The following is a "digest" version of the 2011 Moderator Election Town Hall Chat . The format, as described on Meta Stack Overflow, is one answer to this question for every question asked in the Town Hall, containing all the candidate's answers to that question.

To view the digest chronologically, please sort the answers by "oldest".

If you have questions or comments about this, please do not answer this question as the answers are designed to be used for the questions from the Town hall itself. Instead, please ask on the parent question or in the Town Hall Discussion Room.

(A big thanks to Michael Mrozek for helping me compile this digest! And of course THANK YOU REBECCA CHERNOFF for organizing these town halls!)

If you see any corrections which need to be made to this digest, or if you were a candidate who was unable to attend the town hall and would like your answers included, please @Josh me and let me know!

  • Because I am not an active AskUbuntu.com user (I ask all my questions on unix.stackexchenge.com) I can only post one answer every 3 minutes. I have them all ready to post, contact me if you want to help!
    – Josh
    Feb 8, 2011 at 19:52
  • Maybe you should have some fun posting over here :P Feb 8, 2011 at 20:15
  • @MarcoCeppi yeah I think that's what this site was trying to tell me! :-)
    – Josh
    Feb 8, 2011 at 20:33

15 Answers 15


Michael Mrozek Michael Mrozek asked: How much time do you anticipate spending on the site? How much of that would be "moderating"?

Marco Ceppi Marco Ceppi answered: @MichaelMrozek Because of my position at work I'm on the internet about 18 hours a day. Of that time the AU site is open about 90% of the time (as many of our current chat users might know). Moderation is taken as an "on need" basis. I don't specifically set time aside to moderate the site but when something requiring moderator attention is brought up I plan to address it at that time (to my best ability)

Oli Oli answered: @MichaelMrozek I typically spend a few hours over the course of a day (split from ~8am-12am). Sometimes it's less than that (I do have a job that needs my occasional attention) and sometimes on a slow-work-day, a lot more. Not sure I can answer the second part other than to say: as much as needs doing and as much as I can spare.

Stefano Palazzo Stefano Palazzo answered: @MichaelMrozek I'm usually checking the site throughout the day, perhaps about four to six hours of real activity, I anticipate no change in that

fluteflute fluteflute answered after the event: @MichaelMrozek I spend around four hours a day on the site (more or less other depending on other commitments of course). I think it will be good to have a wider base of timezones that moderators are in.


TheX TheX asked: What do you as hopeful candidates envision for askubuntu.com in the future?

Oli Oli answered: @TheX More of the same, really. It would be nice to have some new question-closing options so we can push users to the right place and some features to tease helpful information out of users... But really, I think as a community we've already shown ourselves to be helpful people that can turn their efforts to solving most problems. More of that, please. Edit: I haven't really answered that from a moderator perspective but moderators and answerers ultimately have the same aim: to help people.

Marco Ceppi Marco Ceppi answered: @TheX I know there is talk of making askubuntu.com into ask.ubuntu.com as well as transitioning the current Q&A site for Ubuntu (LaunchPad Answers) to here. I hope to help facilitate as much of that movement as possible. While I love LaunchPad I think the LP Answers section is less than adequate compared to what SE has done here. I also hope to bring more attention to this improved chat software over the current use of IRC. In addition to promoting the continued high quality we've seen here.

Stefano Palazzo Stefano Palazzo answered: @TheX Eventually, I hope we'll become the Ubuntu Support platform, such as we are for Ubuntu One at the moment. This will be a great mix of real world problems and basic question. I want to help the site run great, to enable this.

fluteflute fluteflute answered after the event: @TheX I want the site to get a wider audience, to see more people coming here, to grow, to facilitate the Ubuntu community's growth. On more specific notes, the potential for the Help->Get Help Online menu in Ubuntu applications to link here rather than LP Answers excites me, but I am more cautious about @MarcoCeppi's suggestion of using the SE chat software for general purpose Ubuntu use. My other long term goal is to see Ask Ubuntu reach the size of the SE Trilogy sites.

fluteflute George Edison answered after the event: @TheX: I envision Ask Ubuntu becoming a common place for Ubuntu beginners to get their feet wet by not only reading answers to common questions (to which there will be detailed answers), but also asking their own questions and getting quick and detailed responses to them. I also envision Ask Ubuntu popping up in more search results.


Michael Mrozek Michael Mrozek asked: 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?

Marco Ceppi Marco Ceppi answered: @MichaelMrozek This is a tough one to tackle. High quality users are the reason we have a successful site. Leave public sign posts that this argumentative (and ultimately disruptive) behavior isn't favored and remind them of the Ubuntu CoC which touches on how to act civilly while still voicing an opinion.

Stefano Palazzo Stefano Palazzo answered: @MichaelMrozek I would try to talk to them. Most often, they'll just be slightly mistaken about the scope of the site, and a nice chat will resolve such conflict. As the wikipedians say: Assume good faith (and sometimes, assume no clue).

Oli Oli answered: @MichaelMrozek If it's at the level where it's a problem, a discussion with them is the only real option. From that, if they feel there's something that needs to be discussed, I'd prompt them to start a thread on meta. They're helpful people, they'll see reason. Discussion helps everything.

fluteflute fluteflute answered after the event: @MichaelMrozek I don't differ from the other candidates views. If they're producing valuable answers then it's likely they'll be sympathetic to changing their behaviours to help make the site better.


TheX TheX asked: Do you have any plans/ideas for promoting the site to, and through the community at large?

Marco Ceppi Marco Ceppi answered: @TheX Ask Ubuntu is everywhere I can put it - Email signatures with the email account I associate with Ubuntu - My Ubuntu Forums signature - and recommended to all the people I know who use Ubuntu or who I install and maintain Ubuntu with. I think we can expand more into the social sphere and the Ubuntu sphere with getting more teams to sign on to the idea of using it as a primary place for community support.

Stefano Palazzo Stefano Palazzo answered: @TheX Tons of them of course :) Aside from promoting the site myself, I'd like to talk to projects and people about it. The Ubuntu One model is working great, and I want to help getting more projects on board in the same way.

Oli Oli answered: @TheX My plan is pretty simple: Make the site awesome. When people can see we're the real deal (as they already do) they choose us over the rest.

fluteflute fluteflute answered after the event: @TheX This may sound like a cop-out but I don't really see promoting the site as a specific role of our moderators. But I think we'll grow naturally through everyone seeing the quality of answers they can get here. I would like to see the Help->Get Help Online menu in applications redirect here, but I don't know if that will be accepted by the wider community, particularly due to the translation issue. Our growth so far has been stunning. (See http://stackexchange.com/sites?expand=true)


jgbelacqua jgbelacqua asked: does anyone else think the FAQ might need to be expanded to help new or old and confused visitors?

Stefano Palazzo Stefano Palazzo answered: @jgbelacqua I think the FAQ could be a little bit better, but it's a difficult problem and we need to think carefully before messing with it, it's a very important page.

Marco Ceppi Marco Ceppi answered: @jgbelacqua As moderators we have the power to expand some sections of the FAQ - I think a meta thread with ideas would be the best start for this

Oli Oli answered: @jgbelacqua I'm sure our remit and functionality will change in time, so yes. Thankfully the entire community is pretty good at catching early mistakes people make and helping them into the right way of doing things.

fluteflute fluteflute answered after the event: @jgbelacqua It would be good to expand it to include some more Ask Ubuntu specific things, I'm sure aspects of the "AU way" that are obvious to us might be confusing to newcomers. (Even to experienced members of the wider Ubuntu community.)


Rebecca Chernoff Rebecca Chernoff asked: Question (after @jgbelacqua's): Final thoughts from the candidates please. (:

Oli Oli answered: @RebeccaChernoff Final thoughts: Good session. Not only have I liked the questions but I've liked the answers that other people have given. Whatever the outcome, I think we're in good hands. Ps: thanks for hosting it!

Stefano Palazzo Stefano Palazzo answered: @RebeccaChernoff My final thoughts: If you vote for me, I'll be here to talk to you, I'll be considerate and consistent. And if I make a mistake, I'll correct it quickly. I wouldn't have nominated myself if I didn't think I'd be able to make a difference, and AskUbuntu is a great opportunity for us to build a prototype community support platform. The best of them all. Let's do that.

Marco Ceppi Marco Ceppi answered: @RebeccaChernoff Good luck to all candidates and whatever the outcome I'm hooked on AU

Josh Josh concluded: I've said it many times before, but I will say again: good luck to all the candidates and as always, THANK YOU @RebeccaChernoff FOR YOUR DEDICATION AND HARD WORK FOR OUR COMMUNITIES!!!

fluteflute fluteflute answered after the event: @RebeccaChernoff I think I could be a great moderator. But I've also agreed generally with most of the views expressed here. So Ask Ubuntu is going to grow, in a unified direction, whoever gets elected!


dustyprogrammer dustyprogrammer asked: I have an issue about questions being reasked. I dont see much of them being closed as duplicates. we tend to just answer the questions at hand. i agree is better. but what do you guys think?

