In connection with the moderator elections, 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.

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

Here's how it'll work:

  • During the nomination phase, (so, until January 27th at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 3:00 pm EST 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.

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

  • At the end of the 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. That said, if I have concerns about any questions in this fashion, I will be sure to point this out in comments before the decision making time.

  • Once questions have been selected, a new question will be opened to host the actual questionnaire for the candidates, 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 new process, feel free to post as a comment here.

28 Answers 28


Arqade has a very active chatroom. But sometimes, folks who are able to contribute constructively on the site itself are unable to participate in chat without bringing out the worst in everyone they interact with. How would you remove such a bad chat-apple without driving them away from the site entirely?

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    It may be that such a purely hypothetical user only uses chat when he encounters issues with community members trying to enforce their ideals on various questions on the site that have been poorly handled, and has no desire whatsoever to socialize with other members of the site. – Decency Jan 26 '14 at 0:34

Arqade is well known for having one of the most active chat rooms (The Bridge) on the network. There's a large disparity in the current moderation team's chat presence, from nearly daily to very seldom, for varying reasons.

Do you feel it's important for a moderator to have a presence in The Bridge, in addition to the main site and Meta? Why or why not?

  • This is so important. I'd upvote it 20 times if I could. – spugsley Jan 21 '14 at 20:38

Assume a civil but controversial discussion is occurring over whether or not a class of question is on-topic. Questions of that type are being closed, reopened, closed again, etc but there's no clear community consensus on what we want to do. What, if anything, do you do about this as a mod?


A new user has arrived and doesn't really understand the way the Stack Exchange system is supposed to work. They're complaining that people keep editing their posts and a roll back war has started on a question that they've asked. You need to step in and moderate the situation. What actions do you take?


What is the single biggest problem that the site faces? As a moderator, what would you do to help fix it?

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    Ah, the classic question. – FAE Jan 20 '14 at 21:27

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?

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?

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    I feel this is kind of a dupe of FAE's. I'm only mentioning this so that if both make it in the top 8, hopefully just one or the other (or some Frankenmerge of the two) is asked. – Sterno Jan 21 '14 at 18:52
  • @Sterno I ended up Frebucketenmerging the two. – Grace Note Jan 27 '14 at 21:01

Can you give an example of a time you had your mind changed on Arqade due to a meta or chat discussion? If not, why?


Have you had any experience running/moderating/managing an online community before?


What is your philosophy regarding up-voting and down-voting content? Do you think your own voting ratio supports your stated view?

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    I would add, which is more important to the site? – David M Jan 21 '14 at 6:16

Why is it important to you to be a moderator? What do you feel that you, personally, can bring to the moderation team that is different or will complement the team as it currently exists?

  • I feel this is kind of a dupe of Agent86's. I'm only mentioning this so that if both make it in the top 8, hopefully just one or the other (or some Frankenmerge of the two) is asked. – Sterno Jan 21 '14 at 18:53

Being a moderator means you are the hand that acts out the will of the community. Often this requires you to take action that you disagree with. In some situations, you may earnestly believe that the will of the community is wrong, but you have a duty to carry it out. Frequently, you may encounter users who are angry with you personally for taking an action that you don't agree with, but which is required of you.

How have or will you deal with the situation where you've been asked to be comfortable with doing something that makes you uncomfortable?


We get quite a few new users who don't initially understand how this site works. Suppose a new user asks a question here that is getting down votes and close votes. The question has already received some comments explaining how the question could be fixed (but for the sake of argument, no personal attacks), but the user either doesn't understand or isn't listening, and seems to be getting increasingly agitated by the criticism their question is receiving. What, if anything, would you do in this situation?


The powers of the moderator (above and beyond high rep users) are access to tools that will allow you to take immediate, decisive action against posts and users.

However, often you will be asked to move slowly or take no action, even though you may earnestly believe that there is immediate action warranted. You may witness behavior you find actively hostile towards the community and be told that nothing needs to be done.

How will you show restraint when given power, the desire to use it, but been told that doing so would constitute abuse of that power?

  • Who is telling you not to? Just out of curiosity. Is it SE, or is it the user base? – Invader Skoodge Jan 21 '14 at 14:26
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    Community managers. Users can't tell us what to do, if they do we just delete them and make you forget about them (yes, we have that power) – juan Jan 21 '14 at 14:27
  • Sometimes it's the other moderators - most decisions about serious matters are made by more than one moderator. – agent86 Jan 21 '14 at 14:55

Should all policies on the site be absolutely codified so there is as little room for interpretation as possible? Why or why not?


A new user has joined the site and posted a question which is obviously off topic, you know the question needs closing - how do you approach this with the user? (Provide past examples if you've got any)


As a moderator, your votes become binding. Actions you used to take like flagging, closing, and deleting will take effect immediately without any input from any other users or moderators.

How will you adapt the way you currently flag and vote to deal with this change?


Another moderator has posted an opinion that doesn't agree with yours in response to a question on meta. How do you deal with this situation?


While the moderator position you're nominating yourself for is a voluntary position, there is a minimum amount of time that you would need to be available in order to be an effective moderator. How much time do you currently spend using Arqade and are there any known circumstances in which this will change in the future?


Do you have any users on ignore? If so, why, and how will you deal with those individuals once you're a mod, since ignoring them is probably not an option?


How many hours a day do you spend on the site and what time(s) of day does it typically occur?

