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If anyone has any questions for the Space Exploration mod nominees, please post them below in an answer and the candidates can edit in their responses.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What if a potential mod nominee wants to ask questions to the community? $\endgroup$ – gerrit Feb 18 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ @gerrit Hmm, I guess you could create a separate post for that. What exactly are you thinking? $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 18 at 16:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure what I'm thinking. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Feb 18 at 16:48
  • $\begingroup$ Why did all those moderators quit, and why would you not in a similar situation? $\endgroup$ – Mazura Feb 27 at 0:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Mazura Is that a question for me or the mod nominees? $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 27 at 0:09
  • $\begingroup$ Just throwing it out there. I love to hear your answer though. $\endgroup$ – Mazura Feb 27 at 0:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Mazura I addressed this in my returning to moderation meta post. You should be able to find it if you check my space meta user page. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 27 at 0:24
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There's been a lot of chaos and upheaval in the community of late (which is why some other moderators have resigned). Stack Exchange has been plugging their pending community council as a potential solution

We’ve completed the process of defining how our moderator council will be structured, shared an internal framework for asking coworkers tough community questions, defined the important functions that would be best served by more scalable solutions than Meta, and built outlines of our new moderator training modules. By the end of this quarter, all of these initiatives will be shared publicly with you, our users.

As a representative of Space.SE, what would you want the council to know about or take action on?

Answers:


Yuvraj Singh...

the first thing as moderator on space stack exchange I will ask council that our community is facing a problem of accepting answers, most of the user post the question on the site and other user answer who answer question with lot of patience it take a lot of hard work to frame a good answer, but if OP does not approve (accept) the answer it become hard for users to devote so much answer for writing answer, so I will ask council, to make system such that OP has to accept one of the answers which he /she got from others if he didn, t do it he must have some important reason if the reason is not correct he should face some kind of penalty or something.

William R. Ebenezer

I think the recent events have certainly shed some light on the disturbing lack of mutual understanding between stack exchange and its users (regardless of who happens to be right). I concur with GdD's view on this. My two cents:

  • A moderator and his voice must not be independent of the community he moderates, and that necessarily involves initiating fruitful discussion and arriving at a consensus within the community (say, on meta) and then representing that collective stance or concept faithfully at the said council.
  • Our site is home to people of several nations, languages, lifestyles, beliefs, and traditions. It would be utopian for a conflict to never break out over what the code of conduct says or means, or whether the management intends to mean well or sow discord. I will firmly stress this at the council to avoid, in GdD's words, having to police anyone into following anything they feel is unsettling. After all, we are a knowledge-sharing platform, and being a community of very human people, we need love, understanding, and harmony to function true to our raison d'être.

Machavity

I think the whole Beta mechanism is broken at present, and with Robert Cartaino gone, I am concerned with the future of Beta sites and graduation. While I am not advocating for full graduation for Space.SE, I think we are at least owed a road map for where our community should be headed and what a proper graduation would look like. I asked that of the Community Managers and CEO and it seems like there is room for a discussion. A mod seat at the table could help us have an impact there. I am, of course, concerned about the direction of SE as a company, but the recent CPO apology has taken the anxiousness down a couple of pegs. I have adopted a wait-and-see stance there. Whatever the outcome, I suspect there are not going to be any more massive shocks to the community.

Gerrit:

We exist!

Stack Exchange Inc. (SEI) is a commercial, for-profit company. It needs to make money. It does so from Stack Overflow and (to a lesser degree) the other old, core tech sites, which get an overwhelming share of overall traffic (for each visitor to Space, there are around 1600 visitors to Stack Overflow), but not from niche sites like ours, which will always be tiny compared to Stack Overflow.

In the past, SEI has been quite supportive of the wider Stack Exchange network, despite no clear way in which it could be monitised. Will this remain so in the future? We are at risk of being overlooked and forgotten. The linked community council post barely mentions the other Stack Exchange sites. As a non-profitable site hosted by a for-profit company, I feel always somewhat vulnerable. What if a future management focusses decides to separate itself from those parts of the network that aren't profitable or considered part of their core business?

We share this concern with many other network sites, about half of which are even smaller than us. The community council should represent those concerns. I'd like to see a strategy that keeps us safe. It's great if SEI wants to keep supporting us. Should there come a day in which they no longer will, then I hope it will support us in each going our separate ways. Our license and the regular database dumps help with that. We should guard carefully that those database dumps keep being provided.

GdD (Greg Dolph) withdrew nomination

The upheaval is certainly concerning, as a moderator I want to encourage quality and respectful Q&A, and have a reasonable latitude in doing so. I personally have a concern that I would be forced to police people's use of personal pronouns to some sort of specification, which is not what SE is about. I would want the community council and SE management to clearly state their intentions and get feedback from the community at large.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I featured the post. Good question! $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 18 at 14:04
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @YuvrajSingh... Could you elaborate more on why you see a problem with the number of accepts in our community? I would not consider this a major issue. The way we acknowledge the work people put into an answer is with voting. The accept mechanism is an additional way for an asker to indicate which answer they found most helpful, but it is in no way required to assign the checkmark to any answer. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 18 at 15:05
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @YuvrajSingh... And regarding your last sentence, I fundamentally disagree with the idea of forcing a user to accept one of the answers. If they found no answer helpful (or multiple answers equally helpful), it should be their right to withhold the checkmark. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 18 at 15:07
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @YuvrajSingh... I disagree that the "accept" checkmark should be additional incentive to write an answer. Votes alone should be enough. The "accept" checkmark is most useful in the case of a user having a problem that needs to be solved in order to indicate which solution worked for them. In that case, forcing the asker to accept an answer goes against the intended use. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 18 at 15:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @GdD Good response! I think SE needs to be very clear about what their expectations of mods are in terms of handling conduct, and it needs to be stated in a fixed help location for mods--not some post that we have to dig through Q&A to find. For what it's worth, I received no pushback for announcing my intention to really only respond if something is flagged. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 18 at 19:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm completely in agreement with that @called2voyage. Mods are facilitators, volunteers who should only step in when there's something clear cut. I don't believe that mods should be telling people the "SE correct" way to express themselves, however, I'm not convinced that's actually what's happening. $\endgroup$ – GdD Feb 18 at 20:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @WilliamR.Ebenezer I mostly agree with your first bullet. A moderator when acting in the capacity of moderator should be the voice of the community (though in early stages of betas they also play a role in shaping the community to be healthy). However, a moderator can express their own views from the perspective of a user, as long as they are not top down enforcing those views as a mod. In terms of interacting with the council, I think this means the meat of what a moderator expresses should be on behalf of their community, but they may also include a clearly marked aside from their view. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 19 at 13:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @WilliamR.Ebenezer That said, good response! And thanks for sharing! $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 19 at 13:52
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @YuvrajSingh... I can't speak for everyone, but not every high rep user is always a desirable candidate. However, rep correlates with experience, so often a higher rep candidate is favored, not because of their rep but because they are the more experienced candidate. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 20 at 15:50
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @YuvrajSingh... No, I said a more experienced candidate is often favored, that neither means that they automatically win nor that GdD will necessarily be favored (depends on whether GdD is considered experienced). $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 20 at 16:04
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @YuvrajSingh... FWIW, people can and do vote based on rep. For whatever reason, SO/SE has that prejudicial box that makes half your score based on rep. I've seen some amazing moderation contributors run and wind up at the bottom because they had a low score due to rep. Reputation doesn't necessarily indicate how well any person would do as a mod, but sometimes rep is all we have. $\endgroup$ – Machavity Feb 20 at 16:16
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    $\begingroup$ @YuvrajSingh... what do you meant by "I think community need to change trend"? What trend? $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Feb 21 at 2:11
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    $\begingroup$ @called2voyage one advantage of being a beta site is that many more low reputation users can do the moderation and hence the site remains cleanser but as soon as you graduate reputations required for privilege is increased and hence the site now has lower amount of user-moderators which means that elected moderators have to do much of the work. $\endgroup$ – Kenzo Tenma Feb 21 at 14:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Laniakea That used to be the case, but graduation is piecemeal now. They can remove the beta label without raising the rep required, if that's an issue. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 21 at 14:44
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Yuvraj chat rooms can't substitute meta. All the relevant discussion about the functioning of the site should be done on meta. $\endgroup$ – Kenzo Tenma Feb 22 at 17:39
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How much experienced are you at doing moderation stuff?

Indicators of your experience as a moderator are your reviews, editing, votes casted, reputation across the network, etc.

