The following is a "digest" version of the July 2012 Moderator Election Town Hall Chat. The format, as described on Meta Stack Overflow, is one answer to this question for every question asked in the Town Hall, containing all the candidate's answers to that question.

To view the digest chronologically, please sort the answers by "oldest".

If you have questions or comments about this, please do not answer this question as the answers are designed to be used for the questions from the Town hall itself. Instead, please ask on the parent question or in the Town Hall Discussion Room.

If you see any corrections which need to be made to this digest, or if you were a candidate who was unable to attend the town hall and would like your answers included, please @GraceNote or @TimStone in the chat room and let us know!

  • 1
    I need to uh...go to work now...so the rest of the digest will be posted in just a bit.
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 14:50
  • 2
    A bit thanks to Sathya for picking up my slack! :)
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 16:14
  • A lot of work seems to have gone into this. Thanks :) Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 18:13

28 Answers 28


Ivo Flipse Ivo Flipse asked: Going to /review I've come across quite a few low quality posts from high rep users. Some of them even have quite a few upvotes, but clearly don't pass our current set of standards. How do you deal with this situation?

slhck slhck answered: I would leave a comment telling the user to expand their post, back it up with links or other useful information. I don't care if it's a high rep user or if the person has just started on the site. In fact, I guess high rep users will respond to these kinds of requests very fast if they don't want to be seen posting low quality stuff ;)

  • Ivo Flipse Ivo Flipse asked: And if they argue that their post is in fact not of low quality? That if you want to know more, you should go and read the docs or browse Google

    slhck slhck responded: I'd probably try and edit the post myself and show how it's done. Leading by example, if possible, that is.

slhck slhck continued: Perfect example from just right now: What is the maximum throughput of an IDE bus (ATA-3)?

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: On a case-by-case basis. High reputation does not necessarily equal quality contributions.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: Comment of the posts, asking the user to improve upon the answer, as it's e.g. not useful in its current form.If such requests exist, maybe coupled with a negative score, deletion is likely. If I have the knowledge to make the post useful, I'll edit it in line with usual editing rules.

DragonLord DragonLord answered: In most cases, I would post a comment to let the user know that it should be expanded or otherwise edited to increase quality. In simpler cases, such as link-only answers, I'll edit the post to add relevant content from the linked site. Of course, if the answer is meaningless, I'll just delete it.

soandos soandos answered: I have notified them in chat if they are still active, but if they are not, then treat it like they are everyone else. You are not immune from moderation because you have more rep.

KronoS KronoS answered: the same way that I've been doing so. Assess the question and see if it's the root of the issue. If not, then comment to the OP to rectify. If I see that there's been no improvement over time and I can see NO value to the post, then delete.


nhinkle nhinkle asked: With a diamond after your name, everything you say and do on the site will be perceived in a different way. How do you plan to handle this, especially when having discussions about site policy and scope decisions?

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I'll continue to make decisions as I usually do, only that I'll try to serve as the voice of the community. Not much else will change.

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: If I was elected, I would be very confident in my prior judgement regarding these topics. Thus, I doubt I would act differently. When in doubt, I would rely on my team mates before making unjust descicions. I would handle the user same way as I handle other disruptive users. I don't think it would be wise to classify users by their contributions.

slhck slhck answered: I always felt that with a certain reputation level you become a representative for the site, even without being a moderator. Having a diamond next to the name would not change that feeling of responsibility. So, this would be nothing new, I guess.

  • Ivo Flipse Ivo Flipse noted: Which is probably why most of us prefer users with a great track record to become mods, basically they're already doing the work :)

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: I am aware of that issue and even mentioned it in my nomination. I will continue to participate in regular policy discussions, and make it clear that it's my opinion I'm voicing. I don't see a problem with existing moderators doing so either. The exception is when I don't think I'm impartial, in that case I'll refrain from participating or will discuss it with other moderators first.

KronoS KronoS answered: I feel that I haven't been that outspoken as it is, but I will be even more careful about what I say, making sure to respect others opinions. When it comes to site policy and scope decision I plan to use the FAQ and fellow mods as a resource in such discussions.


Sathya Sathya asked: On Super User, we tend to downvote and close a lot, esp recommendation questions. Tell us about a downvote, close, deletion, or other such "negative" action taken against you on Super User, and what you learned from it.

