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I'm posting this as a place to ask additional questions of the candidates. Feel free to edit this post to add your question. I would recommend following this post after you add a question to get notified of updates.

Answering any of these questions is completely optional. Answer as many or as few as you'd like.

  1. Candidates, is there anything you would like to add to your nomination post about why you would make a good moderator or how you would handle certain issues on the site?

  2. Did you rank yourself as your first choice for moderator on your own ballot? Why or why not?

  3. Fellow candidates, how do you feel about flagged comments (not posts)? As they are only viewable to moderators, do you ever think of them or label them as snitching?

  4. There are many prolific answerers who answer questions that are clearly off-topic and close-worthy. And it is unfortunate that they get quick upvotes for writing an answer that OP could have found had they done some research. Clearly this isn't helping OP - we shouldn't spoon-feed people. Many reputed ELL users, including current and previous moderators, have brought this up in Meta: DO NOT FEED THE BEARS, Stop answering close-worthy questions!, Call to stop answering off-topic questions and there are many more. In fact, even I brought this up in Meta: I comment "What do you think and why?" to a question "Is this correct?" - and someone posts an answer "No - this is incorrect because . . .". My question to the candidates is, how are you going to handle such answerers? Note that many of such answerers have made excellent contributions to the community over the years. What actions will you take to discourage answerers from answering clearly off-topic questions? Will their reputation points and them being native speakers affect what actions you'd take?

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  • I'd like to ask a question to the other candidates ... @ColleenV
    – AIQ
    Oct 29 '21 at 12:12
  • @AIQ Feel free. I asked other candidates questions when I ran. Because we use ranked voting, who you put second on your ballot can still make a difference in the election. Your vote should matter to them too. I'm a little disappointed we haven't seen any responses from our other candidates, but there's still time.
    – ColleenV
    Oct 29 '21 at 12:42
  • I've added a question.
    – AIQ
    Oct 29 '21 at 13:27
  • @AIQ I know :) as author of the original post, I get a notification if it is edited. Other folks will have to "follow" it to get notified of updates.
    – ColleenV
    Oct 29 '21 at 13:29
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    @AIQ I have seen that a question that is on topic is often in the eye of the answerer. You sound as if you want to punish users who may only want to help the OP. Moreover, a seemingly easy question can reveal unexpected gems i.e great answers. On the other hand, when a user keeps repeating the same formulaic question for years with no research or effort for years then it's time to hammer them. Downvote!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 29 '21 at 22:23
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    @Mari-LouA Moreover, a seemingly easy question can reveal unexpected gems i.e great answers. - those are exceptions. I am referring to questions that are clearly off-topic and can be answered by a simple google search. As a moderator, my role would not be to punish anyone, but to maintain the quality of our site, ensuring that all posts are beneficial to our community (as has been mentioned in the help center), while also making sure that non-native speakers like me get the help that they need and that they feel welcomed here.
    – AIQ
    Oct 30 '21 at 11:59
  • @Mari-LouA In the linked posts, you will see M.A.R., J.R., and others raise the same concerns over answering off-topic questions. I think instead of answering off-topic questions (which encourages users to repeat the behavior) we should help askers understand how they can improve their posts and ask better questions (no typos, more context, their own take on it, and some research if possible). Similarly, we should inform answerers of the linked posts and the help center guidelines on what is off-topic questions. The last thing I'd want for ELL is for it to become like Quora or Reddit.
    – AIQ
    Oct 30 '21 at 12:00
  • @AIQ I know those posts you mentioned very well and the people who posted them. You should give recent examples of off-topic questions that were answered by experienced users not by newcomers. In any case, we don't want to encourage lengthy debates in the comments. Whenever I find myself embroiled in one, somehow I'm the one who ends up suspended :) Perhaps it would be an idea to convert your comments into an answer.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 30 '21 at 12:03
  • @Mari-LouA I will add them as my answer! Thanks! Just wanted to clarify that I intend NO harm to anyone. :)
    – AIQ
    Oct 30 '21 at 12:05
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This is a bit long, but I'd really like to be a moderator. Here goes:

Candidates, is there anything you would like to add to your nomination post about why you would make a good moderator or how you would handle certain issues on the site?

Experience leading teams, taking responsibilities, and delivering on promises:

In my college years, I volunteered in several clubs and societies. I was the captain of the university basketball team, president of the economics club, and general secretary of the indoor games club (to name a few). I was responsible for managing different teams, organizing various club events, preparing and approving budgets, and keeping people from clawing each others faces off.

My way or the highway:

On the basketball court, my leadership was challenged a few times. We sorted things out like they used to do in the old days: 1 on 1. Beat me and I'll step down as the captain. Never beaten. I was putting in three times as much time in basketball as any other player on the team (team practice, training on my own, playing pickups, playing 1 on 1 with strangers, running, lifting, watching hours and hours of basketball videos on YouTube, etc.).

