In connection with the moderator elections, we will be holding a Q&A with the candidates. This will be an opportunity for members of the community to pose questions to the candidates on the topic of moderation. Participation is completely voluntary.

The purpose of this thread was to collect questions for the questionnaire. The questionnaire is now live, and you may find it here.

Here's how it'll work:

  • During the nomination phase, (so, until Monday, August 31st at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 4:00 pm EDT on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.

  • We, the Community Team, will be providing a small selection of generic questions. The first two will be guaranteed to be included, the latter ones are if the community doesn't supply enough questions. This will be done in a single post, unlike the prior instruction.

  • This is a perfect opportunity to voice questions that are specific to your community and issues that you are running into at current.

  • At the end of the phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions. We reserve some editorial control in the selection of the questions and may opt not to select a question that is tangential or irrelevant to moderation or the election. That said, if I have concerns about any questions in this fashion, I will be sure to point this out in comments before the decision making time.

  • Once questions have been selected, a new question will be opened to host the actual questionnaire for the candidates, containing 10 questions in total.

  • This is not the only option that users have for gathering information on candidates. As a community, you are still free to, for example, hold a live chat session with your candidates to ask further questions, or perhaps clarifications from what is provided in the Q&A.

If you have any questions or feedback about this new process, feel free to post as a comment here.

13 Answers 13


We have many answers posted as comments. Some of them are right, some of them are wrong. What do you think of this situation? Does it need to be addressed? If so, what will you do about it?

  • 2
    In the early days, I kept a tab open with the Unanswered questions list. I'd monitor the questions, nudge people to change their comments into answers, give further encouragement if they said they weren't sure. As the list got larger I let the practice fall by the wayside, and I was always hesitant to post the comments as answers myself. I think I ought to change that, and systematically attack that list again--but this time, if the commenter doesn't answer after some time, post the answer myself.
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 7:51
  • 4
    @WendiKidd: Since you are currently a mod, I assume you know better than me exactly how this process is supposed to work. But it seems to me the purpose of this page is to collect together a handful of questions that will be put to candidates after the nomination phase ends. I'm perfectly happy with the content of the comments you've made to a couple of "answers" here (and I fully expect to vote for you when the time comes! :) - but surely things will get a bit confusing if all candidates follow your lead and respond here before being presented with "the actual questionnaire". Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 12:01
  • @FumbleFingers I realized that about 3 questions in sheepish We weren't elected the first time around, we got emails from SE and had the choice to accept or not... This process is new to me from a candidate-standpoint, and I think I did jump the gun a bit ;) Thanks for your vote of confidence! And thank you for sticking with the site for all this time. ELL wouldn't be the same without you :)
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 16:15
  • @WendiKidd: I think J.R. does a great (and tireless) job here, so I'll be voting for him too. But I think he's rubbed certain people's backs up once or twice. Not that this bothers me - sometimes people need to be (gently) slapped down - but I simply can't imagine you doing anything like that. It's good to have at least one mod who can be absolutely relied on to find the appropriate "middle ground" in disputes (or soothe the fevered brow of any user getting worked up about something where they don't have a leg to stand on! :) Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 17:11

What do you feel our questioners need that they're not getting, or not getting enough of? What would you do to remedy this?


There has been a recent trend of questions on ELL, in which the author writes the question, along with the answer, and asks if they're correct in thinking that way or not.

These questions tend to attract "Well done Marsling!"; either as comments or answers. If they get it as a comment, the question is going to remain unanswered. If it's gonna be an answer, it's hardly a good answer. Furthermore, a lot of these fit the definition of "too localized" and aren't likely to help any other learner.

As a mod, what's your POV on this?

  • 1
    Not quite sure what you mean by "Marsling"; can you clarify that? (Is it supposed to represent any old username, refer to someone from Mars, or what?) Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 23:43
  • Any question which asks for a simple yes or no answer is not a question of the quality we should want for our site. Questions like these should be edited to ask why an answer might be right or wrong, as well as the asker's reasoning for why they chose a given answer. If you come across a question like this, you should cast a close vote and explain what the user should do to improve (and reopen) the question. If there's enough info for you to make the edit yourself, that would be even better.
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 7:53
  • @Nathan it was a joke. "Earthling" wouldn't be quite as exotic.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 9:43

ELL was originally formed as a place for non-native speakers to get answers to questions that didn't really suit the original intentions of ELU. In the beginning, some were opposed to the idea of two English communities on the Stack Exchange, thinking it might be too confusing, citing specific advantages of having a single site, and not seeing a convincing argument for splitting ELL off from ELU.

Now, ELL is graduating, yet I still frequently see questions on ELU that seem like they would be a good (if not better) fit for ELL. Many of these are asked by users who (a) are new to the Stack Exchange, and (b) do not seem to be native English speakers.

Is this a problem? If so, what should be done about it?

  • This is a great question, but given that ELU is the one receiving the questions, before ELL, its moderators, or its community are even aware of them, it seems like this should be asked over on Meta.ELU (after all, what could prospective ELL moderators do about questions asked on ELU?). Good news: as soon as you guys graduate, we'll be able to set up a migration path from ELU to ELL.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 14:15
  • @Dan - We have graduated (at least, that's what everyone is saying, even though it still says beta on the site). And questions have been migrated for months now. (By the way, thanks for your comment, and I wholly agree with the main point you are making: this is more of an ELU issue than an ELL issue. But I believe it's an SE issue as well.)
    – J.R. Mod
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 17:30

Here is a set of general questions, gathered as very common questions asked every election. As mentioned in the instructions, the first two questions are guaranteed to show up in the Q&A, while the others are if there aren't enough questions (or, if you like one enough, you may split it off as a separate answer for review within the community's 8).

  • 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?

  • 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 do you view the ELL relationship with ELU? What, if anything, do you believe needs improvement. How would you work with the ELU mods to determine if a question is better suited to ELL or ELU?


It's often pointed out that comments within SO should primarily (only?) be used to improve Questions or Answers (by seeking clarification, or constructively criticizing, for example). But in practice many users post many comments that can't be justified on that basis.

What's your view on "housekeeping" for obsolete/ephemeral/chatty comments on ELL?

Is current practice "about right" in terms of the level of such activity? What about the selectivity? Should mods be deleting more/less comments? Are they choosing the right comments to delete?


What's your viewpoint on chatrooms? Do you wish to participate in them, either for community-meta decisions or English language learning?


ELL welcomes answers written by both native and non-native speakers. Both native and non-native speakers have their own strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes answers written by a non-native speaker can be insightful, but sometimes it is not quite correct, or worse, just plain wrong.

What is your opinion on two possible problematic scenarios that may happen when a non-native speaker posts an answer?

  1. A non-native speaker who is a learner posts an answer to learn. They post the best possible answer they can write to an existing question asked by another user. They know that their answer may not entirely correct, and could be entirely wrong. They hope that if it's incorrect in any way, there will be other users help them to correct their answer.

  2. A non-native speaker posts an answer believing that it is correct but turns out otherwise.

      2.1) When it turns out that the answer is not entirely correct or simply wrong as it's different from standard English or the usage commonly found in the big five dialects (AmE, BrE, CaE, AusE/NZE, SAE), the non-native answerer may try to claim dictionaries, books, grammar rules they have learned, some websites (which may hold different opinions from other sites), or claim that the answer is what people use in the place where they live.

      2.2) Another possible case is when no other users notice the question and the answer (it may look like the question has already been answered when other users browse through the question list). And chances are, nobody votes anything, neither the question nor the answer. The user who posted the question may naively believe that the answer is correct. This is quite likely when such a non-native speaker has relatively high reputation (if you haven't noticed this before, and you can't think of a real user, you may use me as an example of such a non-native speaker).


What general guidelines do you follow when editing or deleting content? Modifying and removing content can cause some angst, so what steps do you take to minimize the negative impact when a post is not clearly "bad" but may need some intervention?


If you get a diamond next to your name, it will look shiny and all, but, you used to be only worrying about writing good answers and/or questions, you used to dedicate most of your time on commenting on the delicate and finer points of English grammar . . . 

But now what you mainly are gonna do is cleaning after the mess of spam, processing flags, warning users who broke up with their significant other and are now shouting at other people in comments etc.

Will this change how you enjoy the site? Will you become less entitled to your oath? Will your bolts of ELL love become loose?


Besides ELL, what are other sites, social networks, or communities similar to ELL that you're currently actively participating in? And what role or roles do you have in those communities?

If you're a key person in other communities, how will you manage those communities and our community, ELL? How will you prioritize your responsibilities?

And because one privilege of being a moderator is being able to access sensitive information of all users, will any conflicts of interest arise? If so, how will you manage it or deal with it?


As a moderator, how will you treat users that are decent querents/answerers but who don't follow some or most of the guidelines the community had outlined in the meta or already pointed out in the help center?

  • I point them to the rule/meta thread in question, and explain what changes they need to make in behavior, then offer them a chance to reply with any questions or concerns. Usually if a user is writing decent questions and answers, they can understand the rules well enough after they're explained :)
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 7:58

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