11
\$\begingroup\$

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.

Not every question was compiled - as noted, we only selected the top 8 questions as submitted by the community, plus 2 pre-set questions from us.

As a candidate, your job is simple - post an answer to this question, citing each of the questions and then post your answer to each question given in that same answer. For your convenience, I will include all of the questions in quote format with a break in between each, suitable for you to insert your answers. Just copy the whole thing after the first set of three dashes. Please consider putting your name at the top of your post so that readers will know who you are before they finish reading everything you have written, and also including a link to your answer on your nomination post.

Once all the answers have been compiled, this will serve as a transcript for voters to view the thoughts of their candidates, and will be appropriately linked in the Election page.

Good luck to all of the candidates!

Oh, and when you've completed your answer, please provide a link to it after this blurb here, before that set of three dashes. Please leave the list of links in the order of submission.

To save scrolling here are links to the submissions from each candidate (in order of submission):


  1. 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?

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

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

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

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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 users' questions while still encouraging them to stay on the site?

  9. 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?

  10. 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?

| |
\$\endgroup\$
  • 14
    \$\begingroup\$ It's desirable that the answers that eventually come to this question all stay at the same score. (Early answers will get early upvotes which snowball, later on as the election comes there's tail-off in how many voters read through all the answers, and there's no particular reason to suppose that's a signal we want reflected in the eventual votes.) Please don't vote on answers you like/dislike, and please do use your votes to level out any imbalances you see arise. Thank you! \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 12 at 2:09
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Are we allowed to ask candidate-specific questions beyond the 8 provided here as comments on their responses? Or is there an alternative format to ask those questions? \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical May 12 at 13:16
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical There is the 2020 RPG Moderator Election Chat for conversing with candidates, including asking individual questions or to all candidates. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil May 12 at 13:50
  • 10
    \$\begingroup\$ PLEASE DON'T VOTE ON ANSWERS. If you do see a vote, please vote to bring them all back to zero. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 12 at 14:52
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical and to be clear, it's certainly allowed to pose questions below candidates submissions, also. We've seen plenty in both places over the years. A comment-question here will probably end up being seen by more people but suffers from the usual technical limitations of comments. A question pinging the candidate in chat may enjoy more nuanced conversation, and perhaps the discussion of multiple candidates, but the "let's discuss this in chat" friction certainly is a real thing. So, pick your poison =) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 12 at 16:53
0
\$\begingroup\$

Candidate: Someone_Evil

1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

My first step would be to try to get a clear picture of why the arguments or flags arise, or why there is such a perception and check that there is actually something which needs to be addressed by a diamond moderator. Moderators are humans, and humans are good at seeing patterns where there are none.

If I, and my fellow moderators, are convinced there is something there which needs action, I would first have a conversation with the user. This is to get their perspective on the matter so that we can work towards a solution which works for everyone. I'm not sure more can be said ahead of an actual such incident, as it'll be too buried in hypotheticals to be useful. Any such handling will be highly specific to the specific situation.

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

I would have a conversation with them about why to see if there is an aspect they haven't seen, or more likely that I haven't seen. If we aren't able to come to a clean solution ourselves, I see no problem in trusting the wisdom of the community.

I will point out this is an option available to non-elected users as well. Current mods (and me too, should I be elected) are more than happy to explain any such action, and possibly even more happy should someone point out, and thus correct, a mistake.

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

There are two points of contention that spring to mind. The first is on (newer users) specifying the system in question; the guessing policy related to that is not something we need to rehash (at least not quite yet), but I do think we should do our best with other ways to mitigate the problem (shameless self-plug).

The other is an eagerness to close questions as primarily opinion based for a lot of questions that don't need to be closed. This ends up causing a lot of questions to be closed that could otherwise be really good contributions to the site, where expertise can really shine.

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

I think we're generally quite good at talking things out, and taking that talking where it belongs. Be that chat, which often flourishes with site and non-site topics, meta for more extensive discussions, or in comment threads for things on specific posts. The general tone and style is friendly and fruitful, which is something we should treasure and continue to maintain.

5. 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?

For the same reason I've spend time and energy on non-diamond moderation already: that I like what this site is and can be, recognise the effort that has must continue to be put in to make it that, and the willingness and wish to put that in.

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

Moderators do, because they're by default the recognisable link from both sides. To the company, they are known users who they know to have recognition and deep familiarity with the community. And to the RPG.SE community, they are users the community know and trust who have a connection to the company.

