In connection with the moderator elections, we will be holding a Q&A with the candidates. This will be an opportunity for members of the community to pose questions to the candidates on the topic of moderation. Participation is completely voluntary.

The purpose of this thread was to collect questions for the questionnaire. The questionnaire is now live, and you may find it here.

Here's how it'll work:

  • During the nomination phase, (so, until Monday, June 16th at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 4:00 pm EDT on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.

  • We, the Community Team, will be providing a small selection of generic questions. The first two will be guaranteed to be included, the latter ones are if the community doesn't supply enough questions. This will be done in a single post, unlike the prior instruction.

  • This is a perfect opportunity to voice questions that are specific to your community and issues that you are running into at current.

  • At the end of the phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions. We reserve some editorial control in the selection of the questions and may opt not to select a question that is tangential or irrelevant to moderation or the election. That said, if I have concerns about any questions in this fashion, I will be sure to point this out in comments before the decision making time.

  • Once questions have been selected, a new question will be opened to host the actual questionnaire for the candidates, containing 10 questions in total.

  • This is not the only option that users have for gathering information on candidates. As a community, you are still free to, for example, hold a live chat session with your candidates to ask further questions, or perhaps clarifications from what is provided in the Q&A.

If you have any questions or feedback about this new process, feel free to post as a comment here.

15 Answers 15


It is my impression that U&L regulars tend to consider the site to be fairly high-quality and welcoming.

Yet U&L is way below average among SE sites when it comes to questions with at least one upvoted answers. And not everyone shares this impression of being welcomed.

What are the major areas in which U&L should improve? If this is something that moderators have a role in, what do you propose to do about it? If not, what should we (meaning all users) be doing?

  • Based on the comments left by Chris on my nomination this is very troubling to me as well. As to the list it's saying that there are 15% of our Q's w/o an A or 15% of our Q's are w/o an A or have an A but w/o any UV's on the A's?
    – slm Mod
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 12:29
  • As to the position on stats, if you sort it by traffic we're # 9. Of the top 10 by traffic we're # 3 on the list w/ Q's A'ed, beating out SO, SU, SF, and SU, so I'm not sure what any of this is really telling us.
    – slm Mod
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 12:39
  • 1
    @slm Parse error: abbreviation overflow. If you're asking what stackexchange.com/sites#percentanswered counts, read my answer here. (Well, technically I think it's questions with at least one answer with a positive score.) Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 15:07
  • 2
    Sorry where's the A I should read?
    – slm Mod
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 17:12
  • @slm re first comment: unanswered rate, the "15%" that are considered unanswered means that doesn't have any answer with positive score this includes both, questions w/o answers and questions with answers. re 2nd comment, I presume you are referring to the top 10 sites by traffic in which we are the #3 only behind Arqade and ELU, in that case you are right. Out the 10 more popular sites we are in a far 3rd place when answered rate refers to (1st ELU with 99% and 2nd Gaming with 97%).
    – Braiam
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 18:52
  • @Braiam - so that would seem to cast the perceived low rate in Q's w/ or w/o an A's (all together or w/o a UV) in a positive light, IMO.
    – slm Mod
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 19:35

In which time-zone do you normally operate? And, in UTC, what hours of the day can you be expected to be available for moderation?¹

¹ This question is prompted by my impression that any delayed response/action by moderators up until now (if any), was the result of the unfortunate clustering of the moderators in a small band of time-zones.


How do you feel about one line answers which only feature a single piece of code? Something like:

cat /etc/host.conf

  • 1
    ... And of course, weigh in at meta.unix.stackexchange.com/questions/2908/…
    – derobert
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 21:46
  • 3
    Perhaps relatedly is code-only answers, with no explanation.
    – phemmer
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 0:01
  • @Patrick it's "code-only answers" that I'm referring to ;), just that I didn't want to use that terminology.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 13:38

How will you participate in closing & deleting?

As a moderator, the action of closing a question, opening a closed one, deleting an answer, etc, takes immediate effect, and does not require consensus from multiple users.
How will this affect your closing & deleting behavior? Will you:

  1. Close questions just as you normally would cast a vote?
  2. Close if the question has existing votes indicating a trend?
  3. Abstain from closing except in rare circumstances? And what would that be?
  4. Take some other stance?

(options apply to the other actions -- opening, deleting, etc -- as well)


As Stack Exchange sites go, let alone communities on the Internet in general, U&L is pretty low on strife. This might be surprising considering how people will go to war over editor choices, init systems or kernel design. Why do you think that is, and most importantly, how would you cope if this changed?


