Varun KN's Answers
Warning: You might need Pop corn. Because this is going to be Loooong.
- What is your view on editing a question to correct grammar and style issues? Do you think we should edit answers differently from questions? Some users believe that questions should only be edited for clarification, and errors which do not impede comprehension, left alone. In this way, the community has a better understanding of the asker's level of English. Other community members believe that we should correct questions (excluding citations) and answers because correct English is easier for learners to translate and may help learners become more fluent. They may also believe that a site that claims to help learners improve English, has a responsibility to ensure the language used is, at least, always spelled correctly.
The right question, if you ask me, should be:
'To what extent do we correct a question posted by the OP?'
A person who wants to correct or edit a post should not attempt to:
- Answer the question, directly or indirectly.
- Mislead the audience by changing the entire post.
- Make minor changes and edits, just to bump up rep points or attain badges.
I've come across many simple edits, by adding a few punctuation marks and capitalizing words. Unless I'm convinced that the change is necessary, I will not approve the edit.
Say, an edit came that includes an additional comma(,). I end up reading the edit atleast 3 or 4 times to make sure that the comma has not changed the meaning of the sentence.
Having said this, it's pretty obvious that I support post edits and changing the grammar (only if it's absolutely necessary). This not only helps others to understand the question, but also helps the OP correct his mistakes. Knowingly or unknowingly, he even learns from the edits made by other users.
Bottom line: Questions should be edited, only to help other users understand the post better. We wouldn't want a bunch of people posting answers based on their assumption and personal comprehension of the original post. The questions that are asked should be precise, clear and in no way should it be ambiguous.
- The chat system of SE has repeatedly proven useful in coordinating site and meta activities and it's a versatile medium for friendly chat. Some sites have even taken a step further and made ask-anything-from-mod chatrooms; e.g. Super User. However, unfortunately there are currently no active mods in ELL chatrooms. Do you wish to participate in ELL's chatrooms if you get elected?
Definitely, here's why.
When you ask something via a public post, you limit your questions to a few sentences, hoping to keep the reader interested. Not many people will sit and read an entire story just to understand your question. The attention span of an average reader will depreciate after a couple of paragraphs. But when you chat, you can clearly address your questions and doubts. The chat may go on for a while longer, but the reader will not get bored.
This is pretty logical. If your friend wrote you paragraphs and paragraphs of stuff, how interested will you be to read it. On the other hand, if you have a chat-based conversation, you could go talking for hours.
So, I'm all in for the chat idea. I cannot guarantee a 24/7 hotline service, but I will actively participate whenever I'm available.
- Some community members believe ELL's tagging system needs a lot of improving. There has been attempts before from some meta users to rebuild the tags so they serve their purpose better, but it hasn't achieved ultimate success. Do you believe there is a problem with tags on ELL? If so, should anything be done about it? If so, what are you willing to do about it?
To be honest, I actually never used the tags efficiently in the beginning. When I first joined ELL, I had my posts edited left, right and center, by random users and moderators. A lot of the edits came as tag edits. Now that I'm used to the system here, I use them well and often help others who are new here. If you ask me, the tag system had a few issues on ELL, primarily because the tag definition provided by some people made no sense at all. Also, I've seen many tags made by users, exclusively for their posts. Such tags may have 1 or 2 posts related to them. If I were elected a moderator, I would remove all those irrelevant tags. Also, I would advice users not to use very broad tags, such as the 'Grammar' tag. ELL has so many tags. Users wouldn't find it hard to find a suitable tag. On the other hand, these infinite tags can confuse the original poster of what tags to use. This should be removed.
In short, the tag system is good, but it requires a little bit of refinement.
- What action, if any, do you think moderators should take related to comments that are answers rather than discussion or clarification of the question? I think most of us agree that answers in comments aren't desirable in general, so do you think the issue is serious enough on ELL that there should be moderator action taken, or do you feel that the community is already handling it well enough?
I have seen this so many time. Only if I got a dollar for every time I saw an answer posted as a comment.
Some users on ELL believe that certain posts can be answered by a single sentence or a word. So instead of posting a very short answer, they go ahead and comment it. I don't think this is the right way. An answer is an answer, long or short. User must post the answer as a valid answer. If the question is a 'word request' based question, why not provide the OP with more than a couple of answers? Give him options. Post it as an answer, not as a comment.
What action would I take? I would strictly advice user to do so, if I'm elected. There is no need for a severe action.
"Nobody shall bleed today"
- Would you personally intervene (i.e. edit) if a question migrated from EL&U was, objectively speaking, low quality but had some potential? What is your position on the quality of questions that have migrated from EL&U so far?
ELU is a very active community, and much like ELL, they have a ship load of questions comming in, on hourly basis. But some of the questions asked in ELU would find better answers if they were posted in ELL instead. Over my time here, I've seen many posts being migrated to ELL from ELU. And many a times those posts have been closed due to a lack of quality. So one may wonder, are the guys over at ELU dumping them onto us?
No they are not. What do the guys at ELU do?
"English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts."
and what do we do, here on ELL?
"English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English."
So what's the difference? In short, ELL helps people who are new to English, whereas, ELU helps people who already know English well, and/ or are using English extensively. This is why many users are active in both ELU and ELL, simultaneously.
The questions that are migrated from ELU will always be a point-of-interest to me. But often do I see low-quality posts. In such cases, I try and understand what the OP has posted, or I try to make edits to it, to make it understandable to others.
Not everyone can post high-quality questions. Sometimes users need help, which I'm always ready to provide. Any post that has even the slightest potential shall not go unanswered.
- 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 only aim for the users in ELL is to help others learn, share their knowledge, and if possible, keep learning everyday. This is a place for discussions and knowledge transfer. Debates can occur and before you know it, a heated conversation begins boiling up.
Irrespective of the user's contribution to this community, he/ she cannot throw knives at anyone else, no matter what. The user may have given countless answers here, but he has no right to verbally abuse another user, or often be caught in arguments. As a moderator, I will try and intervene any such activity. I may advice the user not to engage themselves in such actions via personal chat.
If he continues to do so, I would maybe discuss the situation with other moderators and talk about his future in the community. A soft ban will also be considered at extreme cases.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
No moderators have VETO power here. If a post is closed and I feel that it's got potential to exist as an open post, like any good citizen, I will raise a re-open request. If many people think I have a point, it may get re-opened. I would never re-open a post that has been closed by a moderator just because I think it's not worth being closed. Optionally, I will post a topic for discussion regarding re-opening the posts, right here on META.
- A newcomer asks a typical learner's question. There is no evidence of any research, and its answer is easily found by Googling. If you were a moderator, what would you do?
This happens so often. A simple solution is to provide the search links from google to the user and post them as comments.
- Sometimes the user may not know what to search.
- Sometimes he must not have found anything that helps him.
- Sometimes the user may not have understood what Lord Google told him.
In any case, shunning out the user and asking him bluntly to go and google it, seems a bit too harsh. I've been in such situation many times and I often comment a google search link for what he needs. And moderator or not, that is what I'll keep doing. The question can also be closed after the links are provided to him.
- In your opinion, what do moderators do?
Simple. They are regular contributors in ELL. They just have a slight advantage of managing the community, so as to maintain its smooth-functioning. Moderator are like Admins. They have to oversee the entire functioning of this community, clean up bad posts, enforce the rules and see to it that the community runs by its guidelines.
- 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 to get more rep.points? Simple. Keep answering posts, keep posting questions. So why bother doing anything else?
I've spent eight months on ELL answering a fraction of questions as opposed to the other guy, who's been here 2 months and has 25K points, answer a zillion questions. So what do I do? I try to help user by reviewing their posts, mostly. To answer something is comparatively easy. To make sure a post is of high standard, now that's the hard part. I enjoy helping the new guy who can hardly type English to post a question that other user may or may not answer. Have you ever wondered why some posts are of low quality? May I remind you that this is a learning site. You don't expect a nursery kid to write the American Presidential speech.
As a moderator, I would continue to help people the same way I do, everyday, on ELL. Because at the end of the day, your rep points and your badges mean nothing compared to the feeling you get when you help people.
PS: I would like to applaud for the current moderators. You guys are doing a swell job.