Like we've done in the past, 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 Monday, June 13th at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 4:00 pm EDT 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 process, feel free to post as a comment here.

  • 3
    Do candidates receive a notification when it's time for them to answer the questions? Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 23:09
  • That would interest me too, good question Andrea
    – Videonauth
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 2:11
  • 2
    There's no explicit notification given to candidates separately, no - but it's a brand new meta post (ergo it'll be at or near the top of Meta), it'll be featured as this is, and it'll be linked from the front page of the election, all when it goes up.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 3:13
  • 1
    I suppose this can/should be closed now?
    – muru
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 21:11

10 Answers 10


What timezone are you in and when will you be most active?

Rationale: the moderators we have now cover quite a broad range of times throughout the day, but there are a handful of times when there are no moderators around (Friday evening, PST, for example).


The existing moderator team doesn't always agree in private (the joke is if you ask 10 people the same question, you'll get 15 answers).

What will you do if the majority of moderators are opposed to your point of view?

  • 10
    The first rule of Moderator Fight Club is REDACTED
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 16:14

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?

As the site gains more and more moderators, it will become increasingly important for the existing moderators to think and act alike so that we the laymen can can know what to expect, regardless of which moderator is acting. Describe your relationship with the present moderators and why you would expect them (and not just us) to trust you as a moderator as well.


What do you think about setting up something like the Stack Overflow Close Vote Reviewers chat room (SOCVR)? Aside from a recent surge in first posts, our close vote review queue has always been rather large. Every year or so, we see posts to clean it up:

This has been suggested before, and IIRC, there is such a room, but inactive (and lacking publicity).

While having a room by itself is not the issue, the queue size is. It's been agreed repeatedly over the years that it's a problem and something needs to be done about it. Thoughts?

  • 2
    Yeah, this would be cool to clean out some tags that are actually quite bad...
    – Braiam
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 21:01

How do you deal with established users who have gained reputation, badges and privileges by illicit means?

This might seem silly but it has real world applications. Things like this, where >1k rep users do something really quite wrong, happen a couple of times a year. Dealing with it smoothly is important to the continued success of the site.

You are a moderator. A community mod from Stack Exchange comes to your mod-only chat room and tells you the news:

We've been working on the voting fraud mechanism. We have discovered that three of your highest rep users, Oli, fossfreedom and Luis Alvarado have all been using a carefully hidden network of sock-puppets to boost their reputation for years.

They have cheated the system out of hundreds of thousands points of reputation.

The system is certain they are guilty and there's no way they weren't aware of what was happening.

When confronted Luis was the only person who admitted there was a system in place and he also points to the others' guilt.

  • Banning them or doing anything "too harsh" could mean they leave the site forever.
  • Doing nothing, or being too lenient might show newer users that they can get away with stuff like this, as long as they're good at it.

What would you suggest happens next?

I know there isn't a single best answer —and your opinion may change when faced with it in reality— but I'd like to get the measure of the prospective moderators, at least how they feel they'd handle this if it happened today.

  • 2
    "only a couple of people admit to doing anything wrong". We all know that there was 2 or 3 people doing that. Others were kind of objects of this activity. I think that what has been done was fair enough to give a good example that this kind of activities is harmful for the site. The side affect is that some good votes has been reverted, but IMO it was worth it. I can't invent anything better, unless revert votes manually that is not an option.
    – Pilot6
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 12:43
  • Moderators can try to talk to these people. I do not see what else moderators can do without escalating the issue. Banning of good users (in other aspects) is not an option. Votes are not worth it.
    – Pilot6
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 12:46
  • And the upmentioned case is not that simple to be just cheating. I see it from another angle. Those users wrote perfect answers, but they appeared to be "too nice". Thy tried to "thank" other users for upvotes by upvoting other users. The intention mas not that bad IMO. Still it is harmful for the site.
    – Pilot6
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 12:59
  • 6
    This question wasn't really about the recent vote recalculations. I've changed it to point to a hypothetical situation that is different to that but is still asking for the same sort of opinion.
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 13:06
  • ))) This revision is a way too hard to answer something. ;-)
    – Pilot6
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 15:00
  • 5
    Too hard? That's moderating :) It's all good finding out when new mods will be around, or what they think is most important, or what they think they can bring to the table... But striking the line between discipline and constrictive progress is something I think we all struggle with occasionally. It's also not a widely known problem as we usually do it behind closed doors.
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 15:10
  • 5
    Ha! I knew there was something fishy about that Oli character. Nobody gets that much rep cleanly.
    – terdon
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 19:59
  • @Oli I answered my questions last night after a long day and having read this post and question and comments. My question is in this particular case are we all a lone for the duration of this issue or say the next day or two we would be able to discuss what should be done with the other moderators? I assumed you wanted us to answer it like no one else was going to get involved.
    – Wild Man
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 1:55
  • @WildMan In practice, you'd almost certainly discuss this with the other mods before doing anything, yes. This scenario is just asking for your opinion, what you would suggest doing with the other mods.
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 9:10
  • IMO the mods should just talk with these users. And not just once and not just 1 mod and also not only with all those users at the same time. Get them to make contradicting statements. -action- should be taken by (I assume) shog9 or a colleague of shog9. From what I got from this I believe the mods did a pretty good job. Maybe the feedback to the other users could be better (most (like Jacob Vlijm) didn't see it comming and for some this was pretty harsh. We all know lots of people made lots of good answers and even if it was an upvote-ring that does not make those answers bad). ...
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 11:40
  • ... "could mean they leave the site forever." I do not believe that to be a problem. People always leave and re-appear or don't.
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 11:40

How would you deal with a feud between two users? Consider a case where two users have it in for each other and tend to downvote and/or negatively comment on each other's posts.

  • Would the system detect serial downvoting between two users?
    – edwinksl
    Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 4:45
  • 4
    Grab some popcorn... (yes, I'm kidding) Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 6:14
  • 1
    @edwinksl this isn't about serial down voting. Consider a case where the users could even claim the down vote in a comment, or where a down vote magically appears on userA's posts just before/after userB's answer or comment is posted.
    – terdon
    Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 11:39

How would you deal with a problematic user who, while posting excellent answers/questions, tends to cause a lot of drama?

By "drama" I mean that this user's actions cause other users to complain, either by raising flags or in chat, that this user gets into arguments with other users; basically that the user's presence is detrimental to the smooth working of the site, despite the fact that their posts are useful.

  • 1
    Please expand a bit on what you mean when you say "drama". Perhaps give some example situations, because it could mean anything from they always go into the chat room and get overly worried and panicked easily and are always seeking reassurance (though I understand that this is probably not what you mean, but just want to clarify how extreme you mean), to the worst sort of thing where they often offend and cause a lot of that sort of trouble.
    – user364819
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 23:15
  • @ParanoidPanda better?
    – terdon
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 9:56
  • Yes, it is fine now.
    – user364819
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 10:46

How would you encourage users to improve their answer quality? For instance, someone who consistently copies another user's comments into an answer, more or less verbatim, without verifying that the information they're supplying is correct.


How do you distinguish Linux Mint and similar type products from the official Ubuntu family? What do you understand to be the differences that lead to them being out of scope on AskUbuntu?


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