2021 Moderator Election

nomination began
Apr 5 at 20:00
election begins
in 6 days
election ends
on Apr 27 at 20:00
candidates
2
positions
2

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

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!


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?

Answer1hereAnswer 1 here

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

Answer2hereAnswer 2 here

  1. Quoting from the site tour: "Chemistry is a question and answer site for scientists, academics, teachers and students in the field of chemistry." The site clearly aims to be of interest to all chemists—from absolute beginners to reputable academics. Do you think this is truly possible? How would you ensure that beginners aren't turned away by incomprehensible research-level questions, while also enticing so-called "experts" to participate on a site with a lot of uninteresting high school questions? Alternatively, should these target audiences be separated somehow (by setting up a different site, for example)? Please note that I am not referring to being "welcoming", "friendly", or anything pertaining to the tone of interactions on the site. It goes without saying that rudeness is not OK, regardless of whom you are speaking to. I mean this as a more fundamental question about the target audience which the site wants to attract and cultivate.Please note that I am not referring to being "welcoming", "friendly", or anything pertaining to the tone of interactions on the site. It goes without saying that rudeness is not OK, regardless of whom you are speaking to. I mean this as a more fundamental question about the target audience which the site wants to attract and cultivate.

Answer 3 hereAnswer 3 here

  1. Since about one or two years, four of the elected seven moderators no longer participate in the curation of this site. Why do you think their reasons would not apply to you?

Answer 4 hereAnswer 4 here

  1. In light of the new Matter Modeling site, and some users posting questions on both, what are your views on how the sites should interact? Should there be certain types of questions migrated to Matter Modeling? (e.g., that seem to be a better fit.. like ones specific to a particular program) How might cross-promotion work (e.g., some questions at Matter Modeling seem to be a better fit on Chem.SE)

Answer 5 hereAnswer 5 here

  1. How would you handle an established user (say, a member for over six months and over 500 rep points) who is contributing in Q&A in a good faith, but keeps on ignoring site mechanisms and recommended notations? For example, they: post short comments and hints as answers; answer questions by editing them; misuse MathJax (e.g. \ce{pK_a}; \pu{H_2O}; \mathrm{c=n/V}); misuse Markdown (e.g. RANDOM excessive emphasis); don't bother with proper formatting (e.g. post a wall of text or formulas in text mode claiming LaTeX syntax is too hard); don't bother with proper references and post Google query links as such; do partial edits (e.g. only edit tags they are interested in, or do superfluous corrections ignoring blatant errors and text screenshots); write number of moles or just moles in place of amount of substance. You corrected them numerous times in comments or chat rooms. It seems a consensus is reached, but a week passes and it's back to square one. Your actions?

Answer 6 hereAnswer 6 here

  1. As a moderator you will probably have to mediate arguments on this site and its chat rooms. Have you ever yourself been in an argument with another user (on this site)? If yes, how did it come about and how was it handled in the end? Have you ever flared up on this site? If yes, how did it end? As a moderator how would you handle an argument/ someone being rude if it came to your notice?

Answer 7 hereAnswer 7 here

  1. How much time will you be able to dedicate to moderatorial issues? Do you think that being a moderator will take away from the way you are using the site now? Have you been active in chat? If not, will you reconsider and be more available to other users and also moderators via the site's chat rooms? (Hint: There is top-super-secret moderator chat room to coordinate efforts.)

Answer 8 hereAnswer 8 here

  1. The website contains many many closely related if not identical questions, plus new questions probably related to old ones springing up every day. What is your editorial philosophy? For instance, should the site strive to be slim, with a minimalist set of questions, rejecting potential duplicates as much as possible, or somewhat inflated, accepting redundancy? What do you prioritize?

Answer 9 hereAnswer 9 here

  1. Do you believe your role is to improve the site by helping us to change it in some way? If so, what do you think warrants improvement, and what are your suggestions to address these issues?

Answer 10 hereAnswer 10 here

Safdar Faisal

I am a student in my first year of college (as of writing this about myself). I know that I am standing on the shoulders of giants here on this server and the ride has been fun. I might not be the biggest contributor on here but I enjoy editing and cleaning up this forum. I was an active member of 'Spring Cleaning' when I was active on this forum. I have recently been inactive but I can assure you - if I am elected to be moderator, I shall try my level best to be a voice that is heard in this community.