I was the best player in the team. But what I wasn't, was a good leader. I didn't see people's potential; I only saw what they could do in the present. This led me to kicking out a lot of people who I thought wasn't good enough. I used to get upset and angry when people used to be late to practice, when they gave anything less than 100%. "Why the hell are you on your phone with your girlfriend now, wtf? This is why your jumpshot sucks! Get serious or leave." What I thought was people's respect – was actually fear. I had failed them. Basketball had become a duty; it was no longer fun for them, and neither was it for me. I was bitter and unhappy all the time. I was angry that my teammates were not giving 120%; that they were not working as hard as me. To me it was like war against the other universities. I wanted to win. But I lost focus of the big picture – be a leader who inspires people to play the game of basketball. In my final year of college, I decided that it was time I let someone else lead the team. I stepped down.

A different approach, a calm mind, and lots of smile:

With a lot more free time, my friends and I started helping out the younger folks in the department with their economics homework and tests. People noticed how I started listening to other people more and started understanding their point of view. One thing led to another, and my teachers and peers elected me as president of the economics club. This time it was different. That constant battle mode was gone. I didn't care about being president – I cared about these people being together, supporting one another, and having a good time. They actually respected me and were really fond of me. Every time they saw me, they called out my name with a big bright smile. I let them brainstorm on what kind of events they wanted to organize, and I only stepped in when dealing with the authorities (finance and procurement, department chair, chancellor, etc.). I saw these people grow - they started thinking critically, their grades improved, and they cared deeply about the econ team. And nothing else really mattered to me.

Connecting all this to why I'd be a good ELL moderator:

You're probably thinking how is all this in any way related to becoming a mod here.

I'd be a good moderator because I have been in positions of responsibility. I am accountable, I follow through on my commitments, and I care about helping people. I wasn't always a good leader, which means I know how not to lead. Being caring and understanding goes a long way – and that is how you get people to become more involved in the community and to actually care about the community. That is what I want for ELL.

I've also learnt to value asking people for their perspectives, and consulting with the team to develop more comprehensive and effective approaches to dealing with problems. That is what Golden State Warriors taught me too: Strength in Numbers!

My experiences in dealing with university authority (and getting my clubs what they needed at the time) will be useful when I'd have to communicate with the Stack Exchange team or Community Moderators regarding ELL matters.

I have over 10 years of tutoring experience (including 4 years in Canada at the post graduate level where I taught classes of 30-40 students – many of whom did not speak English as their first language). This means that I understand the mind of a non-native speaker and how to effectively communicate with them. I will also be patient in handling the close-votes.

Did you rank yourself as your first choice for moderator on your own ballot? Why or why not?

Yes, I ranked myself as my first choice because every vote counts, and I'd like to become a moderator. I have been a member for over 3 years, and I know the site very well. I have had plenty of conversations with different moderators here in ELL (and in MA SE too) who have in many ways shared with me what it is like to be a moderator and what one needs to be a moderator. I know I've got it.

Fellow candidates, how do you feel about flagged comments (not posts)? As they are only viewable to moderators, do you ever think of them or label them as snitching?

Flagging irrelevant or rude comments is a good thing. It helps keep the community clean and removes content that may otherwise be distracting. No, I don't consider this as snitching.

There are many prolific answerers who answer questions that are clearly off-topic and close-worthy. ... How are you going to handle such answerers? Note that many of such answerers have made excellent contributions to the community over the years. What actions will you take to discourage answerers from answering clearly off-topic questions? Will their reputation points and them being native speakers affect what actions you'd take?

Just to be clear, I am talking about answering questions that are clearly off-topic (as per the help center guidelines) and can be answered by a simple google search.

As a moderator, one of my duties would be to help maintain the quality of our site and ensure that all posts are beneficial to our community (as has been mentioned in the help center). At the same time, I'd have to ensure that non-native speakers like me get the help that they need and that they feel welcomed here.

I think instead of answering off-topic questions (which encourages users to repeat the behavior) we should help askers understand how they can improve their posts and ask better questions (no typos, more context, their own take on it, and some research if possible). Similarly, we should inform answerers of the relevant Meta posts (linked in the question above) and the help center guidelines on what questions are off-topic. The last thing I'd want for ELL is for it to become like Quora or Reddit.

But I don't want to do this unilaterally. I'd urge the other moderators that they too post comments (linking the Meta posts) under answers that answer off-topic questions. I think if all moderators helped communicate this to the answerers, we would quickly see results. I believe that if we can (1) guide askers on how to ask good questions and (2) ask answerers to not encourage bad questions by answering off-topic questions, we can indeed maintain good standards in the community.

