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In connection with the moderator elections, we are holding a Q&A thread for the candidates. Questions collected from an earlier thread have been compiled into this one, which shall now serve as the space for the candidates to provide their answers.

As a candidate, your job is simple - post an answer to this question, citing each of the questions and then post your answer to each question given in that same answer. For your convenience, I will include all of the questions in quote format with a break in between each, suitable for you to insert your answers. Just copy the whole thing after the linebreak.

Once all the answers have been compiled, this will serve as a transcript for voters to view the thoughts of their candidates, and will be appropriately linked in the Election page.

Good luck to all of the candidates!


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?

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?

What is your general ideology regarding how moderation should be performed?

What are your thoughts on the community-driven nature of StackExchange, and would you support continued moderation primarily by community members?

What is your motivation for being a moderator? What makes it something you want to do? Why do you feel like photography is the right community for moderating?

Is there anything about Photo-SE which you would like to be significantly different from the way it is now?

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    I should have asked something about managing the Picture of the Week contest. It slipped my mind, but it is one of the most important things for me, as a current moderator...I really could use a backup, someone to handle that if I miss it for some reason or another. – jrista Mar 29 '13 at 12:17
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    @jrista - I assumed that rotated around, but obviously if you're the only one these days, the rotation is rather tight. Needless to say, I rather suspect that all of us candidates in the election would be happy to help out. – John Cavan Mar 29 '13 at 13:56
  • @John: I have pretty much only been the one. For the first few, there was some rotation. Then it was just me for a long time. When rfusca was around, he helped, but that only lasted for a month or two...since he's been gone, it's all been me again. The move to a continuous rolling voting scheme reduced the workload, but I am not always able to change the header over exactly on time...and it is a lot of small little steps to get it done. Not really a "lot" of work...just tedious work...and its pretty much all been in my boat. – jrista Mar 29 '13 at 14:31
  • @jrista - I can't speak for the others, obviously, but I'd help with that of course. I think it's one of those tasks that needs to be shared fairly. – John Cavan Mar 29 '13 at 15:13
  • @jrista - I agree with John Cavan. I would also love to help out with stuff like the photo contest updates. – AJ Henderson Apr 1 '13 at 14:39
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In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators handle situations that are a clear problem for the community that can not be sufficiently handled by the community itself. Dispute resolution, expedient removal of spam posts, certain general house keeping that requires moderator access (such as speedy protection of questions when needed and requested). In general, the job is about supporting the community, not interfering with it.

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?

It would be nice if there was a feature like a superuser mode where you could distinguish your actions as a moderator from your actions as a normal community participant (particularly when it comes to discussions shaping the direction of the community). At an ideal level however, moderators are not a whole lot different from established community members. High reputation users have a similar kind of responsibility as moderators and I think it's important to behave as if I was a moderator regardless of if I have a diamond next to my name or not.

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

The main thing I see about being a moderator is that it allows for helping resolve a broader range of issues than are able to be handled by 20k rep. Sure, they are mostly low visibility maintenance kinds of things, but it's also key to helping ensure that the community run smoothly.

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?

The key should always be first to try to make valuable members of the community and only when that fails (or there is a serious problem being caused) should a problem be resolved by removing the problem. If someone is making a lot of great answers, then they are likely greatly interested in being a valuable member of the community. Simply talking with them about the issue will likely be enough to help them be a better community member. Approach them as a friend who appreciates what they are doing and suggest how they can do even better.

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

First thing would be to talk about it with the other mod and figure out what the concern is. They may have seen something I didn't. Based on the outcome of that discussion, either a consensus will be reached or a broader question about the community may be found. In that case, it can be discussed with the community in a meta post asking about the broader concern. I think it is important to avoid any visible conflict with other moderators outside of internal moderator discussion. The role of moderators is to resolve conflicts, not cause them. That's why they have to wear the big boy pants.

What is your general ideology regarding how moderation should be performed?

Moderation should always be as hands off as possible and when it is necessary, it should seek to keep with the nature of the community. It does however have to be decisive at times to stop issues from growing out of control. The trick is to resolve issues quickly and fairly while creating the smallest ripples possible. The goal should always be to help people be constructive members of the community and when that isn't possible, the goal should be preservation and protection of the community.

