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2022 Moderator Election

nomination began
Oct 24, 2022 at 20:00
election began
Oct 31, 2022 at 20:00
election ended
Nov 8, 2022 at 20:00
candidates
4
positions
3

On Stack Exchange, we believe the core moderators should come from the community, and be elected by the community itself through popular vote. We hold regular elections to determine who these community moderators will be.

Community moderators are accorded the highest level of privilege on our community, and should themselves be exemplars of positive behavior and leaders within the community.

Our general criteria for moderators is as follows:

  • patient and fair
  • leads by example
  • shows respect for their fellow community members in their actions and words
  • open to some light but firm moderation to keep the community on track and resolve (hopefully) uncommon disputes and exceptions

Full elections have three phases and an optional fourth phase (Primary):

  1. Question Collection
  2. Nomination
  3. Primary
  4. Election

Please participate in the moderator elections by voting, and perhaps even by nominating yourself to be a community moderator!

Additional Links

Questionnaire
The community team has compiled questions from meta for the candidates to answer.
  1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

[Answer 1 here]

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

[Answer 2 here]

  1. Most content curation is the responsibility of the community at large. The defined moderator role is intended to leave the smallest possible footprint and not create a burden for volunteer moderators. An inactive community will happily leave the curation responsibilities to a few over-functioning users, who are likely to be the moderators. How do you feel about the choice of picking up the slack and doing the community's job vs. allowing content maintenance requirements to accumulate?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. On large, high-traffic sites, with active community moderation/curation, moderators can be exception handlers. Coffee SE currently gets very little traffic, and has little community participation. How does/should that affect the role and activity of the moderators?

[Answer 4 here]

  1. Moderators tend to be selected from a site's most active and enthusiastic users. In small sites, the moderators are typically the community members most likely to be exploring how to increase site traffic and community participation. Do you have any thoughts on why Coffee SE's traffic and community participation are low, and any ideas of actions to explore to change that?

[Answer 5 here]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 6 here]

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

[Answer 7 here]

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

[Answer 8 here]

Stephie

After a year and a half as pro tempore moderator, having seen the site make the leap out of beta, I would like to offer my continuing support to the community by running as moderator again.

I have been around the network for eight years now, serving as moderator since 2018. As an inherently curious person, I fell for the SE system and the unlimited ways we learn from each other. And yes, I was around back when everything went bad for a while, so I am striving to learn from what went wrong and keep the community strong and involved.

Over time I picked up a few useful tricks from others mods, built a bit of a network and above all, learned to be patient with new (and occasionally old) users. I can’t count the times I have welcomed new users, gently guided them towards writing better posts and where they can find more information. While I usually prefer to sit on my hands a bit and let the community do the bulk of voting, I know that here binding votes are crucial for a smooth operation.

In real life, I work as an agile coach (focus on “coach”) and I find volunteering here and my professional work complement each other perfectly.

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

While it may tempting to cut them some slack because they get a lot of attention for their useful content, it’s actually the other way around. Just think of how many users, old and new, one rouge user can alienate. Not acceptable and I’d rather lose one than many. What is the benefit of good information if nobody is around to read it?

Nobody is above the law of the community (and yes, that includes the moderators who get their power by the community), and setting a negative precedent is bad for everyone.

The escalation path is clear, from gentle reminders via mod messages to suspension, repeatedly if needed.

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

We’ve had similar situations once in a while, even here. Usually that calls for a quick chat in the site’s mod-only chat room. Mods exchange their opinions and in most cases it’s a version of “oh, seems we read the post differently” and the issue is resolved quickly. In four years I have encountered only one situation where there was a significant disagreement and in that case an uneven number of mods was very helpful - majority decision wins.

That said, if there’s disagreement beyond how a post can be understood, I appreciate the opportunity to look closer into the site’s policy: on more than one occasion that was an indication that the scope was unclear, leading to a Meta post and then a community decision.

  1. Most content curation is the responsibility of the community at large. The defined moderator role is intended to leave the smallest possible footprint and not create a burden for volunteer moderators. An inactive community will happily leave the curation responsibilities to a few over-functioning users, who are likely to be the moderators. How do you feel about the choice of picking up the slack and doing the community's job vs. allowing content maintenance requirements to accumulate?

