2021 Moderator Election

nomination began
Sep 27 at 20:00
election began
Oct 4 at 20:00
election ended
Oct 12 at 20:00
candidates
4
positions
3

On Stack Exchange, we believe the core moderators should come from the community, and be elected by the community itself through popular vote. We hold regular elections to determine who these community moderators will be.

Community moderators are accorded the highest level of privilege on our community, and should themselves be exemplars of positive behavior and leaders within the community.

Our general criteria for moderators is as follows:

  • patient and fair
  • leads by example
  • shows respect for their fellow community members in their actions and words
  • open to some light but firm moderation to keep the community on track and resolve (hopefully) uncommon disputes and exceptions

Full elections have three phases and an optional fourth phase (Primary):

  1. Question Collection
  2. Nomination
  3. Primary
  4. Election

Please participate in the moderator elections by voting, and perhaps even by nominating yourself to be a community moderator!

Additional Links

Questionnaire
The community team has compiled questions from meta for the candidates to answer.
  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?

[Answer 1 here]

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

[Answer 2 here]

  1. We get a large number of "What is this element?" questions, which we are great at answering, and provides a good service to the askers, but doesn't really provide much "long term value to the internet". What is your approach to improving these questions to avoid a wall of identical questions?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. How would you weigh the importance of factual knowledge versus interpersonal skills in moderators?

[Answer 4 here]

  1. What would you do about complaints when a user submits many trivial edits?

[Answer 5 here]

  1. How would you handle situations with unwelcoming behaviour towards new users? Be it a blatantly unresearched question, a demonstrably false answer, or even a proper contribution.

[Answer 6 here]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 7 here]

  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?

[Answer 8 here]

  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?

[Answer 9 here]

Ambo100

I have been an active user and moderator of the site since it was created almost 10 years ago.

As well as contributing with questions and answers to the site, I also aim to improve the value of content on the site by editing and re-tagging questions/answers where appropriate to make them clearer to viewers, particularly those who are trying to find our content with search engines.

As a user, I am passionate about giving better publicity to undervalued content by sharing them and offering bounties. My goal is to give 10% of my earned reputation back into bounties to boost growth of the site.

I try to keep active in both our site meta and on the Stack Exchange meta site.

I have attended a LEGO convention to report on and promote the site as well as attending a LEGO fan media event on behalf of the site.

Questionnaire
  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?

This is rarely an issue as users who leave disruptive comments tend to be active members of the community for a short time. Additional warnings may be given to users who deliberately disregard feedback on their comments.

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

I cannot recall a time where this has happened as a moderator as we are generally in agreement most of the time. This is an issue we would discuss in chat, perhaps with other users who may want to give feedback such as the question asker and any users involved in the answers or comments. As a compromise, it may be possible to add clarity or re-phrase a question to make it more appropriate.

  1. We get a large number of "What is this element?" questions, which we are great at answering, and provides a good service to the askers, but doesn't really provide much "long term value to the internet". What is your approach to improving these questions to avoid a wall of identical questions?

These are my least favourite questions on the site but also the most popular, so I would like to bring up the topic again on meta. I would definitely like to see more questions about the creative side of LEGO building.

I have pushed to implement prompts for users who post identification questions to make it clearer that users should make an effort to accurately describe their identification problems but I would like this to go much further to ensure that the site is used as a last resort option for people trying to identify parts/sets. Identification questions with low or zero effort are routinely closed/deleted.

I have posted advice on how to identify parts before, I think more knowledge like this should be easier to find to new users.

  1. How would you weigh the importance of factual knowledge versus interpersonal skills in moderators?

There needs to be a balance. I do not believe there is value in having a moderator who has an expansive knowledge yet no ability to compassionate, understanding, fair and open to criticism.

  1. What would you do about complaints when a user submits many trivial edits?

Trivial edits in the review for users who do not have enough reputation may be discarded. Further issues can be resolved by contacting the user.

  1. How would you handle situations with unwelcoming behaviour towards new users? Be it a blatantly unresearched question, a demonstrably false answer, or even a proper contribution.

