2022 Moderator Election

nomination began
Sep 26 at 20:00
election began
Oct 3 at 20:00
election ended
Oct 11 at 20:00
candidates
9
positions
4

On Stack Exchange, we believe the core moderators should come from the community, and be elected by the community itself through popular vote. We hold regular elections to determine who these community moderators will be.

Community moderators are accorded the highest level of privilege on our community, and should themselves be exemplars of positive behavior and leaders within the community.

Our general criteria for moderators is as follows:

  • patient and fair
  • leads by example
  • shows respect for their fellow community members in their actions and words
  • open to some light but firm moderation to keep the community on track and resolve (hopefully) uncommon disputes and exceptions

Full elections have three phases and an optional fourth phase (Primary):

  1. Question Collection
  2. Nomination
  3. Primary
  4. Election

Please participate in the moderator elections by voting, and perhaps even by nominating yourself to be a community moderator!

Additional Links

Questionnaire
The community team has compiled questions from meta for the candidates to answer.
  1. 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?

[Answer 1 here]

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

[Answer 2 here]

  1. What areas of moderator activity do you think require more attention/effort than currently given? Alternatively/additionally, if you think some aspects of Politics SE are over-moderated, which are those, in your view?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. How would you deal with flags that are not raised because of quality but because a question/answer contradicts a popular narrative?

[Answer 4 here]

  1. As a moderator your actions such as close votes will be binding and take only you for the action to complete. Will this change the way you interact on the site and what actions you take?

[Answer 5 here]

  1. Because this site often attracts people who want to vent their political frustrations, the questions asked here are often designed to push political narratives. There is a certain balance to be struck between maintaining a collegiate environment in which genuine curiosity should be allowed, while obvious sealioning should be discouraged. Sometimes this balance must be maintained by the moderators. Do you think moderators should be involved in this? If you do, what methodology (if any) do you plan on using to achieve this goal as a moderator?

[Answer 6 here]

  1. Invariably, users will want to debate where questions cross the community defined good-faith standard (which now has its own close reason). Do you think the standard is sufficient as-is or is there anything you would like to see added or removed?

[Answer 7 here]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 8 here]

  1. 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?

[Answer 9 here]

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

[Answer 10 here]

ohwilleke

I'm a busy attorney who is running to give you choices. I won't be crushed if you don't choose me. But, if you can't find enough candidates who are sufficiently good for you to be comfortable with among the other ones running, I'll dutifully carry out the job.

Still, if you can fill your slate with other decent candidates without voting for me, please do that instead. Consider voting for me a last resort if you feel you don't have other good choices.

Questionnaire
  1. 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?

Patiently engaging with this person and aggressively moderating their comments.

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

Discuss the matter on Politics.Meta.

  1. What areas of moderator activity do you think require more attention/effort than currently given? Alternatively/additionally, if you think some aspects of Politics SE are over-moderated, which are those, in your view?

I think the site is a bit heavy handed in prematurely closing potentially viable questions and would prefer to provide an opportunity to see how people trying to answer it interpret the question to see if it really has the problems claimed.

  1. How would you deal with flags that are not raised because of quality but because a question/answer contradicts a popular narrative?

I would not take action to remove the flag unless it is genuinely warranted.

  1. As a moderator your actions such as close votes will be binding and take only you for the action to complete. Will this change the way you interact on the site and what actions you take?

Not really.

  1. Because this site often attracts people who want to vent their political frustrations, the questions asked here are often designed to push political narratives. There is a certain balance to be struck between maintaining a collegiate environment in which genuine curiosity should be allowed, while obvious sealioning should be discouraged. Sometimes this balance must be maintained by the moderators. Do you think moderators should be involved in this? If you do, what methodology (if any) do you plan on using to achieve this goal as a moderator?

Closing obviously ideological push questions in consistent with Politics.SE policy. Where possible suggesting edits that could cure the issue, however, is appropriate, and sometimes a moderator can simply excise objectionable paragraphs in a question to salvage it.

  1. Invariably, users will want to debate where questions cross the community defined good-faith standard (which now has its own close reason). Do you think the standard is sufficient as-is or is there anything you would like to see added or removed?

I think that the standard is sufficient.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Regulate policy violations that prevent the site from being a good environment for carrying out its purpose and nudge new users unfamiliar with the site about how to conform to its norms and rules in a gentle, encouraging manner.

  1. 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?

Don't care.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

It provides an ability to intervene more quickly in the case of very bad posts. But, honestly, it is indeed only a minor deal that I could live without.

JonathanReez

If I win I promise to be extremely vigilant about preventing long comment threads and mercilessly sending comments to chat once there's more than 10 comments under a given post. Other than that I will maintain the moderation standards as they exist today.

Questionnaire
  1. 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?

Warning → ban for 1 day → ban for 7 days → ban for 30+ days. I think that bans should be given out more easily to repeat offenders and we shouldn't worry about losing their "stream of valuable answers".

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

I will discuss this question with all the site moderators in the mod chat. If we can't reach an agreement (such as asking the community's opinion in Meta) and I believe it's important to set a precedent, I will invite a site admin to join the mod chat and let them render a judgement. The escalation to site admins is a measure of last resort and I've never actually used it during my 3 years as a mod on Travel.SE.

  1. What areas of moderator activity do you think require more attention/effort than currently given? Alternatively/additionally, if you think some aspects of Politics SE are over-moderated, which are those, in your view?

Purging long comment threads into chat.

  1. How would you deal with flags that are not raised because of quality but because a question/answer contradicts a popular narrative?

I'll decline the flag.

