the literature, aren't particularly useful. Comments (and the occasional downvote) are a great way to motivate people to cite.

C. Ross C. Ross answered: Bringing in new users in a friendly and productive way. We're starting to be a little bit known, but there's a big difference between being a positive contributor here and on your generic RPG forum. We need to welcome new users actively, and gently point them to the FAQ and good examples. We need to close/delete bad examples when encouraging the user to change doesn't help. We can't turn away new users, and we can't allow new users to change what makes the site work.

Jadasc Jadasc answered: Right now, the biggest problems for RPG.StackExchange are the perceptions that it's not open to new members or new players and that it's actually the D&D Stack in disguise. The first part is covered by a later question; the second, I think, can be handled with active curation of other games by interested posters.

mxyzplk mxyzplk answered: Attracting new users and not scaring them off. Our stats aren't all that good and aren't growing consistently, which means we are not attracting and keeping people effectively. I think reaching out to game stores, advertising on gaming sites and gaming con bulletins will help get eyes and then balancing enough moderation to not have total junk with being friendly enough that a new guy doesn't ask an honest question and get mod-closed in 30 seconds and driven off will keep them.


Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton asked: One of the big problems was the "physics question" category. How would you have dealt with those slew of questions?

wax eagle wax eagle answered: I was for them initially, but at this point my stance on them is similar to my stance on other setting questions. If you can relate them actual mechanics then they are ok (land speed record builds etc). But if they are just speculative, or purely joke questions they've gotta go.

AceCalhoon AceCalhoon answered: "Real world stuff" seems to be where things get trickiest. They're best when they are tied to a concrete scenario.

C. Ross C. Ross answered: If the question is essentially "solve a physics problem in RPG trappings" it's off topic, and should be closed as such, deleted if necessary. If the question is "How do I model X aspect of reality in Y game", that's ok, and probably just needs a little comment nudge to keep it focused and on topic.

DForck42 DForck42 answered: I agree with Brian's answer, if they're practical and actually serve a purpose, keep them. The rest is junk and too localized.

Jadasc Jadasc answered: I'm in favor of allowing them to remain open, so long as the question has applicability to more than one game and it doesn't seem like they're simply thought-experiments or "whittling."

mxyzplk mxyzplk answered: Generally agree with @CRoss' answer - physics for the sake of physics or as a joke or an intellectual exercise is off topic. I was strongly for closing the goblin-bag of holding question for example, despite later protestations of "well it could happen...". Relevant to real gameplay is fine.


F. Randall Farmer http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/6c38e00d92cd9bd3ada3392b15015553?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG F. Randall Farmer asked: In order for any online community to thrive, it must grow, which means retaining new users. As a moderator, you play a huge role in converting a first-time contributor into a recurring one. What actions will you take to nurture our new users?

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/a45d963e487add0f6096d1d723d9dcc7?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: Immediate positive and negative feedback. Beyond voting, comments are a great way to shape behaviour. An "attaboy" comment immediately after a good first post links the validation of the comment and the rep with the quality of the post. Just like in education, reward the actions you like, punish the actions you dislike. Comments are one of the best ways to do that. Beyond that, expanding the reach of the site through recommendations in appropriate venues and game stores is a job for all users.

C. Ross http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/8b464e72261a39bd540f7c7c9b037adf?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG C. Ross answered: Get a welcome in as early as possible, and try to point them to the FAQ and good examples. It's important with new users to give positive re-inforcement for things that are even basically good (upvotes, positive comments). You have to make clear the rules early, or set the site up for a more painful breakup later.

C. Ross http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/8b464e72261a39bd540f7c7c9b037adf?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG C. Ross continued: Also in the past, we've had some success inviting people who make it to 20 rep, but are confused to chat to talk about it. It tends to give people a better view, and a quicker intro into the culture. We should probably bring that back.

wax eagle http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/4320ac0987d82025b454bcee57d708d1?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG wax eagle answered: I think an initial welcome comment is key, even if that comment isn't exactly positive towards their question and is accompanied by a down or close vote, a friendly welcoming "hey this is why this is good" or "hi, this is why this is bad" is key.