You should organize your answer in the following format:

  • Network-wide flair

  • No. Of edits done (here or/and across other parts of SE network)

  • No. of reviews done (here or/and across other parts of SE network)

  • No. of "Helpful Flags" Raised (here or/and across other parts of SE network)

  • Link to Your posts on meta.SpaceEx.SE

  • any other stuff that you feel might be helpful in judging your moderator activity.

For example here is mine (note that I am not a candidate for the election):

  • profile for Johan Liebert on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites

  • 52 posts edited (Physics.SE)

  • Total Reviews : 270

First Post: 153

Suggested Edits:59

Low Quality Post:50

Late Answer:8

  • 98 Helpful Flags raised (Physics.SE)

  • Laniakea

Note that I haven't added links to most of the stuff (cause I am not a nominee) though the nominees should.


Answers:

William R. Ebenezer

  • profile for William R. Ebenezer on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites

  • 64 posts edited (chemistry.SE)

  • 580 Reviews (entire network)

First posts: 448 (chem) + 16 (space)

Suggested Edits: 18 (chem)

Low-Quality Posts: 36 (chem)

Late Answers: 23 (chem) + 8 (space)

Reopen votes: 6 (space)

Close votes: 25 (space)

Machavity

Note that adding up SE-wide numbers is kinda hard, so using some estimations with hard numbers. I've done a lot on SO, mainly because SO gets probably 10,000 times the traffic. I have other reviews elsewhere if need be

  • profile for Machavity on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites
  • Probably 3500-4000 edits across SE. Around 2500 on SO, 80 on Space
  • Over 18000 queue reviews on SO (the stats page under-counts), over 100 on Space.

First Posts: 27 (Space) + 1068 (SO) *1

Suggested Edits: 13 (Space) + 3741 (SO)

Low-Quality Posts: 9 (Space) + 2970 (SO)

Late Answers: 5 (Space) + 1159 (SO) *1

Reopen votes: 9 (space) + 1205 (SO)

Close votes: 47 (space) + 4622 (SO) *2

Helpful Flags: 17 (Space) + 4826 (SO)

  • *1 - I tend to use the New Answers to Old Questions tool nowadays. Clunky, but you can spot bad late answers far more easily
  • *2 - I tend to only use the queues for burninations. Directly, I have about 50,000 close votes across the network, with close to 45k on SO

Gerrit:

profile for gerrit on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites

  • 33 posts edited on Space.SE, 96 on Travel.SE
  • 13 helpful flags on Space.SE, 178 on Travel.SE
  • 1229 votes cast on Space.SE, including 1158 upvotes, 7 downvotes, 2 deletion votes, 58 closure votes, and 4 reopen votes.
  • 16 reviews on Space.SE.

GdD withdrawn

I'm honestly not sure how many edits and other attributes I have over the network, I'll see if I can come up with some reasonable numbers! In the meantime here's my flair:

profile for GdD on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites

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  • $\begingroup$ @WilliamR.Ebenezer Do you think there's a reason your suggested edit reviews are low, or is it just happenstance? $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 21 at 14:19
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @called2voyage I was privileged with access to the suggested edits queue only recently. During my transition from school to college, I remained stagnant at 1k-ish for a long time, when all I did was first posts review :) $\endgroup$ – William R. Ebenezer Feb 21 at 14:24
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @WilliamR.Ebenezer That makes sense, thanks! $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 21 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ @called2voyage Also it is quite hard to earn reputation on Chemistry.SE $\endgroup$ – Kenzo Tenma Feb 21 at 14:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Laniakea Good point. I was just noticing the difference between the number of suggested edits you did (albeit on Physics, but it's similarly hard to gain rep there) and William, despite William having slightly higher rep, but William's explanation clears that up. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 21 at 14:35
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Moderators have to spend most of their time doing janitorial work (like cleaning the mess left behind by a spammer, etc..). The more time the moderators of a given site spend doing these janitorial work the more cleaner and healthier is the site. So

  • How much of your precious time would you be able to invest in doing moderation stuff?

Answers:

William R. Ebenezer

I usually spend time going through HNQs and interesting/recent questions on my favorite sites (chemistry.SE and space.SE) in addition to emptying any review queues on them. It's a habit now. If given moderation responsibilities, I'll only have to reorganize my time spent on the SE network. I'll be doing something I love – making knowledge more accessible to the masses, and making the space.SE experience better for all that visit and participate.

Machavity

I already spend a decent amount of time helping close things on SO and flagging things with Charcoal (it's sad few people know of Charcoal). Space would simply get more attention if I got elected.

Gerrit:

I rely heavily on flags. Almost all content I delete was flagged first, either by people or by the system. This is true on Earth Science, where I have experience, and if elected here it will be the same here.

The time various a lot, but handling flags by deleting content is the easy bit that rarely takes more than half an hour per day. Much harder are problematic users that aren't problematic enough for a long ban. Those can be a serious time sink.

GdD withdrawn

It's hard to give an exact answer, the short answer is "however long it takes". The long answer is that when there's more than one moderator it helps to work as a team, planning around activities such as work, family, vacations, etc. to make sure there's coverage.

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  • $\begingroup$ @WilliamR.Ebenezer I think your reply is very promising. I am curious--since Chemistry seems to be your main site--how, if at all, do you see that having an impact on your attention toward Space Exploration as a mod? (Full Disclosure: I mod two sites, lol.) $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 21 at 14:01
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @called2voyage, I usually spend time daily on the network, so channelizing it to space.se doesn't seem hard at all. And I have quite a bit of experience in review (mostly on chem, but also on this site). Besides, review tasks are primarily generic, not requiring specific knowledge in the subject. Notwithstanding, since I'll be pursuing a career in astronautical engineering, I believe I will be most active in space.SE in the future regardless of whether I moderate here or not. $\endgroup$ – William R. Ebenezer Feb 21 at 14:21
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @WilliamR.Ebenezer That makes sense! Good answer. :) $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 21 at 14:22
4
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This site has had some complaints by long term contributors that the quality of the questions has decreased. Spaceflight has been increasingly newsworthy and this might be bringing more new users to the site than before. While "close early, close often" might (or might not) be an effective strategy on a high question rate site, it may not apply to the 5-10 question per day sites, and could instead discourage new users. Are there ways that moderators can encourage the community to be more tolerant towards new users getting their sea legs even if it means some of the questions are not of the quality that some would like, and if so, should they?

Answers:


Machavity

As a mod, I would be less inclined to close things that didn't need clear closing, and I say that as someone who closes a lot of things. In most cases, a mod should prefer letting the community at large close things. If our voting culture has a problem (hard to say because closure here is nowhere near as common as other SE sites) then maybe we need to consider changing the close/reopen threshold. A lower number might promote more voting (it has on SO).

As far as mods trying to steer close/reopen, that's part of why we elect mods and use Meta. The person you elect carries a big stick and your votes mean you trust that person. I expect, when the community gets it wrong, for a mod to jump in. And if the mod is wrong, bring it to Meta. But if there's a broader problem, mods now have a new tool: . Hot Meta is dead (for better or worse) but mods can highlight problems and drive Meta traffic to discussions. I would hope that would help us discuss things to work out how we want closure to work. If you have questions about the overall closure theory and methodology there's a chat room for it. And if we need to hash things out, I'm open to that.

William R. Ebenezer:

These questions on low-traffic sites need to be handled with discretion. I believe the community should adequately weigh the question and collectively judge if the post is worth it (not using the close votes!), perhaps in a new room (could be named the Question Launchpad$^\dagger$). Here, experienced users, along with the OP, could discuss how the post could be modified and suited for a decent StackExchange-style Q+A discourse.

This need not be done for all questions. That would be an atrocity. And this need not be done forever. That would be tiresome.

But the OP will profit from such a discussion, and might also consider becoming a long term contributor to the site. I was once a new user myself not too long ago – and the things that kept me in the SE network after the first question were the community's discussions under my post and the live sharing of knowledge between distant, unknown, but real humans.

$^\dagger$call it LC-39 if you like.$_{_{_{\tiny{\text{This is a joke.}}}}}$

Gerrit:

What can moderators do?

Technical answer:

  • Add post notices
  • Add tag to meta posts
  • Add custom close reasons
  • Issue binding close/reopen votes
  • ...among other things...

What should moderators do?

