The following is a "digest" version of the 2012 Moderator Election Town Hall Chat. The format, as described on Meta Stack Overflow, is one answer to this question for every question asked in the Town Hall, containing all the candidate's answers to that question.

To view the digest chronologically, please sort the answers by "oldest".

If you have questions or comments about this, please do not answer this question as the answers are designed to be used for the questions from the Town hall itself. Instead, please ask on the parent question or in the Town Hall Discussion Room.

If you see any corrections which need to be made to this digest, or if you were a candidate who was unable to attend the town hall and would like your answers included, please @GraceNote or @TimStone in the chat room and let us know!

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Much appreciated, Tim! –  Matthew Read Dec 8 '12 at 2:32
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Thanks to the candidates for participating, too. I see some good insights there. –  Al E. Dec 9 '12 at 2:23

19 Answers 19

Tim Stone Tim Stone asked: Is there anything about the way the site is currently run that you would like to change? If so, what would you try to change if you were to become a moderator, and why?


Liam W Liam W answered: I don't think there currently is anything about the way this site is run that I would change. I believe it is run fairly, and like all other SE sites - change is bad, after all.

Flow Flow answered: Hmm, every SX sites has some major issues if the site becomes big with a lot of questioners and only a few experienced people. I think the biggest problem right now on SO and maybe in the feature on AN.SX ist the quality of the questions. IMHO we need a better way to do some kind of QA .

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: One thing I would want to change is requirement of 50 rep to add comments. It makes new users add comments as answers, which is ridiculous! I have seen a lot of posts like that on StackOverflow and a few on AE as well. And hence new users often gain too many down votes.

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Grace Note Grace Note asked: In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?


Liam W Liam W answered: Good question. I live in the UK, which is ahead of other time zones. I could moderate moderator flags, when the other mods are asleep - which I would not be able to do had I gained 10 or 20K rep.

Flow Flow answered: I think a >10K user has already all he need to moderate. But there are some cases only diamonds can handle. The amount of those cases increases with the size of the site. Therefore more mods are needed. Isn't that the reason we increase the moderator positions from 3 to 5...

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: I think reputation is more based on answering and moderation is about keeping the site clean and helpful as as possible.

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Grace Note Grace Note asked: What is one contribution you feel demonstrates that you can be a good moderator?


  • Grace Note Grace Note added: This can be an actual post, your process, or any other activity you feel is indicative of your potential accomplishments as a moderator.

Flow Flow answered: Active on meta, asking for opinions about how the site's policy/rules should develop. Just query meta for my questions. Although the majority of my meta posts is about tag cleanup work, there are a few others too.

Liam W Liam W answered: Edit and flag history - also that fact that I am currently top of the rep leaderboard for month and week, and second for quarter.

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: One of the most active users on the site, one of the top editors (in recent times, as I am a comparatively new user). Top new user...

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj continued: Add to that: Being an Android developer and a computer engineer, I am technically sound. :)

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Grace Note Grace Note asked: What do you believe is or will be your biggest weakness as a moderator?


Liam W Liam W answered: The fact that I have school 6 hours a day MON - FRI, so I can only come on after that - not that that will impact anything. Maybe also the fact that I tend to take sides occasionally, but I haven't done that for a while.

Flow Flow answered: Good question, I have to think about it.

Flow Flow continued: Maybe that I am not a native speaker

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: Weakness.... Umm.. Not really but being a developer I need to spend some time in dev work. However, I have AE opened in a tab be it at work or at home! But yeah, when it's high time coding I will have to get off AE for some time.

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Tim Stone Tim Stone asked: A post is flagged. All moderators have looked at it. No one's taken action/cleared it because you're all unsure what to do with it. What do you do now when there is no consensus?


Flow Flow answered: That's a case for meta discussion

Liam W Liam W answered: Depending on the flag, I would see what the site thinks using the meta.

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: Meta, chat, communicate with other mods to discuss. Have a good discussion on meta and then decide.

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Grace Note Grace Note asked: Of the other candidates, who is the one user you think would be most qualified for the position of moderator, and why?


Liam W Liam W answered: Flow, without a doubt. He has been here a long time, has been a solid contributor, and has amassed more than 10K rep. He has a large edit count, as well as a decent flag count as well as numerous useful badges.

Flow Flow answered: To be honest. I think that is Liam. He is highly motivated, native speaker that shows great interest in the site. Although he is relatively new I would give him the chance. But onik and jlehenbauer are just as good. So it's a close call.

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: Flow. He has a great contribution. Though I have not been able to follow any of the candidates. This is what I am guessing from the stats.

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Grace Note Grace Note asked: Going forward, what do you see as the biggest hurdle for Android Stack Exchange and how will you tackle/deal with it?


Liam W Liam W answered: Tricky question. I believe that the biggest hurdle would be the fact that we are growing at a quick rate, and that the site may not be able to cope (due to lack of users). I would attempt to gather more users, and ensure everyone gets their share of the site.

  • dymutaos dymutaos asked: I'm not sure I understand. If we are 'growing at a quick rate', doesn't that mean we are getting new users?

    Liam W Liam W responded: Correct, however not all answer - most ask one question, the vanish forever.

Flow Flow answered: Something has happened in the last month or so. We had an increase in traffic/questions. But I have the feeling the questions are mostly low quality from drive by users that seek for help. While there is nothing wrong with asking questions, the quality of the question increases the chances for a good answer. I think we need a shorter version of "How to Ask Questions the Smart Way", that, for example is displayed to every new user that tries to ask a question here.

Flow Flow continued: For example this section is a good best practise for every SX site.

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Grace Note Grace Note asked: What is your subjective assessment of how this site has been progressing in terms of popularity and quality? Do you get more questions than a year ago? Better questions? What about answers? Do you attract new great users? Is the site succeeding and improving, in your eyes, basically?


Liam W Liam W answered: Due to the fact that I haven't been here long, I am going to find this question tricky to answer. I believe that believe that this site is getting more popular, and that the amount of questions is increasing - the same can be said for answers. I am not sure we attract new great users, but we attract new users. I believe that the site is succeeding and improving.

Flow Flow answered: I think that AN.SX has it's native space in the stackexchange network. The site is very popular according to the traffic stats. And we do have more questions then a year ago. See also my meta post: Statistics about Android Enthusiasts. Not sure if we attract new users, but everyone that struggles with a 1800000 pages thread on XDA is very happy on AN.SX. The site is on a good way, although the diversity of the Android ecosystem makes it hard to answer every question.

Flow Flow continued: We will never be like TEX.SX, although that should be our goal :-D

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: I think I had mentioned this in my nomination. Here's pasting the same: My thoughts on Android Enthusiasts: Being only about a month old member, I have observed a big difference on AE as compared to StackOverflow. A lot of questions go unanswered here and answers come up a bit late. There seems to be a very small number of "power users," and you can see them answer most of the questions. Also the questions and answers on AE are not well written.

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Grace Note Grace Note asked: How many Android devices do you own and utilize on a normal basis?


Flow Flow answered: I own 3 Android Devices. A Galaxy S running CM10, and Thinkpad Tablet running stock Android and a Kindle Fire running CM10. I use mostly the SGS and the Thinkpad Tablet. The Fire lies around the living room.

Liam W Liam W answered: I own 2 Android devices. My SGS2, and my Arnova GBook. I use my SGS2 all the time, and my GBook (which isn't that good), to listen to spotify offline at night ;)

Liam W Liam W continued: My SGS2 runs CM10, whereas I just managed to root my GBook with difficulty.

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: I am poor guy I tell ya! :( I own one (keep changing between CM 9 and 10, and other experimental ROMs) but I use bunch of them. :) You will find most of my friends' and family members' devices lying around me. I keep playing with them and also use them for testing my apps and experimenting some new stuff. :)

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Grace Note Grace Note asked: 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?


Flow Flow answered: I don't think that it will influence my behaviour. I always try to show my best side and put in my best effort.

Liam W Liam W answered: I guess I don't know what I feel. It shouldn't influence my behavior, and I will probably continue posting as I do now, but probably with a more 'formal' attitude (if I believe it is needed, for example when commenting on a closed post due to a duplicate). Most likely, it will stay the same as it is.

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: That would make me feel more responsible. Though my efforts will continue to be the best, I will have to put extra time as a moderator. As a moderator, my actions on the site should be an example to the AE community.

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Tim Stone Tim Stone asked: Do you feel like a representative percentage of the community participates in your site's meta? Based on that, how strongly do you think feedback presented on meta should factor into your decision making as a moderator?


Liam W Liam W answered: TBH I do not think that enough members participate on the meta, from when I have looked. It isn't very active, and only the high rep members seem to use it. Some new members do use it, but not often. I believe that, as this is the case, people should take the meta with a grain of salt - it is OK if a suggestion is up voted by 30 people, but what if other users of the site that don't use meta don't like it?

Liam W Liam W continued: However - they could have had a say, but, by not using the meta, they didn't. So I would probably just use it as it is.

Flow Flow answered: I am active on meta, so yes, I do fell like a representative percentage of the active meta users. I always considered meta as the place that makes the rules. So the feedback is very welcomed and if it's the opinion of the majority, everyone should follow that.

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: I am open to feedback. And believe if opinions on meta make sense to me, it should affect my decisions. After all it's a people's site, you have to consider everyone's opinion and hear everyone's voice.

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Tim Stone Tim Stone asked: When you see a question with major issues (poorly-written, argumentative, etc.), what tool do you reach for first?


Liam W Liam W answered: Comments - to notify that user to try and improve. If I understand what they are on about, the edit button. If after a while, nothing has changed, the close or delete button.

Flow Flow answered: Edit, downvote or flag. More or less in that order

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: Depends. If poorly written, edit button would be my first choice. If argumentative, I would prefer leaving a comment. Down vote would always be my last choice. I would rather try to improve (and ask the author to improve), than just down voting. However, last choice is still a choice! :)

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Manishearth Manishearth asked: How do you feel your participation as a moderator will affect your everyday use of the site?


Flow Flow answered: I think I will maybe do more mod work and less answers...

Liam W Liam W answered: I believe that I will probably become more active, however I may let others answer questions before I do, and concentrate on moderating.

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: Less answers. More time on the site. More editing and moderator work. However, I would still like to answer as many unanswered question as I can. It's sad to see so many questions go unanswered.

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dymutaos dymutaos asked: For those who will concentrate on moderating and reduce time spent answering questions, will you still be able to get enjoyment out of the site? That is, how will you keep yourself from 'burning out'?


Liam W Liam W answered: By drinking lots of caffeinated tea ;) Really - I would like to help this site, and I will get enjoyment from that.

Flow Flow answered: Naaa, I think I always will be an Android Enthusiast. Enjoyment guaranteed. But my time is limited. So if I have to do mod work, the time for answering questions reduces. But that doesn't mean I wont answer a question if I am able to do.

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: AE is a newer site. It has a lot of potential as Android community is growing each day... It will a feeling of joy to be able to help such a good resource. That will certainly bring a feeling of enjoyment. :)

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eldarerathis eldarerathis asked: Do you view moderation as proactive (acting on unflagged content), reactive (processing flags), or both? What do you feel would be most like your moderation style?


Liam W Liam W answered: Both. I believe that I should check to make sure the flags are correct, but also make sure I view new questions and ensure they follow the FAQ and guidelines.

Flow Flow answered: Plain moderation is purely reactive. But that doesn't prevent anybody from acting on unflagged content. On the other site. before the new review queues I looked at every new question and nowadays I just look what's up on the review queue. It saves some time and with more and more questions per day, looking at every new question becomes nearly impossible. Although I flag/downvote/vc a question here and there.

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: Both. You need to proactively dig around to see if anything's wrong. Also respond to the flags by other users.

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Grace Note Grace Note asked: 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?


Liam W Liam W answered: Very good question. I would suggest to them that they continue their answering, but ensure they think about their comments before they post them. I would recommend that as a valued contributor (to answers), they should know the rules. I would ask them to follow them, and then I may have to resort to drastic measures (times suspensions etc).

Flow Flow answered: Depends on the type of comments he leaves. I never encountered that case on AN.SX. But if I agree with the comments, which is likely if it's a big amount of flags, I would contact him and ask him to stop that behaviour. I like the friendly and polite tone on SX and would like to keep it that way.

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: Well, wherever I find any such comment I will act on it. Ask them to be careful and be friendly with users. Everyone's opinion matters but it has to be put in the right way. It hardly matters how much rep you have if you don't know how to behave.

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eldarerathis eldarerathis asked: A user contacts you through channels outside of Stack Exchange (email, Twitter, etc) to voice their disagreement with a moderation decision. How might you handle the situation?


Liam W Liam W answered: Has this happened before? I would ensure that they know why I made the decision, and ask them why the disagree - I would then give them the reasons for my decision. I would ask them politely, to attempt not to directly contact me, but accept that it may be OK in certain instances.

  • eldarerathis eldarerathis replied: I know of at least one instance where it's happened, yes (not to me personally)

Flow Flow answered: If there is a policy that explains my decision I will point him to that. Otherwise, and that depends on the type of disagreement, I would ask on meta for consensus/feedback. Always explaining that if he thinks that he is right, meta is the way to change policies.

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: What happens on Stack Exchange, stays on stack exchange. I would request that person to use SE channels to raise his concern. Contacting me in person won't help.

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Grace Note Grace Note asked: New users often are not accustomed to the Stack Exchange system, and sometimes struggle to present themselves properly, either in the way they use the site or their attitude. How willing are you to work with "problematic" users, and at what point do you decide that someone isn't worth the effort?


Liam W Liam W answered: I would be relatively willing to deal with problematic users - but people skills aren't my strong point, and I would be worried that I may make things worse. I would try my hardest however, and point them to handy FAQ's and meta posts. I would give up if the user doesn't take my advice, and continues to step out of line, even after multiple emails/messages etc.

Flow Flow answered: The most important question this evening. I think we need a good solid FAQ, that warmly welcomes new users and explains in easy words what is expect from then and how the site works. I don't like the idea that a mod has to explain that to every new user again and again. "Problematic" should be reminded about the etiquette and if nothing changes appropriate actions should be considered. But that depends on the individual case.

Flow Flow continued: In my experience, the community usually takes care of "problematic" users by steadily reminding them to be polite or to improve their posts.

Flow Flow concluded: That kind of peer pressure usually works best :)

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: It would be great if new users can be redirected to a page or a video that explain them stuff about the site. As of now, I think reputed users should avoid down voting new users. They may have not understood the rules and format of the site very well. They will need time to adjust to the environment. Instead of simply down voting and flying away, explain them DOs and DON'Ts. Add comments to their posts, edit them. Make their entry to AE a happy beginning. :)

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Grace Note Grace Note asked: Closing thoughts from the candidates?


Liam W Liam W answered: Hmm. Closing thoughts. I believe I could bring to this site as a moderator - I could improve flag times for when the other mods aren't online, and I could help with the general 'moderating' of the site. I believe I satisfy the pre-requisites of a moderator, and I believe I understand the theory of moderating on the SE network :)

Flow Flow answered: I'd like to thank everyone involved in Android Enthusiasts: staff, mods and the active users. Take your time to vote.

  • Liam W Liam W remarked: And So would I @Flow. I believe that this site can prosper - don't forget to vote all!

Suraj Bajaj Suraj Bajaj answered: Well, I am really glad I nominated myself. To be honest, I was thinking about my new-ness on the site. But this whole process has helped me understand a lot of things about moderation and the way this site works. It also helped me connect to awesome people like you all. I don't know about results of the election, but this will certainly help me keep my contribution going and may be improving. And sorry for the delay. I had to work real late.

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