AceCalhoon http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/013fbfb6411dbf971dc8623af1096ddb?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG AceCalhoon answered: This is one I've not entirely figured out. My main response at the moment: 1. Communicate as much as possible (whys, specifically, especially if a close or clarification is needed); 2. Go the extra mile to make their posts shine; 3. Weight upvoting a bit higher for new users.

DForck42 http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/026f3abfbd6ac89b6dbabbd4cef2e83d?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG DForck42 answered: one of the big issues with retaining new users is that, their first question or two usually sucks, or iust off-topic for the site. just closing their question saying "blargh this doesn't belong here!" will immediately upset them. what i liek to do is to take a personal approach, being nice and saying that i regretfully have to close their question (and i honestly do hate doing it), but i also give them guidelines on what to do and where the resources are.

DForck42 http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/026f3abfbd6ac89b6dbabbd4cef2e83d?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG DForck42 continued: i also encourge them to visit our meta if they don't understand why their question was closed

Jadasc http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/c76c9f02505d6b3339e0f5a07fa5cf35?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Jadasc answered: Positive reinforcement through comments. Asking leading questions to help improve imperfect but solid answers.

mxyzplk http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/9640c5561e9b03dfc501bda1aec101a0?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG mxyzplk answered: As mentioned in my previous answer I think this is the #1 issue for our SE. I make it a goal to spend as much time constructively improving questions as I do closing them/arguing about whether they should be closed. I also wait for community close votes before mod-closing (except in egregious cases). Being welcoming - not just by saying "hi" but by shepherding questions and answers short of closing and deleting - is the way to do this IMO.


F. Randall Farmer F. Randall Farmer asked: Jeff Atwood, co-creator of Stack Exchange, suggested that this platform isn't a perfect fit for all communities. Personally, I see some clear differences between this community and the IT-related communities, such as Stack Overflow. What differences do you see and how would you work to adapt our policies (and possibly suggest technology improvements?) to improve the "fit"?

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: As a tech improvement, getting a gaming venue more integrated will help build an active chat community. (though this is something that's solvable with various other apps out there, it means that people aren't on the site gaming.) One of the best ways to generate questions is to have active-games with a mindset towards question asking. As a policy improvement? We've actually had great success with the good-subjective/bad-subjective policies from parenting.

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton continued: It helps us to define what gives a question standing.

wax eagle wax eagle answered: Every community is different, and the stack model isn't right for everyone. But at the same time we've adapted it to our community fairly well. It works exceptionally well for rules question. Less well for sys-rec/DM advice questions. But with the Good Subjective/Bad Subjective criteria that have come out thanks to sites like programmers, it's much easier to run a more subjective site like this

C. Ross C. Ross answered: It definitely isn't a perfect fit for every community, but I think one of the main advantages of RPG.SE is the blending of the RPG community and the SE community, it provides a community with the wit of the RPG community, but is results and format oriented like the SE community. As far as tech improvements, the biggest thing I'd like to see is more flare like gaming has. RP'ers are big on our achievements, and I can see some of the Gaming contests going over well here.

DForck42 DForck42 answered: the first major difference that i've seen is that a lot of RPG users are very chatty. that's to be expected since you ahve to talk to explain all of your actions in your game. Honestly to help cut down the chatter I thinkwe need to push more users to chat.

mxyzplk mxyzplk answered: I believe that the format is a perfect fit. Only non-programmers or non-gamers believe that programming is more objective than RPGing. I think that with "Good Subjective, Bad Subjective" SE has given us everything we need. If it works for parenting it'll work for us!


Tim Stone http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/3981cd271c302f5cba628c6b6d2b32ee?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Tim Stone asked: Do you feel like a representative percentage of the community participates in your site's meta? Based on that, how strongly do you think feedback presented on meta should factor into your decision making as a moderator?

AceCalhoon http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/013fbfb6411dbf971dc8623af1096ddb?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG AceCalhoon answered: Meta is visited dramatically less than the main site. What's really important about meta is that it gives people a place to articulate their sites, and make a case for or against something.

AceCalhoon http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/013fbfb6411dbf971dc8623af1096ddb?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG AceCalhoon continued: When I participate in Meta I pay much less attention to the votes (because a "huge difference" is, like, ten people) and much more to the arguments presented.

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/a45d963e487add0f6096d1d723d9dcc7?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: No, but it's the closest thing that we have to a policy consensus. If there is an answer with ten or more upvotes with few competing answers, I like to take it as "policy until future discussion."

wax eagle http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/4320ac0987d82025b454bcee57d708d1?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG wax eagle answered: Meta participation (like on many SE 2.0 sites) is not as good as we'd like it. However it's the only place we have for deciding site policy. If people don't like it they need to come to meta and participate. One of my goals will be driving more meta participation.

C. Ross http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/8b464e72261a39bd540f7c7c9b037adf?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG C. Ross answered: No, but close enough. Still, this is not a pure democracy. I think the history of Gaming.SE shows that you can't govern based on whatever happens on meta. I also think we have seen RPG.SE's culture change from the early days, and not every two year old post on meta is an indicator of current state.

mxyzplk http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/9640c5561e9b03dfc501bda1aec101a0?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG mxyzplk answered: Not enough people participate in meta. The new "Community Bulletin" box is helping with that. I consider meta q&a more binding if there's more than a couple answerers. Are campaign research questions on topic?, I disagree with the consensus but the Q has 19 votes and the dissenting answer 12, so I consider myself bound by it. Something with 2 votes... I take it into account but will act differently if my mod experience tells me so.


casperOne casperOne asked: One of the things that moderators on smaller SE 2.0 sites play a key role in that moderators on larger sites don't is promotion. With RPG being classified as one of the "smaller" sites, how do you envision your role in growing the site, and what are your current specific strategies, if any?

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: I'm already running weekly games. Getting what amounts to a constantcon for us would be a fantastic win in terms of a question generating resource. I'm also asking game-authors of indie games when questions explicity concern their games. We've had good success with Vincent Baker answering questions with dogs in the vineyard, and the various references to blogs I've posted seem to reflect question-visiting rates.

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton continued: However, that kind of infrastructure (for constantly running games) would take some involvement in other platforms and active solicitation of integration. Still, that solicitation of tools will, itself, lead to more interaction.

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton concluded: In an academic sense, I'm using the site to provide research material for myself (thereby promoting it among academics) and plan to make a book on the philosophy of rpgs from my answers on this site.

DForck42 DForck42 answered: Asking questions, especially for the lesser covered questions. That's the easiest way to cover our search engine footprint. I've also been promotoing the site amongst friends. I've actualyl gottena couple of them to join the site, even if they aren't very active.

DForck42 DForck42 continued: also on this point, we're running a topic of the week event on movies to encourge users to ask questions about either current topics, or to help fill in some of the holes the site has. right now it's mostly run by us mods, but it's open for anyone to provide input. it's too early to tell if it's had a positive effect, but i think it has

AceCalhoon AceCalhoon answered: I'm not that great of a promoter, unfortunately! :) Mostly, I just try to participate and set a good example.

wax eagle wax eagle answered: I see the role of moderators in this as both instigators and facilitators. On gardening right now We are working on an anniversary contest, one of our moderators instigated that and is following up on it. On C.SE however one of our users really wanted to get a blog kicked off, I'm currently facilitating that by writing the monthly topic posts and helping with scheduling etc.

