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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 one of our back up questions for a total of 10 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. Suppose that you closed a question, which angers the original poster, who calls you a power-tripping moderator. How do you respond? The implicit question is, under what circumstances would you use your moderator privilege to close questions, bypassing the five-vote process? Why?

  2. You may sometimes happen upon a question containing a language you are unfamiliar with. You may be needed to make a determination as to whether the question is on-topic. What can you do to ensure you don't make too many mistakes in this situation?

  3. An answer in the style of "This is my approach / This is what I ended up with: (Code-dump)" is flagged as "Not an answer". What do you do? Is there a difference in how you respond if you see that the answer has a post notice (set by another moderator) on it?

  4. Moderating on SE is much more than just wielding a mighty hammer, zapping spammers and wearing a cool hat. As a moderator, the community will be looking up to you, and ideally following your footsteps - you'll be some kind of a role model here. Are you planning to take a leadership role in the continuous building of this community, keeping it active, vibrant, appealing to reviewers / would-be reviewers / reviewees? If so, how? If not, why?

  5. You notice a user has decided to start removing some fluff from posts (such as "thanks"). However, you soon realize that the user has already pushed most of the previous questions off the front page and may not have stopped. You also feel that these edits are nice, but are also way too trivial to warrant such a destructive editing spree. How do you approach this situation?

  6. A question is flagged: Please delete this question - my boss has seen it and says it contains confidential code - he's freaking out and wants me to remove it, but I can't delete it. The question was asked 3 days before, it has 2 answers, one is accepted. How do you respond?

  7. Having something to drive you, means that you'll stick with it for longer but also that your work will be great. Our previous mods were driven to getting the site through graduation, and truly done some amazing stuff. What drives you, to keep coming back and to produce great work, as a mod?

  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?

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

  10. 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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rolfl's Answers

  1. Suppose that you closed a question, which angers the original poster, who calls you a power-tripping moderator. How do you respond? The implicit question is, under what circumstances would you use your moderator privilege to close questions, bypassing the five-vote process? Why?

Being a moderator should not affect my decision to vote-to-close a question. A moderator carries the trust of the community (hopefully with many more votes than the 5 votes otherwise needed to close a question), and my decision-making is expected to align well with the rules and expectations of the site. I should feel free to use the vote-to-close button as I normally would, and that would hopefully make the site more efficient, clean, and useful. Having said that, mistakes do happen (as they also happen with 5-close-votes), and I am always open to discussing questions, whether in the comments, meta, or chat. My experience in this is that only a very small portion of questions I have mod-closed in the past have been questioned, and even fewer of those reopened. My "success rate" is very favourable.

As for the power-tripping moderator accusations, they do happen occasionally (the accusations). When people get heated I try to establish an objective, civil discourse, or alternatively invite one of the other moderators to step in as an impartial authority. Most times people only get heated when there's a misunderstanding of expectations, and carefully, and sensitively explaining the situation often helps.

  1. You may sometimes happen upon a question containing a language you are unfamiliar with. You may be needed to make a determination as to whether the question is on-topic. What can you do to ensure you don't make too many mistakes in this situation?

"Containing a language"? Does this mean a non-English question, or a programming language I am not familiar with?

For questions asked in a non-English language, this has been discussed before (for example, my answer here: https://codereview.meta.stackexchange.com/a/3797/31503 ). Code review is an English site (for better, or worse). Questions with non-English descriptions are unclear, and should be closed or translated if possible. Non-english in the code part a question is acceptable, but is not encouraged because it may limit the ability of people to review.

For questions where the programming language is not familiar to me, that's relatively easy to process. If the description of the question suggests the code does not work, or is sombody else's, etc. it's easy to close as off-topic, and the language itself is irrelevant at that point. Frankly, for most questions, unless I am actually answering the question, there's no need to look at the code itself after that. On the occasions that I have looked at the code, and seen obvious issues (which implies it's a language I am familiar with) only then will I vote to close. In other words, I don't read the code if the language is unfamiliar and only vote-to-close if the information in the description of the question suggests that it is close-worthy.

If I am asked directly to decide, as a mod, whether a question is off-topic, and there is a need for a specific understanding of the code in the question, well I'd engage, and then defer to the expertise of people in the community who have that skill. If things were to get to this level of intervention, though, it would be very rare, and there is a grey area of off-topic questions. Leaving the question open is a safe alternative and the question can be handled with regular question votes, answers that point out issues, or the question can just languish if nobody feels inclined to answer/review it.

  1. An answer in the style of "This is my approach / This is what I ended up with: (Code-dump)" is flagged as "Not an answer". What do you do? Is there a difference in how you respond if you see that the answer has a post notice (set by another moderator) on it?

This is a really grey area. Currently, as a non-mod, if the answer is in a review queue I use the options available in the review queue to process the answer... the only meaningful option is to vote to delete the answer (it does not "look good", and I won't "skip"). If I see an answer like this in the regular part of the site, I downvote that answer.

As a mod would my behaviour change? Yes. I did behave differently when I was a mod in the past, and if elected again I would continue to skip that answer in the review queue, and go directly to the answer, post a notice on it, and down-vote it.

  1. Moderating on SE is much more than just wielding a mighty hammer, zapping spammers and wearing a cool hat. As a moderator, the community will be looking up to you, and ideally following your footsteps - you'll be some kind of a role model here. Are you planning to take a leadership role in the continuous building of this community, keeping it active, vibrant, appealing to reviewers / would-be reviewers / reviewees? If so, how? If not, why?

Yes, I have in the past, and will continue in the future, to participate as much as I can in activities that grow and invigorate the community. I currently have no specific suggestions of new activities or "campaigns", but I would participate in chat, competitions, etc. and generally be visible in community-engaging actions. In my opinion, the best way to build the site is to add valuable reviews to good questions, making the site a great resource for people looking for code reviews.

