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In connection with the moderator elections, we are holding a Q&A thread for the candidates. Questions collected from an earlier thread have been compiled into this one, which shall now serve as the space for the candidates to provide their answers.

Due to the submission count, we have selected all provided questions as well as our back up questions for a total of 8 questions.

As a candidate, your job is simple - post an answer to this question, citing each of the questions and then post your answer to each question given in that same answer. For your convenience, I will include all of the questions in quote format with a break in between each, suitable for you to insert your answers. Just copy the whole thing after the first set of three dashes.Please consider putting your name at the top of your post so that readers will know who you are before they finish reading everything you have written, and also including a link to your answer on your nomination post.

Once all the answers have been compiled, this will serve as a transcript for voters to view the thoughts of their candidates, and will be appropriately linked in the Election page.

Good luck to all of the candidates!

Oh, and when you've completed your answer, please provide a link to it after this blurb here, before that set of three dashes. Please leave the list of links in the order of submission.

To save scrolling here are links to the submissions from each candidate (in order of submission):


  1. Why do you want to be a moderator for the cstheory stackexchange community?

  2. When a comment is flagged as 'no longer needed', what criteria will you use to determine whether to keep the comment or to delete it? Do you lean towards keeping all comments as a record of what has transpired? Do you learn towards deleting old comments that are no longer making a major contribution? What approach will you take?

  3. I have a bit the impression that part of the reason why the "inactivity" of the moderators came to the attention of SE was the question Is Norbert Blum's 2017 proof that $P \ne NP$ correct? which attracted some inappropriate content and corresponding flags. Those flags stayed around for a long time before they were handled. But apart from that episode, I never had the impression that cstheory.se would need more active moderators, the community self-moderation felt sufficient. Should moderators stay inactive as long as the self-moderation of the community works well?

  4. 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?

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

  6. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

  7. 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?

  8. 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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  • $\begingroup$ The election ended two days ago. Are there going to be any results to this exercise? All I can find are useless statistics (XXX visited the election page, YYY voted). $\endgroup$ – Emil Jeřábek supports Monica Jul 12 '18 at 8:07
  • $\begingroup$ My bad, @Emil - will be fixed momentarily! $\endgroup$ – Shog9 Jul 12 '18 at 14:28
  • $\begingroup$ Perfect, thank you. $\endgroup$ – Emil Jeřábek supports Monica Jul 12 '18 at 14:50
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Michael Wehar

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator for the cstheory stackexchange community?

I want to be a moderator because I care about the community and I believe it's a great honor to take on this role.

I check the cstheory stackexchange platform daily and I suspect that a lot of our members want to continue having the same great experience that they've always had on this platform.

It will be my duty as moderator to ensure that issues are efficiently resolved and that the community members are satisfied with their experience.

I will gladly connect with and assist any community members who need help.

  1. When a comment is flagged as 'no longer needed', what criteria will you use to determine whether to keep the comment or to delete it? Do you lean towards keeping all comments as a record of what has transpired? Do you learn towards deleting old comments that are no longer making a major contribution? What approach will you take?

I believe that an author is entitled to choose for themselves whether to keep or delete their comments as long as they are relevant and respectful. As a result, I will only delete comments in extreme situations.

  1. I have a bit the impression that part of the reason why the "inactivity" of the moderators came to the attention of SE was the question Is Norbert Blum's 2017 proof that $P \ne NP$ correct? which attracted some inappropriate content and corresponding flags. Those flags stayed around for a long time before they were handled. But apart from that episode, I never had the impression that cstheory.se would need more active moderators, the community self-moderation felt sufficient. Should moderators stay inactive as long as the self-moderation of the community works well?

I feel that moderators should never be inactive. They should always be active members who contribute to the community and regularly read recent questions.

That being said, I also feel that moderators should only use their special privileges when it's necessary.

  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?

I would first identify whether (1) the comments are inappropriate, (2) the flags are inappropriate, or (3) users are being inappropriate towards each other.

When something looks clearly inappropriate, I would honestly explain why the comment or flag was inappropriate either directly or via comments.

