# Questions for candidates in 2011 community moderator election

First of all, if you have not seen the Moderator Election Page, please follow the link to see all the nominations and their intros.

In the same spirit as mathSE in the 2010 election, I think it is a good idea to ask questions about our site and community to the moderator candidates, and by their responses the community can make a better choice in the election phase. (Since comments will not be allowed in the primary and election phases.)

Please leave one question per answer, and the candidates can response shortly in the comments. No enforcement if the candidates are unwillingly to answer; and this should not be counted as a negative indication toward the candidates.

But for preventing that this post works as a "pre-election" to the candidates, please do not vote the comments according to your agreement. Leave the responses from the candidates as where it is; this will ensure that every opinion show up in even possibility (due to the fact that SE platforms make comments with higher upvotes appear first.)

• Why aren't you nominating yourself :) ? Jan 23 '11 at 9:23
• @Suresh: Thank you for the recommendation, I feel honored! But I do think there are people in the community more suitable than me. (Wink ;) at someone) It would be great if we have those people for moderators, and after some thoughts I decided to wait for a few days. (To the one I winked at) Come on, you know I'm talking to you, please join the election... (This looks like a fishing technique) Jan 24 '11 at 1:46
• @Suresh, now I've thrown a sprat. Hope we can catch some mackerels... Jan 26 '11 at 12:38

I think ideally we should have a team of moderators that covers a wide range of subfields of TCS. Hence the question:

Which conferences/workshops did you participate in 2009–2010?

(edit) Or, if you haven't been to any conferences recently:

Which conferences/workshops would you like to go to in 2011–2012?

A one-line answer (like "SODA, STACS, PODS") would be ideal.

I'm not asking this to measure how knowledgeable each candidate is, but to figure out what are their fields of interest. The names of the subfields tend to be a bit ill-defined, but the list of conferences is easier to interpret, as many conferences have a fairly well-defined scope.

• $\varnothing$. (Seriously, I'm just an ex-undergrad.) But in my opinion moderation needs patience, not knowledge. Most of the members here are experts in each field, and maybe the main work for moderators is to provide a good environment and help them concentrate on asking and answering questions. Jan 27 '11 at 18:25
• I'll list some I attended recently: ECOOP, OOPSLA, POPL, COORDINATION (as chair), FMOODS/FORTE, TOOLS. Jan 27 '11 at 19:00
• Would like to go Barriers, STOC, FOCS, CCC, SODA, LICS, LC, ... (but unfortunately it is quite difficult for Iranians to get a US visa (even if they live in Canada) and doesn't worth the trouble if I don't have a paper specially since the videos from the first three are available online). My plan for next year is to attend the proof complexity workshops in Banff and Prague. Jan 27 '11 at 21:02
• If I had enough money, I'd take part in Crypto, EuroCrypt, AsiaCrypt, TCC, FOCS, and STOC. (I hear a voice whispering in my mind: you wish!) Jan 27 '11 at 21:17
• Have been to (FOCS, SODA, SoCG, KDD, SDM, SIGMOD/PODS, VLDB, ICDE). Time permitting, would also go to (STOC, ESA, ICDM, NIPS, ICML) Jan 27 '11 at 21:21
• POPL, TLDI (workshop), ICFP, LICS, PLPV (workshop). Jan 27 '11 at 21:57
• @Kaveh, off-topic: I found FOCS videos here. Could you please provide the links for STOC & CCC videos? You can add them to this post. Jan 27 '11 at 22:03
• @Sadeq: I meant the Barriers workshops, not CCC. About STOC, the only thing I could find right now is this. Jan 27 '11 at 22:24
• @Kaveh: Thanks. My eyes skipped "Barriers," so I thought the first 3 are STOC, FOCS, CCC. Jan 27 '11 at 22:33
• Every year I (usually) attend the following: 1) COLT, 2) ALT, 3) ICML or NIPS 4) STOC or FOCS or SODA 5) Some other random conferences.
– Lev Reyzin Mod
Jan 28 '11 at 1:34
• @Jukka: Thanks for the clarification. I would like to go to STOC, FOCS, SODA, ICALP and CCC if possible. Jan 28 '11 at 3:10
• In 2011, I plan to attend FCRC (focusing on papers in PODC, STOC, Complexity and SIGMETRICS), and DNA Computing and Molecular Programming. I haven't thought further than that. Jan 28 '11 at 14:45

We have 5 candidates who have cast over 800 votes, indicating that they have been looking over questions and answers and judging their quality. (See Yi Jiang's Candidate Statistics page for a breakdown of some measureables; other important statistics there are meta participation and most active tags).

For the other candidates, are you confident that you will be casting your moderating eyes where they are needed if you were to be elected?

