2022 Moderator Election

nomination began
Mar 28 at 20:00
election began
Apr 4 at 20:00
election ended
Apr 12 at 20:00
candidates
5
positions
3

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

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

Our general criteria for moderators is as follows:

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

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!

Also, drop by meta, if you have any questions you'd like to address to all the nominees.

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. Moderation can be a demanding task. At times it may be emotionally impacting as well as require time management. Work-life balance applies to volunteer work too. What is your plan to maintain work-life balance as a moderator? Do you have established rhythms for dealing with burnout? What course of action would you take if you needed to take some time away from moderation?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. Online resource communities often have pressure points--areas that can put strain on the community or make the site difficult to navigate for casual users. What areas do you think are key pressure points in this site, and why? What would you do as a mod to help mitigate those?

[Answer 4 here]

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator for space stackexchange?

[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]

fasterthanlight

Hello! I am an avid amateur astronomer, having plenty of experience in astronomy. I've taken many photos of the night sky, being sure to view a special event (i.e. the Great Conjunction). I am very curious, asking varieties of questions on the main site, and giving back to the community by answering others' questions. I spend plenty of time on the meta as well. Becoming moderator would be a great opportunity to help keep the Space SE up and running.

Why me:

  • I'm very passionate in space exploration and astronomy
  • I actively participate and review items in Astronomy and Space SE

Why not me:

  • I used to have a habit of closing poorly-composed questions and homework questions
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?

It depends on where these arguments/flags come from and why they are happening. If the comments are receiving flags from people who are not participating in the argument, I would warn the user to where they are violating the Code of Conduct and explain some steps they could use to improve their behavior. If they continued to raise flags afterward due to the same reason(s), I would probably suspend the user.

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

I probably would just ask the moderator who closed/deleted the post as to why they chose to do so. I understand everyone makes their own mistakes so a quick discussion would let both of us determine if closing/deleting would be the right action.

  1. Moderation can be a demanding task. At times it may be emotionally impacting as well as require time management. Work-life balance applies to volunteer work too. What is your plan to maintain work-life balance as a moderator? Do you have established rhythms for dealing with burnout? What course of action would you take if you needed to take some time away from moderation?

I understand that moderating a Stack Exchange site can take some time each day. I plan on taking an hour or two each day to help moderate the site, with the time spread out in 15-30 minute sessions through the day. Typically, I don't get burnout as a result of stressful moderation, but if I did I would take a quick one or two day break from extensive moderation. If I needed to take more time away from moderating, I would make a meta post a few days ahead to let others know that I would be away for a few days.

  1. Online resource communities often have pressure points--areas that can put strain on the community or make the site difficult to navigate for casual users. What areas do you think are key pressure points in this site, and why? What would you do as a mod to help mitigate those?

Problems on Space SE? Nope, never heard of them. Space SE is a relatively small community with plenty of experienced users who can handle the review queues well. Sometimes when a notable space-related event occurs, Q&A flux does increase but most of the posts can be handled with little stress by both users and moderators.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator for space stackexchange?

Ever since I was a small child, I've always dreamed of space. Becoming a moderator here would let me give back to the Stack Exchange community, more than just becoming a high-rep user as I have time each day to perform light moderation.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators review and revise content on their site to ensure that the site receives positive attention. In the case of a violation of the Code of Conduct, moderators have the responsibility to take appropriate actions in addressing the issue.

  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?

If I do become a moderator, I acknowledge that a diamond will be attached to my username everywhere on the site, but having that status won't affect the way I think. Many may think that I have a different status than others, but a moderator is merely a person who helps keep the site healthy - there is no need to see a person as a non-mod or a mod. On the other hand, as everything will be seen under a different light, others may have a tendency to upvote plenty of posts to try not to get on my bad side, but I believe that other users should have their own right to upvote and/or downvote as they please, not to satisfy or please others.

  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 think that becoming a moderator lets me contribute more to the community than just having high reputation. I am not interested in the recognition or privilege bonuses which come with moderation, but am interested in helping keep the site up and running.

