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!

  • 5
    order out of chaos - nice editing job!
    – cormullion
    Sep 20, 2012 at 6:48

20 Answers 20


image_doctor image_doctor asked: I wonder what the candidates' strategy will be to maintain that quality as the site grows and we attract more questions at the novice level, which may seem trivial, perhaps annoyingly so, to experienced users, whilst still making the site a welcoming and friendly place to come for new members?

J. M. J. M. answered: My take on this is that we should always try to be polite and gentle towards new users. I've always maintained that a well-thought out corrective (and polite!) comment is often more effective than downvotes. I once said on another meta site: "any fool can click the downvote button, but writing a constructive comment is a higher road one can take."

Verbeia Verbeia answered: very good question. I see the simpler questions as a way for newer members to start answering and participating. That basically describes me, on SO, 18 months ago. If more experienced users aren't happy with the quality of the questions (and it has gone down a little on average lately, I think), then they might want to try to come up with one.

R.M R.M answered: I personally don't think that moderators alone should set the policy on that — we, as a community, should decide on the course of action. I like our present approach of being welcoming to new users, accepting questions no matter what the level (but politely letting them know that more personal effort is required for RTFM questions).

R.M R.M continued: I don't think that easy questions will "annoy" the experienced ones — they're more likely to just ignore them, which already happens on a daily basis with questions outside of their interests (even if they're advanced). Such decent, albeit simple questions will also serve as a way for newer users to start contributing and perhaps be an opportunity for the experienced users to elaborate on hidden/tricky aspects (there can be an educational moment even in seemingly trivial questions)


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?

J. M. J. M. answered: I must confess I don't know how to determine how much of the site's active users are meta readers as well, but my take on it is that the ones who bother with meta are the people who are the most concerned with the site's well-being, so I tend to lend more credence/weight to people with meta participation.

Verbeia Verbeia answered: meta participation is a sign that the person is likely to be engaged in the site and wants to succeed. So yes, views on meta are as close as we can get to polls without actually having an election. It's not the only consideration - if it was only a narrow majority in favour of something, I would not take it as the only input. This is where the chat feature is useful. We can get feedback in multiple ways.

  • J. M. J. M. agreed: Ah yes, Verbeia brings up a good point. I'd also lend an ear to what users are saying in the chat room.

R.M R.M answered: Yes, I do think a representative %age of the community participates in meta. I'm actually surprised (in a good way) by how many regulars and non-regulars voice their opinions on meta (feels rather high compared to similar SE sites) and new users also find their way to meta, so it is a very encouraging sign for the future of the site. So yes, meta discussions should factor into decision making, but I'm aware that there are times when it might come down to the mods making a judgement call


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?

J. M. J. M. answered: Nothing so far, I think. I'm glad that the Mathematica folk are a mostly fine bunch, and I don't believe I've had to intervene in a spat here, so I guess I'll change nothing.

Verbeia Verbeia answered: I am pretty happy with how the site is going. The only things that I would change would be (1) avoiding deleting questions with good answers, as noted earlier, and (2) I would like to encourage editors to fix the whole post, so we don't get sequences of edits, one fixing the code, one the typos etc. Neither are big problems, which is why I never raised them before, but these are some small things I would seek to encourage.

R.M R.M answered: I think the site has been functioning smoothly so far. If anything, I probably wouldn't delete good duplicates and especially not those with good answers. I'd be OK if the community (3 users) decided to delete it though.


Grace Note Grace Note asked: What do you think your time budget should be for moderating this site as it continues to grow, and what is your core time period each day?

J. M. J. M. answered: These days, my free time tends to be rather erratic due to the nature of the other things occupying me, but I strive to at least spend an hour on this site.

Verbeia Verbeia answered: As I mentioned in my nomination post, my time is quite limited and I have two months away (Nov/Dec) already scheduled. I anticipate my times to be short bursts around 8am, 1pm and 8pm weekdays (Sydney time, UTC+10) and a bit more on weekend mornings. I wouldn't be able to visit all of those times, but those would be my windows.

R.M R.M answered: I don't really have a specific time set aside since I'm not as busy (yet) as most people are. I typically visit quite a few times each hour between 7am PST to 11pm PST. Of course, that's not guaranteed forever and will change in the future as life moves on, but I always try to visit the site at least twice or thrice every day (I've visited the site on 245 days so far).