It’s a fine line between dealing with everything that pops in a timely manner and not discourage community participation while doing so. That said, this is a very quiet and peaceful corner of the SE world and the workload (flags etc.) is definitely not a burden, so while we are very much on standby (hello spam flags!), there’s not that much to do overall.

  1. On large, high-traffic sites, with active community moderation/curation, moderators can be exception handlers. Coffee SE currently gets very little traffic, and has little community participation. How does/should that affect the role and activity of the moderators?

Moderators here need to be aware of the fact that for many community moderation topics the required thresholds are hard to reach, so that they need to step in in the same way they would as regular users with non-binding votes. While there is an unwritten rule that moderators tend to wait a bit and not cast the first vote, that’ll work only if there’s enough participation that posts get closed/reopened/deleted… in a timely manner. On smaller and quieter sites like Coffee SE, mods must step up and act more decisively - while still being gentle and guiding over just hammering away. That of course doesn’t apply to spam and similar, which we will always deal with swiftly and mercilessly.

  1. Moderators tend to be selected from a site's most active and enthusiastic users. In small sites, the moderators are typically the community members most likely to be exploring how to increase site traffic and community participation. Do you have any thoughts on why Coffee SE's traffic and community participation are low, and any ideas of actions to explore to change that?

I wish I had an answer to that. Of course we are dealing with a very small niche here (compare for example Seasoned Advice (cooking) and coffee and the difference becomes obvious), so while we still get great questions, the pool from where these can come from is naturally limited. One aspect to encourage more community participation could be lowering the threshold for close votes etc. from five to three. This would increase the probability of successful community moderation without binding moderator votes. Larger sites are reporting positive effects and I think a Q/A on that would be helpful (but after the election, one thing at a time).

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

A lot and yet seemingly nothing. The majority of the moderators’ activity is easily overlooked by the casual observer. There’s “housekeeping” - similar to community curation - and sometimes flag handling and everything that ensures. But in my opinion the most important bit is being there. Observing what is going on, often without direct interference, but ready to act swiftly if something starts to derail. And being available for casual conversation, so that there’s enough trust in the more tricky situations.

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

Relaxed. Even before my first diamond I was very careful to be clear, polite and welcoming in everything I posted. I am very much aware what pitfalls are lurking when you have only one communication channel (written words) and one language, that’s not the native language of many of our users (me included). On the other hand, I also know that a diamond can mean that some users might see even a small remark as “authoritative”, so I try to be careful in that area as well.

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

Moderators get access to information regular, even high-rep users don’t have. I appreciate the chance to ask both my fellow mods across the network and the CMs for guidance or their opinion if needed. Getting a bit of extra information helps fighting spam, fraud and plagiarism, which we see even in this quiet corner of the SE network.

Shadow The Kid Wizard

I love coffee, and I love this site.

While not very active here, I am very active on Stack Exchange main meta site, and have experience as moderator in programming forums before joining Stack Overflow back in 2010.

As moderator I'll also spend more time on this site, help keep it clean and of high quality, and hopefully get to know the wonderful people of which it consists, plus the fellow mods.

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

I'll approach the user in private (email if they have it on their profile, private chat if not) and try to figure out why they behave this way, and do my best to talk them into behaving better. If that won't work, consult with the other mods, and eventually use the suspension hammer, as nobody should be above the law/CoC no matter how useful their posts might be.

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

I'll approach the other mod in private (private chat room or email) to try and figure out the reasoning, and try to gently convince them with my own reasoning. No matter what, I will not reopen/undelete/etc. the post, and worst case I'll just back off and move on.

  1. Most content curation is the responsibility of the community at large. The defined moderator role is intended to leave the smallest possible footprint and not create a burden for volunteer moderators. An inactive community will happily leave the curation responsibilities to a few over-functioning users, who are likely to be the moderators. How do you feel about the choice of picking up the slack and doing the community's job vs. allowing content maintenance requirements to accumulate?