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: My most upvoted answer was deleted because the question was off-topic. Needless to say, I was very disappointed. I learned a valuable lesson about the scope of the site that day.

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I would try to avoid asking such a question again. If for some reason I don't understand the action, I would bring it up on Meta.

soandos soandos answered: There was a user that downvoted my post because he felt that a warning label was not needed. I dealt with it in this meta post.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: I don't particularly remember any such action. A few answers were deleted when the question was off topic, but that was to be expected. I'd like to see this more often, actually. I haven't been downvoted a lot either, and very rarely got explanations, which is the users' right, but still severely limits what I can learn from it.

KronoS KronoS answered: When I just first started on Super User, I had a question closed on me. I asked about it on Meta, and @Diago gave a great answer as to why. I learned a lot from that experience, not only how to better my question asking, but also that the Meta site was a great tool to use to better myself and the site.


nhinkle nhinkle asked: How would you handle a user who makes valuable content contributions, but causes significant disruptions to the site in other ways?

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I'd probably send a moderator message pointing out the disruptive conduct. If this continues, I believe that it would be best to suspend the user for a few days--even if this would result in the loss of some valuable contributions.

slhck slhck answered: We have to face the fact that this site is a community. If a user is unwilling to play by the rules – even if they perfectly understand that they have to work with this system – then I would talk to them in private first and let them know that they should work with the most important part of this site (the users who create content)), not against them.

KronoS KronoS answered: Attempt to address the issues with the user directly either through email or private chat. If the user is consistently causing issues I would suggest temporary suspension to my fellow mods, and if they are in agreeance do so.


nhinkle nhinkle asked: Why the heck do you want to do this? Moderating is a lot of work, and you will get called out frequently for the decisions you make. What motivated you to run for moderator, and are you sure you're ready to handle it?

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: Someone has to do the work and I feel comfortable doing it.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: I want to do this because I care about this site and enjoy helping others; both by posting answers and keeping the site running smoothly. I have been using the privileges I have for a very long time, and will just get more tools to do it, if the community elects me.

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I'm doing this because I'd like to take my handling of undesired content beyond mere flags and close votes. I want to make a direct impact on the quality of what we see here on Super User.
You see, there are many things that an ordinary user can do, like vote to close on older questions, that often get missed by other users. While the new review system certainly helps bring attention to these posts, with the full moderator tools, we won't have to wait on other users to take care of content that might well have been deleted or closed one year earlier.

KronoS KronoS answered: I love Super User and the learning environment that it provides. I want to be apart of creating and maintaing that environment, and feel that being a Mod is the ultimate place to do so. I know, from watching our current mods, and helping them as best as I can, that this work isn't easy nor glorious, but it's necessary, and I'm willing to be a part of that.


nhinkle nhinkle asked: Somebody goes absolutely nuts after you delete their offensive post and suspend them. I'm talking death threats and every bad word in the book. What do you do?

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: Assuming I made the right descicion, I'll try to explain to the user why I feel that he is in the wrong. If he refuses to understand, I'll ignore him. Engaging someone who is in such an anrgy state has rarely proven successful for me.

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I'll just delete the user. I personally prefer a relatively heavy-handed approach to moderator. This can quickly get rid of the bad stuff here, but we need to be careful not to scare away the newbies doing that.

  • Sathya Sathya asked: You'll delete a high rep user too?

    DragonLord DragonLord responded: For higher-rep users, the first thing to do is extend the suspension, perhaps to at least 30-60 days, and send e-mail messages giving a stern warning. I would not want to delete a high-rep contributor's account, but

    Ivo Flipse Ivo Flipse asked: Do you feel the current style of moderation is perhaps too lenient? :)

    DragonLord DragonLord responded: Not necessarily, but if a user's conduct is unacceptable, I'll go right ahead and delete the user if this is a low-rep user.

KronoS KronoS answered: Alert the fellow mods, and possibly even staff if it gets absolutely brutal. However I've notice that simply ignoring such individuals is the best thing to do.

  • jrg jrg remarked: You don't always have that option though. (Ignoring an individual)

    KronoS KronoS responded: I understand, but I've noticed that 90% of the time that's the best thing to do, as long as they are not hurting the site or other individuals.

