2021 Moderator Election

nomination began
Apr 5 at 20:00
election began
Apr 19 at 20:00
election ended
Apr 27 at 20:00
candidates
5
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

Tyberius

Pros:

  • Long time user, know the community pretty well

  • Active in the review queues (not quite as active as Todd)

  • On the site pretty much every day, can typically address an issue on short notice

  • 1 year of experience as a moderator at Matter Modeling SE

Cons:

  • Fairly busy with graduate school, won't be able to put in extensive hours each day

  • Split attention due to already being a mod. May want someone who can devote their full effort to one 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?

I think the site doesn't work if we can't interact in a civil way, so frequent fights or abusive behavior outweighs useful content. Often these sorts of disputes are the result of misunderstandings and can be resolved by just having a discussion with the user. If the user is completely unreceptive to corrective feedback, there might be grounds for a suspension, with length depending on the severity and frequency of problems.

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

I would probably ask them why they felt it should be closed, making a case for why I feel it shouldn't be. Typically, mod closures/deletions are for pretty obvious reasons, so either I or they misinterpreted something about the question. If its actually a real disagreement, I might open it up to a Meta discussion to see what sort of policy the community thinks we should adopt for similar questions.

  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.

I see the site as trying to provide a repository of Chemistry knowledge. Similar to other such efforts (e.g. Wikipedia, LibreTexts), there will inevitably be differences in the level of expertise required to understand any given post/article. This is also true of disciplines within chemistry: I would consider my self decently knowledgable about physical/computational chemistry, but much less so about organic synthesis or NMR analysis. I think we can make it work to have users with different interests and different levels of expertise. I think the tag system can help people to filter out topics they aren't familiar with or that are too elementary/complicated for their current level of education. While I think it is a tough balance to maintain, and by volume (users/posts) the site is probably more geared to beginners than experts, it should be possible to make a site that is useful to both beginners and experts.

  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?

Admittedly, its somewhat just habit that I visit the site and review queues frequently. I think if I keep a reasonable boundaries about how of my time I spend on the site, I'd avoid any sort of burnout.

  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)

As a mod on Matter Modeling, I would love to see more interaction between the sites. We have handled post migration on a pretty ad-hoc basis so far, but with Matter Modeling now more than a year old and new moderators starting up here, it would probably be worth establishing a policy about what should be sent from here to MM and vice versa. I tend to think the very program/computation specific questions are probably better suited to MM, while questions about chemical properties and certain theory aspects may be better suited 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?

I tend to be less picky about minor issues of notation, but mathjax and mhchem are pretty much necessities to make a readable post. If no amount of prodding is getting their behavior to change, closure/deletion/downvoting of the relevant posts would probably be warranted (any one of which can be undone once the necessary changes are made).

  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 haven't really been involved in any arguments on the SE network of sites. I think rude comments should be stamped out fairly quickly. A user should maybe get a warning to watch their to tone if it's not too severe, but if it's repeated or more serious, the comment should be deleted with possibly a suspension if serious enough. For arguments, I don't want to quell discussion, but I would step in if the tone was getting heated. I'm assuming these discussions are in chat because it's difficult (and not recommended) to have a long back-and-forth conversation in comments. If stepping in didn't calm the argument, I would use a chat time out to try to get the users involved to cool off.

  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'm admittedly not super active in chat. If that is where users find it easiest to ask a mod something rather than Meta, I could spend more time there (I have been trying to anyway with MM as more users have started to use chat there). I would certainly use the mod chat room and be available to respond to any superpings from there (mods can @ a user who is not currently in a room).

  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?

I would like to see the site be a little slimmer. I think duplicates are just about the best way a question can be closed, as they show that a question is not only valid, but already has an answer. I don't think it is worthwhile to have a large number of questions that are fundamentally the same, but with different numerical values or chemical symbols plugged in.

  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?

I think mods are meant to help drive change on the site, though not at the expense of letting general curation fall through the cracks. I think addressing the backlog of the review queue would be a priority before pressing any major changes. I think the biggest thing a mod can do for the site is encourage other users to stick around and become active participants. While the site has many users who have visited once or twice, there is a much smaller core of active users that does most of the review and answers many of the questions. Building this core community is what will keep the site in a healthy state.

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. For me, this site is something that has helped me out and being a moderator for the same is the best way I can repay the favor

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. Many such questions are down voted and personally I am against down voting unless the question or answer doesn't follow guidelines. In most cases, new users make issues since they haven't read the rules properly and treat this as any other Q and A site which it isn't.

  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.

