# 2016 Moderator Election Q&A - Questionnaire

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. Not every question was compiled - as noted, we only selected the top 8 questions as submitted by the community, plus 2 pre-set questions from us.

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!

1. On multiple occasions, there have been calls to make the dynamics of PuzzlingSE deviate a bit from those of StackExchange in general. For example, suggestions to increase question upvote to 10 rep to reward questions with superb effort, option to award bounties to questions etc. How do you feel about such special rules for PuzzlingSE and what effort would you make to support/discourage these changes?

2. As a moderator, your close, reopen, delete, and undelete votes will become binding. How will this affect the way you currently vote, especially with close/reopen votes? In general, will your moderation style be more laissez-faire or proactive? How so?

3. What is your personal opinion the "purpose" of PuzzlingSE should be? Yes, there is no overall consensus on this question, yet. This makes it even more important to know what would-be-moderators think.

4. How much time per week (minimum) do you think that you can invest on moderation over the long term and continuously, and what would you do if you realize that life made it impossible to fulfill this commitment?

5. As is witnessed in every human interaction, and has been seen in the past on this site, no one gets along with everyone. As a moderator, how would you remain neutral towards a user/users who you find yourself disliking?

6. A user posts a strangely-written challenge. Some people flag, post comments doubting the OP's intention, downvote or vote to close it because it seems to be unclear, off-topic, overly-broad or something like that. After some debate in comments and/or chat, the OP insists that it is a very clever puzzle and that it is perfectly valid, possibly even triggering a close-reopen war. How do you react to that sort of puzzles? Would your reaction change if, say, the user is experienced or a newbie? Or if the puzzle was brilliant in spite of criticisms, or if it was mediocre in spite of high praise?

7. What do you consider your role as a moderator to be? Passive/reactive? Proactive? Editorial? Something else?

8. How would you handle a situation in which a user is upset at a moderator action that you have taken? For example, if someone posted on meta "This mod deleted my question/answer/comment and is abusing their power," how would you react?

9. 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?

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

• I've seen people starting to vote on this questionaire. Should we really do this? The election is where we cast our vote in favour or against an mod (and his attititude/opinion). – BmyGuest Jul 19 '16 at 6:06
• I remember a site a while ago mutually agreed to keep their answers at equal score, just to keep the order randomized for fairness. We could try that here. (Either way, downvotes here, at least, feel a little weird to me.) – user20 Jul 19 '16 at 6:32
• @BmyGuest I think people aren't voting for the mod they want. I think they are voting for the opinion that they agree with. They don't neccessarily have to want them as mod to agree with their opinion. – user64742 Jul 19 '16 at 15:49

DISCLAIMER: This is simply a set of mock funny answers to the questionnaire. I am NOT contesting the moderator elections and I urge you to read the answers posted by the serious contenders before reading this answer for a few laughs.

Any light jibes or attacks at moderators or SE staff are simply in jest and do not reflect my personal views in any way. I deeply respect the job they are doing and do not intend to belittle or mock their efforts.

Permission has been obtained from StackExchange overlords staff for a little fun during the moderator elections.

(Try reading it with a Donald Trump voiceover in your head, makes it a lot funnier and relatable.)

1. On multiple occasions, there have been calls to make the dynamics of PuzzlingSE deviate a bit from those of StackExchange in general. For example, suggestions to increase question upvote to 10 rep to reward questions with superb effort, option to award bounties to questions etc. How do you feel about such special rules for PuzzlingSE and what effort would you make to support/discourage these changes?

I think we need something to change around here. We don't need to listen to these big men in their high seats over in StackExchange. Because what is Puzzling? I ask you, what do you think Puzzling is about? And let me tell you, I know the answer to that question. WE NEED TO TAKE BACK PUZZLING FROM THESE CORPORATIONS. There, I said it. Because this is Puzzling. AND WE NEED MORE REP POINTS FOR OUR USERS. Users who have made Puzzling so great. And now you have these staff users coming in and telling us we need to accept their culture. I say, we build a firewall around Puzzling and keep out these powerful StackExchange users who want to tell us what to do.

1. As a moderator, your close, reopen, delete, and undelete votes will become binding. How will this affect the way you currently vote, especially with close/reopen votes? In general, will your moderation style be more laissez-faire or proactive? How so?

You know, some questions, bad questions, they get closed. And sometimes they get reopened. And users, they look at me, they ask me, you know, you're going to be a mod. When will you reopen these questions that need to be reopened? And let me ask you, do you think these questions need to be reopened? (shrugs) Because let me tell you, today we are reopening questions, tomorrow we will stop closing questions. And then we end up right where we started. Who wants a Puzzling where the mod is afraid of making decisions? I know I don't. Because the mod needs to get out there and shows the users that he cares. All these years, you've had these mods who think these things, and don't just delete questions. Let me tell you, I am not afraid of deleting questions. I'm not. And Puzzling needs a strong mod. A mod who isn't scared, who is liked by users. And I can tell you that there are definitely users who want to see me as a mod.

1. What is your personal opinion the "purpose" of PuzzlingSE should be? Yes, there is no overall consensus on this question, yet. This makes it even more important to know what would-be-moderators think.

A lot of users have asked me this question. What is Puzzling about? And it is a puzzling question. But let me tell you, I can answer that question. Today, right here. Puzzling is about freedom. I am not afraid to say it. And all these other users who want to use all these rules, telling users you can't do this, you can't do that. I tell these users who want to be mods, you can't tell users what to do. Because I believe that Puzzling should be free, that's the only way to make Puzzling great again.

1. How much time per week (minimum) do you think that you can invest on moderation over the long term and continuously, and what would you do if you realize that life made it impossible to fulfill this commitment?

This question about time, it makes no sense to me. No sense. What is time? You know, it's been nearly two years that the old mods ran Puzzling. It's time for change, that's what time it is. You have these users coming up and saying, I'll give 2 hours. 4 hours. I can tell you, these users, they're liars. How do I know they're liars? Because they lied about the time. I'll tell you how much time this job needs. It requires as much time as it takes. Will it be 2 hours? I don't know. But I guarantee you, I will do whatever it takes. Because I'm reliable. I can give time, when time is needed. And to those users who ask what I would do if I can't give time. These users, they are negative users. People who hate success. Who is to say I won't have time to be a mod? But these users, they're trying to rig the system. The system, it's rigged by all these users that keep talking about time. What time is it? It's time to break that system, to put in a mod who really cares about the users and not the time.

1. As is witnessed in every human interaction, and has been seen in the past on this site, no one gets along with everyone. As a moderator, how would you remain neutral towards a user/users who you find yourself disliking?

You know, users have told me that I'm likeable. But there are these other users. I don't wanna name them. But they are there. And these users, they spread all these rumours. The ugliest rumours. They're all over the place in chat, typing in caps, saying I don't like them. Let me tell you the truth. These users, they don't belong on Puzzling. I know some users who say that those users will not vote for me, but I don't care. Those users just need to go. Because they come in here, answer our puzzles, take our upvotes, downvote our questions and that needs to stop. We have good users right here, who don't get those upvotes. And I'm here to fight for these users. These users who represent Puzzling, these users who realize that I am the mod to make Puzzling great again.

1. A user posts a strangely-written challenge. Some people flag, post comments doubting the OP's intention, downvote or vote to close it because it seems to be unclear, off-topic, overly-broad or something like that. After some debate in comments and/or chat, the OP insists that it is a very clever puzzle and that it is perfectly valid, possibly even triggering a close-reopen war. How do you react to that sort of puzzles? Would your reaction change if, say, the user is experienced or a newbie? Or if the puzzle was brilliant in spite of criticisms, or if it was mediocre in spite of high praise?