  1. As a moderator your actions such as close votes will be binding and take only you for the action to complete. Will this change the way you interact on the site and what actions you take?

Yes, I'll stop voting to close/reopen/delete questions unless it's obvious spam.

  1. Because this site often attracts people who want to vent their political frustrations, the questions asked here are often designed to push political narratives. There is a certain balance to be struck between maintaining a collegiate environment in which genuine curiosity should be allowed, while obvious sealioning should be discouraged. Sometimes this balance must be maintained by the moderators. Do you think moderators should be involved in this? If you do, what methodology (if any) do you plan on using to achieve this goal as a moderator?

The entire problem will go away if we start purging every single comment thread into chat as soon as there's more than ~10 comments in a short period of time. Let people vent in chat and vote on the questions/answers as they see fit.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

20k rep users can't purge comments to chat.

Philip Klöcking

You probably do not know me, and if so, not from this site. I haven't been active much on this site and am more of a lurker. I want to enable you all to have a real choice between candidates so that there is no "best of the rest" effect but rather several viable candidates to choose from, if possible. Of course, I'll beef up my participation and be there for the community.

Why elect me at all, then? I am an elected moderator on an similarly active site, Philosophy.SE and fairly active on a much less active site, MartialArts.SE. Therefore, I know the mechanics, moderator duties, and especially the problems of smaller sites. And I have a very clear image of how I'd moderate this site, see my questionnaire.

As of my background, I studied economics and philosophy in my minor and have a major in philosophy with an emphasis on human rights and political philosophy. And I am an active reader of several international media outlets to keep track on the several standpoints and different media coverage of political ongoings.

Questionnaire
  1. 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?

There actually is such a case on Philosophy at the moment. My clear call is that disruptive behaviour is still disruptive behaviour no matter from whom it comes. Therefore, they are treated like anyone else and the ladder of escalation is followed: I contact the user and point the problematic behaviour out. If there is no change, there is going to be a suspension and if that does not help, there are going to be increasingly long suspensions, eventually up to a year. If people like to really discuss a matter, they are free to create or join a chat room. Debating politics is part of the nature of the matter but it does not fit well with how StackExchange main sites work.

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

I would comment accordingly to give the community a feedback and encourage them to vote to reopen/undelete, and reach out to the fellow moderator in order to discuss the case. Moderators are humans, they can disagree, and sometimes they even should. It is okay to dispute decisions, the question is always how. So I would not simply overturn their decision but instead invite them and the rest of the community to join a meta discussion on the case.

  1. What areas of moderator activity do you think require more attention/effort than currently given? Alternatively/additionally, if you think some aspects of Politics SE are over-moderated, which are those, in your view?

Politics.SE is a relatively small site. On small sites, there is a delicate balance between keeping things within the StackExchange model and not overstressing rules and thereby deter new users who will now never further engage and learn about the site rules. My experience is that too rigid a moderation does make it very hard for new, potentially very valuable users to set foot in the network while too loose a moderation can become a slippery slope. Generally, I would allow for mere argumentative answers as long as they have a clear line of argumentation based on factual statements that reflect some level of expertise. It should be allowed to base an answer on common knowledge without citing a source.

  1. How would you deal with flags that are not raised because of quality but because a question/answer contradicts a popular narrative?

If there are fringe positions presented, I would demand a higher level of standards regarding references/sources. That does in no way mean that I will allow to let these positions be cancelled by use of flags - and indeed I intervened in such cases where a fellow moderator carelessly handled a flag via standard procedure before. Regarding positions that come from "alternative truth" circles or positions that are offensive towards social and cultural groups there is a thin line to walk. Generally, my demands towards posts that consider such view would be that they present them in a well-balanced form that discuss them in the context of other views, without being overly biased.

  1. As a moderator your actions such as close votes will be binding and take only you for the action to complete. Will this change the way you interact on the site and what actions you take?

I never call the first, second, or even third vote if not for very obvious cases. That is simply because in my view, this is not the task of a moderator. Moderators should primarily use their privileges in cases that the normal user privileges cannot handle themselves. I know that on smaller sites, this can be problematic as there tend to be too few active users with lower level moderation privileges. Therefore, I'd rather use the forth or final vote so that it is more like acting as a normal user in these cases.

  1. Because this site often attracts people who want to vent their political frustrations, the questions asked here are often designed to push political narratives. There is a certain balance to be struck between maintaining a collegiate environment in which genuine curiosity should be allowed, while obvious sealioning should be discouraged. Sometimes this balance must be maintained by the moderators. Do you think moderators should be involved in this? If you do, what methodology (if any) do you plan on using to achieve this goal as a moderator?

First off, moderators do not end to be normal users just because they become moderators. They still are users of this site, so forbading them to engage in discussions is simply wrong. One has to be careful to keep oneself from starting to moderate discussions where one is personally involved, though. Therefore, my take would be to actively moderate discussions (which is forming them by one's own contributions) where still possible and intervene via post notices and, where necessary, comment deletions where things already went the wrong way.

  1. Invariably, users will want to debate where questions cross the community defined good-faith standard (which now has its own close reason). Do you think the standard is sufficient as-is or is there anything you would like to see added or removed?

First off, Politics.SE is not the only site with partisan problematics. Idealists vs. materialists, Marxists vs. capitalists, and so forth is a regular issue on Philosophy.SE. These posts are essentially a good outline of what it generally means to post in a way that fits the StackExchange model. As mentioned earlier, I would be a bit more lenient regarding citations (especially with regards to commonplaces). I do fully support the post regarding partisan positions though. We are here to express expert knowledge, not our own position on things. The proper way to do that is to present a position, not to assert it.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

They intervene at points and with means that are beyond the ability of the community to handle cases by itself. They enable and facilitate discussion about conflicts and try to give the community a voice wherever possible in order to get people into the boat instead of keeping them outside of it. Thereby, they help to build a community in the first place.