R.M R.M continued: The expectation is also that as the site grows in the coming years, there will be a larger user base contributing to things like editing/closing/reopening/deleting, and more mods will be elected, so the load will be shared among several users.

F'x F'x answered: I am Paris-based, which is UTC+2 (in summer)… I will moderate in two bursts: one part of my morning routine, which is around 30 minutes (might be less depending on needs, but can hardly be more); the second part of my evening routine, after kids are in bed: that is usually unlimited

F'x F'x continued: I travel for work a few weeks a year, and then my pattern can be more erratic…


Grace Note Grace Note asked: How comfortable are you with using the tools for moderation made available to normal (non-diamond-moderator) users? (such as editing, closing, re-opening, flagging, etc)

J. M. J. M. answered: It lightens the load, I think. Though high rep does not necessarily correlate to being skillful enough, or wise with, the tools, I've found that most users here can be trusted with these tasks. If we get an unruly high-rep member... let's cross that bridge when we get there.

Verbeia Verbeia answered: I addressed this in my nomination post. I have been active in cleanup/moderation type tasks on both SO and here. I have Marshal and Copy Editor badges on SO and have voted to close etc.

R.M R.M answered: I already answered this in an earlier response, but I'll recap for the digest — I've used practically every tool available to me to its fullest. I'm the top editor (672 edits and the lone Copy Editor as on date), top voter, top reviewer of suggested edits (71 so far), over 100 helpful flags, constantly participated in community moderation such as close/reopen, delete/undelete since January and all this while answering over 300 questions and being second in the all time rep league

F'x F'x answered: mod tools for non-moderators are a crucial part of building the community… not only because it spreads the load, but even more so because it gets other people involved in policy matters, which need to be discussed and decided by more than three people


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?

J. M. J. M. answered: As with any user behavior that results if flags from other users, I believe in using escalation. I'd first post a comment, a polite request that the user modify his/her behavior.

J. M. J. M. continued: If the user proves resistant to polite requests, I would suppose a brief suspension (1 day?) is in order, with the suspension time increasing for successive violations.

Verbeia Verbeia answered: The first step would be to educate the user about the points that are causing the issue. Help him or her understand by editing answers/posts in a way that is less likely to cause ructions with others. If they are being obstreperous, then escalate to comment deletion. Suspension is a last resort but it's an option.

R.M R.M answered: I would remove the offending comments and let them know via comments (public) that their behaviour is causing friction and generating flags. If they still continue to be belligerent, then depending on the severity of their actions, my next step would range from a frank discussion in a private chatroom re: their behaviour and our expectations to possible suspension.

R.M R.M continued: While it is important that we recognize their contributions, it is also necessary that firm action be taken if their behaviour hurts the community and turns it to an unpleasant place for existing and future users.


Tim Stone Tim Stone 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?

J. M. J. M. answered: Not very differently. I will always stand by the right things I've said, and I am always regretful for any rash words/decisions I've made, and will seek to make amends for those.

Verbeia Verbeia answered: That's ok with me. I am always myself in whatever I do, and I don't think my essential self would project any differently. I don't suppose we can have hyperbolic diamonds for Mma.SE?

R.M R.M answered: The fact that whatever I say is attached to my name (or initials, at least) matters more to me than an additional symbol, so I would continue to be the way I am right now. However, I am cognizant of the fact that the lay person might see things as "more official" and so would exercise more caution and be diplomatic in my phrasing in tricky situations (esp. in arguments, etc)


Grace Note http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/e1b643b1cabd740a5f4580f365b21407?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Grace Note asked: What is one contribution you feel demonstrates that you can be a good moderator?

J. M. http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/a2f11fafc7408dee74dc607e21f3e371?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG J. M. answered: I'm hard-pressed to think of a concrete example for this, but I have been active at fixing up both posts and comments; I am aware I can fix posts even without the diamond, but I would need the diamond for editing comments into good shape.