To the SE community in general, I don't think we know quite what that will look like going forward. Fortunately, we have Rubiksmoose on the Pro-tempore moderator council to figure that out for us. Whether I'm elected or not, I will do what I can (or they need) to help them with that.

7. 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?

My first line would be to discuss the problem with the community first. This, for a couple of reasons:

  • I'd want to make sure there is an actual problem present to be solved. At risk of repeating myself: humans are good at seeing patterns where there are none.

  • This also lets the community find and suggest solutions. No number of glyphs appended to my username will make me the smartest person on the site.

If we find it to be a real, tangible problem to which no other solutions we're accepted, I would offer my own (assuming it hadn't been raised by someone else), expecting it to have some shortcoming to be hammered out, but I have good faith we'd be able to do that. If there are strong objections, I would listen to the whys. The whys are the most informative.

8. 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 users' questions while still encouraging them to stay on the site?

Tone of comments. More specifically, giving an explanation of why the question type doesn't work, why the closure is so quick and that it is temporary/reversible, and what is needed to get it solved.

This isn't exclusive to moderators, but we can lead with an example and support/acknowledge when others take this on.

9. 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 have made mistakes, but learned from them and corrected where possible. A diamond might (possibly should) make me ensure to voice uncertainty and room for disagreement more clearly, but I can't foresee it fundamentally changing how I engage on the site.

10. 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?

I don't know. Or rather, I'm most worried about the things that I haven't considered, or just wrongly compartmentalised thinking it'll be fine. For these, I'm sure and glad to have moderators (current and old) to ask, or talk things out with when the need arises.

That, and the first oopsie I make with the diamond mod tools, which I've heard... various things about.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Under #9, you wrote "A diamond might (possibly should) make me ensure to voice uncertainty and room for disagreement more clearly" - could you clarify what you're trying to say there? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 13 at 5:11
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast because an opinion or concern given with a diamond attached risks being taken as much more authoritative than intended, I'd want to make sure that (unless it is meant as authoritative) the comment (or similar) makes it clear it is okay to disagree and argue with said comment. For a normal user voicing that room for disagreement usually isn't (as) necessary. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil May 13 at 11:24
0
\$\begingroup\$

Candidate: Ben

1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

For flags, personally I would deal with them as any other flag. The only thing I see that need be considered is the validity of the flag.

As for arguments; in comments or discussions, that would need to be handled differently. I am a firm believer in staying impartial - any one can be right or wrong. If the problem is resolved, the comments/discussion should be handled as per normal - removed if they do not add anything to the post(s), or tidied up/left if they do.

The best way that I believe problematic users should be handled is to treat them as people (because they are, just like the rest of us), and help them understand that this site is run by users, for the users. The best way that I have experienced this to be handled is just to talk to them - invite them to discuss their issues, and help them understand the best way to move forward.

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

I would attempt to discuss it with them, to gain their understanding as to why they closed it, and then present my case, in order to gain and give a proper understanding as to what should be done. If I cannot discuss it with them for whatever reason, I would then ask others for their beliefs on the subject.

I personally always endeavor to make decisions based on logic, rather than based on my feelings or emotions. There will be situations where I may not agree with something, but if I believe that the decision is a good one or the right one, based on the logic of the decision making, then that's what I go with; and vice versa.

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

The only issue I currently see is time differences. The majority of the site users are based in Europe or the US, meaning that there is a large gap where the majority of the moderators and high-rep users are off-line, meaning that some big issues take time to be dealt with - flags, problem users, etc not being dealt with for long periods of time each day.

Unfortunately, at this point the only solution I see is a moderator from the Asia-Pacific region being elected; pending that, some serious automated changes to the SE system.

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

Promotion of the "Be Nice" policy, and support of the community.

RPG.SE has the advantage of not being as big as some other sites, where it is less about the community and more about simply maintaining that quality; while being big enough to have a community of people to talk to, and help focus on the users, and direct them on how they can improve - how to ask good questions and give good answers, help them understand the site functionality, and are always welcoming to new users.

5. 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?

I am inspired by those that have already taken on the job, and I have been a member of the SE community for many years now. After all these years, I have seen the work that the Moderators have done, and I want to give back to the community that I give such high regard.

As an Australian, I can't say that I would be dealing with things to the same degree that all other mods do on a regular basis - I would be the "Asia Pacific", to fill in the gap when other mods would/should otherwise be sleeping or spending time doing other jobs, but I do still feel that contribution would make a difference, and I do aim to contribute to the same level that all other mods do, and have done.