There are so many different types of questions out there. Some are good questions, some are bad. That's okay, you know, you can get all kinds of questions. But then some users, they come and they want to close those questions. And that's fine, but other users want to reopen those questions. And then we have a problem, a huge one. The old mods, they didn't go to war over the close-reopen issues. But these users, they feel cheated. CHEATED! Hey pal, if you are gonna attack my questions, I'm sure as hell going to war with you. So you best think before you come at me. I am not gonna be soft like the other mods, I'll deal with you and do whatever it takes to get rid of you.

1. What do you consider your role as a moderator to be? Passive/reactive? Proactive? Editorial? Something else?

Users come up to me and ask me this question all the time. What is a moderator supposed to do? The old will tell you a lot of things, but they are don't really care about the average user. The old mods want to downvote all our questions, flag us for plagiarism. The old mods, they throw all these big words at us. Passive, reactive, proactive. Big, big words. What are these words? (shrugs) You know, this site doesn't need all these negative mods. Mods who want to bring in more users, make this site bigger, insist on 'quality content'. Let me tell you, Puzzling belongs to puzzlers. And how can we make Puzzling great again? By stopping all these new users getting in, taking our upvotes and destroying the Puzzling way of life.

1. How would you handle a situation in which a user is upset at a moderator action that you have taken? For example, if someone posted on meta "This mod deleted my question/answer/comment and is abusing their power," how would you react?

There are these users, new users who come in and try to change the way things work around here. They make these meta posts saying that the mods did this, and the mods did that. I got a little piece of advice for you, pal. If you don't like the way Puzzling works, go back to where you came from. I am the mod that was chosen by great users like you. And I'm pretty sure you don't want a political monkey up here. Cause when it comes to Puzzling, I will do whatever in my power to keep Puzzling the way it is. And all these users who want to tell me that I can't do this and that, I will you something. Nobody tells me what to do. I am a high rep user, I won't deny it. All these users know that I have all this rep. But that's because I'm smart. I am smart and I make these decisions that are smart, you can ask anyone. And all these new users who make meta posts against me, these negative hateful users, they just need to go.

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?

You know, this site, it's got a lot of users. Different kind of users. Sometimes they can be nasty. Because they are awful. Awful. But you see these users, they have some good answers. Great answers. Answers that need to be upvoted. But sometimes, they say these things, you know. Things that hurt other users. And I know these other users who have been hurt. Good users, god-fearing users. These users, they come up to me in the chat rooms and they ask me, what are you going to do about these nasty users. And you know, I have a plan for these users. I will tell you right now that I have a plan, a good solid plan to deal with these nasty users. These nasty users who have good answers but attack users in their comments. It's awful, I tell you, just awful. But you know, on a site like Puzzling, you are always going to have all kinds of users. Do I get along with all of these users? No, I don't. Even though I'm a likeable mod. There are many users who like me as a mod, good users, great users. So I don't know who these other users are who keep saying I'm not likeable. Because let me tell you, I'm likeable. Whether you like it not. And I have a vision for Puzzling, you know. A strong vision. I am here to make Puzzling great again.

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

You know, I am not scared to make big decisions. Other mods, they debate and talk. Not me. When some mod closes a question, you have all these mods saying, I will talk and I will understand. But you know, that's not my style. I am not here to please these new users. I am here because great users like you wanted a mod who is not scared. There, I said it, I'm not scared. If another mod deletes a question I like, I will undelete it. Simple. I've talked a lot about other users, I have. But I wanna talk to these other mods now. Hey pal, you need to stay out of my way. You wanna delete a question, go ahead. I will use my mod powers to undelete it. Because what is Puzzling? It's about freedom. And I will use my freedom to undelete these questions. Because it is questions like these that make Puzzling great. And after all these years under the old mods and StackExchange staff, it's time someone took back Puzzling. I've said this before, a hundred times and I will say it again. PUZZLING IS FOR PUZZLERS and you need a strong, smart mod like me to MAKE. PUZZLING. GREAT. AGAIN!

• You definitely have my vote. Let's make Puzzling great again! :P – GentlePurpleRain Jul 22 '16 at 16:10
• As a big fan of Trump's bombastic oratory style you have this under-educated voters backing.Make Puzzling Great Again! – Bob Jul 24 '16 at 14:45
• This should be the accepted answer! – Victor Stafusa Jul 24 '16 at 23:29
• 7. A moderator should go just as Donald Trump is. This is the reason that you should vote for Trump, to make Puzzling great again. Those old mods, they tolerate users to get our upvotes and downvote our questions. The type of mod that this site should take is the mod who stops that, as me, who will build a wall to keep out those foreigners, to make Puzzling great again. – Victor Stafusa Jul 24 '16 at 23:52
• 8. Those people from anti-puzzling SE communities want to destroy us. We should stop'em. And if they want war, war is what they will receive. Puzzling will not be defeated, I will make Puzzling great again. – Victor Stafusa Jul 24 '16 at 23:55
• Sorry for leaving it incomplete folks, the weekend came and I got caught up in stuff. Hope to complete this answer today. Will definitely try to build on your fantastic suggestions, @VictorStafusa. – CodeNewbie Jul 25 '16 at 6:08
• Damn, you should have entered the race. You bring some good arguments to the table about...about...I forgot what they were about, because by the time I finished reading an answer I forgot the question. That's the true politician spirit. Vote @CodeNewbie for president/moderator/governor/dictator/hamster/whatever. – Marius Jul 25 '16 at 15:11

Marius here.
These are my answers to the questions

1. On multiple occasions, there have been calls to make the dynamics of PuzzlingSE deviate a bit from those of StackExchange in general. For example, suggestions to increase question upvote to 10 rep to reward questions with superb effort, option to award bounties to questions etc. How do you feel about such special rules for PuzzlingSE and what effort would you make to support/discourage these changes?

I don't think it's up to a moderator to support or not any kind of changes.
Faced with the SE network a moderator and a non-moderator have the same power (close to 0).
I honestly doubt that someone will ever bend the rules just for PuzzlingSE.
That's why my focus is not in this direction. Let's just take the SE rules as the laws of physics that we cannot bend and do the best we can with these.

1. As a moderator, your close, reopen, delete, and undelete votes will become binding. How will this affect the way you currently vote, especially with close/reopen votes? In general, will your moderation style be more lasseiz-faire or proactive? How so?

Normally this should not affect me. Avote in one direction or another should be a non-biased vote. But it kind of does, a little, but in a positive way. I will read a post 3 times instead of 2 before taking action. I've been a moderator for the past 1y8m on a different SE website also and I've learned not to get an itchy finger on the close trigger or delete.

1. What is your personal opinion the "purpose" of PuzzlingSE should be? Yes, there is no overall consensus on this question, yet. This makes it even more important to know what would-be-moderators think.

Fun. I'm here because it's fun. I cannot think of anything else to add.

1. How much time per week (minimum) do you think that you can invest on moderation over the long term and continuously, and what would you do if you realize that life made it impossible to fulfill this commitment?

I don't have a number of hours, minutes or any other time measuring unit.
All I can say is that I'm in front of a computer at least 8h/day and I keep a Puzzling SE tab open. The format of the website makes it easy to see what has changed since the last time I clicked the tab. I can do that when I need a short break from work.
If I realize I cannot fulfill my duties, the answer is simple. I step down.

1. As is witnessed in every human interaction, and has been seen in the past on this site, no one gets along with everyone. As a moderator, how would you remain neutral towards a user/users who you find yourself disliking?

I'm going to say this again (I might throw it in later also), I have moderator experience. I can distance myself from any personal "issues" I might have with an other user. A moderator should moderate content, not people.

1. A user posts a strangely-written challenge. Some people flag, post comments doubting the OP's intention, downvote or vote to close it because it seems to be unclear, off-topic, overly-broad or something like that. After some debate in comments and/or chat, the OP insists that it is a very clever puzzle and that it is perfectly valid, possibly even triggering a close-reopen war. How do you react to that sort of puzzles? Would your reaction change if, say, the user is experienced or a newbie? Or if the puzzle was brilliant in spite of criticisms, or if it was mediocre in spite of high praise?

