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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 January 20th at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 3:00 pm EST 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.

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What is your personal view of the role of CSTheory: in particular, please post an answer to Gil Kalai's question here.

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What is your personal view of the role that CSTheory should/will/does play in the greater TCS community?

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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?
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Practically, one of the most important roles of a moderator, is to decide which questions to close, if at all. There are several attitudes toward this problem.

Do you think that referring specifically to the user who asks the question and his or her perceived capabilities (e.g., "lack of mathematical maturity", as expressed by some moderators) is a legitimate reason (or part of a reason) for closing a question? Or should you judge a question only by its own merits?

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I am going to ask a bit more technical questions.

  1. This is one of my concerns about long term health of the sore. Do you consider the primary goal of this Q&A site to be helping researchers in theoretical computer science and related fields to get help with their research?
    If you do how should we deal with persistent trouble making users who try to abuse the site for their own wishes? E.g. users who are not researchers in theoretical computer science or any related field and insist on posting questions/answers/comments that are off-topic by the site's policies, e.g. cranks that want to use the site to verify or draw attention to their attempts on famous open problems?
    How can we make sure the site will not be overridden by users who are not researchers so cstheory does not suffer the faith of other online open resources for researchers like Usenet groups? (Keep in mind that with the current amount of community participation in closing we are going to have very serious trouble if the number of such users with 3k+ reputation reaches 5).

  2. We often get low quality or obsolete or chatty flags. Based on early discussions the moderators normally don't take any action and dismiss them as not requiring moderator intervention. Do you think we should continue this way or change the policy?

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  • $\begingroup$ I'd already posted the questionnaire, hrm. That said, since none of the candidates have yet responded to the list, I think I can toss these in. $\endgroup$ – Grace Note Jan 21 '14 at 13:48
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    $\begingroup$ why dont you make your own intentions clear? are you intending to step down as moderator or not? if so then your role would change, and not all past policy might carry forward...can you accept new directions/attitudes/leadership? or maybe you would like to point out how you have handled these issues yourself via meta posts etc, so new moderators can learn from your experience? maybe these are challenging issues that do not shift no matter who is moderator, and for which there are no easy/foolproof answers... can you point to any meta posts that cite these supposed problems? $\endgroup$ – vzn Jan 21 '14 at 16:02
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    $\begingroup$ My intention is clear. I am going to step down soon. I have informed SE and that is why we are having this election (I will stay as a moderator a short while after the election as SE has requested). It is up to the community to decide if we should change any policies not just me. I think my views as member of the community are well known. I have asked a question that concerns me to see what nominees think about it. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Jan 21 '14 at 17:33
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    $\begingroup$ imho the mere use of the term "crank" is loaded/biased & demeaning, at least not very polite. in a rare other case of anyone on here referring to it, david eppstein remarkably suggests that there may even be some constructive role on the site for "crank friendly topics".... $\endgroup$ – vzn Jan 21 '14 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ You are entitled to your opinion. It is a term that appears in our policies and I have explained what I mean by it before. I have told you what I think is your problem with me before and I am not going to discuss the suitability of my question with you. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Jan 22 '14 at 0:24

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