7

In connection with the moderator elections, we are holding a Q&A thread for the candidates. Questions collected from an earlier thread have been compiled into this one, which shall now serve as the space for the candidates to provide their answers.

Due to the submission count, we have selected all provided questions as well as two of our back up questions for a total of 10 questions.

As a candidate, your job is simple - post an answer to this question, citing each of the questions and then post your answer to each question given in that same answer. For your convenience, I will include all of the questions in quote format with a break in between each, suitable for you to insert your answers. Just copy the whole thing after the first set of three dashes.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 much time do you realistically think you can devote to the site? What would you do if you believe it is difficult to continue with moderation responsibilities in the long run?

  2. What, if any, previous moderator (or similar) experience do you have from a different Stack Exchange site, a different website, and/or the real world (e.g. arbitration)?

  3. How would you mitigate the issue of accumulation of unanswerable queries on the site?

  4. What policies would you adopt to ensure that the site's association with the "Be Nice" moniker remains?

  5. 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?

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

  7. As a moderator, how will you keep your fellow moderators in check? By "in check", I mean stopping them running amok with the ban-hammer and doing crazy things they might regret later.

  8. I have occasionally seen a user with a high network-wide rep (ie has a lot of positive interaction on other SE sites) cause a lot of friction on a site they have recently joined by insisting that "the site is doing it wrong." If this occurs here, and causes trouble with the easy going Mechanics community, how would you handle the situation?

  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. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

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6

Nick C

  1. How much time do you realistically think you can devote to the site? What would you do if you believe it is difficult to continue with moderation responsibilities in the long run?

I tend to be active on the site on-and-off most of the day (UK time) - admittedly less so in the evenings and weekends. I'm already juggling several different commitments, so I think I'm pretty good at managing my time and would be easily able and willing to realise if I couldn't devote enough time to this one (or any other for that matter) and hand the baton on if needed.

  1. What, if any, previous moderator (or similar) experience do you have from a different Stack Exchange site, a different website, and/or the real world (e.g. arbitration)?

I've been a "high-rep" user on this site for several years now, so I'm already familiar with most of the moderation aspects. I used to run another car club's website, and handled all of the moderation responsibilities there - I still run said club's email list, and have had the occasional "interesting" issue to resolve, which I believe I did to everyone's satisfaction.

  1. How would you mitigate the issue of accumulation of unanswerable queries on the site?

I think there are very few questions that are truly unanswerable, most of the ones we get simply need work in order to get them to a state that is answerable. I would work with the other mods, and the OP of the question, to try and get each question to an answerable state.

  1. What policies would you adopt to ensure that the site's association with the "Be Nice" moniker remains?

Communication - I think that is fundamentally the key point. Talk to people (take it to a separate chat if needed) and explain why certain behaviour is unacceptable. I'm naturally non-confrontational, so I'd always prefer to mediate rather than argue.

Remember that new users may not be familiar with how we work here, and so not come down "heavy-handed" on people without first giving them a chance to adjust their behaviour.

Remember also that many of our users are not native English speakers - so something that may seem rude or brusk to us may simply be because they don't know the right way of putting across what they want to say - again, we need to work with people to reword things appropriately.

  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?

Again, communication - talk to them and explain why they need to adjust their behaviour. Tell them that their contributions are valued, but that they need to tone down their comments - remind them that this is the internet, and sometimes things that might seem fine to say "down the pub" might come across differently in text and may upset people.

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

Talk to them - ask them why they did so, as there may have been a good reason that I'd not seen, or equally there may be a good reason for leaving it that they hadn't seen. If we still disagree, ask another mod to get a third opinion, and go with the majority consensus.

  1. As a moderator, how will you keep your fellow moderators in check? By "in check", I mean stopping them running amok with the ban-hammer and doing crazy things they might regret later.

Once again, communication - I think the mods should regularly be talking to each other, and working as a team, not a disparate group of individuals.