  1. 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?

Been there, had that, and has never been any issue for me.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

Ideally, there should be no difference at all. All you gain is the ability to handle the cases where people show behaviour that cannot be tolerated. Most of the moderation stuff should be done by the community by itself. Small StackExchange communities are not ideal, though. So moderators have to exert way more power. They have to do a lot more "cleaning duties" that are incompletely handled by votes, so they have much more responsibility regarding shaping the community and outwards picture, both as corrective and moduling factor.

JJJ

I’m nominating myself because I’d like to keep moderating Politics SE. Looking back at my previous nomination in the pro tem election two years ago, I can say that I’m enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would at the time. I think Politics is one of if not the most interesting site in the network because we get to deal with current affairs more than any other site. We have a reasonably diverse community and combined with politics I think it provides a glimpse into what’s going on in the world.

I hope the community is similarly enthusiastic in having me as a moderator as I am in moderating here. I’m not really sure what other aspects I should highlight. I’ll try to keep doing my best and that’s as much as I can promise.

Finally, I’d like to invite anyone who has questions about my candidacy to drop a comment below or ping me in the election chat room. Good luck to all the candidates and here's to a good election. :)

Questionnaire
  1. 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?

I’d try to find what's causing so many comment flags. Are they rude, argumentative, or needlessly conversational? Determine if the user’s behavior needs some intervention, possibly by discussing with the mod team if it’s not obvious but there's a steady stream of flags. If necessary (based on whether I think the user’s behavior should change or not), contact the user to: discuss rudeness by referring to the Code of Conduct / explain that on SE comments are not meant for extended discussion / explain that our site is not for political activism.

When contacting I'd start with a light touch in which I ask for the user to change their behavior. If they continue at a level that’s disruptive then suspensions are the next step.

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

It depends on how strongly I felt about it. If it’s a judgement call, then I’d leave it as is or I might edit the question to resolve the close issue (if applicable). The community may or may not decide to overrule the other mod’s decision. If I felt strongly about it, then I'd ping that mod in our own mod chat room and have a short discussion to see if either of us could be convinced by the other. If I still felt strongly against the other mod’s decision, which seems quite far-fetched to get so attached to a question, then I might raise the discussion with others in the mod team or start a discussion on meta. I don’t normally see that happen, but going to meta can be good situationally, e.g. when having some community consensus on an edge case would be helpful.

  1. What areas of moderator activity do you think require more attention/effort than currently given? Alternatively/additionally, if you think some aspects of Politics SE are over-moderated, which are those, in your view?

I feel enough attention is given to the core moderator tasks (see Q8). Leading the community is where we might improve. For example, it'd be good to lead the way in popularizing chat or getting more community building activities on meta. I don’t have clear ideas on what would both fit the topic Politics and the SE format, but it’s worth discussing on meta.

As for the second question, I won't call it ‘over-moderated’ but we do remove many comments as they enter into discussion territory. I’m a fan of discussion in general, but the comments aren’t suited for this. Instead, I’d encourage the use of chat, knowing full well that we’d need a critical mass of users before that really gets off the ground.

  1. How would you deal with flags that are not raised because of quality but because a question/answer contradicts a popular narrative?

My question would be, does this hypothetical post require mod intervention? If not, then decline the flag because no action was needed. If there’s clear room for improvement, then I might try to improve the post through editing and mark the flag helpful as their flag was worth making me aware of this (even if no mod attention wasn't strictly needed).

If the post is truly unsalvageable then I might take direct action on the post. For example, by closing the question or deleting the answer unilaterally. I don’t take deleting answers lightly, but I might feel it’s needed when there’s an urgent concern, e.g. when it's spreading clear misinformation. Some say it’s better to debunk the misinformation rather than silence it. I generally agree but the SE model isn’t really suited for that.

Lastly, when I’m not sure if I should take action then I might consult other mods. Discussing the situation a bit often helps me see the different sides to the issue.

  1. As a moderator your actions such as close votes will be binding and take only you for the action to complete. Will this change the way you interact on the site and what actions you take?

It would compared to my time as a regular user. In the past I'd go through the review queues whenever there was a task and I'd take action as I saw fit. Since becoming a moderator, I've barely touched the review queues and used the flag queue instead. I often go through it to see if there’s anything urgent and to complete some easy tasks. Then the judgement call flags are left and other mods get a chance to handle them if the appropriate action is perhaps more obvious to them. If there’s some urgent concern on a flag where I’m not sure what to do then I’d solicit the help of other mods.

I still end up doing tasks that would be in the review queues, but mostly because my attention was called there through the flag queue or because I see the post come up on the home page. I’m a bit more reluctant casting close or delete votes leaving the community to have its say. When it’s clear a post has to be closed then I prefer to step in to prevent users from answering an off-topic question, which may later have to be deleted. So when it comes to closing questions, I think there’s a bit more urgency in any case.

  1. Because this site often attracts people who want to vent their political frustrations, the questions asked here are often designed to push political narratives. There is a certain balance to be struck between maintaining a collegiate environment in which genuine curiosity should be allowed, while obvious sealioning should be discouraged. Sometimes this balance must be maintained by the moderators. Do you think moderators should be involved in this? If you do, what methodology (if any) do you plan on using to achieve this goal as a moderator?

