# 2015 Moderator Election Q&A - Questionnaire

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.

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!

What is your opinion on the various types of homework questions and how they should be handled?

Do you think that a moderator should close and delete a scientifically relevant on-topic question for "legal reasons", because it touches the field of scheduled or controlled compounds? With other words: What is your stance on legal and moral concerns vs freedom of information?

You are invited on a prestigious mission to Mars to explode — ahem run tests on — the soil there. Clearly, you won't be able to moderate this site from there, and must reluctantly step down. Which, if any, of the other candidates would you recommend your voters go for, and why?

What time zone do you live in? When (UTC) would you be active on the site, moderating?

As the site grows, inevitably more time must be spent on moderation duties, and it should be taken into account that Chemistry.SE is young and may see high proportional growth in the following months. Would this significantly impact the way you currently contribute to the site? Do you feel this change in focus may potentially affect your overall enjoyment of the site and how much do you care for it? There is a large difference in contributing where you want at your desired pace, and being on call to solve problems.

Have you ever been in an argument with another user? Have you ever flared up on this site? If yes, how did it end?

Effective communication in the chemical sciences, technology, and education relies on extensive internationally standardized terminology, nomenclature, quantities, units, symbols, and typography. How seriously do you take conformity with these requirements with regard to this site? If applicable, what do you consider to be the roles of the moderators or other users in achieving conformity with the requirements?

What activities on the site suggest that you would be a good moderator? If you are currently a moderator, do you believe you've carried out the role effectively?

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?

Martin is my given name, マーチン is a japanese transliteration (and it reads maachin)

What is your opinion on the various types of homework questions and how they should be handled?

I think homework questions are vital to this site. They produce a never ending stream of traffic to our site. They are a good way to introduce the page to new users and more often than not they are profitable for more than the person asking. I think most importantly they generate a possibility for even high school students (or beginning learners in general) to answer those questions in return, making them an integral part of the community.

Personally I like homework type questions, they are usually nice puzzles, where you can let your mind drift away. I enjoy reading them and occasionally, if I have the time and the knowledge even answering them.

Of course the question has to be well asked. This is why we have the homework policy in the first place. Our goal as a community should be to improve the asked homework questions and guide the askers. (Shouldn't we be a bit more welcoming to new askers/ posters?) Most of the times this can be achieved by leaving a comment with a link to the policy. Sometimes it is possible to give an initial hint and wait for the user to improve the question.
In cases that violate the policy it is necessary to close the question. This applies especially to the questions where the exercise is copied verbatim (or even worse: just a screenshot), with no effort at all. If you would have asked me the question about a year ago, I would probably have said, close it as soon as possible. I am not so sure about that anymore. While I think that the reopening process works quite well on this site, I also think it is quite a slow process in the first place (much slower than closing). Closing a question might even be too discouraging and the user might never return, leaving the post dangling in the aether. I would nowadays probably opt for a little more breathing space for the user.

The discussion about homework questions will undoubtedly rise again. About a year ago jonsca summarised it quite well: Thanks for being more diligent about homework questions! I believe this post is still up to date. And to end this question, I would like to encourage each and everyone of us to upvote good homework questions, reward the effort made.

Do you think that a moderator should close and delete a scientifically relevant on-topic question for "legal reasons", because it touches the field of scheduled or controlled compounds? With other words: What is your stance on legal and moral concerns vs freedom of information?

To be perfectly honest here, I don't really understand the question. I am not an expert on legal matters. If a question is scientifically on topic it should not be closed and as a further consequence it should not be deleted. An example can be found in "How to represent a 3D model of cocaine?" This clearly 'touches' the field of controlled substances. It is perfectly on topic here as will many questions of this kind. Another question would be about the synthesis of controlled substances. Even here this might be of educational value. Of course we should not become the primary source for recipes to synthesise drugs. There is a whole field of pharmacology and toxicology out there and in some countries it is required to obtain knowledge on this field before receiving a degree in chemistry. I think the primary goal in answering these questions should be making safety issues aware to the asker and all other people reading the post.