Answers that have are inaccurate, false or unresearched will be downvoted, or even deleted if they are malicious. Answers that are rude or disruptive may be edited if they have any value in the actual information given.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

On a day to day basis, moderators deal with reviewing content but they also should take an active part in the community. They me required to make difficult decisions and deal with difficult users.

Moderators should be accountable for their actions, open to criticism and open to different ideas. Their behaviour and actions often influence the impression of new users so they should be fair and friendly.

Zhaph - Ben Duguid

Having followed Bricks during its proposal, and being an active member of during the private beta, I was invited to become one of the first pro-tem moderators of the site. Helping to run this community is something I've been passionate about for nearly 10 years now, from guiding our initial direction, encouraging openness to compatible brands, to working on a prototype JS library to embed bricks on the site, as well as stepping in when required to ensure a friendly and welcoming site for all - by our very nature we attract a wide range of visitors, and so we need to be welcoming and encouraging, and that starts with those of us that are the most established.

Points against me

I tend mostly to lurk on the edges of the Moderators Team site - while I have raised issues for the site on Meta.SE, I could certainly be more involved in the Moderators team.

Questionnaire
  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?

Thankfully, this is fairly rare here on Bricks, but there have been a couple of occasions. Usually it has been due to a misunderstanding or difference of starting assumptions, and can be cleared up with a couple of comments or a slight edit. However if there's a persistent issue, then I would start with inviting the user to a private chat room and remind them that we're trying to be a friendly, welcoming place, and if that's not something they want to participate in recommend that they take some time out.

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

In general, the community has been fairly consistent about what makes a good, on-topic question, and most moderation has been when either the question is obviously unsalvageable, or has already collected a couple of close votes. If I were to see a question that had been closed by one of the other mods without any comment to the OP explaining why, and I felt this wasn't right, I'd start by reaching out in chat to the mod, and finding out what prompted the action. From there, we could agree that this was the correct action, or I'd propose an edit and see if that was acceptable to the OP.

  1. We get a large number of "What is this element?" questions, which we are great at answering, and provides a good service to the askers, but doesn't really provide much "long term value to the internet". What is your approach to improving these questions to avoid a wall of identical questions?

Assuming there's a good description of the element, along with some pictures, then where possible, I tend to try and at least edit the question title to describe the core element being sort - that way we can provide a bit more value to others if they are searching the web for "LEGO Mudguard" or similar, and it also helps me remember which posts I've already seen ;)

  1. How would you weigh the importance of factual knowledge versus interpersonal skills in moderators?

Interpersonal skills are what really define any community leader, whether they have a diamond or not. The role of the mods is really to help the community function well, providing a fix when things go wrong (spam, etc.) or liaising with the Stack Exchange Community Team rather than being able to answer every single question. Factual knowledge can usually be found with a good knowledge of search engines.

  1. What would you do about complaints when a user submits many trivial edits?

There can be a number of reasons for this - ranging from someone going through and finding all the posts with external images hosted on non-secure sites and moving them to a secure host, to just ensuring all mentions of the word "LEGO" are in caps. If the edits are not adding any value at all (i.e. they're not correcting spelling, making the post clearer, etc.), and are happening repeatedly, and they are in the review queue then my first course of action would be to reject the edits. If however they're being performed by someone with enough rep to skip the review queue, then a comment or quick chat is usually enough to solve the problem.

  1. How would you handle situations with unwelcoming behaviour towards new users? Be it a blatantly unresearched question, a demonstrably false answer, or even a proper contribution.

Generally, I'd remove the unwelcoming content. I also try and leave an encouraging welcome where suitable - for example on an unresearched question if there were rude comments, I'd likely remove those, and add one welcoming the user, and asking them to edit the question to provide more details around what they had tried, what happened, etc.. For answers, again, a welcoming comment explaining what they could do to improve the answer would be left. In both cases if after a couple of days nothing had happened, I'd likely close the question or delete the answer/convert it to a comment.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

I see the role of the mods to be both an example to the community of how we'd like to behave, as well as using the tools and features we have to help keep our site running smoothly and looking nice. We deal with the things that the rest of the site can't always, such as removing spam, and helping clear unrecoverable questions.

