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2022 Moderator Election

nomination began
Aug 15, 2022 at 20:00
election began
Aug 22, 2022 at 20:00
election ended
Aug 30, 2022 at 20:00
candidates
5
positions
4

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 are 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

Every election has three phases:

  1. Nomination
  2. Primary
  3. 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. What is your relation with the Latin (and Greek) language? What role does it play in your studies, work, leisure, or other life?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. Do you feel that basic translation questions from English to Latin have a place in this community, e.g. translating short snippets of text for tattoos?

[Answer 4 here]

  1. Would your approach to moderation lean more towards permissiveness, or more towards intervention?

[Answer 5 here]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 6 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 7 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 8 here]

Joonas Ilmavirta

I'm happy to continue as a moderator if you so choose. You have probably seen me as a user and as a moderator often enough on the site, and those past actions are a better description of what I will do in the future than any promise I could write here.

A moderator serves all the users and acts as an intermediary between the users and the broader context (the network, the software, other sites, the company). The goal of my actions is to facilitate your continued easy and enjoyable use of this site. I want this site to remain a place where we can discuss and learn about Latin and related topics in a friendly and civil atmosphere. I want this site to be interesting to those who are interested in Latin.

If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to ask. One good venue for that is our election chat room.

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?

My immediate reaction would be three-pronged: (1) deleting outright abusive content immediately, (2) leaving comments to steer the discussions in a better direction, and (3) discussing the issue with fellow moderators. What follows depends on what the result of the initial action is and how our other users react to the problematic one.

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

I'd bring it up in our moderator chat. I don't need to get things my way, but I do like to know the reasoning behind the action if I find it surprising. There is certainly room for disagreement within the moderator team, and it is important that opinions be aired freely. Discussions like this help all moderators learn (I still keep learning, too) and build towards a more unified policy. The discussions within the current team have been very frank and productive, and I hope that continues.

  1. What is your relation with the Latin (and Greek) language? What role does it play in your studies, work, leisure, or other life?

I have studied Latin as a minor subject during my bachelor's and master's, and I am qualified to teach Latin in a Finnish high school. Nowadays most of my Latin activity is on this site, but I do occasionally take up translation projects either on my own whim or by request of a musician. I am by no means a Latin scholar; my academic work is in a different field. I know only very basic Greek.

  1. Do you feel that basic translation questions from English to Latin have a place in this community, e.g. translating short snippets of text for tattoos?

I don't think this is for moderators to decide. These questions make up a sizable fraction of our influx, so choosing a policy on them is up to the whole community (on meta and through voting on main). That said, I think such questions are welcome, provided they provide enough context (either directly or in response to comments) and are simply interesting enough.

Our scope is primarily defined by how all users vote (including closing and reopening). Meta discussion is secondary and moderator opinion is tertiary. I have my opinions just like anyone else, but moderation is based more on the opinion of the community.

  1. Would your approach to moderation lean more towards permissiveness, or more towards intervention?

Depends. Most of the functions in a community like ours must be bottom-up, and most of the interventions should come from normal users in the form of comments, votes, and flags. Moderators can then react to what the community wishes; I much prefer acting as a moderator when guided by the community.

But there are also cases where I think quick interventions is the best course of action. For example, if we keep an unclear question open, then both the asker and the answerer can easily get frustrated; everyone would end up happier if we had first closed the question and not let anyone get started answering before the goal was clarified.

Matters like this are not entirely up to a moderator's opinion; I as a single moderator enforce decisions made together by the whole community on meta or in smaller cases by the whole moderator team in our chat, and I have no issue acting as agreed even if my own preference is somewhat different.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are volunteers who together take upon themselves some responsibility of keeping the site useful and enjoyable for all of us. Different moderators can take vastly different roles: making new and old users feel welcome, curating posts and comments, discussing matters in meta and chat, dealing with problematic posts and users, helping users with issues, and more. I would be happy to continue doing a bit of all of the above. Most importantly, moderators are active users of the site, not outsiders to our community.

