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In connection with the moderator elections, we are holding a Q&A thread for the candidates. Questions collected from an earlier thread have been compiled into this one, which shall now serve as the space for the candidates to provide their answers.

Due to the submission count matching, we have selected all provided questions as well as our set questions for a total of 10 questions.

As a candidate, your job is simple - post an answer to this question, citing each of the questions and then post your answer to each question given in that same answer. For your convenience, I will include all of the questions in quote format with a break in between each, suitable for you to insert your answers. Just copy the whole thing after the first set of three dashes.Please consider putting your name at the top of your post so that readers will know who you are before they finish reading everything you have written, and also including a link to your answer on your nomination post.

Once all the answers have been compiled, this will serve as a transcript for voters to view the thoughts of their candidates, and will be appropriately linked in the Election page.

Good luck to all of the candidates!

Oh, and when you've completed your answer, please provide a link to it after this blurb here, before that set of three dashes. Please leave the list of links in the order of submission.

To save scrolling here are links to the submissions from each candidate (in order of submission):

  1. Jamiec
  2. Federico
  3. Dan Hulme
  4. SMS von der Tann

  1. How often, on average, would you be able to attend to moderator duties?

  2. There are "mod-only" flags, and all the others. Will you let the community have their say on the latter, or will you handle all the flags you possibly can? For example, there are "Very Low Quality" or "Not an Answer" flags that would go in the "Low quality" review queue. Will you let the queue review process complete before intervening, or will you handle the flag before that? I am specifically speaking of those situations where a mod is not required, since the community review process can handle them.

  3. 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?

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

  5. The site can be quite harsh on new users who don't ask "perfect" first questions. (Can we stop downvoting posts from new users?) How do you think you can help new users prosper at Aviation.SE? Conversely, some users can't be helped and will continue to post low quality questions, vaguely to do with aviation. What will you do in this case?

  6. One of the duties of moderators is sending private messages to problem users. Can you think of a situation specific to this site when you might need to message a user?

  7. What moderator experience do you have? (Both on SE and other sites and offline)

  8. Whether you are an aviation professional or not, what skills/experiences/qualifications/etc. acquired in your job do you think might help you in your role as a moderator on this site?

  9. You find a question in the review queue which you're sure you've seen before, but you can't find the original to close it. What do you do?

  10. Should the on-topic guidance in the help centre be expanded beyond its current scope? The target audience is now defined as pilots, mechanics and controllers, but not for instance aeronautical engineers or aircraft design professionals. Aerodynamics is a field of physics that is applicable to aircraft, but so are a variety of others. Other non-pilot activities such as airport logistics etc. may be considered on-topic as well. Guidance about being on-topic if not specifically specified as off-topic might also be considered.

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Federico's answers

  1. How often, on average, would you be able to attend to moderator duties?

Daily (and multiple times per day), if I am not on holiday :P

  1. There are "mod-only" flags, and all the others. Will you let the community have their say on the latter, or will you handle all the flags you possibly can? For example, there are "Very Low Quality" or "Not an Answer" flags that would go in the "Low quality" review queue. Will you let the queue review process complete before intervening, or will you handle the flag before that? I am specifically speaking of those situations where a mod is not required, since the community review process can handle them.

I asked this question because I have seen that on other SEs mods feel that it is their duty to deal with all flags as fast as possible.

I think instead that our previous lack of moderators has taught this community do deal with these flags without mod intervention, and people use these flags to push controversial posts through community review.

I have no intention of changing this, and I will reserve my intervention for blatantly spammy or abusive posts.

  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?

Depends on the reason(s) behind those arguments/flags, but as a general first try, a chat with the user could help (or with those commenting, as I might be in the position to think that the problem lays with them).

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

Talk with the other mod in chat and try to resolve the discrepancies.

  1. The site can be quite harsh on new users who don't ask "perfect" first questions. (Can we stop downvoting posts from new users?) How do you think you can help new users prosper at Aviation.SE? Conversely, some users can't be helped and will continue to post low quality questions, vaguely to do with aviation. What will you do in this case?

As for part one, I will keep doing what I do now, try to convince downvoters to at least leave a comment, if not to wait for a while before downvoting, so that the newcomer can adapt to the environment.

Users that can't be helped might need a private session in chat, to understand why they can't be helped, but in general, private session or not, the few cases that have already happened on this SE show that the community can handle with them well enough.

  1. One of the duties of moderators is sending private messages to problem users. Can you think of a situation specific to this site when you might need to message a user?

Once we have resolved some of our on-topic/off-topic discussions (e.g. How narrow a definition should this site have) could be the case that some users need convincing about the fact that their questions are not on topic here (and we recently had such one case), in that case I think I would try to contact a user privately.

  1. What moderator experience do you have? (Both on SE and other sites and offline)

On SE, queue review, nothing else (if we don't count lots of discussions with mods here and other SE sites :P ) I have moderated several forums, of varying sizes, alone and with other mods, but not in the several thousands of users. In real life I never moderated a debate, if that's what you are thinking of, but, for example, during work meetings I tend to be the one that keeps the discussion from derailing.