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

Depending on the situation, I would either:

(1) Leave it closed and trust the other moderator's judgement

(2) Reopen it and include a note for why it was reopened

(3) Contact the other moderator directly to resolve the issue

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

I think that moderators should do the following:

(1) Flag, Tag, Edit, Review, Resolve Issues

(2) When necessary, get involved with community engagement promoting positive behavior on the platform.

  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?

Having the diamond next to my name means that I should act in a way that promotes positive behavior on the platform. Really, regardless of whether or not I have a diamond next to my name, I should act in a way that promotes positive behavior on the platform.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

I don't ask the most questions or post the most answers. But, I read through questions and answers on a daily basis and I regularly comment. My presence and comments support the mission and goals of our community. I believe that the moderator position is primarily about supporting the community.

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Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator for the cstheory stackexchange community?

I'd like to gain a deeper understanding of (a) theoretical computer science and (b) the StackExchange system of sites. Also it seems like it should be fairly easy to do a reasonable job. I have >15K rep on MathOverflow so am pretty familiar with SE sites. I like how SE sites make micro-publishing into a kind of game, and I developed a couple of TCS-related games:

Gamify your Q&A Gamify your Q&A

I have some papers on computability theory and theoretical computer science (automata theory) but looking to learn more.

  1. When a comment is flagged as 'no longer needed', what criteria will you use to determine whether to keep the comment or to delete it? Do you lean towards keeping all comments as a record of what has transpired? Do you learn towards deleting old comments that are no longer making a major contribution? What approach will you take?

There are some easy cases: if a comment is just pointing out a mistake and that has already been fixed, then the comment is probably no longer needed. Also, if a comment no longer makes sense because related comments have already been deleted, it should make sense to delete. Moreover, if someone goes out of their way and flags a comment like "Thanks!" as no longer needed, I'd tend to go along with that. On the other hand, comments are often substantial and should be kept.

  1. I have a bit the impression that part of the reason why the "inactivity" of the moderators came to the attention of SE was the question Is Norbert Blum's 2017 proof that $P \ne NP$ correct? which attracted some inappropriate content and corresponding flags. Those flags stayed around for a long time before they were handled. But apart from that episode, I never had the impression that cstheory.se would need more active moderators, the community self-moderation felt sufficient. Should moderators stay inactive as long as the self-moderation of the community works well?

Actually, I hope so, as I have only so much time to spend! :)

In any case, SE has an official document about this -- A Theory of Moderation.

  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?

The user should receive some friendly hints that they are being problematic. If that doesn't help I would discuss with other moderators and then there is the possibility of a temporary suspension.

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

f it seemed very unreasonable to me I would probably discuss it with the other moderator; if only borderline I'd just let it go.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Deal with flags (by the way I have a 100% helpful flag record on MathOverflow) and some other things discussed in A Theory of Moderation.

  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?

That seems okay, what I write here tends to be very neutral and polite, as I am aware that each comment is a nano-publication of sorts.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

I don't feel that it would "make me more effective" but it could be an interesting way to contribute to the site and stay involved.

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  • $\begingroup$ I personally am a bit concerned based on what you have said before: it feels like you are just looking for some site to be moderator on (iirc, you attempt to become moderator on other SE sites as well) and it seems that you want to become a moderate to try some experiments rather than just being a janitor for exceptions (as SE community moderation philosophy goes). Is my understanding correct? $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Jun 29 '18 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ "Again, I sort of have an agenda with the Complexity Guessing Game and further development in that direction." cstheory.meta.stackexchange.com/a/2988 $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Jun 29 '18 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaveh Thanks... "Just looking for some site" is a bit of an exaggeration. The only other site was math.se That was admittedly a bit silly though; it could have been a lot of work indeed. But you're right that just being a janitor for exceptions doesn't sound that exciting all by itself. But the agenda with the complexity guessing game is very vague at this point... like maybe add StackID as a login method for that game eventually. $\endgroup$ – Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen Jun 29 '18 at 15:40

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