When it comes to questions about medicine or drugs, there is already a custom close reason in place: How should we approach questions asking for chemical hygiene or safety/medical advice? I think the community here is aware enough of questions of this kind and moderator intervention might not even be necessary. A good example for these kind of questions can be found here: Looking for a compound. As long as such questions are not actively encouraging illegal activities, I do not see a reason why it should be removed. As a moderator I would be heavily relying on the community and in doubt bring it to meta to have a discussion.

You are invited on a prestigious mission to Mars to explode — ahem run tests on — the soil there. Clearly, you won't be able to moderate this site from there, and must reluctantly step down. Which, if any, of the other candidates would you recommend your voters go for, and why?

If it's not a TARDIS, I won't go aboard. If it is, I do not see any reason, why I should not be able to perform my duties. (You won't even notice that I am gone.)

I trust all of the other candidates and it already bothers me enough to make a choice on the election page. Everyone is perfectly suitable for the position and I believe the community will profit from each and everyone. Most of the times moderation is a community effort anyway.

This being said, I trust each and every user to make up her or his own mind.

What time zone do you live in? When (UTC) would you be active on the site, moderating?

Thank god, finally an easy question. I do currently live in Japan, which is UTC+9h. Unfortunately this will change within the next year, although it is not clear when. I have not a well established sleeping pattern, so predicting when I am online is almost impossible. Let me put it that way: I usually cover more than half a day. The exception is the weekend, where I am often out, but I would probably still find the time to have a look on flags, etc..

As the site grows, inevitably more time must be spent on moderation duties, and it should be taken into account that Chemistry.SE is young and may see high proportional growth in the following months. Would this significantly impact the way you currently contribute to the site? Do you feel this change in focus may potentially affect your overall enjoyment of the site and how much do you care for it? There is a large difference in contributing where you want at your desired pace, and being on call to solve problems.

I welcome the growth, I hope for it. I wish for diversity and more involvement. With a growing site, of course the community will grow, too. I believe many of the moderating is already done by the community, which should make it easy to adjust. I do not think that this can or will in any way impact my enjoyment of the site. Most of the time I keep an eye open on temporal issues already. I am a big fan of the tools page that is accessible for 10k users. You can easily find questions that need guidance and/or attendance. These are often enough things that can be managed in little time.

Since I have never been a moderator on such a site I cannot judge how this will impact how many questions I will answer. Whenever I answer I like to do a thorough bit of research, that is why I often answer questions very late. I believe there are several tabs open in my browser, which I find genuinely interesting and where I would like to write a thorough response. Unfortunately this takes time in any case, so I think being a moderator won't affect this.

Have you ever been in an argument with another user? Have you ever flared up on this site? If yes, how did it end?

A couple of months there was a User, who did not play by the rules, policies and/or guidelines. Guidance was given by the whole community, often it was completely ignored. The sad turning point was, that he offended me (and a couple of other users) personally. I have to admit, that there was a brief period where I thought I would have to let this site be. As a consequence of all of his actions this user was banned for a year. I am a very forgiving person and I tend to forget such instances. When this person returns, I will disregard any of his previous action. I believe in second, even third and more chances. I am no person who flares up, especially not on the internet. Here more than anywhere else it is much easier to just walk away, take a breather, focus and then engage in civil manner.

I believe on stackexchange there are many features in place, that ensure the peace. And these are of course rare circumstances. I am in general not a fan of drastic measures, but sometimes they might be necessary. Thank god, that in these cases there is a team of moderators in place, so that no person has to decide such measure by her/himself.

Effective communication in the chemical sciences, technology, and education relies on extensive internationally standardized terminology, nomenclature, quantities, units, symbols, and typography. How seriously do you take conformity with these requirements with regard to this site? If applicable, what do you consider to be the roles of the moderators or other users in achieving conformity with the requirements?

