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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 lack of submission count, we have selected all provided questions as well as one of our back up questions for a total of 10 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.

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!


1) How much available time do you have to perform moderation activities and when (time of day and timezone) do you expect to perform most of these activities?

2) Do you have experience moderating, either on other StackExchange sites or on other online communities? If so, what has that experience taught you?

3) 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?

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

5) How would you balance the often conflicting roles of maintaining a welcoming site to new users while avoiding questions that are off topic?

6) What is the purpose of down votes and how would you promote that purpose?

7) Are there things with the current site you wish to change (e.g. the site scope, moderation policies) and if so, how would you make that change happen?

8) Close votes and some flags cast by a moderator are binding, resulting in immediate action taken without further agreement needed by the community. Will this change alter how you use the site, and if so, how?

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

10) Please weigh in on the great screw debate, Torx, Robertson, Phillips, or some other screw?

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1) How much available time do you have to perform moderation activities and when (time of day and timezone) do you expect to perform most of these activities?

Typically, I've got DIY and Chat.DIY open in windows from 9-5 Eastern time. I'm active much less of that time, but respond to notifications of new content.

2) Do you have experience moderating, either on other StackExchange sites or on other online communities? If so, what has that experience taught you?

I've managed several mailing lists back in the day, as well as a couple Facebook groups. Obviously the Facebook experience has taught me that there are a lot of morons in the world. But for some reason they tend to avoid StackExchange sites. What I've learned is that the admin team gains its authority from the community. Once you have the community berating the mods, you have a problem. You have to be a non-judgmental, impartial passive voice of reason and never rise to bait or trolls. This is never about me. It's about the site and its users.

3) 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 user could be harming the site, creating busy-work for moderators, or both. In the second case, I'd just suck it up. It's my job. A couple of gentle prods with the email-hammer might help. But there are always going to be some users who will cause issues, but are generally a positive addition to the community. We don't pull out the ban-hammer just because they cause administrative problems.

Arguments and flags have to be dealt with on a case by case issue. Argument over the content of an answer should be allowed to some degree -- it's how we distill the truth. Let it go on for a short time, and then clean up the thread. Insults, or offensive remarks need to be removed immediately. The user needs to be warned, and if this behaviour is persistent, given a time out.

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

Talk to the mod. Discuss it in chat. @Bmitch and @Tester101 both frequently raise issues in chat quite frequently. Mods from other sites hang out there as well and tend to offer advice. This is a great resource. The one thing I would lose is the vote to reopen option. It reopens a question on a single moderator vote. I will not get into a peeing match with another mod. Consensus will be achieved.

5) How would you balance the often conflicting roles of maintaining a welcoming site to new users while avoiding questions that are off topic?

Gentle guidance. I will actively communicate with new users, helping them form good questions.

6) What is the purpose of down votes and how would you promote that purpose?

On this site, a down vote on an answer is to show that you feel the answer is incorrect or inadvisable. In my opinion, every down vote should require a comment. On this site, a wrong answer could potentially kill someone. So the answer suggesting you test an outlet by sticking a paperclip in it must be down-voted and comments need to explicitly state that this is a BLOODY STUPID thing to do.

Questions are a bit different. A question "Why doesn't my xxx work?" is a bad question because it is unanswerable without further information. It should be down-voted, and a comment added to this effect. This has the effect of notifying the user and hopefully encouraging an edit to improve the question.

7) Are there things with the current site you wish to change (e.g. the site scope, moderation policies) and if so, how would you make that change happen?

I'm not entirely sure that all "Shop for me" questions are off topic. see Can we discourage "Shop for me" type questions? for my opinion on this issue. We're still feeling out our scope, and I'd like to see it happen organically, via the users rather than from the moderators.

8) Close votes and some flags cast by a moderator are binding, resulting in immediate action taken without further agreement needed by the community. Will this change alter how you use the site, and if so, how?

Excellent question. It will definitely change how I do my morning reviews. In the close queue, I tend to adjudicate on a "balance of probabilities" If I generally don't feel a particular question is beneficial to the site, I'll vote to close. But, with the modhammer, I'll need to be much more certain that a question is off-topic according to the rules.

9) 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'm very close to 10k, and will probably achieve that threshold in a month or so. The answer is AUTHORITY. Comments and suggestions from moderators are taken much more seriously by the users than from another "ordinary" user, regardless of rep. That blue diamond beside your name suggests that you are speaking for, and from the authority of the community as a whole. See questions 3 and 5 for how I would use this authority.

10) Please weigh in on the great screw debate, Torx, Robertson, Phillips, or some other screw?

There was a joke in chat that whenever someone mentioned "Robertson Screws" I'd show up. If Torx were as ubiquitous and cheap as Robertsons, then I'd go with Torx. But they aren't. And Phillips are just painful to use under most circumstances. Robertsons stick well to the end of the driver, and don't torque out like Phillips do.

