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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. You guys provided a ton of awesome questions. Candidates might consider browsing the ones not picked once they're done with these ten.

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.

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!


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?

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?

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?

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?

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? 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?

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?

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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    ... it's full of words. – badp Jan 27 '14 at 22:39
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    Candidates: it would help readability if you put your name at the top of your answer. – Sterno Jan 28 '14 at 2:26
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    @Sterno you have an edit button. You should feel empowered. – LessPop_MoreFizz Jan 28 '14 at 2:34
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    Perhaps I am testing candidates to see how they react to the suggestion! Or I'm on mobile and making those edits would be tedious. – Sterno Jan 28 '14 at 3:45
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    @Sterno awww, stop taking away my fun. It was fun guessing who's answer I was reading before i saw his/her name. Improve neutrality too. – Arperum Jan 28 '14 at 13:26

11 Answers 11

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LessPop_MoreFizz's Answers

(I've used blockquotes in the answers to some of these questions, so to make your life easier, I've bolded the questions. Other blockquotes are just me quoting stuff. And I encourage you to post any followup questions you might have in the comments!)

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?

Communication is key. The Bridge is, fundamentally, a social environment, with a culture and norms and, yes, some cliquishness to boot. By contrast, Arqade as a whole, while it is a site that houses a community and a social environment, at it's core, a Q&A site; it has a function, and plenty of people who don't fit in in a particular social environment are perfectly productive contributors to that broader Q&A mission. The problem, of course, comes in when said perfectly productive contributors decide to jump into that social environment and, well, wreak havoc with it.

Quite honestly, there's one common thread with every incident where this has been a real problem: There hasn't been a mod present. Or, more specifically, there hasn't been an Arqade mod present, though sometimes a Blue from another room will jump in in response to flags and start lecturing on their proper usage. When an Arqade mod is around, they've generally been able to resolve these situations with a combination of targeted time-out, strong communication backed up by an authoritative presence, and the ability to quickly resolve flags in a rational, contextually cognizant manner.

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?

Much like Meta, I don't feel it's important for every moderator to have a presence in the Bridge, but I feel it's important for a (or, more accurately, several) moderator to have a presence on the bridge. @badp has been somewhat heroic in picking up a lot of the slack over the past year as much of the rest of our mod team has somewhat drifted away from participating in our daily social antics over there, but even Italians need to sleep sometimes, and we've seen on multiple occasions that when the mod's away, the trolls will play. I'm hoping that this election will give us at least one, if not two mods that are more active in chat; particularly during those hours when our more chatty mods are asleep or otherwise indisposed.

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?

This, more than anything else, is where I feel out current mod team has let us down somewhat. I think it's important when these sorts of divisions appear that mods take a much more proactive role in seeking out and clearly defining just what the community consensus is. Rather than repeat myself, I'll quote a statement I made over in the Election Discussion Chat Room

There is an all too familiar pattern at this point, where someone raises a concern on meta, there's a bunch of discussion and voting, and then nothing happens. I have a history of working as a community organizer; attempting to govern 'by consensus' is all too common in that world. It never works, because you don't have anyone empowered to direct the flow of conversation and eventually pivot the group from discussion to action. I think that making that pivot is an important duty of community leaders like mods, and it's one that our moderators have largely abdicated, from day one.

Which isn't to say that mods should get the decision about what is to be done, but it's critical that at some point, mods make a decision that the community has made clear what is to be done, and it's time to do it, and if we need to revisit it later, we'll do that.

Right. It's all well and good to say "I like to govern by consensus", but 'consensus' is a magical unicorn poop notion that never really appears for anything that matters; the best you can hope for is to give everyone a voice, protect the minority while allowing the majority to guide the way, and cut off discussion once it stops being constructive to start doing The Work instead of talking about it.

To put it in even simpler terms: I intend to post on Meta about it. And yell at other people to post on Meta about it. A whole lot. And then maybe call for a binding vote on the subject as needed. Meta Meta Meta Meta Meta.

MetaMeta Doot doo do do do.

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?

Step One, as always, is to lock the post to stop the rollback/comment war, clear any nonconstructive comments, and get the situation stabilized. Once that's done, as always, it comes down to patient communication, explaining how things work, pointing to relevant meta posts, or making or responding to a new one as needed, and using all of the tools available as a mod; private chats, direct communication with users, and the public pulpit of Meta to make clear how things work, how they ought to work, and what can be done to salvage the content that needs salvaging.

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

I addressed this a little further up, in response to the question about lack of consensus. I think we have an issue where we tend to let disagreements fester and boil until they come to a head in very angry confrontations with lots of meta posting and hurt feelings and the occasional account-suicide. That's not healthy. If we're going to disagree about site policy, we ought to do so in a constructive, guided form, that leads to the establishment of an actual policy of some sort. It's not enough to 'govern by consensus' because there is no such thing for any decision that's actually difficult. Our current mod team has, in the past, given the impression that they had to be dragged kicking and screaming into ending the last truly toxic debate of this sort that we had (ITG), and at times, I see the seeds of others brewing. We need to be better about making it clear when we've come to a decision as a community, rather than just argued about something for a long time.

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?

A lot of this depends on the sort of flags we're talking about. If the user is productive, but just abrasive/rude, I'm content to resolve the flags, warn the user, and maybe if the situation warrants, maybe it's worth discussing some sort of time-out with the mod team. If on the other hand, the flags are because of some truly reprehensible or offensive content, then I don't care how useful their other contributions have been, that user needs to learn that that behavior is unwelcome, and I wouldn't hesitate for a second about suspensions after even a first warning.

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

Step one is to discuss it with the other mod. If we have a real disagreement on understanding of site policy, well, maybe it's a good time to go back to my previous remarks about trying to do a better job of nailing down what that policy is. If on the other hand, we disagree on the merit's of the question, my inclination is to appeal to the community; for content which is truly borderline, the fact that it takes 5 votes to close and reopen a question is very much a feature and not a bug, and it's worth trusting in the wisdom of the crowd for such situations.

