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2022 Moderator Election

nomination began
May 16, 2022 at 20:00
election began
May 30, 2022 at 20:00
election ended
Jun 7, 2022 at 20:00
candidates
4
positions
3

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. Since Covid started early 2020, participation on Sustainable Living SE has declined somewhat. What do you think is the best way to increase this again and make sure the site continues to grow?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. Suppose a user posts several plausible answers on a topic you are less familiar with and nicely backs those answers up with references. On closer inspection it turns out that all references link to research funded by organisations that are known to be climate change deniers. What do you do?

[Answer 4 here]

  1. You (a moderator) and another community member both answer a question on the main site. The other answer is well written but (objectively) incorrect, and has gathered a similar amount of upvotes to yours. What do you do?

[Answer 5 here]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 6 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 7 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 8 here]

Robotnik

My name is Ryan, I'm an Australian software developer and an active Stack Exchange community member (for over 10 years).

I joined Sustainable Living in late 2019, and ran in the previous election. I was a little green (ha!), but I feel I've learned so much more about the community over the last two years. I am passionate about living sustainably and reducing our impact and footprints at a personal and community level. Over the last few years especially, I've been able to implement some of my personal sustainability goals (always more to do!), as well as submitting to local council on sustainability practices on a larger scale.

Moderation

I'm an active mod on Arqade (Gaming SE), I also have experience administrating large communities on other platforms (Discord/Facebook)

I regularly edit, participate in meta discussions & reviews, and browse older questions/answers to see if they need updating or improving. I have a track record of positive engagement, and I respect and uphold community decisions that I may not personally agree with.

Based on this, I feel that I have the necessary experience, personality and mindset to help moderate Sustainability.

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?

Generally speaking, when someone's actions are causing issues (especially for repeated ongoing arguments or flags), I would use a one-on-one chat, or private mod message. I'd highlight the pattern of behaviour with specific examples, explain why it's an issue, and how to avoid those same patterns of behavior in the future. If nothing changed in the days or weeks following that message, or the pattern of behaviour got worse, I would escalate to a formal warning or suspension, if warranted. Ultimately, the users reputation or history of valuable answers wouldn't really be a factor here.

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

Mods are representatives of the community and by using their mod powers to close or delete something, they would usually be upholding the community's rules and values in their actions.

Thus, I would first discuss it with them privately. Maybe there's some context I've missed, and the closure/delete makes sense following that explanation. Or, maybe I've got a suggestion or an edit which could warrant a reopen or undelete?

If we can't reach a consensus on it ourselves, I would offer to create a meta discussion about it (if there wasn't already one), so that the wider community can weigh in and find a solution.

  1. Since Covid started early 2020, participation on Sustainable Living SE has declined somewhat. What do you think is the best way to increase this again and make sure the site continues to grow?

There's a lot of things that can affect site growth, and just as equally, I'd say there isn't one "best" way to increase it. We should try multiple different strategies - starting with increasing engagement through site events (eg topic challenges), cross-SE advertising (community promotion ads, and making sure our HNQ questions shine), updating question titles and tags to rank better in search engines.

More directly, we could reach out to other like-minded sustainability groups on the net (and offline), offering to be a resource for organising information and presenting it in the Q&A format - if that's a direction the community wants to take.

  1. Suppose a user posts several plausible answers on a topic you are less familiar with and nicely backs those answers up with references. On closer inspection it turns out that all references link to research funded by organisations that are known to be climate change deniers. What do you do?

I would probably take this to the community in the form of a Meta question. If something feels off, but not in a way that I can pinpoint within my scope of expertise, this is the safest action to get the wider community (and therefore, the experts) to take a closer look.

  1. You (a moderator) and another community member both answer a question on the main site. The other answer is well written but (objectively) incorrect, and has gathered a similar amount of upvotes to yours. What do you do?

I would leave my misgivings as a comment under their post. If there was a serious flaw in their logic in a way that could cause harm (eg "Touch the live wire, it's fine!"), I would edit out the portion myself, but also ask another moderator to weigh in and take it to meta where it could be discussed in more detail by the community.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

We're representatives of the community, from the community. Thus, moderators are present and active in guiding the community, and act as a go-between for bringing community issues to Stack Exchange. They also have the power handle the janitorial stuff: deletion/undeletion, merging questions, renaming/merging tags, as well as deal with problematic users and the occasional spammer.

  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 that's fine. I have nothing to hide in that regard - if there's an issue with anything I've said in the past, I'm happy to address it.

  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?

While access to those tools are certainly useful for site moderation, I've found in my experience that my most often used tool is my voice (well, a computer keyboard, but let's not nitpick). Community moderation often comes down to how you present yourself publicly. As a moderator, I can help guide the community easier: comments, chat messages, meta posts and other actions will carry more weight.

LShaver

Hi, I'm LShaver! I'm an electrical and energy engineer in Wisconsin, USA.

My story

During college I got stuck while programming a microgrid, and asked a question on Stack Overflow. Within 3 minutes I had a solution, and I was hooked. Soon I found Sustainability.SE, wrote my first answer, and fell in love.