I don't consider doing the community job a slack or something that is "below my honor" to do, on the contrary. So I will spend whatever time needed (within my IRL limits of course) to keep the site curated and clean, without looking what others are doing.

  1. On large, high-traffic sites, with active community moderation/curation, moderators can be exception handlers. Coffee SE currently gets very little traffic, and has little community participation. How does/should that affect the role and activity of the moderators?

This should not affect the activity of the moderators at all. Spam can be posted anywhere, on small sites or big sites, and same for off topic questions, toxic answers, or the occasional cross network troll making a visit. Moderators should always be alert and ready to handle those.

  1. Moderators tend to be selected from a site's most active and enthusiastic users. In small sites, the moderators are typically the community members most likely to be exploring how to increase site traffic and community participation. Do you have any thoughts on why Coffee SE's traffic and community participation are low, and any ideas of actions to explore to change that?

Sadly I'm not (yet?) in a place to answer this, as I'm not active user on the site myself. However, if elected, I'll increase my participation and hopefully fill the gaps quickly.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators moderate. They remove bad contents, encourage good content, and act together to form the site's policies where needed, e.g. deciding what's on topic and what's off topic.

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

I have no problem with having the diamond visible besides all my posts, I have nothing to be ashamed of. However, when posting new answers on the meta site, this will make me think in a different way than ordinary user, as what I say will have bigger impact on other users.

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

Being small scale site, reaching enough votes to close/delete posts is hard, as moderator I won't have to wait for other users in order to have something removed.

luser droog

barista/bartender at the St. Louis City Museum Beatnik Bob's Cafe, former Starbucks barista for 17 years. I love coffee, but run the gamut from seeking the snootiest God Shot to just mixing some Maxwell House and sweetened condensed milk. I have been a moderator on the Computer Graphics site for the past year. And I was a heavily involved sponsor of the earlier failed effort at Area51 to launch a Coffee site.

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

Valuable contributions do not earn indulgences for bad behavior. If the behavior has become a pattern and a polite comment hasn't done the trick then there is are a number of penalties such as bans that can be implemented, for progressively longer and longer intervals.

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

This seems unlikely to happen as there is a chatroom just for the mod on the site and anything "iffy" would probably be discussed beforehand. But if I had missed the discussion and felt strongly in the reverse, then I'd act on it (and try to persuade the other mods to see it my way, probably with the persuasion first and action later).

  1. Most content curation is the responsibility of the community at large. The defined moderator role is intended to leave the smallest possible footprint and not create a burden for volunteer moderators. An inactive community will happily leave the curation responsibilities to a few over-functioning users, who are likely to be the moderators. How do you feel about the choice of picking up the slack and doing the community's job vs. allowing content maintenance requirements to accumulate?

On a smaller site such as this, I expect most of the work will be responding to flags rather than actively seeking problems or scouring popular tags. There's also a new feature that can be requested to reduce the close-vote requirement to 3, allowing the mod hammer to work like a regular vote after 2 votes from users. So there's a balance to be struck. I'm willing to log in daily and buzz through the review queues and handle a few flags. I don't know the answer for everything, but I know where to go for help.

  1. On large, high-traffic sites, with active community moderation/curation, moderators can be exception handlers. Coffee SE currently gets very little traffic, and has little community participation. How does/should that affect the role and activity of the moderators?

Because of the smaller size, I feel there's a little less urgency to put questions "on hold" and triage them into submission. Some questioners can be wooed more gently to edit for clarity and objectivity. Some off topic questions can be directed to the chatroom. I think it's important to remember that there's a person at the other end (unless it's a spam bot or something, but those are mostly filtered out automatically).

  1. Moderators tend to be selected from a site's most active and enthusiastic users. In small sites, the moderators are typically the community members most likely to be exploring how to increase site traffic and community participation. Do you have any thoughts on why Coffee SE's traffic and community participation are low, and any ideas of actions to explore to change that?