  1. I have occasionally seen a user with a high network-wide rep (ie has a lot of positive interaction on other SE sites) cause a lot of friction on a site they have recently joined by insisting that "the site is doing it wrong." If this occurs here, and causes trouble with the easy going Mechanics community, how would you handle the situation?

Every SE site is different, and all have different approaches to what is right or wrong. Talk to them, and remind them of this fact, and that this is how we do it. Ask them to justify why they think we are doing it wrong, then explain to them why we do it this way.

  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?

I don't think that should make any difference. Everything I say on the internet sticks with me, it's attached to my name, and so I always try and say things that I think are correct, valid and appropriate, regardless of where I am or whether or not I'm in a position of responsibility.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

I'm already a 20k+ user, so I've got access to most of the tools already. I'm finding that as the site expands, the proportion of questions that are in my sphere of knowledge is reducing, so I'm spending more time on moderation tasks than I am on answering questions - the first thing I do on signing in each morning is to open the review queue. I think being a mod would allow me to do this more effectively, and so to contribute more to the site.

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4

Zaid

profile for Zaid on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites

  1. How much time do you realistically think you can devote to the site?

Time is a precious commodity for me, so I prefer quality over quantity.

I may not spend as much time in the Review queue, but I stay in touch with the community on The Pitstop, greet new users with a personal touch, and dream up interesting ways to utilize the site (see here and here for examples)

  1. What would you do if you believe it is difficult to continue with moderation responsibilities in the long run?

Given the present level of activity on the site, this is a highly unlikely scenario.

If I find myself unable to moderate at the levels demanded by the site, I will inform the other moderators and work with them to find a suitable workaround.

  1. What, if any, previous moderator (or similar) experience do you have from a different Stack Exchange site, a different website, and/or the real world (e.g. arbitration)?

Much of the work I do with new users and posts on the site calls for moderator-esque qualities. The current moderators can vouch for the umpteen times I reached out to them to use their powers of intervention for issue resolution.

  1. How would you mitigate the issue of accumulation of unanswerable queries on the site?

The Close Vote Cafe initiative is an example of what's been done in the past, though I doubt it remains an effective tool post-graduation.

I believe our current policy of giving low-quality posts about a week's grace period for improvements is well-suited to the current level of activity on the site.

  1. What policies would you adopt to ensure that the site's association with the "Be Nice" moniker remains?

Quite simply, just stay nice. I'm usually good at not taking affront to criticism or trolling, and I've been part of a few choice encounters over the years on the site. I can say unequivocally that having the last word in a heated discussion is not the way to go.

  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?

I hate to dissuade people from contributing, but there are rules to be followed to keep the place civil.

This is how I imagine things can go down:

  1. Mention the rationale behind the objection in the comments
  2. If the issue persists, invite the user to a chat room and explain why what they are doing is detrimental
  3. If that doesn't work, use peer-pressure. So if I was the one doing the explaining, let another moderator intervene and take further action
  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

Discuss it with them in chat while cognizant that Q&A's are not life-or-death situations.

"If I'm not listened to, I don't feel aggrieved about it; if my views prevail, I don't get paid."

  1. As a moderator, how will you keep your fellow moderators in check? By "in check", I mean stopping them running amok with the ban-hammer and doing crazy things they might regret later.

Short of taking their keyboard, mouse and/or smartphone away, I can't really stop other mods from doing what they want to do.

In lieu of absolute authority, I think advice in a private chat room is the way to go.

  1. I have occasionally seen a user with a high network-wide rep (ie has a lot of positive interaction on other SE sites) cause a lot of friction on a site they have recently joined by insisting that "the site is doing it wrong." If this occurs here, and causes trouble with the easy going Mechanics community, how would you handle the situation?

I'm always up for a discussion on how things can be improved. I'd invite them to share hard data to validate their opinion, and we can take it from there.

If it proves to be a case of micromanagement, the reasons for differences in modus operandi should surface during the discussion.