    Ivo Flipse Ivo Flipse added: In my experience I try to reason with a user, if that fails, ask someone else to try it (if required) and else, well you shouldn't really argue with a moderator :P


Tim Stone Tim Stone asked: New users often are not accustomed to the Stack Exchange system, and sometimes struggle to present themselves properly, either in the way they use the site or their attitude. How willing are you to work with "problematic" users, and at what point do you decide that someone isn't worth the effort?

slhck slhck answered: You'll often see me helping new users by editing their posts, leaving comments, or explaining basic etiquette to them. If they have questions that simply aren't a good fit for Super User or Stack Exchange in general, I'll try to point them to a better place to ask.

slhck slhck continued: I'm also willing to "follow" new users and take a look at their contributions to help them on their way… problematic users should be brought to attention to other moderators and dealt with privately, but primarily every post (question/answer) should be judged by its own merits first.

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: When I get frustrated, I'll leave the user be. I'm not particularly helpful when frustrated.

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I would point them to the FAQs, both on the site, and the network FAQ on MSO. This is essentially everything a newcomer needs to know to use Stack Exchange.

DragonLord DragonLord continued: If the user, after several attempts at educating him/her, doesn't seem to respond to assistance, I'll simply continue to close or delete as appropriate.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: I am willing to help if the users show some promise. This is highly subjective, but I expect at least minimal effort invested in the issue and proper question presentation. I will comment on what needs to be done and point out why: To improve the user's chance of getting help and not be ignored. It's not worth the effort if the user has no idea what he's talking about, the question is an unreadable mess and he's otherwise unhelpful. Result is closing e.g. as NARQ.

KronoS KronoS answered: I currently employ @TomWijsman's commenting tools that have been very helpful in guiding new users along the path that they should go. I try to encourage new users to use the Meta site and chat (if they can) as well as editing new questions to better reflect how SE works. However, help vampires do exist and at some point, they have to be let go.

  • Tom Wijsman Tom Wijsman noted: The commenting tools are not mine, I have just adapted a version for the review beta. The original is here and written by Benjol.

jrg jrg asked: Everything you vote on (both close and delete votes), once elected, will be a binding Super Vote. How will this change your voting habits?

  • Ivo Flipse Ivo Flipse remarked: For some of the candidates their flag basically equals a binding vote, because I rarely if ever disagree with them. So I guess this is mostly a worry for the more unexperienced candidates

    jrg jrg responded: Fair enough - however, it needs to be asked. Not to mention that it's a lot different when it's your name tacked onto the close message, and you're a moderator.

slhck slhck answered: I would never cast a sole binding vote on a question that is not obviously off topic or unsalvageable, or should be migrated. Voting to close is a community effort and moderators should stay being exception handlers. As for deleting: We don't have too many users who are able to cast deletion votes, therefore I would probably delete one or the other topic myself, if there's absolutely no value in keeping it around on the site.

  • Ivo Flipse Ivo Flipse remarked: Never say never. Besides, someone has to cast the first vote and closing isn't permanent either

    slhck slhck responded: No, of course, but I wouldn't want to overrule the community when a question might be borderline.

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: I hope I will only be slightly more cautious with my votes. If I would plan to make major changes in my voting behavior, that would mean my current judgement is too casual and I hope that's not the case.

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I would be a little more careful with every vote I cast, and I may not act immediately on borderline cases. In such cases, I'll try to consult with the community or leave it to another moderator.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: This one will probably require some time to adjust. I think it's pretty easy to detect whether a topic is a candidate for debate about closing, and will refrain from acting without seeing some community opinions first. And I'm sure bad decisions will be called out.

soandos soandos answered: will be much more cautious in my voting since everything will be final. I will probably be a less frequent voter

KronoS KronoS answered: I feel that I've been voting responibily and only choose to vote when I feel that the post doesn't belong. However as a mod, when I'm not 100% sure that the question/answer deserve to be closed or deleted, I'll let the community decide on what should happen.


Sathya Sathya asked: There's a feature request/bug that appears to have been ignored by the dev team, that's posted on [metasu]. The person who posted asks you why isn't anything being done about it. What's your next plan of action on this?

slhck slhck answered: I'll ping a developer to check out the post and give a tentative reply about whether this will be implemented/fixed or if it's a 4-6 weeks thing. Then, get back to the user who asked me.