The key to being a good moderator, in my opinion, is to keep a clear goal in mind. I want this site to remain a place where we can discuss and learn about Latin and related topics in a friendly and civil atmosphere. I want this site to be interesting to those who are interested in Latin.

  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?

Not an issue. I have made a point to myself about using my real name here. I will only do and say things that I can stand behind. Of course I will make mistakes every now and then, but mistakes can be recognized and corrected.

  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?

Most of the things I have done as a moderator so far I could have done as a high-reputation user. The most important part of moderator privileges to me has been being able to participate in private moderator discussions both on this site and to a lesser degree across the various sites of the network. That helps build and maintain a big picture of our site and provides a context in which the powerful moderator tools can then be used. (There are various reasons, some of them legal, why some things cannot be discussed in the public chat.)

Many of the abilities that the moderator status brings I would consider janitorial. It is far more common to correct a typo in an old comment than to use any of the heavier tools.

Being a moderator also takes away some powers. I would prefer moderators being able to vote to close or reopen a question with a normal vote rather than all our votes having immediate effect.

Cerberus

Ave! (Not avete, as we have learned.)

This is a pretty good site, and I'd like to continue moderating it. It is not that much work, because other users and moderators do a lot, and because Latin is a small and mature-minded site. But I do feel greatly responsible to protect it.

You can often find me in chat, or address me in a comment. My hours are 'Mid-Atlantic' (I know, not good).

My primary objective is to keep the site as friendly, open, and welcoming as possible. I think this is even more important than removing problematic things. After a long time, people tend to grow weary of seeing the same mistakes made by new users. This is completely understandable. But I think it is why websites often become less tolerant and more in-crowdy as they age; I have seen this all over Stack Exchange.

But we can prevent that. I feel we should always look back to 2016 and remember how we managed to do it then: if we try, we can continue to put aside irritations and view our site with a fresh spirit.

My favourite author is probably Lucretius, because his approach is so rational, or perhaps Tacitus, because of Agrippina.

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?

The normal approach on Stack Exchange, as in real life, is to first talk to the user, if necessary repeatedly. If that doesn't work, and he troubles the site too much, send a special Moderator Message, to try and convey some gravitas.

If this user creates issues serious enough to constitute a real problem for other users, and especially if that happens frequently, and he won't listen to reason, we choose the site over this user, so he will be suspended for a short time. I hate doing that, but luckily it is extremely rare here. If short suspensions have no effect, he will be suspended indefinitely, and new accounts will be suspended on sight.

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

When this happens, we just talk to each other in the moderators' chat room. After some discussion, it has always been fairly easy to reach a solution, either way. It usually depends on which moderator feels more strongly about the issue. I have never seen another moderator have a position I could not sympathise with to a considerable degree.

  1. What is your relation with the Latin (and Greek) language? What role does it play in your studies, work, leisure, or other life?

In primary school, I remember finding a page torn from a Latin book somewhere. It had only vocabulary on it. I liked it so much that I actually memorised some words. Now I hate memorising words, even Latin ones, but I was a stupid child. I still remember the word gladius from it. Later I went to a gymnasium, where Latin and Greek are compulsory, and I read classics at university. This site is now my lifeline to the classics, though I do teach some Latin and Greek to children in high school (ages 12–18).

  1. Do you feel that basic translation questions from English to Latin have a place in this community, e.g. translating short snippets of text for tattoos?

I really do not like those questions myself. But many users like answering them, so I think that is reason enough to allow them.

The old question on Meta resulted in a policy where such questions are required to show what the asker has tried, and, most importantly, they must contain as much context as the asker can reasonably provide. Explain what you mean by the English phrase, and tell us what you want to do with the translation, why you want it. The goal here is to make the asker do some of the work, not let the answerers provide a gamut of possible translations depending on what the asker could possibly have intended. It seems a reasonable compromise, for the time being.

  1. Would your approach to moderation lean more towards permissiveness, or more towards intervention?

I naturally lean towards permissiveness. I prefer as little intervention as possible. Yes, that is because I am lazy, but there is more. In principle, I feel that adults normally do not need a third party to intervene when there is disagreement, and that they can deal with it themselves when treated rudely (within reason). (In chat, there is an 'ignore' button, which lets you ignore another user completely: I generally prefer this solution over censoring or silencing others. I wish we had it for comments.)

Regardless, moderators speak with one mouth, so to speak, however many heads they have; we can't each carry out conflicting policies. And policy is determined primarily by what all the site's users want, be it expressed on Meta or elsewhere. So that is what moderators should try to follow above all other concerns. At any rate, we moderators have always managed to agree on some approach fairly easily, even though it may not be exactly what each of us would have preferred; so that works well. We can 'totally' see the point of others and understand their reasoning even when we feel differently.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

The essential task of moderators is to do what other users can't for lack of technical permissions, such as deleting spam immediately, or suspending highly disruptive users. Our site could run perfectly well for a long time without problems, with only that task addressed. And even those things are exceedingly rare here.

An auxiliary function, shared with other experienced users, is generally watching over the quality of the site, and trying to dissolve social friction between users. These two things come together in talking to new users who don't know our ways yet, e.g. welcoming a new user and commenting on how a poorly worded question can be improved. Other experienced users do much of this work, and I think moderators do it no differently.

  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?

The Internet often does not bring out the best in people, and I have on occasion been more...fiery or opinionated than I should have liked in hindsight. All I can say is that I try to be nice.

  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 do believe that most things moderators do can be—and are—done by other experienced users. But, after twelve years on Stack Exchange, and a couple moderating this site, I have found it useful being able to access some of the diagnostics behind the network, e.g. when there is a user who causes problems on many sites in the network, or to delete an aggressive comment immediately, convert a non-answer into a comment, etc.

Adam

I have more than a decade of experience in community moderation in both professional and personal settings. This is a special community with a genuine spirit of collaboration and learning, and a tone that other communities should aspire to. I'd love to give back and help the community as a moderator.

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?

I would coach the user through comments, chats, and editing so that they learn to author replies that generate arguments and flags.

  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 action directly with the moderator so I can understand why they chose to close or delete. If I still disagree after that and feel strongly about it, I would then present my rationale for re-opening to the other moderator.

  1. What is your relation with the Latin (and Greek) language? What role does it play in your studies, work, leisure, or other life?

I've been learning Latin non-professionally for a little over two years. As a self-professed history and mythology nerd, it's been a goal for a while and my only regret is I wish I had started sooner!

  1. Do you feel that basic translation questions from English to Latin have a place in this community, e.g. translating short snippets of text for tattoos?

Yes; the poster should provide as much context as possible and it's good if they try to translate on their own, but I don't consider that a requirement. Questions like these are an opportunity to generate discussions between those that want to help, and an opportunity to educate someone new.

  1. Would your approach to moderation lean more towards permissiveness, or more towards intervention?

I lean towards permissive, provided the conversation at hand is still helpful in some way. Having said that, even if I thought a comment or answer should stay it doesn't mean that I wouldn't still edit it to improve the tone.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

At their core, moderators are there to help members get the most out of a community. They can do this through removing low-quality or abusive content and editing, but also through comments that help prompt members to improve the quality of their interactions.

  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?

Yes, I am comfortable with this; I don't feel that any of my answers, questions, or comments would seem strange from a moderator.

  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?

Feeling a sense of responsibility and ownership is a powerful motivator. For me, being a moderator means that I have a responsibility to the members of the site, and that is a much stronger impetus for me personally than increasing a score. Being a member with a high rep may let me take some more exclusive actions, but I'm taking those actions as just another member of the site and not as a person who is dedicating themselves to the goal of moderation.

Draconis

Hello all! I'm Draconis, and I've been a pro tempore moderator here since the previous election.