I don’t think curiosity versus sealioning is the balance we should look for specifically, but I agree that mods should take a leading role in helping the community find the right balance. As for my disagreement, I don’t think a question should be allowed just because of genuine curiosity; it could still be a push question even if the asker is genuinely curious about it.

As for methodology, I see two ways in which mods (and regular users alike) may be involved. The first is to make general policy, what are the criteria by which we detect push questions? The second is to guide users to make their question adhere to that policy, for example by taking out needlessly pushy rhetoric. Making policy is mostly done by participating in meta questions where mods can take a leading role in suggesting and the meta community decides through voting. Guiding users is mostly done by commenting or passing edits to improve the question to make it a better fit. All of this is something any user may do, but I think it’s nice for mods to be involved in that part of the community as well.

  1. Invariably, users will want to debate where questions cross the community defined good-faith standard (which now has its own close reason). Do you think the standard is sufficient as-is or is there anything you would like to see added or removed?

I think the standard is sufficient, but I’m not saying it may not be improved over time. The way I see it, the close reason exists and it’s up to the community how strictly it decides to enforce that close reason. I don’t think we can make a watertight definition that separates the push questions from the on-topic questions.

I know some of you are worried about this subjectivity because the biases of those who take on review tasks affect how the site is moderated. I think that’s inevitable. I don’t see it as a flaw necessarily, it’s how the site, just as politics more broadly, works. To paraphrase journalist Julia Ioffe: Institutions are just buildings with people in them and it very much depends what kind of people you shove into those buildings.

In my view, we prevent user biases from dominating the site by maintaining a diverse userbase and discussing on meta when someone feels the close reason is being misused. With most users acting in good faith and having the site’s continued success at heart we should be able to provide a good Q&A site that welcome users from all over.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

The core mod tasks in my view are centered around the flag queue. That’s how mods are made aware of situations that require their attention. This flag queue is only accessible to mods and some employees. Therefore, being aware of what’s going on in the flag queue equals being up to speed with the issues in the community. Most flags are simple, they concern issues with individual comments or posts which require simple mod intervention. Some flags are more complex; they may concern patterns (sockpuppet voting or suspension circumvention) where users ask for further investigation. I’d say maintaining the flag queue is something all moderators must be involved in and it’s sufficient to keep the site running nicely.

The advanced mod tasks can be summarized as looking for issues proactively. Going through the flag queue often, you’ll notice patterns that require broader attention. I previously mentioned the example of a suspended user continuing their disruptive behavior using new accounts. How do we detect those new accounts and what should the mod team look for? Some patterns require the broader community to be attentive. For example, some of the top voted meta questions concern: responsible voting, guidance during high profile events, and customizing site options. Though not all of these are mod-exclusive, I feel mods are particularly suited for guiding the community because they have the best overview of what’s happening on the site.

Finally, there’s being regular users. I think it’s important that mods are also part of the community. Mods should know what it’s like to post and comment on the site, they should be familiar with broader SE etiquette, and they should be approachable. So, when a user raises an issue they can be assured that it'll be handled by a fellow user and not an outsider who isn’t directly invested in the community’s success.

  1. 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?

I don’t mind it when I’m acting as a user and I feel it helps when I’m acting as a mod. When I post on the main site, I don’t feel as though I’m posting as a mod.  When I’m commenting on someone’s post or participate on meta I’m aware of the diamond and it’s an extra reminder to be helpful and polite rather than argumentative and petty.

So yes, I’m happy with the diamond and in turn I hope the community will keep the mod team to the highest standards. Even more so than being a high rep user, mods are ambassadors for the community and with that additional power comes responsibility.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

One of the most impactful mod tools is the ability to suspend users. Even though it’s only used on a small group, suspending is a way to stop disruptive behavior in its tracks. Especially when it comes to persistent trolls who evade suspensions, it’s a cat and mouse game in which swift mod action makes the difference. When trolling efforts keep getting shut down within minutes then they’re just wasting their own time and they'll move on to greener pastures eventually. When that happens after a couple dozen suspensions it’s satisfying to know the community won't be bothered by these distractions.

gerrit

I might make a good moderator because I know this community fairly well and I have experience as a moderator, in particular on Earth Science.

I might not make a good moderator because I might not put as much time in it as others might, but if elected, I will put more time in moderation duties than so far.

Questionnaire
  1. 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?

On Politics.SE, there are many such users ☺. I would remove the comments and leave it at that. I don't think the situation would be serious enough for a moderator message.

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

I would either let it slide, or I would discuss it with them in the moderator chat room.

  1. What areas of moderator activity do you think require more attention/effort than currently given? Alternatively/additionally, if you think some aspects of Politics SE are over-moderated, which are those, in your view?

Moderation is good as it is. I don't think we need to do anything differently, but if the community desires a change in moderation activity, I would respect this.

  1. How would you deal with flags that are not raised because of quality but because a question/answer contradicts a popular narrative?

If the flag is totally wrong, I would dismiss it. If it is borderline, I would accept the flag but take no action.

  1. As a moderator your actions such as close votes will be binding and take only you for the action to complete. Will this change the way you interact on the site and what actions you take?

Yes, it will. I will use those actions that could be taken by non-moderators less. I will only use such binding close (or other) votes in clear-cut cases and avoid voting to close in situations that are debatable.

  1. Because this site often attracts people who want to vent their political frustrations, the questions asked here are often designed to push political narratives. There is a certain balance to be struck between maintaining a collegiate environment in which genuine curiosity should be allowed, while obvious sealioning should be discouraged. Sometimes this balance must be maintained by the moderators. Do you think moderators should be involved in this? If you do, what methodology (if any) do you plan on using to achieve this goal as a moderator?