Oli Oli answered: @dustyprogrammer Merging answered duplicates is always going to be a big problem but we can make things easier on ourselves: get to the dupes faster and edit/tag questions so they're found by would-be dupe posters before they post. But it's just a way of life.

Stefano Palazzo Stefano Palazzo answered: @dustyprogrammer I'm only a 10k+ user on AU for a few days, and since then, i have a much easier time (due to the tools) finding those dupes and closing them. As a moderator, that'll be even more efficient, because of the super-ninja vote I can use on easy cases. Now, on the other hand, I have to disagree: I think we're working very well to close dupes quickly. If there's a specific post you like to see closed, you can always come and talk to me and us about it. It's a great help

Marco Ceppi Marco Ceppi answered: @dustyprogrammer I think the policy of forward closing and if possible forward merging has been working (closing the less 'higher-quality' question as a duplicate of the better one) since the newer question typically has higher quality and better investment by the OP meaning it'll make more sense for users. Catching the obvious poor quality duplicates and closing them earlier will help prevent these from becoming a common practice.

fluteflute fluteflute answered after the event: @dustyprogrammer I think this has been working reasonably well, but I think the key is to encourage everyone to use their close votes and encourage those without the rep to flag (which is being encourage already). Of course the number of users with the required rep is always increasing.

fluteflute George Edison answered after the event: @dustyprogrammer: I agree that this is definitely a big problem and can never be completely dealt with. However, I certainly think it is possible to minimize the occurrences of duplicates. One of the ways we can do this is by making sure that new users who ask a duplicate are quickly referred to the original post. This makes the user happy because they can view answers to their problem right away and it makes the community better because answers are not fragmented here and there.


Michael Mrozek Michael Mrozek asked: 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?

Marco Ceppi Marco Ceppi answered: @MichaelMrozek As a Pro Tempore Mod the Diamond is already attached to my name. My previous actions reflect my current actions which will ultimately reflect any future actions if re-elected

Stefano Palazzo Stefano Palazzo answered: @MichaelMrozek I make a special effort to be confident about everything I post here. I am perfectly happy for all of it to be viewed very critically, and if I'm wrong about something, made a mistake or just talked nonsense, I'm always happy to be corrected or shouted at. I didn't ever post anything I should be embarrassed about on this site, as far as I know. :)

Oli Oli answered: @MichaelMrozek Honestly, I think it would diminish the perceived value of my score slightly... But I would know it just helps me get the site working better. In short: I'd be proud of it.

fluteflute fluteflute answered after the event: @MichaelMrozek I've probably made mistakes (factual and in my social interactions) because no one's perfect. But I don't feel I have anything to be ashamed of on the site so this doesn't worry me at all.


Josh Josh asked: Candidates, what are your thoughts on the new "Everyone Can Edit" policy? Are you in favor? How has the system been working (where you have seen it) so far?

Marco Ceppi Marco Ceppi answered: @Josh I like it up until allowing anonymous edits. I believe that if you feel inclined to propose an edit you should at least sign up for an account to have your participation recorded. I think the Everyone Can Edit (ECE) Policy is a great idea to help take the weight of editing off those 2k users while focusing on the highest quality of questions and answers.

Oli Oli answered: @Josh It works. I've pushed through several edit recommendations and have rejected one. There's scope for abuse but it ultimately means (almost) anybody can help improve the site.

Stefano Palazzo Stefano Palazzo answered: @Josh From all of the edits I've seen so far, It's been working brilliantly! Edits are of high quality, and I approve about 90% of them. My opinion is guided by how i perceive it to work, and for that reason, I'm completely in favour of the new policy.

fluteflute fluteflute answered after the event: @Josh I think this is brilliant. I haven't have't actually had any experience of it on our own site (but I believe moderators/10k users have tools to easily see all pending edits, so I would make sure I kept an eye on it), but it has allowed me to submit edits to other SE sites that I have very little reputation on.


TheX TheX asked: As many of you know, we like to have fun in the chat room sometimes, and even while commenting on questions, current moderators have been lenient about getting after people for various things, that would not fly on ubuntuforums.com or even the IRC channel. I feel this is important as it makes users feel that this is a open and hospitable place for all users. Will this continue to be the case?

Oli Oli answered: @TheX I think we can afford to be slightly more lenient to the off-topic in chat because it's very much an additional service. Posting something like that in the forums or IRC interrupts the support flow. But ultimately, I think we should be striving to uphold the Ubuntu Code of Conduct here.