  1. Whether you are an aviation professional or not, what skills/experiences/qualifications/etc. acquired in your job do you think might help you in your role as a moderator on this site?

I think that what will help me the most is the time I have spent in here, but could be that my experience in academia also helps me with dealing with new users (that tend to have an attitude, and questions, not too different from those of freshmen), and guide the community in dealing with them.

  1. You find a question in the review queue which you're sure you've seen before, but you can't find the original to close it. What do you do?

I ask in chat if anyone remembers and I keep looking, sooner or later I'll find it :D And till then I don't touch the post in the review queue.

  1. Should the on-topic guidance in the help centre be expanded beyond its current scope? The target audience is now defined as pilots, mechanics and controllers, but not for instance aeronautical engineers or aircraft design professionals. Aerodynamics is a field of physics that is applicable to aircraft, but so are a variety of others. Other non-pilot activities such as airport logistics etc. may be considered on-topic as well. Guidance about being on-topic if not specifically specified as off-topic might also be considered.

The on-topic guidance can always be updated, if the community agrees, so I don't see why we should not have this debate. I agree that the current guidance might be putting off some people from asking certain question, and we should definitely make that page more clear.


To briefly address Korvin, I don't think that moderation is about preventing spreading misinformation, the community can deal with it easily enough already.

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  • $\begingroup$ There were two people on here I was hoping would nominate themselves. You were one of them. Best of luck. $\endgroup$ – Jamiec Sep 20 '17 at 8:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Jamiec thank you :) Good luck to you as well! $\endgroup$ – Federico Sep 20 '17 at 10:12
  • $\begingroup$ That's Korvin. ;) Thanks for tossing your hat into the ring. I disagree with you that the community deals with it well enough. $\endgroup$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 20 '17 at 15:06
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    $\begingroup$ @KorvinStarmast aaargh, sorry! For the dealing part, would you open a dedicated meta post showing some examples? I might not be thinking of the same posts as you. $\endgroup$ – Federico Sep 20 '17 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ I do not have the time to do that, and I am not at all convinced that my concern is shared. I have already been advised in both chat and meta that my views on a certain class of question and comments are not welcome at this SE. There are so many hours in a day, and digging through the questions, comments, and answers that concern me over the past year is not time well spent with my life. $\endgroup$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 20 '17 at 16:17
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Dan Hulme's answers

  1. How often, on average, would you be able to attend to moderator duties?

I already moderate Android Enthusiasts and Computer Graphics more than once most days, so Aviation would fit into that schedule. I'm almost always logged into chat as well, so I'm very reachable for urgent matters.

  1. There are "mod-only" flags, and all the others. Will you let the community have their say on the latter, or will you handle all the flags you possibly can? For example, there are "Very Low Quality" or "Not an Answer" flags that would go in the "Low quality" review queue. Will you let the queue review process complete before intervening, or will you handle the flag before that? I am specifically speaking of those situations where a mod is not required, since the community review process can handle them.

Yes, on my other sites I try to ignore as many NAA and VLQ flags as possible so they can be dealt with by the review mechanism. That said, I've been surprised by how often the possible review actions just aren't applicable to those kinds of posts. Sometimes the best action is to convert the "answer" to a comment, or to leave a comment that isn't one of the ones from the list. In those cases, I'll handle the flag myself to avoid presenting reviewers with an impossible decision; and I encourage reviewers to mod-flag in those cases, explaining what they think should be done to the post.

  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?

Reputation on SE sites grants privileges, but not immunity from our standards of behaviour. If a user is just challenging bad answers in comments, then that's fine - and to be expected from our most knowledgeable people - but they need to Be Nice while they're doing it. If the flags are because this person is being rude or unconstructive, I'd handle it the same way regardless of the user's reputation or knowledge: first send a private message to ask them to deal with people better, and if they refuse, follow the usual escalation path.

Fortunately, on the two sites I moderate, all the high-rep users are friendly, so I've never had to deal with this situation. Knowing the Aviation community as I do, I'm sure the situation won't come up here either.

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

In the past I've dealt with this situation by talking in the mod-only chat to understand their reasoning. Some questions just are borderline, and different people will respond in different ways - if it's that kind of case, I might suggest that the moderator should have left the question in the close vote queue, to let the community decide. Sometimes, this kind of disagreement might point to an ambiguity in the on-topic rules, or a new field of questions we haven't seen before, and I'd encourage the moderator to write a meta post to ask the community what we should be doing about similar questions. In that case, I might even answer the meta question with my own proposal, to ensure both options are available to choose from.

  1. One of the duties of moderators is sending private messages to problem users. Can you think of a situation specific to this site when you might need to message a user?

We've had a few situations with "armchair engineers" asking a series of "what if" questions that weren't well received by the community, so that's the most obvious example to me. Although there are now automated quality bans, to help stem the flow of bad questions (or bad answers), a moderator message can be a lot more helpful in explaining what the site is about and how we want this person to change the kind of questions they ask - in some cases it can even avoid a question ban in the first place.

As KorvinStormast has pointed out, some kinds of bad answers are not only bad for the site but potentially dangerous. Although we don't see dangerous misinformation very often, that's another case where a moderator message asking the person not to guess might be the best action.