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? 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'm tired of being mistaken for a moderator and not having any of the authority or power to back it up. Also, if elected, I suspect I will have many more opportunities to confuse badp, which is a pastime of which I am quite fond.

More to the point, what I hope to bring to the team is a more active and articulate Meta presence. I think my history there speaks for itself in what I have to offer, and I think that, as my own desire to be a firebrand has mellowed a bit, it's time to, as it were, move to the other side of the bench - less advocacy, more application.

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?

My position on lore and plot questions has mellowed substantially. I still think lots of them are very bad questions, and downvote most of them, but I've come to the conclusion that any attempt to fence off or sandbox any subset of them other than 'questions about tie-in novels' or other similar firmly out of game questions is counterproductive and just causes arguments. Answerability just isn't a useful metric of question cromulence, and while an 'unanswerable' question may deserve a whole lot of downvotes, it probably ought not be closed.

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

I strongly believe in downvoting early and often. And also upvoting early and often. We have more quality content on the site than garbage, by and large, so I've cast more upvotes than downvotes (by a ratio of roughly 2.5:1, which I think is pretty fair). But there is still and has been plenty of garbage. And it often doesn't get downvoted enough. Questions that reflect poor research effort, or answers which don't provide a level of detail that would allow them to be useful, or questions that are fundamentally unanswerable are all good candidates for downvoting. The site as a whole improves when bad content is allowed to sink to the bottom, just as much as it is improved by encouraging great content to float to the top with upvotes. Without the other, either mechanism is rendered less meaningful.

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    Note: values of "some" are apparently equal to "one". – Grace Note Jan 27 '14 at 22:27
  • @GraceNote DETAILS. (An earlier draft included more. I might add them back at some point.) – LessPop_MoreFizz Jan 27 '14 at 22:51
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Fredley's Answers

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?

We have the tools for this already: chat bans, which are independent of site bans. Over my time I've seen plenty of disruptive people on the Bridge, and appropriate chat bans, along with an appropriate discussion with the user as to why their behaviour is a problem have been effective at helping them change their behaviour or get bored and go away.

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?

I don't think it's important. Chat has its own moderation system that involves all network mods. An Arqade mod's primary focus is moderation of this site and its content. Also The Bridge has a distinct culture that many people just may not like or care about. Those people should not be passed over for modship because they don't want to hang out with a handful of people.

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?

My primary concern would be stopping the disruptive behaviour on the main site (close-wars etc.) and move the discussion to meta, by addressing the users involved in the disruptive behaviour directly. Once there I would attempt to moderate the discussion - keep it on-topic and factual, by engaging users who were being non-constructive. Once the community had reached a consensus, I would then help out with what they had decided.

If I had my own opinion on the matter I would mention it on meta.

Note: By engage I mean comment/chat with the user

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?

I would try try commenting on the user's post in a reasonable manner, and if that failed try and pull them into chat. If these methods failed I would probably use moderator actions against the user. The value in this site is in its community. We have many, many new users and one bad egg isn't worth the effort of trying to convert them to the SE way of thinking.

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

This question sounds very dramatic, I honestly don't think there is a single big problem that this site faces right now. We're (in my opinion) a healthy community, with a reasonably consistent feel for what is good and bad for the site.

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?

Try and engage the user in a conversation about their behaviour. Someone who is contributing both positively and negatively to the site is worth some time, and in the best case they could be persuaded to change their behaviour. If this is not possible, there are punitive measures available.

As I said before, the community is the most important thing here. If the user is annoying more people than they are helping, escalating site bans are not out of the question. We have a very high rate of accepted answers on this site - good answers are not something we are in short supply of.

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

Talk to that person and first understand why their views differ from mine. Often when I go through this process my own viewpoint changes! If it really is a significant difference of opinion I would pose the situation on meta and invite them to participate in a discussion with the community there to decide (by voting).

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? 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 already spend a lot (probably way too much!) time cleaning up. Cleaning up is my motivation in a sense. I'm one of those people who doesn't really care if it's their turn to clean the kitchen, I'll do it anyway because I like things clean.

Being a mod would let me do the work I already do with much greater efficiency. I fully believe that the job of mod is first and foremost a janitorial one, and I can augment the excellent job the current mod team is doing.

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?

Lots! I'm pretty sure I changed my mind about ITG, and a number of other tagging issues, mostly during the 2012 tag cleanup. I was happy to not clean up tags I had submitted for removal after the community decided they wanted to keep them (like for example).

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

I upvote anything that's good, and that's almost everything on the site! I use downvotes mostly for answers that are not flaggable, but just bad, and for poor questions. Downvotes are there to signal to the poster that something is not right with their post (and hopefully make them edit it). I believe my ratio supports this.

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M'Vy's Answers

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?

First of all, one can be banned from chat and still participate on the site. The policy of stackexchange sites has always been that no one is immune to sanction, even if it's a high reputation user or a moderator. When the point has been made clear to the user that his behaviour is in question, and that he can get punish as any other, well, time ban is here for a reason Of course this is not a decision I would be taking alone, unless it is utterly necessary. Obviously, I can't be sure it won't drive him away, but I'd try anything before coming to this. It's also our duty to report violation of the Term of Service to SE staff.

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?

In my opinion, it is important for a moderator to be where the community is. The main site has by far the most activity, followed by the chat then the meta. So it's obvious mods have to spend a major part of their time on the main site. But chat is not to be neglected, the discussions tends to be very animated and complicated. Assuring presence in the chat room is a necessity if one want to be able to moderate correctly the room should the need arise.

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?