As much as possible. In other words: $\mathcal{M}_{ath}\mathrm{J^{a}X}\neq\LaTeX$. There are certain limitations to the site. However, I think there is an excellent meta post, which addresses this already: Should we correct math formatting? As someone with over a thousand edits by now you can see, that I am one who cares for things like that. As a moderator I will continue editing posts, providing examples for nice typesetting. However, I believe this is as much as a community effort, as removing buzzwords from question titles.

What activities on the site suggest that you would be a good moderator? If you are currently a moderator, do you believe you've carried out the role effectively?

I like my data nice and tidy. I keep an eye out for questions that can easily be improved by applying proper formatting, increasing searchability of question titles and proper tagging. I spent a decent amount of time flagging redundant or obsolete comments, to make important comments more visible or to remove distraction from the actual content of the question. As a chat regular I am accessible quite often and can be actively engaged in conversations.

I believe communication is very important on this site. We have meta and I am happy to see, that there is much more engagement here than there was a year ago. With a growing site this section will also gain more and more importance. And in turn this should make the site much more easy to moderate.

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?

Unfortunately this is also nothing new to me. I think flags can be dealt with on a case to case basis. In any case, constructive comments are a starting point and warnings in the same form might be the last resort that should be taken public. If a pattern evolves and there are more and more complaints about a single user, other steps have to be taken. I believe there are already mechanisms in place. As I already stated, I am not a fan of drastic measures, but sometimes they seem to be necessary and effective.

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

Since there is a moderator chat room, I believe this is the place to discuss. I think one of the purposes is seeking clarification and voicing concerns. Hopefully in such cases a consensus can be found rendering further actions unnecessary or if not things can be handled accordingly.

I assume these cases are very rare and most of them will be dealt before anything goes wrong. After all we are only humans and making mistakes is a common trait.

And we are finally done. If you read it all the way through to the end, thank you very much for your attention. If you feel like there is room for improvement, please leave a comment or find me in chat. If you choose the latter option, be prepared to follow rule #1.

• Whoever downvoted your post is detached from reality. – LordStryker Jun 18 '15 at 21:21
• Why was this downvoted? This isn't the way to award such a contributing user to the community. :( – M.A.R. Jun 18 '15 at 21:47

jonsca

What is your opinion on the various types of homework questions and how they should be handled?


Homework questions are fine, as long as the original poster has put in a reasonable amount of effort in trying to solve it themselves, and that answering them doesn't devolve into tutorial sessions in the comments. "Reasonable effort," in my mind, involves a brief explanation of how the OP has gone beyond the stated problem to acquire more information and begin to piece the puzzle together. This often leads to a "homework" question evolving into a more conceptual one, which is something that our experts are especially good at elucidating, and which also provides future readers a basis on which they can answer similar problems that they encounter.

Without question, users who copy/paste their homework exercises verbatim without any effort put forth are almost always asking after something that's too specific to the assignment or too broad to cover in a short answer. These, in my opinion, need to be closed, but certainly the user should be given ample opportunity to add in any additional details.

Do you think that a moderator should close and delete a scientifically relevant on-topic question for "legal reasons", because it touches the field of scheduled or controlled compounds? With other words: What is your stance on legal and moral concerns vs freedom of information?


My stance on these questions is relatively simple. Firstly, if a question, regardless of topic, doesn't use professional language, I encourage users to (and nudge, and eventually correct) keep the discourse scientific. If, in the case of questions on illicit substances, users would like to discuss paraphernalia and throw around slang, this is not the place for it.

In terms of legal concerns, as moderators, we are not in a position to judge legality or morality. My main criterion in evaluating questions/answers with questionable subject matter is whether someone could use the information as a recipe to create something that could be harmful to themselves. This is a rough measure, and I'm willing to turn to our panel of chemistry experts to make the final call, but if someone asks something like "How can I modify candy bars to poison my brother?", it's going to get closed and will likely be deleted.