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

When I first joined the SE community, it was actually over on StackOverflow. After a while, I expanded to Arqade, the RPG.se, SF&F, and eventually more as the need arose. In truth, my personal interaction(s) with moderators were never all that significant.

As a "seasoned" SE user, my view has been broadened a bit. The role of moderator has a demand defined by the user-base, and for some sites, that is simply more than can be handled. Additionally, the user base is a collective of individuals most of the time. So from both perspectives, it often comes across as "one vs the many".

In this way, the role of Moderator is never an easy one - on one hand, they have to uphold the quality of the site, and on the other, they have to be seen as "helpful" in doing so; which is never usually the case from the perspective of the "many". The truth is, for the most part Mods are doing the best they can, as they are volunteers, and people too.

7. 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?

I have dealt with users wanting to change the system or suggest a new policy in the past, and as a community member I have contributed to point out what the pros and cons of the ideas.

From the opposite perspective, it would be important to give the community the chance to voice their opinions. If that opinion is strongly against the idea, then that opinion has its own validity.

As I have stated above, I endeavor to make my decisions based on the logic and facts of the situation, not based on how I feel. The community is the main contributor to the site, and therefore should be considered with its appropriate validity.

8. 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 users' questions while still encouraging them to stay on the site?

The way I usually handle this is to welcome the user to the site, and give advice on the specifics of their question that could/should be improved. The addition of the "new user" tag has also greatly improved this - originally they were simply "low-rep" users and would get thrown in with other users that have not asked/answered many questions, have already asked/answered questions that were usually poor quality, etc.

Unfortunately, some platforms (the mobile app, for example) still don't show this. So as a Mod, I would endeavor to remove any potentially negative comments that might enforce this negative interaction, and even aim to add my own comments. The Diamond does carry weight, and should not be abused - but this would be one of the few ways I would "use" the position to bring weight to encourage new users.

9. 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 feel that everything I have said in the past will come under revision, which is fair. Things I say from here on out will also be scrutinized, but I simply see that as an opportunity to learn.

10. 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?

As a new mod, I have no experience beyond what I have seen on the site. I do have some anxiety that some decisions I make might not necessarily be the best ones, and I will likely make some mistakes. But I am a strong believer in the SE community, especially the RPG.SE community to help me learn, and improve over time.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Re your answer to question 5: You won't be a "fallback mod". You'll simply be a full-on moderator, nothing more or less. Each morning I won't see the other moderators for a few hours because of timezones, work, and/or family commitments, so if I come by and deal with flags it'll be on my own. Each of us only spends a small amount of time on the site each day most days (this isn't our full time job after all) so overlap tends to be small and we'll have up to several hours of just dealing with things oureslves. That's not being a fallback, it's just being a moderator. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 14 at 15:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener this is true \$\endgroup\$ – Ben May 14 at 22:18
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I am simply meaning that I'd be the mod for the Asia Pacific time zones, since that's the biggest area where we've seen a lack of mod activity. So by "fallback" I mean "the mod for that time period" \$\endgroup\$ – Ben May 14 at 22:23
0
\$\begingroup\$

Linksassin - Nomination Link


  1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

If a single user is generating lots of flags from other users then there might be something bigger going on. I would look into the type of flags being raised and if they were valid. If I judge it necessary I would approach the user to get their side of the story, and if required enforce site standards through moderator tools.

No where in my consideration does the volume or value of the users other contribution enter my mind, other than that I might know a more active user better than a less active one. Users are accountable to site policy regardless of reputation. I have always endeavored to vote, flag and comment based on the merit of the content rather than the user. This is a practice I intend to continue as a moderator.

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

If another moderator has already handled a situation, my first response would always be to contact them for an explanation of their actions. As I noted in my recent meta the context for a post can change dramatically between users seeing it. What was reasonable at one time might no longer be.

Once I have established the chain of events I can decide on a course of action. If I find that I still disagree with the other moderators actions and they stand by their decision, I will attempt to involve the other moderators or potentially open a meta post on the issue.

The worst possible outcome is an open disagreement between moderators, so I will keep my actions private until we reach an agreed course of action.

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

I find the quality of moderation on this site so strong that is difficult to identify any specific practices I would like to see changed. Occasionally I do find that the timezone difference for my region can cause an undesirable delay in flag handling and moderator actions. This is one of the reasons I chose to nominate for the role.