I think we proved that this kind of divergences can be solved on Meta like . Starting a discussion topic on the particular matter should be a good thing, as well as linking from the incriminated question. If really needed, questions can also be protected while their fate is discussed.

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?

I would refer to http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/03/the-great-edit-wars/. "What we do here is edit posts". The article also states that one should be able to have his post his way, so I'd explain the situation to the new user and ask editors to refrain on these particular edits. I am pretty confident that reputed user would understand and the dispute should resolve by itself.

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

One of the problems of many SE sites is audience. We aim to concentrate experts on the subject. However reputation is not always a good indicator, this means that new users needs time to demonstrate their experience. It is sometimes difficult to do this as one adapts to our particular ways of doing, and new user can be destabilised or discouraged very easily. On the other hand our established members are acting efficiently and quickly. What I'd like to do, is being able to balance the dynamic difference of old and new users to avoid misunderstanding and help building an always better community.

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 would first advise them to talk about there problems on the chat, rather that discussing using comments. Then, I would also make it clear that his behaviour is not approved, and as for chat, no one is above the rules. Shall he continues this way, I'll be forced to use more drastic solutions.

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

Basically I'd just ask to hear his point of view and share mine. Then we could come to an understanding. Problems can be solved differently somtimes.

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? 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've been around school children since my own childhood and enjoyed working for communities since then. Teaching, moderating, helping is what I do for a living. Why did I candidate for the moderator position, well because I think that it's not a task that anyone loves to do, but it needs to be done if we want the site to function properly. I think I can be a support for the community. What can I bring to the moderation team? Well I am usually overlooking in the chatroom and I can also bring more help to the team when they need it. I'm on European time, unlike most of the current mods.

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?

Well identify-this-game for starters. There were also a good argument by Raven Dreamer on How can we sculpt character/strategy build questions?

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

There seems to be a lot of confusion with downvotes. I think they should be used to relate the quality of the question or answer. Too many times they are also used in place of close votes and flags. I think this is a real burden to new users. In this regard, I tend to refrain downvoting when there are already too many downvotes.

Upvotes should be use anytime one should be rewarded for a good quality posts I am pretty sure I should upvote more questions than I actually do, but I tend to be generous with answers.

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The Answers of Jason Berkan

Just to avoid saying it on every answer; I don’t plan on acting alone if I become a moderator. I believe that the moderators have to work together as a team, and in many cases actions cannot be taken until multiple moderators have together come to a decision. This is especially true of many of the tougher questions presented here; moderators working together is less important when it comes to the more janitorial work that is required of mods.

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?

Primarily through communication and moderator presence in The Bridge in order to keep things under control. It is surprising how much a single “calm down” message from a mod can do, as simply the threat of a chat ban will often keep people from being disruptive.

If all else fails, I would not be afraid to use a chat ban to deal with the issue, as they do not affect the person’s ability to interact with the website and hopefully they would continue to contribute there.

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?

I think that The Bridge is busy enough that it does need a bit more of an active moderator presence, as things can turn sour rather quickly without a mod to threaten flexing their muscles (or actually flexing their muscles). We've relied on badp for a lot of the chat moderation; he could use some help and backup. Having said that, I feel that chat is not as important to the site as the main site and meta, so I don’t begrudge any mod who doesn’t spend much time there and instead focuses their efforts on the rest of the site.

Regardless of how active a mod is in chat, I do feel it is important for all mods to be ping-able, so that discussions can happen regarding the things the moderator has said or done. Often chat is the easiest way to get clarifications and the mod's viewpoint on an issue, as it truly is our discussion area.

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?

I have to admit to a certain fondness for agent86's solution to the constant ItG discussions, where there was a single question vote off that decided the fate of that class of questions. It is far from perfect, but it does solve the issue that we don't really have a great way to decide community consensus, especially when faced with an issue where there is not clear consensus one way or the other. It provides the finality that is missing from regular meta discussions.

So, that being said, if any existing meta questions on the class of questions were not resulting in a decision, I would force the issue by creating a meta question with both viewpoints and setup voting parameters so that a decision would be made. After that, I would use my mod vote judiciously and only where necessary to ensure that the questions were properly opened or closed, as per the final decision.

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?

First, I would clean up the question by locking it and removing any unnecessary comments. I would then add a comment of my own explaining how the site works, with regards to editing other people's content as well as not participating in edit wars, including relevant links to the proper meta questions and help pages. Hopefully this would start a productive conversation with the new user where the way the site works would be successfully explained to them, and a productive conversation with the other users who were engaging in an unnecessary edit war. However, even if the conversation is not successful, the question is still locked, so that the content is protected.

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

I don't think we have a single biggest problem at the moment, as things are going fairly well. However, I do think there are a number of little things that need to be addressed.

  1. A general air of rudeness that occasionally appears in comments. I often have to flag comments as “rude or offensive”. I encourage all users to do the same thing, and as a mod, I would simply act on those flags and delete the rude comments.
  2. The "just past new user" experience - i.e. those users with 200 - 800 rep. We've captured their attention, they are participating in the site, but they are the ones that struggle to understand the intricacies of the site. As I mentioned in my declaration, one good way to help fix this issue is to get the FAQ entries on meta organized properly, so that these users can find the canonical decisions that we have made.
  3. I’m going to steal an issue from LessPop_MoreFizz, as I very much agree with him that there needs to be a better way to decide site issues than a nebulous “consensus” that never actually exists. As I mentioned earlier, I really like a binding vote, as it provides more finality.

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 the most part, I would deal with the arguments and flags normally via deletion and exhortations to move the discussions to meta or chat. At some point, I would open a dialog with the user regarding their activity on the site and make it clear to them that their behaviour should be changed. But, other than communicating and dealing with the flags, I’m not certain there is much else that can be done. I certainly would not want to see a user suspended simply because they generated flags.