Verbeia http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/3df2379fc0221bb0281c0d608542bd84?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Verbeia answered: the way I interact with new users - see this meta question and this one - welcoming but fair

R.M http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/06cc46bc96d8e6222d2a45e9edcaa072?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG R.M answered: Perhaps the fact that I've used practically every tool available to me to its fullest. I've edited a lot of posts (the lone Copy Editor as on date), top voter, top reviewer of suggested edits (71 so far), flagged over 100 posts, constantly participated in community moderation such as closing, reopening, deleting, etc... all this while answering over 300 questions and being second (as on date) in the all time rep league. So I'm fairly aware of the effort required and know how to balance my time here.


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

J. M. J. M. answered: Depends. If no one has commented yet, I'll leave a comment; if there is a comment already admonishing the OP, I upvote it and wait for a response from the OP.

J. M. J. M. continued: If OP is recalcitrant, I'd close (but I would prefer to be the fifth voter), but with a reminder that OP can always edit his/her question into better shape.

Verbeia Verbeia answered: Comments, and then edits. The comments should always be phrased in a helpful way. As in "Welcome to Mma.SE, by the way I formatted your code, here's how to do it". Of course in the major-issue cases you are referring to, it would be major edit and then comment, if the question is salvagable. If not, then give the community time to close it. I would exercise the Diamond Drop and close the question as a last resort.

R.M R.M answered: I always try to edit it first unless it is way beyond the point of no return, in which case I try to leave a comment and vote to close.


image_doctor http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/5614830ae42200a6d4981a6b324d8679?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG image_doctor asked: A very good happy user :) But I think the point here is that with such an active body of experts, others feel there is a reduced chance for them to contribute effectively, do you have a defined approach to encouraging wider participation and perhaps suppressing the wonderful enthusiasm of leading figures?

J. M. http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/a2f11fafc7408dee74dc607e21f3e371?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG J. M. answered: I suppose the "leading figures" might be amenable to a nudge, maybe in chat... I've found them to be reasonable folk. For the bit on "encouraging wider participation", I've always been hard-pressed to answer that question, even when I was on math.SE...

Verbeia http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/3df2379fc0221bb0281c0d608542bd84?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Verbeia answered: See this meta answer. I think the strong base of top users we have is awesome. It is one of the strengths of the site. It's like having 10 Jon Skeets, but for Mathematica. I think we did have a bit of a problem with those strong users jumping in and not leaving much for newer users, but I think that has eased off a lot. In part, that's because some of those top users have started taking breaks.

Verbeia http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/3df2379fc0221bb0281c0d608542bd84?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Verbeia continued: I don't think enthusiasm should be supressed, but I would definitely try to set a tone of not jumping into questions too quickly, especially the easy ones.


Tim Stone Tim Stone asked: An unknown user engages in voting behaviour that, while not strictly against the rules, is something several of the members of the community find troubling. Since voting is at the discretion of the user and the system has automated controls in place to handle most suspicious behaviour, what role (if any) do you feel a moderator should play in this scenario?

J. M. J. M. answered: I don't think it's a mod's business to be concerned with the use of the voting system by other users, other than flagrant abuses. That being said, I will at least try to look into said anomalies.

Verbeia Verbeia answered: This is a pertinent question given recent events. People's votes are theirs to bestow as they see fit as long as it isn't abusive. But if the community feels that some querying of the person was required, that should definitely come privately from a moderator rather than, say, publicly in chat.

R.M R.M answered: Probably not very much can be done anyway if it isn't against the rules and can't be detected (like with the recent unupvoting spree by some user). A moderator could perhaps make a public statement (in chat or meta) — those who are doing this because of ignorance might correct their behaviour and those that are doing out of malice will continue to do so, no matter what. If it seriously hurts the community, I'd probably get a dev involved to identify the user and move from there onwards.


xzczd xzczd asked: Well, it really took me some time to understand what's this room for since my English is poor. OK, I have a relaxed question: What will you do if one day someone posts a question that isn't written in English?

J. M. J. M. answered: One approach that was taken in math.SE (where I am a somewhat active member) was that we allow the user to post in his native language, and then other users can edit to include a proper English translation. I don't see why we can't do it on this site as well.

  • Sjoerd C. de Vries Sjoerd C. de Vries asked: Wouldn't allowing that lead to a mish-mash of unanswered and untranslated questions in old-Mongolian and Iroquois etc?

