# 2021 Moderator Election Q&A - Question Collection

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

Chemistry is scheduled for an election next week, 5 April, 2021. 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.

Here's how it'll work:

• Until the nomination phase, (so, until 5 April 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.

• 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 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. 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.

• 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.

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?

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

## 8 Answers

Since about one or two years, four of the elected seven moderators no longer participate in the curation of this site. Why do you think their reasons would not apply to you?

• It looks like we have five current moderators. One has not been on the site for 1.5 years, so your question does seem valid. – Karsten Theis Mar 31 at 20:43
• I would rather want to know as a user of the site what methods exist to ensure the moderators actively participate. It's not clear if you are being critical of SE's attitude toward moderators or whether you would be skeptical of claimed enthusiasm to do this job? – Buck Thorn Apr 1 at 18:30
• "Should moderators unionize...?" – Buck Thorn Apr 1 at 18:30
• @BuckThorn Unionization potential might be too high to be energetically viable. – andselisk Apr 2 at 6:55
• Being a moderator sounds like it should be an interesting position, even if not one that one would necessarily want to perform in perpetuity. Would be good to have a clearer statement from former moderators. I should add that it is obviously a concern if former moderators are upset about some aspect that came with the "job". There are other posts on meta that explain what happened roughly a year ago regarding friction between moderators and the SE admins. Would be good to know if this at all related to your question (a little more transparency please). – Buck Thorn Apr 3 at 7:15

Quoting from the site tour: "Chemistry is a question and answer site for scientists, academics, teachers and students in the field of chemistry." The site clearly aims to be of interest to all chemists—from absolute beginners to reputable academics. Do you think this is truly possible? How would you ensure that beginners aren't turned away by incomprehensible research-level questions, while also enticing so-called "experts" to participate on a site with a lot of uninteresting high school questions? Alternatively, should these target audiences be separated somehow (by setting up a different site, for example)?

[Please note that I am not referring to being "welcoming", "friendly", or anything pertaining to the tone of interactions on the site. It goes without saying that rudeness is not OK, regardless of whom you are speaking to. I mean this as a more fundamental question about the target audience which the site wants to attract and cultivate.]

In light of the new Matter Modeling site, and some users posting questions on both, what are your views on how the sites should interact?

• Should there be certain types of questions migrated to Matter Modeling? (e.g., that seem to be a better fit.. like ones specific to a particular program)
• How might cross-promotion work (e.g., some questions at Matter Modeling seem to be a better fit on Chem.SE)
• I'm posting this because I see some of my graduate students seem unclear on where to find particular answers or where to post questions. (I'd personally want to know how potential moderators feel about this.) – Geoff Hutchison Mar 31 at 18:08
• I like this question and I'm thankful you've asked it. I also think we should have a more detailed conversation about this. I see some talking points that would simply not fit into the comments or even the questionnaire. We should probably pick this up after the election. – Martin - マーチン Apr 3 at 18:25

How would you handle an established user (say, a member for over six months and over 500 rep points) who is contributing in Q&A in a good faith, but keeps on ignoring site mechanisms and recommended notations? For example, they:

• post short comments and hints as answers;
• answer questions by editing them;
• misuse MathJax (e.g. \ce{pK_a}; \pu{H_2O}; \mathrm{c=n/V});
• misuse Markdown (e.g. RANDOM excessive emphasis);
• don't bother with proper formatting (e.g. post a wall of text or formulas in text mode claiming LaTeX syntax is too hard);
• don't bother with proper references and post Google query links as such;
• do partial edits (e.g. only edit tags they are interested in, or do superfluous corrections ignoring blatant errors and text screenshots);
• write number of moles or just moles in place of amount of substance.

You corrected them numerous times in comments or chat rooms. It seems a consensus is reached, but a week passes and it's back to square one. Your actions?

• Suspend them for 365 days and destroy their account. – orthocresol Mar 29 at 20:28
• When I saw the bit about pKa, I thought you were talking about me and I got all nervous. Yes, I meant to say $\mathrm{p}K_\mathrm{a}$ ... – Karsten Theis Mar 31 at 20:40
• @KarstenTheis Ten more times?:D – andselisk Mar 31 at 20:51
• No soup for me huh? – Buck Thorn Apr 1 at 18:24
• @BuckThorn Let me assure you I look nothing like Al Pacino. Seriously, I'm not sure how to handle such cases, so you may consider it a genuine question, not a blackmail attempt. Currently I either downvote, or edit and undownvote after a couple of days depending on the mood. This is less than optimal. – andselisk Apr 2 at 7:00
• I'm referring to an episode of an american sitcom and hope it's obvious I'm largely kidding (smiley face: :)) However it is known you are a stickler for observation of proper formatting (and that you do an outsized job on the site, kudos!). – Buck Thorn Apr 2 at 7:10

As a moderator you will probably have to mediate arguments on this site and its chat rooms.
Have you ever yourself 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?

How much time will you be able to dedicate to moderatorial issues? Do you think that being a moderator will take away from the way you are using the site now?
Have you been active in chat? If not, will you reconsider and be more available to other users and also moderators via the site's chat rooms? (Hint: There is top-super-secret moderator chat room to coordinate efforts.)

The website contains many many closely related if not identical questions, plus new questions probably related to old ones springing up every day.

What is your editorial philosophy? For instance, should the site strive to be slim, with a minimalist set of questions, rejecting potential duplicates as much as possible, or somewhat inflated, accepting redundancy? What do you prioritize?

### Changes to the site

Do you believe your role is to improve the site by helping us to change it in some way? If so, what do you think warrants improvement, and what are your suggestions to address these issues?

• Your question is pretty vague. Mods can't change the site itself, only influence community. – Mithoron Apr 1 at 17:18