  1. You notice a user has decided to start removing some fluff from posts (such as "thanks"). However, you soon realize that the user has already pushed most of the previous questions off the front page and may not have stopped. You also feel that these edits are nice, but are also way too trivial to warrant such a destructive editing spree. How do you approach this situation?

I am not convinced that the "fluff removal" is as trivial or as destructive as this question suggests. People with limited reputation will require edit-reviews to have their changes applied, and this is not a bad thing for either the editor or the reviewer (+2 rep and review-badges respectively). People with more rep can be trusted to edit with appropriate tact. The front page will recover, and the cleaner questions will be an improvement. In cases where edits are done to abuse the site, the editor can be contained with mod warnings, suspensions, etc.

  1. A question is flagged: Please delete this question - my boss has seen it and says it contains confidential code - he's freaking out and wants me to remove it, but I can't delete it. The question was asked 3 days before, it has 2 answers, one is accepted. How do you respond?

Heh, that's my question. The answer is to refer the flagger to the DMCA takedown process for Stack Exchange. It is unfair for existing answers to be penalized by deletion. The DMCA takedown process takes the judgement responsibility out of the hands of the Code Review mod and puts it in the Stack Exchange staff's process. This is a legal issue, and should be dealt with by the people responsible for those activities. Note that a mod cannot fully delete a question (deleted posts can still be viewed by folk with high rep), so the SE staff are the only people who can fully purge the post.

  1. Having something to drive you, means that you'll stick with it for longer but also that your work will be great. Our previous mods were driven to getting the site through graduation, and truly done some amazing stuff. What drives you, to keep coming back and to produce great work, as a mod?

Thanks for the positive feedback on the pro-tem mods. I was part of the team (the team was more than just the pro-tem mods at that time) that helped drive the site through graduation. At times it was a hard, gruelling process, and I really did show signs of burnout and stress. That's one reason why I did not nominate myself for the first moderator elections. I have had almost 3 years of "rest" since then and I am ready to re-engage with the community and actively participate in the visible aspects of the site (not just review queues and meta). Code reviews are a process I hold in high value, and as a site, Code Review has always been dear to me. I want Code Review to continue to be a healthy, great, and continually improving resource for both new and established programmers.

  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?

This can only be answered on an individual basis. There's no real "recipe" for dealing with disruptive users. My only comment here is that prevention is better than cure, and "nipping it in the bud" is a better solution than trying to resolve a blow-up later. Establishing and maintaining a civil discourse in all users, and quickly correcting behaviour before bad patterns can be established, is the best answer.

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

Communication - mods have a chat room that's available to just them. Question the other mod, and have a healthy discussion about the different opinions. Mods must work as a team, and compromise is inevitable. Compromise early, communicate lots, and get along well.

  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?

Being a moderator is not about ME being more "effective". Being a moderator is about volunteering my time to make other people have a better experience on the site. Mostly that's accomplished by removing noise from the site, and streamlining the interaction that regular users have. I've been a mod here before, I have plenty of reputation. I have already been on both sides of this question. I am happy to continue with my participation on the site as a regular high-rep user. I don't need to be a mod for myself. I am confident that the community will vote in great moderators whether I am one of them or not.

This question should not be about how I feel about my effectiveness, but whether the community feels I would make the site as a whole more effective if I was a moderator.

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    \$\begingroup\$ These are some impressive answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Heslacher Mar 27 '18 at 19:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ So you've already done it once and are willing to do it again? Not sure if you deserve a medal or a psychiatrist, but thanks! :) \$\endgroup\$ – Edward Mar 29 '18 at 18:43
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Mast's answers

  1. Suppose that you closed a question, which angers the original poster, who calls you a power-tripping moderator. How do you respond?

By explaining why the question can't remain open per the site's scope. If the foulest they call me is power-tripping, that's ok with me. Should they carry on and violate the Be Nice policy, a friendly reminder of said policy may need to be in order. If a second moderator is available, I'd always ask for a second opinion just to make sure I'm not being stupid. Should things carry on in a mild manner, I'd ask the community or a second moderator to take it over. Should things go down in a ball of flames I'd have to be more strict.

The implicit question is, under what circumstances would you use your moderator privilege to close questions, bypassing the five-vote process? Why?

When necessary and when it's blatantly obvious. There is no need to waste the time of 5 perfectly good reviewers on a question which screams spam or "gimme teh codez", for example. But there are also moments when the site activity is simply so low the review queues are growing fast and the regulars simply can't handle the flood. I won't accept Code Review getting even remotely close to a backlog as big as Stack Overflow has at times. Apart from that I'll plan to adapt to the existing culture by the remaining moderators. No need to change a winning tactic.

  1. You may sometimes happen upon a question containing a language you are unfamiliar with. You may be needed to make a determination as to whether the question is on-topic. What can you do to ensure you don't make too many mistakes in this situation?

If it's a language I know another (on-line) moderator is familiar with, I'll try handing it over. If it's a language I know another (on-line) community member is familiar with, I'll ask for advice (long live The 2nd Monitor). If neither applies (and I may just ask for an opinion in The 2nd anyway), a quick search on Stack Overflow and/or Code Review can be quite enlightening. If all else fails? Run it. Setting-up a basic environment for a programming language doesn't take that long nowadays. Usually. Of-course, whether the matter is time sensitive or not also plays a role.

  1. An answer in the style of "This is my approach / This is what I ended up with: (Code-dump)" is flagged as "Not an answer". What do you do? Is there a difference in how you respond if you see that the answer has a post notice (set by another moderator) on it?

If there is a notice on it, I'd consider the answer under scrutiny already. If there isn't, adding a notice seems like the obvious choice. In both cases the answer will have to be revisited in due time to check whether anything useful was done to salvage the answer. If not, it has no place here.

To quote the how to answer:

"Every answer must make at least one insightful observation about the code in the question. Answers that merely provide an alternate solution with no explanation or justification do not constitute valid Code Review answers and may be deleted."