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 them to see what their reasoning was, as it is possible that I am not seeing the entire picture. However, even if the other mod failed to convince me of their correctness, I would not take any action unless I was actually able to convince them that I was correct (and even then, I think it looks better if the original mod reverses their decision). If we end up disagreeing, I would leave the question alone, as entering into a visible “mod fight” doesn’t accomplish anything. In general, it’s OK for mods to disagree, but it is not OK for them to change each other’s rulings.

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? 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?

My motivation for candidacy is that I believe there is far more to moderating a site like Arqade than just dealing with the janitorial duties that all of us already help out with. There is the requirement to step in and use calm words to extinguish an argument in chat or in the comments. There is the requirement to be able to listen and understand where someone is coming from, and still be able to politely explain to them why they are wrong. There is the requirement, after all of that discussion, to suspend someone and deal with their hatred. There is the requirement to chastise and possibly enact punishment against friends on the site who have broken the rules. And, as in the question, all of this must be done with a patient demeanour and a smile.

I put my name forward not because of my janitorial abilities, nor because of my awesome track record of meta participation. I put my name forward because there are times a mod has to deal with people who are upset, people who are being mean and vindictive, people who are outright lying, people who just don’t agree with what is being told to them, and at no point can that moderator do anything but act with patience, calmness and politeness.

That is what I bring to the table - the ability to be patient, calm and polite in all my interactions on the site.

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?

In the beginning, I was both pro-game-rec and pro-Identify This Game. Through the many discussions on meta, I came to see that there was no way that game recommendation questions would work with the SE engine, and I changed my mind with regards to their viability on the site.

I am still pro-ItG, but the discussions surrounding them convinced me to temper my viewpoint somewhat, in that it is really, really difficult to ask a good ItG question and very, very easy to ask a bad ItG question. The end result is a site full of bad questions with a tiny smattering of good ones, and that is not something that anyone wants to see.

Finally, I changed my mind with regards to the Go question this morning - I initially voted to close it, before chat comments and rereading of an old meta convinced me I was wrong. I retracted my close vote and removed my comments regarding the question, which means that most of you will just have to take my word for it.

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

For answers, I upvote correct answers, downvote incorrect answers and leave alone all answers where I don’t know if the answer is correct or not. Due to the fact that I am still catching up on my 2010 backlog of video games, most of my answer votes aren’t.

That means that the majority of my votes occur on questions, where I upvote more than I downvote. I tend to only use downvotes for bad questions that cannot be dealt with in any other manner - I prefer to edit questions with spelling and grammatical problems, and I don’t bother to downvote anything I’ve voted to close or flagged for bigger problems (though if it is something offensive, I will flag and downvote it, in order to get it off the front page).

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3ventic's

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?

I'd have a private chat with them first trying to get them to behave better, watch their language (politely, of course) and if that doesn't work out, suggest not to participate in the chat. If it's not working out, they'll probably notice it themselves at this point.

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?

I think it's important for at least one moderator to be in the chat as it further enforces the discussion to stay civilized and allows for very quick spam deletion, as spam is often linked for flagging. Of course flagging works as a fast tool, too, but it's good to have a public, active figure from the moderation team present in the chat.

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?

I would point people towards meta to get a clear community consensus, and maybe even lock the question, if the closing and reopening is happening at an alarming rate. (I haven't seen any question do that yet. A meta question usually pops up quickly before it happens.)

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?

I would lock the post and try to explain the new user how things work around here, especially focusing on editing.

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

People often seem to expect new users the same they do from our regulars and they reply accordingly, as a moderator I would do the same I do now, which is encourage people to take a moment to teach the new user instead of assume they've read the FAQ and meta a dozen times over.

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 would first encourage them to think more before submitting their comment. "Could this be offensive? Am I starting a useless argument here?" But of course, if the arguments are fine and civil, no action is needed.

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

I would personally handle it with the other mod, explain them my perspective and listen to theirs, and hopefully reach a conclusion we can both agree on.

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? 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?

There are a few main reasons to this. First of all, it seems like the moderation really just needs more hands, not different kinds of hands. I'm here offering just that. Secondly, I have a lot of time to dedicate to this, and I already dedicate a lot of my time to Arqade (and MSO). The third reason is that I really enjoy it when I have the full power to help people. I don't like having to ask someone higher to fix something for me, if I would have the knowledge, but not the access, to do so myself.

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?

I'd say most of the meta posts I read during my first months here (most of the posts here) changed my mind, mostly because I was still learning the site, but nothing recent really comes to mind.

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

I think upvoting is a way to promote good and correct content while downvoting is reserved for those questions and answers, which are wrong or low quality and going to stay that way. I hate downvoting content and later finding out it has improved a lot and not worthy of the downvote anymore. If I see something wrong with content, I edit (if not simply wrong) or comment to suggest improvements. Only if no improvements are made, I downvote.

  • 1
    the 'here' link is broken – Robotnik Jan 28 '14 at 6:19
  • 1
    @Robotnik whoopsie, that's what I get for sketching the post in notepad++ – 3ventic Jan 28 '14 at 7:52
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Wipqozn's Answers

I'd like to preface this by saying my answers below are not absolute. In reality no two situations are created equal, and so I'll need to judge things on a case by case basis. My actions below are how I'd normally respond, but their will be exceptions where I feel different action is required.

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?

It depends on the situation, and what the user in question is doing. If it's a case of them causing trouble, being disrespectful to other users, posting inappropriate content, et cetera then I'd discuss with them in private that their behaviour is a problem, and that they need to change it. If their behaviour doesn't change I'd eventually begin issuing chat suspensions, increasing the duration of the suspensions as time goes on. I'd make sure to give the user warning that a ban is imminent if their behavour doesn't changr before issuing any chat bans though.