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: Migrate to Meta Stack Overflow

  • slhck slhck asked: Why would you migrate any feature request or bug report to MSO? The team has stated that they're welcome on MSU too.

    Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg responded: From my experience, that may be true, but a bug/feature gets a lot more attention on Meta Stack Overflow.

    Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg added: Oh, and I wouldn't migrate any question. But the user asked me why it went unnoticed. I would take that as an incentive ;)

    slhck slhck replied: Oh, alright, I see the difference now! :)

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I'll start a bounty. If this still does't work, I'll contact the dev team directly to call it to attention.

soandos soandos answered: Send an e-mail to the dev team and see what the status is, and tell the user that the team has been notified. Probably check up on it on a regular basis.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: If the issue has no significant community support, I'll ask the user to first improve the presentation and get more community support. For features, this is critical. If a dev notices the issue, he'll also see that nobody else wants it. If there is significant support, but still no relevant reply, I'll try to get someone from the team to look at it. Depends, again, on the relationship between moderators and developers. Given what I've seen, I'd ask the user to not expect too much.

KronoS KronoS answered: Explain to them that the dev team is human, and can't get to every request right away. If it's a serious bug that I feel needs a little more attention I'm willing to talk to the SE staff (i.e. @RebeccaChernoff, @Shog9, etc,.) and bring it up to their attention


Sathya Sathya asked: Reviewing, acting upon flags, voting to close - all gets repetitive more so as a Mod because you essentially don't have vote limits. What steps do plan to take to keep from getting burned out? If you do get burned out, how will you handle this?

slhck slhck answered: This site offers so many different things to do … I've been voting to close, flagging, reviewing for quite a while now, and even though I do take a break sometimes, I'm still here every single day, even for a couple of minutes. It never got boring so far. If I really felt like burning out, I'd ask other mods to take care of my duties, if needed, and probably start answering more.

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I would probably just go back to posting questions and answers, on SU and elsewhere on the network. I should be able to come back with a couple of days.

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: Hopefully, I would notice that the quality of my work is slipping, and resign.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: If it happens, I'll take a break, maybe a few days. I doubt it's likely to happen, as there's a lot I can do now already, and I'm perfectly capable to stop after a while and do something else, even if there's an unprocessed flag or a meta topic missing an answer.

soandos soandos answered: I think I have relatively high tolerance for this (I have done spurts of large amounts of moderation before). If I do start to get burned out, I'll take a break from heavy moderation for a day or two.

KronoS KronoS answered: Everything has to be balanced. I plan on everyday working on Super User, but not for hours upon hours per day. I have a life, as do most other people, and I know that I'll need to make sure I take time doing other things as well, without shirking my responsibilites here on SU. If I start to feel burned out, then I'll assess my situation, and alert my fellows mods if I feel that I need a break, or reduction in time commitment to the site.


Sathya Sathya asked: Is there anything in particular you'd like to change about Super User/Stack Exchange? What would that be & why is it such an annoying thing?

slhck slhck answered: I would like to make users more aware of the necessity to vote. It's what helps us separate the good from the bad, and of course the ugly as well.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: I'm mostly happy with how things are now, except for our recent scope discussion (but that's heading the right way as well). The blog desperately needs some love, but the reception to improvement requests was positive there as well... I'm a bit surprised how frequently issues come up that would be solved by getting disambiguation tags (a proposal of mine on MSO), so I'd try to push that a bit.

  • Ivo Flipse Ivo Flipse asked: How would you push that?

    Daniel Beck Daniel Beck responded: Depends on what the relation of team and moderators is. First step is finding out how they think about it, as there's been no response despite a good score...

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: There should be something that notifies users by email if they abandoned a question. It drives me nuts to see 2 year old questions with 20 answers with 1000 upvotes, but none of them accepted :(

KronoS KronoS answered: I have no qualms at the moment with SE or SU

  • 1
    Daniels proposal on MSO
    – Nifle
    Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 19:16

Sathya Sathya asked: Which one of you candidates will get bored or think "This isn't what I thought it was," and disappear after the first week?

slhck slhck answered: Given that I'll mostly continue what I'm doing now, this certainly won't get boring. Bring on the flags! :)

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: The other candidates! I'll stay, I promise! ;P

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: I'll make sure I don't burn out by overdoing it. Regarding disappointment: Talking to existing moderators, and doing the moderating I already can with trusted user privileges, I think I have a good idea of how it'll work, and I'm confident I can both handle it, and keep doing it for a long time.

KronoS KronoS answered: I won't. I've been around working with the mods on various things for two years now, and don't plan on leaving.


Tim Stone Tim Stone asked: When you see a question with major issues (poorly-written, argumentative, etc.), what tool do you reach for first?

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: The edit link. Then the SuperUser Automatic Corrector ;)

slhck slhck answered: Try to salvage in some way. Poor English can be fixed. Off-topic and excess information can be removed. If the post is still not salvageable, explain to the OP how they can fix it (if possible), and if not, let the community close it or close it on sight (if clearly off topic).

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I'll try to edit the post or let the user know by using a comment, but if there is no response after a few hours, I'll close the question.

soandos soandos answered: Edit. I have edited many posts, but to be honest, sometimes I just flag as very low quality (if there is nothing of real value there)

KronoS KronoS answered: If it's salvageable, and I see potential I try to edit, or comment for the OP to edit their question. There's also been a few times that I post it on chat for someone to work on the edit if I can't do it. However, I must admit I do use the VTC and Deletion flags a lot on post that are, IMO not salvageable.


Dennis Dennis asked: Moderating is a lot of work. Do you expect to be able to keep answering questions or will you spend all your time here moderating?

slhck slhck answered: Over the last months, I've been answering less, mostly because of the other things I was doing on the site, like editing and reviewing posts. A lot of them. I guess I'll keep answering the occasional question that I like or where I would like to research the answer myself – because that's the fun part.

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: I spend most of my time on Super User reading and judging. I rarely get the joy of writing an answer.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: I mostly participate in niche topics as well, which means I'm starved for input much of the time anyway. I read much more than I post, and moderating should go well with that.

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I don't post questions or answers that often. I actually spend more time patrolling new content than posting, so this will not have a major impact on the time I spend moderating.

soandos soandos answered: I would probably answer less. Already, as I have gone through phases of doing extreme amounts of moderation, I answer very few posts

KronoS KronoS answered: My reputation hasn't been increasing all that much recently, esp compared to when I first joined. That's mainly due to my focus on the blog, and cleaning up the site. I know that being a mod != high reputation gains, and I'm prepared and ready for that.


Dennis Dennis asked: You close a question / delete a comment thread / take a normal moderator action and get called out on meta. The post blows up. How do you handle this?

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: That depends, did I make a mistake?

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I'll post an official response about the action. In doing so, I'll try to address as many of the key concerns raised by the community and retain a fair tone to the user involved.

slhck slhck answered: Well, if a post blows up, it'd be time to lock it, at least temporarily, and get in touch with the user personally. The post can be unlocked if there's no obvious hostility anymore, or deleted if there's no sign of the user starting to discuss properly. We're not censoring anybody, but we certainly wouldn't like personal accusations … overall, "being nice" is important, and discussion about the actual content.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: As I am directly involved, I'll ask him to keep it technical, and otherwise ask another moderator to handle it (if he thinks it requires handling).

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck continued: Discussions must be kept civil. He can strongly defend his case, but personal attacks are not appropriate. I'll ask him to stop the personal attacks, inviting him to chat or ask other moderators about it if he's interested in clearing up the issue, and keep to the issue at hand. Either that works, or he continues forcing me to lock the meta topic or temp-ban.

soandos soandos answered: I think that the way that it was handled with me in this meta post was best. Basically, just try and deal with it. If it gets out of hand, let another mod deal with it in an impersonal approach

KronoS KronoS answered: Privately talk to my other mods. If I'm emotionally involved, I'll remove myself and let them handle the situation. I know that I won't be perfect, and I'm willing to accept any mistakes that I may make, so if there needs to be corrective action on my part, I'll be open to that as well.


Sathya Sathya asked: Two highly respected members of the community get in a comment war on a question. They both flag each other's comments and are cussing and it is clear that this is beyond a heated argument. What do you do, what don't you do?

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I'll invite the users involved to a special chat room that I'll lead in an effort to resolve the dispute.