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1) How much available time do you have to perform moderation activities and when (time of day and timezone) do you expect to perform most of these activities?

On weekdays, I'm around from about 5:30am until 10pm; weekends a little later. I look in on my SE sites several times during the day, and typically have a chat window open so I'd hear any pings from there if I'm near a PC.

Most of the moderation issues I see here can be handled quickly (spam, non-answers, etc.) and I already spend a lot of time on SE sites, so I could easily divert some to things that require more attention.

2) Do you have experience moderating, either on other StackExchange sites or on other online communities? If so, what has that experience taught you?

I've been more engaged with Stack Exchange than anything else on the internet, so I don't have much moderation experience elsewhere. I've been moderating on Gardening & Landscaping since February 2013. In that time, I've learned that sometimes, no matter how much you try to help them, people don't want to be helped. I'm learning that you can't let yourself get upset about that.

3) 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?

Anyone can have a bad day, but if someone has a pattern of abusive behavior over time, then regardless of their contributions, they need to be calmed down. They don't have the right to ruin the site for everyone else.

I'd start by cleaning up the comments or chat messages where the argument is occurring: sometimes, all that's needed to calm things down is knowing that a "grown-up" is watching. Next up is pulling them into a private chat room and asking them to desist. If that doesn't work, I'd escalate with mod messages and timed suspensions.

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

Discuss it with them; depending on the context and content, either via the moderator-only channels or in the public chat room. Questions can often be interpreted different ways, so if there's something wrong with the question that I don't see, I'd like to know so I can learn and do better next time a similar situation comes up. Likewise, knowing that the question is ambiguous means that we could leave comments asking the OP to improve it.

5) How would you balance the often conflicting roles of maintaining a welcoming site to new users while avoiding questions that are off topic?

I do a lot of this on Gardening & Landscaping: close a question or delete a follow-on post that's not an answer and leave a comment welcoming them to the site, explaining what they did wrong, and pointing them to the appropriate meta, /about or /help page for more information. My hope is to have them come back and become useful members of the community.

6) What is the purpose of down votes and how would you promote that purpose?

On questions, I generally down vote when it's obvious nonsense ("How do I build a bear pit in my backyard?") or the OP ignores our conventions ("I know this is off-topic, but here goes anyway..."). We get a lot of new users that are well-meaning but don't know how to ask a good question; I don't like to downvote these when commenting and editing in details can improve the question enough to make it useful.

I'll downvote an answer if I know it's wrong, or if it's completely at odds with the question ("You asked about X, let me tell you about Y"). New users asking follow-on questions, forum-style, I generally just flag and leave alone.

7) Are there things with the current site you wish to change (e.g. the site scope, moderation policies) and if so, how would you make that change happen?

I'm fairly happy with the site's scope, though it would be great if we could solve the perennial shopping question for once and for all. If we were to expand the scope, I'd like to include more woodworking: over time, my interests have expanded beyond nailing 2x4's together prior to attaching drywall, and towards making things that I'd actually want to see in my house.

I think the current moderation team are doing a good job, and they've coped well with the occasional bit of insanity on the site. The things I'd do differently are minor, like leaving more explanatory comments on deleted posts, and adding the "insufficient explanation" notice where appropriate on one-liner answers.

8) Close votes and some flags cast by a moderator are binding, resulting in immediate action taken without further agreement needed by the community. Will this change alter how you use the site, and if so, how?

For some things, no. We get some spam, offensive posts and obvious nonsense that I'd close and/or delete without hesitation, exactly the way I'd flag it now (and maybe call attention to it in the chat room if people are in there).

In other cases, I'd let the community weigh in before I make a move. As a 3k rep user, I can cast the first close vote knowing that I need the agreement of other users for it to take effect. As a moderator, I'd have to wait for the post to gather some close votes before casting the deciding one.

9) 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 occasionally see a post late at night that deserves immediate deletion. It would be great to be able to do that instead of leaving it on the site for moderators to take care of some number of hours later.

We often get posts from new users that promote a product, and it can sometimes be hard to distinguish the well-meant advice from the spam. If I had suspicions about a post's legitimacy, I'd be able to do some digging to find out if there's any connection between the poster and the product. I don't generally flag this because I don't want to bother the moderators on a hunch.

10) Please weigh in on the great screw debate, Torx, Robertson, Phillips, or some other screw?

Phillips head if it's in a drywall screw and I'm using a drywall bit. I can't recall ever using a Torx screw in a home improvement project, only on electronics. I've used Robertson trim screws for some woodwork and been very happy with them.

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1) How much available time do you have to perform moderation activities and when (time of day and timezone) do you expect to perform most of these activities?

I'm in Eastern Standard time and am online most of the day between 8am and 4:30pm. I also regularly check the site on evenings and weekends.

2) Do you have experience moderating, either on other StackExchange sites or on other online communities? If so, what has that experience taught you?

I have been moderating online communities in one form or another since 1984 when I ran a bulletin board on an Atari 120SE out of my bedroom. I participated in FidoNET in the late 80's. I managed eq.stratics.com forum and website for 2 years in 99-2000 after participating as a moderator for a few years prior. I created PilotsOfAmerica.com and set up a moderator community which I then participated in as an equal member, ultimately transferring titular ownership to the management council when I stepped down a few years later. I currently serve as a moderator on FrugalVillage forums.

Moderators in my view have the job of protecting the community from outside attackers while keeping the peace within the community. That means dealing swiftly and decisively with those who seek only to cause harm, while being patient, understanding yet firm with those who truly wish to be a part of the community but need a little help adjusting to the rules of that community.

3) 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'm a big believer in giving someone enough rope to let them hang themselves. I would first communicate privately with them over email and explain the issue and ask them to exercise a bit more discretion in their comments. If that failed, after 2 or 3 attempts, there would be little choice but to ban them.

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

Discuss it with the moderator in question. I would never independently overrule another moderator, but if there were a consensus among several mods that felt the item should be reopened then I would reopen it. It would have to be at least a 2/3 majority in favor of reopening (based on available mods to poll at the time).

5) How would you balance the often conflicting roles of maintaining a welcoming site to new users while avoiding questions that are off topic?

Migration where other SE sites existed. Otherwise if salvageable, encourage the user to refine their question to be more on topic. However, I find the community usually does a good job of catching these without moderators sweeping in to take over.

6) What is the purpose of down votes and how would you promote that purpose?

They should be used to reflect a poor quality question or answer, not for a personal agenda. I personally like to post reasons for downvotes when I downvote.

7) Are there things with the current site you wish to change (e.g. the site scope, moderation policies) and if so, how would you make that change happen?

Frankly, no. I'm generally pleased with how the site runs now. That's why I'm volunteering to assist - to help preserve the existing practices.

8) Close votes and some flags cast by a moderator are binding, resulting in immediate action taken without further agreement needed by the community. Will this change alter how you use the site, and if so, how?

Only in cases where the questions/answers are clearly meant to be disruptive as opposed to simply off topic. I like that community votes are used to determine when closures are appropriate and don't wish to disrupt that process. I suppose if that means my votes to close would be binding immediately then I'd use it much less often than I do now.

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

Mainly in the ability to more directly defend the integrity of the site. When troublesome users appear, that's when mod tools are needed. Otherwise, the existing community balance does a great job.

10) Please weigh in on the great screw debate, Torx, Robertson, Phillips, or some other screw?

I'm a big fan of screws in general, and I don't discriminate based on brand, style or thread-count.

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1) How much available time do you have to perform moderation activities and when (time of day and timezone) do you expect to perform most of these activities?

I am currently a professional freelancer; aside from life activities, I'm always in front of a laptop.

2) Do you have experience moderating, either on other StackExchange sites or on other online communities? If so, what has that experience taught you?

No, this will be my first moderation gig with SE. Prior experience, I ran a car club with 2000+ members.

3) 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?

No user of SE or any other community deserves to be treated poorly, regardless of the value a user may have to the community. Fighting / arguments are unacceptable in my opinion and I would ban the user once I've received consensus amongst the other moderators.

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

I would speak (chat) with the moderator and try to learn from his / her experience and understand why something was closed. If I felt the moderator was in the wrong still, I would speak to others about the situation and see if we could work towards a solution.

5) How would you balance the often conflicting roles of maintaining a welcoming site to new users while avoiding questions that are off topic?

I would direct them to the chat room.

6) What is the purpose of down votes and how would you promote that purpose?

Down votes are used to identify poor answers. If someone asked me what a down vote means, I'd explain the community is only as valuable is it's information content. If poor answers weren't identified, in the case of DIY, someone could get hurt or killed. On DIY, identifying bad answers could prevent property damage or personal injury.

7) Are there things with the current site you wish to change (e.g. the site scope, moderation policies) and if so, how would you make that change happen?

I have no gripes right now.

8) Close votes and some flags cast by a moderator are binding, resulting in immediate action taken without further agreement needed by the community. Will this change alter how you use the site, and if so, how?

I would be more conscious of questions I ask or answers I propose as I feel a person in a moderator position may be looked at for inspiration. Moderators should always set a good example for the community.

9) 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 think being a moderator will allow me to interact with the community better by giving me more responsibility in a subject matter that I find interesting, have experience with and actually enjoy doing. Some people renovate or work on their properties because they have to (water damage, leaky roof, etc...) I do these things because I think their fun. I love working with my hands and feel it's a nice break from programming. It's a means of coming up with solutions to things I'd like to have in my house, even when money is tight.

10) Please weigh in on the great screw debate, Torx, Robertson, Phillips, or some other screw?

Cabinets: Torx

Structural (framing): Phillips

Ikea Furniture: Robertson

I'm a big fan of Hex screws as their used often in small electronics. It's always a good idea to have a set close by so when you shatter the screen on your phone, you can repair it yourself!

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