PearsonArtPhoto

I've been a moderator of this site since the beginning, and even posted the idea to start the site on Area 51! I have a long love for all thing space flight, and am one of the highest reputation users on the site currently!

I work in the aerospace industry, and have been able to share some of my experience with the users here, and I love to continue to do that!

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?

There is a tried and tested method at Stack Exchange for dealing with these sorts of issues. If there are more serious issues, one should first contact the user, then start a limited suspension, and slowly increase that suspension until they are no longer a part. While we do want to see value coming to the site, ultimately it will not come if people aren't respected.

  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 with them to understand why it was done. If there was a difference in policy, I would bring the question up on Meta, seeking to understand what the will of the community is on such issues.

  1. Moderation can be a demanding task. At times it may be emotionally impacting as well as require time management. Work-life balance applies to volunteer work too. What is your plan to maintain work-life balance as a moderator? Do you have established rhythms for dealing with burnout? What course of action would you take if you needed to take some time away from moderation?

I know I have taken a number of breaks from the site as needed. This site in general is great and doesn't lead to a large amount of burnout like other sites do. My plan is to spend a fixed amount of time on the site, and take breaks from it if needed.

  1. Online resource communities often have pressure points--areas that can put strain on the community or make the site difficult to navigate for casual users. What areas do you think are key pressure points in this site, and why? What would you do as a mod to help mitigate those?

The biggest pressure point here is knowing the vast amount of questions that have already been asked and not knowing their question has an answer already. We should kindly point the people to the answers to those questions, and be welcoming in general.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator for space stackexchange?

I love this site, and want to continue to take a leadership role to see the site grow! I also know that things don't tend to phase me much, which has helped me to have some difficult discussions with users before that others might not have been able to do.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are part custodian, part leader. They help to set the tone of the site, ensure that bad stuff isn't included, and in general help to direct the site to be the best they can.

  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?

Absolutely no change, as I have had a diamond attached to my name since week 2 of this site being around. I haven't changed my answers or actions as a result of these things.

  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?

It allows for a position of leadership, and to take quick action when required.

called2voyage

I'm Josie Stewart, though most of you know me better as called2voyage. I've been a Stack Exchange moderator since October 2013, and a moderator here on Space Exploration since December 2013. I followed the site from Area 51 and was asked to join the mod team when one of the initial appointed mods chose to step down.

I'm currently employed as a software project manager in the aerospace industry, where I've been working for the past decade. Many of you have probably seen my comments on the main site or meta at some point, but I've also been heavily involved in handling flags over the past few years.

Community moderation is a passion of mine, and I've been doing it for various online communities since 2005. Stack Exchange is where I'm currently most active.

I am interested in continuing in my role as moderator. If we got a very active mod team I could even turn my focus to areas of development: like finally building that tag tracking bot I discussed months ago. I would bring continuity to the mod team, and I'd be able to offer my experience with the site to new mods if needed.

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 a user shows that they are interested in good faith participation, I usually start by dropping into the comments to ask for them to step away from the discussion for a moment so there is time for any heightened feelings to dissipate. If the user is antagonistic towards this request, I may opt for immediate suspension. Most of the time people will honor this request.

If this becomes a pattern, I will send the user a private message discussing the issue. Usually (given that this is good-faith participation), I will avoid suspension in this initial contact. However, if a user shows no signs of improvement, I will escalate to suspension.

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

Generally, I avoid reverting other mods' decisions. If I feel strongly enough about the issue, I will bring it up in the mod chatroom. Most of the time this is just to get on the same page about how we handle a certain category of issues, but in rare cases this may result in switching to a different course of action. I've never been in a situation where we couldn't come to an agreement on things as a mod team, but if this occurred I would reach out to a CM for mediation.

  1. Moderation can be a demanding task. At times it may be emotionally impacting as well as require time management. Work-life balance applies to volunteer work too. What is your plan to maintain work-life balance as a moderator? Do you have established rhythms for dealing with burnout? What course of action would you take if you needed to take some time away from moderation?

