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In connection with the moderator elections, we are holding a Q&A thread for the candidates. Questions collected from an earlier thread have been compiled into this one, which shall now serve as the space for the candidates to provide their answers.

Due to the submission count, we have selected all provided questions as well as one of our back up questions (not the one that got split off and then downvoted to oblivion, for the record) for a total of 10 questions.

As a candidate, your job is simple - post an answer to this question, citing each of the questions and then post your answer to each question given in that same answer. For your convenience, I will include all of the questions in quote format with a break in between each, suitable for you to insert your answers. Just copy the whole thing after the first set of three dashes. Please consider putting your name at the top of your post so that readers will know who you are before they finish reading everything you have written, and also including a link to your answer on your nomination post.

Once all the answers have been compiled, this will serve as a transcript for voters to view the thoughts of their candidates, and will be appropriately linked in the Election page.

Good luck to all of the candidates!

Oh, and when you've completed your answer, please provide a link to it after this blurb here, before that set of three dashes. Please leave the list of links in the order of submission.

To save scrolling here are links to the submissions from each candidate (in order of submission):


  1. 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?

  2. 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)

  3. 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. Then, 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?

  4. 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?

  5. Suppose a fellow moderator takes action in a manner with which you disagree. Furthermore, 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?

  6. 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?

  7. 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?

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

  9. 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?

  10. 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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23
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I'm DJMcMayhem. My nomination

  1. 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?

The very first thing I would do would be to comment on the post, explaining what about it is unpopular, and requesting that they edit it. In the end, if they don't want to improve their posts with the community's guidance, then they will just have to live with the downvotes and/or close votes. It's unfortunate if it has to come to that, but there are very real legitimate reasons we have the list of things to avoid.

  1. 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)

Well frankly, I'm addicted to this site :P I do have a pretty full schedule between work and school, but right now, it's pretty much just part of my day that I'll check out PPCG from my phone during any spare moments. So I'm available to talk to pretty much whenever I'm awake. Generally, I will be most active in moderating tasks around 0-5 UTC. This chart shows when I'm most active in chat (all times in UTC)

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  1. 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. Then, 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?

I have very strong opinions on this matter. I've written a lengthy meta post on exactly this issue before. But, I'll summarize my thoughts on that post here.

There are two different issues at hand.

  1. The post is off-topic, or has some serious problems that need to be addressed, and

  2. The harsh response of the community member is completely inappropriate.

1) fairly easy to fix. If the post is off-topic, I would close it and leave a comment welcoming them to the site and explaining why their post is off-topic. And if the challenge just has some problems that can be fixed, I would comment on it, explaining what is wrong with the challenge, why the community dislikes certain things in challenges and asking them to edit it.

2) is IMO a bigger issue. I strongly believe that all users should be welcomed to the site unless they repeatedly show hostility or a lack of willingness to comply with the community's rules. The OP, in this case, has done nothing wrong. They are simply misguided. And the number one rule across SE sites is be nice, and the user is clearly violating this rule. My response varies depending on exactly how rude the comment is.

At the very least, I would delete the rude comment, and write my own more welcoming comment. I would also tell the user who wrote the rude comment that their behavior is inappropriate, and will not be stood for. If the comment is straight out insulting, or this behavior becomes a longer pattern, I fully believe that a short suspension would be deserved.

  1. 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?

As for 1 and 2, I believe that moderators have more cultural sway, but in the end have just as much responsibility to help build the community consensus as any other community member who chooses to be active on meta. So I recognize that if I were elected, my words would carry more weight, but I would still only be one voice in the discussion. For 3, I can say that I will always do my best to enforce the policies that the community has agreed upon, rather than my personal opinion.

Is there something unique or special you feel you can bring to the community to help out with questions like these? Well, I have been active on this site for a long time, so I have a good feel for what would be healthy for the site, just due to familiarity.

  1. Suppose a fellow moderator takes action in a manner with which you disagree. Furthermore, 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?

To the moderator team: I would bring this up in the private chat room as soon as possible. The goal is to come to a clear consensus on the right steps forward before taking any steps to undo the action. Since ideally, the moderator should come across as unified in their actions, I would tend to default towards not overruling the action. But if it becomes clear that most of the moderators agree that the action was incorrect, we can discuss steps to fix it moving forward.

Since after this election, there will be 6 moderators, I'm pretty confident that their will almost always be someone around to discuss what the correct course of action is.

To the community: Since this action is by definition controversial, I think the worst thing to do is prematurely respond to the community and tell them what will happen. As long as the issue is being worked on, there is no reason to rush it. I think a simple We're discussing it, we'll get back to you once we know for sure is perfectly appropriate.

  1. 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?

