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Chemistry is scheduled for an election starting next week, October 3rd. In connection with that election, we will be hosting a Q&A here for 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.

This is similar to how we did it last year. However, we're trying an experiment where we push the two sessions of this back one week - question collection beginning a week before the actual election, and then the questionnaire opening when nominations begin.

On the one hand, this will mean that the nomination phase will not exist for users to get information about candidates in order to formulate questions. On the other hand, this will allow candidates to have a fixed set of questions ready by the time they start writing up their nominations, and give them time to have their responses up before any actual voting begins.

Here's how it'll work:

  • Until the nomination phase, (so, until Monday, October 3rd at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 4:00 pm EDT on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.

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

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

  • Please use link syntax using the [](URL) syntax instead of the syntax which puts the URLs at the bottom of the post - it will make creating the resulting questionnaire significantly easier if you do so. Placing raw URLs is fine as well.

  • At the end of the collection phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions. We reserve some editorial control in the selection of the questions and may opt not to select a question that is tangential or irrelevant to moderation or the election. That said, if I have concerns about any questions in this fashion, I will be sure to point this out in comments before the decision making time.

  • Once questions have been selected, a new meta post will be opened to host the actual questionnaire for the candidates, containing (up to) 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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  • $\begingroup$ Nice. I didn't really notice when the process changed. When did the process change? $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. Sep 28 '16 at 10:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubisco We started trying this out two weeks ago with GIS. $\endgroup$ – Grace Note Oct 3 '16 at 18:50

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is a topic that has been hanging over our heads for some time now and we as a community still have not found a solution on how to effectively handle such questions. Hence here is a (kind of lengthy) (set of) question(s):

What is your opinion on the various types of homework questions and how should they be handled? What do you think about our current homework policy? Do you think it needs to be improved or would you deem it sufficient? If you have not weighed in yet, what should be closed as homework and what not? What is your takeaway from our not-closing experiment?

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How would you handle a user that has blatantly plagiarized material for use in multiple answers? Assuming you have dealt with the matter appropriately, what would you do if the user continued to offend in this manner?

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  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking about adding a plagiarising question but I couldn’t find a good wording. Thanks! =) $\endgroup$ – Jan Sep 30 '16 at 8:48
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    $\begingroup$ You could always copy mine. $\endgroup$ – jonsca Oct 1 '16 at 2:17
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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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Is there something you think the current community moderators are not doing or doing wrong? How would you fix it, or what would you try to do to fix it?

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This is a bit in the spirit of the example question

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?

Since everything you ever did on this site will be seen in a different light, let's talk about the possibility of arguments.

Have you ever been in an argument with another user (on this site)? If yes, how did it come about and how was it handled in the end? Have you ever flared up on this site? If yes, how did it end? As a moderator how would you handle an argument/ someone being rude if it came to your notice?

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  • $\begingroup$ I think you should remove the make-up and the skin and let only the flesh remain. These questions will be pasted verbatim in questionnaire answers you know. I could've edited it out but I thought it might trigger a bunch of sirens like it did last time. $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. Sep 28 '16 at 21:11
  • $\begingroup$ @rubi meh. I suppose it's fine this way. Someone needs to go through and combine these anyway, this way, they can be placed together (if both are chosen) to retain context. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Sep 29 '16 at 8:16
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How would you handle the situation if you had a user whose questions were being received negatively by the community for being "out in left field" or not based in scientific truth? At which point would you intervene, if at all?

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As the site grows, how do you intend to keep the quality of questions and answers high - not just in terms of weeding out bad Q/As, but also attracting good Q/As?

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    $\begingroup$ To be honest, I think that is a community effort. I don't think any one moderator can influence how the site attracts good questions, or prevents bad ones, apart from up/down voting them. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Sep 27 '16 at 9:04
  • $\begingroup$ I think so too. I have no idea how I would do it either. The situation is not all doom and gloom, as I might have portrayed it as - we do have quite a few good contributors. I kind of wanted to make a meta post, but since this popped up, I figured I'd just see if anybody had any ideas (beyond community review, which is doing its job pretty well, in my opinion). $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Sep 27 '16 at 9:10
  • $\begingroup$ Wow, this thing is hopefully gonna appear in the questionnaire, ya know. If it bothers you a lot, you can ask it after the election somewhere separate. $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. Sep 28 '16 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ I think this was fine. I wouldn't put the preamble with it, but the question at its heart is a good one. $\endgroup$ – jonsca Sep 29 '16 at 23:14
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Do you have any specific focus in moderation duties (or otherwise!) you intend to bring to the table?

From 2015 Moderator Questions

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What's the most important quality a moderator should have, in your opinion?

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  • $\begingroup$ This question is less objective than the others, but it would be interesting to see what future mods want to see in a moderator. $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. Sep 30 '16 at 15:23
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The Stack Exchange model can be challenging for new users to grasp. Exposition of various details of what users can/cannot do, what moderators can/cannot do, how the internals of the SE sites work, etc. can be difficult to find, except by trial and error or by happenstance conversations with other users.

Imagine that you have encountered a user in the transition from just learning the ropes to becoming a stable, upstanding member of the community. This user is frustrated by their inability to find detailed information about aspects of the inner workings of the SE site model. Do you engage with them and try to help them out? If yes, how would you go about it? What sorts of tucked-away resources would you direct them to?

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  • $\begingroup$ This question may not really fall specifically within mod responsibilities/expectations, but it represents my experience (if I can be so impertinent as to call myself an upstanding member of the community...) and without a kind mod taking the time to help me out (Thanks, Mart!) I might have given up on Chem.SE. $\endgroup$ – hBy2Py Oct 1 '16 at 2:11
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I have heard a moderator say they ‘saw some flags they rather would not have seen’ (or something along those lines). Assume that there is an stream of flag that altogether have a rather irritating effect on you. How will you handle the situation?

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  • $\begingroup$ Hint; ice cream solves all teh things $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. Oct 1 '16 at 10:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubisco Some swear on coffee or chocolate ;) $\endgroup$ – Jan Oct 2 '16 at 17:57

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