  1. Moderating on SE is much more than just wielding a mighty hammer, zapping spammers and wearing a cool hat. As a moderator, the community will be looking up to you, and ideally following your footsteps - you'll be some kind of a role model here. Are you planning to take a leadership role in the continuous building of this community, keeping it active, vibrant, appealing to reviewers / would-be reviewers / reviewees? If so, how? If not, why?

Yes. Honestly, I only got half a game plan in this regard and it will change over time. Being a moderator is something you do for a long time and the community will change in that time. Adapt.

By being a role-model, preventing mistakes and doing things 'the right way' gets even more important. So I'll start by focussing on that and see whether the community has any feedback. I'll also focus on transparency. Don't like a decision I made? Tell me! I won't bite, promise.

  1. You notice a user has decided to start removing some fluff from posts (such as "thanks"). However, you soon realize that the user has already pushed most of the previous questions off the front page and may not have stopped. You also feel that these edits are nice, but are also way too trivial to warrant such a destructive editing spree. How do you approach this situation?

Invite the user to chat and express my concerns. Editing is fine if they improve the question, regardless of whether the edits are trivial in size (especially if that's all there is to fix). But editing should be done in moderation. Flooding the 'active questions' tab with 20+ edits during peak hour breaks the system and is not worth it if the edits are indeed minor. Suggesting a limit of edits per hour may help. Perhaps the user has a good suggestion which works.

  1. A question is flagged: Please delete this question - my boss has seen it and says it contains confidential code - he's freaking out and wants me to remove it, but I can't delete it. The question was asked 3 days before, it has 2 answers, one is accepted. How do you respond?

By this time the question and it's code have been cached by half the world already, but we don't need to make the situation worse. I'm convinced there's a method in place by the current team on how to handle this (and not just because this question was raised last election as well), so if possible I'd go for consistency and go that route. If that's not possible for whatever reason, I'd lock the question and see if I can contact both answerers and get their take. If they have no objection, the entire thread can safely be removed. I'm against anonymizing the question since it may well affect the answer (and goes against Code Review policy, and may not be enough in the first place, and usually leaves a mess, etc.). Disassociating the question is an option but may not be enough either.

One way or another I won't remove the thread at this point. I'll redirect to a Community Moderator, they're more properly equipped to sort out situations like this.

  1. Having something to drive you, means that you'll stick with it for longer but also that your work will be great. Our previous mods were driven to getting the site through graduation, and truly done some amazing stuff. What drives you, to keep coming back and to produce great work, as a mod?

They've truly done us all a great service, yes. Honestly? I'm convinced sharing the Code Review love is one of many methods to increase code quality world-wide. I've seen what crappy code is and what it can do if left unattended in a production environment. Increasing code quality is very, very important. The one thing about Stack Overflow I can't stand is the mess it is at times. Keeping Code Review far away from such messes is what drives me.

If you lot can find the time and effort to help people with questions, I can find the time and effort to keep the site clean.

Besides, I'm addicted :-)

  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?

This reminds me of a sticky situation Electrical Engineering has had and I'm somewhat surprised our community hasn't had the same problem yet. Sure, our community is better than any other community in the world, but that doesn't prevent and/or fix everything.

If the arguments/flags come from users being petty or peeved, talk to them. If the arguments/flags are valid, start with edits to blunt the sharp edges a bit and talk to the user if it doesn't improve. At the end of the day, our Be Nice policy is quite important.

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

Ask them in The 1st Monitor about it and reach consensus between the moderators. If they agree with the other mod, I can't imagine taking it further.

  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?

It's not the same thing at all. A 20k+ user is good at writing questions/answers and likes doing that. In return, said user can help keep the site clean.

Moderatorship isn't 'the next step' after that. It's a mentality. It's a willingness to do what has to be done regardless of imaginary internet points. It's a different part of community building which in a related manner contributes the result we all wish for: a clean site with high-quality content.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree with your answer to #3. the fact that they took the time to rewrite the code means that they have seen things that they would do differently, this is a review of the code albeit a bad one and should not be deleted, I would downvote and suggest that they explain their changes. a case where the code is completely different from the OP is another matter entirely and would be better as a new question, with context. \$\endgroup\$ – Malachi Mar 28 '18 at 14:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Malachi A rewrite is only useful if accompanied by why they prefer their approach over the original approach. All of a sudden it turned into a review. Most of such answers can be salvaged with a little effort by whoever wrote the answer, but not all are. \$\endgroup\$ – Mast Mar 28 '18 at 14:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I should not have used the word "rewrite" because sometimes the code dump is not a completely rewritten piece of code, it has suggestions in it usually. I agree with your comment. whether or not a review is good is a case for up votes and down votes, not deletion. deletion should be used in the case that the answer is not a review at all. \$\endgroup\$ – Malachi Mar 28 '18 at 15:30
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Phrancis' answers

  1. Suppose that you closed a question, which angers the original poster, who calls you a power-tripping moderator. How do you respond? The implicit question is, under what circumstances would you use your moderator privilege to close questions, bypassing the five-vote process? Why?

I'm personally a fan of using the five-vote process, and I wouldn't want to abuse the "mod hammer" unless something is obviously/blatantly off-topic, and in those cases I do and will continue to leave a comment informing the original poster (OP) and giving suggestions on what is on-topic.

In cases where the OP takes offense, I would make myself accountable to respond to their objections in a patient manner, and if needed I would try to get another moderator to get a 2nd opinion, in case I may have mishandled the situation.

  1. You may sometimes happen upon a question containing a language you are unfamiliar with. You may be needed to make a determination as to whether the question is on-topic. What can you do to ensure you don't make too many mistakes in this situation?

When in doubt, I find it most appropriate to just ask the OP if their code works as intended (or other off-topic reason), since they should be in the best position to answer questions about the code they wrote.