So, my overall message in this regard is, if users keep it safe and keep it scientific, I have little reason to intervene. People may say this is a bit of a "hard line," but it has worked well thus far, in my opinion.

You are invited on a prestigious mission to Mars to explode — ahem run tests on — the soil there. Clearly, you won't be able to moderate this site from there, and must reluctantly step down. Which, if any, of the other candidates would you recommend your voters go for, and why?


All of the candidates are fantastically strong in this election. Since this is a fanciful question, I would say that users should vote for a hybrid of 20% of Manish's wisdom and experience, mixed with 20% of Martin's watchful eye, mixed with 20% of Lord Stryker's passion about protecting the content, mixed with 20% of santiago's attentiveness to new users, mixed with 20% of the fresh perspective that ringo brings to the table. I realize that hybrids are more of a vestige of the olden days of chemistry, but I think they are perfect in this instance!

What time zone do you live in? When (UTC) would you be active on the site, moderating?


I am on Eastern Time (UTC - 4:00 during this part of the year). I am mainly active between 7pm and 10pm, but I've been known to appear long after that. I make an attempt to check my comment pings once during the work day, but I cannot always reply. I do make every attempt to clear all flags within 24 hours, and usually much more quickly.

As the site grows, inevitably more time must be spent on moderation duties, and it should be taken into account that Chemistry.SE is young and may see high proportional growth in the following months. Would this significantly impact the way you currently contribute to the site? Do you feel this change in focus may potentially affect your overall enjoyment of the site and how much do you care for it? There is a large difference in contributing where you want at your desired pace, and being on call to solve problems.


This would not decrease my enjoyment of the site at all, but increase it even more. I have truly enjoyed going from a site that struggled to get a handful of questions a day to one that has a super strong user base and impressive statistics. The more the merrier!

Have you ever been in an argument with another user? Have you ever flared up on this site? If yes, how did it end?


I have been engaged in discussions in comments and in chat on other sites, yes. I don't believe I've ever "flared up" to any extent, though (since this is the internet, I'm sure people will find it if I had. That is not a challenge!). I am a very passionate person, particularly about keeping the sites clean and orderly, and I have been known to engage users over such matters. I have always kept the situation from ever getting personal, and I make an honest attempt to hash things out as effectively as possible, so that's how things usually ended.

Effective communication in the chemical sciences, technology, and education relies on extensive internationally standardized terminology, nomenclature, quantities, units, symbols, and typography. How seriously do you take conformity with these requirements with regard to this site? If applicable, what do you consider to be the roles of the moderators or other users in achieving conformity with the requirements?


While these characteristics of a post are important for polishing content to make it professional and pleasing to the eye, I'm happy to relegate these to the users rather than make them a part of moderation in any way. I rely on our typography and notation experts to police these to the extent possible, but priority number one is the content itself.

What activities on the site suggest that you would be a good moderator? If you are currently a moderator, do you believe you've carried out the role effectively?


Yes. I believe I have given a lot of time to being a good role model as the site evolved in guiding users to make good decisions about content (flagging and voting to close), teaching editors by example to improve content effectively, and keeping problematic users in check in a gentle but firm way. Without a lot of prodding, the community also took up these torches and has carried them incredibly effectively as the site has matured.

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?


Content is key to Stack Exchange, but more paramount is community. If someone is generating a large number of flags for being argumentative, I would leave a generic comment about keeping it civil and being nice, or perhaps in egregious cases issue a firm warning directly to the user in question. If the user did not elect to tone down and comply with the warning, I would send them a moderator message (without suspension) as a more serious warning, to document their behavior, and to inform them that further behavioral issues could result in consequences. It is my hope, as a moderator, that the user would steer straight at that point and be both a good citizen as well as a provider of great questions/answers from there on out.