  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 have always tried to act in a way that will help build the site, welcome new users and ensure we don't leave existing users behind. I'm happy for those actions to stand, and carry forward. If anything, having a diamond has made more cautious of using my binding votes (close/delete/etc.) where I like to ensure I've Ieft an explanation before I act.

  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 like to being able to support the communities self-help, clearing flags that have come in over night, getting nudged automatically about new posts on meta, and working with the other mods on making the site better.

zovits

Why would I be a good moderator?

According to my profile, I've been a member of Bricks.SE for seven years as of now, but it certainly feels as if it has always been a part of my life. I enjoy helping other people, either by providing them with the answers they seek or paving their way to receiving great quality answers from others who are more knowledgeable in that particular topic than I am.

So while I'm not the user with the highest reputation nor the one with the most answers, I have either the top or the second place of all but one of the review queues - which should be ample proof of my dedication to the well-being of this community.

With this in mind I still feel I could do more: should the community decide to trust my judgement by letting me use the moderation tools I would employ my skills with the same goals as I did before, just with the improved efficiency offered by the role.

Why I wouldn't be a good moderator?

My presence on the site is spotty (timewise): I may be here for an hour on one day and none on the next. I could certainly be more active on meta. I'm not part of any real-life LEGO clubs so I can't recruit members that way.

Questionnaire
  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?

Bricks.SE rarely evokes heated arguments, so in my view, this is mostly a non-issue. If it were to happen, the first step would be to identify the cause of the disagreement and work from there on a case-by-case basis. Maybe the contributor should adjust their tone or the users who have raised the flags were expecting something different.

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

I'd start by assuming that they had their reasons for acting thus and try to find the reasoning behind their decision. If it boils down to a misunderstanding between us, I'd try to clear it up in private. As a last resort, a meta post can always be opened to let the community decide.

  1. We get a large number of "What is this element?" questions, which we are great at answering, and provides a good service to the askers, but doesn't really provide much "long term value to the internet". What is your approach to improving these questions to avoid a wall of identical questions?

Providing a place where these questions can be asked and answered is undoubtedly a great service for the askers, but also a way to attract new users and let them prove themselves by gathering reputation. In this light, even though such questions are an admittedly poor fit for the knowledge repository format, I'd let the status quo stand as it is. In other words, I'd rather have a wall of similar questions than an empty wall.

  1. How would you weigh the importance of factual knowledge versus interpersonal skills in moderators?

In my view the community is responsible for providing content, while the moderators are the janitors and exception handlers. Therefore the moderators should rather be skilled at gauging the intention of users, spotting the causes of disagreements and nipping problems in their buds. Being able to provide expert answers or to judge the correctness of an answer is only tangential to this.

  1. What would you do about complaints when a user submits many trivial edits?

I'd be inclined to lean on the side of leniency on this matter. The user probably has a valid reason for doing so, and if the edits are not disruptive in their quantity and quality then they have a right to stay. Should they become such overzealous that others complain about them, I would question the user to confirm their intention.

  1. How would you handle situations with unwelcoming behaviour towards new users? Be it a blatantly unresearched question, a demonstrably false answer, or even a proper contribution.

Every user is welcome at Bricks.SE as long as they don't engage in destructive behaviour. Offenders would receive pointers to the relevant parts of the ToS and the available guides, with particularly egregious content unceremoniously removed. I'd do this independently from the user's prior positive or negative contributions or seniority. As a young site covering a relatively small niche we must do everything we can to prevent new users from becoming discouraged from joining and contributing.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are the immune system of a site: responsible for dealing with malicious agents (be them internal or external) and keeping the site in a state of peaceful collaboration.
Moderators are also the groundskeepers of a site: they identify and fix problems (ranging from cleaning up new users' posts to solving philosophical or governance disputes) in order to enable the creation of content.
Last but not least, moderators are still users of the site, with all the usual powers and responsibilities regarding asking, answering, commenting and voting.

  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?

All my contributions have been and will be made in good faith and so I don't expect any problems arising from this. Should anyone have issues with anything, I'm always ready to answer for my actions, admit my mistakes and learn from them, and lastly amend or remove anything false, offensive or against the rules.