C. Ross C. Ross answered: I'm one of the more active promoters of the site (see my badges). I've had the most success by sharing some of the great link-bait question the site has. I would continue to do this, and attempt to organize this activity as well. I also think it's well past time that we move some of our promotion out into meatspace, but that needs some more details worked out. The important thing is to keep people positive and motivated, and have fun with it.

Jadasc Jadasc answered: I believe that moderators can play a role in growing the site through curation of tags — expanding the scope and breadth of the knowledge available. The recent blog post on self-answering offers some cues in how this can work.


F. Randall Farmer F. Randall Farmer asked: "-1 votes" are anonymous and discourage new users. Agree/Disagree? If you agree, what would you counteract/fix this?

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: They certainly discourage me. But a good comment of what's wrong or a positive comment and upvote can help mitigate the problem.

AceCalhoon AceCalhoon answered: Yeah, I'd say a -1 discourages anyone. I do my best to explain downvotes (even if they aren't mine) if I can and encourage the user to edit their post.

wax eagle wax eagle answered: I agree wholeheartedly that we should protect the anonymity of the voting system. However, I almost always leave a comment when I downvote (unless there is already a negative comment I agree with). It can be hard for a new user (which is why usually for a new user I'm more likely to flag and answer/cast a close vote)

C. Ross C. Ross answered: They are anonymous and can discourage a new user. They can also help tweak the behavior of experienced users. As already discussed, we need to be leaving active feedback on new users posts, explaining what they're doing for good or ill. I do not see any reason to make downvotes not anonymous.

DForck42 DForck42 answered: drive-by downvotes are discouring to almost everyone. but, a couple of upvotes vastly outweight a single downvote. i like to get people to upvote good questions. if people are voting on good questions, and that question is indeed a good one, then the new user shouldn't be as discouraged. also, comments to help the user make their question better are also good.

Jadasc Jadasc answered: I agree in part; I think it's important to separate "this is a bad answer" from "this is a bad answerer." (And, also, "a bad answer" from "a wrong answer.") I try not to downvote answers from new posters into the negatives; I also ask leading constructive questions in the comments to help steer the question in a better direction.

mxyzplk mxyzplk answered: They are discouraging, though certainly not as much as a close. People react better IME to "I don't like what you're saying" than "and I want to stop you from saying it."

mxyzplk mxyzplk continued: Fixes have to be indirect, as votes are community action, but we certainly encourage comments with downvotes.


Tim Stone Tim Stone asked: Your site has relatively low traffic compared to most other graduated sites on the network, though it also has an excellent answered rate. In light of this, do you feel like your site is experiencing any growing pains, and is there any aspect of how the site is currently run that you feel negatively impacts continued growth?

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: Growing pains? Not really. We're niche. Our questions cover products with a very long release cycle. This is something that we've learned to deal with. Dealing with D&D next will prove to be a very interesting time, especially considering their modularity. I see nothing wrong with how the site is currently run.

AceCalhoon AceCalhoon answered: I think most of the negative light on the community right now is the echo of past growing pains. I think right now we're in a very good place, with some room for improvement (mostly in terms of communication). We do show steady growth, just not in terms of massive spikes.

wax eagle wax eagle answered: I think the SE learning curve might be the only growing pain we really have. Our recent promotion with Obsidian Portal brought us a wealth of new users. But most RPG types are very used to the forum model and have to be indoctrinated into the SE way of doing things. This was rather evident with teh new users who came in from OP

C. Ross C. Ross answered: Growing pains? Not really. how the site is currently run: We've been in an awkward space for a while with many moderators, of varying styles and levels of commitment, some new, some old. I think the election will firm that up, and help us get on the same page with a new staff all dedicated and engaged.


Tim Stone Tim Stone asked: Two highly respected members of the community get in a comment war on a question. They both flag each other's comments and are cussing and it is clear that this is beyond a heated argument. What do you do, what don't you do?

AceCalhoon AceCalhoon answered: At that point, winnow the comments, and ask them to knock it off.

wax eagle wax eagle answered: I'd nuke the comments, lock the question, then try to snag them both into individual private chats, failing that probably a very polite mod message with a 24 hour cool down attached.