What are your thoughts on the community-driven nature of StackExchange, and would you support continued moderation primarily by community members?

Of course, the community has to decide what the community is. Moderation is only used to more quickly handle serious issues that could be disruptive to the community or to help the community with the few things that they are not able to handle with the permissions given to high reputation members.

What is your motivation for being a moderator? What makes it something you want to do? Why do you feel like photography is the right community for moderating?

I feel like I have a good connection with this community. Photography has been an interest of mine since a very young age and I want to see this community thrive. I enjoy serving the communities that I participate in. Every community has issues that come up from time to time and need someone to step in to help ensure the best possible resolution to keep the community running smoothly. I have found the best way of keeping a community free of issues is to help make sure issues are dealt with quickly and fairly when they do come up. I love seeing the community running smoothly and knowing that I'm helping behind the scenes to keep it that way.

Is there anything about Photo-SE which you would like to be significantly different from the way it is now?

Not really. I'd love to see more activity with questions. We have a lot of great people to answer questions and relativly few questions to go around. We get really great answers, but it does make it harder for new commers who want to answer questions to get involved. All in all, it's really the best problem we could have since it means we are able to support additional growth in being a valuable resource in the Photography field.

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In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Mainly review flagged posts and quickly handle abusive posts and spam. Moderate the chat rooms. Handle houskeeping on meta such as organising the Photo of the Week contest. Migrate and merge posts.

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 try to be helpful and respectful at all times, and I don't think being moderator is going to change the way I act, or how people see me. I might occasionally have to clarify when a comment is my personal opinion and not the SE stance, but I would hope that those two things wouldn't conflict frequently.

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

There are just those few things high rep users can't do: being able to help out with the workload of migrating posts, housekeeping like the Photo of the Week contest, and instant action on spam or abuse. Also by spending time here doing those behind-the-scenes tasks, I can resist answering so many questions on the main site and let others get a word in ;)

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?

Work with them offline/chat to find out if they realise they are causing friction. Try to understand why, hopefully encourage them to be more tactful, and if they continue to be disruptive, probably consult other mods for a consensus on what next steps to take

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

It happens all the time that the community disagrees whether something is off-topic or duplicate. Some vote to close, other to keep open. I often tend to be in the majority, but often disagree. However when it is a mod (with a binding vote) that has closed something unilaterally that I thought the community should handle, I'd speak to them offline about it. I don't think mods should vote when a consensus can be reached, unless they have strong feelings that the question is inappropriate, or for whatever reason needs to be closed quickly (i.e. abusive)

What is your general ideology regarding how moderation should be performed?

I think moderators should mostly try to not be overly visible and let the community develop as the consensus allows, but they need to know when to step in to deal with obvious abuse, spam and to help keep any community building efforts going. Like I said last election, I think a good mod is like a good referee - if you don't notice them, they're probably doing a good job.

What are your thoughts on the community-driven nature of StackExchange, and would you support continued moderation primarily by community members?

Absolutely believe in the community-driven aspect - it gives people ownership, which drives participation, and puts less pressure on the mods themselves to have to make tons of decisions. If the community seems to be heading down the wrong path, the mods may need to steer things from time to time, but otherwise the community-driven aspect is what makes SE work so well.

What is your motivation for being a moderator? What makes it something you want to do? Why do you feel like photography is the right community for moderating?

My main motivation is to help out with the workload. jrista needed help with housekeeping workload, and I often find flagged spam takes awhile to be removed. I'm in a different timezone to other mods, so can handle spam and abusive posts that occur when they are offline. I've helped build and have moderated a number of community (non-SE) sites in the past, but photography is a life long passion, so this site is my main community focus, love the place and would like to give back.

Is there anything about Photo-SE which you would like to be significantly different from the way it is now?

As far as the main site, no. It can be a bit quiet, but it's a great site.

I think to draw people in and keep them interested and involved, we need to publicise the community aspects: meta, chat, the blog. I don't think these are prominent enough for new users to notice them.

The Photo of the Week contest is great for the site - any similar outlets for creativity in meta would be good for keeping people coming back to visit the site.