    J. M. J. M. responded: Methinks the likelihood of those particular languages showing up is low, but I suppose one could at least try to run them through a machine translation, if no human translators are available...

    Sjoerd C. de Vries Sjoerd C. de Vries remarked: I was trying to be funny there, but the issue is serious. If the good questions are diluted by many unreadable questions the site will go down the drain.

    J. M. J. M. responded: I don't think we're at risk of being awash in untranslated questions just yet. Let's cross that bridge when we get there.

    Sjoerd C. de Vries Sjoerd C. de Vries asked: So, no Gedankenexperimente? Did a lot of good to science...

    J. M. J. M. responded: It's just that methinks most people on the Internet can at least write readable (even if not exactly proper) English, and I've a feeling the people whose English is so poor that we have to ask them to post in their native language will be few and far between.

    J. M. J. M. continued: Ergo, we handle on a case-to-case basis. If we hit the point where we're actually drowning in these "incomprehensible" questions, only then do we formulate a plan.

Verbeia Verbeia answered: Interesting question, thanks! The language of the site is English, so I'd leave a comment reminding the person of that. If it was in German, I'd try to translate it ;-). More generally, in my experience, people's English is much better than they think, and I'd encourage people to try their best - native speakers like me can always edit posts to be clearer. It would be a good idea for people to stick around so that they can confirm that the edit still reflects what was meant.

R.M R.M answered: English is the de facto language of the site, but if it is a new user and if the question can be understood by one of our users (or Google translate), then we should try and translate it and fix it to the best of our ability. However, I wouldn't allow this to be a pattern, because if I can use Google translate to understand it, they too can (and should) use it to translate it to English (to the extent GT can) before posting. So after the first post, they should be made aware of GT


Grace Note http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/e1b643b1cabd740a5f4580f365b21407?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Grace Note asked: Moderating is a lot of work. Do you expect to be able to keep answering questions or will you spend all your time here moderating?

J. M. http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/a2f11fafc7408dee74dc607e21f3e371?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG J. M. answered: I strive to maintain a balance. Luckily, since most of the people here are good people, I've been able to spend more time answering than moderating.

Verbeia http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/3df2379fc0221bb0281c0d608542bd84?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Verbeia answered: I only answer questions sporadically anyway, so I don't think much will change.

R.M http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/06cc46bc96d8e6222d2a45e9edcaa072?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG R.M answered: I don't know, and quite frankly, I didn't make any commitment to answer a certain minimum number of questions, as your question seems to assume. As mentioned previously, I'm familiar with most of the tools and know how to balance my time on the site. I'll continue to answer questions that I find interesting and where I can contribute. But if I indeed have a time crunch, I'll probably focus what little I can spare on issues that need moderator attention.

R.M http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/06cc46bc96d8e6222d2a45e9edcaa072?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG R.M continued: Besides, with such an active community like ours, the moderator workload shouldn't be so heavy as to drown the mods in flags so badly that they can't don't have time to answer anything. If it comes to such a situation, then it's an indication that more moderators are necessary... I have absolutely no intention of just being an unpaid flag clearing workhorse like Stack Overflow mods. The community is what I enjoy more.


Grace Note Grace Note asked: Reviewing, acting upon flags, voting to close - all gets repetitive more so as a Mod because you essentially don't have vote limits. What steps do plan to take to keep from getting burned out? If you do get burned out, how will you handle this?

J. M. J. M. answered: "If you do get burned out" - I'd probably take a break, but I will of course give advanced notice to the other mods, and possibly say something in the chat room.

Verbeia Verbeia answered: I plan to budget my time carefully and focus a lot of my moderating work in short bursts, as described in the earlier question on time budgets.

R.M R.M answered: Well, for the level of activity on the site (and given how much the community handles itself), it probably isn't much to get burned out easily. I don't intend to burn out either — this site is an outlet for me from the rigours of day-to-day life (which actually pays). If any moderator begins to feel that way (assuming everyone's pitching in reasonably), it is probably a signal that more hands are needed on the deck.


