Super User is scheduled for an election next week, March 13th. 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.

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

Here's how it'll work:

  • During the nomination phase, (so, until March 13th 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 at current.

  • At the end of the 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 question will be opened to host the actual questionnaire for the candidates, 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.

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

11 Answers 11


A pretty important part of moderation is engaging the community. How have you engaged the community so far, and what do you intend to do as a moderator to build on that?

  • Nobody's perfect. What is one mistake you made and what did you do when you noticed it?

A user has a long history of posting borderline (and sometimes not-borderline) abusive comments, and they just started up again. They've been given short suspensions a couple times, but it didn't get the point across. They're now due for a year-long suspension, according to the standard progression.

They're also a prolific contributor to the site, with vast expertise in $Technology. Do you consider this in how you handle the case? How?


What one flaw of the current moderator team set do you think needs addressing?

  • 1
    Doesn't this presuppose the existence of a flaw? And are you sure it would be helpful to have candidates bashing the existing tem (as I fear would be likely with this question)?
    – terdon
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 12:20
  • I think it's a great question. Especially coming from another moderator. Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 13:59
  • 1
    In a sense, one of the good things about having new mods is a fresh set of eyes. If someone can constructively go "Hey, we can do this better" and they're right, they'll likely be a better fit as a mod.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 14:59
  • As @JourneymanGeek said, being able to constructively go about this is a sure sign of a more mature moderator.
    – studiohack
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 13:30

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?

What is your philosophy on moderation in Chat?


There are subjects that are within the purview of the site but considered a "gray area". Examples might include such things as circumventing user agreements, which some people consider to potentially involve unethical behavior.

They are a gray area because they are not officially prohibited, like piracy, but are generally deemed off-topic due only to precedent. Specific issues of this nature are periodically raised on Meta to poll member input on whether they should be on topic. This question is not about your opinion for or against such topics. Here is the question:

Should the decision as to acceptability of any and all gray area subjects be a matter of community consensus, or should at least certain cases be based on foundational principles and not subject to community preference? And why?


Beyond answering questions and participating in community moderation functions, some members take an active role being supportive to new users. This can include such actions as suggesting helpful resources, explaining site nuances, helping to polish their posts through advice or edits, providing words of encouragement, providing friendly input when comment threads become unfriendly, etc.

Any member can be supportive, but for a moderator, is it a fundamental responsibility?

  • How do you feel the current moderator team is doing, and how do you view your style of moderation compared to the current team?

Across the network several teams are working on, or have already deployed, automated tools (bots if you like) to assist in flagging posts for SPAM, Not an answer or plagiarism.

  • Can you elaborate on how you expect these tools/bots influence your moderation?
  • 7
    Practically as a mod, it simply means I see less spam since the darned thing nukes it all before I get to it.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 23:28

There are currently 110,000 unanswered questions, which is around 1/3 of the total number of questions. Do you consider this to be a problem and do you have any ideas on how to go about organizing this work? E.g. would you organize 'cleanup' events on Meta to encourage users to look at the Unanswered queue?


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