Politics SE is not a debating platform, but questions asked to push political narratives are hard to avoid. However, in case of doubt, I would assume good faith. Even a question that might be designed to push a political narrative could result in a valuable Q&A. If the question is 80% political essay and 20% question, I would edit the question to make it more focussed on the question. If the question cannot be salvaged, it should be closed, but usually the community can do this without moderator intervention.

  1. Invariably, users will want to debate where questions cross the community defined good-faith standard (which now has its own close reason). Do you think the standard is sufficient as-is or is there anything you would like to see added or removed?

I think it's sufficient.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

In a perfect world, moderators do nothing at all. The community can take care of everything.

We do not live in a perfect world.

In a sub-perfect world, moderators complement the community while acting in their service. This is a broad answer, but it is also a broad question.

We handle flags, of course. I'm not sure how many Politics SE gets, but I assume a lot more than Earth Science SE, the other site I moderator. We get the occasionaly politically loaded question or answer related to climate change, but I certainly expect moderating Politics to be a harder job than Earth Science.

  1. 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?

I don't actually like this. I would prefer if I could choose for each post whether to add the diamond or not, and then only choose it in those cases where I act as a moderator (such as "move comments to chat"). As a moderator, I would continue to be a user.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

Moderators have powers that 10k or 20k users don't, such as moving comments to chat or getting rid of spam or very poor quality content more quickly.

Bonus question: do you want this job?

Since I got this question at a job interview once, I will add it here. Do I want it? Not against every price. There are other candidates who may do a better job, and if there were enough of them, I would not throw my hat in the ring. However, I promised I would put in my candidacy if there were not enough quality candidates otherwise, so here I am, reporting to duty (or not!).

Hack-R

I'm nominating myself because there are only a couple of other nominations and I qualify. I've used Stack Exchange extensively for years across dozens of sites, so I have experience, care about the network and have encountered practically every scenario you're likely to encounter. Politics is not a SE site where I've spent as much time and I'm certainly happy to defer to other, more engaged candidates if/when they emerge, but if elected I would change my habits to devote an above average amount of time to Politics and would perform the role in the most unbiased and thoughtful way possible.

Questionnaire
  1. 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?

I would use Chat (if possible, or a comment if necessary) to acknowledge and applaud their contributions while drawing their attention to the concern in a non-threatening way. I think this would allow them to be receptive to the constructive criticism.

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

It depends on the specifics (details) but most likely I would either accept their decision or utilize Chat or Meta to discuss and understand the decision.

  1. What areas of moderator activity do you think require more attention/effort than currently given? Alternatively/additionally, if you think some aspects of Politics SE are over-moderated, which are those, in your view?

I think that encouraging objective, non-polarized Q&A in an intellectual and detached manner by enforcing rules and promoting best practices is a top priority, as is closing duplicates and making sure that questions follow our format.

  1. How would you deal with flags that are not raised because of quality but because a question/answer contradicts a popular narrative?

I would draw attention to this issue. We really need to avoid such bias in order for Politics to deliver the objective, quality format of the StackExchange network.

  1. As a moderator your actions such as close votes will be binding and take only you for the action to complete. Will this change the way you interact on the site and what actions you take?

It would make me much more cautious.

  1. Because this site often attracts people who want to vent their political frustrations, the questions asked here are often designed to push political narratives. There is a certain balance to be struck between maintaining a collegiate environment in which genuine curiosity should be allowed, while obvious sealioning should be discouraged. Sometimes this balance must be maintained by the moderators. Do you think moderators should be involved in this? If you do, what methodology (if any) do you plan on using to achieve this goal as a moderator?

I think we have to relentlessly pursue open and intellectual Q&A, completely divorced of political preference/bias. Sealioning itself is a threat to this, as is the abuse of the concept to shut down those with different views. I believe the trick is to be completely impartial and honest with oneself.

  1. Invariably, users will want to debate where questions cross the community defined good-faith standard (which now has its own close reason). Do you think the standard is sufficient as-is or is there anything you would like to see added or removed?

Like with Sealioning, I believe this standard has value but can be and has been abused as a tool to act upon political biases.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Help maintain quality standards by taking janitorial actions and promoting understanding / awareness of site rules and principles.

  1. 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?

I think it helps to remind one of their responsibilities.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

I'm not sure I would be doing this to be "effective", so much as to provide a useful service and gain experience in doing so.

Philipp

I have been serving as pro-tempore moderator on Politics Stack Exchange since 2016, making me the most senior of the current moderator staff. Now that the site is out of beta, I would like to keep doing that job.

I personally consider myself a hardliner for the "no personal opinions" policy of this site. I believe that the Internet already got more than enough places where people can post and debate political opinions. Politics Stack Exchange is one of the few communities about politics where the main goal is information, not activism. In times like this where political pundits of all directions engage in shouting matches and try to convince people with cherry-picked facts and polemic rhetoric, we need a community where people can obtain neutral information about politics and political processes. Where people can ask questions with the goal to better understand the world of politics and receive well-balanced, truthful answers which arm them with the knowledge to do their own research and form their own opinions.

Questionnaire
  1. 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?

My usually reaction to the debate club members is to delete their comments and post another comment pointing out the article about the commenting privilege on the help center. I also contacted users in the past who had a habit of abusing the site as a discussion forum. But that usually happens only in extreme cases. I even handed out a couple suspensions for excessive debating in comments in the past, but I didn't do that for quite a while now.