Another option would be to ask in chat if there is someone around that has experience in the language/technology in question and get their opinion. This would of course vary depending upon the time of day, so most likely I would start by asking the OP to clarify.

  1. An answer in the style of "This is my approach / This is what I ended up with: (Code-dump)" is flagged as "Not an answer". What do you do? Is there a difference in how you respond if you see that the answer has a post notice (set by another moderator) on it?

I would first analyze the answer for myself, to see if it is truly irrelevant to the OP's code, or otherwise shows a lack of effort/care, as we want to avoid "Try this" type of answers. I think a down-vote along with a comment would usually be appropriate, unless the answer is blatantly poor quality, in which case I would leave a comment then delete it.

  1. Moderating on SE is much more than just wielding a mighty hammer, zapping spammers and wearing a cool hat. As a moderator, the community will be looking up to you, and ideally following your footsteps - you'll be some kind of a role model here. Are you planning to take a leadership role in the continuous building of this community, keeping it active, vibrant, appealing to reviewers / would-be reviewers / reviewees? If so, how? If not, why?

Yes I will. Personally I really enjoy helping and educating others on the site, whether it's about improving their posts, or how to use or assist with moderation tools, etc. I believe that by educating others, you help fulfill the famous saying, "A rising tide lifts all the boats."

  1. You notice a user has decided to start removing some fluff from posts (such as "thanks"). However, you soon realize that the user has already pushed most of the previous questions off the front page and may not have stopped. You also feel that these edits are nice, but are also way too trivial to warrant such a destructive editing spree. How do you approach this situation?

In my view this would be an appropriate occasion to invite the user to chat, perhaps in the main site room or in a private room, to discuss their editing spree and explain to them that doing many trivial edits has the consequence of pushing older posts back on the front page, adding noise that makes it more difficult to find "real" new posts/activity.

  1. A question is flagged: Please delete this question - my boss has seen it and says it contains confidential code - he's freaking out and wants me to remove it, but I can't delete it. The question was asked 3 days before, it has 2 answers, one is accepted. How do you respond?

In cases like these, I would first try to reason with them to find out why they posted it without asking for permission. If there are already answers, it wouldn't be very fair to the answerers who would lose out on the reputation gained from answering. Nevertheless, if it were the case that the OP absolutely would not become convinced to leave it, and still wanted it deleted, then I would delete it after adding comments on the answers as to why the question would be deleted, and apologizing for the loss of reputation.

  1. Having something to drive you, means that you'll stick with it for longer but also that your work will be great. Our previous mods were driven to getting the site through graduation, and truly done some amazing stuff. What drives you, to keep coming back and to produce great work, as a mod?

Firstly, I love the Code Review community, I have made many friends here and it is an honor to have been able to rub shoulders with the moderators and other regulars, to keep the edge sharp, so to speak, on programming skills/knowledge, and to improve the site before and after graduation.

Secondly, I feel that the site offers a valuable service that many programmers do not have, that is, to get their own code reviewed and hone their skills and knowledge. This has been valuable to me as well, every time I have posted a question here I have received valuable feedback, and I would like to continue to have a vibrant community on the site!

  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?

This is the kind of situation I would want to handle in something like a private chat room with the user and if possible at least one more moderator, and respectfully discuss with them the flags and the reasons behind them, in order to hopefully improve/correct the behavior that is causing it.

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

I would reach out to the moderator in question in the moderator chat room and obtain more information about their reasoning. If we cannot find an agreement, likely I would want to bring it up on CR Meta for community feedback.

  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 believe being entrusted with moderator permissions (and responsibility) would make me more effective in particular in helping my peers and the site's user base use the site more effectively, and get quicker response time, in particular during times of the day when I am active on the site (evenings, GMT 00:00 - 06:00 or so) where I could close/reopen/etc. posts, and handle flags, without the users having to wait until morning to get a response.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In the case of #6 - if the answers were posted and included the same code functionality of the question, are they then published and protected under creative commons? Removing them might be detrimental to a larger population than removing the question. How would you respond to this (if worthy of a response)? (I don't know if SE has a blanket policy or if there are tools available for this specifically.) \$\endgroup\$ – Raystafarian Mar 27 '18 at 1:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Raystafarian Good question. It's been a long time since there was one of those so I don't remember exactly how it was handled then. As I understand, all posts fall under the same license CC BY-SA 3.0 regardless of their content. By deleting the post(s) though it would limit its exposure to high reputation (10K+ rep) users. It's possible that SE may have made exceptions to this if they received something like a formal complaint letter, but I wouldn't know for sure. \$\endgroup\$ – Phrancis Mar 27 '18 at 1:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ #6 I think this is difficult to answer without exactly knowing how moderator tools work because they are lot more powerful then just an ordinary delete. They can delete history in a way that it's not visible to anyone, not even to +10k users and I guess for the exact purpose of protecting confidential code (or other data) mistakenly posted on CR etc. I saw this in action a couple of times. \$\endgroup\$ – t3chb0t Mar 27 '18 at 6:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @t3chb0t Yes, I think the intention of #6 is less so about moderation tools available, more so about the approach one would take with the OP. \$\endgroup\$ – Phrancis Mar 27 '18 at 7:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Raystafarian, published under CC, yes. Protected, no. The CC licences are subordinate to copyright law, not the other way round. If someone grants you a right which they are not competent to grant, you do not gain that right. Acting in good faith is mitigation should it turn out that you were acting unlawfully, not carte blanche. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Mar 27 '18 at 10:33
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Vogel612

For whatever it's worth: I've been here before, I've answered some of these questions three years back, when CodeReview had its first elections.
I'll be explicitly calling out where my answers to these questions have changed.

  1. Suppose that you closed a question, which angers the original poster, who calls you a power-tripping moderator. How do you respond? The implicit question is, under what circumstances would you use your moderator privilege to close questions, bypassing the five-vote process? Why?

I have already been called a "power-tripping soup nazi". Nothing new here. This is something users that are involved in moderation duties have to deal with now and then.

I found the best course of action to stay calm, trying to defuse the situation. In addition, a quick sanity check with a third party (be it regular user or another moderator) can help understand the grievance of users.
Lastly, should I use my cool, I tend to timebox myself, taking at least one step back from the situation.

Moderator privileges are helpful for egregious cases. They get crap off the site faster.
Other than that, CodeReview is a very well-moderated site, even without much explicit involvement by the diamond mods. I don't see much of a need to override the five-vote process in any case.

  1. You may sometimes happen upon a question containing a language you are unfamiliar with. You may be needed to make a determination as to whether the question is on-topic. What can you do to ensure you don't make too many mistakes in this situation?

As the other candidates already stated: A vast majority of cases where I need to act, are cases that are clear-cut without explicit knowledge of the language involved. In addition to that I enjoy learning new languages, even though I do not get to do deep dives into most languages I try...

Cases like these might provide a great opportunity to learn something new :) In the worst case: Abstain from handling the question myself. Cases where language prowess is required are most likely not cases where a moderator intervention is strictly required.

  1. An answer in the style of "This is my approach / This is what I ended up with: (Code-dump)" is flagged as "Not an answer". What do you do? Is there a difference in how you respond if you see that the answer has a post notice (set by another moderator) on it?

Following steps:

  1. Verify the post is actually a code-dump
  2. If yes, drop a comment / post notice & downvote

In case there already is a post notice the process changes somewhat. Either the post notice has been there for quite a while, then I'd delete the answer and mark the flag as valid. Otherwise I'd dismiss the flag as helpful without deleting the answer.

I'm pretty sure that the current moderators do it somewhat like this, maybe they have a useful list of post notices to regularly revisit? I don't see any reason to change that strategy.

  1. Moderating on SE is much more than just wielding a mighty hammer, zapping spammers and wearing a cool hat. As a moderator, the community will be looking up to you, and ideally following your footsteps - you'll be some kind of a role model here. Are you planning to take a leadership role in the continuous building of this community, keeping it active, vibrant, appealing to reviewers / would-be reviewers / reviewees? If so, how? If not, why?

I am actually planning to take a role that enables other people to take a leadership role. I don't see myself as a leader per se. A moderator can be a leader by example, but I don't see that matching my style.

I prefer serving and enabling the community. Of course that does not preclude me from taking part in activities that make CodeReview a richer community :)

  1. You notice a user has decided to start removing some fluff from posts (such as "thanks"). However, you soon realize that the user has already pushed most of the previous questions off the front page and may not have stopped. You also feel that these edits are nice, but are also way too trivial to warrant such a destructive editing spree. How do you approach this situation?

For what it's worth: I'm not great friends with the "active questions" page, nor with the title page. Fluff removals are an activity that keep this site clean and on point. And if somebody takes it upon themselves to set time aside for doing that, I really like that.

Of course if things get out of hand, I might want to exchange a few words in private with the involved user. Upon repeated overstepping of boundaries, some harsher measures might be in order. It's all a matter of how much, how fast. As it is with medicine: dosis venenum facit. If the medicine becomes a poison, it's time to act. Otherwise, the benefits just outweigh the damage from my viewpoint.

  1. A question is flagged: Please delete this question - my boss has seen it and says it contains confidential code - he's freaking out and wants me to remove it, but I can't delete it. The question was asked 3 days before, it has 2 answers, one is accepted. How do you respond?

Verbatim copy from 2015 Questionnaire:
First things first: Just outright deleting the question is a non-option.

The problem with this question is the problem we regularly deal with when questions are asked. It's most probably not possible to edit the question into something that does satisfy the boss, while keeping the answers viable. Unfortunately the only option is to ask the flagger to take it upon themselves... Their boss will need to file a DMCA Takedown notice in accordance with the FAQ and TOS. The DMCA notice then will have to be dealt with on the side of StackExchange.

  1. Having something to drive you, means that you'll stick with it for longer but also that your work will be great. Our previous mods were driven to getting the site through graduation, and truly done some amazing stuff. What drives you, to keep coming back and to produce great work, as a mod?

I'm just someone who found a home here. I'd like to keep that home clean. I've not been writing a lot of reviews on site in the last few months, yet one of the first things I do in the morning is open the site and check what's up in chat.
At this point I'd consider this a habit.

What drives me to do great work as a mod is the wish to see this site grow and stay a great source of reviews, improving the quality of code all over the world. As an additional, pretty selfish reason: I want a nice place to write my reviews and get my code reviewed ;)

  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?

Verbatim copy from 2015 questionnaire:
Valuable answers on the one side, there's a few things that just aren't okay on the network. It's important to judge the post and not the user. As such I would "pull them aside" and lead a private conversation, explaining why some things are not okay the way they are.

It's important to make clear that the user is a valued contributor. It's also important to maintain the rules. In the end the rules must prevail, else a community is bound to die down. Quality contributions are no excuse for permanent toxicity.

In summary: Work with the user to "correct" (that's such a strong word) the behavior observed. Upon repeated violations without any signs of improvement, the correct action to take is a suspension.


not a lot has changed about this, but reading through rolfl's answers, I found myself very much agreeing with him. It's significantly less hassle (and less dangerous) to preemptively work on such a situation.

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

Verbatim copy:
The wrong way to go about it is calling it out publicly or reversing the decision. That's bound to lead to problems within the moderator team. This means the way to handle this is first and foremost: conversation. I'd contact the mod in the moderator room. Maybe I've overlooked something, maybe it was a mistake. From there on it's ... an open plain.


I want to explicitly stress this again: the key to resolving every disagreement, be it with moderators or regular users, is communication, and I've been working a lot on getting better at it.

I'm still far from perfect, but at least it's not quite as hopeless as three years ago ;)

  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?

Depends on what "effective" is intended to mean here.

A moderator has different work to do. It's not about being more effective with 10k / 20k tools, but about being effective with the new tools.

I don't see myself doing less of the 10k/20k work I currently do, but I'm also not seeing myself doing a lot more of it either.

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Peilonrayz's Answers

  1. Suppose that you closed a question, which angers the original poster, who calls you a power-tripping moderator. How do you respond? The implicit question is, under what circumstances would you use your moderator privilege to close questions, bypassing the five-vote process? Why?

Most of the time when I close a question I add a comment saying why I closed the question. And depending on the reason, I'd tell the asker how to fix the issue. If the user has some good claims why the question should stay open, then I would comment saying that they are correct, remove my close vote and ask others to remove their votes if I know it's been posted in chat.

And so I would do the same if I were a mod. However if they start to insult me, by calling me a power-tripping moderator. Then I'd ask another member of the mod team to handle the abuse. This is as the message 'you're being rude' coming from another user would mean more than from me in that situation.

I like to think I understand the close reasons, 200_success based the current close reasons on my suggestion. And so if I know a question is off-topic without a shadow of doubt, then I'd hammer a question. For example, if a question has no code in it then I'd hammer it with the no code reason.

I however wouldn't hammer a question that's in the gray area. This is as there can be arguments that the question is on or off topic. And I won't be a dictatorial moderator that ignores all conflicting arguments.

  1. You may sometimes happen upon a question containing a language you are unfamiliar with. You may be needed to make a determination as to whether the question is on-topic. What can you do to ensure you don't make too many mistakes in this situation?

Firstly most of our close reasons have little to do with the actual code. Ownership of the code, asking for an explanation of the code and there being no code all have nothing to do with the provided code. The other close reasons (code not working as intended, code not written yet and pseudocode), whilst they are about the code, a lot of the time you can know if the question is or is not on-topic from the description alone. And so I'd check the description first to check if the question is on-topic. I'd then check, or at least try to check, if the code is also on-topic.

Whilst I may answer questions 99% of the time, I have used C#, JavaScript and TypeScript professionally. I have also use Lua, thanks Computer Craft, in my own time too. This is not a large toolkit, but it means that I know the basics of a fairly large range of programming paradigms. I mostly lack, 'proper', functional exposure.

And so when checking if the code is off-topic I'd check any locations that the description, or comments, made suspect, or check the entire code. This would mean that I would then learn what the code is doing without a shadow of doubt. If that requires me to search what some functions are then I'd do that too. And so when I have checked the code if I find it to be off-topic then I'd vote to close it. However, if I have some concerns with voting to close it as off-topic, then I'd post a comment summarizing the problems I have with the question.

  1. An answer in the style of "This is my approach / This is what I ended up with: (Code-dump)" is flagged as "Not an answer". What do you do? Is there a difference in how you respond if you see that the answer has a post notice (set by another moderator) on it?

If the flag is correct, then I think there are two ways to handle these, give a warning or delete. If there are no comments on the answer, or there is a reasonable amount of doubt the user has not had the chance to action the existing comments, then I'd warn the user. This would mean that I'd add a comment if it is needed, and potentially a banner. If however this is not the case, then I'd vote to delete the answer.

I personally would treat another moderator's interactions to be the same as a standard users.

  1. Moderating on SE is much more than just wielding a mighty hammer, zapping spammers and wearing a cool hat. As a moderator, the community will be looking up to you, and ideally following your footsteps - you'll be some kind of a role model here. Are you planning to take a leadership role in the continuous building of this community, keeping it active, vibrant, appealing to reviewers / would-be reviewers / reviewees? If so, how? If not, why?

I try to be a good example, and try to ask meta questions that would be a benefit to the community. I got my first flag decline after only a couple of flags, and thought I had done something wrong. I asked how and if I should improve my flags, and have now had three declined flags and 157 helpful flags. I also asked the final meta to get the new close reasons, meaning we've now removed some of our concerns about the close reasons we've had for a while.

I also try to be fair. For the first couple of months I tried to read as many Meta questions as I could. I've not read them all, but it helped with understanding current rules. It also means I won't ask duplicate questions, and when a user is angry with how their question has been handled. I know whether they've broken the rules, and can explain why you would or wouldn't be allowed to do something. One example of this is a user recently came to meta about conflicting notions on answer invalidation and fixing closed questions. I tried my best to help them know they weren't in the wrong, and tried to help explain why the question was closed. And was thanked for my input by the asker.

And so I feel I try my best to do this already, and can't see any reason why getting a hammer would mean I wouldn't.

  1. You notice a user has decided to start removing some fluff from posts (such as "thanks"). However, you soon realize that the user has already pushed most of the previous questions off the front page and may not have stopped. You also feel that these edits are nice, but are also way too trivial to warrant such a destructive editing spree. How do you approach this situation?

I would check "The 1st Monitor" if anyone has noticed this, and tried to deal with this. If they have not then I'd invite the user to chat, I'd thank them for their efforts, and request they spread out their edits because it pushes all the new questions off the front page. Which is unfair. Otherwise I'd have to learn what disciplinary procedures we have in place for this situation.

  1. A question is flagged: Please delete this question - my boss has seen it and says it contains confidential code - he's freaking out and wants me to remove it, but I can't delete it. The question was asked 3 days before, it has 2 answers, one is accepted. How do you respond?

I'd invite the user to chat, and explain that moderators aren't there to remove copyrighted information, as outlined on meta. Instead they should use a DCMA take down. This has the benefit that the page is also not available to users with 10k+ reputation too.

