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Computer Science is scheduled for an election next week, January 21st. In connection with that, we will be holding a Q&A with the candidates. This will be an opportunity for members of the community to pose questions to the candidates on the topic of moderation. Participation is completely voluntary.

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

Unlike the previous election back in 2015, this time the Q&A question collection will be provided one week in advance of the actual elections. This will allow users some extra time to evaluate their decision on whether to nominate, as well as let them provide answers to the questionnaire during the nomination phase itself.

Here's how it'll work:

  • Until the nomination phase, (so, until Monday, January 21st at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 3:00 pm EST on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure - it is a company holiday as well), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.

  • We, the Community Team, will be providing a small selection of generic questions. The first two will be guaranteed to be included, the latter ones are if the community doesn't supply enough questions. This will be done in a single post, unlike the prior instruction.

  • If your question contains a link, please use the syntax of [text](link), as that will make it easier for transcribing for the finished questionnaire.

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

  • At the start of the nomination phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions.

  • Once questions have been selected, a new question will be opened to host the actual questionnaire for the candidates, typically containing 10 questions in total.

  • This is not the only option that users have for gathering information on candidates. As a community, you are still free to, for example, hold a live chat session with your candidates to ask further questions, or perhaps clarifications from what is provided in the Q&A.

If you have any questions or feedback about this process, feel free to post as a comment here.

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    $\begingroup$ It would be more useful if the bulletin showed the current phase and its deadline (currently: nomination, ends Jan 28). That would make clearer what the current call to action is ("nominate yourself!" as opposed to "vote now!"). $\endgroup$ – Raphael Jan 22 at 19:25

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What is this site's biggest challenge? How do you think it could be solved? (This doesn't need to involve moderators: if you think the solution needs to come from a different class of users, or from Stack Exchange, that's fine.)

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Comments are starting to build up on a question. A commenter asserts that the question makes no sense and should be closed. The asker maintains that the question is perfectly clear. You have no idea as it's about a domain of CS that you know nothing about. What do you do?

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What is your take on "problem dumps", "check my work" and "hint-only answers", respectively?

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Some common tasks for the community do not (seem to) have a single clear solution, such as how to handle unclear or underspecified questions. Individual users have different approaches to such a problem that all have their benefits and flaws and sometimes interfere with eachother.

What, if anything, do you think you (as a moderator) can or should do about such a lack of consensus in the community?

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  • $\begingroup$ This question turned out to be a bit long. Feel free to edit or suggest ways to make it more clear or more concise. $\endgroup$ – Discrete lizard Jan 15 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe make it more generally about how to establish policy? $\endgroup$ – Raphael Jan 19 at 9:57
  • $\begingroup$ I guess that would be more to the point. But I'm also interested is the opinion regarding this specific topic. I'll make it two questions, then. $\endgroup$ – Discrete lizard Jan 19 at 11:12
  • $\begingroup$ On second thought, I can't really think of a clear question that is not a specialization of this one. I'll keep it like this. $\endgroup$ – Discrete lizard Jan 19 at 11:25
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In what ways have you already been contributing to moderating the site, with the tools available to you as a member of the community? What do you see as your most significant contributions to site moderation so far?

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Someone posts a question that seems fine. It may well be homework, but it's not too broad to answer, and the asker has tried a reasonable approach and got stuck.

A flag on the question claims that the question is part of an ongoing contest that forbids online assistance, asks for the question to be speedily deleted, and requests to send identifying information to the contest organizers so that they can ban the asker for cheating in the contest.

What do you do?

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Here is a set of general questions, gathered as very common questions asked every election. As mentioned in the instructions, the first two questions are guaranteed to show up in the Q&A, while the others are if there aren't enough questions (or, if you like one enough, you may split it off as a separate answer for review within the community's 8).

  • How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?
  • How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

  • In your opinion, what do moderators do?
  • A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?
  • In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
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Assume the community acts differently than you would have, or directly rescinds one of your actions, e.g. closing or reopening. What do you do?

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Has your behavior been claimed to be nonconstructive by moderators on any Stack Exchange sites (including chat) to a degree that might (or did) lead to suspension if you did not change your behavior? If yes, explain the situation, and if you have learned any lessons from the interaction.

How would you handle a user in a similar situation if you become a moderator?


(I meant to ask a similar question, and looking back at the last election's question session I found Kaveh's question which I quite like. So my formulation here is heavily inspired by Kaveh, though I have modified it.)

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What do you see as the mission of cs.SE? Should we be a Q&A repository, a (self-)teaching tool, a homework service, ...?

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