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    Thanks for mentioning duties involving PotW! Everyone seems to forget that is one of our (moderator's) biggest duties here on PhotoSE! :) – jrista Mar 29 '13 at 12:18
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In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are there to help the community where the community is unable to do so on its own. This could be dealing with spam quickly, or dealing with abusive users, or similar. To that end, I think the primary role is to help ensure an enjoyable experience for all users of the site, regardless of experience or knowledge.

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 stand by my past responses and involvement here, so while my answers aren't always the accepted one, I think they're often reasonable. However, I am cognizant that newcomers may assume more of my answers as a result of the diamond and that may be out of proportion to reputation. So, that would probably alter how I responded to some questions going forward, more around taking a bit more care to ensure that the tone was more in keeping with the purpose. In some ways, I think you need to walk a little more carefully so that newcomers don't assume that the diamond means you're right.

I also agree with AJ, it would be very handy for moderators to have some way of interacting as a regular community member and not always have their vote end it. That may be a challenge to do, but something to consider.

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

Oddly enough, I'm not convinced that it would make me more effective, it would just make me effective in a different way. On the negative side, because of the immediate effect of the vote, I would be less quick to vote on closure, edits, and the like. Arguably that provides for less influence on the character of the community and so maybe not as effective then. On the positive side, I can pitch in the lower level tasks that can't be easily shared and I can help the community in establishing and maintaining the direction it is interested in, and that makes me more effective. I sense that it balances out a bit.

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?

Fortunately, I don't think that's been a huge issue for this community, but as I noted earlier, I think the goal of moderation is to make for an enjoyable experience for the community. Ideally, you try to suggest or guide the user towards a better style in their commentary. If that's failing, you might try temporary solutions, short "cool off" ban for example, but with a clear understanding of why that was needed. If the person is outright abusive, or simply not tractable to any change, then a more permanent answer is probably needed. Of course, this has to be tempered with the experience that other members of the community are having and more permanent solutions might recommend involvement of additional moderators to weigh the pros and cons of such a user.

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

I would find out their line of reasoning from them and provide my line of thought as to why that should have been left alone. There's absolutely nothing wrong with different points of view in these areas and so a healthy, positive, discussion on thinking around the community is a very good thing. In the end, I think it's important for the moderator team to be seen as a cohesive group, so if we were really, really, not seeing eye to eye on something, then I would propose to the whole moderating team to resolve.

My experience, though, is that the actions of the moderators have been typically even-handed in this community. Most of us have been interacting with each other for years now, so I don't think we're unknowns in this.

What is your general ideology regarding how moderation should be performed?

I've probably let that information out in some of my responses here (and in the past)... A moderator should be seen very little and heard even less. That does not mean that they should not participate in the regular activities of the community, but it should mean that their moderation activities are fair, reasonable, and expected when they happen. It's kind of like being a referee in a hockey game: the best keep the game running smooth without you knowing that they're doing that. Everybody notices a referee that isn't keeping it smooth and so the desired goal should be that nobody is surprised when you do need to step in.

What are your thoughts on the community-driven nature of StackExchange, and would you support continued moderation primarily by community members?

Absolutely, that's the whole value proposition of this community! I firmly believe in it and I wouldn't have participated as much or as long if I didn't think that was the case here. The essential pleasure in this community is that it is a community and you can learn from a lot of people, including some really talented and experienced people. It's a place that rewards your growth as a member and that's a big attraction.

What is your motivation for being a moderator? What makes it something you want to do? Why do you feel like photography is the right community for moderating?

My motivation is to help, that's all. I think the role is needed here and, having been a member for so long now, that I'm in a better place today to help that than I was when the site first started. I did have to think about it, though, I'll not deny that, because it's a serious responsibility and if I'm going to do it, I need to be mentally prepared to devote that time. For me, however, this is the only community that would be right for me to moderate. Sure, I sort of participate in others (I am a coder after all), but my passion is photography and it's the only community that I can say that I've had a hand in shaping.

Is there anything about Photo-SE which you would like to be significantly different from the way it is now?

No, not really. I might like to see a little more technique style questions and the like, but they're trickling in. I'm very encouraged to see rapid growth in other users of the site beyond our more traditional top 5 or so. Not that I want them to slow down at all, but it's really great to see some coming up the pipe as it were. It's quite exciting and means that there are still valuable questions and answers to be had.

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