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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.

Due to the submission count, we have selected all provided questions as well as our back up questions for a total of 8 questions.

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 first set of three dashes.Please consider putting your name at the top of your post so that readers will know who you are before they finish reading everything you have written, and also including a link to your answer on your nomination post.

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!

Oh, and when you've completed your answer, please provide a link to it after this blurb here, before that set of three dashes. Please leave the list of links in the order of submission.

To save scrolling here are links to the submissions from each candidate (in order of submission):

Machavity

Michael Karas


  1. A user posts something that is incredibly dangerous (i.e. Just nut the wires together, but more dangerous that just a tripped breaker). Do you delete it, publicly moderate it, or just leave a comment?

  2. Is there any subject you feel should not ever be asked about on DIY?

  3. How do you deal with questions that have been abandoned by the OP? Question abandonment is one of the most pernicious issues we face as a site -- many a time, a user (mostly a brand-new user) will post a question that does not provide all the information needed to answer it, and then proceed to not respond to requests for that information. These "fire and forget" questions clutter the site and invite speculative answers that are at best broad advice, and at worst flat wrong. Furthermore, we need a tone from the top on this -- while a trickle of close votes does flow in, it is perhaps barely sufficient to keep up with new questions, never mind the litter that already exists.

  4. 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?

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

  6. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

  7. 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?

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

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  1. A user posts something that is incredibly dangerous (i.e. Just nut the wires together, but more dangerous that just a tripped breaker). Do you delete it, publicly moderate it, or just leave a comment?

In most cases, I'd be inclined to leave terrible questions up so we can explain the error. Remember, "no" is a perfectly valid answer and we should seek to educate people whenever possible. The exception would be a flippant answer that could be taken seriously. In those cases, I'd be a bit more inclined to delete.

  1. Is there any subject you feel should not ever be asked about on DIY?

The only subject I've ever seen come up would be end running a utility (where you could easily get killed)

  1. How do you deal with questions that have been abandoned by the OP? Question abandonment is one of the most pernicious issues we face as a site -- many a time, a user (mostly a brand-new user) will post a question that does not provide all the information needed to answer it, and then proceed to not respond to requests for that information. These "fire and forget" questions clutter the site and invite speculative answers that are at best broad advice, and at worst flat wrong. Furthermore, we need a tone from the top on this -- while a trickle of close votes does flow in, it is perhaps barely sufficient to keep up with new questions, never mind the litter that already exists.

I'm not sure how moderators fit into this. It's always good to have a moderator who can answer everything, but moderators can't force accepted answers, sadly. Yes, moderators can close anything they wish, but closure is still something the community at large can (and does) do. It sounds like this needs some Meta discussion on close reasons and policy. I'm happy to help with question cleanups and I know a few people on SO who have tools that could assist as well.

  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've seen this on SO. I've even seen high reputation users cross mods one too many times and get banned. I get the cynicism, but there's no excuse for not toning things down when asked. Mod banhammers exist for a reason.

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

I'd seek the other mod out first in mod chat and talk it out. I also always leave room to disagree, which means potentially walking away without seeing what I want to happen happen. Mods should never publicly war with each other.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderation is having the tools to handle things the community at large can't/shouldn't. Mods handle community member disputes, negative things like spam, and have the final say on what is and isn't acceptable content.

  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?

It does limit some normal actions (i.e. I'll probably have to skip more in the close queues since some actions need to come from community peers as opposed to mods), but if it helps spur people to make their questions and answers better, I hope it will be a net positive.

  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?

The big power with 10/20k is deletion. Outside SO, that's just not as common a power I use. Once in a while I'll remove noise answers (non-LQP), but I've not seen a lot of those on DIY. Then again, I can't see the 10k page either.

  • 1
    Hi, thank you for volunteering to help our community. A a less frequent user, and someone who hasn't moderated on other SE sites, some of the terminology you are using like LPQ is going over my head. As moderators are often left to explain things to the newer users, I find my inability to clearly understand you concerning. – virtualxtc Sep 4 '18 at 19:53
  • @virtualxtc LQP = Low Quality Posts (a review queue that removes poor answers). I have no problems helping to explain things if need be. – Machavity Sep 4 '18 at 21:07
  • 1
    @virtualxtc Moderators don't "run" the community, though. Indeed, it's mostly a janitorial position (moderators have their own review queue). The community runs things through Meta for the most part. A moderator who doesn't pay attention to Meta will likely face moderation themselves by community managers. If I'm out of line, please call me out on Meta. But I have participated in many Meta posts across SE if DIY Meta is not sufficient to show how I can explain things in simple ways – Machavity Sep 5 '18 at 0:51
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Michael Karas - Questionnaire Answers

A user posts something that is incredibly dangerous (i.e. Just nut the wires together, but more dangerous that just a tripped breaker). Do you delete it, publicly moderate it, or just leave a comment?