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

I usually respect the decisions of other moderators. But if a decision seems completely off to me, I would bring up the question in the moderator chatroom and ask them why they did what they did. It is far better to communicate and come to a consensus than to engage in passive-aggressive "mod wars" of repeatedly undoing each others actions. When I wouldn't get a response, I would ask the third moderator before undoing the action.

  1. What areas of moderator activity do you think require more attention/effort than currently given? Alternatively/additionally, if you think some aspects of Politics SE are over-moderated, which are those, in your view?

We currently have a problem in the moderation team with certain controversial flags nobody dares to touch. Sometimes they stick around for days. For example, we currently have a "rude or abusive" flag on an answer from September 21st. The answer is very opinionated about a certain political faction. Nobody dares to make a judgment call if the answer really crosses the line into being insulting or if the person who flagged it just wants it gone because they disagree.

We really need to get better at getting rid of such elephants in the room.

  1. How would you deal with flags that are not raised because of quality but because a question/answer contradicts a popular narrative?

Decline it as "flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer". If you think the answer is wrong, downvote it and leave a comment pointing out what's wrong with it.

  1. As a moderator your actions such as close votes will be binding and take only you for the action to complete. Will this change the way you interact on the site and what actions you take?

Well, this question hardly applies to me, because I am already a moderator for 6 years. But yes, I am aware that I serve as an example and that I shouldn't use my mod powers easily. There are often situations where I think "If I were a regular user I would probably vote to close or to delete, but the case is not clear-cut enough to bring down the mod-hammer". So I leave the case to the self-moderation tools of the community or at least wait until someone raises a flag.

  1. Because this site often attracts people who want to vent their political frustrations, the questions asked here are often designed to push political narratives. There is a certain balance to be struck between maintaining a collegiate environment in which genuine curiosity should be allowed, while obvious sealioning should be discouraged. Sometimes this balance must be maintained by the moderators. Do you think moderators should be involved in this? If you do, what methodology (if any) do you plan on using to achieve this goal as a moderator?

Yes, I am a strong believer in that Politics Stack Exchange is:

  • Not a discussion forum

  • Not a place for political activism

  • Not a personal blog

This community should be a neutral place where people can inform themselves about politics and political processes without being influenced by political pundits. Questions which clearly push a narrative usually get closed by me with the "Promotes or discredits a political cause" reason (which I proposed back in 2017, by the way). Sometimes when the question is worth preserving but overly opinionated I also edit them to make them appropriate for the site.

  1. Invariably, users will want to debate where questions cross the community defined good-faith standard (which now has its own close reason). Do you think the standard is sufficient as-is or is there anything you would like to see added or removed?

I think the answers to that meta-question cover it pretty well.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Our job as moderators is (in that order):

  1. Enforce the Stack Exchange policies like Code of Conduct and Expected Behavior

  2. Enforce the on-topic policy of the site (which includes closing, removing or editing overly opinionated content)

  3. Clean up comments when they get unconstructive

  4. Be active on Meta to listen to the community, explain our actions and to moderate the debates of the community what the site policies should be.

  1. 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?

Well, this question again doesn't really apply to me as a veteran moderator. But I am aware that I have to lead by example. I can not expect people to follow rules, guidelines and best practices I do not follow myself.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

Being able to see flags posted by our community members which lead me directly to where I am needed. My first visit to Politics Stack Exchange usually leads me right to the flag page where I go through everything the users highlighted for us. This is far more efficient than going through the site manually looking for objectionable content (Not that I am not doing that either).

CDJB

As our first graduation election approaches, I am once again asking for your support. I was elected as a pro-tem mod in 2020, and I would love to continue serving the community as a mod. Over the last two years, I feel the mod team has dealt capably in the face of high-profile events which brought new and increased traffic to the site, as well as the more routine duties.

If re-elected, I will continue to champion high-quality contributions, and ensure that new contributors understand the community's expectations and are encouraged to participate rather than put off. In general, I believe in a light-touch approach to moderation, and that quality standards should be set and enforced by the broader community through the tools already available to it as much as possible. On the other hand, when clear evidence of bad-faith participation exists, it's important to nip this in the bud so that it does not continue to negatively impact other community members.

I've only been around for the last few years of the site's decade of existence, but I've really enjoyed my time here so far, both as a user and a moderator, and with your support, I look forward to continuing!

Questionnaire
  1. 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?

This one depends on the nature of the comments in question. If the user just has a habit of robustly - but politely - debating and defending their answers when constructive criticism is raised, then in my experience, a message encouraging them to make use of the chat facility rather than detract from their answers with long comment threads usually suffices.

On the other hand, if their comments veer into any rudeness or offensive behaviour, then the quality of their answers - in my opinion - should have no bearing on leniency. Quite the contrary, high-reputation users should be expected to not only be well aware of our rules regarding this behaviour, but also set an example for others.

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

If I felt very strongly that the question should not have been closed or deleted, I'd raise it with that moderator directly, allowing us both to present our point of view and hopefully come to an agreement. If that discussion proved unfruitful, I'd ask a third moderator to weigh in with their opinion and break a deadlock. Another option would be to create a meta post to solicit feedback from the wider community. I would not unilaterally re-open or undelete the question unless the issues which caused the initial deletion/closure had clearly been resolved.

This is especially important for deletions, as many community members will be unable to view the deleted question to scrutinise the moderator's actions, and moderator-deleted questions cannot be undeleted by the community. In the case of closed questions, however, borderline cases can generally be left up to the community to cast re-open votes if they disagree with the moderator's decision.