However, my response would change if this is just a case of a user being an annoyance to other users, but without actually breaking any rules or showing any disrespect to other users. I wouldn't issue a chat suspension in this case, but I may let the user know that their behaviour is causing some issues between them and the rest of the community. I'd also advice the users complaining about said user to make use of the Ignore User Feature to avoid any interactions with said user. As much as some users may annoy people, being annoying isn't a suspenadable offense, and shouldn't be treated as such.

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?

I think an active mod presence in chat is important for two reasons.

First, a lot of discussion goes on in chat relating to the main site. This includes policy discussion, how to handle a specific question, problematic users, et cetera. A mod which isn't in chat is going to miss out on all of this, and if barely any of our mods are ever in chat then the mod team as a whole is going to miss out on this. Mods should have a strong idea of what's going on with the community, and so it follows from the above that their should be an active mod presence in chat.

The second reason is that chat needs to be moderated as well. It's true that chat flags are issued network wide, but moderators coming from other sites are going to miss most of the context of what's going on. If a user is an ongoing problem they aren't going to see that, they're just going to see this one isolated incident. An Arqade which doesn't visit chat is missing out on this context as well, and so isn't much better off that mods coming from other site to visit chat.

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?

Although this would require discussion with the rest of the mod team, my suggestion would be to hold a binding vote on the issue. I'd start by giving users a weeks notice to the vote, so users can discuss solutions to the issue. Following this period the mod team would make a new meta where users can vote on possible solutions, and the one with the most upvotes after set period of time (~week) would be enforced as policy.

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?

On a case-by-case basis I would roll back the post to the fixed version, and lock any posts where an edit war is happening. I'd then let the user know why users are editing the post, and that it shouldn't be take personally (which it often is). I'd also leave a comment letting all users know to refrain from edit wars, even when your edits are "right", and to just flag edit wars in the future for mods to handle.

If the problem continues, however, I'd eventually talk to the user in private about how Stack Exchange works, and why what their doing doesn't conform to that. If the problem still continued after this I'd consider suspension, and if I decided it was necessary I'd eventually issue a suspension.

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

I'm not sure if I'd call this the "single biggest problem", but I think one of the biggest problems on the site is how we deal with aggravated and problematic users. I discussed this in the comments of my nomination, so I'll link to my answer here.

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'd deal with this in the same manner that I deal with a problematic chat user. Private discussion, followed by a warning, followed by suspensions. Although in this case it would be suspensions on the live site. Just because a user has a high reputation doesn't make them immune to the rules.

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

I'd start by asking that moderator why they took action on that question, and discuss with them whether or not it actually should have been. With any luck this would result in one of us changing our mind, and everything would be all fine and dandy. If it didn't, though, I'd likely get input from some other mods, or just let the community decide through voting.

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? 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 want this job because I think the site and people who make it are fantastically fantastic. I want to help the site grow and improve because of it, and I feel like being a moderator is the best way to do that. As I outlined in my nomination, I believe the user I'd be good for this position is that I'm patient, fair and willing to listen to what others have to say.

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?

Yes, yes I can.

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

I believe both up and down votes are very important. They help sort the crap from the bad, make excellent answers easier to find, encourage quality questions/answers, and discourage low quality questions/answers. I prefer to avoid downvoitng things into oblivion unless they're really terrible, which is why my up-down ratio is only 4:1. I also believe that voting on both questions and answers is equally important, which is why I have a nearly 1:1 ratio between question and answer votes.

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StrixVaria's Answers

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?

I think that it's helpful, but not requisite. The Bridge is home to the vocal minority of users on Arqade, but the minority also happens to include some of the highest rep users on the site. Sentiments displayed in chat help everyone (not just moderators) get a feel for what the consensus of the community is.

That being said, any real issues still need to be brought up on meta. Not all of our high rep or active users are in chat, and they also need to have a chance to voice their opinions. As long as a moderator is active on meta, that is enough. Chat is just gravy.

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?

It should be given time to see if it sorts itself out. Questions being repeatedly opened and closed isn't the healthiest option, but it's worth seeing if the trend continues or if it just dies down and a consensus is reached.

Assuming a consensus is not reached, and these questions are legitimately becoming a problem, then I believe we should instate a two-phase approach.

In phase one, the moderation team chooses a short-term solution to make sure the constant battles stop. Either these types of questions are fine, or they are close-worthy, as of right now. This is not a permanent decision, but just something to enact if necessary to keep the site hopefully conflict-free while we work out phase two.

In phase two, I think we would go the way of ITG. The moderation team, and agent86 in particular, did a very good job of gathering arguments for both sides, compiling them into one resource, and letting the community vote on the fate of ITG. While we have our peace from the short-term decision, let the community use all the energy they would have spent on close wars and write their arguments, then have a vote on the future of the site.

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?

Although it depends on the exact question, for the most part the preexisting community tends to edit these questions for the better. Assuming that is the case, I would lock the question, leaving it in a state closer to the standards of the site. Delete any comment war that led up to this point and leave a well-worded message explaining how we work, with a link to the help section, and inviting the user to a private chat (woo mod powers) if they want to discuss it further.

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

Luckily, we are in a state where we don't really have big problems any more! The biggest remaining one, as I see it, is the occasional inflammatory user. Rarely, we'll get a user who posts inappropriate questions or answers, attempts to game the reputation system, or disrupts chat repeatedly despite warnings against this behavior. The past few instances of this have not been dealt with adequately, and I think making more use of the moderator tools to suspend users in this case than has been done historically would be a step in the right direction.

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?

Part of the rules here are that you have to be civil and respect your fellow users. Questions and answers are the bread and potatoes of the site, and the community can edit them to remove any of the unsavory parts. Comments are difficult, because they're much more personal, in a way.

I think the real solution is to encourage users to use the "rude" flag on comments. The moderation team would have to talk to the user about his attitude, and possibly issue suspensions if he were really being that disruptive. Prolific members represent our community, and it does not help us to have truly toxic personalities in the mix.