I would address this situation in much the same way as I have previously as a contributor. Usually a comment to the question is enough to inform both the user and the community as to the dangers involved. In some cases it warrants writing an answer to be able to fully explain the reasons why the question posted is proposing something very dangerous. I believe that dangerous situations that are explained are of value to the community. Only if something looks like a posting from someone looking to create an internet sensation would it seem to be a strong case for deletion.

Is there any subject you feel should not ever be asked about on DIY?

I would not put up any brick wall on any question that was deemed on topic. If it is on topic then I would deal with it on a case by case basis. The site already has a good infrastructure for dealing with off topic questions including moderator deletion which can certainly come into play for blatant spam.

How do you deal with questions that have been abandoned by the OP? Question abandonment is one of the most pernicious issues we face as a site -- many a time, a user (mostly a brand-new user) will post a question that does not provide all the information needed to answer it, and then proceed to not respond to requests for that information. These "fire and forget" questions clutter the site and invite speculative answers that are at best broad advice, and at worst flat wrong. Furthermore, we need a tone from the top on this -- while a trickle of close votes does flow in, it is perhaps barely sufficient to keep up with new questions, never mind the litter that already exists.

This is a fact of life in an online world that has the ability to be accessed by a large population of people that come here with an initial question but then leave. There is probably little that can be done with old content other than the possibility to let it age out and be deleted. In the case of new content there are probably things that can be addressed keep new users more engaged. The best way I know how to do that is to treat everyone with a welcoming feeling that includes respect. Many first timers may simply quit the site because they did not get the response they expected, wanted or needed.

How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

This really demands having some patience and a level head. When an argument or abusive situation arises it can be easily analyzed if one does not get emotional about it. The best way to diffuse the situation is probably to remove it from the site and move on.

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

This site gets many questions and moderators share the load keeping the community on an even keel. The best way to handle this is to accept the other moderators actions and move on. If there is general community response as well then it would require some private moderator communications to negotiate the best way forward.

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

As I mentioned in the previous answer I see the moderators job is to help keep the community on an even keel. Part of that is to keep an active role as a normal contributor to the site. It is not to be a policeman swinging around a heavy baton.

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 have no issue with this. I feel everything that I have contributed to this site has value and I am proud that it is still being looked at years after it has been posted. I am pleased when votes to old postings come in and confirm that users find enough value to what I have contributed. I know in the past there has been some content I added here that has disappeared because previous moderators had an issue with it and I accept that as well.

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

I am well past the rep range mentioned in this question. I think if the community selects me as a moderator it will be because they see that I can contribute in ways that were not previously possible. I do not think rep has much to do with my motivations. This is a community and I feel at home here and think I can provide some more in the moderator role.

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    Not sure if it's appropriate or of interest to you, but just thought I'd let you know why I'm not voting for you in the 2018 moderator election. I reviewed your recent close votes and in general found (a) valuable questions getting closed, (b) a lack of helpful comments to the questioner. I confess I'm something of a single-issue voter on this. The questions the other candidate voted to close were of much lower quality than the ones you did. I suggest you take more care deleting other peoples' work. Please close responsibly. – Bob Stein Sep 3 '18 at 20:36
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    I have found many of Michael's answers very long winded but accurate and will be voting for him. – Ed Beal Sep 3 '18 at 22:11
  • @BobStein - You are welcome to your opinions but the fact of the matter is that the other candidate also voted to close a good share of the same ones I voted to close. There are quite a few questions asked here that are off topic even though they may read like good questions. – Michael Karas Sep 11 '18 at 13:25
  • @MichaelKaras I appreciate all the work you've done to keep this site in shape. I do feel the off-topic rule is being applied too zealously. – Bob Stein Sep 11 '18 at 14:20

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