  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?

In all honesty, I'd feel more pressure to weigh my words before I put them down.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

I stopped worrying about rep a long time ago.

Becoming a moderator should enable quicker resolution to things that need moderator intervention.

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3
  1. How much time do you realistically think you can devote to the site? What would you do if you believe it is difficult to continue with moderation responsibilities in the long run?

Being a moderator on a number of sites, with very different moderation requirements, I've got a good view on how much effort is required. Mechanics is a well structured site already, with an awesome community who carry out the core moderation roles before needing any mod involvement. That said, I have plenty of time every day in a number of time slots, so fitting in one more is not an issue to me. If I felt that something was taking too much time and I had to step away, I have a good enough relationship with SE and the Mechanics community that I would have no problem admitting the challenge and planning to step away with minimal impact.

  1. What, if any, previous moderator (or similar) experience do you have from a different Stack Exchange site, a different website, and/or the real world (e.g. arbitration)?

So far, 7 other sites on SE, ranging from the structured, objective Security all the way to the relatively subjective Parenting. I have taken two sites through on startup to graduation as pro-tem and then been voted in as mod. In real life I have also managed large teams across multiple countries, dealing with cultural arbitration, guidance and conflict resolution.

  1. How would you mitigate the issue of accumulation of unanswerable queries on the site?

I don't think many on topic good questions are unanswerable. If a question gets no answers because it is too specific, then that is the issue. Often this would be a meta discussion - should a question that is going to get no answers anyway just be closed? Sometimes, yes. But if we think it can be clarified or improved, then I'd rather do that.

  1. What policies would you adopt to ensure that the site's association with the "Be Nice" moniker remains?
  • Early education (a new user may not know what level "be nice" is)
  • communication (a repeat offender may just need guidance)
  • suspension (those who continue to cause grief should be stopped quickly, before they cause too many problems)
  • transparency (while some actions may need to remain private, in general I feel it is better to share reasons and actions with the community, partly to gain support, but partly to ensure understanding)
  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?

This happens on various sites - I warn, first in comments or chat, and then short suspensions, leading to longer ones if the situation warrants it. It is good to have high value answers, obviously, but this should not give a highrep user carte blanche to cause controversy.

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

First chat with that mod in private to understand the reasons - that clarifies most conflicts. If we cannot gain consensus, consulting with other mods helps. If we are just diametrically opposed with no agreement, then I would usually wait for any community view. It maybe that I would just leave it - I could be the one who is wrong - we are all human.

There have been occasions where I have been the one who took the wrong action - when called out by mod/users I have revisited the issue, and where relevant, reversed my decision.

  1. As a moderator, how will you keep your fellow moderators in check? By "in check", I mean stopping them running amok with the ban-hammer and doing crazy things they might regret later.

Conversation, consulting with other mods, and discussion in chat and meta with the community. This is actually an area where we all keep each other honest as we have full oversight of each other's actions, and we are overseen in turn by Stack Exchange.

  1. I have occasionally seen a user with a high network-wide rep (ie has a lot of positive interaction on other SE sites) cause a lot of friction on a site they have recently joined by insisting that "the site is doing it wrong." If this occurs here, and causes trouble with the easy going Mechanics community, how would you handle the situation?

High network-wide reputation is obviously a good indicator, and generally we want to encourage prolific/valuable users to contribute, but because of the differences between sites, sometimes there are clashes, especially between subjective and objective sites. I have levied short suspensions when they have upset the local community, as at the end of the day the local community is what has made the site, and as long as the general Stack Exchange rules and guidelines are being followed (including Be Nice) then the culture can be a bit different to other sites.

  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?

I have had at least one diamond for over 5 years here - as a representative of Stack Exchange communities I always assume that I will have critical eyes on me, so my behaviour must be justifiable.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

Despite only being a very keen amateur mechanic, I expect to get 20k rep next year, so I'll have the basic tools then. For me though, it's the being able to make positive changes through the mod role that I see as more useful, and more aligned with how I can best add useful input to Mechanics.SE

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3

Ceshion

  1. How much time do you realistically think you can devote to the site? What would you do if you believe it is difficult to continue with moderation responsibilities in the long run?

I have several time blocks throughout the day that I already spend walking through new questions and hanging out on The Pitstop (realistically I'm always there, so even if I'm not actively chatting I'm available to handle issues or greet new users). I can use those, and I'm perfectly happy to use additional free time most days.

If it comes to be that I can't spend enough free time here, I'm not afraid to admit that and make a plan to find a replacement, step down, and so on.

  1. What, if any, previous moderator (or similar) experience do you have from a different Stack Exchange site, a different website, and/or the real world (e.g. arbitration)?

This would be my first! It would be a new experience for me but as they say, you have to start somewhere. I feel that I'm involved enough here both with the site and the community that I could fall into the role easily.

  1. How would you mitigate the issue of accumulation of unanswerable queries on the site?

I believe that if a question is unanswerable in its current form, then more clarification is needed. It would be a rare question that simply doesn't have a known answer, and if we do happen across one then I think it would be more of taking it as a challenge to find one.

  1. What policies would you adopt to ensure that the site's association with the "Be Nice" moniker remains?
  • Greeting and introducing new users to the community, showing them how we do things here and verbalizing directly if they don't get it at first. I think the foot we put forward when new users come in makes all the difference.
  • Keeping the same foot forward with all users, no matter if they've been here a day or five years. Show, and tell if that doesn't work. I am very much one to stay calm and not get sucked into conflicts, I believe that will make it easier for me to handle any issues that may arise.
  • Communicating with other users as much as necessary, I believe there aren't very many interpersonal problems you can't find at least one solution to with open, direct communication. If I need to mediate an issue between two users, I'm more than willing to do that as well.
  • If all else fails and a user is intent on being disruptive, I am not afraid to use the tools available to me as a moderator as a last resort. While I'm fully interested and invested in users feeling welcome here and being a part of the community, it's also very important to make sure the community is a good place to be.
  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?

This is a situation where I'd follow the steps laid out above:

  1. Show the user a more constructive approach in one or more of the conversations they're involved in
  2. Discuss with the user why what they're doing is disruptive and try to figure out with them what they need to get past it, even if what they need is just the reminder to Be Nice.
  3. Fall back to using the tools I would have to remove the disruptive user, at least until they were willing to play nice.
  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

I would discuss it with that mod and reach a consensus with them. If a mod closes a question I assume they have a good reason, so it would just be a matter of hearing out that reason and determining whether it's more beneficial to leave it that way or not.

  1. As a moderator, how will you keep your fellow moderators in check? By "in check", I mean stopping them running amok with the ban-hammer and doing crazy things they might regret later.

By now, I'm sure you all know what I'm going to say. My approach here would be to communicate with that other mod, determine why they're taking the actions they are, and counsel them as needed. If necessary, I would also bring in other mods and involve them in the conversation as well.

  1. I have occasionally seen a user with a high network-wide rep (ie has a lot of positive interaction on other SE sites) cause a lot of friction on a site they have recently joined by insisting that "the site is doing it wrong." If this occurs here, and causes trouble with the easy going Mechanics community, how would you handle the situation?

I think the above approach to new users will help to dissuade that, but if that is their viewpoint I'd explain to that user how our community is a little different from the others (which are in turn a little different from each other) and that part of the value of the community is the different way in which we do things.

  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?

I feel unintimidated by that. I'm confident in my ability to handle this role gracefully and if I find that I can't, I'm not afraid to ask for help or to admit that I can't do it. I already conduct myself in a way that I feel is positive and beneficial to the community, so I'm happy to be an example.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

The reputation system is based on a lot of different factors. For example, how quickly they can answer new questions, how long they've been a part of the community, etc. A moderator need not necessarily be the most knowledgeable and experienced mechanic on the site, but it is important for them to have the ability to contribute to the community and the people within it. I may not be that super experienced mechanic, but I want to contribute as much as I can, how I can. This, I feel, is how I can best do that.