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: Good question. Lock down comments and bring them both to a (probably private) chat. This is something that needs moderation and cooling down. By changing the situation and being able to have people state grievances, it takes the problem outside the public eye. If that persisted, I would impose cooling off periods (equitable) for both of them, with an attempt to have dialogue in the venues that were still open.

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton continued: Engaging in their comment stream beyond a simple "Let's take this to chat." or "We're getting off topic." only adds to the problem.

C. Ross C. Ross answered: Do: Delete comments, protect contentious posts. Talk to both of them about it, and suspend if necessary. Don't Take sides, or give the appearance there of. Don't suspend people out of hand.

DForck42 DForck42 answered: I wouldn't jump into the argument for either side. I would comment that both need to take their argument to chat, then clear the comments. If they both get too heated and start to actually take it out on eachother (downvoting, etc.) then they'll both get suspended (probably for a day).

mxyzplk mxyzplk answered: Delete comments, lock the question temporarily, try to get them into chat. Most folks cool down when the comments start disappearing and further intervention is seldom needed.


Grace Note Grace Note asked: 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?

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: Valuable is a function of acceptance by the community. The best recent edge-case of that was the rash of backticking proper nouns. While the highlighting is somewhat useful, the edit-spam and the... "let's code-indicate everything" eventually caused me as normal user to comment with a "hey, can you only format according to our recent meta discussion?"

C. Ross C. Ross answered: Delete the comments. Send them a message stating what the problem is, while recognizing their contributions. Make a point to upvote their valuable, non-flamy comments.

wax eagle wax eagle answered: Figure out what the problem is and ask them to address that part of their posts. Either in the comments or in chat. Failing either of those two a message outlining what I think is the problem

DForck42 DForck42 answered: Talk with them personally about what's going on by trying to get them into chat.

mxyzplk mxyzplk answered: Start by pruning comments and posting the standard "this isn't a discussion forum, comments are for clarifying answers only, please post your own answer and let voting work if you have a strong opinion" verbiage. If it persists, send them a mod message explaining the problem.


Kalamane Kalamane asked DForck42: You were a mod on Literature.Stackexchange which failed. What did you learn from this that you can apply to this site? This applies to other candidates that have had similar situations.

DForck42 DForck42 answered: the first thing that i leanred is that, there has to be community involvement with the site when making decisions. part of the issue we had was that we couldn't get anyone interested in the meta discussions after the first couple of months. the second thing i learned is that the fun questions (the one's that arent' very deep) are good to attract traffic, but you have to have deeper questions to keep most of yoru traffic

wax eagle wax eagle added: I'm a mod on Chrisianity stackexchange, and we had a huge turnout initially with some serious quality issues, however the way we handled it knocked our traffic off rather dramatically. One of the things I learned through that was that you have to address major site issues carefully and effectively.


Tim Stone http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/3981cd271c302f5cba628c6b6d2b32ee?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Tim Stone asked: When you see a question with major issues (poorly-written, argumentative, etc.), what tool do you reach for first?

C. Ross http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/8b464e72261a39bd540f7c7c9b037adf?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG C. Ross answered: Comment, followed by close.

C. Ross http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/8b464e72261a39bd540f7c7c9b037adf?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG C. Ross continued: The corollary to this is often when the mods see it, one of the site grognards has already left a great constructive comment, and we don't need to pile on.

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/a45d963e487add0f6096d1d723d9dcc7?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: Major issues is defined as "I can't edit this into shape." So therefore the comment function. I tend to request for clairification often, especially when the requirements are unclear. We should have a discussion on meta, however, about preemptive closing to avoid getting bad-answers that then lock the question into a bad form.