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


Since we are all unique human beings, there will always be differences of opinions between moderators. My rule about this has always been to never engage a mod about it in front of users. I always approach the other mod(s) in private chat and discuss it there first. I would never reverse (and have not reversed) another mod's decision without having discussed it with them first. I am happy to say that I can count on less than half of one hand the number of times that I've had to engage another moderator in private about something they had done that I strongly disagreed with.

• I will accept any questions or comments on any of these responses, but I am in the election chatroom in case anyone would like to have an extended discussion. – jonsca Jun 16 '15 at 2:15

ManishEarth

What is your opinion on the various types of homework questions and how they should be handled?

Ones which are clearly asking about underlying concepts should be left alone.

I'm not too fond of non conceptual "help me" questions, but we are pretty liberal about them here. I do understand that if we're too heavy-handed on these we risk losing some nice contributors. So while I'd like to stem the flow of homework questions, I don't think we should be banning them entirely; I'm pretty happy with how we handle them now.

In general I expect homework questions to show some effort to solve it and some grasping towards a concept (as opposed to "please give me an answer" types).

Do you think that a moderator should close and delete a scientifically relevant on-topic question for "legal reasons", because it touches the field of scheduled or controlled compounds? With other words: What is your stance on legal and moral concerns vs freedom of information?

As far as freedom of information goes, I don't really think moderation here affects it -- if someone wants to post something there are plenty of places to do it. We're not obliged to give them a platform.

I'm still okay with such things being posted though. I generally keep a watch on them and try to see if they can be rendered harmless without affecting their content. Discussions on the post should not veer off into legal or moral things; they should stay technical.

You are invited on a prestigious mission to Mars to explode — ahem run tests on — the soil there. Clearly, you won't be able to moderate this site from there, and must reluctantly step down. Which, if any, of the other candidates would you recommend your voters go for, and why?

jonsca or Martin. I've worked with jonsca throughout the beta and he's a really great moderator; and dedicated! Martin has consistetly fed us with lots of flags and kept a watch on huge chunk of the site; something the mod team couldn't do on their own.

What time zone do you live in? When (UTC) would you be active on the site, moderating?

IST (GMT +5:30)

UTC 10 - UTC 18, generally. Though this is highly flexible; depending on my sleep schedule and classes this can even invert.

As the site grows, inevitably more time must be spent on moderation duties, and it should be taken into account that Chemistry.SE is young and may see high proportional growth in the following months. Would this significantly impact the way you currently contribute to the site? Do you feel this change in focus may potentially affect your overall enjoyment of the site and how much do you care for it? There is a large difference in contributing where you want at your desired pace, and being on call to solve problems.

I already don't contribute much, I only moderate :) On both Chemistry and Physics. I've found this birds eye view to be quite satisfying, and watching awesome stuff happening on the site, with the knowledge that my efforts are a part of keeping this going is where I get my enjoyment from.

Have you ever been in an argument with another user? Have you ever flared up on this site? If yes, how did it end?

On Chemistry: Not that I recall, no.

Elsewhere: Yes. I've flared up a couple of times, but this was almost always after the other party persistently was attacking me and not registering my arguments at all. Most arguments with me happen amicably and resolve some way or the other without incident.

Effective communication in the chemical sciences, technology, and education relies on extensive internationally standardized terminology, nomenclature, quantities, units, symbols, and typography. How seriously do you take conformity with these requirements with regard to this site? If applicable, what do you consider to be the roles of the moderators or other users in achieving conformity with the requirements?

I do not think it is the duty of the mods to improve formatting. However, I do think that the community as a whole should try to achieve this, or at least ask answerers to look at the MathJax tutorial and/or use precise terminology. Having a clean & readable site with standards-conformant text is quite important!

What activities on the site suggest that you would be a good moderator? If you are currently a moderator, do you believe you've carried out the role effectively?

Yes, I do believe so. There have been times when I haven't been able to moderate due to Real Life stuff, but aside from that I think I've done a good amount of janitorial work and helped resolve quite a few higher-level issues.

