GIS is scheduled for an election starting next week, September 12th. In connection with that election, we will be hosting a Q&A here for 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.

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

Here's how it'll work:

  • Until the nomination phase, (so, until Monday, September 12th at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 4:00 pm EDT on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.

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

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

  • Please use link syntax using the [](URL) syntax instead of the syntax which puts the URLs at the bottom of the post - it will make creating the resulting questionnaire significantly easier if you do so.

  • At the end of the collection phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions. We reserve some editorial control in the selection of the questions and may opt not to select a question that is tangential or irrelevant to moderation or the election. That said, if I have concerns about any questions in this fashion, I will be sure to point this out in comments before the decision making time.

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

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

Normally, this process is started at the beginning of the nomination phase for the election. We're trying an experiment where we push the two sessions of this back one week - question collection beginning a week before the actual election, and then the questionnaire opening when nominations begin.

On the one hand, this will mean that the nomination phase will not exist for users to get information about candidates in order to formulate questions. On the other hand, this will allow candidates to have a fixed set of questions ready by the time they start writing up their nominations, and give them time to have their responses up before any actual voting begins.

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

  • Thanks for making this available so early. I just noticed that you said "Please use link syntax using the [](URL) syntax instead of the syntax which puts the URLs at the bottom of the post". If we reference any Q&As from our own Meta, I often use just the URL itself (so that it auto-displays the title of that question). Will that help or hinder you when creating the resulting questionnaire?
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 1:43
  • No problem in doing that.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 16:05
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the 2016 Moderator Election Q&A Questionnaire that the answers here fed into as questions has now gone live at meta.gis.stackexchange.com/questions/4333
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 7:47

12 Answers 12


We currently have nearly 19,000 (towards 25%) of the questions asked here unanswered.

If you think that's too many, then, as a moderator, would you see helping the community to address that number being a priority, and how might you do so?


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

  • How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable 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?

  • In your opinion, what do moderators do?
  • In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
  • A 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? (has been removed to become a separate answer so that it can be voted on in its own right)
  • "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? " - +1 for this one
    – Midavalo Mod
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 19:05
  • 1
    @Midavalo you may want to cut/paste that one out into a separate answer (as Grace recommends). Otherwise it currently would not appear likely to make the top 10.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 21:39
  • 1
    @Midavalo Since any delay may cost the question you like the chance to garner enough votes to make the question collection so, as an expedient, I have now cut/paste it out into that separate answer. This will also give you the chance to vote on it.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 22:33

To all nominee 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.

heard this before? source: 2013 Moderator Election Q&A - Question Collection

  • 3
    +1. "the ideal moderator does as little as possible". I think this is very important, because when moderators excessively stand out (let's say hypothetically doing lots of minor edits and stepping in to respond every post, there is a chance many users from our community will lose interest in participate; which is undesirable). Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 13:02
  • 2
    @AndreSilva I think becoming a moderator should not stop a nominee from continuing to use the site as an engaged user. MadScientist and Shog9 reviewed the 2009 vintage “Theory of moderation” blog post in late 2014. You'll recognize one of the often quoted phrases that MadScientist considers problematic as being the one you cite and suggests that "The ideal moderator doesn't do 'as little as possible', they help to clean up their site to the best of their ability."
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 20:55

What are the biggest challenges observed at GIS Stack Exchange and how will you as a moderator help address these challenges?


Why do you want to become a moderator?


If you are elected as a moderator, your vote to Close will instantly lead to a question being placed On Hold.

How long after you see a question, and decide in your own mind that it should be placed On Hold, do you think that it will be appropriate for you to do so?


This is a question from the last election questionnaire. Credits to original asker Erica.

What is your GIS background/experience, and what software packages are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? What approach would you take when needing to moderate a Question/Answer about topics you are less proficient in?


As a moderator on GIS SE you will sometimes need to communicate with SE staff and moderators from other SE sites.

What is your experience of the Stack Exchange network beyond the walls of GIS SE?


Moderators often need to interpret the site’s scope, usually using a mix of the On Topic page and various Meta Q&As (usually tagged scope).

If you think the site’s scope, as currently documented and/or interpreted, is either too broad or too narrow, which single category of questions or potential questions would you most like to see removed from or added to its scope, or clarified within it, and why?


Would you be able to view your upvote/downvote ratio and volume, which is available on your profile page, and comment on why you have adopted that particular voting pattern, and whether you think it would change if you became a moderator?


The Main Q&A site is where most things happen related to GIS SE, but there are several other parts to the community, notably Meta GIS SE and the GIS Chat Room, that can contribute to its smooth running.

If you are not posting in them from time to time, why not, and will you as a moderator?


A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

(this answer was extracted from the "kick-off" post by @GraceNote, using the guideline given in that post)

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