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: I wouldn't know what to do. I'd ask another moderator for guidance before doing something stupid.

slhck slhck answered: Huh. Sounds familiar. First of all, lock the post, and tell them both to step back for a moment, ask them if they think it's worth diving into an argument. If they come to reason later, fine – but I'd probably still delete comments not worth keeping. If the users still continue to fight, even after hours, that'd be time for a warning to both … it always takes two for a fight.

soandos soandos answered: Call them to chat try to sort it out with the separately, or if that does not work, individually. Worst case, short term suspension.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: They should discuss the issue in chat. If it's only a single post they're discussing it on, I'll lock it. Then I'll wait, and participate in chat if desired. Either they then stop, discuss it properly and at least go back to being civil, or I'll hand out warnings.

KronoS KronoS answered: Lock the question at hand, and encourage them to take the convo to the site. If they continue temporary suspension may be necessary


jrg jrg asked: You spot an epidemic of bad tags/tag wikis (think 1K + questions to deal with). Do you take it up on meta for community approval, or do you just go and solve the problem by mass editing?

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: I'd take it to meta, not for approval (hopefully), but to seek support and make my plans known.

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I'll bring it up on Meta. One user can't solve a problem of this scope. To me, moderators act on behalf of the community, and I would prefer to enlist help from the community itself.

slhck slhck answered: I think we have a good way of dealing with these things on MSU already. Not much would change about that. I'd never go on a mass editing spree myself, at least not with 1k questions ;)

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: Meta of course, presenting what I think is the problem and (separately) the proposed solution.

soandos soandos answered: Take it up for meta approval, then probably ask a dev for that number of posts.

KronoS KronoS answered: Something on this large of a scale should be approved by the community. Moderators aren't site gods that make all the decisions with regards to how the site should be.


Tom Wijsman Tom Wijsman asked: The blog has been slowing down to a cripple, do you have any plans w.r.t. to blowing new life into the blog?

soandos soandos answered: I have been drafting my first blog post and it is almost done :) I plan to continue, and to try and get other users to contribute

slhck slhck answered: I think – as I said before – the key factor lies in finding someone who takes responsibility. However, given that we now often tried to revive the blog, I'm not sure. I still hope to see my proposal being implemented. Using the Stack engine for the blog – a long-term idea for maintaining a healthy blogging culture

KronoS KronoS answered: I'm here to stay no matter what for my baby (the blog). I plan on getting her back up and running and establishing a good foundation so that this doesn't happen again.


Ivo Flipse Ivo Flipse asked: If you find a problem with how the site works or think a change in our scope is required. How do you go about changing it? And/or if you're unhappy with how changes are being made right now, how do you plan to fix that when you become a mod (if at all)?

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: I'd first discuss my concerns in chat. When I see my concerns aren't unreasonable, I'll take it to Meta Super User

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I would start with posting the concern on Super User Meta, asking for community response. If this is a major matter, I'll put it on the community bulletin.

soandos soandos answered: Post something on MSU about what I think should change and why. It is up to the community to decide if we should change, not a mod (or even mods).

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: Present it to meta, similar to how it was done with the tablet issue. If I'm unhappy about it, I'll present my POV. Either I get community support, or I don't...

KronoS KronoS answered: Meta.SU and Meta.SO are great places to suggest such things. I would use those as my first go to tools.


Ivo Flipse Ivo Flipse asked: As a moderator you're not just a janitor, but also involved with promotions of the site, for example our anniversary contest or the blog. If elected, do you plan to get involved in these things as well and if so, do you have any specific ideas to help promote SU? For example with the upcoming release of Windows 8

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: Honestly, there is still a lot of uncertainty in regards to how much work the normal moderating will require. So I wouldn't want to make any big promises on what else I want to get involved in.

DragonLord DragonLord answered: This isn't my area of expertise. I'll continue to cover the usual content moderator--closing, etc. I might give some suggestions, but I won't be directly involved in the process.

slhck slhck answered: I guess being successful with that depends on finding at least one person who will devote more time into for example the blog, and just do that. I'm not sure how things will work out in the future, but I believe that I would first want to talk to other moderators to decide on an attack plan ;) I must admit I don't have any concrete ideas as of now, but that's nothing that can't be changed through discussion.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: I think sponsoring relevant communities (like AD does with Gruber or 52tiger) in a very targeted way is a good idea to raise awareness of SU, provided the funds to do it, but I'm not sure there are suitable, comparable sites with a more general target audience like SU has. I'd love to see some more partnerships like with Lifehacker.