AceCalhoon http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/013fbfb6411dbf971dc8623af1096ddb?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG AceCalhoon answered: Edit if reasonably possible (usually for quality), comment, then close.

wax eagle http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/4320ac0987d82025b454bcee57d708d1?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG wax eagle answered: This is a tough one. Major issues are a comment followed by a close. If the issue is easily fixed then I might edit instead of closing, but mostly the user needs to come back and learn from their mistake so closing is the right call

Jadasc http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/c76c9f02505d6b3339e0f5a07fa5cf35?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Jadasc answered: If argumentative, the comment button; if poorly written, the edit.

DForck42 http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/026f3abfbd6ac89b6dbabbd4cef2e83d?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG DForck42 answered: if it's poorly written, i'll just edit it to clean it up. if it's argumentative, i'll usualyl close the question (and edit it if necessary) saying why it was closed.

mxyzplk http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/9640c5561e9b03dfc501bda1aec101a0?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG mxyzplk answered: The comment. You can always escalate - but recently when this question was posted - and completely sucked - I commented and it got converted perfectly without having to edit or close: Combat-centric 1st or 2nd level adventure with a Native American theme? I believe in starting with the light touch - you can always edit or close in a couple hours instead of RIGHT NOW.


Rob Rob asked: How often do you expect to be able to do moderation stuff for RPG Stack Exchange?

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: Functionally every day. I find that this site provides significant validation for myself, and therefore I'm engaged every day.

C. Ross C. Ross answered: At least half an hour a day. Some days obviously a bit more.

wax eagle wax eagle answered: nearly every day. I'm in front of a computer 9/10 work days and often on weekends

AceCalhoon AceCalhoon answered: It's in the background most of the day during the week. I check in a couple times on the weekends (when it isn't as busy anyway)

DForck42 DForck42 answered: i usually spend about 2-3 hours on movies a day. if i start covering rpg it'll probably be about 2 hours for movies and about 3-4 hours for rpg (depending on how things are going)


Aarthi Aarthi asked wax eagle: You are already moderator of two other, growing sites on the Stack Exchange network: Gardening and Christianity. Why do you believe adding a third, RPG, will not be overburdening yourself?

wax eagle wax eagle answered: Great question. Does the answer "anything ChrisF can do I can do" work? ;). Seriously though the moderation load on Gardening is fairly light, and while C.SE is heavier it's not overwhelming. I'm already on RPG more than the other two sites I moderate so I don't see a disconnect here


Kalamane Kalamane asked: What will you do when you come across a question that has been edited to ask something completely different than the answers are answering?

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: Revert, comment, and ask the poster to post the edit in a new question.

DForck42 DForck42 answered: revert. if the asker changed the question, prompt them to ask their new question as a seperate question.

wax eagle wax eagle answered: . I think the question that must be asked is "do the answers hold any value" if they do then attempting to return to the original question is the right thing to do. If they don't then either closing and asking the Op to start over or removing the answers and starting with a clean slate is the right thing to do

C. Ross C. Ross answered: There's a fine line there. Sometimes the "new question" is the one the poster obviously intended to ask all along, and the answerers are confused. In that case comment on the answers to encourage them to get in line, downvoting if necessary. In teh other case it's a new question b/c they thought of an additional one. I would encourage them to post it separately, reminding them they can get more rep for it ;-).

AceCalhoon AceCalhoon answered: I think one of the purposes of closing questions early is to prevent this (although communicating that is a challenge). As C.Ross noted, if the "new question" is a refinement, poke the existing answers for an update. If it's a secondary question, encourage splitting it into a new question.

Jadasc Jadasc answered: If possible, edit the question to include the original request. Otherwise, revert with commentary.

mxyzplk mxyzplk answered: Discuss in comments; possibly arrange a reversion (we did this at least once) or ask the other question as well and migrate answers. Don't let it stand though.


Rob Rob asked: As a moderator what do you consider your special attack and special weakness, so to speak; how do you counter the latter?

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: Special Attack: wall of academic text. I can generally cite at whatever depth of recursion necessary to provide necessary argumentation. Special Weakness: People who don't care. If there are people who don't respond well to reasoned-arguments or discussion... I don't really like bringing down punative measures save in extremis.

AceCalhoon AceCalhoon answered: Special attack: blather; Special weakness: borderline posts. I try to counteract that weakness by talking through the issues.

C. Ross C. Ross answered: Special attack: "Calm down guys", helping bring a situation under control. Special weakness: questioner. I'm personally heavier in the questions than I am in the answers, and this sometimes creates a weird dynamic as moderator.

wax eagle wax eagle answered: special weakness: over aggressive closer. Something I'm working on here as a normal user, and I regularly think twice about when I'm running around with a diamond. Special attack: trolls bane flame strike - Moderating C.se I've become adept at dealing with trolls.

DForck42 DForck42 answered: i think my special attack is my editing abilities. my weakness is indecisiveness on closing some questions. i counter this by talkign with fellow mods to get opinions (that's why my trouble is devil's advocate)

Jadasc Jadasc answered: Special Attack: Subtle Cut. Weakness: Soft-Hearted. (I ameliorate that through conferring with colleagues to see whether the harder approach is warranted.)


wraith808 wraith808 asked: It seems that there is a focus on reputation not equivalent to it's true function related to the community rather than the individual. How will you emphasize the community aspect as opposed to the individual aspect- or do you see that as a problem?

wax eagle wax eagle answered: I don't see these as competing interests most of the time. Gaining reputation can only be done through posting content. This is a positive feedback loop. You post good content, the community benefits and rewards you, making you want to post more good content and improve the community.

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: Reputation is a function of community acceptance and trust of your answers. It has a personal validation function (as @waxeagle pointed out) and a community-measurment function. From a game-theoretic behaviour modification point of view, I see absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Jadasc Jadasc answered: I don't see it as a problem. We are a community of people with diverse interests — which means that, often, we don't have the ability to measure the value of a given person's contribution to the group as a whole. Instead, we trust that highly reputed individuals are qualified and generous in their areas of expertise, and generalize from there.

C. Ross C. Ross answered: I've not seen that as a particular problem. I see problems with community stemming from the clash of our two community sources, and the usual flaming that goes on in forums (You're playing the game wrong man, you're ruining my life!). The clash of the community sources happens when we have people with RPG forum experience and SE experience disagreeing on usage.

C. Ross C. Ross continued: Rep is there to help us improve content. We have to work to improve community in the usual ways (working together, sharing, communication, etc).

DForck42 DForck42 continued: the reputation is a system that allows users to express what content they approve of and disapprove of. it also shows which users are providing valuable content to the site. i honestly think the rep systems works as it should. are there bugs? sure, but for the most part it works.


Kalamane Kalamane asked: What would you do if you had real life circumstances prevent you from accessing the site for any extended period of time? (Say, over a week)

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: Notify my fellow mods and try to hop on with my phone when and if I can.

Jadasc Jadasc answered: As with @Kalamane, although I'd be happy to appoint a deputy to serve in my stead, if that were legal.

wax eagle wax eagle answered: a quick note in the TL and (do mods have a private room here? if not hten main chat) a mod room here letting mods know of my absence.

DForck42 DForck42 answered: same as @BrianBallsunStanton, let my fellow mods know what's going on, usually with some time before i will be gone.

  • Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton added: Just to amplify that. Consistency and communication are critical to both alliteration and good governance. Having protocols in place and back-channel communication methods for the mods, as well as a common understanding of what the issues of the day are makes for individual mod "absence" unnoticeable or less problematic.

    DForck42 DForck42 agreed: If the mods aren't talking... then we've got problems. that's part of what happened on literature, us mods never talked with eachother, but not from lack of me trying.

    Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton responded: Above all else, mods must have mental prediction models of the others' behavour in their heads, so that we don't get one mod just reversing another mod's decisions in public without a very clear and important reason.

