2019 Moderator Election

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

Every election has three phases:

  1. Nomination
  2. Primary
  3. Election

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

This election ended May 7 at 20:00.

The results of this election can be viewed online via OpaVote. Anyone may download the election data. Voters have access to pre-built OpenSTV software to audit the results; all others may use this source distribution


861 voters were eligible, 250 visited the site during the election, 213 visited the election page, and 107 voted

As suggested by Chris Cunningham...

I have some experience with a number of different SE sites, though no mod experience. I try to answer and help where I can - answer, edit, vote, flag. I can handle even heated discussions and hostile online interactions calmly.

Possibly controversial opinions. Vote accordingly:

  • Comments are strictly for improving questions and answers. No partial answers.
  • Research-based answers are the best, explicit personal experience is fine too, while speculation and opinions are not valid answers.
  • Old questions, answers and comments are as deserving of attention as new ones. The website is also a repository of knowledge.

I would not start rigidly enforcing policies about these (without consensus via meta discussions), but would doubtless shift the moderation in the direction of my preferences.

Background: Mathematics postdoc, some lecturing and plenty of small group teaching experience, 60 ECTS credits of pedagogical studies, but not a researcher in education.

  • $\begingroup$ You've addressed the very question I've asked the other candidates, so I don't need to ask it again :-). You've managed to convey a lot of information concisely; well written! $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 27 at 12:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Namaste Thank you for the kind words. $\endgroup$ – Tommi Brander Apr 27 at 17:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Namaste I do not see the country tags causing harm, and should an expert on a particular country arrive, they will have easy time finding the questions. As for you your later question, I would probably not, unless the country was particularly relevant for the question. It is not obvious the question would even be on topic. $\endgroup$ – Tommi Brander Apr 28 at 7:25
  • $\begingroup$ I'm eager to see your answers to this questionnaire. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 28 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ @TommiBrander - Your tags were edited out. I agree, 100%, that for a question with only one tag, the extra tag causes no harm. More, say you didn't tag them as you did. And over time, there were a dozen questions that could have sported a Syria tag. A kind member sees the need and edits all 13 questions adding the tag. Then, we would have a first page of these edited posts and the recent questions pushed off. That would be irksome. A single question with the tag in the future? So what? Again, no harm done. $\endgroup$ – JoeTaxpayer Apr 29 at 9:40
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeTaxpayer That's fine, though start a meta thread would have been nicer. I do not think this is an important matter, but disagree with some of the reasoning you wrote above. I'll see if I will start a thread a bit later. $\endgroup$ – Tommi Brander Apr 29 at 13:17

My strengths:

  • I am one of the earliest members of the site. I love this place. I see its potential.

  • In review queues, I work to help new users whose questions are very nearly on-topic. Often these questions become passable or even good.

  • I am happy to create value from the mundane tasks of moderation: helping with edits, deleting obvious spam.

My traits that might be important to some:

  • I am (currently) unconnected to Twitter; a lot of the math education wisdom which could appear on this site is instead being disseminated on Twitter. This is unfortunate, because Twitter is not designed to be a repository of knowledge the way that StackExchange sites are. This site needs a Twitter-connected leader to help archive some of that wisdom here.

  • I have zero patience for gatekeeping or political trolling; my stances on these are not "moderate."

I would be honored to become a moderator of this lovely place.