That's a good question and I don't really have a good answer. It's been a recurrent them in the meta sites of several smaller sites I frequent. Partly it's our "niche interest" that translates directly to "small appeal" -- except for fanatics. I think fanatics are catchable. Maybe we need more pictures.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are linked by a 24-hour Zoom session where their cats can choose which Miles Davis album to play by the pitch of their meows. A hiss closes a question. A chitter-chatter noise posts a canned comment.

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

I generally comport myself within the stated parameters. Unless the joke is really, really funny.

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

The biggest difference between a moderator and other high rep user is the ability/responsibility to handle flags. Deleting comments, closing questions, very rarely migrating questions. (Aside, this question should probably read 2k or 4k, with our current privilege scale).

3

JJJ

I’m JJJ, I was elected as a pro-tem Coffee mod last year and I’ve been a Politics SE mod since 2019. I’ve been enjoying my time here and I hope to pay it forward if re-elected.

Coffee is a low-traffic site and I think the center of our community lies with our chat room rather than the main site. It’s always interesting to see how the community regulars go on their coffee-related adventures whether that’s in a professional capacity or as drinkers. Between us, I think there’s enough knowledge to help with most coffee-related issues and that what makes the site valuable.

It's nice to be a part of that, and I feel my experience as a moderator on the bigger Politics site helps me navigate issues we might face here. By that I mean dealing with issues as an exception-handler as well as performing some regular user tasks in the review queues or by providing my input in meta questions or welcoming users new to the Stack Exchange format.

Feel free to ping me in the election chat room or in the comments below if you have questions and I hope we'll have a nice graduation election. :)

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

Copied almost verbatim (the political activism angle doesn't really apply here so I took that out; I think some expression of coffee preference is allowed so long as it doesn't delve into extended discussion) from my Politics SE questionnaire less than a month ago:

I’d try to find what's causing so many comment flags. Are they rude, argumentative, or needlessly conversational? Determine if the user’s behavior needs some intervention, possibly by discussing with the mod team if it’s not obvious but there's a steady stream of flags. If necessary (based on whether I think the user’s behavior should change or not), contact the user to: discuss rudeness by referring to the Code of Conduct / explain that on SE comments are not meant for extended discussion.

When contacting I'd start with a light touch in which I ask for the user to change their behavior. If they continue at a level that’s disruptive then suspensions are the next step.

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

Copied verbatim from my Politics SE questionnaire less than a month ago:

It depends on how strongly I felt about it. If it’s a judgement call, then I’d leave it as is or I might edit the question to resolve the close issue (if applicable). The community may or may not decide to overrule the other mod’s decision. If I felt strongly about it, then I'd ping that mod in our own mod chat room and have a short discussion to see if either of us could be convinced by the other. If I still felt strongly against the other mod’s decision, which seems quite far-fetched to get so attached to a question, then I might raise the discussion with others in the mod team or start a discussion on meta. I don’t normally see that happen, but going to meta can be good situationally, e.g. when having some community consensus on an edge case would be helpful.

Over here meta might not be so active so I might opt to raise the issue with non-Coffee SE network mods or CMs instead. This would mostly be a casual discussion to get some other viewpoints.

  1. Most content curation is the responsibility of the community at large. The defined moderator role is intended to leave the smallest possible footprint and not create a burden for volunteer moderators. An inactive community will happily leave the curation responsibilities to a few over-functioning users, who are likely to be the moderators. How do you feel about the choice of picking up the slack and doing the community's job vs. allowing content maintenance requirements to accumulate?

I think it's good for mods to lead by example, especially on a smaller site like ours. That doesn't mean we should do all tasks as soon as they become available, but we should make sure the most obvious of tasks (e.g. reviews) don't sit around for weeks or more. Leaving some tasks open for regular users means those who want to complete them are given the opportunity and they actually get to do something on the site besides posting.

As for posting, I don't think there's an inherent pressure to post even if you're a mod. I value quality over quantity so I'd post only if I thought my post would be a benefit to the site and not just create a stream of mediocre posts to generate activity for its own sake.

  1. On large, high-traffic sites, with active community moderation/curation, moderators can be exception handlers. Coffee SE currently gets very little traffic, and has little community participation. How does/should that affect the role and activity of the moderators?

It means more tasks, even tasks that would normally be taken care of by high-rep users, need some mod attention. I previously mentioned going through the review queues. Another aspect where mods can help out is the tag system. Creating new tags and synonyms is a task that mods can accomplish easily while it would be harder without the mod diamond.

  1. Moderators tend to be selected from a site's most active and enthusiastic users. In small sites, the moderators are typically the community members most likely to be exploring how to increase site traffic and community participation. Do you have any thoughts on why Coffee SE's traffic and community participation are low, and any ideas of actions to explore to change that?

I think participation is low because it's hard to ask questions that haven't been asked. Additionally, there's a lot of information on the internet already, so it's often easier to use a search engine then to write up a question in hopes of getting a better answer in a reasonable time frame. Nevertheless, I think Coffee fulfills its function because part of that search engine traffic leads to our site, lifting on the broader Stack Exchange network's size.

As for increasing participation, I think it helps to have a bunch of regulars who welcome new users by providing answers, helpful comments and activity in chat. I think new users will be coming from other SE network sites because they're already familiar with the system as well as newcomers who enjoy the vibe around here. I don't think it's something we have to force, coffee is already immensely popular as a drink and those who want to get into it on a Q&A basis will find us eventually.

At this point I think the community is too small to have a contest in the way that Travel.SE has with its monthly photo competition. That doesn't mean fun activities are out, we can still have some fun on meta or in the chatroom by sharing coffee-related insights that are off-topic on the main site. Whether that's sharing some nice pictures discussing experiences with brewing equipment is up to the users. Again, I don't think this is something that has to be forced by the mod team, but it's nice to start some of those conversations to lower the bar for participation and to create the welcoming and casual atmosphere.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Copied verbatim from my Politics SE questionnaire less than a month ago:

The core mod tasks in my view are centered around the flag queue. That’s how mods are made aware of situations that require their attention. This flag queue is only accessible to mods and some employees. Therefore, being aware of what’s going on in the flag queue equals being up to speed with the issues in the community. Most flags are simple, they concern issues with individual comments or posts which require simple mod intervention. Some flags are more complex; they may concern patterns (sockpuppet voting or suspension circumvention) where users ask for further investigation. I’d say maintaining the flag queue is something all moderators must be involved in and it’s sufficient to keep the site running nicely.

The advanced mod tasks can be summarized as looking for issues proactively. Going through the flag queue often, you’ll notice patterns that require broader attention. I previously mentioned the example of a suspended user continuing their disruptive behavior using new accounts. How do we detect those new accounts and what should the mod team look for? Some patterns require the broader community to be attentive. For example, some of the top voted meta questions concern: responsible voting, guidance during high profile events, and customizing site options. Though not all of these are mod-exclusive, I feel mods are particularly suited for guiding the community because they have the best overview of what’s happening on the site.

Finally, there’s being regular users. I think it’s important that mods are also part of the community. Mods should know what it’s like to post and comment on the site, they should be familiar with broader SE etiquette, and they should be approachable. So, when a user raises an issue they can be assured that it'll be handled by a fellow user and not an outsider who isn’t directly invested in the community’s success.

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

Copied verbatim from my Politics SE questionnaire less than a month ago:

I don’t mind it when I’m acting as a user and I feel it helps when I’m acting as a mod. When I post on the main site, I don’t feel as though I’m posting as a mod.  When I’m commenting on someone’s post or participate on meta I’m aware of the diamond and it’s an extra reminder to be helpful and polite rather than argumentative and petty.

So yes, I’m happy with the diamond and in turn I hope the community will keep the mod team to the highest standards. Even more so than being a high rep user, mods are ambassadors for the community and with that additional power comes responsibility.

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

Mostly I think it helps that actions are binding. This site doesn't have a big community that can take on simple moderation tasks like closing questions or creating tag synonyms. That's something where mods can step in. In addition to that, there are mod-only actions like migrating questions or deleting promotional content where the diamond really helps.

Of course there's also the classic of suspending users. Though that's something useful, it's an action we don't need to use much over here, luckily. :)

This election is over.