I've generally tried to take a hands-off approach as much as possible, leaving things to the users in any way I can. We have enough active users to close or open things on their own, for example, and I think it's better for the community to be making those decisions than for moderators to hand out judgements from on high.

And so far, I think this has worked out quite well. Direct action from the mods has sometimes been needed, like to suspend long-term problem users or handle issues that stretch across multiple StackExchange sites, but in my (biased) opinion, I think that our current pro-tem mod team has done a good job of ruling with a light touch and asking for community input whenever there's a question of how to proceed. With the recent sockpuppet issue, for example, the community was able to weigh in on which approach they'd prefer, rather than deciding behind closed doors—and I think that's the way policy decisions should be made, when possible. The moderators serve the community, not the other way around.

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?

If the arguments and flags are minor things (like using a tone that's too aggressive), the solution might be as simple as talking to the author in the comments and asking them to be more polite. Time will tell if they take the advice or not; if they don't, systematically deleting the comments is a good next step before escalating further.

If the issue is more severe and disruptive than that and is causing significant issues for the community (using racial slurs, for example), delete the comments and send a mod message to the user telling them this behavior is unacceptable and needs to change. If they continue, suspension.

I believe the flags raised by the community (both the number and the comments attached) will generally indicate which course of action is more appropriate.

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

The Curia (our moderator chat room) is fairly active here, and is a good way to discuss issues like this. If I end up convincing the other mod that the question should remain open, they can undelete or reopen it.

If the other mod remains unconvinced, though, the community still has a way to make their voice heard. If the community agrees with me, they can vote to reopen closed questions, or take the core of the question and ask it again, avoiding the issues that led to it being closed the first time, or bring up the issue on Meta. I respect the other moderators' judgements but am happy to let the community overrule them.

  1. What is your relation with the Latin (and Greek) language? What role does it play in your studies, work, leisure, or other life?

I started studying Latin in high school and Greek in university, and eventually graduated with a minor in classics. Now quite a lot of my research is focused on ancient languages and I continue to take Latin and Greek courses when my schedule allows; I'm distinctly still an amateur, but I have a passion for these languages and enjoy the opportunity this site gives me to interact with them on a daily basis.

  1. Do you feel that basic translation questions from English to Latin have a place in this community, e.g. translating short snippets of text for tattoos?

Personally, I think it depends on the amount of effort shown, and how interesting the question would be to answer. Sometimes these basic questions can lead to an interesting discussion of synonyms, for example. And the community has decided that "low-effort" translation questions should be considered off-topic, through a series of Meta discussions.

But, what exactly counts as "low-effort" is up to the users, not the moderators, to decide. Especially now that it only takes three votes to close or open a question, moderators rarely have to step in for closing or opening questions. Unless something is obviously off-topic, I'm happy to stand back and let the community handle this.

  1. Would your approach to moderation lean more towards permissiveness, or more towards intervention?

Permissiveness. Not in the sense of ignoring the rules, but in the sense of staying hands-off as much as possible: in my experience, most of the issues our community encounters don't require moderator intervention, since they can be taken care of through the user-facing mechanisms of downvotes and close votes. Even tools that are only available to moderators, like migrating questions, can be requested by users through flagging—and questions of policy, like what is worthy of a suspension, can be discussed on Meta.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Most "moderation" tasks in our community are actually handled by users. Bad questions and answers are downvoted, off-topic ones are closed, unfriendly comments are flagged, and policy is decided on Meta.

The role of a moderator is to handle anything that slips through the cracks, that can't be handled by these existing systems for whatever reason. Someone needs to evaluate the flags and notice long-term patterns of problems.

  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 currently have a diamond, so it's not much of a change.

More seriously, I think the most important thing is to realize that a diamond doesn't make someone infallible, and it's not just allowed but encouraged to criticize mod decisions on Meta. We're the custodians of the site, not its rulers.

  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?