Well, as a community member, my response would be to explain to the user where their post is lacking, and link them to the relevant meta posts if necessary, sometimes accompanying a flag to make sure the issue is eventually fixed.

As a mod, my actions would not be that different. I would comment, let them know the post is invalid, and give them some time to fix it. I would also save a link to the post, and make a note of it, so that I can delete it later if they don't fix it in a certain amount of time.

  1. 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?

This is a tricky situation. In the end, I think that having a peaceful site without a large number of arguments and flags outweighs the value of the user's posts. In each individual case, the flags can be handled, or the arguments moved to chat. But after noticing a trend, it comes to time to escalate it.

The first escalation is to message the user. I have never been a mod before, so I don't exactly know what features are available, but I'm pretty sure there is a feature for private messaging. Or private chat rooms. I would explain to the user that we want them around, and their input is valuable, but that their current behavior is disrupting the site. I would ask them to stop and monitor whether it improves in the future.

The second escalation is a suspension. Assuming the user had not been suspended before, a week-long suspension would be fitting. It's unfortunate if it has to come to that, but like I said, I believe that a peaceful site is far more valuable than any one user's contributions. If the disruptive behavior continues after the suspension ends, the cycle will have to continue: PM's asking the user to stop and warning that a suspension is imminent, and another suspension with a greater length.

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

The same way I would handle #5.

  1. To an otherwise hard challenge, someone posts a very trivial, built-in solution, either in a practical language specialized 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 in 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?

I don't think there really is anything to do in this situation. Overall, I dislike the current voting culture, but that's not the kind of thing that one user (or even one mod) could fix. In this specific instance, really the only thing that could be done is to delete the comment if it's off-topic or causing an argument. Beyond that, the only thing I could do to influence voting culture is

  1. To write challenges which aren't likely to result in trivial answers, and

  2. To do my best to reward exceptional answers, be it through voting, bountying, or bringing attention to them.

But these are all things that have nothing to do with being a moderator or not.

  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?

In a perfect world, I would not have to do much. The community would be able to handle issues as they arise, and mods would not be needed. But we don't live in a perfect world. So as a moderator, I would be able to jump in in situations that the community can't handle. I would channel my obsessive review checking into flag-handling and help the community take care of issues faster. And I would be more effective at moderating chat since there are certain privileges granted to mods that are not granted to room owners.

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22
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I'm PhiNotPi. Nomination post.


  1. 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?

If we're dealing with a truly new user, the way the moderation team handles this situation will strongly influence this user's decision to stay on the website or leave. So it is crucial for us to get this right, and honestly I think it would be good for the elected moderation team to get together and come to a consensus on the way that they should approach situations involving new users.

The first step would be to get in immediate communication with the OP (such as commenting on his challenge) and explain the situation in non-accusatory terms:

  • Explain that the new user's post is most likely receiving downvotes because [part of spec] goes against a commonly-accepted community guideline [link to guideline here], which may cause it to be considered low-quality/off-topic, subject to the opinion of the community at large.
  • But (and this is the important part, can't leave this out), say that some portion of the new user's idea is in fact salvageable and could make for a good challenge. And explain an option or two on how to change the challenge to make it more appropriate for this site. I think complimenting the parts that are good is just as important as pointing out the flaws, as can serve to encourage the user to keep working to improve their challenge.
  • Tell them about the sandbox (although the sandbox isn't a panacea for all challenge issues).

If the user is receptive of the suggested changes, then that's great. I would recommend that the user make the necessary changes as soon as possible, either that or recommend that the user delete their post now to edit/undelete later. (I say this because downvotes are generally permanent once a question acquires them.)

If the user does not wish to make any changes to his spec, then what happens is up to the will of the community at large (well, those with appropriate privileges), since they are the primary judges of these sorts of community-consensus challenge guidelines. The question may be closed or remain open. Concept ideas might eventually be adopted and reworked by other users. We should generally seek to avoid the escalation to content dispute, but those situations are possible, especially if the challenge has already attracted several on-topic/high-quality answers.


  1. 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)

I am usually pingable in chat (and will often respond to any mention of irrational numbers). I believe I have the time to be an active member of the mod team and complete any necessary janitorial tasks. Certain semester schedules force me to work according to US Eastern Time, but during summers/other semesters my sleep cycle gets pushed back by several hours.


  1. 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. Then, 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?

First, regarding addressing the new user, is probably best for me to restate what the other community member is likely attempting to say, but in a nicer way. This would be a good way to set a positive example. It would start off as a generic introduction / explanation of what this site is about, then I would state what the new user's misconception is, and state that this is not the website they are looking for (Note: I won't explicitly direct users to any other specific site because there have been past issues regarding cross-posting of questions not appropriate on any SE site). Finally I will encourage them to participate on this website, in the hopes that the new user might be interested in what this site is actually about.

Second, regarding the rude community member. It depends a lot on the extent to which their comment is considered rude. Appropriate action can vary from simply setting a positive example, or commenting a reminder to be respectful to new users, or messaging the community member in chat to tell him to be nicer, or in more drastic situations deletion of the comment/real penalties.


  1. 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?

When it comes to guiding the community consensus, one of the more prominent roles of moderators is the creation of these community consensus meta questions. Not that it has to be a moderator who initiates the conversation, but rather that I believe it is very much part of a moderator's job to find deficiencies in the existing meta consensuses and start the meta process.

When it comes to building a consensus I believe it is important to ask clear questions to receive clear answers. It is important to do background research, to provide examples of posts that could be affected by this consensus, etc. The best consensuses must be actionable. That is, they must clearly delineate what is/isn't allowed. To use the "baseline" debate as an example, we are looking for more than a yes/no consensus, but also a guiding definition of what counts as a "baseline" answer.

When it comes to abiding by the community consensus, how that plays out depends significantly on the type of guideline as well as how clearly worded the guideline is. In many circumstances (there's plenty of flexible guidelines out there about how to write good challenges), it is more up to the community if they see a violation as being significant enough to consider the challenge low-quality or off-topic. When the meta consensus is clearly worded, then it's easier for moderators to get involved (given their close-hammer).

I think it would be nice to have a clearer distinction between when an answer goes from being suggested policy to official policy. Right now this is usually just a combination of upvotes + time, but this can be less clear when the different meta answers cover different aspects of the original question (might indicate the need for a follow-up meta question to answer a more clear-cut problem).


  1. Suppose a fellow moderator takes action in a manner with which you disagree. Furthermore, 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?

In my experience, it is usually best that the moderation seem present a uniform outward face to the community and attempt to resolve disputes about specific actions internally at first. This basically means that I shouldn't overrule/undo a previous moderation action unless I am issuing the final agreed-upon opinion of the mod team. (Also to clarify, this is specifically referring to moderation actions: mods are free to offer differing opinions when building a meta consensus). If community members voice their disagreement with an action, we should simply state that the mods are having a discussion about it and get back to them once we've come to an agreement. If there's still reasonably strong disagreement about a particular moderation action, then it is likely worth creating a meta thread about that topic and create a new consensus, which will serve as a more final say.


  1. 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?

As others have mentioned, there is a pretty solid existing policy about what to do with invalid answers. If it's not invalid at first sight, it might be either due to some small easily-fixed detail that people are overlooking, or something much deeper (like, something that passes the available testcases due to [math reason] but breaks on other testcases). I will first leave a comment explaining the problem. As a mod I would be able to delete the answer myself if it stays up for too long, but in many cases this isn't particularly urgent.


  1. 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?

Once upon a time I was an admin on another (non-SE) site, and situations like this occurred many times. I believe that a user's arguments/flag-worthy content can detract from this site as much as that user's other posts add to it. In the end, how we deal with inappropriate behavior shouldn't depend on how much rep a user has. Quality content should of course be kept, rule-breaking content of course should be dealt with. Don't underestimate the importance of having a nice community when it comes to attracting quality content from the userbase, it's not just about that one user's posts, but rather the site as a whole.


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

This feels very similar to #5. The only difference being that this action hasn't drawn the attention of the community at large, simply my own attention. So I should initiate a discussion among the mods, and possibly this could lead to a reversal of the action if the other mods agree or the creation of a new meta discussion if there are still disagreements.


  1. 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?

When it comes to responding to the new user's comment, there is not too much to say other than that voting is ultimately up to the users, and to reassure them that an absence of upvotes doesn't indicate an absence of quality. Although I do believe that the voting culture here is not always the best (and I think situations like these do have a negative impact on user retention: people are generally more motivated when they believe that they will be recognized for their efforts), I don't currently see anything that a mod can do to fix this voting problem. I can simply vote according to my own evaluation of the answers. I agree with other users in that bounties / awards are an excellent way of promoting high-quality posts. As a spontaneous idea, I think it would be cool if we started something similar to the Best Of awards, but have a large number of small bounties instead of a small number of large bounties, and therefore have it running much more often then once a year.


  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?

I stand by what I said in 2016:

"As a moderator, I will be able do a couple extra things, like moving/removing comments, having increased communication with the SE team, resolving disputes between users, sometimes even suspending people. It's really a testament to the SE system how little mods do as a percentage of overall moderation, but there are some things that simply require a moderator to perform. As a moderator, I believe I will perform these jobs in a rational, level-headed manner, that I will be willing to contemplate alternative viewpoints, and that I will maintain a high standard of excellence in everything that I do."

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  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 I really like your answer to #4, particularly the first paragraph. \$\endgroup\$ – Nathan Merrill Feb 7 '18 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're the only candidate I actually remember seeing on the site. So of course you get my vote. Gotta say, though, an election that prompts me for 3 votes when there are exactly 3 candidates, feels a little... unuseful. \$\endgroup\$ – J B Feb 13 '18 at 0:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JB There's only 2 available slots though, so the order of your vote (1st, 2nd, 3rd) does matter. \$\endgroup\$ – PhiNotPi Feb 13 '18 at 13:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, ok. It's on the page all right, it's just not on the page in a manner that made it obvious to me when I first read it. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – J B Feb 13 '18 at 13:55
20
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I'm Mego, your friendly neighborhood penguin. Nomination post


  1. 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?

I believe that challenges belong to the community. It is the community's responsibility to maintain the site - hence why edit privileges exist. If there is a conflict between the community and the OP, I believe the correct method of resolution would be to lock the post with the "content disputes" reason, and take the discussion to meta. If there is significant community support for changing a challenge, then the will of one user should not override the will of the community.

  1. 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)

I almost always have PPCG and TNB open in browser tabs. I will be available as much as life allows, and I will spend as much time on janitorial tasks as needed in order to get them done.

  1. 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. Then, 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?

I would welcome the new user to PPCG, kindly explain the problems, and gently remind the community members to Be Nice.

  1. 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?

I believe that, as long as an opinion is reasonable, it is worth expressing, even if it does not get much community support. To that end, I do my best to contribute to every meta discussion I see, even if my opinions are unpopular. Even unpopular opinions have merit - they can help the community determine exactly what about those opinions they dislike, and help them come up with proposals that they do like. As a moderator, I would do nothing different in that regard. No matter what the community consensus is, I would uphold it as a moderator, even if I disagree with it.

  1. Suppose a fellow moderator takes action in a manner with which you disagree. Furthermore, 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?

I would start a discussion with the rest of the moderation team, to try to find a solution that we all were happy with. The moderation team would address the community, letting them know that we were aware of the community's opinion of the action, and that we were discussing it internally to come up with a solution that would be acceptable to all. Finally, when an acceptable solution is found, the moderator team would once again address the community, informing them of the final decision and the rationale behind it.

  1. 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?

I would continue to follow the procedure outlined in our policy on invalid answers. The only difference is that I would be able to delete the answer myself, rather than having to raise a custom flag and have a moderator take care of it.

  1. 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?

It's important to separate the content from the user in cases like these. One must look objectively at the content and act appropriately, regardless of the user's history (unless their history would indicate that escalation of moderator action is necessary). It would not matter that the user produces valuable content - all users are beholden to the Be Nice policy. I would remind the user to Be Nice, and if they continue, I would take the appropriate moderation action, depending on the circumstances.

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

This is basically the same question as #5.

  1. 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?

Users are allowed to vote however they wish (assuming that they don't break any network-wide rules like sockpuppeting or targeted voting). Trying to influence voting patterns is futile, and outside of the scope of moderation. The appropriate solution is to draw attention to exemplary answers (via bounties, chat, and the annual Best Of competition).

  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?

An issue our community faces right now is the fact that flags take a while to be handled. As a moderator, I would be able to handle those flags (and also not generate my own flags that need to be handled), which would help alleviate the problem.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Regarding #1: If challenges belong to the community, then are you in favor of editing old posts (for example, to make specs looser) instead of reposting and closing as duplicate? \$\endgroup\$ – Nathan Merrill Feb 6 '18 at 1:25
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanMerrill It depends on the specific situation. Whether or not it would be better to edit the old challenge versus making a new one depends on factors like invalidating old answers and how much editing is necessary. Each challenge should be considered on a case-by-case basis, with a meta discussion. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Feb 6 '18 at 2:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Regarding #4: I'm not sure I agree with your "weigh-in-on-everything" policy, especially if you become a mod. Mods tend to give a "this user knows the site; this user knows what's best; this user has the final say" impression, and while this is often justified, it's not always completely so. If you become a mod, within a week what you say on Meta might begin to have many times more authority than it used to. If you don't feel like your opinion on something is well-formed enough for an answer, either don't post it or post it as a comment where it won't be seen in such an authoritative light. \$\endgroup\$ – Esolanging Fruit Feb 15 '18 at 2:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Weighing in on everything doesn't mean saying "we should do this" all the time (perhaps it's a poor choice of words). It means sometimes proposing solutions, and sometimes just offering additional information (how it has been done in the past, how it is done elsewhere, potential problems, etc.). I fully understand the weight of the diamond, and I purposefully choose my words so that they do not imply any additional clout than just being an experienced user. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Feb 15 '18 at 4:37

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