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

Due to the submission count, we have selected all of our provided questions for a total of 5 questions.

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

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

Good luck to all of the candidates!

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

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

halirutan
m_goldberg
Henrik Schumacher


  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?

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

  3. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

  4. 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?

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

  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?

Being an expert doesn't give you the right to hurt people with comments. It is as simple as that. I understand that an argument can be heated but the tone must be kept civil. My first step would be to ask the other moderators if my impression, that the behavior of the user is not OK is correct. If it is the case, then I would try to talk to the user and make my point clear. If there is indeed absolutely no way of changing the situation for the better, I believe it is better to punish this user and risk of losing a member as a contributor than taking the damage to the community.

However, I have to point out that I have never seen something like this happening. It might be an issue on other sites, but I know almost all of the regular, high-rep contributors here and I'm more than confident that such a situation can be resolved without punishing anyone.

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

Our current moderators don't do this if the situation is not crystal-clear. I remember several occasions where a mod asked in our chat if we, the community, would consider re-opening a question. For closing-votes it is the same. Often, mods only cast a vote if there are already community votes and it is obvious that this question should be closed.

There has never been a situation, where I couldn't talk to a mod about his reasons for taking an action. And this would be what I would do if I was a moderator as well.

What I would never do is simply overrule a decision of another moderator. If you happen to be a parent, you instantly understand this. It doesn't matter if you disagree with your wife about something concerning your kids. You need to have her back or hell breaks loose. Here, it is the same. Therefore, I'd rather step back from my position if we cannot come to a conclusion.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators act on behalf of the community and they lead by example. The sole reason they have their extended privileges is to make this work easier.

  1. 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?

I never really hid my true identity and people could easily find out who I am in real life. So while there was no diamond attached to my name, there always was my true identity connected to what I said.

This means that everything I said was as if I talked to someone in person. If I'm OK with that, I should feel fine knowing there is a diamond on my name.

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

There are of course practical things like being able to unfreeze a room or act on flags. Casting final closing/re-opening votes when there were already votes from respected members and the situation is unambiguous seems another good thing. Finally, if my comments can have a positive impact on the community because the diamond brings some weight in what I say, I guess I'm all happy.

And reaching some XXk of reputation hasn't been a goal for a very long time.

  • If you feel I should elaborate on any of these or other questions, feel free to comment. – halirutan May 25 at 15:22
  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?

Haven't seen anyone like that on Mathematica.SE in the five+ years I've been participating, so this seems very hypothetical situation to me. Should somebody like this show up, I think it wold be matter for all the moderators to discuss and reach a consensus about.

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

Again, rather a hypothetical question. I guess I would open a private chat room to discuss the issue with the moderator I have the disagreement with.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Read all the traffic on the site (or as much they can find time to), do a lot of janitorial work (something I already do) and deal with the posts that they find unacceptable.

  1. 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?

Completely indifferent.

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

Is it really about being more effective? I would have thought it is about being more helpful to both other moderators and the community in general. That would certainly be my goal as moderator.


Here are some things I think voters should know about me.

I am more than 80 years old. My health is pretty good for my age but not great. I could loose my ability to participate in Mathematica.SE at any time with little or no warning. This is true for any participant, but in my case the probability is so much higher than for most others that I think it might be an issue.

All the current moderators have much more Mathematica expertise than I do. I am handicapped by a weak background in math and physics, having only an undergrad level education in those subjects and that was back in the 1950s. This means there are and will be many questions and answers I don't fully understand, which may reduce my effectiveness as a moderator.

On the positive side, being retired, I have more free time than most. I can promise to give the site two to three hours a day regularly and more when needed.

  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?

Very academic question. Mathematica.SE is a very cozy place and people are mostly nice to each other. Of course, we want it to stay like this and thus, troublemakers must get show their limits. First steps would be to express that the behavior in question is not acceptable (via comment). An extended discussion in chat would also be a further option, in particular together with other moderators in order to make clear that we have a common standpoint. Only if all good talk doesn't help, we have to think about the penalty box and (as very last resort) a permanent ban.

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

I would discuss the matter in chat with the other moderator in order to arrive at a solution that is acceptable for all participants. Maybe they had a good point that I missed for etcing the question or maybe I can convince them to undo that... Actually, this question deserves a

This question cannot be answered without additional information.

So, to the next question.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

The routine jobs would be welcoming new users and helping them to find out how to get the best out of the site for themselves and for others; cleaning up posts that won't be helpful for anybody else in the future; converting non-anwers to comments; linking/merging duplicates; and dealing with occasional migrations and flags.

  1. 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?

As close votes will be binding, I will have to hold back myself a bit more. Apart from that: No big difference. I joined this site with my real name and with the intent to be as kind and respectful as in real life.

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

I don't think that it's about effectivity. We simply need several people with extended priviledges in order to maintain the site and to take care of emergencies.

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