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2023 Moderator Election

nomination began
May 9, 2023 at 20:00
election began
May 16, 2023 at 20:00
election ended
May 24, 2023 at 20:00
candidates
4
positions
3

On Stack Exchange, we believe the core moderators should come from the community, and be elected by the community itself through popular vote. We hold regular elections to determine who these community moderators will be.

Community moderators are accorded the highest level of privilege on our community, and should themselves be exemplars of positive behavior and leaders within the community.

Our general criteria for moderators is as follows:

  • patient and fair
  • leads by example
  • shows respect for their fellow community members in their actions and words
  • open to some light but firm moderation to keep the community on track and resolve (hopefully) uncommon disputes and exceptions

Full elections have three phases and an optional fourth phase (Primary):

  1. Question Collection
  2. Nomination
  3. Primary
  4. Election

Please participate in the moderator elections by voting, and perhaps even by nominating yourself to be a community moderator!

Additional Links

Questionnaire
The community team has compiled questions from meta for the candidates to answer.
  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?

[Answer 1 here]

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

[Answer 2 here]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

[Answer 4 here]

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

[Answer 5 here]

Mark Booth

Hi peoples,

I've been involved with Robotics Stack Exchange since the start. I was honoured to be offered the position of Protem moderator when we first went into beta, and I would love to continue contributing to this community in the way I have always tried to do.

I worked in the Robotics and Mechatronics industries for many years, before moving into the laser micro-machining sector and then on to a scientific research facility. I mostly develop software, from low level control up to end user interfaces, but I have been known to get my hands dirty, or pull out a soldering iron.

Projects I've worked on include a high speed cartesian bread roll packing robot, a fibre optic ferrule polishing system, various machines for scribing touch screens and solar panels, and an EUV lithographic mask inspection tool.

I currently write software to support scientists performing experiments in the diverse realms of materials chemistry, solid-state physics, earth sciences and pharmaceuticals.

Questionnaire
  1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

The key here is communication, concentrating on the undesirable behaviour and not the person. While it's easy to get emotional, a clear statement about the rights and responsibilities of all members of our community, and an explanation of how specific behaviours have affected others, are valuable tools in getting people to re-consider their future actions, and can often diffuse a tense situation.

We do have to be careful to avoid driving away an existing valuable contributor, but we also have to be careful not to allow others to be driven away either - everyone has the potential to be a valuable contributor to our community.

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

Again, communication is key. Maybe I didn't see something they did, or maybe they overlooked something which was obvious to me. There are few situations in which mods can't work things out, and while I don't recall ever having to call on them, we all know the community teams is there for us, if we need them.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

The traditional answer is that we are janitors, here to tidy up any messes that people can't clean up for themselves, but I feel moderators are more than that.

We also need to be guides and advocates for our community. Those of us who have been around Stack Exchange for a while have seen what works and what doesn't, so we should try to help suggest ways to solve problems that community members with less experience may not have though of.

  1. A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

I've never known anything else on this site, but there is definitely a difference between the way I contribute here, and the way I contribute on other sites in the network. I have to be more careful with how forthright I am in my opinions, but I also step into the role of peace-maker much more readily, in the rare case of conflict.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

We are very lucky here that moderator intervention is rarely needed, but with so few people able to cast close votes, being able to quickly resolve problems which might linger otherwise, is very valuable.

Tully

Hello, I’m Tully Foote, the Community Lead on the Open Robotics team at Intrinsic. I’ve been working in open source robotics for many years now, starting at Willow Garage then at Open Robotics. I have been a lead moderator and administrator of many of the various ROS forums. You can find my ROS Answers profile to see some of my experience. Not visible in the profile are many of the moderator interactions that have also happened throughout the years. I know how valuable Q&A forums are to the community and am willing to put a lot of time into making sure that they go well, even if a lot of it happens behind the scenes.

I’ve been a member of the Robotics.SE since its days being proposed in Area 51. Recently as we started exploring bringing the ROS community here to Robotics.SE I’ve spent time learning about and participating actively in the discussion process.

I’d like to be a moderator so that I can help contribute to the growth and health of this community. As we look to bring the ROS community I will be able to help bridge the communities leveraging my experience supporting the ROS community for many years.

Questionnaire
  1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

I would reach out to the user via chat or other means and bring up the pattern that I’ve observed and connect it back to the appropriate guidelines and or rules. Of course simultaneously being positive about their helpful contributions. I would seek to help them understand why they’re getting flagged and why that’s bad for the community. Through this feedback I would hope to decrease the rate of their submissions being flagged. With visible improvement I’d be happy to keep working with them. However if they continue to make the community not a safe or productive place I can discuss with the other mods and escalate our response appropriately.

  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 other mod and seek to understand why they closed the question. If I can understand their reasoning it’s fine. If I don’t agree I’ll try to convince them of my logic. And if we stay in disagreement we’ll bring in the 3rd mod to tie break. However, very few things are irreversible or redoable. It’s likely that the best course of action will be to provide some more clarity or disambiguation to the user involved and ask them to retry following the guidelines more strictly.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

The moderator's role is to facilitate productive conversations on the site. The primary mechanisms we use are three fold. We start by designing and setting up good rules and guidelines. We enforce the rules and guidelines through the various mechanisms. And importantly we also educate community members about how to follow the rules effectively and sometimes explain some of the underlying reasons for the rules. In addition we’re monitoring the community interactions to see if there are rules or guidelines that can be improved or clarified to facilitate better community dynamics.

  1. A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

As a long standing community lead for several forums. I am familiar with having my interactions carry significant weight whether starred or not. I personally strive that all my interactions be held to the highest standards of professionalism and civility at all times.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

The additional capabilities I will receive with moderator status is relatively low for me personally as I have a moderately high reputation already. One of the things about being a moderator that doesn’t directly come from gaining reputation is to have a more direct connection with Stack Exchange corporate community leads. I have a lot of experience in running sites like these and I’m always looking for ways to improve and extend them. As a moderator I will have direct channels to communicate and help facilitate the growth and evolution of the site.

Chuck

I submitted an application, but when I saw there were more applications than positions I withdrew so the others could have the positions. Based on a conversation with V2Blast, though, I reconsidered and am re-submitting my application to make the election competitive (i.e., more candidates than available positions) so we can complete the graduation election.


Hello, I was a longtime moderator and I'm interested in returning. Holding the title of moderator was a big point of pride for me, and I was really torn about resigning. I was previously a moderator from 2016 to 2020.

At 15,750 rep, I'm the highest-ranked user on the site. By a lot. I don't say this to brag, but to point out that I have been a long-time contributor and am familiar with the kinds of questions that do and don't belong here.

I chose to leave last time, so I will completely understand if you all would like to try someone new. I would be honored if you had me back. I'm not sure what else to write here, but I'd be happy to answer any questions if you have them.

Questionnaire
  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?

Praise in public, punish in private. Thank them for the content, add comments reminding them about their tone, reach out privately if that's not enough, and escalate accordingly, up to suspension. It doesn't matter how good their content is if they're turning away others.

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

Bring it up in mod chat, but I think generally there are few enough questions here that it probably won't be an issue. I was the quick-to-close mod at one point, as hauptmech mentioned (politely) in this meta question, and you can read my answer in full here.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Take the actions that the community can't. Usually this means suspending users if they need it, moving questions to comments, etc., but because our site is so small it also means helping votes along. This has been one of the harder things for me to watch since I resigned my post - as I discussed in this meta post - "Reminder - Please vote to close questions you think don't belong!", we really need the community to help close questions. But, as Mark Booth responded, the site is actually so small that we don't have enough people visiting regularly enough to get questions closed. One vote from a mod is enough to close a question, though, and that's really one of the things driving my desire to come back and help - ensuring the good questions are upvoted and the bad questions are closed in a timely manner.

  1. A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

As mentioned above, I was previously a moderator. I have no problem sharing my history.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

As stated in question 3 above, the key thing for me here is to be able to cast deciding votes on content. After hauptmech's question on whether we're too quick to put questions on hold I backed off on being the first/only person to close a question, but it's painful now to watch a lot of other questions linger because we don't have the high-rep traffic to get regular support in closing questions.

Ben

Hi, I'm Ben. I have a life-long love of robots and have been lucky enough to turn that into a career. I got started hacking my Lego Mindstorms RCX in 1999 and haven't stopped working and playing with robots ever since. Over the years, I've done everything from walking robots, to military robots, research, and consumer robots. And have been lucky enough to work for companies such as Microsoft, iRobot, and the Boston Dynamics AI Institute.

Throughout all this time, doing STEM outreaches and fostering the robotics community have been important to me. I'll never forget those who helped me out when I knew nothing in the Lego forums, and I've always wanted to give back.

I started contributing to Robotics.StackExchange when it just started out in Area 51. And being a moderator on this site these past 5 years has been an honor and privilege. I hope you'll let me continue moderating this great community.

Questionnaire
  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 think a steady and firm response is needed. Moderators, (and other users), should comment, flag, and delete disrespectful comments to diffuse the arguments. Hopefully the problem user will get the message and start behaving, or loose interest and move on.

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

There can be some grey area on the decision to close/delete a question. But I trust the other mods so I'd leave it closed. Probably even if I disagreed strongly.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

They keep things clean (both in language/content, and in administrative tasks), and provide the final say on matters. But ideally, the community should be self-governing, and the moderators should have a light-touch.

  1. A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

Not a problem. I try to conduct myself with the highest level of decency and respect in all my online interactions. I try to avoid exaggeration, sarcasm, and cultural-specific phrases that are easily misunderstood online. Speaking as plainly and straightforward as possible.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

It's true that my level of reputation gives me access to most of the moderator privileges, and I would perform most of the same tasks on this site regardless of being a moderator or not. For example closing questions and flagging / deleting spam. But I feel like being a moderator provides an extra level of responsibility and authority that would help me care for this community we all love.

This election is over.