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 look into what caused the flags and arguments. Many flags on this forum are for outdated posts and we have a pretty wholesome community. However, if the flags are for being rude or argumentative, I would ask the party involved to explain their reasons for being rude. If the user fails to respond in a way that is objectively sound, a warning will be given for the first 2 times. If continued, 3 strikes and you are out. As Todd very well put, there are a lot of contributors who contribute sans the drama.

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

I would talk to the moderator involved and ask for why they took the decision they did. Under most conditions, the moderators here have proper reasons to close/delete. If not, they are willing to understand why their decision was flawed.

  1. Quoting from the site tour: "Chemistry is a question and answer site for scientists, academics, teachers and students in the field of chemistry." The site clearly aims to be of interest to all chemists—from absolute beginners to reputable academics. Do you think this is truly possible? How would you ensure that beginners aren't turned away by incomprehensible research-level questions, while also enticing so-called "experts" to participate on a site with a lot of uninteresting high school questions? Alternatively, should these target audiences be separated somehow (by setting up a different site, for example)? Please note that I am not referring to being "welcoming", "friendly", or anything pertaining to the tone of interactions on the site. It goes without saying that rudeness is not OK, regardless of whom you are speaking to. I mean this as a more fundamental question about the target audience which the site wants to attract and cultivate.Please note that I am not referring to being "welcoming", "friendly", or anything pertaining to the tone of interactions on the site. It goes without saying that rudeness is not OK, regardless of whom you are speaking to. I mean this as a more fundamental question about the target audience which the site wants to attract and cultivate.

We gain a lot of our users from Google search and many of these users are high school students looking for an answer to an outdated concept that was deprecated in favor of a more complex but more accurate model. However, this site - I believe - should be able to cater to all the people who come here and are ready to read and properly understand all the rules. We are all human - making a few mistakes here and there is normal. But this site should cater to what is a basic idea of a student - someone who is willing to learn and is ready to put in the work.

  1. Since about one or two years, four of the elected seven moderators no longer participate in the curation of this site. Why do you think their reasons would not apply to you?

Their reasons would not apply to me since they are not reasons that influenced me in any manner. The choices are what they've made and they've explained. My only goal in becoming a moderator is to keep this site open to everyone who - as mentioned above - is a student.

  1. In light of the new Matter Modeling site, and some users posting questions on both, what are your views on how the sites should interact? Should there be certain types of questions migrated to Matter Modeling? (e.g., that seem to be a better fit.. like ones specific to a particular program) How might cross-promotion work (e.g., some questions at Matter Modeling seem to be a better fit on Chem.SE)

Many questions that involve the direct use of computational software and are related to their use are better set in Matter Modelling SE. However, Matter Modelling needs a lot more exposure and as a site that is closely related to Chemistry SE, I believe that letting people know about the site is the first step in making a change. Regards to cross-promotion, the issue lies with above mentioned fact - Matter Modelling and Chemistry both have common topics which makes it difficult to choose one over the other. A more well-defined idea and a link to the site in the rules would help a lot in promoting the site.

  1. How would you handle an established user (say, a member for over six months and over 500 rep points) who is contributing in Q&A in a good faith, but keeps on ignoring site mechanisms and recommended notations? For example, they: post short comments and hints as answers; answer questions by editing them; misuse MathJax (e.g. \ce{pK_a}; \pu{H_2O}; \mathrm{c=n/V}); misuse Markdown (e.g. RANDOM excessive emphasis); don't bother with proper formatting (e.g. post a wall of text or formulas in text mode claiming LaTeX syntax is too hard); don't bother with proper references and post Google query links as such; do partial edits (e.g. only edit tags they are interested in, or do superfluous corrections ignoring blatant errors and text screenshots); write number of moles or just moles in place of amount of substance. You corrected them numerous times in comments or chat rooms. It seems a consensus is reached, but a week passes and it's back to square one. Your actions?

