In connection with the moderator elections, we will be holding a Q&A with the candidates. This will be an opportunity for members of the community to pose questions to the candidates on the topic of moderation. Participation is completely voluntary.

This is an alternative form of the Town Hall Chat system we've done in previous elections, we're trying some new things to test out how a different approach works.

This thread's purpose was to collect questions for the Q&A. We got a large number of questions, but to see how things go, we've decided to select every positive-scored questio submission. You can find the actual Q&A here: 2013 Moderator Election Q&A

Here's how it'll work.

  • For the first 48 hours (so, until April 24th at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 4:00 pm EDT on the same day), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates.
  • We, the Community Team, will be providing a small selection of generic questions (which I will include as an answer) of our own. These are mostly drawn from previous Town Hall Chats that we have run, questions that are asked very often.
  • This is a perfect opportunity to voice questions that are specific to your community and issues that you are running into at current.
  • After the 48 hours are completed, this question will be closed from further submissions of questions. We will review the questions that were submitted and select some portion of them to present alongside our general questions as a new Q&A thread which moderator candidates will be posting their answers. This is mostly to curate the quantity of questions so that it's not a flood of so many.

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

  • Tallyin' up the questions now~
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 20:11
  • Grace Note, I have reopened this question to allow comments on the process to continue. Here's the first: the new process is so cumbersome that although it generates valuable information, most will be lost in the enormous length of the resulting Q&A thread: there are just too many questions! Another thing this process is missing is an opportunity for a dialog to occur about the candidates among community members. Once again, the length of the thread means that comments will just get lost. Third, up/downvoting in that thread needs to be suppressed: it's confusing.
    – whuber
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 14:03
  • @whuber, Closure doesn't affect comments. As for your feedback. I debated long about the length of the Q&A. On the one hand, many live chats actually host as many or more questions, so the amount is the same roughly. The questions presented in this thread were, largely, all nice questions about both moderation and the GIS site itself. After long choices on just 5 or just 10 questions to steal, I ultimately decided to test out how it would work out if we gave them all. It certainly looks bulkier, though, due to the different form of presentation compared to the digest.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 14:16
  • Concerning your first remark, doesn't closure affect visibility to lower-rep people? Anent the others, the comparisons you make are apt: the chat records get long, too. Consider a hybrid solution in the future: choose a very short list of key questions to be fielded in a meta thread, connected to a chat room for additional conversation. What I sorely miss is a fair opportunity for actual canvassing to occur: for community members to state why they're for or against certain candidates or to make points they think everyone should consider in their voting.
    – whuber
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 14:22
  • 1
    This process is indeed losing the opportunity for dialog, which was expected in dropping the live format. It wasn't intended for comments to happen in the new format, more of just "These are the answers each candidate gave". If this feels clunky across the network, we may go back to the live format. And to close, we can't disable voting, it's just not possible in the system to do so short of locking (which, obviously, makes it worse). All things said, it's still possible to have an open chat with the candidates if the community feels it worthwhile.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 14:23
  • 1
    No, closure has no effect on the visibility of a post, regardless of any reputation at all. The only effect it has is preventing new answers from bumping the post, and showing the word 'closed' on it.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 14:24
  • Thank you for clarifying my misunderstandings about closure. (It's hard, as a moderator, to know exactly how the site presents itself to other users; there's no "sandbox" site we can easily visit to check.) I will re-close this thread.
    – whuber
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 14:28

9 Answers 9

  1. An important characteristic of a moderator is to have a good understanding of the community as well as StackExchange itself. The most salient ways to achieve these are (1) reviews and voting; (2) participation in Meta (through asking questions, answering them, and voting) and (3) significant participation on another SE site.

    What is your record in these areas and what does it say about your commitment to the GIS site? If your record is weak in one or more of them, then what other evidence can you offer in their place that you have the preparation to be a good moderator?

  2. Moderators need to visit the site practically every day. How often have you been visiting this year? If it is much less than daily, then why are you confident you can substantially increase the time you will be spending day after day, year after year?

  3. This site appears to have a relatively low amount of voting. Consequently it tends to be difficult for users to acquire high reputation. Is this a problem? If not, why not? If so, what do you think could be done about it?

  4. What, if anything, needs to be changed to improve our site? What ways are there to carry out these improvements? What role would you play as a moderator in promoting and carrying them out?

  5. Apart from exceptional circumstances, moderators are the last line of review for the site's content. No moderator is required or even expected to be knowledgeable about every aspect of GIS. But then how will you make daily decisions--about migrating questions; closing and deleting questions, answers, comments, and chat messages; editing tag wikis and the FAQ; and many more--concerning content about which you are not an expert (or are even totally unfamiliar)?

  6. How have you helped newcomers feel welcome and accepted here, even--or especially--when they might initially have posted poor questions or answers? What additional privileges granted to you as moderator will enable you to increase the attractiveness of our site so that we may continue to grow and retain those who participate?

  7. How can we make more people aware of our site and want to use it? If you were promoting it, what would you say its strengths and weaknesses are? What kind of person would you encourage to become a regular participant?

  • 2
    All great questions. I especially like 5 & 6.
    – user3461
    Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 12:03

Here is a set of general questions, gathered as very common questions asked every election.

  • In your opinion, what do moderators do?
  • A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?
  • In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
  • 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?

To all candidates,

A lot of the moderation work is extremely mundane. It is deleting obvious spam, closing blatantly off-topic questions, and culling some of the worst rated posts in various dimensions.

Do you have the patience and commitment to become a GIS Stack Exchange Moderator?

The Art of Moderation:

The ideal moderator does as little as possible. But those little actions may be powerful and highly concentrated. Judiciously limiting your use of moderator powers to selectively prune and guide the community — now that’s the true art of moderation.


How would you determine whether a question is on-topic for GIS.SE? Here are a few examples:


What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the growth of GIS.SE?


What one GIS software package are you most proficient with? Are there others that you're proficient with?

  • What would you want firstly to do when you are a moderator?
  • What connects you to this site in particular? Answering, commenting , questioning, chatting, voting or what?
  • 1
    I really like the 2nd question
    – user3461
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 12:57

As a moderator, will you be active throughout the day, or mostly during specific hours when you're on-line for some other reasons (be it work, leisure, free time, etc.)?


How undramatic. To all candidates: why should we pick you instead of the other guy? What is your competitive advantage?

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