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  • 2
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I think it will help people make up their minds.
    – ColleenV
    Oct 29 '21 at 1:45
  • 1
    @ColleenV If they read it at all - it's too long, I realize now. This is what happens when you are awake at 3AM - you can't stop once you start.
    – AIQ
    Oct 29 '21 at 1:47
  • 1
    I don't think it's too long. Not everyone will read it all the way through, but I'm sure those who do will find it interesting.
    – ColleenV
    Oct 29 '21 at 1:48
  • Don't suppose you'd care to answer question #4?
    – gotube Mod
    Oct 29 '21 at 17:58
  • @gotube I will, I just need a little bit of time ...
    – AIQ
    Oct 29 '21 at 18:08
  • I know you're probably pretty disappointed, but thank you for running and putting the time in to answer the questions. The company has mentioned that they are looking into ways to offer other community leadership positions in addition to moderator, and I hope you will stick around.
    – ColleenV
    Nov 3 '21 at 14:05
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  1. If I'd had room for it in the nomination form, I would have added more detail about my qualifications, as I have done here, and invited people to ask me anything.

  2. At first, I put AIQ at the top of my ballot because the initial section of their nomination form spoke to me in terms of the motivation to give back, and overall it showed serious effort with detailed and well-thought-out answers. I found their demeanour and attitude really open and calm. Judging only from the four candidates' profiles, I would vote AIQ.

    The reason I changed my mind and have put myself on top now is that for my own vote, I have an edge: I'm the only person on the list whose abilities I have been able to assess in real life --rather than from a one-page nomination form-- and while I'm reasonably confident AIQ would be great, I know that I can do the job.

  3. Flagging bad content of any kind to get it removed is good practice in a community that runs on good content. The idea of labelling good practice "snitching" goes against the whole concept of the SE structure: SE sites are mostly self-correcting, relying on users to evaluate all content and get rid of what lowers the standard.

  4. It irks me when I've voted to close a question from someone who regularly posts off-topic, then someone else gives a full well-researched answer. As a Mod, I would drop "Don't feed the bears"-type comments on answers to clearly off-topic questions. I'd only comment on people with 1K+ reputation, as in, people who either ought to know better by now, or at the very least might understand the problem they're contributing to once someone points it out to them. Further, someone with high rep is modelling behaviour for new users, so a comment there will have more impact than on a low rep answer. It's also unreasonable to expect that the average low-rep answerer will really care what makes a question off-topic, let alone care about or even understand the impacts of giving a good answer to an off-topic question.

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  • 5
    Thanks for being open about your vote. Being confident about being the best person for the job is a good quality. I think it's also OK if someone ranks themselves second (I ranked Snailplane ahead of myself when I ran for moderator because she's just undeniably brilliant and kind :))
    – ColleenV
    Oct 27 '21 at 18:56
  • @gotube I am really happy you considered that I'd be a good mod. :)
    – AIQ
    Oct 29 '21 at 0:20
  • Thank you for running and taking the time to answer questions. As I mentioned to AIQ, there may be more opportunities to fill a different type of leadership role in the future, and I hope you'll stick around for them.
    – ColleenV
    Nov 3 '21 at 14:10
  • @ColleenV My pleasure. What kind of roles are you referring to?
    – gotube Mod
    Nov 4 '21 at 10:24
  • 2
    A comment by Philippe the VP of Community One of my goals is to find new, different, but important forms of leadership. Not things that will undermine or remove anything from mods, but other leadership, that will supplement and enhance what mods do on site. Look for more details sometime around Q4, if it works out. It's still up in the air but I'm hoping it will turn into something real.
    – ColleenV
    Nov 5 '21 at 11:39
1

I'll keep it short and sweet:

  1. I don't think there's anything else that I haven't mentioned already in my nomination.

  2. I have ranked myself as my third choice because: I think the other members will be better moderators than me (their nominations speak for themselves!). Another main reason is that I don't have much time on my hands these days. (Actually I didn't want to nominate myself but wanted AIQ to run for mod but there weren't other nominations apart from Sandip's so I nominated myself.)

Bla bla bla

  1. About flagged comments: I don't think of them as snitching, harmful/offensive comments should be flagged and removed and there's nothing wrong with that.
  2. I agree with what @gotube said: I'll close a poor question from someone that regularly posts blatantly off-topic questions (i.e. that are easily answerable with Google) and might comment on the answer as well.
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  • 1
    I'm a bit late to this post cause I just saw it. Feel free to ask any questions you have. :)
    – Void
    Nov 1 '21 at 16:16
  • 2
    Thanks for taking the time to answer, and for joining the race even though becoming an ELL moderator isn't your lifelong passion :)
    – ColleenV
    Nov 1 '21 at 17:44

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