  • Facilitate relevant discussion by -ing important meta posts
  • Create custom close reasons if necessary, if a particular type of question is commonly closed
  • Add post notices where helpful

GdD withdrawn

A good question! There must be a balance between keeping quality high and giving new users a chance to ask questions. That being said, there are questions that just don't belong on the site, if someone posts something that is very low quality and cannot in my judgment be salvaged I have no problem closing it. However, it needs to be done in a sensitive way - we need new users to bring new perspectives and new questions and sometimes it takes a few tries for someone unfamiliar to the SE system to get it right. I will encourage them to keep trying and also, as important, I will encourage existing users to be tolerant in the process.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ @Machavity Is changing our close/reopen threshold something you feel is needed on this site based on the information you have today? If so, what would you like to see it changed to and why? $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 21 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ @called2voyage On physics.SE there was a post which states that we were going to lower the threshold of close vote to 3 but since 3 CM have gone therefore it can't be implemented for the time being. Here is the post physics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/12568/249968 $\endgroup$ – Kenzo Tenma Feb 21 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Machavity would lowering or raising said threshold be a way "...that moderators can encourage the community to be more tolerant towards new users getting their sea legs even if it means some of the questions are not of the quality that some would like..." or is that something that shouldn't be done? I don't see how it directly addresses the question. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 21 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh It would, because the community would be able to take the actions more readily. It might not be obvious, but you can only cast a binding vote to close or reopen once (it helps avoid close/reopen thrashing). So contentious closures would eventually settle themselves. A mod inserting themselves into that tends to (in most cases) make things worse. To more directly answer your question, as a mod I would promote community closure discussions. I think Space Meta is woefully underused. Politics.SE Meta is a good example of a healthy Meta, where people feel free to ask about closure. $\endgroup$ – Machavity Feb 21 at 14:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Suggesting that Space SE (at least meta) is unhealthy and should be more like Politics SE frightens the dickens out of me! OMG Please no! Don't! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 21 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ @called2voyage I don't think Space meets what I would consider the general criteria for a threshold change. The "voting culture" here seems to keep up with the general review demand. DIY.SE, on the other hand, has a serious lack of voting culture and needs the change, due to lack of participation. $\endgroup$ – Machavity Feb 21 at 14:59
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh I agree increasing meta usage on Space Exploration is not really a priority for me (it is on Astronomy though), but I also wouldn't complain if Machavity had ideas as to how to healthily improve meta usage here. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Feb 21 at 15:48
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @YuvrajSingh... Since you haven't figured out how to edit, or even to read the instructions at the top of this page, I have to say that you're not at all ready to be a moderator of the site. I'm sorry if it sounds harsh but there are a lot of things you can learn about using SE as a user, and as you gain reputation points you'll have access to more moderation tools. Give this a try first and maybe run for moderation again somewhere in a few years perhaps? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 22 at 13:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh I too can't see the edit option (is there any pending suggested edit?). You should make this post a community wiki so that it is easy to edit. $\endgroup$ – Kenzo Tenma Feb 22 at 16:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Yuvraj no I don't think anyone is trying to push you out of ring. It's just that you are quite unfamiliar with a lot of stuff on stack exchange and therefore you are getting a bit of resistance from the community. If you want to improve the situation then as I recommend you should try to actively participate in the community and be active on mother meta. Anyways in the mean time you can answer the other questions that are raised. $\endgroup$ – Kenzo Tenma Feb 22 at 16:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @calle2voyage as this post says making a post community-wiki reduces the reputation threshold required for freely editing the post without making it a suggested edit. $\endgroup$ – Kenzo Tenma Feb 22 at 17:51
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @YuvrajSingh... "How to add my answer!" does not communicate that you are having problems editing, and it doesn't even contain a question mark. If you are having difficulties using a feature on the site there are ways to get the answer that all begin with a short, clear description of the problem. "How to add my answer!" does not do that. You're not yet familliar with SE basics. "everyone is eager to throw me out of the election" is quite an unreasonable exaggeration which is not how moderators should communicate. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 22 at 23:37
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @WilliamR.Ebenezer I like the LC-39 idea ;-) The Pod Bay is so cluttered with robot feeds that it's lost continuity of conversation, so a chat room that's for humans might be a great idea! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 23 at 4:36
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @GdD I'm sorry to see that you withdrew; I think that you'd make a great moderator! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 24 at 23:02
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Thanks @uhoh, it's too bad, I was looking forward to (if elected) doing my part. $\endgroup$ – GdD Feb 24 at 23:15

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