  1. What areas of moderator activity do you think require more attention/effort than currently given? Alternatively/additionally, if you think some aspects of Politics SE are over-moderated, which are those, in your view?

I generally think the current moderator team does a pretty good job, but I may be ever-so-slightly biased. One improvement that could be made would be the addition of a moderator residing outside of the European timezone. Generally the current moderator team is able to provide decent coverage, but the early hours of the morning (UTC) is a potential weak point.

Another issue that I'd like to be able to deal with more effectively is that of sock-puppeting and serial-down/upvoting. These investigations can take quite a long time to conclude if they're not caught by the automatic detection routines, and I think this can lead to frustration, especially from affected users in the case of serial-downvoting. Of course, in the case of serial-upvoting the whole community is affected, as it allows privileges to be undeservedly earned and contributions to be given undeserved prominence.

  1. How would you deal with flags that are not raised because of quality but because a question/answer contradicts a popular narrative?

I suppose this depends on what is meant by contradicting a popular narrative. If, as this question supposes, the contribution is technically and qualitatively without fault - but just happens to present a hard or unpopular truth in a fair and balanced way - the flag should be dismissed. Flags should not be used for this purpose. Furthermore, moderators are not expected to be subject experts able to evaluate the 'correctness' of every single answer - that is generally left to the community via up & downvoting.

On the other hand, answers which stray from the 'popular narrative' in the sense that they become ad hominems or rants against individuals should generally be edited to present information impassively, or deleted if they are totally unsalvageable. Incontrovertibly false claims (and I'm talking really incontrovertible, such as Boris Johnson secretly plotting to invade the moon) should also be removed to preserve the integrity of the site. The main takeaway should be that I would strive to treat all contributions with the same scrutiny, no matter the personal political viewpoints of the author.

The reason that I'm a little uncomfortable with the phrasing of this question is in the sense that contributions shouldn't really be presenting a 'narrative' at all. This is site for objective questions and answers, the aim of which is to foster an inclusive environment for learning together about politics and political processes. Political activism, which tends to be what I associate with narrative presentation, is fundamentally incompatible with this goal.

  1. As a moderator your actions such as close votes will be binding and take only you for the action to complete. Will this change the way you interact on the site and what actions you take?

Yes - I tend not to cast close votes on borderline cases, but instead leave comments presenting my view and potentially make edits where necessary. I think it's far more preferrable in terms of the health of the site if closure decisions in these cases are made by the wider community. In particular, now the site has graduated, I think it's important that the community is less reliant on moderators taking unilateral action.

However, I continue to cast closure votes on clear duplicate questions (especially in the case of questions, where even as a regular user I have a gold tag badge dupe-hammer), questions which clearly call for speculation or guesswork, and questions which fit on other sites - as until we have defined question migration pathways this action cannot be taken by non-moderators.

  1. Because this site often attracts people who want to vent their political frustrations, the questions asked here are often designed to push political narratives. There is a certain balance to be struck between maintaining a collegiate environment in which genuine curiosity should be allowed, while obvious sealioning should be discouraged. Sometimes this balance must be maintained by the moderators. Do you think moderators should be involved in this? If you do, what methodology (if any) do you plan on using to achieve this goal as a moderator?

Generally yes - as I mentioned above, this site is not a place for political activism but for satisfying genuine curiosity and filling gaps in knowledge. While sealioning can often be dealt with using the community moderation tools, it can be necessary for moderators to intervene to protect the integrity of the site.

In the majority of these cases, there is often a diamond of a good question hidden in the rough, and it would be my goal to work with the user to edit the question so that it complies with the site guidelines. If the user is unnecessarily resistant to this, enforcement action in the form of an edit lock is usually effective in ensuring that genuine academic interest is not stifled by allowing the kernel of the question to be answered.

It is important in these cases that the fairness of the moderation team is as unimpeachable as possible, and I believe that moderators should always be prepared to explain their actions (to the greatest extent permissible under the moderator agreement) to the community in the form of a meta post.

  1. Invariably, users will want to debate where questions cross the community defined good-faith standard (which now has its own close reason). Do you think the standard is sufficient as-is or is there anything you would like to see added or removed?

I answered this question in 2020 - and I hope voters will forgive me if I refer to my previous answer, as it remains the same:

"I think that the standard is generally sufficient, but I agree that questions closed with this reason do seem to attract quite a few appeals to meta, often following the format of insisting that the user themselves is not seeking to promote/discredit, and that as a result the question should be re-opened.

If the wording were to be changed, I would support a proposal which altered the close reason to emphasise even further that the close reason is not a personal attack on the question author, but specific to the wording of the question.

Excluding the most egregious questions, often questions which appear to be asked in bad-faith can be improved to be appropriate for this site. It can be difficult to ask a non-partisan question about a controversial topic (as most topics in politics are), especially when one's personal opinion rests squarely on one side of the argument, and I think we should encourage and help users to achieve this."

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are there to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of the site and to attempt to maintain a welcoming and positive experience for other users. Much of this is achieved by working through the flag queue and keeping an eye on chat and meta, as well as using moderator-only powers sparingly. They attempt to mitigate rule-breaking and abusive behaviour as much as possible, but as this inevitably proves impossible, may use enforcement measures such as suspension in order to protect the site and community as a whole.

Moderators also assist the Community Managers, acting not only as a point of contact for them with the community, but also through relaying issues or concerns to the team directly.

  1. 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?