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

Verbeia Verbeia answered: Final thoughts: As I said in my nomination post, I don't have oodles of time to devote to moderation, but I'm efficient, committed to the site, and I think my meta Q&A and some of my other initiatives show I have a suitable attitude.

Verbeia Verbeia continued: Thanks everyone for the questions. I hope our answers are useful.

J. M. J. M. answered: Indeed, good questions, y'all. Thanks, and I hope I was able to answer them to satisfaction.


Sjoerd C. de Vries http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/9f225243ecce8c8cf672a00c743c0ca5?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Sjoerd C. de Vries asked: We have a set of hardcore users who jump in to answer every question, however easy. Shouldn't we have a policy that the easy ones should be left for less experienced users to gain some rep?

J. M. http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/a2f11fafc7408dee74dc607e21f3e371?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG J. M. answered: Not necessarily, methinks. It may well be that the "experienced user" may be able to give a more pedagogically satisfactory answer. Still, the newbies should never be made to feel that they can't jump in; if they have something meaty and relevant to say, they should say it freely.

Verbeia http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/3df2379fc0221bb0281c0d608542bd84?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Verbeia answered: I don't know if I would make it a policy, but I would encourage giving lower-rep users space to answer. I can't find the meta post about this just now but I'm sure I had an answer about that.

R.M http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/06cc46bc96d8e6222d2a45e9edcaa072?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG R.M answered: I wouldn't make it a sitewide policy, but high rep users could adopt it as a personal policy. Instead of refraining from answering as you suggest, they could try to tailor their answers so that it is complementary to others' and this would provide an ecosystem where both types of users can coexist. I have observed high rep users guiding inexperienced users to answer in the right direction instead of writing a competing answer, so they're not always predatory...

R.M http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/06cc46bc96d8e6222d2a45e9edcaa072?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG R.M continued: Of course, going by precedence, the gloves come off when it concerns questions ;)

F'x http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/9e94db9aa0b32c7b91345a813b7615b6?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG F'x answered: this is related to the “fastest gun” discussion that has been so active on MSO… I don't think it's much of an issue, because 1. having a fast answer is actually useful in many cases, 2. this answer can always be elaborated upon or completed by another answer, 3. I believe voting is rather fair on MMA.SE, so that a more elaborate answer given later will be upvoted according to its merit

F'x http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/9e94db9aa0b32c7b91345a813b7615b6?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG F'x continued: if the community feels it is an issue, or if we get actual feedback from newcomers (in chat, in comments or on meta) that this is an issue, I think discussion on chat or on meta would be appropriate


Tim Stone Tim Stone asked: Two highly respected members of the community get in a comment war on a question. They both flag each other's comments and are cussing and it is clear that this is beyond a heated argument. What do you do, what don't you do?

J. M. J. M. answered: I step in, of course, with a polite but firm word. Cases that are refractory to a polite comment from a mod can of course be dealt with suspension.

J. M. J. M. continued: With respect to my policy on cussing: I don't particularly mind it myself, but I've always maintained that one should strive to sound more like a teacher in a classroom than a trucker in a bar on this site.

Verbeia Verbeia answered: This hasn't happened here yet, which is a sign of the strength of our community. I would provide them with fair warning in comments. Usually, the thread gets moved to chat if it gets long enough anyway. If things get out of hand, I would start deleting comments.

R.M R.M answered: I'd treat them just like I would any other user... tell them to politely to cut it out in the comments and then escalate if that doesn't help. Don't see why they should be treated with kid gloves, when they should've known better than to behave in such a manner.

F'x F'x answered: a comment first… then, if the discussion is heated, the next step might be a super-ping to ask them to come to the chat and discuss it (if the discussion is ongoing, there are around to respond to the super-ping)

F'x F'x continued: if they don't respond to comment nor come to chat, they I would migrate the comment thread into chat… it's actually a nice item of the mod toolbox


Sjoerd C. de Vries Sjoerd C. de Vries asked: Previously, some users voiced their concern about having anonymous moderators. What do you think?

J. M. J. M. answered: I am of the belief that I can do a good job, even if I am only using my initials in my username.

Verbeia Verbeia answered: I'm not really anonymous. My real name is able to be worked out through a bit of googling of my handle here. But I think those who know my identity appreciate that because of my work, I'd like to maintain a patina of anonymity. If that is a problem, I would step back from the position.