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 to handle the situation in private mod messages first. In the extreme case that the user isn't willing to improve, impose successively longer bans. I do not subscribe to the notion that technical communities should solely focus on the technical aspect of things and ignore the social aspect; so ignoring a user's social demerits for their technical merits is harmful to the community in my opinion. Technical merit may dictate how delicately the situation is to be handled, but not more than that.

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

Discuss it with the mod in Positronium, and try to resolve it internally. If we're not in agreement, go to meta and let the community decide.

As far as closing goes I'd like mods to stay away from unilateral closes (really obvious ones are fine) as much as possible. "possible" includes the current rate of these being handled by the community, of course, so if the community isn't able to handle the load the mods should jump in.

# I being of sound mind and coffee in hand do hereby declare... lets do this!

What is your opinion on the various types of homework questions and how they should be handled?

This might be unpopular but I love homework questions. Allow me to be more specific. I love good homework questions! Give me a question with some worked out details that indicate effort by the original poster and I'm totally on board. A good homework question is simply a puzzle that needs to be solved and I've learned many new things from these types of questions.

Bad homework questions that do not follow our site's guidelines simply should be closed. Period. Flag it, tag it, and bag it. However, I believe in giving the poster a small window of time to edit their question so that it appropriately adheres to the standard of this community. Sometimes we are too eager to close too suddenly.

Do you think that a moderator should close and delete a scientifically relevant on-topic question for "legal reasons", because it touches the field of scheduled or controlled compounds? With other words: What is your stance on legal and moral concerns vs freedom of information?

Lets face it. To say that a question 'touches' a field is very broad. This is chemistry and there are plenty of things in chemistry that can be used illicitly. This sort of thing is simply going to happen. Should a question be closed if it merely 'touches' on a field of scheduled or controlled compounds but is still relevant and on-topic? Absolutely not. However, if the topic grabs the field by the horns and rides it straight down the middle of main street with shotguns blazing in the air complete with a fireworks display coming out of their eyeballs then yeah I definitely think moderator intervention is required.

You are invited on a prestigious mission to Mars to explode — ahem run tests on — the soil there. Clearly, you won't be able to moderate this site from there, and must reluctantly step down. Which, if any, of the other candidates would you recommend your voters go for, and why?

First of all, I'd like to make it very clear to any potential recruiters out there with wise ideas that I will never, I repeat, never leave this planet under any circumstance. I'm too much of a whimp fan of our lovely planet to ever do that

Now, I find @jonsca's approach to this question quite clever. Spread the choice around to all the candidates. And that is just one of the reasons why we all love jonsca so much. My approach to this question is simply this.... If Martin was not one of the three moderators then I would pick him in a heartbeat. He wouldn't be a replacement but moreso a massive upgrade. He wouldn't be filling my shoes, he'd be tossing them and bringing in his own set of boots. Speaking of which, do Germans wear boots in Japan @Martin? Get back to me on that later. Or I can always post a question so you can reap the sweet, sweet karma. ;) (Omitted because stupid.)

Honestly, and this by no means lessens the contributions from any of the other nominees or users, but I've known Martin for quite a long time now and I can confidently say that if I were to meet him in person that I could legitimately call him a friend.

What time zone do you live in? When (UTC) would you be active on the site, moderating?

Central Time, USA (represent!). That is UTC -6:00. I have a day job at university that I get to early in the morning and do not leave until afternoon. The great Google online conversion computer told me that my hours in CST (~6AM-4PM) is UTC 11AM-9PM.

As the site grows, inevitably more time must be spent on moderation duties, and it should be taken into account that Chemistry.SE is young and may see high proportional growth in the following months. Would this significantly impact the way you currently contribute to the site? Do you feel this change in focus may potentially affect your overall enjoyment of the site and how much do you care for it? There is a large difference in contributing where you want at your desired pace, and being on call to solve problems.

BRING IT ON!! I've been here since Area 51. I've seen us through beta and graduation and now our very first election. Growth, community involvement, diversity... these are all things I said I wanted when we graduated! That about sums it up for me.