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

Of the common practices at RPGSE, among my favourite is our open attitude to helping users solve their problem. Where it would be easy to dismiss under-developed questions, downvote and move on. Instead we look to help improve questions and get to the heart of the problem.

Done right this is what separates us from other forums. We have the expertise to help users find the solution to their problem, rather than just the answer to their question.

Other great practice is how we embrace all playstyles. Your fun isn't wrong so long as no one is getting hurt, and I think our community generally does a great job of being inclusive of all types of players.

  1. 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?

Extrinsic reward has never been a major motivator for me. It is the enjoyment and fulfillment I get from completing the task itself. Just being part of this community has been a constant learning and growth opportunity for me. I see becoming a moderator as another step on that path.

I thought for a long time before deciding to nominate for this election. Last election I thought I wanted the role for what it could do for me. Now I realise that part of why I want it is to uphold the legacy of the moderators who made this community such a great place to be a part of.

This site was the first online community where I felt comfortable. It gave me an outlet for things when I really needed it. Now I want a chance to give back and hopefully, if I'm lucky, provide that same experience for someone else.

  1. 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.

Recent events have made the role of a moderator as a representative of their community far more significant. I will admit to not being a fan of everything that happened, but I have hope that we have turned a corner and begun to take steps in the right direction.

As a moderator I would have a greater voice on broader stack exchange issues and a greater responsibility to advocate for my community. I've seen great examples of this from moderators here and on other communities I've been part of, particularly Rubiksmoose as a member of the moderator council. I would do everything I can to learn from these examples.

  1. 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?

As a newer member on the site I don't remember the situations this question refers to, but I hope that we can avoid them occurring again. I firmly believe that the community is more important than any individual, that includes moderators.

If I had something I thought the community should adopt I would present my case on meta same as any other user. Making it clear that it was coming from me as a user rather than a moderator. I wouldn't assume to make policy posts in my capacity as a moderator without consultation.

Should the response to my policy be negative (hopefully unlikely) I would accept this as a community decision. The role is moderator, not dictator and I must abide by community consensus. Similarly while discussing the policy I would keep my moderation of comments and answer on the post impartial, if I couldn't do that I would refrain from moderating on the topic.

  1. 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 users' questions while still encouraging them to stay on the site?

I often see this as an issue when new users get insufficient information about why their questions are closed. Currently I try to prevent this by actively checking the first post queue whenever I am on the site. As a mod I would also have the ability to remove disparaging comments, single-handedly reopen questions instantly once the required changes have been made.

Another situation where I see this is, users having their question closed while they are offline, coming back the next day expecting answers and only having a closed question. As I am in a different timezone to the many users I regularly see questions that should be closed/reopened waiting for votes. With a moderator in our timezone we would be able to resolve the issues for these users more quickly and improve their quality of life on the site.

Otherwise I would continue with the welcoming comments I already try to leave on the site for any new contributor I come across. Even if their question needs work I try to find at least one part of the post to give encouragement for, it is rare that an entire post is a write off. When changes are required, I try to be clear and specific, providing justification and examples where I can. I don't see moderator status changing this significantly.

  1. A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

We all have undead skeletons lurking in our cupboards. Are there things that I have said in the past that I wish I could have handled differently? Of course. However I have several times gone through my past posts and made edits/reparations where I can. I have used these mistakes as a learning experience and find that I have far fewer instances of them now.

With the addition of moderator status I recognize that not everything can be fixed by an edit. Therefore I would take extra care in what I say and how I say it, particularly in handling sensitive situations. I feel I am ready for additional responsibility that comes with the moderators diamond.

  1. 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?

I am most worried that I will overdo it with my commitment to the site. I have previously used RPGSE as an escape from real life and it took time to find the right balance. Right now I have the right combination so I hope I can serve the community without over committing myself.

The best help for this, would be for our other moderators to continue to be the amazing people they are. By sharing the load and supporting our users and each other I feel confident I can be a valuable member of the team without burning out.

| |
\$\endgroup\$
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ You said “Intrinsic reward has never been a major motivator for me,” but then describe many things that I would qualify as intrinsic. Did you perhaps mean extrinsic rewards in that sentence? \$\endgroup\$ – D. Ben Knoble May 18 at 13:42
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @D.BenKnoble Haha... yes. Thanks for catching that. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 18 at 22:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .