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2022 Moderator Election

nomination began
Oct 31, 2022 at 20:00
election began
Nov 14, 2022 at 20:00
election cancelled
Nov 14, 2022 at 20:03
candidates
3
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. Do you believe that it is important for a moderator to be a content expert, and if so, to what extent or level?

    For example, should a diamond moderator on Mathematics Educators SE have teaching experience? Should they have teaching experience, and if so, at what level? How about publications in math ed?

    How does your experience align to this expectation?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 4 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 5 here]

  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?

[Answer 6 here]

Xander Henderson

I think that a moderator on an SE site needs to demonstrate two major characteristics: (1) a knowledge of the mechanics of the SE network, and (2) a connection to the particular community which they are tasked with moderating.

  1. I have been a diamond moderator on Math SE for a couple of years. In that time, I've handled nearly 7k flags, sent around 500 moderator messages, have actively engaged with folk in chat, and have otherwise become quite familiar with to tools available to moderators. I have no doubts about my ability to help moderate this community in terms of the technical aspects of moderation.

  2. I will admit that I have been somewhat less active since finishing graduate school and accepting a full-time teaching position, though I have been consistently lurking. Still, I believe that I have a sense of what this community is and wants to be, and I would be honored to serve here.

All of that being said, please don't vote for me—both Sue VanHattum and quid have been doing an excellent job. While I am willing and capable, I am running primarily to ensure that there are enough candidates for a successful election.

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?

This is a rather thorny issue, and it is hard to give a general answer because it depends so much on the particulars of a given situation. What kinds of "valuable answers" (or other valuable contributions) is this user providing? How egregious are the flags being raised? Thus each situation in which a user makes good contributions to the site but also finds themself at the center of controversy or discord needs to be handled on its own merits.

However, in order to avoid not answering the question: I am generally of the opinion that the goal of the SE network is to create a resource, and that content is somewhat more important than social interaction—this is a Q&A site, not a social network. I am not afraid to warn or suspend a user who is being disruptive, but I am likely to give a little more leeway to a user who has a track record of high quality contributions.

On the other hand, my experience on Math Educators SE is that it is a pretty low-drama place (I have seen maybe one user who has maybe engaged in some unwanted political digressions, and I am aware of the discussion of unregistered users). I suspect that I would be a little faster to sanction a disruptive user here than I would be on Math SE, as the general mood of this site is more close-knit and sociable.

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

In my experience, this happens very rarely.

When it has happened, the moderators involved have hashed it out in private moderator chat (I think that it is somewhat important for the moderation team to present a united front). If something is truly irreconcilable, I am willing to bow out and let the more passionate moderator make a final decision—this is a Q&A site, and the stakes are pretty low. But, again, I honestly don't anticipate such irreconcilable differences.

  1. Do you believe that it is important for a moderator to be a content expert, and if so, to what extent or level?

    For example, should a diamond moderator on Mathematics Educators SE have teaching experience? Should they have teaching experience, and if so, at what level? How about publications in math ed?

    How does your experience align to this expectation?

In my opening statement, I asserted that a moderator needs to be in touch with the community that they moderate. This is not the only thing which matters, but I do think that it is important. Part of being in touch with the community is having some content expertise. I do not believe that a moderator needs to be a high-level expert (in the sense that I don't think that on needs an EdD to moderate here), but I do think that a moderator needs to have some baseline content knowledge, which includes classroom teaching experience.

Stating my own bona fides, I formerly held a secondary education teaching credential in the State of Nevada, and taught middle school and high school for a couple of years before going to graduate school. In the 15 years or so since I started my masters program, I have been the instructor-of-record for many courses of all levels at several state universities and at a small, private liberal arts college. I have also put in my hours as a graduate teaching assistant. I am currently a member of the mathematics faculty at a small public community college is an extremely rural part of the American Southwest. This gives me a fairly broad first-hand experience of teaching mathematics.

I have also been involved in a couple of fairly major curriculum design projects (I am most proud of the work that my collaborators and I did on the precalculus curriculum at my doctoral institution, which is now being spun off into a full precalc/calc program which is likely to be adopted by much of the UC system).

I have not published anything in the realm of math education.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

In order of importance and frequency:

  1. handle flags,

  2. mediate disputes between users and engage in discussion with users who might be causing disruptions,

  3. confer with other moderators on the site to decide on how to handle general policy issues,

  4. confer with moderator on other sites to keep track of network trolls and to handle posts which might better be asked on another site, and

  5. other duties, as assigned. :D

  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?

Honestly, I don't have strong feelings about this. I do try to be cognizant of the things I say on Math SE, and to firmly establish when I am expressing my own opinion, rather than any kind of site policy or procedure, but I don't think that it is such a big deal.

  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?

Moderators have access to more tools than a 10k or 20k reputation user. I think that the most significant difference between a moderator and a high reputation user is that non-moderators are expected to moderate content, while moderators are expected to moderate users, as well.

4

Sue VanHattum

Sue VanHattum

I've been moderating this site since its beginning. At first, I was a newbie to SE sites, so I had trouble figuring out how to do things. I’ve learned a lot in the past 8 ½ years! My first goal was to help this site be welcoming to homeschoolers and K-12 teachers (and I think we've met that goal). I am a community college math teacher, and sometimes tutor younger students.

I'm still learning how the SE interface works, so I’m very grateful for the team of moderators I work with.

I do all I can to be fair. When I'm not patient, I try to understand what got in my way, so that I can be more patient in future.

I think it's vital that a woman be on the moderator team. I'd love to see more women participating here, and will keep thinking about how we might get that to happen.

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?

Patiently and persistently. If they'd let me work with them on the aspects that caused strife, I'd enjoy helping them become a more positive force here.

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

We would discuss it in the moderator's chat room, and work it out.

  1. Do you believe that it is important for a moderator to be a content expert, and if so, to what extent or level?

    For example, should a diamond moderator on Mathematics Educators SE have teaching experience? Should they have teaching experience, and if so, at what level? How about publications in math ed?

    How does your experience align to this expectation?

I like that quid and I have experience at different sorts of institutions. It does seem necessary that the moderators here have teaching experience; it helps us evaluate the questions asked, and helps us to improve questions that might be useful but start out worded poorly. I don't think publications are a necessary qualification here.

I've taught for over 30 years. A bit of junior high (yes, it was crazy hard), a bit at a university, and mostly at community colleges, including teaching Math for Elementary Teachers.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?
  • Help resolve disputes.

  • Remove questions that don't fit the site.

  • Remove comments that don't help people understand the question and answers.

  • Edit questions and answers to improve them.

  • Resolve flags (most often when other users are helping us find comments that can be usefully deleted).

  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 guess I've had that diamond attached from the first. (I have seldom noticed it.) I hope I have always lived up to the qualities needed in a moderator.

  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 allows me to take care of things that other users can't.

5

quid

The election was scheduled to bring the site towards graduation. I am involved with the site all the way back since its inception and serve as a nominated moderator since the early days. I would be glad to continue to moderate the site, and thus present my nomination for this election.

While I am not as active now as I used to be, mostly as my actual job as a mathematics professor at a research university takes up ever more time, I am still around frequently and ready to step in if the need arises. Over the years I believe to have gained a good amount of experience with the site on a technical and a community level, which I believe is beneficial going forward. Moreover, I moderate the Mathematics site and as such can assure a smooth interaction with that 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?

Contributing good content is very valuable, but it does not exempt one from following rules regarding conduct. Overall I tend to give more leeway to users that contribute a lot, some think too much so. However, there are limits and nobody is beyond the rules.

Especially with regular users an important thing to do is to engage with them user and try to explain why their conduct is a problem. Moreover, it is important to try to understand why they do what they do and based on that propose, if possible, alternate ways to achieve their goal. In many cases this can lead to a resolution of the problem. If problematic behavior persists it needs to be stopped via suspensions.

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

The first thing to do is to get in touch with the moderator, typically this would happen in a moderator chat room. Maybe a brief exchange will get us on the same page, or other moderators will weigh in. If we do not find common ground, it should at least be possible to find some compromise. For example, if the issue is whether a question is on topic or not, in doubt one could leave it around with a comment that moderator opinions are split in this case. If I have learned one thing over a decade on SE it is that most things that seem hugely relevant in the moment, really are not that important in the end. Agree on something, and move on.

  1. Do you believe that it is important for a moderator to be a content expert, and if so, to what extent or level?

    For example, should a diamond moderator on Mathematics Educators SE have teaching experience? Should they have teaching experience, and if so, at what level? How about publications in math ed?

    How does your experience align to this expectation?

The community is an open minded one, yet it is also directed towards a professional activity. I do believe that in general it is desirable that a moderator is directly involved with mathematics education, in a broad sense. Experience with mathematics education as a research subject could be relevant, but as it is most question have more of a practical angle to them. I teach mathematics at a university on all levels; I do not do research on mathematics education.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

The main thing is handling flags and dealing with users that continually create controversy or problems. One also communicates with moderators on other sites about general policy and inter site issues.

  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?

This is the case already, in that sense the question does not really apply in my case. That said, I do try to show more restraint and calm on sites that I moderate.

  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?

A moderator can do various things in addition, especially related to flag handling and moderating users. The tools give more of a global view of the site. Especially not being an actual power user anymore, I do feel that this is especially helpful to contributing efficiently.

8

This election is over.