• Nice question. I tend not to cast votes on questions unless I am both knowledgeable about the area, and feel strongly (either way) about the question. As a consequence, I cast votes on far fewer questions than I read. However, I do pay attention to questions of moderation: as an example, my votes to close greatly outnumber my downvotes. This occurs since I think that (for example) questions which are too elementary should simply be closed with an explanation why. Jan 28 '11 at 12:40
• I usually cast a vote if I understand a question/answer and think it's interesting and thoughtful. Oftentimes, I won't cast a vote because I lose interest in a question before finishing it or because I have no idea if the question/answer is good. However, by that point, I can tell whether a question is spam, homework, etc. And as @Neel said, there are other factors that can give you a hint where to look -- flags, downvotes, closevotes, etc. That being said, I've cast about 400 votes, which seems to not be so small an amount.
– Lev Reyzin Mod
Jan 28 '11 at 13:55

Here's a question for all the candidates:

Promotion is one of the main issue to this site. There has been a lot of discussion on this topic, and our site is (slowly) growing with more active participates.

Still I think such a great site should be noticed more by the public (I mean, in the math and cs theory communities) by its high quality answers and low quantity of spam/cranky questions. And we're thirsting for experts in different areas in cs theory; more experts devoted to this site means more and more interesting questions and answers, and more usefulness the site is.

What will you do to help promoting this site if you become a moderator?

• I'm currently working with SIGACT and SE to get a formal link betwen SIGACT and this site. I'm also exploring the idea of a "cstheory" column in SIGACT each issue. I don't think these are sufficient though, and what I'd really like is more theory B involvement, which I know Neel Krishnaswami is working on. Jan 23 '11 at 9:25
• I think promoting the site needs to be done by everyone as has been in the past not just moderators and there is almost no difference about this between a moderator and others. Jan 24 '11 at 3:02
• Let me also add something which will be my answer to similar questions in future: I have a very minimal idea of what is a moderator and that is "deleting obvious spam, closing blatantly off-topic questions", checking flagged posts, implementing policies, and dealing with some infrequent exceptional situations, which hopefully will not take more than 10 min/day. I hope that as we get more users over +10K who can access moderator tools the need to have moderator interventions will drop. In short, it is similar to what we were doing when we had access to moderator tools in beta. Jan 24 '11 at 3:06
• I appreciate Suresh's attempts to bring this community the fame it deserves, and I wish I were in his shoes...Yet, like Kaveh, I believe promoting the site is not a moderator's obligation, but everyone's responsibility. On the other hand, a moderator can represent CSTheory in ways others cannot. For instance, if we are going to officially introduce CSTheory (as in the cases of FOCS or SIGACT), a mod is more effective than a normal user. Jan 25 '11 at 0:32
• I agree with Sadeq on the part that a moderator can represent the community in some way. So as being only a young student, I'm not sure if I can help promoting this site well, other than sharing it to others. In the meanwhile, maybe we can come up some ways (like a badge for introducing people) that encourage members here to promote the site. Also we need some help from the high real reputation users in both theory A and B. Mods can play a role in encouraging them. Jan 26 '11 at 12:51
• Yes, as Suresh mentioned I've started talking with Phil Wadler to see if we can get SIGPLAN involved too. What would be nice is if there were someone who could also talk with SIGMOD, since a fair number of theoretically-minded folks who are mostly members of the PODS community. Jan 27 '11 at 5:42
• As a moderator I would facilitate and guide efforts to help promote CSTheory, though as with others, I don't believe that the moderator's role is to advertise; It's a community effort. That said, I could prepare a pretty poster for people to print out and leave in prominent places at conferences or in their departmental common rooms. Jan 27 '11 at 6:52
• I know some of the PODS folks and can mention it there. Frankly I wish I'd see more names show up from just the SODA crowd ;) Jan 27 '11 at 6:58
• I agree with the sentiments above. I helped in advertising via the SIGACT news article, twitter, etc. And even though moderators should have no special advertising role, I would do my job to help out with advertising either way.
– Lev Reyzin Mod
Jan 28 '11 at 1:32
• If I were a mod, I would... delegate as much of this as possible -- and I think anyone else should too. I outlined some publicity steps in my "short" self-nomination, but I didn't mean that to be things I would do personally, rather things I think any site leaders might want to be sure got done. It's not reasonable to expect three beta-Sureshes. Even if Suresh is elected now, we might have zero beta-Sureshes, because, come April, a devil on his shoulder might whisper, "You know... you could GO OUTSIDE!" Popint being: make a promotion plan, and gives pieces of the plan away to people. Jan 28 '11 at 14:55