Who decides what is brilliant and what is mediocre? My opinion on this counts as much as the other guy's. If the puzzle has a lot of criticism then it is mediocre. If it's praised, then it's a good one. Simple as that.
but to solve a conflict, I would open a meta thread where critics or praisers can add their views in a better format (an answers accepts more chars than a comment).

7.What do you consider your role as a moderator to be? Passive/reactive? Proactive? Editorial? Something else?

Definitely Passive/reactive. A moderator should not stand out in the crowd.
All the moderator "stuff" (like handling flags, fraud, plagiarism) happens under the hood. There is no need to come out and do a big fuss because someone did something wrong. Just take care of it and move on.

1. How would you handle a situation in which a user is upset at a moderator action that you have taken? For example, if someone posted on meta "This mod deleted my question/answer/comment and is abusing their power," how would you react?

There is no fun of having power if you cannot abuse it. :). JK.
A SE website has at least 3 moderators. I would talk it out with the other moderators. If we all decide that my actions were justified, I will explain my motives in the meta thread and let the world see that it was not abuse.
If it turns out I was wrong, I would still explain my motives, say sorry for being wrong and undo the action I did.

9.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?

I don't think there should be a difference between "user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers" and a user who doesn't. Don't moderate the person, moderate the content. For a while I would handle the flags as any other flag. Then contact the user privately and, if needed, I can resort to temporary suspension.

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

Talk it out with the other moderators and vote on it.

• 1. "Let's just take the SE rules as the laws of physics that we cannot bend and do the best we can with these." For those of us who have been around SE for long, we know that nothing is written in stone. As Heraclitus said, "Everything changes and nothing stands still." And PuzzlingSE too has evolved with time. I can understand if you do not support these changes and I hoped that any nominee who would not support it could provide reasons to maintain the status quo. – CodeNewbie Jul 19 '16 at 8:38
• 9. I disagree with "Don't moderate the person, moderate the content." The content is definitely important but that is not what the community is about. SE websites thrive on a community-based moderation model and if you feel that ironing out the rough edges of the community is not a priority, then that doesn't sit well with me. – CodeNewbie Jul 19 '16 at 8:44
• @CodeNewbie. I don't want to be misunterstood. I was saying that the main focus of a moderator should not be to change the rules of the game. The focus should be to make sure that the game is played by the rules. – Marius Jul 19 '16 at 8:44
• @CodeNewbie First of all, thanks for reading my post. And about #9. that is my opinion. I was trying to say, that I will/should not be biased when I see the name of a user in a post based on his previous posts. I will not develop a grudge against someone just because that person had a series of bad posts. But you are entitled to your view on this. If this is not ok with you, then vote for someone that has the same views as you. I can accept and respect that. In my defense, I did mention that I will resort to temporary suspension for repeated offenses. – Marius Jul 19 '16 at 8:47
• I think we can agree to disagree on #9. Regarding #1, I would really urge you to reconsider your position. "The focus should be to make sure that the game is played by the rules." makes you sound more dictatorial, whereas I always see SE as a democratic entity. And in any democracy, the constitution is always open for changes, whenever the majority deems it necessary. And as a moderator, you will be a voice of the community. – CodeNewbie Jul 19 '16 at 8:53
• I stand by my point. My vote (if moderator) counts the same as a non-moderator when it comes to changes in the rules. If the community decides that we need a change I will support it, but I will not push for it if SE says no. but if a change happens I will embrace it. – Marius Jul 19 '16 at 9:04

I'm Emrakul, here to answer questions from the confines of a cell on a very, very cold moon!

1. On multiple occasions, there have been calls to make the dynamics of PuzzlingSE deviate a bit from those of StackExchange in general. For example, suggestions to increase question upvote to 10 rep to reward questions with superb effort, option to award bounties to questions etc. How do you feel about such special rules for PuzzlingSE and what effort would you make to support/discourage these changes?

I think some of these changes are well warranted! I'm not sure we'll end up getting them, but I'm a fan of "if you don't ask, you don't get." Documenting clearly what it is we want is the key to, potentially, maybe, hopefully, in the future, actually getting it.

That being said, changes to the reputation and bounty system are real finnicky. Every change comes with a slew of unintended consequences, no matter how small, and I'd like to see more careful consideration of the downsides of some of the proposed changes before going forward with them. I don't think they necessarily outweigh the benefits we'd derive from changes like +10 reputation for questions, but I do think we need to be prepared for the inevitable impact any change to the rep system will incur.

1. As a moderator, your close, reopen, delete, and undelete votes will become binding. How will this affect the way you currently vote, especially with close/reopen votes? In general, will your moderation style be more lasseiz-faire or proactive? How so?

Mine are already binding! And I use them sparingly.

When moderating, I have a learned proclivity to step back and let the community handle things. Part of this stemmed from a period in the site's history when there wasn't much community participation in moderation - I'd decided it would be a good idea to step back, and let people decide on their own what to keep and what to close. It's a site made and formed by the community - and I don't want to draw away from that.

That being said, occasionally, it's obvious that something just slipped through the cracks, and I have no problem taking care of that. However, barring exceptional circumstances, I strongly avoid pushing new opinions using binding votes, and more strongly try not to take over closing questions on Puzzling.

1. What is your personal opinion the "purpose" of PuzzlingSE should be? Yes, there is no overall consensus on this question, yet. This makes it even more important to know what would-be-moderators think.

This is a little odd, but I'm okay leaving the answer here ambiguous. Puzzling is an evolving site. We still are, and though we're settling out, it's always going to be true.

The purpose that it looks like we've chosen, if I can try to summarize, is: Puzzling Stack Exchange is a site for the study of the creation and solving of puzzles. Some prefer to make puzzles. Some prefer to solve them. Some prefer theory. Some are just here for fun. And I think we're in a good place with that.

1. How much time per week (minimum) do you think that you can invest on moderation over the long term and continuously, and what would you do if you realize that life made it impossible to fulfill this commitment?

I have all the time in the world...

Reasonably speaking, I could pull a couple hours of dedicated time on any given day, if needed. I don't, usually, because it's almost never needed, though. I'm usually idly watching the site most of the day, and probably spend 15 minutes on average Doing Mod Things.

1. As is witnessed in every human interaction, and has been seen in the past on this site, no one gets along with everyone. As a moderator, how would you remain neutral towards a user/users who you find yourself disliking?

We've all got our biases, likes, and dislikes. The best approach I've found comes not from fighting your own biases, but rather acknowledging them, and letting someone more neutral handle the situation - or talking with another mod about what you should do.

This is one of the key reasons there are multiple moderators - so that whenever there's a conflict of interest, due to personal bias, personal involvement, or any other reason - there's always someone else to ask. Second opinions are the salvation of a torn moderator.

1. A user posts a strangely-written challenge. Some people flag, post comments doubting the OP's intention, downvote or vote to close it because it seems to be unclear, off-topic, overly-broad or something like that. After some debate in comments and/or chat, the OP insists that it is a very clever puzzle and that it is perfectly valid, possibly even triggering a close-reopen war. How do you react to that sort of puzzles? Would your reaction change if, say, the user is experienced or a newbie? Or if the puzzle was brilliant in spite of criticisms, or if it was mediocre in spite of high praise?

The role of a moderator in this situation is not to judge the merits of a question. When an issue grows contentious and debatable, the impulse is strong to step in and cast your vote - but moderator votes are binding, and unless the case is very clear cut, casting a binding vote is not a great idea. Even just speaking about these divisive questions is tenuous, solely because of the inclination to take mod word as law.

Sometimes, rarely, stepping in becomes necessary. If there's a close-reopen war, I'd lock the post, and redirect people to Puzzling Meta to have a (civil) discussion of topicality. If it's a discussion between a few people that's growing contentious, I'd probably redirect them to chat and, if necessary, remind them to be respectful.