Marco Ceppi Marco Ceppi answered: @TheX Some goofing around has been had in the chat room and I think that's the best place for it to occur. Like comments - the chat room is really a "2nd class citizen". As long as the conversation and comments aren't insulting or negatively toned they are fine. If something becomes offensive or quiet obviously "troll attack" it shouldn't fly.

Stefano Palazzo Stefano Palazzo answered: @TheX Yes. A bit of banter doesn't hurt anybody, And I never saw anything in the AU chat that I would deem offensive. We aren't all that lenient, it's just that chat work very well if we allow 'off topic jazz'. It's a nice place to hang out, and it'll stay that way Question #7:

fluteflute fluteflute answered after the event: @TheX Ubuntu is "linux for human beings" and I think the friendly personal aspect is very important. I don't have any objections to the way chat is working at the moment - in fact I doubt many of us would be standing to be moderators without the conversations in chat.


Jorge Castro Jorge Castro asked: As a moderator you'll have a "super vote", where your vote to close is very powerful - how do you feel about this and will it affect about how you currently vote to close?

Stefano Palazzo Stefano Palazzo answered: @JorgeCastro I can imagine it affecting my voting, yes. I'll probably be much more careful about edge cases, but I'll also have the ability to deal with clear cases much quicker. I think it's positive.

Oli Oli answered: @JorgeCastro It means I'll have think to see if the question could otherwise be rescued... But that's something I already do. Voting to close and Closing outright demand the same mentality. But if I'm not sure, it's easy enough to ask for support from the other users either by watching the votes or asking in chat.

Marco Ceppi Marco Ceppi answered: @JorgeCastro The super vote has changed the way I vote and now questionable closes I typically pose in the chat room or watch for how many others vote to close. I prefer coming in as the "nail in the coffin" rather than being the first to vote and close (as those judgement calls have proved wrong in the past for me)

Oli Oli answered: @JorgeCastro I think it's important to note that I don't think I'd shy away from the opportunity to close something if I really thought it needed closing. Leaving it on the site for others to flag or close it doesn't help the site. Closing it and waiting for the OP to improve the post (they can still edit) and then re-opening it is much healthier than leaving it open for people to post answers to ambiguous questions.

fluteflute fluteflute answered after the event: @JorgeCastro I'll certainly have to give each close vote the extra thought. (Although unlike 'normal member close votes' it's easy to change your mind!) Of course working on edge cases I will work with the community. Having said all this, I think the voting to close system usually works fine without moderator intervention. The moderator power I am keen to make use of is the ability to move questions to other SE sites when appropriate.


Jorge Castro Jorge Castro asked: Speaking of, how do you guys see AU's role in the rest of the ubuntu ecosystem?

Oli Oli answered: @JorgeCastro Pretty invasive at the moment. We overlap a lot and there aren't any easy answers on how to fix that (or even if we need to). We're helping lots of people and that is good. We just need to make sure our efforts don't hurt those with more underlying responsibility (eg we need to make sure bug reports end up on the trackers).

Marco Ceppi Marco Ceppi answered: @JorgeCastro Similar to my answer prior - I think Ask Ubuntu can quickly become the new LP Answers a better community tightly knit around getting questions answered. In addition to opening up alternative methods for support (possibly via the SE Chat software) and becoming the place for community support - like a stronger more awesome and unified goal oriented platform hybrid of Ubuntu Forums and LP Answers (the best the have to offer with the cruft removed)

Stefano Palazzo Stefano Palazzo answered: @JorgeCastro Exactly, we do have quite some overlap with other support channels, but we also have a chance to better integrate with things such as the bug tracker. It's certainly an area where there's room for improvement. Since I know pretty much how all of the other support channels work, I believe I could help out placing us in the greater community, so that we work together with the rest of them.

fluteflute fluteflute answered after the event: @JorgeCastro I think we complement everything else in the ecosystem. Yes there's some overlap, but the SE model works better than (say the forums) a lot of the time. It's very helpful that we can redirect people to Brainstorm, the forums, Launchpad, etc if a question fits better there. It would be good to get some proposals together relating to a standard way to "Close as a bug" or "Close as an idea" or "Close as discussion" with links to the relevant external site. Hardware support is another thing that is very difficult across Ubuntu, I'm yet sure where AU fits in there.


dustyprogrammer http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/fab591eb34c76cbd0716024ce22d4906?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG dustyprogrammer asked: do you guys think there is a place for customization of ubuntu on AU. I feel that would help bring another crowd to AU as well as user to ubuntu

Stefano Palazzo http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/040289b472d3404383959370d112ea48?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Stefano Palazzo answered: @dustyprogrammer As long as these questions are about customising Ubuntu, i.e. in the scope of the FAQ, they are very welcome indeed.

