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2024 Moderator Election

nomination began
Mar 12 at 20:00
election began
Mar 19 at 20:00
election ended
Apr 3 at 20:00
candidates
3
positions
1

On Stack Exchange, we believe the core moderators should come from the community, and be elected by the community itself through popular vote. We hold regular elections to determine who these community moderators will be.

Community moderators are accorded the highest level of privilege on our community, and should themselves be exemplars of positive behavior and leaders within the community.

Our general criteria for moderators is as follows:

  • patient and fair
  • leads by example
  • shows respect for their fellow community members in their actions and words
  • open to some light but firm moderation to keep the community on track and resolve (hopefully) uncommon disputes and exceptions

Every election has three phases:

  1. Nomination
  2. Primary
  3. Election

Please participate in the moderator elections by voting, and perhaps even by nominating yourself to be a community moderator!

Additional Links

Questionnaire
The community team has compiled questions from meta for the candidates to answer.
  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?

[Answer 1 here]

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

[Answer 2 here]

  1. In the context of "Not an answer" flags, consider the case of an answer in the style of "This is my approach / This is what I ended up with: (Code-dump)" is flagged as "Not an answer". What do you do? Is there a difference in how you respond if you see that the answer has a post notice (set by another moderator) on it?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. Site activity has been going downhill for years. Where we had 1500-2000 posts a month in 2019, it's 400-700 a month since the start of 2023. There are various reasons for this and Code Review is not the only site where numbers have gone down significantly. Do you consider this a problem? Will becoming a moderator help you improve the situation?

[Answer 4 here]

  1. This site gets a lot of off-topic questions, since its rules are more complicated than other sites on the network. Is this something best left to the community to handle, or is there more that moderators should be doing to migrate, fix, close or remove questions?

[Answer 5 here]

  1. In the context of changes to the network's "Theory of moderation," there currently is a push underway to reevaluate what the role of a moderator should be in the SE network. Has this impacted your decision to run for moderator? What is your idea of what a moderator should be?

[Answer 6 here]

  1. In the context of question closure / dealing with upset users, suppose that you closed a question, which angers the original poster, who calls you a power-tripping moderator. How do you respond? The implicit question is, under what circumstances would you use your moderator privilege to close questions, bypassing the [three]-vote process? Why?

[Answer 7 here]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 8 here]

  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?

[Answer 9 here]

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

[Answer 10 here]

Elias Van Ootegem

I figured I'd nominate myself and see what I can do to both ensure the user experience here is as good as it can be, and promote code review as a practice, and a learning resource. I've been a long-time SO/CR user. Stackoverflow thrived when it was universally regarded as the go-to resource to get a second pair of eyes on a code-issue you couldn't quite figure out, and you'd get your answer fast (provided you put some effort in your question). An increasing number of people have shifted to use LLMs for this purpose. Reviewing code is instructive. Good code review walks you through your code, and line by line explains what else you could've done, why you may want to do so, and what the tradeoffs are. This kind of knowledge sharing is the USP that stackoverflow lacks, and where community content like you find here matters.

Questionnaire
  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?

As used to be the case way back when I signed up: comments are more of a "dotting the i's and crossing the t's" feature. They true value of a Q&A exchange here is in the code and the fully-fledged review. A user like this is unquestionably a valuable member of the community, so the goal should be to get them to be less argumentative in comments. Reaching out to simply explain that surely would go a long way. Have a conversation. If that doesn't work, more drastic measures might be required (e.g. bigoted outbursts in comments definitely deserve a suspension). There is a language barrier to consider in some cases: certain terms are in common parlance, but non-native speakers can find it hard to gauge just how their words can come across. It's something I learned when moving to a different country, with a different language. Still, this is something I've not really seen on code review, so I doubt it's a common issue. Either way: I would evaluate this on a case-by-case basis.

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

Bring it up with the other mod, explaining why I wouldn't have closed/deleted the same question. In this context, it might be more of a subjective thing. The code itself may be a small snippet, and it may be poorly written, but I may see a lot of touch-points that could spark a very insightful and detailed review touching on topics that may prove informative. The other mod may not have seen that, or may disagree entirely. That's fine. Should this happen, I'd like to know the reasoning, and give my input. Much like the aim of code review: we both end up learning.

  1. In the context of "Not an answer" flags, consider the case of an answer in the style of "This is my approach / This is what I ended up with: (Code-dump)" is flagged as "Not an answer". What do you do? Is there a difference in how you respond if you see that the answer has a post notice (set by another moderator) on it?