But maintaining neutrality is key, because if someone steps across a line, staying as neutral as possible is important. If I feel the need to say anything at all, I try to find a historical case similar to what's happening, and suggest it as a reference point to start from. And again, this is why there are multiple mods - if I no longer feel I can be neutral, I'd pass it off to someone else.

1. What do you consider your role as a moderator to be? Passive/reactive? Proactive? Editorial? Something else?

Passive/reactive, by far. There's always more to moderate. I can find something "actionable" anywhere and everywhere. But for the little things in particular, unless someone flags, or unless something's obviously problematic, it's often better to simply let it go.

I'm proactive about certain things - I'll check in on reviews occasionally, poke around the mod tools for red flags, edit a post here and there - but by and large, if it's not flagged or pinged, unless it's glaring, I'll let it go. If you all want something done, you all will let us know.

The exception is meta. I love meta. I breathe meta. Don't take away my meta.

1. How would you handle a situation in which a user is upset at a moderator action that you have taken? For example, if someone posted on meta "This mod deleted my question/answer/comment and is abusing their power," how would you react?

Well, if it's not obvious to me that I did make an error, the first thing to do is ask another moderator. Any time someone thinks I've screwed up, and I'm not sure I have, I need another pair of eyes.

If we talk, and find that I actually did screw it up, then I'd revert and apologize for the error on Meta. If we talk and find that we're fairly confident I did the Right Thing, then I'd either write up something and have them review it for tone and accuracy, or just let them handle it. Sometimes it's easier to have an independent mod look at something and give their thoughts.

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?

We've had a couple of these cases in the past, and I regret not handling them faster, to be honest. Good answers don't excuse rude and abrasive behavior - we're all here on the basis of good faith.

We're a community based around enjoyment and academic entertainment, at heart. When someone starts to broadly hamper or dampen others' enjoyment of the site, I don't have many qualms stepping in and asking them to stop. I haven't seen this in a very long time, though.

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

Usually, I'd let it go. Most of these cases have been borderline cases, where I can understand why they'd close it, even if I ultimately wouldn't have myself. Maybe there's something I'm not seeing, or maybe I'd be making an error in reopening the question. If it really bothered me, or if I really couldn't tell, I'd ask them.

Either way, though, if closing or deleting was a mistake, chances are good a user will mention it. If nobody does, then maybe it wasn't a problem, after all.

• Hello. I don't understand why a moderator has to participate in the mod election to stay a moderator ? I thought moderators were elected ad vitam ? Is this a special case ? Did I miss something ? Tell me if it's not the right place to ask :) – Kalissar Jul 19 '16 at 9:44
• @Kalissar This is the first time Moderator is being elected through voting on Puzzling.SE :) I'd really like to hear from Emrakul on this one though. – ABcDexter Jul 19 '16 at 10:12
• Downvoting, not because of content, but to keep scores slightly more even. – Deusovi Jul 19 '16 at 10:15
• @Kalissar: Emrakul is a moderator pro tempore - now that we've graduated, there's a new election so that the larger community can elect our own mods. – Deusovi Jul 19 '16 at 10:16
• Ok thanks, I get it ! :) Best of luck to you Emrakul. – Kalissar Jul 19 '16 at 10:42
• @ABcDexter Yeah, that's the core of it! – user20 Jul 19 '16 at 13:32
• Effective moderation requires attention, knowledge, understanding, levity. – Hugh Meyers Jul 19 '16 at 14:14

# GentlePurpleRain

If any of my responses seem incomplete, or if you want more clarification, please let me know, and I will do my best to flesh things out for you.

1. On multiple occasions, there have been calls to make the dynamics of PuzzlingSE deviate a bit from those of StackExchange in general. For example, suggestions to increase question upvote to 10 rep to reward questions with superb effort, option to award bounties to questions etc. How do you feel about such special rules for PuzzlingSE and what effort would you make to support/discourage these changes?

I strongly believe that Puzzling.SE is unique in the StackExchange "family." The puzzle questions posted here often require great effort and planning, and deserve more recognition than they currently receive.

I support the idea of finding a way to "reward" (give more reputation to) excellent puzzle questions on Puzzling.SE. Realistically, although I will certainly advocate for this, I find the likelihood of any site changes being made to this effect very slim. It seems that the developers are very busy, and aren't particularly inclined toward customizing any individual StackExchange site, regardless of its members' opinions on the subject.

1. As a moderator, your close, reopen, delete, and undelete votes will become binding. How will this affect the way you currently vote, especially with close/reopen votes? In general, will your moderation style be more lasseiz-faire or proactive? How so?

As a moderator, I will be a little more cautious with my votes in this regard. Previously, if I was on the fence, but leaning in a certain direction, I would go ahead and vote, trusting my peers' votes to balance my decision. In a situation where my vote is binding, I will only vote when I am certain (or very close to certain) of the decision.

1. What is your personal opinion the "purpose" of PuzzlingSE should be? Yes, there is no overall consensus on this question, yet. This makes it even more important to know what would-be-moderators think.

I think that officially, Puzzling.SE is a question-and-answer site on the topic of puzzling. The purpose is to provide a place for people to ask questions about "the creation and solving of puzzles," and to receive answers to those questions. The ultimate goal is to become a repository of questions and answers that future visitors can search through to help them find answers to their own questions.

That being said, a large part the activity on this site is to post puzzles to be solved by other site members. While I don't think this meets with the official purpose of the site, I do think it embodies the spirit of the site. What better way to learn about the "creation and solving of puzzles" than to attempt both creation and solving oneself?

While it's always exciting to try to be the first to solve a puzzle, I think that for the most part, Puzzling.SE members have been able to find a happy medium between friendly competition and collaboration (especially on some of the tougher puzzles that have taken a group effort to solve). I don't think answers to questions here should become a "frist post" [sic] type of competition, but that we should all strive to answer questions as thoroughly and accurately as possible. This helps to provide future visitors to the site with quality content to peruse and consume.

We should try to avoid minimalist posts that provide a simple answer to the puzzle and not much else. Explain the thought processes that went into solving the puzzle, and how you arrived at the solution. Not only does this help future readers, it also helps the puzzle creator to learn what aspects of the puzzle may have been interpreted incorrectly, or may have been too easy or too hard.

1. How much time per week (minimum) do you think that you can invest on moderation over the long term and continuously, and what would you do if you realize that life made it impossible to fulfill this commitment?

My time is somewhat limited. I could see myself checking in every couple of days and spending 15 or 20 minutes on moderation tasks. I could occasionally devote more time in situations that required serious moderator intervention, but I couldn't regularly be available more than that.

I will often be able to respond fairly quickly to questions or comments directed at me, but only on a casual basis.

1. As is witnessed in every human interaction, and has been seen in the past on this site, no one gets along with everyone. As a moderator, how would you remain neutral towards a user/users who you find yourself disliking?

I think this is an ability that I'm already fairly good at. I find it fairly easy in most situations to remain emotionally uninvolved and just to respond in an "official" capacity. If I were to get to the point where I didn't think I could respond without bringing my personal feelings into it, I would most likely ask another moderator to take over the situation, rather than exacerbate it by losing my cool.

1. A user posts a strangely-written challenge. Some people flag, post comments doubting the OP's intention, downvote or vote to close it because it seems to be unclear, off-topic, overly-broad or something like that. After some debate in comments and/or chat, the OP insists that it is a very clever puzzle and that it is perfectly valid, possibly even triggering a close-reopen war. How do you react to that sort of puzzles? Would your reaction change if, say, the user is experienced or a newbie? Or if the puzzle was brilliant in spite of criticisms, or if it was mediocre in spite of high praise?

This is a problem that is somewhat unique to Puzzling.SE: The quality of the question can't really be judged until the answer is known.

My opinion is that if the OP claims that it is a quality, clever puzzle, we need to take them at their word until the solution is revealed. If, at that point, it turns out that the puzzle was not very good, action can be taken to close the question if necessary.

I might take more time with a new user to explain the standards of Puzzling.SE, and what is considered a good puzzle. If the puzzle seemed really doubtful, I might ask them to confirm the answer with me via some more private method (e.g. email).

If an established user with a history of excellent questions posts something that seems questionable, I would certainly be more inclined to trust its quality, because I know that user already knows what makes a good puzzle.

The terminology being used ("brilliant" vs. "mediocre") is a bit troublesome to me. While we obviously want to strive for excellence, it is inevitable that a significant portion of the site content will be "mediocre". To me, this is not a good enough reason to take any sort of action against it. We only want to close/delete/etc. questions which are bad, not those which are mediocre.

1. What do you consider your role as a moderator to be? Passive/reactive? Proactive? Editorial? Something else?

A little of all of these, if that makes sense. I think a moderator ought to be active in the community, and make his/her opinion known, but I also think that people tend to give a lot of weight to the opinion of anyone who seems to be in "authority" (although moderators really aren't). I think it's important to find a balance between being active/proactive in discussions and site decisions, and allowing the members of the site to come to their own conclusions.

I think it's beneficial for a moderator to be a part of as many parts of the site as possible -- asking, answering, editing, reviewing, discussing, etc. While I realize that everyone (including myself) has limited time, it's not that hard to improve a question here or respond to a comment there.

1. How would you handle a situation in which a user is upset at a moderator action that you have taken? For example, if someone posted on meta "This mod deleted my question/answer/comment and is abusing their power," how would you react?

I would try to explain as clearly as possible the circumstances leading up to the event in question, and the reasons for my decision, both to make sure the person clearly understands why the actions was taken, and also to educate and inform the rest of the community about what occurred. Obviously some things are not to be publicly shared, but usually the gist of a situation should be enough for people to understand what's going on.

If this person didn't accept my explanation and continued to complain, I would do one of the following, depending on what seemed most appropriate at the time:

• just keep referring them back to where I explained the situation (especially if they're bringing up points that I've already addressed
• ignore them (if they're being belligerent or abusive)
• suspend them (if their behaviour becomes entirely unacceptable) (this would be only in very extreme cases)
• ask another mod to intervene and explain things
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?

I would address the flags and arguments as they come up. If there is a trend in behaviour, I would attempt to address the trend. If the person seems unwilling to change, and is causing an unpleasant environment for others, I would take whatever action is appropriate against them.

I don't think providing excellent answers provides a person with any more right to be rude or abusive than anyone else, and they should be dealt with the same regardless of their answer contributions.

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

I would take it up privately with that mod, and ask for an explanation. If the explanation seemed insufficient to me, I would probably just let it go, since we can't all be expected to be on the same page 100% of the time.

If there was a trend where another mod was making a lot of decisions that I disagreed with, and wouldn't listen to my concerns about it, I would bring it to whoever is higher up in the hierarchy (community administrators) for help in addressing it.

## Alconja

(for the time poor, I've tried to embolden a TL;DR as best as possible)

1. On multiple occasions, there have been calls to make the dynamics of PuzzlingSE deviate a bit from those of StackExchange in general. For example, suggestions to increase question upvote to 10 rep to reward questions with superb effort, option to award bounties to questions etc. How do you feel about such special rules for PuzzlingSE and what effort would you make to support/discourage these changes?

If you look through my meta (and chat/comment) history, you'll see I'm definitely in favour of finding ways of both rewarding, and drawing attention to, quality content here on PSE. I'm flexible on implementation specifics, but I'm very much for question bounties and/or 10 rep up$$\large \text v$$otes on questions and I'd like to continue to push for change in this regard, and hopefully a moderator position would help with inroads.

I'm also keen t$$\large \text o$$ see what other more creative ways we can come up with support and celebrate the awesome work produced by this community.

1. As a moderator, your close, reopen, delete, and undelete votes will become binding. How will this affect the way you currently vote, especially with close/reopen votes? In general, will your moderation style be more lasseiz-faire or proactive? How so?

To date, I've been somewhat relaxed with close voting and only VTC when I feel that there's a genuine problem. I think it's important to grow the user base and recognise that closing content tends to put peoples noses out of joint. However, as s$$\large \text t$$ated previously, I would like to find ways to improve overall quality (sand => pearls), but I think carrots will work better than sticks in this regard.

That being said, I have no problems with VTCing or deleting, as necessary, and would do so if something is obviously against site policy and (possibly more controversially) if I feel like content will lead to a serious degradation in the long term quality of the site's cont$$\large \text e$$nt (for example, low quality "broad" questions, often attract more views/answers, which can then lead to more low quality questions, so I think closing needs to be slightly more proactive in that regard).

1. What is your personal opinion the "purpose" of PuzzlingSE should be? Yes, there is no overall consensus on this question, yet. This makes it even more important to know what would-be-moderators think.

Ultimately, for me, it's about the curated repository of quality content. I love making and solving puzzles, I love the buzz that occurs in chat/comments when a group of users combine their e$$\large \text f$$forts in solving of a good puzzle, but those things are all fairly transient. After that initial burst, all that remains is the content, which will hopefully continue to entertain and inspire long after the creators/solvers have moved on.

1. How much time per week (minimum) do you think that you can invest on moderation over the long term and continuously, and what would you do if you realize that life made it impossible to fulfil this commitment?

Of all the challenges faced by moderating here, this is probably my Achilles heal. Realistically, I'll have PSE tabs open in the background at work (as I already usually do), and would stick my head in multiple times a day. But in terms of raw hours, I'd be lying if I thought I c$$\large \text o$$uld commit more than ~30mins a day on average, which our most active current moderator has said should be sufficient.

To answer the secondary question, there's zero ego in my nomination, I step forward out of a desire to help improve the site and push it forward. If the realities of life meant that I couldn't continue to do that, I'd step down and allow someone else to take ove$$\large \text r$$.

1. As is witnessed in every human interaction, and has been seen in the past on this site, no one gets along with everyone. As a moderator, how would you remain neutral towards a user/users who you find yourself disliking?

It's ok, I dislike all people, equally. ;) That being said, I'm fairly level headed to begin with and am pretty good at separating emotion from action. $$\large \text A$$nd more importantly, moderating in a transparent fashion, to a set of community defined policies is probably the best way to remain neutral in practical and objective terms.

1. A user posts a strangely-written challenge. Some people flag, post comments doubting the OP's intention, downvote or vote to close it because it seems to be unclear, off-topic, overly-broad or something like that. After some debate in comments and/or chat, the OP insists that it is a very clever puzzle and that it is perfectly valid, possibly even triggering a close-reopen war. How do you react to that sort of puzzles? Would your reaction change if, say, the user is experienced or a newbie? Or if the puzzle was brilliant in spite of criticisms, or if it was mediocre in spite of high praise?

As much as it can be difficult to judge a puzzle before seeing the answer, there are signs... Evidence of effort (we$$\large \text l$$l articulated and thought out, polished appearance, etc), and yes, prior content from the user (even on other SE networks). In terms of closing/deleting, I generally prefer to give some benefit of doubt, but if it's reasonably likely to have genuine quality issues I have usually acted, under the theory that it's better to have the rare false positive than to let low quality content overrun the site (though I'd probably think twice, as a mod, given the binding nature of the decision).

As for reality not mirroring expectations, it's an unfortunate reality of puzzles, but I think the community does a pretty good job in this regard already. I've seen big swings in voting o$$\large \text c$$cur after answers are revealed, and even then, these situations are very much the exception, not the rule.

1. What do you consider your role as a moderator to be? Passive/reactive? Proactive? Editorial? Something else?

When it comes to day-to-day policing, mods should be somewhat reactive, and I'd be no different. However, I also see a larger, more proactive role too. As stated earlier, I think there is plenty that could be done to help grow and improve this community, and would like to drive more discussion on meta to reach some consensus on how to go ab$$\large \text o$$ut doing so, and then as necessary take our collective requests up the chain to the dev team and/or SE community team as appropriate.

1. How would you handle a situation in which a user is upset at a moderator action that you have taken? For example, if someone posted on meta "This mod deleted my question/answer/comment and is abusing their power," how would you react?

Whilst moderatio$$\large \text n$$ is necessary for the greater good, it's inevitable that people will occasionally feel slighted by mod actions (and not always unjustified - mistakes can happen). However, all mod actions should be driven by site policy, so with a healthy dose of understanding, I would explain the situation and link to the relevant policies.

Above all I would remain open and transparent (barring privacy issues, etc), because mods work for the community and should remain accountable.

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?

The first three steps probably involve talking to the user to try and guide/understand behaviour. If problems persist and all else fails, then it would have to be a $$\large \text j$$udgement call made between all the mods, but the health of the site relies both on quality content and on a happy community, and without the latter, it's unlikely you'll have the former for long.

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

Firstly, I'd bring the specific instance up with them to discuss, but that's really $$\large \text a$$ minor issue... The greater issue is that it's a sign of crossed purpose, or inadequately defined direction, so I'd use the discussion to drive for clarity around the underlying difference of opinion. This would hopefully lead to (via meta discussion with the community) more well defined policies that would help everyone, mods and users alike.

• Could't resist, eh? I like it :-) – BmyGuest Jul 19 '16 at 6:01
• @BmyGuest - a little subliminal marketing never hurt anyone right. :P – Alconja Jul 19 '16 at 6:03
• Well done! I get the feeling I want to vote for you ;) – Avigrail Jul 19 '16 at 6:06
• Are little comments on non-obvious jokes allowed? – Hugh Meyers Jul 19 '16 at 7:20
• Downvoting, not for any reason related to the content of the post, but because of Emrakul's suggestion of keeping the votes even. – Deusovi Jul 19 '16 at 8:17
• Your subliminal message is disappointingly evident. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jul 22 '16 at 22:03

# Deusovi

On multiple occasions, there have been calls to make the dynamics of PuzzlingSE deviate a bit from those of StackExchange in general. For example, suggestions to increase question upvote to 10 rep to reward questions with superb effort, option to award bounties to questions etc. How do you feel about such special rules for PuzzlingSE and what effort would you make to support/discourage these changes?

I think these special rules would be very helpful. Not quite necessary, but they would almost surely improve site quality. Puzzling differs from most other SE sites in that questions are just as important as answers, if not moreso. Code Golf is like that too - it's not just us.

As a mod, I'd try to keep in contact with the SE overlords and the Code Golf mods as much as possible. If any proposals come by that most people agree would improve site quality, I'd advocate for it without hesitation.

As a moderator, your close, reopen, delete, and undelete votes will become binding. How will this affect the way you currently vote, especially with close/reopen votes? In general, will your moderation style be more lasseiz-faire or proactive? How so?

Many of you know that my current "moderation" style (especially in close votes) is fairly strict. I'd "loosen up" a bit as a mod - currently, in cases where I have small doubts, I go with whatever I think the proper response is, even if it's possible that I'm wrong. As a mod though, I'd leave open whenever I'm "on the fence", since my decision would no longer need four other people backing me.

(I still wouldn't be hesitant to close the unambiguously bad questions though.)

What is your personal opinion the "purpose" of PuzzlingSE should be? Yes, there is no overall consensus on this question, yet. This makes it even more important to know what would-be-moderators think.

There's not one singular "purpose". I personally use it for all of these:

• A repository of high-quality puzzles
• A source of inspiration for my own puzzles
• A "testing ground" for new puzzle ideas, and a "difficulty meter" for those I'm unsure of
• A discussion ground for puzzle creation with a friendly community of solvers
• A set of text boxes I can type into to watch a little number by my name go up
• And of course, a place to solve fun and interesting puzzles, both competitively and cooperatively.

There are probably several other reasons that I've missed. I feel that limiting the purpose to just one of these would make the site a lot worse.

How much time per week (minimum) do you think that you can invest on moderation over the long term and continuously, and what would you do if you realize that life made it impossible to fulfill this commitment?

I'm on Puzzling.SE daily - it's kind of hard to measure my time here since I have about 70 tabs open at any given time, and I'm switching between 5 to 10 of them fairly frequently. I'd say I'm online for about two hours a day, but it's usually disconnected - some of that "offline" time involves me having the chat open in case anyone needs to ping me for something.

I don't foresee myself ever having to leave Puzzling for a long period of time, but if I did I'd step down as moderator. (I'd probably run in the next election as soon as I got back, though.)

As is witnessed in every human interaction, and has been seen in the past on this site, no one gets along with everyone. As a moderator, how would you remain neutral towards a user/users who you find yourself disliking?

I generally get along with everyone who makes an effort to be a decent person. If the user's conduct was rude, I'd give them a warning - if it was just something personal though, I'd make a conscious effort to be as objective as possible. Worst case scenario, I'd hand it over to the other mods.

A user posts a strangely-written challenge. Some people flag, post comments doubting the OP's intention, downvote or vote to close it because it seems to be unclear, off-topic, overly-broad or something like that. After some debate in comments and/or chat, the OP insists that it is a very clever puzzle and that it is perfectly valid, possibly even triggering a close-reopen war. How do you react to that sort of puzzles? Would your reaction change if, say, the user is experienced or a newbie? Or if the puzzle was brilliant in spite of criticisms, or if it was mediocre in spite of high praise?

Well, I'd need more information - situations like this have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. I'd try to give OP the benefit of the doubt at first, potentially asking them to add hints to clear up confusion.

If it was a user with a long history of good questions, then I'd be even more reluctant to close. I wouldn't be harsh to new users, though.

If the question does turn out to be better than expected, I might put a bounty on it to draw attention - the question quality should be evident by the answer.

If the question turns out to be worse than expected, I'd either downvote and move on, or vote to close as too broad (if applicable).

What do you consider your role as a moderator to be? Passive/reactive? Proactive? Editorial? Something else?

A moderator's role is to deal with edge cases - situations that are out of the ordinary and need some sort of response. Mods mediate disputes, handle flags, and in general keep the site running smoothly. I'd be more proactive as a mod - I wouldn't actively seek out problems to solve (since that would run dangerously close to creating my own) but I'd try to improve things as much as I can.

How would you handle a situation in which a user is upset at a moderator action that you have taken? For example, if someone posted on meta "This mod deleted my question/answer/comment and is abusing their power," how would you react?

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?

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

These three questions all have the same answer: talk to them. The most important part of leadership is good communication, and that's exactly what all of these situations would need. For the user upset about mod abuse, I would explain my reason for taking that action, and if necessary, talk to the other mods to decide whether to reverse it. For the user who generates arguments and flags, I would let them know that their behavior was unacceptable, then punish them if it continued. For the mod who took an action that I feel was unnecessary, I'd talk to them in chat and bring in the other mod to mediate.

I'd always give the other person a chance to tell "their side of the story". Even the most well-intentioned things can be problematic or against site policy, though - that discussion wouldn't be the sole factor in my decision. It would still contribute - my most important priority besides site quality is a mutual understanding (and often, they go hand-in-hand!).

Thanks for reading! Here's a picture of a cat laying under a heater.

• Do edits undo solecisms or vitiate inaccuracies? – Hugh Meyers Jul 19 '16 at 13:56

# ABcDexter ^_^

It's time to answer the questions...

1. On multiple occasions, there have been calls to make the dynamics of PuzzlingSE deviate a bit from those of StackExchange in general.
For example, suggestions to increase question upvote to 10 rep to reward questions with superb effort, option to award bounties to questions etc. How do you feel about such special rules for PuzzlingSE and what effort would you make to support/discourage these changes?

I do feel that Puzzling.SE needs extra attention as things are a bit different here. The examples describe the general feeling pretty well, especially the reputation for a good question.

First and foremost, I'll make sure that meta participation is encouraged (for everyone including me). Then I will try to promote the constructive criticism, so that users can suggest positive change with logical based critique. If community demands, I'll try my level best and discuss the suggestions with members/staff of StackExchange.

1. As a moderator, your close, reopen, delete, and undelete votes will become binding. How will this affect the way you currently vote, especially with close/reopen votes? In general, will your moderation style be more lasseiz-faire or proactive? How so?

I'll be the same me, but obviously with much more responsibilities. I'd read thrice before an edit, but as the saying goes, "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility". So, I'll read at least five times before making an edit, and understand the viewpoint completely before voting to close or at least discuss in chat with fellow puzzlers about reopen of a question.

1. What is your personal opinion the "purpose" of PuzzlingSE should be? Yes, there is no overall consensus on this question, yet. This makes it even more important to know what would-be-moderators think.

I'm here for puzzles, that's it. I am here to learn more. I shouldn't say this, but I have an OCD for puzzles. I like, no I am in love with puzzles...

1. How much time per week (minimum) do you think that you can invest on moderation over the long term and continuously, and what would you do if you realize that life made it impossible to fulfill this commitment?

As I told that I spend at least 1 hour daily on PuzzlingSE, and other sites of StackExchange. That makes it at least 7 hours, plus extra on weekends. I don't think that I am doing anything interesting other than this, so I will certainly have plenty of time.

1. As is witnessed in every human interaction, and has been seen in the past on this site, no one gets along with everyone. As a moderator, how would you remain neutral towards a user/users who you find yourself disliking?

I'll face this challenge by listening to everyone, especially to the other moderators' views. To be completely honest, I always try making decision solely based on logic. Logic makes it easier to be neutral and diminished any possibility of being biased!

1. A user posts a strangely-written challenge. Some people flag, post comments doubting the OP's intention, downvote or vote to close it because it seems to be unclear, off-topic, overly-broad or something like that. After some debate in comments and/or chat, the OP insists that it is a very clever puzzle and that it is perfectly valid, possibly even triggering a close-reopen war. How do you react to that sort of puzzles? Would your reaction change if, say, the user is experienced or a newbie? Or if the puzzle was brilliant in spite of criticisms, or if it was mediocre in spite of high praise?

This is very interesting as these kind of puzzles are always tough to tackle. I'll rather try the mid-path and try to advocate from a unbiased perception. I'll look for evidence that it is actually a clever puzzles, I believe in "The absence of evidence doesn't imply evidence of absence..." So, making sure that the site goes on smoothly even in such a situation of chaos would be my topmost priority.
If the puzzle is that good, I'll definitely make sure that it doesn't go in vain :)

1. What do you consider your role as a moderator to be? Passive/reactive? Proactive? Editorial? Something else?

I will consider my role as proactive as taking part in solving, creating and especially discussing puzzles has always been my favorite part.
I'll do fair share of editing as well, as the site is relatively new yet shows good promise. This would include sharing the posts on other media, and as mentioned actively taking part in Meta.Puzzling.SE.

1. How would you handle a situation in which a user is upset at a moderator action that you have taken? For example, if someone posted on meta "This mod deleted my question/answer/comment and is abusing their power," how would you react?

If such a situation were to arise, I'll write my view point in detail. I'll probably ask for an apology as I would never want any user to get emotionally hurt because of me.
If the user doesn't show compliance in behavior, or is stubborn, then wait for the community's take, it's up to them to decide.

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?

I'll check whether the user is doing this on purpose or not, check spams and read between the lines as to where the things started going wrong. It might be possible that (s)he is not good at discussing or even written communication/chat. Making sure that no one is misunderstood is very important.

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

I'll discuss it with him/her and calmly come to an understanding as to what was the exact reason for that. It's also the duty of a moderator to share thoughts with fellow moderators.

I'm Aejey and here are my answers

1. On multiple occasions, there have been calls to make the dynamics of PuzzlingSE deviate a bit from those of StackExchange in general. For example, suggestions to increase question upvote to 10 rep to reward questions with superb effort, option to award bounties to questions etc. How do you feel about such special rules for PuzzlingSE and what effort would you make to support/discourage these changes?

I will definitely support those suggestions which I think will improve the puzzling.SE even though the chances to modify the SE rules particularly for a single SE site. I will create meta posts on those and will try to get more attention and support from others.

1. As a moderator, your close, reopen, delete, and undelete votes will become binding. How will this affect the way you currently vote, especially with close/reopen votes? In general, will your moderation style be more lasseiz-faire or proactive? How so?

Telling the truth, I down vote or vote to close very rarely. I know it's not very good for the community, but I don't really want to trouble anyone. So I only vote to close, or down vote posts that are too bad to be here in puzzling.SE

If I am elected, I will keep current pattern and will delete or close questions that are too bad. And I am confused or not able to reach a decision, I will discuss with other mods and follow there advise. Regarding reopening a closed question, I will definitely discuss with other moderators before reopening, unless I am 100% sure that the question needs to be reopened.

1. What is your personal opinion the "purpose" of PuzzlingSE should be? Yes, there is no overall consensus on this question, yet. This makes it even more important to know what would-be-moderators think.

For me the purpose of puzzling.SE is definitely different from other SE sites. And I am sure it will be the same for most of the others as well. Some are here to show case there skills in puzzle creation, some are here to showcase their puzzle solving skill, some are here simply because they love puzzles/riddles, some are here to get answers to unsolved puzzles. So ultimately the purpose of puzzling.SE is to help and support the community members (help to showcase their skills, to get solution to puzzles and other puzzle related questions, to learn new puzzles, to improve their puzzling skills) as the other SE sites.

1. How much time per week (minimum) do you think that you can invest on moderation over the long term and continuously, and what would you do if you realize that life made it impossible to fulfill this commitment?

I will be able to spend a minimum of 2-3 hours a day continuously for a long term as per my current schedules. To be frank, I can't guarantee this, since only God knows what's gonna happen. If I am unable to fulfill my commitment, I will definitely let others know and will step down.

1. As is witnessed in every human interaction, and has been seen in the past on this site, no one gets along with everyone. As a moderator, how would you remain neutral towards a user/users who you find yourself disliking?

I can guarantee that I won't mod with personal dislike in mind or biased. Even if I have any problem with some one I will use chatrooms or meta posts to express that and talk regarding that with that person. But I will never use my mod privileges for that.

1. A user posts a strangely-written challenge. Some people flag, post comments doubting the OP's intention, downvote or vote to close it because it seems to be unclear, off-topic, overly-broad or something like that. After some debate in comments and/or chat, the OP insists that it is a very clever puzzle and that it is perfectly valid, possibly even triggering a close-reopen war. How do you react to that sort of puzzles? Would your reaction change if, say, the user is experienced or a newbie? Or if the puzzle was brilliant in spite of criticisms, or if it was mediocre in spite of high praise?

I will discuss with the OP, other community members who are taking part in the topic and other moderators and will try to get to a conclusion on the matter to avoid close-reopen wars.

1. What do you consider your role as a moderator to be? Passive/reactive? Proactive? Editorial? Something else?

Passive/reactive.

1. How would you handle a situation in which a user is upset at a moderator action that you have taken? For example, if someone posted on meta "This mod deleted my question/answer/comment and is abusing their power," how would you react?

I will try to answer his post on meta with the explanation and if doesn't satisfies him, I will ask for the help of other moderators and their opinion on this. Being a human, making an error is always possible. If the others think my decision was wrong, I am open to apologize and withdraw my actions.

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?

If the comments are too abusive or flags it doesn't matter who the user is and how high quality/valuable answers he has posted.

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

I will talk with that mod and will share my views on that matter with him. If he still stands with his opinion, and he was able to 50% convince me his actions were right, I will let it go. Otherwise, I will start a discussion with all mods and ask for other mods' opinion on this matter.

I am manshu. Let me start answering questions:

1. On multiple occasions, there have been calls to make the dynamics of PuzzlingSE deviate a bit from those of StackExchange in general. For example, suggestions to increase question upvote to 10 rep to reward questions with superb effort, option to award bounties to questions etc. How do you feel about such special rules for PuzzlingSE and what effort would you make to support/discourage these changes?