  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 intend on keeping up the same behaviour as I have been doing anyways, the only difference will be that the review-queued posts will be processed faster due to not having to wait for more votes or being able to skip my raising a flag and waiting for a moderator to handle it.

jncraton

I've been a member of Bricks for nearly a decade and have contributed in many ways during that time. I've been a mod since 2016 and our ambassador to TLG since we became an officially recognized community in 2017. I've organized events within our community using our support sets from TLG, maintained our relationship with TLG and other fan communities on the LAN, worked to create great content, and helped us build a welcoming environment.

Questionnaire
  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?

As a moderator, it is very rarely my role to "deal with" a user. The vast majority of users are acting in good faith and simply need a little constructive feedback from time to time. I would perform many of the same actions as other community members, such as encouraging respectful discourse via comments and discussion.

Every community is different, and ours tends to be very respectful. It takes patience and guidance to bring folks into the fold who may be used to more combative or insensitive online communities.

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

I would assume good faith. I've never encountered a situation here where mods acted maliciously. I'd assume that the action was either an outright mistake, or a simple difference in judgement due to missing context on the part of myself or the other mod involved. We would talk it out and work together on how best to proceed.

For what it's worth, I've been the mod deleting something that another (former) mod thought should not have been deleted. In that case, there was a post by a new user offering to sell a product as an answer to a question. It was flagged by four users, and I deleted it without looking at it as deeply as I should have. I should have converted it to a comment, which I went back and did once I was called out on this. The comment and surrounding conversation is still up. That interaction is a model for what I'd do if the shoe were on the other foot. I believe this interaction is the most "heated" conversation I've ever had with a mod here, which really speaks to the quality of the community we have.

  1. We get a large number of "What is this element?" questions, which we are great at answering, and provides a good service to the askers, but doesn't really provide much "long term value to the internet". What is your approach to improving these questions to avoid a wall of identical questions?

These questions provide quick help to folks and an easy opportunity to engage for new users. They unfortunately add minimal lasting value to the site. The best approach to making these questions useful long term is to ensure that they are edited to include complete text descriptions of the part to make them searchable in the future.

Our question volume is quite low, so these questions don't bother me. If they were to become a burden on the community, we'd certainly need to revisit how they are handled. As it stands based on voting patterns, it seems like folks enjoy seeing them and answering them. Those questions have certainly surfaced some obscure and interesting parts for me.

Long term, I expect these questions to fade away as machine learning techniques continue to improve and apps to automatically identify parts become mature.

  1. How would you weigh the importance of factual knowledge versus interpersonal skills in moderators?

Interpersonal skills are much more important. It is more important to be able to resolve conflict and welcome new users than it is to be able to perfectly identify duplicate questions or resolve close votes. Many of the technical issues can be handled just fine by the community without mods getting invovled.

  1. What would you do about complaints when a user submits many trivial edits?

The two issues I see here are edits showing up in the review queue and content bubbling to the top of the active list when edited. These both matter, but neither is too disruptive to the functioning of the site. I would direct the complainants to communicate their concerns to the user making the edits. Most reasonable folks would respond to this feedback and bring their behaviors more in line with out community norms.

I believe that I was guilty of making too many small edits as a new user. I used to spend a lot of time editing Wikipedia, where folks literally build tools to make trivial edits faster, so it took me a bit to learn the norms around here. I want to make sure that new users are welcome and we do everything we can to help them learn and connect with our community.

  1. How would you handle situations with unwelcoming behaviour towards new users? Be it a blatantly unresearched question, a demonstrably false answer, or even a proper contribution.

Welcoming new users is core to who we are as a community. If folks are being rude or abusive towards new users, I'd call them out and remove the offending content. For less severe behavior, I'd demonstrate more welcoming behavior myself.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

We do very little above and beyond the other leaders in our community.

Mods have a few extra abilities, we handle flags, and occasionally escalate issues, but other than that, we're just regular users. A few extra technical abilities don't allow mods to lead a community. Moderators are already leaders in the community who happen to be granted a few extra technical abilities.

  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 always strive to act in a way that is kind, respectful, and beneficial, both on this site and elsewhere.

This election is over.