Shoubhik R Maiti

I am currenly an undergrad studying chemistry. When I first joined this site, I was a high-school student. Now I am in university, and Chem.SE has been a big part of my academic journey (and it still is). I have asked a lot of questions to sate my curiosity and I have enjoyed answering a few as well. I also try to contribute to the site by editing posts to fix formatting etc. as much as I can.

Although I am not always active on the site, generally I will visit the site at least once or twice every day. I want to help moderate the site that has helped me so much :-)

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?

First I would look at the arguments and see what is the cause. If it's a user deliberately being disruptive, I would definitely warn them. (Repeated disregard of warnings would lead to suspension). Sometimes, it's not clear at a first glance. This site has users from many countries and not all of them have English as their first language. I have seen quite a lot of instances where users say something that appears curt or rude without meaning to (I have also done that on a few occasions I admit) and arguments might start from this. Basically, I plan to deal with stuff like this on a case-by-case basis.

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

I would communicate with the other mod first. If we can't solve the argument between ourselves, and I *really* feel that a bad decision was taken, I would get the other mods involved.

  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.

I honestly don't believe that it's possible to have one site with one pool of Q/A's where both absolute beginners and reputable academics participate. The only thing possible is to reach a balance between the two. Yes, separating the sites is possible, or maybe we could split the site into separate threads, for beginner questions, intermediate questions, and research-level questions (or something similar to this).

Another idea could be to create a dedicated (persistent) chat room for high-school students. A lot of the questions that are downvoted or closed are generally homework questions (or simple questions that look like homework). The link for the chat room should be clearly visible on the right side of the site. (Having the chat button hidden in the context menu of the stackexchange button is really a bad idea, it just makes chat inaccessible—for some time after I joined this site, I was under the impression that the chat is only created for extended comments!) I think most of these homework questions are suited for the back-and-forth question and reply that is allowed in chat. (If the question is not suited for chat, the we can direct the user to ask it as a question.) I know there is a JEE room, but this is wider in scope. We can also add a link to the side of the new question page, advising high-school users to give it a try.

  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?

To be honest, I don't really know why they have stopped participating. I cannot say with 100% certainty that my personal circumstances won't change in future, because I am not clairvoyant. What I can say is that I will be involved with chemistry for some time now, so there is no chance I will move to a different stream.

  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 think MatterModellingSE is more suited for questions regarding solid state, modelling and quantum mechanics. Sure, there is certain overlap between the two sites, (for example questions regarding Gaussian etc.) but it's not too great. I believe questions around computational chemistry, and programs should be migrated to matter modelling.

I think we can make a guidance that cross-posts can be made only in cases where it's not clear which site is better suited for the question (following this post). As for questions on matter modelling which might be suitable for this site, we should let the users/mods on that site handle it.

  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?

First of all, let me state that I don't think all of those actions are in the same category. For example, writing number of moles instead of amount of substance is bad, but posting Google query links as reference is much much worse than that! I personally feel that it's not worth getting worked up about minor problems.

If repeated suggestions to correct severe bad behaviour does not do anything, I would threaten them with suspension. If it still persists, I would suspend them, although I believe this would not be necessary. If someone is willing to contribute to the site for a long time, that means they care enough to stay on the site, so they should care enough about making the site readable. Disruptive users/trolls will lose interest very quickly and leave the site.

(Also, if posting short comments and hints as answer is a suspendable offence on this site, then some of the highest rep users have to be suspended for that! I personally don't believe it's a big issue, because it's not always possible to discern whether a contribution is sufficient enough to be a full answer, and sometimes people don't have the time to write a full answer but still wish to help)

  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 remember only one argument on this site. It happened a week ago I believe, where I asked a user to add more details to their question, and told them that it looked like a homework question. The user called me some names and told me that the user was quite old and it was not a homework question etc. I told them to not take it personally. They did not reply and the question was deleted shortly (by the user I presume). In hindsight, I admit that I could have written the comment in a nicer way.

No I don't think I have ever started an argument on this site (although I did get the urge to, sometimes :-). If an argument is brought to my notice, I will warn the user(s) 2-3 times, and then suspend them after that.

  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 am studying a full time course, so I don't know how much time I will be able to dedicate. My free time varies throughout the year (due to exams, assignments etc.). I think I would be able to give a minimum of 4 hours a week for moderatorial issues on average, when I am free. I ask and answer questions sporadically (3-4 a month), so I don't think it will change the way I use the site to the most extent.

I haven't used the chat too often. If elected, I will try to be more active in the chat, at least for those times when I am online. I usually login to the site 2-3 times a day when I am free, and once a day, when I am busier.

  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, a minimalist set of questions is good enough. I don't think redundancy is necessary. In cases where the new question has some overlap with a previously answered question, we should direct the user to ask only the part of the question which is not covered by the other 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, I have some ideas about changing the site, see my answers to question (3). I admit that many of my ideas are not fully hashed out, so I would like all inputs on those matters.

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.

Buck Thorn

I am a physical chemist with a "cross-disciplinary" background. I decided to give chem SE a try (officially because I felt a little rusty and felt the interactivity would be good) and got hooked.

I like the site's format but appreciate that other participants might have alternate visions of what it should be like. I am not doctrinal in my views but sense that the site needs a little more mooring.

There is plenty of variation among the current candidates, which is great, but I postulate myself since more choices is even better.


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?

Presumably if an unsuccessful attempt had already been made to convince the user to alter their behavior, I would follow up as necessary according to the standard procedures to handle such cases. Being a new mod I might first consult with other mods to see how they assess the situation and what response they see fit.

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

I believe mod policy is to use mod tools lightly. The bulk of closing and editing are mainly community tasks. Mods should intervene when cases blatantly require it.

In this specific case I'd see what edits might be done to improve the post, then ask the closing mod to review and provide opinion. If closing seemed a really bad call I might also ask other mods for opinion and attempt to come to a decision that is mutually satisfactory.

  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.

I have mixed feelings about where the site should be headed. I'm aware of issues with the focus of the site but do not have a satisfactory answer. Beginners' questions currently dominate chem SE. The lack of balance is not in line with the vision some have for the site.

It seems impossible to stop the flow of beginner content. Perhaps mods can be more aggressive closing (although this would contradict my previous answer). We have the tools we have. I think the community bears most of the responsiblity of answering, closing, voting, commenting, visiting queues.

Content can be altered or filtered with tags, votes, flags and editing tools to remove content (closing and deletion). Tags have the advantages of being unbiased and easy to implement. Votes are also unbiased and easy to implement. Closing and deletion can be effective if used carefully. Perhaps available tools can be made to work better to create dedicated streams for different target audiences, but I lack clear ideas on how to achieve this. I currently lean toward implementation of tags, and maybe an expiration date for particular tagged questions that don't meet a quality threshold for that particular category.

A new SE site might be a place dedicated to advanced content. Matter Modeling has provided computational chemists with a more focused forum. But creation of a new site is not a mod's job, so I see little point in addressing this possibility.

  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?

I don't have enough information about the circumstances involving each of those mods to answer this.

  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)

Double posting should be discouraged. Users can flag posts and write comments to suggest migration. Some questions (software and simulation) are clearly better fits at MM SE. Where migration is not obviously needed there might be some redundancy, just as exists between chem SE and physics and other SEs, and I don't see that as a mayor problem. Different audiences might answer questions from different perspectives, which is a good thing. I see MM SE as a valuable complement to chem SE.

  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?

As an initiate in the fine art of moderation, I might begin by seeking the council of fellow mods (or looking over their shoulders). See also question 1.

Mods are expected to nudge, be considerate, lead by example and gently remind users of proper usage. On the other hand, users are responsible for their posts and are expected to observe site rules. Serial offenders may require a suspension.

  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 found one or two of my first encounters on the site somewhat uncomfortable. What I learned is that understanding the internal mechanisms of the site helps to avoid problems.

Many beginners are confused and upset by negative reactions to their posts. This is related to the amount of beginner content and reflexive close and downvoting that this triggers, but it is also due to beginners being ignorant of the way the site works and refusing or neglecting to learn basic rules.

Being considerate helps to address issues that flare up as a result. Different users come here for different reasons and from different backgrounds.

If a dispute came to my attention I'd try to cool down the situation as necessary.

If particular behavior violated rules of conduct I would apply penalties if appropriate.

  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 am a regular contributor to the site, currently spending at least 30 min here daily. I am not sure how much time moding would require but the current time is sustainable. Much higher might not be.

As a mod I would presumably have to shift time to prioritize mod tasks. I haven't visited chat rooms much. Presumably this would have to change.

  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?

Collecting all permutations and variations of textbook and beginners' problems (duplicates) is contrary to the goal of the site. However accepting some variations on a question can be useful. See also question #3.

  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?

Mods can help set the tone for interaction on the site. Editing and curation are important. See also questions #3 and #7. Mods cannot alter the design of the site at will but might register user preferences and help push for pertinent changes.

This election is over.