  • 3
    I don't think this is a great interview question, but I would definitely like to see it on everyone's nomination. – Sterno Jan 20 '14 at 22:02
  • 3
    I'd also be curious to know: how much is too much? – Krazer Jan 20 '14 at 23:31
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    Good question. I've noticed that the current moderators and nominees who have provided their location information are from American and European time zones. There's currently no one (who have provided location info) from the later GMT + Asian time zones. – galacticninja Jan 21 '14 at 14:10

I'm not certain if it is allowable to ask this, but:

How old are you and do you think your age will affect your ability to moderate now or in the future?

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    It's allowable, but candidates can decline to answer it. – Grace Note Jan 20 '14 at 22:39
  • That sounds fair to me. – au revoir Jan 21 '14 at 2:03
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    I do not like asking about age, but I do like asking about ability to moderate in the future. "I'm getting married and moving in 3 months" is more important to me than "I'm 16, going on 17." – ken.ganong Jan 21 '14 at 17:47
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    @ken.ganong While I also don't care much about age, I'd say that even stuff like "getting married and moving in 3 months" only represents a short-term disruption of duties. Mods are elected for life, so I wouldn't get too hung up over whether or not they'll disappear for a month for a honeymoon or move or something. Unless they're moving to somewhere that has no Internet. Then there might be a problem. – Sterno Jan 22 '14 at 20:22
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    @Sterno I have several responses and will try to keep them organized. 1. Mods may be elected for life, but their activity over their life will change drastically. I, for one, am interested in electing mods that will be active at least in the short term. 2. For me, marriage had a much larger effect than disappearing for honeymoon--I had to cut some hobbies out of my life to make space for the responsibilities of married life. If I were to have a child, I would have to cut out more. – ken.ganong Jan 22 '14 at 20:43
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    @Sterno 3. I am actually not too concerned about whether a mod will have a short-term or long-term dip in activity. It is more important to me that he or she plans to stick around and remain somewhat active after the next big life change. – ken.ganong Jan 22 '14 at 20:53

Will you use your moderator powers to correct/overturn previous diamond moderator decisions, to enact community consensus?

As an example, and let's say that this was back when the questions were asked: If you were a mod then, what would you do regarding the questions mentioned in this meta post: BioShock Infinite closures on release day

The two currently top-voted answers are against the closing of the questions, yet the questions have remained closed and deleted.


A user from another Stack Exchange site has been causing trouble in The Bridge. The user got suspended from chat by a moderator from Arqade but was then subsequently unbanned by a moderator from the site they normally use. You feel that the ban was completely justified. What do you do?

  • Suspended from the site? Or just suspended from chat? – Frank Jan 20 '14 at 20:48
  • 4
    Suspended from chat, moderators from other sites have no power here (unless they're elected here also). – kalina Jan 20 '14 at 20:48
  • While I'm interested in this question, I think chat is a pretty minor part of the site so I down-voted this in favor of more wide-ranging questions. – Sterno Jan 22 '14 at 20:20

What do you feel are your weakest points as an candidate? How would you go about overcoming them or turning them into strengths?


What do you feel are the most important issues facing the community right now? What would you do about trying to resolve them?


Do you feel that 'creeping authoritarianism' is a problem on Arqade? If not, explain why you disagree with the author. If so, what will you do as a moderator to minimize its influence?


A user requests feedback on why their question was downvoted, stating that this was to improve their question. Currently, as a non-moderator, how do you handle these comments and users? And more importantly, once a moderator, how will you handle these comments and users?

Is this fine? Or will you give the user a stern "talking to" or engage in hounding the user? Flag/Delete their comment? Downvote without leaving a comment, just to "teach that user a lesson" about the anonymity of downvotes?

Related - chat logs by some of our nominees regarding the topic:

  • 3
    Downvoters: Why are you downv... Ah, nevermind. – galacticninja Jan 21 '14 at 5:22
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    While this is a valid question, I suspect your links (that seem to relate to your own content, in the cases of the chat posts) make it come off as a subtle complaint about how you have been treated, rather than a constructive question for mods-to-be. – Ash Jan 21 '14 at 5:30
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    I wholeheartedly agree with @AshleyNunn - Interestingly I think this whole situation is something the potential mods could weigh in on, rather than a few particular occasions which relate to a specific user. – shanodin Jan 21 '14 at 5:40
  • @AshleyNunn I only have saved links to chat logs of content referring to me, as I have been previously discussed them with some of these users. I'll see if I can add more. Searching chat is not exactly easy. – galacticninja Jan 21 '14 at 5:48
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    @galacticninja If you use google, it is easier than the internal search. Also, I suspect adding more links will serve to only appear as a smear campaign rather than a legitimate question. – Ash Jan 21 '14 at 5:52
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    Although this might be seen as a complaint, that's not why I wrote this post at all. I linked the chat logs so that the nominees can discuss them, as those are their posts in a public chatroom for this site, after all. I would really appreciate it if the nominees discuss what their actions will be about this topic once they're mods. I understand that this will not be easy given some of their past opinions on the topic. No "smear campaign" is intended as those posts are already up in a public chatroom. I've merely linked to them. – galacticninja Jan 21 '14 at 6:01
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    @galacticninja the implication that you've saved the various past discussions of your content is... not helping my perception that you've held a grudge on this matter. That said, this is about the candidates, not you; it's a valid question, but remember Meta down votes means "I disagree!" not "This sucks!". I happen to disagree that this is a particularly meaningful conversation. I like downvotes. I think we need more of them, not less of them. And I think anonymity helps to encourage downvoting. – LessPop_MoreFizz Jan 21 '14 at 11:21
  • I will happily answer this in the election chat room, if you care to ask it there. – Frank Jan 21 '14 at 17:43

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