KronoS KronoS answered: I've already been a big part of such things, and plan on continuing in this involvement whether or not I'm elected as a mod (if you'll let me :P)


Ivo Flipse Ivo Flipse asked: Will you have enough time to help with moderating in the near future (say coming 6 months) or can you anticipate any changes that might not make you the best person for the job right now. For example: job changes, upcoming kids or going to college/university

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I'm in college at this time, but I am still available for fairly large periods of time.

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: I've been out of school for 8 years now. I work from home. I'm pretty much glued to my keyboard.

slhck slhck answered: I'm still at university now and – as every student – you can't foresee all eventual changes in workload. I would try to do as much as possible without sacrificing (more important) personal issues, but if there was a major change that would impact the time I could spend here, I'd probably just take a break, and if the community had a problem with that, resign.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: Changing job requirements is always an issue, but other than that, I don't see any relevant issues any time soon. I've consistently been online a lot for years, using the internet for research, communication, leisure, so I don't see me canceling my subscription ...

soandos soandos answered: Should be available same as I am now, don't foresee any changes in my time availability

KronoS KronoS answered: I must admit, 6 months from now I'm not sure where I will be, as I'll be graduating soon, and this caused me to pause to think on whether I should run or not. I've given it a lot of thought, and although there may be a few periods of time that I can't dedicate as much time as others, I have the committment to stay with this for a long time (years in fact).


Tom Wijsman Tom Wijsman asked: Some user (not necessarily low reputation) decides that he wants to put up inappropriate content (whether name, avatar, about me section or post). How would you determine if it goes over the line and how would you deal with the user in that case?

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I'd start by sending a moderator message. If there's no response, the user will be suspended briefly. Whether the content is inappropriate would be based on the community's response.

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: I'd like to quote our faq on that: "Treat others with the same respect you’d want them to treat you. We’re all here to learn together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know. Bring your sense of humor."

soandos soandos answered: The community has done a great job closing things as spam/offensive. No reason to interfere if not nessary. If it is, then I'll act as I imagine the community would do.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: If it's something I consider universally offensive, I'll ask the user to remove it. Further action depends on the response. If I consider the offensiveness to be debatable (the recent XKCD issue is an example of this), actions depend on community response (e.g. others users flagging posts of the user referring to the profile or avatar).

KronoS KronoS answered: Jeff has stated that this site is supposed to be a clean environment. If I see anything of this sort, I'll address the user privately and encourage them to keep the site clean. Repeat and malicious individuals will be talked with other moderators, and possibly suspended


Diogo Diogo asked: Some time ago, we had a notable user (KCotreau) that didn't agree with a moderator action and just moved away from SU because of the disagreement. If this would happend again, how do you will deal with this kind of situation?

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I'll send an e-mail to the user, saying that the action was isolated and should not affect the user's standing. I try to be friendly to users, unless they are being obviously abusively. We don't like to lose well-established users, but in no case is a user obliged to participate (except for mods, of course).

slhck slhck answered: In that case this particular user chose to actively (and repeatedly) ignore and act against both community and moderator advice. He was contributing very well in terms of answers, which should always be encouraged, but if they want to leave, that's their decision.

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: I would never revert a moderating decision I made with good judgement just to please a valuable contributor.

soandos soandos answered: I am not sure there is anything to deal with. They leave, and there is nothing more to do about it. I think in that case, he was going to burn out in any case, but in general, be nice about it, but don't change the community for the sake of one user

  • Tom Wijsman Tom Wijsman added: Exactly, everything that's been contributed is still there (watch out for users that slow cripple their posts though). Leaving doesn't mean much, you'll make place for other users / content by not spending much more time on the leaving user...

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: Moderators should keep the good of the community as a whole in mind, not trying to please a single user, even if it's a valuable contributor. It's unfortunate if users decide to take that step, but it's their decision.


Dennis Dennis asked: You strongly disagree with an action taken by a fellow moderator. How do you proceed?

slhck slhck answered: A little broad, but: Ask them for their reasoning, and if you still think something needs to be done, go to Teacher's Lounge and ask what other moderators think the action.