  • $\begingroup$ I like very much the second point you make below "traits that might be important to some." What are some ideas you have that might help step the "gatekeeping" or "political trolling", for example, with respect to new contributors wanting very much to contribute to and improve this site, but are ridiculed simply for the fact that they are newerish to this site only (meaning, not newbies in math ed, but new to this site)? $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 13:36
  • $\begingroup$ I would also like to ask you if you would mind answering this question on meta.me.se, here or there, so we can better understand your particular position on the question. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 13:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Namaste Re: gatekeeping, lower-level teachers are uneasy about mathematical knowledge, and suffer from impostor syndrome. Sometimes they still get the courage to ask a question (like matheducators.stackexchange.com/q/14677/11 ). There are a subset of users ("gatekeepers") that would like to exclude this kind of user. Usually one gatekeeper posts a negative comment, then the rest of the gatekeepers upvote the comment. That little number next to the comment reads as a vote to exclude the new participant from our community. I would work within SE guidelines against this phenomenon. $\endgroup$ – Chris Cunningham Apr 24 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ (Note that I have semi-evaded the question, but I don't know the specific details of moderation guidelines/rules. I think quid did a great job on the linked question. However I think I am less "moderate" on this topic than our current moderators. If I am appointed moderator, I will strive to be measured and follow all guidelines, but I still think this issue is the strongest argument against appointing me as a moderator. For example see my comments on this answer: matheducators.stackexchange.com/a/13244/11 .) $\endgroup$ – Chris Cunningham Apr 24 at 16:02
  • $\begingroup$ Re: the linked question, I think the key issue is whether "answers ... primarily drawn from personal experience" are better than no answers at all. In some areas (physics, skeptics, mathoverflow, reddit.com/r/askhistorians), the answer is no. For those topics, no answer at all is better than an opinion from someone's personal experience. I would argue that in our area (and cooking), an opinion from personal experience is noticeably better than nothing, and so it is good that we allow these types of answers. So I don't think we need to restrict to category #1. $\endgroup$ – Chris Cunningham Apr 24 at 16:14
  • $\begingroup$ Are you making an analogy connecting "cooking" with "math-education", Chris? Because I think that's a huge mistake, and greatly erodes the value of scientific-research into best practices in math education. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ I am making that analogy, but only in the limited way that I mentioned. Specifically, I think asking someone "what has worked for you?" and getting an opinion-based answer is more valuable than nothing, where that is not true of many subject areas. I still believe that when we have actual research on the topic, that is better, but my specific claim is that opinion/personal-experience answers in math-education have non-zero value. $\endgroup$ – Chris Cunningham Apr 24 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ " Re: gatekeeping, lower-level teachers are uneasy about mathematical knowledge, and suffer from impostor syndrome." Hah! Look up "imposter syndrome," to save yourself from misuse of the term in the future. Note also that you were the one to refer to "lower-level teachers". There are many teachers of primary school grades (who do not equate to lower-level teachers) that are not insecure about their maths knowledge. But you do reveal you are clearly not fluent in research in math education, be it primary school, secondary school, or undergrad education. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ Your last comment at least makes clear that you "still believe that when we have actual research on the topic [and oftentimes such research exists], that is better...". That answers, largely, my question, finally, in your fourth comment after two comments from me. (Brackets mine.) $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ > you do reveal you are clearly not fluent in research in math education, be it primary school, secondary school, or undergrad education --- Fair enough! However, I don't think it's crazy to state that people are often intimidated to ask questions because they are worried that they will be exposed as frauds who don't belong, even though they are excellent. $\endgroup$ – Chris Cunningham Apr 24 at 20:43
  • $\begingroup$ I never suggested sincere questions ought to be equated to "exposures as frauds who don't belong"? Please, gather your composure. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 20:45
  • $\begingroup$ I accept your assertion that I am not fluent in the research of math education. I disagree with your assertion that impostor syndrome is irrelevant to the issue. The point of fighting against gatekeeping is to avoid saying that people don't belong; my understanding of impostor syndrome is that it is the incorrect feeling that one may really not belong. These seem connected to me. $\endgroup$ – Chris Cunningham Apr 24 at 20:48
  • $\begingroup$ I do not fault you for your background. Math educators and math ed researchers and questions for math educators ought to all be welcome, if they are on topic and show prior research efforts. I know all about the "imposter syndrome"; and I do not believe in making anyone feel unwelcome to this site, if their question(s)/answer(s) are on topic, or can be made on topic with a simple correction. But there have been users that you and others have made to feel unwelcome, despite their experience teaching and their knowledge of research in math ed. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ I suggest that in your desperate attempt to make every question whatsoever matter here, whether on topic or not, you have nonetheless been biased against questions/answers from those you think aren't underdogs, (or are not sufferers of the "imposter syndrome"). So what gives?? Is your bias any better than anyone else's?? $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 21:04
  • $\begingroup$ Remember: questions deserve upvotes if they "show research effort, are clear, and are useful." They deserve downvotes if they do NOT "show research effort, or are unclear, or are not useful." You, I think, have lost your bearings wrt good questions and poor questions and perhaps modifiable questions. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 21:13

I have been a member of MESE for 5+ years.

I've also served as a mod on Money.SE for over 5 years and feel I can bring what I've learned from that experience to MESE. As I am retired, just out part time, I can offer the attention to members here when called to handle urgent matters, or simply the fast response of a moderator when needed. I'd look forward to being on the team to help it reach "graduation" and lose the "Beta".

I believe that my reputation on Money.SE is one of patience, inclusiveness and team building. In real life, I offer students my respect and patience, both critical to the learning process. When one explanation fails, I'll explain a topic a second or third way until I hear the magic words "Now I get it."

The most recent best things I've heard? "I got an A in math for the first time with your help" & "I got into Cornell! It was because you helped me through math these 3 years that I took BC calc, and I know that's what did it."

(I reserve the right to edit, add/delete, etc.)

  • $\begingroup$ I would also like to ask you if you would mind answering this question on meta.me.se, here or there, so we can better understand your particular position on the question. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 13:44
  • $\begingroup$ Also, to be fair to the audience, what have been the most recent "worst things" you've heard due to your activity on this site? I would suggest that the most revealing thing about anyone is not how flattered they are by the good things they hear about themselves, but rather, how well and humbly they respond to the negative feedback about their behavior. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 13:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Namaste - I appreciate the comment(s)! The field (space for answering) was very limited. So I was forced to delete the rest of what I wanted to share. The 'flattering' is an interesting view. I am retired and work at the school to make a difference. If sharing the fact that I make a difference in the lives of students at all levels and get great joy in doing so is somehow bragging, then I'll say guilty as charged. IRL, the worst things are twofold. Students with whom I can't connect. Those that visit are self-selecting. A good visit and they return. An unsuccessful one, (continued) $\endgroup$ – JoeTaxpayer Apr 24 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ I may not see them again. The other, are those for whom math simply isn't a priority. Bright kids, getting a C+ or B- whom I can help get a full grade higher, but they have other priorities. On this site, the main Q&A, I've been welcome and had no negative interactions as far as I recall. On meta, my posts have been infrequent, and as a Mod, I'd have to be very sensitive to how I post anything, as I am on my "home" Money.SE. (cont) $\endgroup$ – JoeTaxpayer Apr 24 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ But certainly you've received non-flattering feedback on this site, no, @Joe? Also, I'll await your answer to my first comment. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ I don't see why the choices are mutually exclusive. Many questions have a good answer that requires a study, and those questions are phrased that way. If the site were literally targeted towards research, the scope would be reduced to a small subset of what is discussed here. But of course, the 'research' is on topic. So, again, the failure in my opinion, of that question is the "or". $\endgroup$ – JoeTaxpayer Apr 24 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ The question I linked to offers a third option: the mixture you speak of. Please answer, and stop evading the question. I never posed a black/white question. Please spend more time carefully reading questions and contemplating answers, and determining the degree of importance you assign to each form of contribution (research-based/personal-experience-based), assuming some degree of each to be important, you can stop wasting our time. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 14:33
  • $\begingroup$ I was addressing the headline either/or. Obviously, I'd choose "3". $\endgroup$ – JoeTaxpayer Apr 24 at 14:37
  • $\begingroup$ Please read more carefully, my last comment. "Obviously [you'd] choose "3"" is an easy out. You seem to contribute only "personal experience" answers, and seem less welcome of "scientifically-research-based" answers. Why? $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ I agree both personal experience and research-backed studies are important. The fact is, though, is that this site remains a "based on my own personal experience, do X" site, rather than a "based on research of best practices, doing Y rather than X actually by N educators for M students results in greater success among students, using criteria A, B, and C." site. Both are valuable, but you seem rather inexperienced in terms of having a good handle on what research actually says. That's okay, but you don't seem terribly supportive of answerers who actually know what the research says. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ "seem less welcome of "scientifically-research-based" answers. Why?" - No idea where this is coming from. I vote up those Q&A, and read with interest, but hey are outside of my scope to be able to add any value. No member on any site needs to have a strong background on every area. You are correct, I am less interested in that area. $\endgroup$ – JoeTaxpayer Apr 24 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough. I would never expect anyone wanting to be a moderator to have a strong background across the board, only that they respect others' backgrounds too, and it seems you believe you do. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 24 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ I'm eager to see your answers to this questionnaire. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 28 at 17:54

This election is complete.