I believe in proper editing of posts and I am ready to go the extra step where others would not. many issues stem from improper understanding and being habituated. A lot of this can be cleaned by showing them what is possible and letting them understand that drama is not a great thing here. You can be poor at syntax at the moment but if you have the capacity to contribute and are willing to learn - Welcome to Chemistry SE. I don't believe this issue is very major with the more established users on this site and the few times I do see it, I am more than happy to clean it up since it helps me get better at edits and cleans the site - to which I owe at least this much.

  1. As a moderator you will probably have to mediate arguments on this site and its chat rooms. Have you ever yourself been in an argument with another user (on this site)? If yes, how did it come about and how was it handled in the end? Have you ever flared up on this site? If yes, how did it end? As a moderator how would you handle an argument/ someone being rude if it came to your notice?

I have been in one argument with a user before. They generated a lot of drama on this site and it felt like it was actively ruining the site itself. I confronted the user on multiple issues with the content of answers and their attitude leading to some heated arguments. However, after discussing the issue, we came to an understanding without the need of the moderators. I am not afraid to be put in the middle of an argument which threatens the ideals of this forum. I shall attempt to everything I can to solve the issue and help both parties involved come to an agreement. I have not flared up as far as I recall.

  1. How much time will you be able to dedicate to moderatorial issues? Do you think that being a moderator will take away from the way you are using the site now? Have you been active in chat? If not, will you reconsider and be more available to other users and also moderators via the site's chat rooms? (Hint: There is top-super-secret moderator chat room to coordinate efforts.)

I will be able to dedicate a lot of time now that I am in a more relaxed space compared to my last year of participation. I shall be active here on most times and anyone may feel free to ping me on chat where I have been active during my time of activity here. I shall respond as soon as I see the ping.

  1. The website contains many many closely related if not identical questions, plus new questions probably related to old ones springing up every day. What is your editorial philosophy? For instance, should the site strive to be slim, with a minimalist set of questions, rejecting potential duplicates as much as possible, or somewhat inflated, accepting redundancy? What do you prioritize?

There are two types of duplicates. Many duplicates are slightly different but are in essence same. However, there may be questions that look similar but are addressing a different concept altogether. The first one can be solved by giving the OP the idea they were missing. The second one warrants an answer. The idea about this should be - answer for the concept involved and not for the question.

  1. Do you believe your role is to improve the site by helping us to change it in some way? If so, what do you think warrants improvement, and what are your suggestions to address these issues?

Yes, a moderator is someone who is elected by the community and I believe that this is a great responsibility that comes with a great amount of power. I believe that moderators are the voices of the server that can be relied upon. Moderators are vital in a forum such as Chemistry Stack Exchange.

I do not have much to improve in this forum but one thing would be some more information in the welcome page of the server so people know better on day 1 which would make it easier for everyone - the OP, the answerer and the editors. Another thing that can be improved is the requirement of being registered before being able to ask a question so that OP doesn't lose his question and editing rights.

8

Todd Minehardt

Hi, I'm interested in helping to moderate the site. I've been around for a while and am generally recognized as the guy who closes a lot of stuff. That said, it's a necessary evil and I hope that more of the community can take the time to help curate Chem.SE in that regard.

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 put the user on a 30-day performance improvement plan (PIP) and evaluate the trend of behavior during that time. If the behavior has improved, the user returns to life as it was. If the behavior has stayed the same or worsened, the user will be banned from the site for 30 days. At the time of reinstatement, the 30-day PIP begins again. If the user fails a second time through, the ban is for 60 days. Three strikes is a permanent ban. There are plenty of contributors who can and will provide valuable content without the drama.

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

Request the opinion of a third moderator. These items can be resolved quickly by majority vote.

  1. Quoting from the site tour: "Chemistry is a question and answer site for scientists, academics, teachers and students in the field of chemistry." The site clearly aims to be of interest to all chemists—from absolute beginners to reputable academics. Do you think this is truly possible? How would you ensure that beginners aren't turned away by incomprehensible research-level questions, while also enticing so-called "experts" to participate on a site with a lot of uninteresting high school questions? Alternatively, should these target audiences be separated somehow (by setting up a different site, for example)? Please note that I am not referring to being "welcoming", "friendly", or anything pertaining to the tone of interactions on the site. It goes without saying that rudeness is not OK, regardless of whom you are speaking to. I mean this as a more fundamental question about the target audience which the site wants to attract and cultivate.Please note that I am not referring to being "welcoming", "friendly", or anything pertaining to the tone of interactions on the site. It goes without saying that rudeness is not OK, regardless of whom you are speaking to. I mean this as a more fundamental question about the target audience which the site wants to attract and cultivate.

