# 2020 Moderator Election Q&A - Question Collection

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

RPG is scheduled for an election next week, May 11th, 2020. In connection with that, we will be holding a Q&A with the candidates. This will be an opportunity for members of the community to pose questions to the candidates on the topic of moderation. Participation is completely voluntary.

Here's how it'll work:

• Until the nomination phase, (so, until May 11th, 2020 at 20:00:00 UTC, or 4:00 pm EDT on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What practices at RPGSE do you see working particularly poorly, possibly hampering high-quality Q&A or harming community?

What practices at RPGSE do you see working particularly well to create high-quality Q&A and/or healthy community?

What's your view on whether and how moderators represent sites to the broader SE community and to the company?

Related: recent discussions of moderation/moderatorship on MSE, perhaps starting at the most recent: Introducing the Moderator Council - and its first, pro-tempore, representatives.

Being a moderator is a customer service/public relations job for which there is little to no extrinsic motivation. You will invest hours of your free time dealing with the worst the internet has to offer, and we expect you to do it with a patient demeanor and a smile.

What is your motivation for candidacy, or in short - why do you want this job?

Kidnapped from the 2019 question collection, which had rightfully stolen it from Arqade's 2014 collection.

Our site has struggled in the past with moderators overriding community voices, which made this feel like a moderator-driven site more than a community-driven site. Suppose you had a course of action or policy you felt strongly the site should adopt, but you were not sure the community would be supportive: how would you handle it? How would you handle that situation if the community vocally, strongly objects?

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

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

• In your opinion, what do moderators do?
• A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?
• In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

In the past, there have been quite a lot of discussions about “over-moderation” on RPG, and recently we have seen a significant reduction in the moderation teams’ attempts to “push” the site in particular directions or to avoid problems that the moderators perceived but felt the community as a whole wasn’t seeing.

Do you feel that this has been an improvement or a loss for the site? To what extent do you feel that you as a moderator would have a special role or responsibility when it comes to policy discussions? Under what circumstances might you override community opinion on a policy topic?

• Can you either make this one question, or ask this as two questions? I think that the third one is very much a solid stand alone question, the second one is a good question, and the first one is (IMO) irrelevant. – KorvinStarmast May 6 at 18:39
• @KorvinStarmast The subject of moderation on this site is one that I find extremely discomforting and try to avoid involving myself with in any capacity. Past moderation actions have caused significant harm to my sense of equal-citizenship on this site, to say nothing of my stress levels, and while recent moderation has been vastly superior, the apparent decision to “leave the past in the past,” so to speak, is a huge problem for me. But it is absolutely critical to me that we, at the very least, do not regress, hence the first question. – KRyan May 6 at 19:12
• In this case, I tend to agree that these might be better as two questions, though I can also see why you put them together. The second question was actually one which, on my questionnaire, I think I wrote and thought the most about and was quite complicated to answer. This is a good thing of course, but I wonder if you might not get better answers to complicated questions by giving each question the room to "breathe". (and a side benefit to readers would be that the questions are broken up into smaller chunks and less essay-ish) – Rubiksmoose May 6 at 19:54
• @Rubiksmoose I have no particular objection to others being inspired by what I have written to come up with better wording or organization or what have you. I just don’t want to do it myself, as already I have engaged with this more than I’d like. (Or you can delete your comment, I guess; I thought it was pretty interesting, but whatever.) – KRyan May 6 at 20:06
• @KorvinStarmast Regardless, see above at Rubiksmoose. – KRyan May 6 at 20:06
• I have no idea what Rubik posted as it seems to have been removed. I object to any question that is three questions. I've made this objection known before. I can completely accept that you do not agree with my tepid reception of your first of three question - no worries. That goes in the category of "opinion" or "we have each experienced this site somewhat differently." The other two are IMO good stand alone questions. Comments are made to improve or clarify a question, when used correctly. I have done so. What you do is your own choice. And "over moderation" is something that others.. – KorvinStarmast May 6 at 20:24
• I deleted my comment originally because I had second thoughts about whether they should be divided after rereading and thinking on it a bit more. I didn't see any replies at that time, else I would not have removed it, so the confusion was not intentional! I've reinstated it so the conversation makes sense at least. – Rubiksmoose May 6 at 21:00
• @KorvinStarmast Oh, no worries, I totally understand—I don’t expect or demand that everyone see that particular concern in the same light I do. I don’t actually expect that anyone see it in the same light I do—most of those whose experiences are nearest mine were chased off by them. Most everyone else who is aware of the past wants to leave it there—let the bad old days be forgotten. Which I can accept, so long as we’re in agreement that the bad old days were, in fact, bad, and we don’t want to go back there. – KRyan May 6 at 21:52
• I really like the way your second question is worded. Would you mind if I take it basically as is, as it's own question and see where the community falls on it? – Rubiksmoose May 7 at 15:22
• I think you would do well to drop the historical context and that first question, and focus on asknig the candidate about their philosophy now in a timeless sense. The last two questions do that well. The first question concerns me because it probably could not be fully understood and answered except by someone who's been here for maybe four or five years. Two of our current moderators are so new that most of the historical messes were before they started. What are you seeking to learn about the candidate's philosophies that caused problems before? Ask about that directly. – doppelgreener May 7 at 17:30
• Not to mention -- the first question is leading enough that obviously the answer has to be "yes, that's good", which just means it's not actually going to be very useful or effective as a question for learning about the candidates. Whatever our perspective on past stuff, obviously less "over-moderating" and less "pushing" things on the community is a good thing, no two ways about it! You might benefit instead from asking, say: if you strongly felt a particular policy was the right move, but the community largely and vocally objected and favored other courses of action, how would you handle it? – doppelgreener May 7 at 17:33
• As an aside, even if you stick with this as-is, I don't understand this part: "we have seen a significant reduction in the moderators' attempts [...] to avoid problems that the moderators perceived but felt the community as a whole wasn’t seeing." I interpret that to mean: the moderators see a problem, they feel the community doesn't see it, so the moderators avoid the problem. I can't think of an instance of that; historically the problems I can think of are ones where in fact the community was keenly aware of a problem but the moderators didn't see it or avoided it. What do you mean there? – doppelgreener May 7 at 17:38
• @doppelgreener And for an example of the last, I can think of several but the most pertinent to you, if I remember correctly, would have been the expansion of the community’s feelings on games-rec to all rec questions. The community (and you in particular, if memory serves) objected strongly to that, to which the moderation team replied “too bad, we know more than you and we are telling you that it’s the same problem and that it’s also banned.” – KRyan May 7 at 17:58
• @KRyan Not a coincidence; there has definitely been deliberate correction. As a team we're conscious of what's come before us and taking lessons away in terms of what works and what doesn't. Admittedly there were a few days among the weeks of preparation it took for the recent "don't guess the system" policy meta in which I was thinking it might be least harm to simply change the policy by mod fiat, but we collectively decided that in this case that would be unworkable and it needed to be open vote—the history we have available let us see that. – doppelgreener May 10 at 17:56
• @KRyan Ok, that makes sense. I'm not sure if the wording in this Q connects to that as clearly as it could, but maybe that's just me, and I'm not sure what I'd suggest instead. Thanks for explaining. – doppelgreener May 10 at 18:56

We have a problem here, occasionally, when a new user will ask a question that doesn't quite fit our format, and thus gets put on hold very quickly. This often leads to the new user feeling unfairly targeted and leaving the stack soon after. As a mod, what would you do to help improve these new user's questions while still encouraging them to stay on the site?

DuckTapeAl's, from the 2015 collection

• An excellent question! :) – V2Blast May 8 at 18:40

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?

This was one of the generic questions provided by Cesar M, and I feel like it's actually quite important.

Also, look what cute new contributor we got there^^ (see the picture below)

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?

Doppelgreener's, from the 2017 collection.

## How strongly do you support the SE objective of having a high signal-to-noise ratio?

One of the few things that makes SO and SE sites better than the rest of the internet has been the focus on maintaining a high signal-to-noise ratio.

Explain how important that is to you, and how it influences your perception on the role of a diamond mod.

• Interesting that this is no longer seen as a core value by those who visit meta. – KorvinStarmast May 12 at 11:16
• Your post not being as highly upvoted as some others doesn't mean it's "no longer seen as a core value by those who visit meta"... Perhaps those who voted on the question simply did not think it was as useful a question to ask of prospective mods as some of the others? :) – V2Blast May 13 at 5:22
• @V2Blast I am guessing a bit, true, but a variety of community based decisions since this site was founded all go back to that core value above all others. Anyway, the collection of answers is completed and has served its purposes. – KorvinStarmast May 13 at 10:34

I know this question is too late to be included, but it's important to me and hopefully some will answer it:

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, but 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. Are you willing to accept that you will have less time to spend asking/answering questions, editing posts, commenting, normal user stuff?