    DForck42 DForck42 added: yup. if i see something a mod did and don't agree, i'll usually hash it out with them first becasue maybe i'm wrong?

AceCalhoon AceCalhoon answered: Notify other mods that I'm away, check in when I can.

mxyzplk mxyzplk answered: Let my fellow mods know (though I have this on my phone too so it only really happens when on extended vacation in darkest Siberia or getting hit by a bus). There's enough mods that it shouldn't be a crisis.


Kalamane Kalamane asked: The avatars of @CRoss, @BrianBallsunStanton, and @waxeagle all show men with nice beards. Do you have a beard, and if not - if elected will you grow one?

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: Yes, yes I do. And it's now less... gorse brushy. The ability to clean pots with my beard is not necessarily a feature.

Jadasc Jadasc answered: I do not have a beard, or plans to grow one. However, I believe the length of my head-hair more than makes up for this deficiency.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ heh, I missed this one. I sadly can't grow a real beard.... :-( \$\endgroup\$
    – DForck42
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 14:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Didn't comment, but I have had the beard for 6 years this coming Saturday. I have no plans to shave it off any time soon although it currently does need a trim \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 18:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh! That's a qualification? I could have run! :-) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 22:43

wax eagle wax eagle asked: Please describe your moderation style in a rpg game mechanical term

C. Ross C. Ross answered: I'm a 20th level Cleric with the Law and Community domains. Happy?

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: I'm a gamist/narrativist DM. I believe the rules exist to provide structure and inspiration. The rules should never be ignored on the spur of the moment, because that weakens the ability of players to function within the world by imagining future outcomes. At the same time, as a pragmatist, use the right system/tool for the job. There is no one "holy" system above all others. From an in-game PoV, I'm a highly pre-constructed character designed to meet specific goals.

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton continued: Best to describe me as a Bonisagus Trianormii with a specialization in Intellego and Mentem.

Jadasc Jadasc answered: Conditioning (Dominate ••••)

DForck42 DForck42 answered: chaotic good. the rules are there to give us reference points, but they're not perfect and cover every aspect of life, so we have to make judgement calls to promote the greater good. also, consistancy is key.

wax eagle wax eagle answered: I'm a fighter. I lead when I have to, but prefer to be on the front lines dealing with things myself. I value rule of law, but try to be mindful that sometimes you have to throw the rule book out the window and just hit things with a sword.

AceCalhoon AceCalhoon answered: Mystic Theurge. All ways of doing things are interesting.

mxyzplk mxyzplk answered: Neutral good. I am concerned with both site rule/precedent and the unique case in promoting questions that solve people's problems. The overweening goal is for questions that solve people's real problems. Site guidelines are helpful but not sovereign in that regard.


wraith808 wraith808 asked: The function of .SE sites tends not to foster community in a lot of cases because of the focus on answer the questions, rather than learning about each other through conversation. Someone asked earlier about promotion- but do you have any specific ideas in terms of helping to build the community around RPG.SE?

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: Running games and making sure chat is a good and welcoming place.

C. Ross C. Ross answered: Chat!

wax eagle wax eagle answered: I think regular gaming either in chat, on vid conf and others is a good way to foster that community. SE doesn't do "community" all that well, but it can through chat. More chat participation can help with that feeling of community


Grace Note Grace Note asked for final thoughts from the candidates

C. Ross C. Ross answered: I'm very pleased with everyone who is running. Best of luck to everyone, and thanks to everyone for the great experience so far!

Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton Brian Ballsun​‑Stanton answered: Thanks for hosting this chat, oh brave DM. Also, drop by my game sometime, we need more people :)

Jadasc Jadasc answered: I'm pleased and privileged to have undergone this ritual. I feel like I've learned a lot today.

wax eagle wax eagle answered: Very excited to see who wins.

mxyzplk mxyzplk answered: I've enjoyed moderating the site so far and hope that I've struck the right balance between mod action when needed and mod inaction and letting the community judge when not needed.


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