Have you ever been in an argument with another user? Have you ever flared up on this site? If yes, how did it end?

Once upon a time a user dropped in and disregarded the rules and policies of the community. Guidance was offered in multiple instances over a period of time but the user ignored it. Low quality, plagiarized answers were given and self-answered questions in Meta were created. Warnings were issued but the user ignored it. Arrogance, blatant disrespect and offensive words were exhibited from this user toward members of the community and despite moderator intervention, the user still ignored it. A ban was finally earned and we all moved on. Except this user still decides to come into my chatroom and cause a ruckus. After putting up with this behavior for over a year through constructive means, I finally called this person a d*ck. I haven't heard from them since so I'd say it ended pretty well.

Of course, the privileges the diamond brings alleviates that course of action by offering other reasonable means.

Effective communication in the chemical sciences, technology, and education relies on extensive internationally standardized terminology, nomenclature, quantities, units, symbols, and typography. How seriously do you take conformity with these requirements with regard to this site? If applicable, what do you consider to be the roles of the moderators or other users in achieving conformity with the requirements?

I say conform! Notation, style, etc. is very important in chemistry. This is a science and we want to be as correct as possible. Conformity will be a community effort. Everyone needs to be mindful and active in making sure the standards are being upheld.

Meta is a great place to discuss this sort of thing. Here, two ways of typesetting chemical formulas are presented. The wrong way looks ugly and is hard on the eyes. The right way is visually more pleasing and, of course, is accepted in many professional, scientific journals. We want our site to have a good image. We need to convince visitors that what we're doing here is legitimate, quality work. That starts with the simple things like this.

What activities on the site suggest that you would be a good moderator? If you are currently a moderator, do you believe you've carried out the role effectively?

Simple. Good community interaction, quality posts, and excitement (i.e. positive attitude). I camp out in chat quite a bit and I generally don't post answers to questions unless I'm feeling like I can knock it out of the park. I may have a PhD but that simply means that I recognize things I don't know more often now than I used to. I believe in good communication and I'm more than willing to learn the ropes and receive advice/insight from more experienced moderators.

The last bit is, in my opinion, my best feature! Whether it be talking about @santiago's dissertion on "How to lol effectively in SE chatrooms" or driving the hype-train to Avogadro2, I'm always looking for something to be positively goofy (or goofy-ly positive) about!

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?

Oh I know the answer to this because we had a user just like this a couple years ago! Constructive comments, invitations to engage the user in discussions, and warnings! After a reasonable amount of time has passed, if the user is still causing problems with the community then a temporary ban! The problem was solved in this fashion and I see no reason to deviate from this general process.

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

Well this certainly never happened before in cough Academia:SE cough. Well, firstly I'd be very upset because, well, I'm this thing called a human being and that is just what we do. But that wouldn't solve anything so I'd take a deep breath and take it to Meta and try to seek clarification on the policies and/or suggest a change in policy in a constructive way. That's what Meta is for. Just be sure to check the drama at the door!

I may edit/tweak this post in the future.

I'll take a note from jonsca and leave an open invitation for discussion in chat if you so desire. I certainly welcome you to come talk to me.

• I am very honoured by your post (it made me cry a little), and I would also call you a friend. – Martin - マーチン Jun 16 '15 at 18:11
• Oops.. I didn't check this page before commenting on the original questionnaire post. Yes, you answered it perfectly well. Thank you and good luck. – user223679 Jun 19 '15 at 20:17

santiago

What is your opinion on the various types of homework questions and how they should be handled?


Some homework questions can be of good quality. Personally, I do not have a problem with homework questions - but with the caveat that they show a significant attempt and the thoughts of the OP.

Homework questions, of course, do not always show this effort. What I do (and still do) is to edit in the and format the text if necessary, then place a standard message welcoming the member to the site, but providing a link to the homework policy and stating that we are not a homework completion service (in a nice way).