What is your view of help vampirism? Is it an existential threat to the community, or just another term for the elite to use to exclude newcomers?

How would you translate this view into your moderation practice?

  • 3
    This document is oft quoted in relation to the issue, and although it contains an interesting analysis about information deficit, it also references "virtual bedouins" and "gypsy-like behavior" as "when they have exhausted all the resources, leaving the community itself drained and adrift." All in the context of an "infestation". We're talking about minority groups which are not having it easy. It is troubling.
    – user44370
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 21:05

What would you do with "GIV' ME TEH CODEZ" kind of questions? Close them, edit them, anything else?


How do you feel a blatantly incorrect answer should be handled? By blatantly incorrect I don't mean an obvious fat finger:

Q: How can I see how long my linux box has been running without a reboot?
A: yptime

I'm talking about a fundamentally incorrect answer:

Q: When I run uptime what do the load average numbers mean?
A: 1st is your power level, 2nd is your RAM temp, 3rd is your time flux capacitor usage

  • 3
    More interesting might be to extend this to things that are 'bad' rather than 'wrong'. Like alias rm=trash.
    – Caleb
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 15:29
  • @Caleb I'll leave that to the nominees, if they want to expand on it they are more than welcome
    – Creek
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 15:35

Abuse comes in different ways/forms. Some sort occur by some user unknowingly, others well intentioned, and the nasty kind. In this context, what's the most frequent form of abuse you see on the site and what you can do as moderator to prevent it/fix it?


Some candidates are apparently so bad at using their editor that they left bits of editor commands in their nomination post.

If you're one of them, do you think that despite your poor computer usage skills, you'll be able to master the moderator tools?

If you aren't one of them, would you be able to work with a colleague who is, or do you think they should be kept out at all costs?


Here is a set of general questions, gathered as very common questions asked every election. As mentioned in the instructions, the first two questions are guaranteed to show up in the Q&A, while the others are if there aren't enough questions (or, if you like one enough, you may split it off as a separate answer for review within the community's 8).

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

  • In your opinion, what do moderators do?
  • 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?
  • In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

In the context of Is the Unix C API still on-topic?, how do you feel about these kind of questions, are they within the scope of Unix & Linux?

  • 1
    I thought this was already discussed 8-)
    – slm Mod
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 12:09
  • 1
    @slm if you see the timeline it seems still an active topic (some votes are moving after I posted this), and until the waters calm down (a conclusion is reached) moderators may have to call shots based on their own judgment.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 18:44

I know we all are here to ask/answer questions and in the process learning something new each and every day. But what fun quotient will you bring to the community? I see there is a tag as fun in the meta site but I hardly see any question related to fun activity in it.

  • Ok, I get it from the downvote. But it would be nicer if they had mentioned the reason for dv. All work and no play makes jack a dull boy.
    – Ramesh
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 16:28
  • 3
    Because we hate fun? (Except involving cows, somehow.) Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 17:51
  • @Gilles No, it's Stack Overflow that hates fun. Here, we love fun. Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 18:42
  • Ok, I get it that we are not here for fun. So what is the tag fun supposed to be? Why is it used? Apparently, the very core reason of this site's sanity is being compromised here. I am not against downvoting, but those downvoting please let me know the reason atleast.
    – Ramesh
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 0:46
  • Do you see the "fun" tag in the main site ;).
    – Braiam
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 2:18
  • Ha, apparently the moderators will still be responsible for running the meta site too right? :)
    – Ramesh
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 2:19

Why should it be more interesting that an answer is bad as opposed to wrong in a discussion about the tasks of a moderator? How is an answer's overall worth relevant at all to any single member of a community purportedly devoted to collectively deciding on exactly that?

  • 1
    ...for the simple reason that the urge to intervene with mod powers will be stronger. Not that the case is different just the temptation stronger. Hence why I would ask candidates about the issue including that variant of the situation.
    – Caleb
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 4:47
  • @Caleb - I had hoped that was your reason. And now I have asked it.
    – mikeserv
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 15:43
  • Well then, I guess I've already shown my cards on that one ;)
    – Caleb
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 15:58

If you really had to... I mean, you've exhausted all possible alternatives and you're absolutely certain that they're limited to only these two...

Would you:

  1. Throw-up?

  2. Install Windows?

Also... and though I understand that a moderator's primary purpose is to resolve conflict I also understand that authority of any kind requires the personal strength to use it...

I'd like to know who you think would win in a fight - you or root? Why?

  • 3
    I would sudo and make root install Windows 8.crap over top of his precious Hanah Montana Linux then cowsay Victory! into the sunset
    – Creek
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 20:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .