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


Chemistry Stack Exchange is scheduled for an election next week, 2022-07-25. 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 2022-07-25 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.

  • 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.

  • We, the Community Team, will be providing a small selection of generic questions. The following two questions are guaranteed to be included:

    • 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?
  • The community team may also include the following three questions if the community doesn’t supply enough questions.

    • 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?
  • 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. We exclude any suggested questions that are negatively scored.

    • We will post the final questionnaire on the Election page. Candidates will have the option to fill out the questionnaire, and their answers will appear beneath their intro statements.
    • 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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    $\begingroup$ As a fairly active user on this site (I know I'm not as active here as I am on other sites, but I'm in the top 12% overall for rep and much better than that for reviews and Meta participation), I'm disappointed that there's only 7 days between the announcement and the nomination period. I know that Todd posted his resignation message 2 months ago, but today is the first time that you're telling us the date when the nomination period begins, and I simply do not think it's long enough for more than just a handful of the most active users to participate in the question collection, etc. $\endgroup$ Jul 18, 2022 at 23:36
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    $\begingroup$ The election process already takes 3/4 weeks, and it's relatively taxing on the community. I don't think dragging it out any longer than that is advisable, but we'll give it some thought. $\endgroup$
    – JNat StaffMod
    Jul 19, 2022 at 10:40
  • $\begingroup$ @JNat Hey, this is my question. "How good is it when moderators take strict actions like closing questions and immediate down-voting for new contributors when they ask questions which are not very good?" $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2022 at 2:38
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    $\begingroup$ If you have questions you want to be a part of the questionnaire, they should go in separate answers to this question, @Shiva, not in comments. $\endgroup$
    – JNat StaffMod
    Jul 21, 2022 at 9:48

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Do you think that user participation on Chemistry Meta needs to be increased? If so, how would you encourage this?

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Being a moderator is time-consuming. Which of your activities on Chemistry StackExchange would you have to dial back to make time for moderating?

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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?

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Are you sure you're patient, level-headed and good-tempered enough for the job?

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As someone who has been using the moderator close option frequently it may strike some as ironic that I ask this, but I am looking for clarification on why this question was closed. It strikes me as reasonable and the answer is not trivial. It would have merited closing as a dupe if one were found (there are related questions but I did not find a true dupe; finding dupes takes time!). I'd reopen the post but hesitate (unlike unilateral closing, which I see as a non-ideal but useful, given the volume of questions). Negative scores on answers (now zeros) mean roomba would eventually remove the post.

What would you do as a moderator in such a situation (reasonable and potentially useful question with slight flaws and negative score (and here closed), possible dupe, nontrivial potentially useful answers with negative score)? Move on to more important tasks? Continue searching for dupes? Upvote the existing answers and vote to reopen? Other? How might this more generally reflect your "moderation philosophy"?

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In light of the 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)
  • Should there be a "community specific" close to migrate to Matter Modeling?
  • How would this be made clear to new users, who may not know of one or the other site, or why some questions may be better suited for one site or another?
  • How do we minimize people posting questions in both places?
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    $\begingroup$ Too late, questions were already collected. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Jul 26, 2022 at 18:35
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    $\begingroup$ Unfortunately it's to late to include this, but I think we should generally have this discussion on here. I guess after the election would be a good time. I also think that this would be discussed beyond the elected moderators scope. For example, I usually follow a couple of steps, but that is just my way of handling this. At the same time, we just include the other community, too. $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2022 at 22:51
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TL/DR How can you (or we) make the site more welcoming towards the new users?


Nilay asked in essence an important question. The underlying suggestion that we might have greater participation by changing some aspects of interaction on the site is valuable.

But I also agree with Martin that unfair assumptions might be made about the attitude or role of moderators. Mods can play roles in "setting the tone" and through "editorial tasks". They can "set the tone" for behavior in the community, on purpose or not, through explicit communication but also through editorial actions. Some of the actions mods take could be categorized as "tough love", for instance closing questions that are lacking in clarity or focus, in an attempt to help bring some order to the stream of posts (a sort of preliminary editorial role) and to help valuable questions find answers (I allude to this role in another question).

All this should be done while respecting the voice of the community in as democratic a way as possible, and while observing the posted goals and rules of the site.

So to avoid redundancy with orthocresol's question, I will take the liberty to rephrase Nilay's question: "How can you (or we) make the site more welcoming towards the new users?"

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