Rewriting the original code isn't quite a review. If the answer was posted a couple of minutes ago, then I would revisit it later on in the day. Sometimes people write the "meat" of their answer, and then through updates, add explanatory paragraphs as to why they wrote the code in the way that they did. A code dump could be a review in the making, essentially. Of course, checking past activity of the poster matters. Do they have a habit of replying with a code dump? Then a post notice is in order (if another mod hasn't set one yet). As before: should there already be a post notice, and I see no reason why (ie the answer is very new, the user has no code-dumping history), I'd state my case and argue the user should be given the opportunity to update their answer. If it's been unedited for a couple of days, a code dump does not a review make.

  1. Site activity has been going downhill for years. Where we had 1500-2000 posts a month in 2019, it's 400-700 a month since the start of 2023. There are various reasons for this and Code Review is not the only site where numbers have gone down significantly. Do you consider this a problem? Will becoming a moderator help you improve the situation?

It is a problem IMHO. The site needs traffic to survive and stay relevant. The main product is still stackoverflow, but as I stated earlier: I think code review is less susceptible to AI issues. Should I be a moderator, it'd be my responsibility to ensure new users have the best experience possible, in hopes of getting more recurring users, and new contributors through word of mouth. Right now, I'm of the opinion that stackexchange really ought to shift focus away from Q&A on code bugs/issues, and focus on the added value community driven code review and knowledge sharing as a marketing strategy.

  1. This site gets a lot of off-topic questions, since its rules are more complicated than other sites on the network. Is this something best left to the community to handle, or is there more that moderators should be doing to migrate, fix, close or remove questions?

The rule of thumb is a simple one: code is ready for review, when it's ready to be merged (using git terminology). This means there's no known bugs, and the goal of the review is not to get your code working. The goal is to get your code accepted by others. There is a grey area, and I believe that'll always be the case to some extent. I've not been a first-time contributor in quite some time, but I'd expect new users need to go through some introduction explaining what is expected of them before they're able to post a question. Other than that, dealing with off-topic questions are best handled by the community - they are the ones providing the content, let the community choose what they want to engage with. Part of the problem here could be the vote-to-close options. If the current set of options doesn't fit this site, then most users will probably select "off-topic" as a catch-all reason.

  1. In the context of changes to the network's "Theory of moderation," there currently is a push underway to reevaluate what the role of a moderator should be in the SE network. Has this impacted your decision to run for moderator? What is your idea of what a moderator should be?

No, it hasn't impacted my decision. A moderator in my view, is just a community member that volunteering to spend some time looking after the platform, assisting users, and facilitating communication between the owners/hosts of the platform and the community.

  1. In the context of question closure / dealing with upset users, suppose that you closed a question, which angers the original poster, who calls you a power-tripping moderator. How do you respond? The implicit question is, under what circumstances would you use your moderator privilege to close questions, bypassing the [three]-vote process? Why?

Bypassing processes should be an exception rather than a rule. The first example that comes to mind is a user that spams the same question several times (possibly with slight changes to the wording). First time I'd vote to close, and leave a comment pointing out that it's a duplicate. If it's a verbatim repost, especially on a tag that I'm more knowledgeable about/active in, I could see myself closing the question outright. If the poster gets irate, I'd just calmly explain my reasons, hopefully they'll understand. If they still don't, I'd check with a third party if my decision was the right one to make, own my mistake if I made one, or leave it at that if I didn't make a mistake.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

I've not dealt with moderators on code review, and the mod role is somewhat a moving target. I think I've explained what I think a moderator ought to do (or rather, what I'd do). From what I've seen here, a moderator mostly ensures the content on the platform is relevant, devoid of profanities and noise, and users know what to expect from the community, and in turn what the community expects of them.

  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?

A slight hint of embarrassment perhaps about that diamond showing up next to some of my older questions/answers? I'm not really one to care about titles and medals, so I don't feel very strongly about it either way. Put it like this: I don't feel strong enough either which way to scrub my history of questions, answers, and comments I left years ago that I'm not particularly proud of. They weren't removed, so they're not breaking any rules. If anything, they show I've gotten better since then.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

I already have access to moderator tools, so that's not the motivation here. I'm a trusted user on stackoverflow, but I've mostly been "just a user". I don't really know how else to put it, but as I feel like I covered in my answers and nomination blurb: I care about code review as a resource, and decided to nominate myself here because I believe code review is, more than stackoverflow, where a community-driven resource adds value an AI bot can't. Nominating myself here is just my way of committing to the format, I suppose.

CPlus

Hi, I am primarily a C and C++ programmer who also uses a variety of other languages such as Swift or Objective-C and Java. I appreciate Code Review for being a great place to get in-depth feedback on even complex or special-purpose sections of code and avoid leading to problems that Stack Overflow cannot answer. I am willing to offer my time and dedication as a moderator here.

Why me?

I am passionate about curation activities such as reviewing/improving posts and browsing Charcoal to find and flag abuse across the network. I have a significant degree of experience with moderation/curation activities as I am quite active on Stack Overflow, where I actively review, flag, close, reopen, and edit, where I have curated tens of thousands of posts in total. I also do what I can for Code Review when the need arises. I am well-versed in guidelines for closure, deletion, etc.

I am always be open to input from the community or (other) moderators, and I would rectify and learn from any mistakes I make. When I am unsure about an aspect of the site, I post discussions on Meta.

Questionnaire
  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?

This depends on the context and severity of the content of the comments. After verifying that the flags were warranted in the first place, I would take disciplinary action (warnings, suspensions, etc.) if the comments are intentionally inflammatory or abusive, and delete the comments. If users were complaining that there were too many comments but upon review nothing abusive, condescending, rude, etc. about them, I would apply a temporary comments-only lock along with moving the comments to chat, because comments are not for extended discussion (as the system will be happy to tell during sufficiently long back & forth comment threads). If the comments contain useful information but are a little over the top, I would edit their comments to tone them down/remove irrelevant/problematic portions, and reach out the the user explaining the situation.

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

I would either try to fix the question to resolve the issue the other moderator perceived, or I would open a discussion (either in private or on Meta) about the deletion or closure of the question, mentioning the site guidelines and why I find the question appropriate for the site. If the other moderator makes a convincing case why the question should have been closed or deleted I would concede, but if the moderators are unable to come to a consensus I would either look for or start a Meta discussion to get input from the community.

  1. In the context of "Not an answer" flags, consider the case of an answer in the style of "This is my approach / This is what I ended up with: (Code-dump)" is flagged as "Not an answer". What do you do? Is there a difference in how you respond if you see that the answer has a post notice (set by another moderator) on it?

By definition, a code review must review the code in question, make observations, and explain what could be improved. So a code-dump answer without comments that compare/contrast with the original or without any explanation of what they do better than the original are not considered adequate answers. Most content has some value though, so I would not delete it unless the answer is completely off-topic, in a different language, etc. so I would add a post notice for 'Insufficient Justification.' Generally, I believe that only answers that do not attempt to answer the question at all (such as 'thank you' comments posted as answers) or merely links to other sites are deserving of immediate deletion.

A moderator deleting an answer cannot be reversed except by other moderators, so if the answer could be saved, providing a notice and/or comment is more motivating to improve their answer (or at the very least, less unmotivating) than deleting it outright. I may, however, proceed to delete the answer in question if a significant period elapsed and the author has not bothered to edit their answer to adhere to site guidelines. I find this a good balance between maintaining the quality standards of the site, and not pushing new contributors away by aggressively deleting their posts.

If I saw a post notice set by another moderator, I would take no action seeing as the other moderator has already handled the post as they saw fit (and chose to spare the answer for some reason) and I will respect their decision.

  1. Site activity has been going downhill for years. Where we had 1500-2000 posts a month in 2019, it's 400-700 a month since the start of 2023. There are various reasons for this and Code Review is not the only site where numbers have gone down significantly. Do you consider this a problem? Will becoming a moderator help you improve the situation?

Over a dozen questions a day is still a reasonable amount of activity. This is not really a problem until activity falls to the point that so few questions are asked that so few answerers visit the site frequently that getting an answer in a timely manner becomes hard or impossible. At that point the user experience of the site would suffer, but if there are still daily questions and answers coming in there is not that much of a problem. Frankly, there is not much I could do as a moderator that I could not already do as a regular user to improve site activity, aside from deleting spam (which is not even that common anyway) that could push users away.

  1. This site gets a lot of off-topic questions, since its rules are more complicated than other sites on the network. Is this something best left to the community to handle, or is there more that moderators should be doing to migrate, fix, close or remove questions?

If a question is very clearly/indisputably/objectively in violation of one of the site guidelines, such as one seeking debugging help or an employer asking for a review of employee code to determine whether to fire them or not (yes, this really happened), I would close them on sight as a moderator, and save the community the time of doing so, since it would end up closed anyway by 3 community members.

If a question is borderline, or not immediately clear whether it should be allowed or not, better to let the community form consensus with their 3 votes rather than taking a final & unilateral stance as a moderator.

  1. In the context of changes to the network's "Theory of moderation," there currently is a push underway to reevaluate what the role of a moderator should be in the SE network. Has this impacted your decision to run for moderator? What is your idea of what a moderator should be?

I am open to change to how moderator elections work, especially the part about giving solid candidates lightweight tenure, so that winning and losing is not as black and white. A moderator should be up to the task of handling issues raised by the community and addressing urgent issues as soon as possible. A moderator should also have a keen sense of logic and attention to detail to ensure they know all the nuances of a situation before taking action.

  1. In the context of question closure / dealing with upset users, suppose that you closed a question, which angers the original poster, who calls you a power-tripping moderator. How do you respond? The implicit question is, under what circumstances would you use your moderator privilege to close questions, bypassing the [three]-vote process? Why?