Homework questions can provide an opportunity to post an answer that dispels bad academic habits (e.g. rounding too early) or provide techniques that could benefit anyone.

Do you think that a moderator should close and delete a scientifically relevant on-topic question for "legal reasons", because it touches the field of scheduled or controlled compounds? With other words: What is your stance on legal and moral concerns vs freedom of information?


The main focus of the site is the science of chemistry. If the question relates to chemicals or chemical processes, then it can be argued that it is not about anything illegal. However, this is where a hard and fast rule would not be possible - should there be any mention of anything illegal (and/or dangerous), then the OP needs to be made aware and given a chance to bring the question back to the science.

Some topics are blatantly off topic - "how to make..[illegal or harmful object] then these should be closed and deleted.

Having said all that, I would consult professionals and fellow mods (just while I was learning, should I become a mod).

You are invited on a prestigious mission to Mars to explode — ahem run tests on — the soil there. Clearly, you won't be able to moderate this site from there, and must reluctantly step down. Which, if any, of the other candidates would you recommend your voters go for, and why?


Love this question! I would allow the SE election process to take place, allow people to nominate and the election process.

However, I would stay a member with one heck of a satellite connection.

What time zone do you live in? When (UTC) would you be active on the site, moderating?


I live in UTC+10 hours, I am active in the early hours of the UTC morning. I never sleep, and even if I do, I am lurking here.

As the site grows, inevitably more time must be spent on moderation duties, and it should be taken into account that Chemistry.SE is young and may see high proportional growth in the following months. Would this significantly impact the way you currently contribute to the site? Do you feel this change in focus may potentially affect your overall enjoyment of the site and how much do you care for it? There is a large difference in contributing where you want at your desired pace, and being on call to solve problems.


It would not really be a problem, I am often in the background editing, flagging etc. This can increase without a problem.

Have you ever been in an argument with another user? Have you ever flared up on this site? If yes, how did it end?


Almost flared up, but put my energy in my meta post "The Angry Homework Vampire", a bit of a satirical heading for a very serious point.

Exactly as Klaus stated in his reply, relax and follow the procedures. There are a myriad of resources to direct any angry user to (probably when they have calmed down).

When the members got angry, they protested and carried on, but in the end - to their credit - they ended up contributing positively - that is the ultimate goal.

Effective communication in the chemical sciences, technology, and education relies on extensive internationally standardized terminology, nomenclature, quantities, units, symbols, and typography. How seriously do you take conformity with these requirements with regard to this site? If applicable, what do you consider to be the roles of the moderators or other users in achieving conformity with the requirements?


I am very serious with this - my edits are making sure the formatting is correct. If I am not sure, I will look up the typography, units, quantities, etc. Researching does not necessarily just mean looking up the concept, but the correct way that it is written.

This is very important for the Chemistry.SE to stand shoulder to shoulder with more established sites.

What activities on the site suggest that you would be a good moderator? If you are currently a moderator, do you believe you've carried out the role effectively?


I have been endeavouring to greet new users who have made a shaky start to their time here. Additionally, assisting by editing posts to not only make their contribution conform and readable, but also through the edit history, show them how such edits are done.

Additionally, giving feedback for people who have edited their posts, and further suggestions as necessary.

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?


Content is extremely important to the site, so in any communication, I would endeavour (with the cooperation of fellow mods) to keep their contributions coming. However, communication is also critical in circumstances such as this - starting with a gentle reminder in the comments, through to more pronounced (with a link to the 'Be Nice' policy).

If the behaviour continues, the comments will become more pointed, then to moderator messages - partly as an indication of the seriousness, but also to preserve their dignity (no public humiliation), then if necessary, then a suspension may be required.

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


Once again, communication is the key - in this case, communication with fellow mods. Additionally, as we have a brilliant community, comments with discussion either way would no doubt present itself - an eye needs to be cast over these comments - hence, drawing on the expertise and experience of Chem.SE members.