However good a user's contributions are, if they continuously insult and deride other users, I wouldn't want them to stay.

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

I am not currently aware of what private communication means the moderators have, but if such a thing exists, I would go there first to talk to them. Otherwise, I would take it to meta. The mods are voted into their positions for a reason, and certainly have reasons for any actions they take. Getting into a rollback war with another moderator is possibly the least healthy thing that could be done. Having a civil discussion to figure out where the disconnect between moderators came from is the best course of action.

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? 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 want the job because I spend my time doing that anyway. Having more power to act decisively will just clean up the site further. Haters gonna hate, but I would gladly take the heat to help the best community and site I've ever been part of on the Internet. I'm not going anywhere, moderator or not, and I want to step up to help the site to the best of my ability.

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?

Is the Google "zerg rush" easter egg on topic?

I have undeleted my answer to this question to show just how vehemently against it I was at the time of writing. Silly me. This is just one example of how I loosened up quite a bit over the past year or two. In the early days, I wanted to lock down this site to a subset of questions that fit a very narrow vision. I have come to realize that there are plenty of other users who are not me, who have different values than I have, who should still be able to enjoy the site. The quality level of the site is still extraordinary even with those kinds of questions.

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

The system is extremely straightforward. Useful content should be upvoted, and worthless content should be downvoted. This site has a ton of useful content, and a lot of the worthless content gets deleted. I think my vote counts represent voting along these lines.

I am a big proponent of downvoting when relevant. It's an important part of separating the amazing content we all love here from the rest of the stuff.

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?

Patience and chat suspensions. Seriously. If you can't be civil in chat, then a suspension from chat is warranted. Disruptive users are bad mojo whether they have ten rep or a million rep. The mod team needs to exude patience in these situations, leading by example and explaining to the user why his actions are frowned upon.

A few of these answers may make it look like I want to rule with an iron fist and ban everyone who doesn't agree with me, but that really isn't true. A lot of these questions are asking about exceptional cases that come up infrequently or never (any more). Trust me, the ideal number of suspensions a mod would ever want to hand out is zero. But the tools were built for a reason, and all I'm saying is that when the situation appears where those tools are necessary, someone needs to pull the trigger.

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Frank's Answers


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?

We've had several users of this type in the past, which is what prompted this question, I believe. My answer is the same now as it was then: Be patient with the user, and explain that chat is a different beast, and not everything will be welcomed there. If possible, point out the problematic statements, and offer a better way of going about it. If they've been contributing to Arqade, then chances are good that they can take feedback, and modify their behaviour accordingly. If the user continues to be a disruptive influence in chat, I would provide a single warning before beginning to suspend them for inappropriate behaviour. We've had several disruptions before, and putting your foot down is something our current mods seem leery to do at points.

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?

I do not believe it to be a requirement; it's the place where the regulars hang out, and has its own culture. I believe it would be helpful, though, for some things (such as timely spam user destruction), and to provide a pacifying influence if things are getting heated and unconstructive.

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?

This is the point where I would lock it, and enforce a meta question about it. Anything else risks a close/reopen war of exhaustion. By creating a meta about it, both sides can have their say about why it should be closed or open, and the community can vote accordingly.

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?

I rollback the edit to the most readable format, regardless of who it was that edited it, and then lock it. I would also leave a comment on the question to let the user know that Arqade is a community run site, and users are attempting to help them get their question answered. I would also give the user a link to our tour page, so that they can familiarize themselves with our site and how it works.

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

I think our biggest problem is that our current mods enforce the no off-topic discussion in comments, and to take it to Meta, which is good. The bad part is that they don't actually do anything about it afterwards. Discussion moves to Meta, we get the arguments and...nothing. It changes nothing, often with a single argument for one side, and the question still being open. I am a huge fan of community consensus, as I have said, and I would enforce this. If a question only has a single viewpoint, arguing one way or the other, without a dissenting viewpoint, then that's the clear winner, and the question will be closed/reopened according to that viewpoint. If there are dissenting opinions, though, then I'd check back once the discussion seems to have died down, and ensure the question being discussed is opened or closed according to community consensus.

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 user is producing a steady stream of valuable content, then they do have something to contribute. However, I don't feel that makes them immune to punitive action. Arguments are one thing; this site is more or less built on arguments. If they're not being nice, though, that's where the punitive action comes in, after a warning or two.

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

I'd talk to them about it. Seriously. Communication is sort of the whole reason we're here. I might not agree with it, but chances are good it was done for a good reason. And hopefully we can come to an understanding that satisfies both of us.

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? 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?

See, here's the whole reason I nominated myself. It's my personality to step up and volunteer for a job I can do. I realize there is little thanks in doing this job; sadly, that is something I am somewhat used to. I believe I can do this job, and make Arqade a better place for everyone involved. I already invest a lot of time into this place, and I don't see that changing, come what may. I'm already used to taking crap, so that's definitely not a change for me at all. What I bring to the table is my clear understanding of bad content. I have more helpful flags than any other nominee, and my declined flags are very, very low.

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?

Much of what I have learned here is that I don't need to do everything. I certainly have strong views on how things should be, but I'm only a single person here; my voice is only one of hundreds or thousands of members. Even when I personally disagree with something, it doesn't mean the site is going to die. Lore, especially. I really, really, really dislike lore questions. I still don't think they're all that good, but I can see where those that like it are coming from. I still disagree with it, too, and can live with them sticking around.

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

I honestly don't think we downvote enough. They are easily outweighed by upvotes, so there's no reason not to downvote content you think is problematic. It also means a comment carries more weight about what needs to be fixed in order for it to be acceptable. Many is the time where I've tried just commenting on an answer, only to have it ignored until I downvoted as well.

I rarely upvote as well. Mostly because I don't often play the same games as what's being answered. If I do play a game, though, I try to upvote those that I feel are helpful, or are things I myself would have asked.