Why sustainability matters

Climate change is the issue of our time, and sustainability is about making choices big and small that address it. This site connects people to share knowledge, learn skills, and work together to build a sustainable society.

Why I'd make a good moderator

I've been on the site for over 6 years, the last 2 as a moderator. I ask lots of questions, and keep an eye out.

As an active member, meta regular, current moderator, I understand the guiding principles well. Whether elected or not, I look forward to helping the community grow through active participation and community-building.

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?

Assuming that the standard approach of a 7 day suspension for first offense and 30 day suspension for second offense has already been implemented, I would consult with fellow site moderators and consider implementing a one year suspension. If that has already been attempted, I would reach out to the network moderators and community managers to discuss next steps, including whether a permanent ban may be called for. I find that good citizens are more valuable and harder to find than good answer-writers, so I'm willing to lose the latter if it means we can attract more of the former.

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

I would contact the moderator directly to understand their reasons for the action they took, assuming they observed or are aware of something that I am not. If the two of us are not able to agree on a course of action, I would suggest we enlist additional moderators (on our site or across the network) to seek advice.

  1. Since Covid started early 2020, participation on Sustainable Living SE has declined somewhat. What do you think is the best way to increase this again and make sure the site continues to grow?

Participate! While there may be ways to advertise and drive traffic to the site, we first need to make sure we provide a consistently valuable experience to new visitors. There are three specific ways I would like to see this community improve:

  1. Vote early and often.

  2. Write good answers. Answers that help people solve their problems or reach a deeper understanding of a complicated issue bring people back and attract new members. The best answers on are either well-researched, based on direct personal experience, or both. These types of answers take some work, but are most likely to provide real value.

  3. Ask good questions. There are a lot of smart folks who hang out on the site just waiting for those good questions to unleash their brilliance. A solid supply of good questions means that there will be a solid supply of ways for people to engage!

  1. Suppose a user posts several plausible answers on a topic you are less familiar with and nicely backs those answers up with references. On closer inspection it turns out that all references link to research funded by organisations that are known to be climate change deniers. What do you do?

If it is clear that the user is an employee of one of those organizations, I would leave a comment that they need to disclose their affiliation -- if they don't do so within a day or so, I would flag the answer as spam.

Otherwise, I would point out these problematic sources in a comment to warn other users, downvote the answer, and move on (just as I would do if I were not a moderator).

Longer term, if this user or these answers generate a lot of flags, I would consult with the other moderators to discuss next steps (such as applying a post notice).

  1. You (a moderator) and another community member both answer a question on the main site. The other answer is well written but (objectively) incorrect, and has gathered a similar amount of upvotes to yours. What do you do?

I consider this to be an example where a moderator status doesn't apply. If nothing in the answer is a flaggable offense, then I'd simply downvote and move on, perhaps with a comment explaining why I believe the answer is wrong. If anything is a flaggable offense (such as plagiarism), I would point it out to the other mods, as flagging by a moderator causes instant deletion (the so-called "mod-hammer") which could be interpreted as an abuse of power.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators have three main roles, listed by importance:

  1. Respond to flags

  2. Deal with problematic users (that is, those that generate a lot of flags)

  3. Serve as a liaison between the community and Stack Exchange corporate / the community managers

This last role mostly revolves around communicating to the CMs any concerns that are raised by the community (typically on our meta site), or communicating to the community any relevant news or changes to the Stack Exchange network.

  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've made a consistent effort to be a valuable contributor to this site, and don't believe that any of my prior contributions would be considered unfit for a mod -- though if they were challenged I would defer to the other mods to decide the appropriate response.

  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?

While flags on this site rare, they do happen -- and moderators are needed to address them. I'm also passionate about the mission of this site, and being a mod provides some opportunity to support the growth of the site (through collaboration with the community managers) that I wouldn't have as a high rep user.

Gerrit

I believe I may be a suitable moderator on Sustainable Living. I am quite able to keep a cool head in face of conflict, which helps me to remain patient and fair as well as respectful to my fellow community members. Moderation is always an act of last resort.

Sustainability is critically important. I have been a moderator on Earth Science since many years, and there are some topical intersections between the two. Planetary boundaries in general and climate change specifically are among the largest challenges facing mankind in the 21st century. They are central to both Earth Science and Sustainability, so I think being a moderator on both sites is quite compatible.

Having said that, it is likely that other moderator candidates will be able to put more time into the site than me. My participation has not been super active, therefore you may consider voting for someone else. It's good that this election is competitive now that I'm adding my nomination. However, since it's not one of the biggest sites, so it should not require a very large amount of time. If elected, I will put in more time than I have until now.

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 have experience with such users over at Earth Science. I take a patient and constructive approach, but will remove comments where necessary. If it becomes too bad, I might write a moderator message to discuss the problem with them.

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

In most cases I would just leave it. If I feel strongly about it, I would address it in the moderator chatroom.

  1. Since Covid started early 2020, participation on Sustainable Living SE has declined somewhat. What do you think is the best way to increase this again and make sure the site continues to grow?

We need good content and good contributors. We already have this, but we can have more. I'm not sure what the best way is to get more of it.

  1. Suppose a user posts several plausible answers on a topic you are less familiar with and nicely backs those answers up with references. On closer inspection it turns out that all references link to research funded by organisations that are known to be climate change deniers. What do you do?

As a user, It depends. If the answer is wrong or (worse) harmful, I would downvote and leave a comment explaining my downvote. If the answer is right, I would leave a comment asking if they could find other references to avoid possible confusion.

None of this requires moderator privileges. I wouldn't do anything that requires moderator privileges.

  1. You (a moderator) and another community member both answer a question on the main site. The other answer is well written but (objectively) incorrect, and has gathered a similar amount of upvotes to yours. What do you do?

As a user, I would downvote the other answer and leave a comment why it is incorrect.

I wouldn't do anything that requires moderator privileges.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

First of all, moderators are users. Good moderators do what good users do. They contribute with questions, answers, votes, proposals on meta, and in other ways.

In the best of worlds, they do nothing that needs moderator privileges, because the best communities are self-moderating.

Communities are made of people. People aren't perfect, and therefore communities are also not perfect. A moderator is a gatekeeper who takes action if really necessary. They serve the community by cleaning up what needs to be cleaned up, speeding up moderation tasks that would take too long if done by non-moderators, preventing conflicts or de-escalating them where they do arise. This list is not exhaustive.

Moderators are also the contact between the community and Stack Exchange. If the community needs something from Stack Exchange, the moderators can address staff for assistance.

  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's a bit of an overstatement that everything I do will be seen in a different light. I hope people will still value my content for what it is. Above all, I'm still 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?

By being among a small number of highly privileged users, I will feel more responsible and take more action than I would with reputation-earned privileges. Reaching 10k is not simple on this site; only 3 people have. Nobody has reached 20k.

Nic

Hi, I'm Nic. I've been a Stack Exchange user for 11 years.

Sustainability

I've been exploring various aspects of sustainability for over a decade, with a particular focus on understanding the relationship between behavioural change and organized, collective action. I've contributed my effort toward eco-oriented software startups, local political candidates, and activist movements. I believe that Stack Exchange is a small but important element in helping motivated people to do the right thing. I also believe that sites like Stack Exchange and Wikipedia are even more valuable in the current political atmosphere of disinformation.

Moderation

I've been a moderator here at Sustainability for the last two years.

My general philosophy is to be welcoming and gracious to people who are unfamiliar and don't know the rules or the culture, but maintain firm rule against malevolent misbehaviour and misinformation.

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?

Although good answers are valuable to everyone involved (the network, this site, and the people seeking answers), ultimately the Code of Conduct takes precedence. I would start by assuming good faith and try to work directly with the person to help them understand that strong arguments are valued, but being argumentative is not. As a moderator, I first try to help people fit into the community before resorting to moderator tools like warnings or suspensions.

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

I believe consistent moderation is important to the site. If I have a disagreement with another moderator I will express my disagreement privately, strive to understand how we arrived at a different understanding, and push for a consensus decision among all the mods. It would not be okay for a question to be repeatedly opened and closed because of a "mod war".

  1. Since Covid started early 2020, participation on Sustainable Living SE has declined somewhat. What do you think is the best way to increase this again and make sure the site continues to grow?

I do want this site to succeed, but I believe that moderators have a limited role in promotion. Our role is primarily to support the community of this site and uphold the Code of Conduct. Ensuring the site is free of spam/abuse and that conflict is reasonably managed is the best way I can support the growth of this site.

  1. Suppose a user posts several plausible answers on a topic you are less familiar with and nicely backs those answers up with references. On closer inspection it turns out that all references link to research funded by organisations that are known to be climate change deniers. What do you do?

Very good question! I believe this site, Sustainability, is exposed to this kind of risk more than the Stack Exchange sites.

When I see obvious climate change denial, I'm going to immediately use all of the non-moderator tools at my disposal. I will vote-down climate change denial. I would use comments to perform fact-checking and call out questionable sources. I would even consider editing the answer to add fact-checks directly.

Usually the community will identify these posts and down-vote them past the close threshold, so I would allow the community a chance to react before using moderator tools such as closing or deleting questions. If I see a pattern of intentional misinformation, I will suggest to the other moderators that we should intervene with the author. If there is any evidence of using sock-puppets to artificially inflate votes on wrong information, I would take swift action to shut down the sock-puppet ring and associated posts.

  1. You (a moderator) and another community member both answer a question on the main site. The other answer is well written but (objectively) incorrect, and has gathered a similar amount of upvotes to yours. What do you do?

I would use comments to perform fact-checking, call out questionable sources, and down-vote the answer I disagree with. I will provide the community with extra information they need to make informed decisions.

I will not use my moderator powers to delete answers only because they are wrong, especially when there is a perception that I could be acting in my own self-interest to boost my own answer.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

The moderator's role is to support the community of this site and uphold the Code of Conduct.

  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?

As an incumbent moderator, I still aim for the same level of respectfulness and professionalism that I did before I was elected as a moderator. I believe my previous questions, answers, and comments are consistent with expectations of a community moderator.

  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?

Now it's easier for me to improve tag wikis. :)

This election is over.