I've had to learn this through trial and error. There was a time, early in my career, where I had a lot of traumatic personal stuff going on, and in my burnout I went low-to-no contact on Stack Exchange and one of the other communities I moderate. I regretted letting it get to the point where I left people hanging with no clue what was going on, and I did get back in touch with everyone afterward and make up for it.

Now I'm really careful not to overextend myself, and I communicate in advance with mod teams if I need to be away for an extended amount of time, or if I need to reduce my effort. If something is in the queue that I don't have the energy to handle, and I think it is a pressing issue, I will ping another mod to look into it.

In my personal life, I've gotten better about setting boundaries and making space for activities that recharge me, to mitigate the effects of burnout. My latest free-time activity is collecting used LEGO sets and parts. Until recently, I hadn't purchased any LEGO for myself since I was a kid, and it is has been really fun and energizing to get back into this hobby.

  1. Online resource communities often have pressure points--areas that can put strain on the community or make the site difficult to navigate for casual users. What areas do you think are key pressure points in this site, and why? What would you do as a mod to help mitigate those?

I think the key pressure point at Space Exploration, like for many STEM-sites, is balancing between the needs of the amateurs and the professionals. Professionals often hold a lot of the expertise needed to answer the hard questions, but they also (rightly) don't want to feel like they are wasting their time. Amateurs often expect a level of accessibility that can be difficult to provide on volunteer time. When you add personality conflicts, varying cultural norms, and language barriers into the mix, this can get messy fast.

One of the most important tools to address this is patience and avoiding assumptions. Mods can encourage this by participating in the discussion and modeling this. Ask questions: "did you mean...?" instead of "you said...."

There are some minor pressure points, like tag maintenance, that I've already gone into detail about on meta. While I don't think any of them alone are worth expounding on here, there is a common thread--technical aspects of the site that can be maintained by users but are going neglected. I think the best thing mods can do for issues like this is raise awareness: explain how it impacts things and promote community discussion about how to address it.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator for space stackexchange?

I've been passionate about space since childhood, and moderation is something I'm good at. I believe I can make a difference in a community I care about, by volunteering my time as a mod here.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are largely facilitators. Their presence should be mostly to help guide the community to self-moderation. In internet communities, this necessarily comes with some technical abilities that are restricted to the moderator role, so moderators are also responsible for exercising those abilities as needed. Finally, on Stack Exchange specifically, moderators are liaisons between the community and SE staff. We are engaged in ongoing dialogue with SE about needs and expectations.

  1. A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

I always try to represent myself honestly as a member of the community who happens to be a moderator and make clear when something is my opinion versus a moderator action. I don't ask anyone to overlook my actions because I am a moderator, and I always make sure people know I fully support them reaching out to other mods or to SE if they are uncomfortable with something I have done. Because of this, I can comfortably accept the lens through which I am seen due to the diamond next to my name. Is it at times stressful? Yes, but I do what I can to minimize that.

  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 can answer this one from experience. I have been able to do a lot of tag maintenance that I wouldn't be able to do merely as a high rep user. I also hope that I have made a positive difference in how I've handled private messages/suspensions in cases that those were necessary. I've been able to migrate a number of posts between sites (which is not currently a feature available to regular users). Finally, I've been able to clean up a lot of comment discussions and resolve some post edit disputes.

Rory Alsop

Hello, I'm Rory. I moderate a few SE sites, and have done for over 11 years. I have helped a few grow from brand new sites to really rather large. I look after a couple of very small sites that have some niche needs.

Outside SE I have spent a few years of my life effectively being a conflict defuser, and a fair and equitable culture change specialist (despite the fact my job title tends to be Head of Cyber Security / Risk) and I generally enjoy bringing my fair and balanced approach to life in to Stack Exchange.

There are 8 sites where I have over 10k rep - these are sites I am heavily invested in from a personal perspective, so I want them to be as successful as possible - Space Exploration is one of them. I have been a member of the community here for nearly 9 years, in that time gaining not only the Electorate gold badge (and other moderation badges) but also ones relevant to growing the community, like the Famous Question gold badge.

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 have encountered this numerous times across various sites. My usual process flow is first to try and have an informal chat with that user to help them understand the impact they have on others, and the community as a whole. Usually, this has the desired effect. For those who don't change their behaviour, discussion with other mods is essential to weigh up the value of their posts vs the harm they do, driving off others, etc., and sometimes a short suspension is the agreed way forwards. Occasionally longer term suspensions are in order, but again, the value discussion with other mods and potentially CMs is essential to avoid bias, and to properly assess that value/impact.

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

A quick chat in the mod room is easy. This happens, because all mods are humans, but also, we aren't precious about it. We can each explain our reasons for or against closure and often reach agreement, but if not, bringing another mod into the equation sorts out any impasse and they can decide the vote.

  1. Moderation can be a demanding task. At times it may be emotionally impacting as well as require time management. Work-life balance applies to volunteer work too. What is your plan to maintain work-life balance as a moderator? Do you have established rhythms for dealing with burnout? What course of action would you take if you needed to take some time away from moderation?

As I moderate a few other sites, and have various work and volunteer roles outside Stack Exchange, I manage work and home time, and my mental/emotional load carefully and fairly strictly. I usually have 3 formal check in times each day to handle flags and comms: pre-work, lunch, early evening (I'm in the UK so am on UTC0) but I sit in chat rooms pretty much permanently so can get a notification ping if I'm needed at any point, and browse informally a lot of the time.

Managing emotional and mental impact from moderation tasks here is relatively straightforward, as I can always step away from the keyboard and go for a walk for a few minutes, or grab a coffee, or if I really need to, we have the facility to take a break from moderating for periods of time. Similarly, in my day job, I can do the same, so I don't take stress from one environment to another. If I have had a really hard day/week - I can take an hour playing loud guitar in my studio, and emerge relaxed once more.

  1. Online resource communities often have pressure points--areas that can put strain on the community or make the site difficult to navigate for casual users. What areas do you think are key pressure points in this site, and why? What would you do as a mod to help mitigate those?

While some sites (eg Parenting, Interpersonal, Medical etc) have significant pain points, I don't see any pressure points here of the same level. This may be down to the core of experienced, high rep users, a few of whom work in the industry, which helps reduce the load on mods. I have seen a very variable load off the back of specific events - eg around the first successful SpaceX returns there was a sudden glut of posts, both good and poor quality, but so far this seems to be handled reasonably fast.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator for space stackexchange?

I have been fascinated by Space since I was a small child, so have a strong interest in the site. I only have 13k rep, because I think I focus more on moderation tasks already, and am delighted that there are some users who post excellent answers.

I moderate a few sites already, and the slight additional mod privileges on a site over and above the 10k or 20k privileges just make it easier to help sites develop while remaining welcoming.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Help the community remove unwanted posts/comments/users, help maintain the scope that the community defines, encourage the behaviours that benefit the community, support the users who already moderate (edits, votes, flags etc)

  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?

This has been the case for me for over 11 years on Stack Exchange. It is business as usual for me. I know a diamond can attract negative comments, but I realise those are not personal. I'll continue to behave within both Stack Exchange's and my professional codes of conduct.

  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?

It provides a few more tools to help identify eg sock puppets and trolls, and it provides a better read across on initiatives that can improve multiple communities (either associated ones like Space Exploration and Astronomy) or more general.

Herman

I'm a 35 y/o dude, that has kids, is into space engineering and did an internship at SpaceX to help improve metal shaping accuracy. After not becoming a regular employee I gave up my space dreams and became a run-of-the-mill developer in my lovely home country: The Netherlands. Currently I engineer the cloud and do stuff with data.

Sometimes I get distracted from work because people are wrong on the internet. I then proceed to argue with them so they are also distracted from work; ultimately wasting not only my time but dragging others down with me. My only redemption is if I manage to convince them, hopefully making them more productive members of society. Therefore I think I might be a fine moderator.

I aim to spend a few hours a week moderating.

This election is over.