I changed my answer after [I asked chat if mods can delete questions with accepted answers]. However was going to suggest using a DCMA takedown, but would think it's a bit overkill. And so didn't really know the correct answer. (I left a table I was going to use to compare a standard delete with a DCMA takedown hidden below, check the raw code)

  1. Having something to drive you, means that you'll stick with it for longer but also that your work will be great. Our previous mods were driven to getting the site through graduation, and truly done some amazing stuff. What drives you, to keep coming back and to produce great work, as a mod?

I asked this question as I suffer from motivation problems. When I was deciding whether or not I thought I'd be a good moderator for this community, my biggest problem was not would I try my best when I am moderating, but would I moderate.

Another way to look at this is I have about 450 games on Steam. I enjoy playing pretty much all of them, however I regularly don't have the motivation to pick one to play and play it. Meaning that I don't enjoy my games, not because of the game, but because of me.

I however don't think this is the case with Code Review. I regularly check the Stack Exchange app if I have any reputation changes or notifications, when I'm away from my computer. And so I seek enjoyment out of using the network. I also always load up "The 2nd monitor" and the newest questions page when I start up my computer. So that I'm always contactable when I'm available, and so that I know when a new Python question pops up, so if I feel like answering I know there's something new to answer.

I have also started to like moderating more and more now. And so feel if I found a way to get review notifications and the red circle to appear when there is even one review item, then I'd be more active in those. Where at the moment I normally vet Python questions throughout the day.

  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'd invite the user to chat, tell them that their comments are generating a lot of flags, and request that they try to not engage in arguments. I've been in an argument or two during the course of my membership here, where it normally starts from a discussion that doesn't have a right answer (Tabs or spaces anyone?).

If the user doesn't reduce their arguments, then I'd have to follow disciplinary procedures. I think this would be a comment ban (if it exists) or a short term suspension. However I may be wrong in these cases.

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

I feel discussions between users to be heathy and good for the site. I however don't think airing our dirty laundry is a good idea. And so I'd ask the mod if they think they handled the post the correct way, and give my reasons why I don't agree with the action. This should stay in "The 1st Monitor" (moderator chat room), however if we can't come to an agreement then asking on Meta would then be the best method in my opinion.

  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 it's my place to bring users into chat privately, saying that the actions they are taking may be problematic. I feel that it's not really my place and there's a negative stigma to this. I'd be a bit confused if a 10k user brought me into chat, I've never talked to them and they're asking me to change my actions.

I also feel I would be a good benefit to cleaning up off-topic questions with hammers. And would be a good user to help keep the site clean. We sometimes have a problem with not having enough close voters, and so a hammer can be a useful tool to keep the site clean. And feel I may be a good user to wield the hammer.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ DCMA takedown? typo? \$\endgroup\$ – Pimgd Apr 3 '18 at 11:54
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Malachi

  1. Suppose that you closed a question, which angers the original poster, who calls you a power-tripping moderator. How do you respond? The implicit question is, under what circumstances would you use your moderator privilege to close questions, bypassing the five-vote process? Why?

In cases where I know 100% that the question is off-topic, because the question is blatantly off-topic I would show the user the proper meta posts addressing the issue, or simply explain why we don’t allow that type of question. I don’t see myself slamming the hammer down unless it is obviously an off topic question. Information well communicated is the key to diffusing a volatile situation.

  1. You may sometimes happen upon a question containing a language you are unfamiliar with. You may be needed to make a determination as to whether the question is on-topic. What can you do to ensure you don't make too many mistakes in this situation?

First thing that I would do is ask the user via a comment to clarify anything that I was unclear about, if they are able to provide a good response then the action/decision may not need to be made at all. Then, I would go through the obvious signs/signals pertaining to the action that I am being asked to take or the decision that needs to be made, if I can’t tell at that point I would ask in chat to see if anyone familiar with that language has an opinion on whether the action/decision should be made. I would also try to understand the code the best that I can. I may have to leave the question alone and provide a chance to let the community cast some votes or leave comments, if my comments have failed to provoke a response from the user that posted the question.

  1. An answer in the style of "This is my approach / This is what I ended up with: (Code-dump)" is flagged as "Not an answer". What do you do? Is there a difference in how you respond if you see that the answer has a post notice (set by another moderator) on it?

I believe that a nudge in the right direction leads people to figure things out and do things that aren’t necessarily what was expected but can turn into something great. Just asking someone politely if they would add some context as to what they did and why is sometimes enough, this can be done in the absence of other comments that say the same thing. While a code dump is not a good answer, it is still an answer just not a good one and would be a case where the community could downvote, not vote or wait until the review is fully fleshed out. A Mod doesn’t necessarily need to act in this case, so I might mark the flag as helpful and put notice on the answer and give sufficient time for the answer to be fleshed out properly

  1. Moderating on SE is much more than just wielding a mighty hammer, zapping spammers and wearing a cool hat. As a moderator, the community will be looking up to you, and ideally following your footsteps - you'll be some kind of a role model here. Are you planning to take a leadership role in the continuous building of this community, keeping it active, vibrant, appealing to reviewers / would-be reviewers / reviewees? If so, how? If not, why?

I enjoy participating in the Community events alongside my fellow Code Reviewers should the right event come around, and I genuinely encourage people to participate as well. From time to time I can also be seen suggesting that a user flesh out their comment into an answer/review because they make a good point. I like to see new Code Reviewers step into making the world better, one line of code at a time, it truly is exciting to see people progress in their knowledge of writing proficient code.

  1. You notice a user has decided to start removing some fluff from posts (such as "thanks"). However, you soon realize that the user has already pushed most of the previous questions off the front page and may not have stopped. You also feel that these edits are nice, but are also way too trivial to warrant such a destructive editing spree. How do you approach this situation?