Comfortable. At this point the vast majority of my time on the site has been spent as a moderator and I've become used to my actions being subject to increased scrutiny - as they should be.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

Being a moderator grants various privileges unavailable to those with access to the high-rep user tools. These allow unilateral action to be taken in egregious cases of rule-breaking, as well as permit the investigation of more widespread wrongdoing, such as persistant trolling, spam, or sock-puppetting - detection of which is often impossible or impractical for those without these privileges.

Joe W

I am looking to become a moderator on Politics Stack Exchange because this is a community I enjoy and I am looking to help it grow so I can learn more about the different politics of the world.

One of the my ideals for the site is to see it as a place where I can find information that is outside my normal sources of information. Someplace where I can find things that challenge my frame of thought and make me think about things in general. Along those lines I am looking to find questions that challenge people and make them think about what they know and help teach them new ways of looking at things.

I think one of the challenges on this site that I try to help address is is the issue of people posting questions looking for a specific answer or trying to make someone/something look good/bad. One of my goals as a moderator would be to help improve questions that might be seen as pushing an agenda into ones that are instead looking for information. I feel questions like that can help bring a lot of good information to the site and provide quality information for all users.

As a note I am in the US central time zone

Questionnaire
  1. 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?

I would work with the user in an attempt to help them understand what the purpose of comments are and how the system is used. I can understand how people can get sucked into treating comments like a discussion forum but at times it needs to be remembered that it is not and that you don't always need to respond to a comment that was directed at you. If this did not work to solve the problem I would work with more experienced moderators to try and find additional methods of solving the issue

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

In cases like this I would work with the moderator that took action on the post to get a better understanding of why the action was taken. If I still felt that the action was not appropriate I would raise the issue with the rest of the moderator team. This would be done to try and get a consonance on what action should be taken to make sure we don't get multiple actions. If the overall thought is that the action was correct I would accept what was taken. With the overall goal of understanding that my views are not the only ones and I will have to accept that the correct course of action isn't always the one I want.

  1. What areas of moderator activity do you think require more attention/effort than currently given? Alternatively/additionally, if you think some aspects of Politics SE are over-moderated, which are those, in your view?

A big area of concern for me is the comments on questions as they can tend to get into debates (I know I can be part of this problem at times) when that is not what they are designed to be. Overall I think the moderation of the site by the average users is being handled correctly and outside of the moderator only actions such as comments there is not a lot of day to day action required for moderators.

  1. How would you deal with flags that are not raised because of quality but because a question/answer contradicts a popular narrative?

This would depend a lot on the answer, and just contradicting the popular narrative is not enough to require moderator action. There is nothing wrong with posting an answer that contradicts the popular narrative and there is nothing saying the popular narrative can't be wrong. Overall I think that disagreeing with popular ideas isn't a bad thing and it can be a good thing to see things from a different point of view.

  1. As a moderator your actions such as close votes will be binding and take only you for the action to complete. Will this change the way you interact on the site and what actions you take?

As a moderator I would take a more restrained approach to casting my votes. Since my votes are binding I would not want to cast a vote where there is some question over the action being correct. In cases like that I would wait to see how other users felt about the post and take action as a 4th or 5th vote after more of a consensus has been formed. I would limit my votes to areas that are more obvious that action needs to be taken. Also in cases like that if the community disagreed I would be open to reconsidering and changing my course of action.

  1. Because this site often attracts people who want to vent their political frustrations, the questions asked here are often designed to push political narratives. There is a certain balance to be struck between maintaining a collegiate environment in which genuine curiosity should be allowed, while obvious sealioning should be discouraged. Sometimes this balance must be maintained by the moderators. Do you think moderators should be involved in this? If you do, what methodology (if any) do you plan on using to achieve this goal as a moderator?

When it comes to questions like this the goal of a moderator should be to help fix a question so that it is no longer a push question looking for an answer but one trying to find information. I feel that there are plenty of questions that have been closed as push questions because they are looking for a specific answer that could become top quality questions if changed to be looking for information in general. In cases like this moderators should be looking to find ways to improve the questions so that they can attract quality answers regardless of which side the answers support. I have learned a lot over the years from questions that challenge my point of view and if a question can be changed from pushing a narrative to looking for information it can be a very big gain for the community as a whole.

  1. Invariably, users will want to debate where questions cross the community defined good-faith standard (which now has its own close reason). Do you think the standard is sufficient as-is or is there anything you would like to see added or removed?

I think that this standard is fine as it is even though it can be tricky to get right at times. In cases like this I think the goal should be to rework the questions in order to fix the issues so that they can fit the ideals of the site. However we also need to understand that not all questions are equal and some are designed to try and make someone look bad. In those cases we need to make sure we are treating each of the questions equally regardless of us agreeing with the question or not.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are here to handle the issues that can't be taken care of by users with the permissions that they have gained through the usage of the site. This is normally for issues that Stack Exchange has decided need a higher level of trust then normal which can involve reaching out to users or taking more serious actions on an account. In ideal situations a site is able to handle all moderator actions without the need for special moderator privilege's. Only in cases when that action is not working is when a moderator is supposed to be taking action.

  1. 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?

For me this doesn't have an impact on what I have said and done in the past. As a user I try to focus my actions and comments based on the question/answer/comment that I am responding to. This is the same type of behavior that I would expect from a moderator on this or any other stack exchange site.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

I don't think this will have any difference between the actions I can take from what I have rep wise now. My main goal as nominating my self for a moderator position for what I can do to help the site grow and improve as time goes on. I will continue to do the same things as I am doing now but I will also be able to help in new areas and assist the moderators who are currently active on the site.

This election is over.