Even in a relatively-small community like this, issues arise that need human intervention. Going through the review queues helps, but there also needs to be someone looking at comment flags to take care of community issues, for example, or checking with moderators from other sites if a local problem user is part of a larger pattern.

cmw

I'm cmw and I would like to continue as a moderator of this site. As the other pro temp moderators can attest, I get along with and fit in nicely with the moderation team as it is now, and offer not only expertise in Latin and Classical studies but also experience in how the site runs, helping to ensure that it remains an enjoyable experience for all users.

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?

I'm in favor of (and the moderator team has adopted this approach) incremental intervention in the order of: conversation -> confrontation -> correction -> coercion.

First finding among the moderators one with whom the user has the best rapport to attempt to elucidate the problem. If that goes nowhere, a moderator message is sent to issue a warning of sorts. If the problem doesn't subsist, corrective actions, such as temporary suspensions, can be issued. Finally, if nothing works, the user is banned. This is done with unanimous or near-unanimous consent of the moderators. However, decisions for disciplinary actions are actually user-led, in that our actions a chiefly (but not wholly) in reaction to user complaints. We do try to have a charitable reading of reported comments to prevent over-reaction, that said if users are complaining and the moderators agree, the standard SE thinking is that a knowledgeable user who creates a hostile environment is still a net negative for the site.

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

The first step is to inquire about the reasons for the closure. The current mod team is very open with each other, and thankfully this site is largely easy-going enough that nothing is too pressing. But when issues do arise, we check in with each other first before doing anything drastic. I'm a big advocate of collaboration here, and that seems to be working well on this site.

That said, it's much easier to re-open an imperfect question before it gains traction than closing a bad one that has gained some attention. This sometimes plays out ok, but other times has led to user frustration, which is what we'd like to avoid.

  1. What is your relation with the Latin (and Greek) language? What role does it play in your studies, work, leisure, or other life?

I left academia and teaching a few years back, but studying the Classics remains a huge part of my life. I have a PhD in Classics and have been studying it for 20+ years now. Besides, no matter what I do, I cannot give up my interest in and pursuit of understanding antiquity. The draw is too great!

  1. Do you feel that basic translation questions from English to Latin have a place in this community, e.g. translating short snippets of text for tattoos?

From a user's perspective (and not as a moderator), I'm ambivalent about them. I think they can be fun for some users, but others have expressed dissatisfaction with their proliferation. And they rarely bring in new users. My vote would be to go the route of the Japanese site: ban these types of translation requests entirely. We are not a translation service and no one is getting paid for this. Moreover, tattoos and mottoes generally don't translate well to a deeper understanding the language.

As a moderator, my personal opinions are set aside and I just follow the rules and the community's expressed wishes.

  1. Would your approach to moderation lean more towards permissiveness, or more towards intervention?

Somewhere in the middle, which is the seat I occupy now. There is a real danger in overreaction, which is why I've tried to be as open as possible when answering questions in Meta. Yet I've seen too many forums in the past shed all but its dedicated users by allowing rampant incivility or unequal rule-breaking. If a user isn't really harming anyone, I'm generally more permissive, though I do believe it can help to just have a friendly conversation with someone who is struggling to fit in.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Sweep, mop, and empty the trash is the main game. However, there is also a sense of duty that we have to help grow the site and make meaningful and positive contributions. While anyone can bring up ideas in Meta, moderators get to see the big picture and some things behind the scenes, which can help in tackling problems or advocating solutions.

  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?

There's already a diamond there, so that issue is already present. But I'm always happy to correct mistakes I've made. I've actually gone back to old posts and edited out slip-ups or unclear answers, and even this week a user pointed out a error that I fixed in an answer. I sometimes give a hasty answer, but I do yearn to give correct information.

  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 do believe that I am a beneficial member of the moderator team and have such a thorough knowledge of the process and system behind StackExchange now that I can quickly and efficiently (mostly!) take care of problems that the users can't otherwise fully see, like some subtle rule-breaking. But chiefly I'm on here often enough that I can rapidly respond to spammers (which, thankfully, isn't too bad!).

This election is over.