I was once the person doing just that, so I know exactly what I would tell myself, “moderation”. Moderation is key when editing older questions, some of them need a bump so that they get some well needed attention, but you shouldn’t edit more than a small handful at a time, otherwise the newest question will be lost to the second page of active questions, and may cause them to become zombie questions that will, in the future, need a bump to get them noticed. So in a way editing older questions to get them activity creates the circumstance for more questions to fall into the same category as the questions that have been edited.
This is what I would explain to the overzealous editor, that I know their intentions are good, but they need to edit with moderation, a few here and there and then maybe answer a question or two, so that the active question feed is not filled with old questions, masking the new ones. Possibly just editing questions that they would naturally stumbleupon without explicitly looking for stuff to edit

  1. A question is flagged: Please delete this question - my boss has seen it and says it contains confidential code - he's freaking out and wants me to remove it, but I can't delete it. The question was asked 3 days before, it has 2 answers, one is accepted. How do you respond?

I am going to steal @Rolfl’s answer, because he is right and indicates that this is The answer

The answer is to refer the flagger to the DMCA takedown process for Stack Exchange. It is unfair for existing answers to be penalized by deletion. The DMCA takedown process takes the judgement responsibility out of the hands of the Code Review mod and puts it in the Stack Exchange staff's process. This is a legal issue, and should be dealt with by the people responsible for those activities. Note that a mod cannot fully delete a question (deleted posts can still be viewed by folk with high rep), so the SE staff are the only people who can fully purge the post.

I would explain that others can still see it until they follow Stack Exchange’s DMCA takedown process and it is taken down. The deletion process that each community has is for deleting bad questions, non-questions, non-answers and spam, for the most part. Licensing may also play a role in the judgment process that SE uses so I may mention that to them if it applies.

  1. Having something to drive you, means that you'll stick with it for longer but also that your work will be great. Our previous mods were driven to getting the site through graduation, and truly done some amazing stuff. What drives you, to keep coming back and to produce great work, as a mod?

I enjoy seeing code made better, cleaner, faster, and more maintainable. That is my passion, I currently work as a QA Engineer for a large retailer in the US and get to spend my time making sure that the code does what it is supposed to do, and finding edge cases where it does not do what it is supposed to do. I also get to write code for test automation which is another passion of mine. I look forward to seeing good answers to good questions and helping others write good questions and good answers.

some things that you may find interesting and useful in gauging how active and driven I am here on Code Review

  • I have been a Code Review Member since 2012-10-16 I have been on more than every other day on average since then.

  • I have given 522 answers in 272 tags, asked 65 questions, reaching 1.4 million people.

  • I have earned 8 bounties worth 800 reputation, offered 12 bounties equaling 1,150 reputation. I like seeing clean code as well as learning how it is done.

  • I also earned the first Reversal Badge on Code Review with my answer to http://codereview.stackexchange.com/questions/40146 and even though the question was badly formed and had very little context (which ultimately led to it being closed) I was still able to help them clean up their code and I think this shows how determined that I am to help other people make their code better.

  • I have acquired many Badges including:

    • 55 Revival
    • 25 Necromancer
    • 25 Nice Answer
    • 23 Popular Question
    • 17 Nice Question
    • 11 Notable Question
  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?

Every situation is going to be unique, otherwise we could have Duga take care of things for the most part. I would probably try to get to know the user from their posts and comments, maybe even try to get them involved in chat. I could use a chat room for the two of us and try to see if we can come to an understanding of some sort so that Code Review can continue to benefit from the user’s contributions while addressing the user’s concerns as well.

We have a wealth of knowledge in handling many situations, these are located on Meta, so I would see if any of these might fit. There are many answers on Meta that have been refined to help users understand the purpose of Code Review, and it is nice that we can follow the DRY Principle when communicating to users, when possible, that they may need to be more gentle, understanding or less combative with their comments.

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

Talk to them, see why they did it maybe I might agree with them, if not I would let them know how I feel about the answer/question. you really don't know until it comes up, because every question/answer is unique. The people in the chat room are people that I would not hesitate to ask questions, and a good lot of them are up for moderator positions I don't see a wall between me and any of them, I think that we would be able to talk about anything Code Review Related

This is my answer to the same question from 3 years ago, probably the only one that I would answer the same way. We are all adults and can have conversations, even if we don’t agree, sometimes we even learn things during these conversations.

  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?

There have been many times that I happen past a question that needs to be closed, it is obviously off-topic, in the past I have seen questions that were closed by myself and a Mod, so I think that in those instances it will be me closing them instead of me and another Mod. I won’t have to cast spam flags, I will just handle it.

Minor things will change, and I will have access to more metrics and such for the site that I didn’t have before allowing, me to see trends and such.

I think one of the biggest advantages of being a Moderator is being a voice for CR to the rest of the Stack Exchange.

Thank you for reading through my responses to these questions, if you have any other questions for me or need clarification, please feel free to ping me in The 2nd Monitor or ask me in the Election chat.

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  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Pretty sure that you can't delete a question after it has an answer with a certain number of upvotes. Or is it only accepted answers that block it from being deleted? \$\endgroup\$ – Hosch250 Mar 28 '18 at 14:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess I have never tried to delete an answer under those circumstances, so if it is possible I would point it out to that user, but if not then the rest still applies, I would not circumvent the processes that Stack Exchange has in place for deletion because there is already a process that allows for this situation. \$\endgroup\$ – Malachi Mar 28 '18 at 14:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Hosch250 No, a regular user is not able to delete their own question when it has at least one answer with a positive score. \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Forsberg Mar 28 '18 at 14:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ thank you for verifying that @Simon, so I would say that the rest of the response still applies. but I will edit the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Malachi Mar 28 '18 at 15:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Hosch250 What special privileges do diamond moderators have? \$\endgroup\$ – t3chb0t Mar 29 '18 at 5:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @t3chb0t Oh, mods can do it. I meant normal users can't. Source: I tried on SO a while back. \$\endgroup\$ – Hosch250 Mar 29 '18 at 12:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @t3chb0t, I changed the formatting \$\endgroup\$ – Malachi Mar 29 '18 at 18:28

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