I would remind them that a closed question is not the end of the world. They can fix their question and have it reopened, or post it to the correct site, and I might even migrate it to the correct site myself if I were a moderator. I would remind them that we only close questions if they violate one of the site guidelines.

I would only unilaterally close questions if they are blatantly violating site guidelines, but I would leave questions that may or may not be closable depending on opinion-based interpretations of the question or the site rules to the community. The reason with this is taking an immediate stance on a boundary case may lead to unnecessary conflict with users, but not much is gained from waiting for the community to handle very clear-cut cases.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators handle urgent issues, for example in a spam wave, it is better for a moderator to just destroy the accounts responsible as soon as possible, as opposed to waiting for the community to use 4 flags, in the mean time more people can be exposed to the abuse.

Moderators are also dubbed 'human exception handlers' by the Theory of Moderation blog post, meaning they are responsible for any uncommon disputes that the community cannot handle. A moderator will take appropriate action in such circumstances ensuring a fair outcome for the most parties involved.

  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?

I have posted questions, but there is nothing wrong with moderators asking questions and accepting answers like regular users. I do not feel anything wrong with having a diamond retroactively attached to everything I have ever posted here. It also could be humbling showing that moderators sometimes have questions too, well, code to review too.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

Not having to wait for other moderators or community members to take actions on my behalf if an urgent or obvious action (deleting spam, or closing a very off-topic question) is required. I will also feel more motivated knowing all my actions count and have immediate effect.

pacmaninbw

I have been a member of Code Review for more than 8 years. I have been involved with all of the review queues for many years, I check the review queues almost every day (Close Votes, New Questions, New Answers, Suggested Edits, Reopen Votes). I regularly log into The 2nd Monitor to check on what's going on and the health of the Code Review community. At one point I had logged in every day for over 1000 days.

I am running to provide one candidate with more than enough reputation points.

I have been requested to run by moderators or former moderators in 2 elections, including this one.

Questionnaire
  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?

On the first instance I would just remind them about the Stack Exchange policy to be nice. If there was a second instance I would invite them into a chat room to discuss how they might change their behavior in comments. After that I would follow Stack Exchange policy on how to enforce the be nice rule.

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

Things like this get discussed in The 2nd Monitor and in private chat rooms. First I would discuss it only with that moderator, if I still felt there was a problem I would discuss it with the other moderators on the site as well as that moderator.

  1. In the context of "Not an answer" flags, consider the case of an answer in the style of "This is my approach / This is what I ended up with: (Code-dump)" is flagged as "Not an answer". What do you do? Is there a difference in how you respond if you see that the answer has a post notice (set by another moderator) on it?

Alternate solutions with no insightful observations are not answers on Code Review. I regularly flag these answers for attention by moderators. If I am a moderator the first step I would take would be to post a message that this is not a good answer. If another moderator has set a post notice I would do nothing, unless I thought the answer had been changed to include at least one insightful observation.

  1. Site activity has been going downhill for years. Where we had 1500-2000 posts a month in 2019, it's 400-700 a month since the start of 2023. There are various reasons for this and Code Review is not the only site where numbers have gone down significantly. Do you consider this a problem? Will becoming a moderator help you improve the situation?

I don't know how to increase participation in Code Review. I do consider this a problem. I have been participating in an effort to improve the answer to unanswered questions for several years.

  1. This site gets a lot of off-topic questions, since its rules are more complicated than other sites on the network. Is this something best left to the community to handle, or is there more that moderators should be doing to migrate, fix, close or remove questions?

This is clearly something that is best left to the community to handle. With comments from the community, many questions get improved by edits.

  1. In the context of changes to the network's "Theory of moderation," there currently is a push underway to reevaluate what the role of a moderator should be in the SE network. Has this impacted your decision to run for moderator? What is your idea of what a moderator should be?

This has not affected my decision to run for moderator.

A moderator can't take sides in a dispute. A moderator does one thing, they keep the community running smoothly. They enforce the rules of Stack Exchange and the community as necessary.

  1. In the context of question closure / dealing with upset users, suppose that you closed a question, which angers the original poster, who calls you a power-tripping moderator. How do you respond? The implicit question is, under what circumstances would you use your moderator privilege to close questions, bypassing the [three]-vote process? Why?

As indicated in my answer to question 5, I prefer that the community use the 3 vote process. Only if there is a blatant problem with the question should a moderator bypass the community vote.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators keep the communities running smoothly, they enforce rules if necessary, but they need to look at the big picture and keep users coming back too.

  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 may limit the comments I post. Having a diamond is a responsibility more than a privilege.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

I have already gained enough reputation to access the moderator tools, and I am already a trusted user. Making me a moderator will not significantly change how effective I am, it will require more responsibility from me, rather than give me more authority.

This election is over.