Marco Ceppi http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/c127c8150f8052e4b89d66f42b99be56?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Marco Ceppi answered: @dustyprogrammer I think there's a place for it on AU but I don't personally have a vested interest which is why I don't ask questions about it

fluteflute http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/b0d98734d95fa6d3fed729b2a919855d?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG fluteflute answered after the event: @dustyprogrammer I think they're fine, as long as they're clear questions. For instance How do I change the background of the side pane? is a great question, and was linked to on OMG Ubuntu

  • 2
    I think I missed this one. My answer would have been: Sure. If people have questions about modifying their Ubuntu install, we're here to help. But I'm not sure we're the best place to ask. There are dedicated communities around the web for this sort of activity that probably know more than us -- but you never know. We have all sorts of people waiting to answer questions here.
    – Oli Mod
    Feb 8, 2011 at 23:03

Jorge Castro Jorge Castro asked: How do each of you feel about pursuing Ubuntu membership and abiding by the Leadership Code of Conduct?

Marco Ceppi Marco Ceppi answered: @JorgeCastro I've thought heavily about becoming an Ubuntu Member. However, I realize while I put a lot of time towards Ask Ubuntu and have a few projects in LaunchPad I don't contribute enough to have such a nice status of Ubuntu Member I'd rather increase my contributions directly to the Ubuntu project before weighing my membership application on "Moderator of Ask Ubuntu". I have signed the CoC and agree to the Leadership CoC as it is aligned with my views prior to joining AU

Stefano Palazzo Stefano Palazzo answered: I'm in the process of becoming a member, and I've signed the Code of Conduct ages ago :) I think it's been a great tool in forming a community that works towards the same goal. It also makes people aware of possible issues of communication. I want to see a culture where the very active users of AU become members of the Ubuntu project.

Oli Oli answered: @JorgeCastro I've been considering membership since I hit 10k and I confess I haven't seen the Leadership Code of Conduct. Googles

Oli Oli answered: @JorgeCastro As for the Leadership CoC, I'm fine with the conduct element but I'm, honestly, slightly more hesitant about the parts that suggest I tug the party line. I'm an honest person. If I see something I don't like in Ubuntu, I'm not sure I could (or would want to) censor myself if asked about something directly. I'm not saying I'd be disruptive on purpose but hopefully you can see the crossover and the differences.

fluteflute fluteflute answered after the event: @JorgeCastro Ubuntu membership is an exciting thought, but I don't have a strong desire to go for it. The Leadership Code of Conduct is all stuff that to me makes perfect sense.


TheX TheX asked: The following is a two part question I love using askubuntu.com to ask questions and get support, but more importantly it has been an outlet to allow me to give back to the community answering questions that I can with my limited knowledge of Ubuntu, or linux as a whole, coming from and working in a Windows world.

TheX TheX continued: How do you plan on encouraging newer users to Ubuntu, and the site to continue to ask, and answer questions, even if they may not be the best, or most enlightening questions/answer, but perhaps more of a learning experience for these users?

Stefano Palazzo Stefano Palazzo answered: @TheX I always make an effort to check if a user is new, gauge their competence regarding ubuntu, and - always - make them feel as welcome as possible. Even if their question or answer isn't great. Leading by example has worked very well in the past. If they make a mistake, I'll explain it, and they usually turn out to have great fun using the site. Without naming names, there were a few users who had trouble understanding the site, and are now awesome contributors we couldn't live without.

Oli Oli answered: @TheX There isn't a non-organic way of getting new users to interact other than making their experience here as pleasant and helpful as possible. For moderators, this means making sure they understand what we expect from a question or answer before taking action. As I said in my promotion answer earlier, the better we can make the site, the more people we'll have using it. Just as people do with IRC and the Forums, new posters will occasionally stumble in and start answering something they see

Marco Ceppi Marco Ceppi answered: @Josh Editing and commenting to help guide users to our high quality standards. Leading mostly by example

fluteflute fluteflute answered after the event: @TheX I think @marcoceppi summed it up: editing and (Assume Good Faith) commenting. One little thing is not continuing to vote new users down - they'll get the message at -2, taking their first posts to -10 isn't neccessary.

fluteflute George Edison answered after the event: @TheX: I believe this is where peer-reviewed edits and revisions will really allow new users to share some of their knowledge while still keeping the site free from spam.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .