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Programming Puzzles & Code Golf is scheduled for an election next week, February 5th. In connection with that, we will be holding a Q&A with the candidates. This will be an opportunity for members of the community to pose questions to the candidates on the topic of moderation. Participation is completely voluntary.

Unlike last time, we're hosting the question collection a week in advance, so that not only can folks start prepping questions in advance, but also potential candidates can think about nominating themselves and seeing the questions they'll have an opening to answer.

The purpose of this thread was to collect questions for the questionnaire. The questionnaire is now live, and you may find it here.

Here's how it'll work:

  • Until the nomination phase, (so, until Monday, February 5th at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 3:00 pm EST on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.

  • We, the Community Team, will be providing a small selection of generic questions. The first two will be guaranteed to be included, the latter ones are if the community doesn't supply enough questions. This will be done in a single post, unlike the prior instruction.

  • If your question contains a link, please use the syntax of [text](link), as that will make it easier for transcribing for the finished questionnaire.

  • This is a perfect opportunity to voice questions that are specific to your community and issues that you are running into at currently.

  • At the start of the nomination phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions.

  • Once questions have been selected, a new question will be opened to host the actual questionnaire for the candidates, typically containing 10 questions in total.

  • This is not the only option that users have for gathering information on candidates. As a community, you are still free to, for example, hold a live chat session with your candidates to ask further questions, or perhaps clarifications from what is provided in the Q&A.

If you have any questions or feedback about this process, feel free to post as a comment here.

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Imagine the following scenario:

A challenge by a new user is posted, and it quickly receives a fair amount of downvotes (and potentially even close votes), because it has some specs that we dislike. However, you think that the core idea is good and that the post is salvageable.

What would you do in such situations as a moderator? What if the OP doesn't want to change their challenge, and insists on keeping the disliked specs?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd like to add an addendum: What if the OP doesn't want to change his challenge, and insists on keeping the disliked specs? \$\endgroup\$ – Nathan Merrill Jan 31 '18 at 0:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NathanMerrill Added. \$\endgroup\$ – Mr. Xcoder Jan 31 '18 at 12:04
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Moderation schedule

How active of a moderator will you be? What times will you generally be around to offer help when a moderator is needed? How much time do you expect you'll be able to spend on janitorial moderator tasks? (Just an estimate. No one will hold you to this schedule)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why strike over the truth? :P \$\endgroup\$ – Erik the Outgolfer Feb 3 '18 at 13:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is my strong spot :P \$\endgroup\$ – Christopher Feb 4 '18 at 18:57
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Let's say that a new user comes to the site and posts a question with some problems. For example, either a challenge missing some specifications, or overruling default rules that we like to have on this site. Or it's not even a challenge, but simply a programming question, off-topic for this site.

Now let's say that a member of the community responds to this post in a harsh and unwelcoming way, either insulting the OP or rudely explaining which of our rules have they have unknowingly broken.

  • What would you do to calm the tension in this situation?

  • What would you do to discourage people from harsh responses in the future?

  • What would you do to make sure that the new user still feels welcome?

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Community Consensus

Given the recent debates surrounding "baseline" answers, how do you feel you will balance the following, in general?

  1. guiding the community consensus,
  2. building the community consensus, and
  3. abiding by the community consensus

In particular, is there something unique or special you feel you can bring to the community to help out with questions like these?

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Suppose the following happens:

  1. A moderator takes action in a manner with which you disagree.
  2. Several community members see the action, and also disagree with it.

How would you go about addressing the controversial action to both the moderation team and the community at large, to resolve the issue?

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Here is a set of general questions, gathered as very common questions asked every election. As mentioned in the instructions, the first two questions are guaranteed to show up in the Q&A, while the others are if there aren't enough questions (or, if you like one enough, you may split it off as a separate answer for review within the community's 8).

  • How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable posts, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?
  • How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

  • In your opinion, what do moderators do?
  • 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?
  • 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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    \$\begingroup\$ Given the way this stack is different to most, the first question would make more sense with the word "answers" replaced by "questions". \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Jan 29 '18 at 21:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PeterTaylor I'd prefer to have it replaced with "posts" which include both questions and answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Wheat Wizard Jan 30 '18 at 3:56
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Finding out invalid solutions

Somebody posts a solution, which seems to be valid at first sight. However, you analyze it further, and find out it's invalid. Nobody else has already commented or flagged about it. What do you do?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is more of a community-centered question than one about moderation, so it’s not very useful for this Q&A \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Feb 2 '18 at 18:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mego It's designed to be answered by candidates, which might eventually have more powers and binding votes (I did include this in a past version of the question but Peter Taylor suggested I remove it). \$\endgroup\$ – Erik the Outgolfer Feb 2 '18 at 18:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure, but this is something that we have a clear policy for, so answers won’t be much more informative than “enforce the policy”. Furthermore, this question asks about a situation where the community has the power to enforce the policy, and so a moderator is not necessary unless the situation evolves to the point that enforcement by a moderator is required. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Feb 2 '18 at 19:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mego the community has the power to enforce the policy sure it does, provided that the answer's score is negative. However, that's not always the case. Anyway, I'll let the votes decide. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik the Outgolfer Feb 2 '18 at 19:21
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Imagine the following scenario:

To an otherwise hard challenge, someone posts a very trivial, built-in solution, either in a practical language specialised for those kinds of tasks or in a golfing language. A new-ish user submits another answer, which they worked hard for. As it usually happens on any internet community, the trivial answer receives a lot of good feedback (in the form of upvotes), while the other submissions don't receive much attention. Then the new user leaves a comment under the other user's answer, politely complaining about the voting culture.

How would you act in this situation as a moderator? What would you do to stop / discourage this phenomenon? What would you do to stimulate healthy voting and encourage non-trivial solutions? I know you cannot enforce this by any means, but how would you use your influence as a moderator in this situation?

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I'm kinda shocked this isn't here:

How active are you in meta-PPCG? Give examples.


Wouldn't we want mods who care more about the meta of the site than the site itself?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This can be answered just by looking at the user's activity \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Feb 2 '18 at 21:45

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