Probably not. I dislike the homework dumps but accept them as part of the deal. I like the idea of separate sites: one for homework (real obvious cases), and this one for a more curated collection of questions and answers.

  1. Since about one or two years, four of the elected seven moderators no longer participate in the curation of this site. Why do you think their reasons would not apply to you?

The truth is that I am unaware of the circumstances. I respect their decisions but the root causes are not applicable in my case.

  1. In light of the new Matter Modeling site, and some users posting questions on both, what are your views on how the sites should interact? Should there be certain types of questions migrated to Matter Modeling? (e.g., that seem to be a better fit.. like ones specific to a particular program) How might cross-promotion work (e.g., some questions at Matter Modeling seem to be a better fit on Chem.SE)

I believe Matter Modeling should be integrated with Chem.SE (1) as cross-linked; (2) as a two-way "this belongs on {Chem,MM}" VTC reason; and that things like assists for Gaussian/GAMESS/AMBER/etc. are more of a fit for MM.

  1. How would you handle an established user (say, a member for over six months and over 500 rep points) who is contributing in Q&A in a good faith, but keeps on ignoring site mechanisms and recommended notations? For example, they: post short comments and hints as answers; answer questions by editing them; misuse MathJax (e.g. \ce{pK_a}; \pu{H_2O}; \mathrm{c=n/V}); misuse Markdown (e.g. RANDOM excessive emphasis); don't bother with proper formatting (e.g. post a wall of text or formulas in text mode claiming LaTeX syntax is too hard); don't bother with proper references and post Google query links as such; do partial edits (e.g. only edit tags they are interested in, or do superfluous corrections ignoring blatant errors and text screenshots); write number of moles or just moles in place of amount of substance. You corrected them numerous times in comments or chat rooms. It seems a consensus is reached, but a week passes and it's back to square one. Your actions?

See my answer to (1), above.

  1. As a moderator you will probably have to mediate arguments on this site and its chat rooms. Have you ever yourself been in an argument with another user (on this site)? If yes, how did it come about and how was it handled in the end? Have you ever flared up on this site? If yes, how did it end? As a moderator how would you handle an argument/ someone being rude if it came to your notice?

Yes, when I first joined. I flagged their comment as rude/abusive and the mods took care of it. If I end of being the sharp end of the stick, three strikes and you're banned for a month. Then, see my answer to (1), above. We can get along just fine with the top-notch contributors who aren't jerks.

  1. How much time will you be able to dedicate to moderatorial issues? Do you think that being a moderator will take away from the way you are using the site now? Have you been active in chat? If not, will you reconsider and be more available to other users and also moderators via the site's chat rooms? (Hint: There is top-super-secret moderator chat room to coordinate efforts.)

I've largely stopped contributing answers and have been acting solely as a cleaner-upper in the review queue. I was quite active in chat a number of years ago; since then, I've gotten more busy with work and life. I am more than willing to up my accessibility and be active in chat if elected.

  1. The website contains many many closely related if not identical questions, plus new questions probably related to old ones springing up every day. What is your editorial philosophy? For instance, should the site strive to be slim, with a minimalist set of questions, rejecting potential duplicates as much as possible, or somewhat inflated, accepting redundancy? What do you prioritize?

Yes to minimalist. We should have a canonical reference here of questions and answers. No need for a hundred variations of "what's the pH of a 0.1 M acetic acid solution." One good one will do.

  1. Do you believe your role is to improve the site by helping us to change it in some way? If so, what do you think warrants improvement, and what are your suggestions to address these issues?

Yes.

As stated above, I primarily garbage-collect: we need more participants in the review process, because it is heavily biased by a few of us who linger there. So, more reviews, please.

Interestingly, the suggestion to push chemistry homework to a different site would go a long way in cleaning things up, so I certainly can get behind that.

9

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