As you can tell from my voting stats, I definitely follow that philosophy. One thing I'd mention, though, is that the vote totals include deleted items; my actual current upvote:downvote ratio is closer to 1:1 than the 1:4 it currently looks like.

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AshleyNunn's Answers


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?

Instinctively, people are like “that’s why we have chat bans!” but that doesn’t always work, because as we have seen a bajillion times, people don’t get any notification why they are banned, and then they come back angrier. If someone is being a huge problem, the best thing I can think of is to start a private chat, and just lay it all out. This is what you are doing, this is why it is a problem, this is how you could improve your behaviour. Then they can’t claim they are in the dark, because now there is a record that someone has explained the whole thing. From there, well, chat ban as appropriate, remind people they can ignore users, and try to keep everything as civil as possible, which includes making sure that the Bridge as a collective doesn’t outright attack the user the moment they step in the room, because that never helps anything.

There is also a difference between oh, person X is annoying, and person X is posting offensive stuff or actively hurting other users, and the like. If someone is being actively malicious, that needs to be dealt with a lot faster and a lot harsher than someone who is just being a troll for the sake of trolling.

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?

I do think it is important they step in there at least some of the time, as it is often a place where the beginnings of Important Site Things often get discussed before they get to Meta, as people organize their thoughts and views and stuff. It’s also where people bring problematic questions/answers, worries about users, and so on, and this stuff might never hit meta. So if no one is in chat, no one will see it, and then users start to feel ignored.

Yes, Meta is important, and yes, a lot of things should be posted there. But there are often more immediate concerns thrown into chat (spamming users, users posting offensive content, etc) that sometimes need mod attention, and having someone there to see that and handle it quickly so it doesn’t just sit there and pollute the site is important, I think.

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?

As much as we love discussing things on meta, and it is totally a thing that should be done, there reaches a point where discussing about discussing a problem just doesn’t fly, because nothing gets done. Eventually, someone has to make a decision, or we risk going around in circles forever, as we have a large userbase with a large variety of opinions. So yes, post on Meta! Discuss things! But then someone has to make a decision, and they have to make one that gets Things done, in the best way possible. Not everyone is going to be happy with every decision (hello, ITG!) but eventually, you need to reach some sort of majority (yay meta posts!) and then declare an answer, and most of all STICK TO IT. Yes, people aren’t going to like it all of the time. Let people discuss it for a while, create some way for a vote type thing (meta post!) and then Make The Decisions. (and also, accept that people aren’t going to like all of the decisions forever).

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?

Step one – lock the post. That keeps the rollback and/or edit war from escalating, and then you can clear comments that aren’t helping the situation and give everyone a chance to step back and breathe. Once the immediate thing is settled, then you gotta step in, leave all the helpful comments to explain how things work (because lets face it we have a lot of rules), and point to the help center or meta posts or blog posts or whatever we’ve got. If the user is still lost, maybe they’d be okay with a private chat to kinda get their feet under them , or maybe we have to make new meta posts to explain things better (because maybe we all get it because we have been here forever, but to a new user, it might be written in ancient greek or something as far as they know), and also, remind older users that hey, not everything is crystal clear if you’ve not been around this particular rodeo forever, and to be a bit more willing to help new users find their feet on this sometimes very chaotic train.

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

We suck at making decisions. We love our arguments and our meta posts and our discussions in chat about what we SHOULD do, or what people WANT to do, but it is rare we get a site issue that people don’t discuss and debate to absolute death. No one wants to be the one that says “THIS IS THE THING WE ARE DOING”. We just want to discuss and complain and all of that, because it is easier than making a decision that we then have to collectively enforce. That makes things awful, because then we have people arguing and things getting all tricky and toxic, when if someone just made a clear cut decision, things would work out. We survived ITG, after all.

As a mod, I’d step up, put my big girl pants on, and try to nudge (sometimes with a bit more shove and a bit less nudge) people to the point where someone (likely the mod team) can basically go “okay, we discussed this on meta forever, we’ve got some sort of majority decision, so this is going to be the thing now”, with an accompanying meta post laying out the new rules so everyone knows what is going on.

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 really two different issues. If someone is posting offensive content all over the place, and leaving toxic content all over that is actively harmful, they could post the most beautiful answers the world ever saw, and I still would be like “okay, you are being pretty unawesome, you need a time out because this just does.not.fly.” and after a warning, suspend them, because that behaviour is totally unwelcome.

If they are just being argumentative, or rude, or what have you, then I would take a bit more time about it. Take care of the flags, warn the user (either in a private chat, or other means), and if it continues, or escalates, then maybe they’re in need of some time away. I’d check in with my fellow mods, mention the current goings on, see if they’ve seen anything else (in case things are worse than I’ve noticed, or this has been a problem before, etc), and suspend as appropriate.

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

This has happened before in my mod duties. It sucks, because you instinctively are like “wait what no why did you even do this”. So, you talk about it with the mod. Maybe there is a misunderstanding about particular rules that you or they need to figure out/clarify. Maybe they’ve noticed something about the user or the post or something that you haven’t. I would avoid making a public fuss, because, well, we are a team! We work together, and it looks terrible if you start yelling mod abuse at your fellow mods, when just talking it out will likely resolve it and everyone will be happy.

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? 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?

This is not my first rodeo. Libraries was quiet, but on Pets I have had to deal with problematic users, spam, angry people yelling at each other, and all sorts of stuff. I want this because, well, as corny as it sounds, I believe in Stack Exchange. I think it is awesome and amazing, and is becoming such an awesome resource all over the internet. Arqade was my first site, and I have seen it grow and change and survive the ITG wars and yes, it will suck. Yes, people are going to be mean and terrible sometimes. That’s just part of life on the internet, where everyone has opinions, and we all want to share them. I want to moderate because, well, it’s more than just clearing flags. You gotta deal with actual people who have feelings and stuff, and you gotta do it with patience and understanding. I have seen some terrible trolls go on to be awesome users, and I have seen the reverse. But at the end of the day, you need someone to go in, smile, be understanding, and treat every person like they matter. Because they do.

I think there is a real need for more active moderation here. We need people to be on the front lines, handling things as they show up, dealing with users, and the like – basically, the diamond means you gotta put on the shit-kicker boots and do the job. I feel like I can, and will.

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?

Totally. ITG! I have this huge desire to help EVERYONE EVER. It’s just a thing. SO I was like YES LET THEM LIVE, because I had totally been there, multiple times , trying to think of a game and just blanking. I wanted to be able to help those people. But then I read ALL THE META POSTS and all the chat discussions ever, and I realized how these questions don’t really work. Am I sad, some days, that people can’t get their answers here? Sure, because I’d love for everyone to have a happy answer-getting experience here. But it just doesn’t work that way, and sometimes, you gotta kill your darlings, if it is for the betterment of the wider community.

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

As anyone can see, I upvote more than I downvote. I tend to reward good content, because, well, that’s why we are here! I want to encourage people to come back, to keep writing good quality stuff, to be an active part of our awesome community. Downvotes, though, are important too – in many ways, they are the first indicator that all might not be well in the state of Denmark, and perhaps a user has to look closer at their question or answer to make it work with the site. One thing, though, that I am definitely not a fan of is when people pile downvotes on a thing – it gets to a point where it’s not even helpful anymore, but it just looks petty and sad. (However, upvoting a thing just because it got downvote piled is also not the right answer.)

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shanodin's Answers

Please excuse the delay in my answers & I apologise for posting an incomplete set now. I will be completing the remaining ones as soon as I am able.

  • 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?

The important first step here is to make sure that the user is aware they are creating a bad atmosphere. Sometimes people will be abrasive and cause a lot of conflict simply because they don't know the impact they are having on the chat community overall. If there's not a swift improvement after this then chat suspensions/bans should be used because being a contributor to the site does not grant impunity. Chat is a privilege, not a right.

  • 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?

The Bridge, and the other chats associated with Arqade, are extremely important aspects of the site. However the vast majority of the users of the site do not use chat. Understanding, enjoying, and participating in the site as its primary function (a Q&A resource) should never require participation in the secondary aspect of the site - the community. Whilst a mod may be able to gain a better feeling of the community's mood through chat, actual decisions should be reached through the platform provided to us - meta

  • 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?

I believe that this is the kind of situation where a more active mod participation would benefit the site. A mod needs to step in and make sure that a consensus is established one way or another - you can discuss until the cows come home but eventually action is required. You can't please everyone, and some people will disagree no matter what happens, but provided everyone's had an opportunity to have their say, the site shouldn't remain in a state of all talk and no action. A current example of this would be the FAQ tag and the discussion which went into that, which has't gone anywhere.

  • 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?

First actions would be to lock the question and clear up the comments section. I'd then provide any help to that user I could - directing them towards the tour & help, giving them a patient explanation of the site, and finally suggesting that they start a discussion about their question in meta to better establish why it has been edited, by getting input from the editors. After that though, it might just be that this user is not a good fit for the SE model and requires full ownership of their content.

  • What is the single biggest problem that the site faces? As a moderator, what would you do to help fix it?
  • 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?
  • 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? 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?
  • 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?
  • What is your philosophy regarding up-voting and down-voting content? Do you think your own voting ratio supports your stated view?
  • I'd like to apologise for not finishing this off. Due to an unfortunate situation at work, I've been working crazy hours. Thanks for reading what I did contribute, and well done to the winners of the election. – shanodin Feb 4 '14 at 21:10
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Ullallulloo's Answers

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?

I would probably try to talk to them about it. If they weren't aware of what people were annoyed by, I would try to politely explain it them. If they were aware that people didn't like it, but they kept doing it, I would probably ask them to stop if only to please others. If it was just dumb stuff, I would probably encourage people to use the ignore function if they didn't like it. If they were purposely being offensive, I would probably be forced to chat-ban them if it came down to it.

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?

I think it's a good thing. Although review queue drudgery is probably the most important thing, being in chat, even just lurking, makes it easy for people to get a hold of you, and lets you calm situations that might arise there.

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?

If there's no meta about it yet, but lots of activity on the question like that, I would probably make one, or at least encourage someone else to. If one's up and people are still closing it while people are discussing, I guess lock it.

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?

First I would lock the question. Then I would try to explain how our site works to the new user and talk through the changes that should be made.

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

We really don't have any big problems at the moment, in my opinion. The biggest would probably be to just try to talk new users into the system better, and just work on what we're doing right now. So I would just try to explain stuff to new users, encourage others to, and continue reviewing, editing, posting, and stuff.

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 he's being rude, I would ask them to be more civil, and give the appropriate repercussions if they don't. Valuable answers are important, but the number one rule is be nice.

If he's just having issues with what someone else is doing, I would try to have them talk it out or something, but have them keep it from out the comments.

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

I would first discuss it with the moderator and see what their reason is. If we still disagree, I would bring it up with the community in chat or on meta.

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? 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 want to be a moderator to help others and to help this site. I like Arqade and would like to see it grow. The main thing I would bring would just be more manpower and patience, which are probably the two biggest things we need. I like our mods and think I would at least help cover more time.

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?

Things that I've had my mind changed on, where that all ITG without an artifact is off-topic, the tag, Play TV, and the Google Doodle tags.

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

I think that both are very important. Upvoting good content encourages more good content, while downvoting bad content improves our overall quality. I'm currently the top voter on the site with 5,993 upvotes and 224 downvotes. I could be using downvotes more I guess, but most of the bad posts I see are usually off-topic and deleted.

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