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3
  1. How much time do you realistically think you can devote to the site? What would you do if you believe it is difficult to continue with moderation responsibilities in the long run?

I can realistically devote about 2 hours per day to moderation duties. I can check-in in the morning and again in the evening, hit and miss during the day. I can't forsee how it could become difficult to continue with moderation duties in the long run, I spend a good amount of time online anyways.

  1. What, if any, previous moderator (or similar) experience do you have from a different Stack Exchange site, a different website, and/or the real world (e.g. arbitration)?

I've been a moderator on a paranormal investigation forum for a few years (I was actually a tester when a new version of that forum went up), and I run a few of my own websites.

  1. How would you mitigate the issue of accumulation of unanswerable queries on the site?

If a query is truly unanswerable, then the mods need to put their heads together and decide among the following:

  • unanswerable questions don't belong on a Q&A site and have them closed or deleted

or

  • keep these queries around so that similar ones don't return (or get flagged as duplicate when they do)
  1. What policies would you adopt to ensure that the site's association with the "Be Nice" moniker remains?

Well, I don't think a policy is the way to go. You just can't make people be nice. If you want the entire community to be nice, then the entire community needs to be nice, and this starts with the leadership (most active members and mods). If they're nice and they swamp the site with niceness, others will follow. If a user is not being nice, a quick PM to bring their attention to the issue should suffice.

  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?

Valuable answers are what this site is about. Comment arguments and flags sometimes can't be helped, it would depend on the specific comments and flags. Some issues are very divisive, just post that your brake rotors warped for example. One of the hidden purposes of the SE network (in my opinion) is to educate the masses, and it does so through Q&A. Arguments typically arise when one of the parties has the wrong information.

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

PM them and discuss it. There may be more to this question that meets the eye. We've had a rash of new users in the passed year posting troll questions that on the surface seemed legitimate. Many of them got rightfully closed, but some of them are still out there.

  1. As a moderator, how will you keep your fellow moderators in check? By "in check", I mean stopping them running amok with the ban-hammer and doing crazy things they might regret later.

PM them and discuss the issues when they arise. We all bring different things to the table and we all have different visions of what this site should be like. We need to find common ground somewhere on what merits a ban, what merits closing a question and what merits deleting a question, answer or comment.

  1. I have occasionally seen a user with a high network-wide rep (ie has a lot of positive interaction on other SE sites) cause a lot of friction on a site they have recently joined by insisting that "the site is doing it wrong." If this occurs here, and causes trouble with the easy going Mechanics community, how would you handle the situation?

PM the user and make it clear that each individual site of the SE is different, and this one runs this way. I've been on the receiving end of unpleasant responses when I visited other SE sites, their take on the "Be Nice" policy was very different than here. I needed info, they basically wanted me to show that I knew the info I was requesting before they would provide it.

  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?

About the diamond or about the different light? I'm fine with a diamond next to my name (can I pick the colour?), and as far as everything being seen in a different light, I don't think that will affect what I say or what I do. I always comment and answer with the intention of providing the OP with the best, most accurate and most complete info possible. If someone else already answered and I feel the answer is incomplete or not 100% accurate, I will complete the info or present my own view either as a comment or as a separate answer. I do not post answers that repeat the info presented by someone else. Having a diamond next to my name may make others feel like I am patronising or condescending, but that's not the case, and other people's perceptions can't be helped. The info is the info.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

Getting more rep doesn't make me more effective, it just means I've been busier with up-voted questions and answers, which will invariantly be limited to my sphere of knowledge. Keeping the site clean and keeping discussions on track and on topic helps the entire community, beyond my sphere of knowledge.

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