R.M R.M answered: I don't think that's a concern. What should really matter is their participation, behaviour and contribution to the community. People should be allowed to keep their privacy if they so desire.

  • Sjoerd C. de Vries Sjoerd C. de Vries remarked: I had been posting anonymously (well, pseudonymously) for a couple of years on MathGroup when I decided that answering Mathematica questions isn't much of a criminal offense and really couldn't be used against you (perhaps to prove you're a nerd), so I switched to using my own name.

    Sjoerd C. de Vries Sjoerd C. de Vries continued: It also builds some track record that can be used if you ever decide to apply for a Mathematica-related job.

    R.M R.M responded: You're right, it's useful in applying to jobs and there's nothing wrong in mathematica discussions, but I'm still not comfortable posting completely non-anonymously... This is a step closer to the real identity, as you might know, but I guess I just need more time. I've mostly been a silent consumer of online information, not a contributor (except for the past couple of years), so this feeling is still something "new" for me.

F'x F'x answered: My personnal opinion is that my real-life ID is no more useful to people who interact with me than my SE ID. I am defined by what I do here, and all I do here is recorded under my account (well, technically, it's various interlinked accounts with the same name). That's all people should care about.

F'x F'x continued: I would personally object to a policy of requiring mods to use their real ID (doing it site-wide, with mods and users alike, would be a different matter)

F'x F'x concluded: I have an anecdote relating to this issue, showing that real ID can sometimes be detrimental: my IRL id is not so much a secret, and I have given it out in Chemistry chat sometimes… then, one user on the site who is a student, started to call me "professor" and use a much more formal language, as if I were his university professor… I found it somewhat detrimental to the "easy going" chat talk we usually have

  • Well, that extended discussion wasn't really meant as a response... it was just idle chatter :D
    – rm -rf Mod
    Sep 20, 2012 at 6:29
  • I included the few bits that I did since they seemed a bit related to your position, but I can remove them if you feel that they don't add anything :)
    – Tim Stone
    Sep 20, 2012 at 6:35

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

J. M. J. M. answered: I'd talk to the other mod in the chat room reserved for mods first, asking about his reasoning. If we can't agree, I'd let the third mod break the deadlock.

Verbeia Verbeia answered: I would discuss it with them in chat. I am less worried about closed questions as deleted ones. There are a number of closed questions (especially those closed as Too Localised) that actually have pretty good answers. I would not want to delete them. Actually that is as close as I get to a policy platform: "welcome newbies and don't delete closed questions that have good answers".

R.M R.M answered: Discuss the issue with them first to see their reasoning — maybe they have a different point of view or there were other circumstances not immediately obvious to me, which would persuade me to change my mind. I'd probably discuss it in the public room and not the private one because if instead it were 5 users that hastily closed something, I'd be talking to them in a public room.

F'x F'x answered: moderation chat room is the tool for that… it's very useful. Also, I think when mod don't really agree to a decision (or when there is a strong dissent), it's very useful to take input from the community: see what people commented on the question, if they voted to close/reopen (after all, the community will in time be the primary mean of questions closing), maybe even ask in chat (or in meta, if the issue is general enough)


Grace Note Grace Note 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?

J. M. J. M. answered: I would still try to discuss things with the other mods in the mod-only chat room, but if we are still at an impasse, I'd probably ask the community at large for some assistance, via meta.

Verbeia Verbeia answered: We should discuss in chat or meta if it is a really gnarly one. But if we aren't sure, and there is only one flag, then I would leave it. If there is a real problem, the post would attract more than one flag.

R.M R.M answered: If the moderators are in a gridlock, then I'd turn to the community for suggestions on how to handle it (either in meta or in chat), taking reasonable precaution to maintain the privacy of those involved (if necessary).

F'x F'x answered: it would strongly depend on the nature of the flag… but overall, a post getting a single flag and noöne feeling strongly enough about it to take action would seem to me like a situation where no action might be the best course of action… I would then clear the flag, and drop a note about it on the mod chatroom

F'x F'x continued: on the other hand, if noöne's taken action because it's hotly debated, I would fall back on my previous answer… look for feedback from the community

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