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I'll notify the moderator by pinging him/her in chat and discuss it, starting with something like "I'd like to know why you took this action, since I don't agree with it." If this doesn't resolve the problem, I'll solicit community response via Meta.

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: Talking, talking and more talking. If that fails, I challenge him to a duel at dawn.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: Discuss it privately with that moderator, if possible. He might have a good reason to act like that, so I need to find out what's going on first.

soandos soandos answered: Talk to them privately and try to see how the other mods feel about it. I will most certainly respect the right of other mods to make calls though, and will not reverse them without consulting them (unless it is something minor and uncontroversial)

KronoS KronoS answered: This should be addressed privately with the moderator. Never will I call out an action I don't agree with publicy. Moderation is a team effort, and I don't want to destroy that team.


Ivo Flipse Ivo Flipse asked: Which candidates do you think are most suited for filling our current positions?

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: @slhck

DragonLord DragonLord answered: @slhck. This is obvious.

slhck slhck answered: @DanielBeck, @SimonSheehan were my first two wishes as candidates. I haven't seen the others being as active on the site. I would hope though that @SimonSheehan had more time, because I haven't seen him a lot in the last few months.

slhck slhck continued: @KronoS also makes a good candidate, I forgot.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: KronoS, Oliver, and Simon, in no particular order. (I won't bother mentioning slhck, that's just a bug that should have been fixed long ago ;-) )

KronoS KronoS answered: @slhck and @DanielBeck by far are ready to moderate. @Mokubai is also a great candidate, and I feel that he would do a great job. I feel that I myself am also qualified and ready to take on this responsibility.


Diogo Diogo asked: We have a lot of new users that comes here, makes a question, get a good answer and disappear, never come back leaving the question without any accepted answer. How do you feel about it? Do you think that some answers could be set by a mod to be accepted or it lies just to asker?

slhck slhck answered: No one but the OP should ever accept an answer on their posts. That's why we have voting anyway. The green checkmark is not that important, and I'd never want to tell anyone else what worked for them.

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: As I said in an earlier answer, this is one of the things that bugs me most about SE. This has also been discussed on Meta Stack Overflow in the past and I've simply adopted the status quo (either the user accepts it or it won't be accepted).

DragonLord DragonLord answered: I would not do anything except make a comment to the question to let the OP know. If moderators gained the ability to accept answers to another user's question, it would take vital control away from the question author. This is something that I feel should be reserved for the OP.

DragonLord DragonLord continued: We don't force users to participate, we simply encourage participation.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: The accept mark should be limited to the OP. Good answers get upvoted anyway.

soandos soandos answered: Its unfortunate, but in the long run, votes are more important, and they are not dependent on the OP, they are generated by the community. I don't see it as a significant loss.

KronoS KronoS answered: There's not much more that you can do, besides commenting to remind the user to accept the answer. Accepting an answer is the responsibilty of the Asker.


Diogo Diogo asked: How do you fell about being downvoted on primary elections? Some people had a lot of downvotes even having a lot of edits/flags and activity that already helped on superuser.. What do you consider that is being the largest difference on these cases?

  • Ivo Flipse Ivo Flipse noted: Its probably important that the candidates don't take the voting personal. Just because I don't think someone is suited to be a moderator doesn't mean I dislike them as a person.

DragonLord DragonLord answered: It might just come down to the overall participation of the user, not just in moderating activities.

Daniel Beck Daniel Beck answered: I accept it and move on. Moderating involves making hard decisions that annoy people, so it's only getting worse than the few downvotes I got.

soandos soandos answered: It does not bother me. I think there are other great people for the job, and if they win SU will still be a great place. I don't think any of the votes were personally motivated


Grace Note Grace Note asked: While we're reaching closing time, closing thoughts from candidates?

Oliver Salzburg Oliver Salzburg answered: Even if I'm not elected, I'll rest easy, knowing the other candidates on the ballot :)

soandos soandos answered: I think that whomever the SU community picks to be their new mods, SU will remain a great place. I only hope that I am privileged enough be a mod and help out with that as I can. If I can't I will continue to moderate to the best of my abilities.

DragonLord DragonLord answered: Moderation is about resolving disputes and keeping the site clean. I'd like to take my extensive flagging experience and turn it into direct action. That's why I'm running for moderator.

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