I think that there is nothing wrong in the changing the dynamics of this community because this community is clearly very different than other communities. In Puzzling community, people come to enjoy, make, solve and to know more about puzzles. I don't think that there is any other better place to do puzzling while it is not the case with other communities.

1. As a moderator, your close, reopen, delete, and undelete votes will become binding. How will this affect the way you currently vote, especially with close/reopen votes? In general, will your moderation style be more laissez-faire or proactive? How so?

It will surely decrease the amount of posts I vote to close , reopen etc. I will let the community choose what to close and reopen because they are the major part of this community. However I will surely like to interfere if there will be some confusion.

1. What is your personal opinion the "purpose" of PuzzlingSE should be? Yes, there is no overall consensus on this question, yet. This makes it even more important to know what would-be-moderators think.

I think that the purpose is to know more about the puzzles. But to know more about them you need to try them. So having puzzle questions on this site is as important as having questions about puzzles.

1. How much time per week (minimum) do you think that you can invest on moderation over the long term and continuously, and what would you do if you realize that life made it impossible to fulfill this commitment?

I think probably 10 hours (minimum). And if I will not be able to keep this promise then I will let other moderators know about it. So that they can write a meta post about it and can have change the moderator.

1. As is witnessed in every human interaction, and has been seen in the past on this site, no one gets along with everyone. As a moderator, how would you remain neutral towards a user/users who you find yourself disliking?

Honestly, I think that this is the time where the role of a moderator comes into play. In the case of someone disliking me I will openly tell him/her that nothing's personal and I just don't like their idea/suggestion/way of doing things.

1. A user posts a strangely-written challenge. Some people flag, post comments doubting the OP's intention, downvote or vote to close it because it seems to be unclear, off-topic, overly-broad or something like that. After some debate in comments and/or chat, the OP insists that it is a very clever puzzle and that it is perfectly valid, possibly even triggering a close-reopen war. How do you react to that sort of puzzles? Would your reaction change if, say, the user is experienced or a newbie? Or if the puzzle was brilliant in spite of criticisms, or if it was mediocre in spite of high praise?

I think most of the time, in case of unclear and off-topic, it is very clear if the question needs to be closed or not. But if the question is broad then I will surely agree to close that question. If it's just that the question doesn't look good then I will leave it to community to upvote or downvote it by their choice (keeping that question open). It doesn't matter is the question is posted by an old user or a newbie.

1. What do you consider your role as a moderator to be? Passive/reactive? Proactive? Editorial? Something else?

Listening to people's problem.

1. How would you handle a situation in which a user is upset at a moderator action that you have taken? For example, if someone posted on meta "This mod deleted my question/answer/comment and is abusing their power," how would you react?

There must be a reason to every action that moderator takes. So the moderator must clear these kinds of confusions for a smooth ride.

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?

The first thing I'll do is to warn user in the chat. It doesn't matter if the user gives good quality answers. Every user need to be warn first. If such a behavior continues then I will talk to other moderators about the necessary action that should be taken.

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

Simple. I will ask for the reason and give my reasoning over that question.

Travis Kindred

On multiple occasions, there have been calls to make the dynamics of PuzzlingSE deviate a bit from those of StackExchange in general. For example, suggestions to increase question upvote to 10 rep to reward questions with superb effort, option to award bounties to questions etc. How do you feel about such special rules for PuzzlingSE and what effort would you make to support/discourage these changes?

This community is special. It uses a fantastic platform (SE), but the platform was designed for very different uses. If we're able to stretch the limits of the platform to allow an experience more tailored to our community, what could possibly be bad about that?

As a moderator, your close, reopen, delete, and undelete votes will become binding. How will this affect the way you currently vote, especially with close/reopen votes? In general, will your moderation style be more laissez-faire or proactive? How so?

When it comes to votes, being a moderator would change nothing. I've always tried to act in the interests of the community, and that would be the same as a moderator.

What is your personal opinion the "purpose" of PuzzlingSE should be? Yes, there is no overall consensus on this question, yet. This makes it even more important to know what would-be-moderators think.

This is where I think SE is the perfect platform for puzzling. Our goals are the same. We want to build a community of experts. Towards that effort, we want to encourage whatever content we can to enrich the puzzling of others. We argue too much about this. If it's quality content that fits the theme, let's do it.

How much time per week (minimum) do you think that you can invest on moderation over the long term and continuously, and what would you do if you realize that life made it impossible to fulfill this commitment?

I can put in a good 8 hours per week. I know that's not a lot, but it's the most I can guarantee. Some weeks, I'll have more. If I ran even lower on time and couldn't do my duty to the site, I would abdicate (or whatever the right term is).

As is witnessed in every human interaction, and has been seen in the past on this site, no one gets along with everyone. As a moderator, how would you remain neutral towards a user/users who you find yourself disliking?

I work in a high pressure corporate environment. I hate a few people I work with and love others, but I've had to learn to work with them. It's just part of the game. I want people to love the site, even if I don't love them. It's a legacy thing. What matters is the community's health.

A user posts a strangely-written challenge. Some people flag, post comments doubting the OP's intention, downvote or vote to close it because it seems to be unclear, off-topic, overly-broad or something like that. After some debate in comments and/or chat, the OP insists that it is a very clever puzzle and that it is perfectly valid, possibly even triggering a close-reopen war. How do you react to that sort of puzzles? Would your reaction change if, say, the user is experienced or a newbie? Or if the puzzle was brilliant in spite of criticisms, or if it was mediocre in spite of high praise?

Give them a chance. If we spend our day cowering in fear of trolls, we're not going to have a great time. SE is build with safeguards. More complex puzzles don't get any votes before being solved. If they're proven, even more reason to trust them. With that said, it's sometimes obvious that you're being had. I'd ask the user to privately answer the question so they can prove validity.

What do you consider your role as a moderator to be? Passive/reactive? Proactive? Editorial? Something else?

I'm not the guy constantly flagging things. I would have two functions. I would help users grow & improve and to be a voice of reason when the community loses its collective mind every once in a while. I have a proven history of both. This is the big reason to select me as moderator.

How would you handle a situation in which a user is upset at a moderator action that you have taken? For example, if someone posted on meta "This mod deleted my question/answer/comment and is abusing their power," how would you react?

I would ask for specific reasons as to why they feel that way and ask for examples of other users being treated differently. Maybe I actually have done something wrong. If not, it's hard to form a reasonable argument. If the user is simply unreasonable and in denial of facts, there's nothing to be done.

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?

Someone making a difference in the community is a long-term resource. They need to be nurtured. Tell them how glad you are that they're part of the community and than them for what they've helped build. Then, point out the danger to that legacy by being hard to deal with. Some will get it and some won't. That's the best you can hope for.

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

It's a simple converstation. If there's a disagreement, go to the rules and previous decisions. Go lawyer on 'em.

Thank you all for your time. I'm here if you need me.

• "I'd ask the user to privately answer the question so they can prove validity." - just curious since I'm not familiar with mod tools, this is a thing? Or do you mean like adding and deleting an answer? BTW it'd be helpful if you put your name at the top of the post, so people know who the post is about without having to scroll down and back :) – user812786 Jul 21 '16 at 19:24
• Good idea. There are a number of ways to communicate privately online without setup hassle. Why only rely on built-in mod tools? – Travis Don Kindred Jul 21 '16 at 19:37
1. On multiple occasions, there have been calls to make the dynamics of PuzzlingSE deviate a bit from those of StackExchange in general. For example, suggestions to increase question upvote to 10 rep to reward questions with superb effort, option to award bounties to questions etc. How do you feel about such special rules for PuzzlingSE and what effort would you make to support/discourage these changes?

I do believe that both these suggestions should be implemented. And to those who are puzzled (pun intended) about how I'd help get these implemented: I'm going to show everyone the many pros of implementing this.