  1. What moderator experience do you have? (Both on SE and other sites and offline)

I've been an elected moderator on Android Enthusiasts for the last 18 months, and a pro tempore moderator on Computer Graphics for about 6 months. They're very different sites.

Android is busy but has a lot of "drive-by" visitors: users who post once and never come back. That generates a lot of low-quality content, which occasionally requires moderator intervention. The core of regular users is very close-knit though, and we don't have high-profile trolls or personality clashes. It's been a pleasure to moderate that site.

Computer Graphics is still in beta, and I joined it after it had already been running for a while. The question rate and community is much smaller.

Through this period, I've been a regular in the cross-network moderation chat, so I'm well aware that moderators on some other sites have much bigger problems to deal with than I've had. Even so, I don't think Aviation is one of those sites. We may be controversial sometimes, and have a few posers who pretend to know more than they do, but we're not the comments section of the Aviation Herald. I'm confident this site will not be a different moderating experience from what I'm used to.

  1. Whether you are an aviation professional or not, what skills/experiences/qualifications/etc. acquired in your job do you think might help you in your role as a moderator on this site?

I've found that in some ways it has gone the other way. My work involves a lot of leadership activities, and I've found that moderating has helped me to improve at the aspects of my work that are similar: helping a team to reach a consensus; establishing a shared understanding of the rules we agree; de-escalating conflict situations; and especially sending hard messages through writing when you'd rather do it in person.

  1. You find a question in the review queue which you're sure you've seen before, but you can't find the original to close it. What do you do?

This happened to me just last week and I popped into site chat to ask the regulars if they'd seen it before. Every site's regular reviewers have a good knowledge of what questions are common duplicate targets, and even a decent memory of all questions asked in the last couple of weeks. It turned out in that case I'd completely imagined it.

  1. Should the on-topic guidance in the help centre be expanded beyond its current scope? The target audience is now defined as pilots, mechanics and controllers, but not for instance aeronautical engineers or aircraft design professionals. Aerodynamics is a field of physics that is applicable to aircraft, but so are a variety of others. Other non-pilot activities such as airport logistics etc. may be considered on-topic as well. Guidance about being on-topic if not specifically specified as off-topic might also be considered.

I don't think this is a question for moderators as moderators, but a question for the community. Even so, I'm happy to give my answer. It's my understanding that we've always welcomed aeronautical engineering as a topic, and there are many existing questions that focus on aircraft design, and this seems like an oversight in the help centre page. If elected, I'd seek to establish that this is the community's view, and if so, I'd make the appropriate change to the on-topic page myself.

Thanks for reading a long set of answers! I just want to add that we have some great people on the site who would make great moderators, especially Federico, who has been very active in the review queues while we've had inactive moderators. There are a couple of other people lurking in chat who I would like to see running. They know who they are, so if you're reading this, it's not too late to nominate!

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Below are answers for Jamiec

  1. How often, on average, would you be able to attend to moderator duties?

I tend to be online throughout the working day, and will attend to duties as necessary during UK business hours. I am online in the evenings occasionally.

  1. There are "mod-only" flags, and all the others. Will you let the community have their say on the latter, or will you handle all the flags you possibly can? For example, there are "Very Low Quality" or "Not an Answer" flags that would go in the "Low quality" review queue. Will you let the queue review process complete before intervening, or will you handle the flag before that? I am specifically speaking of those situations where a mod is not required, since the community review process can handle them.

I will attend to flags on an ad-hoc basis, with a strong leaning towards letting community moderation take precedent. I will be here to aid the community not take unilateral control.

  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?

This is simple. I would remind the user that comments are not for extended discussion whilst ensuring that we value their continued contribution of valuable content.

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

Whilst I would value the judgement of other moderators, I would ensure that a dialog is started on what the proper course of action should be by involving the community in that decision. Moderators are not here to make the rules, we are here to facilitate the community in making their own rules.

  1. The site can be quite harsh on new users who don't ask "perfect" first questions. (Can we stop downvoting posts from new users?) How do you think you can help new users prosper at Aviation.SE? Conversely, some users can't be helped and will continue to post low quality questions, vaguely to do with aviation. What will you do in this case?

I have been vocal in protected people rights to downvote questions. I stand by this decision - perhaps I am a little jaded by the low quality of some questions on StackOverflow. However, I am all for building an inclusive and supportive community. I think this is especially important in an Aviation community which is often seen to be a bit elitist. We should strive to improve this image by helping new users conform to what is an acceptable way to ask questions. In the case of continued low quality submissions I would look to engage the user, perhaps using the chat system, and otherwise using the moderator tools provided for contacting users for this vary issue.

  1. One of the duties of moderators is sending private messages to problem users. Can you think of a situation specific to this site when you might need to message a user?

Aviation is a pretty specialist subject. I could see a situation where a user is asking multiple very basic questions which are either asked before or easily searchable. I think we may have even experienced similar. In this case I might be tempted to message a user pointing out the FAQ resources on what subjects would be well received.

  1. What moderator experience do you have? (Both on SE and other sites and offline)

I am a programmer by trade, and starting in about 1999, I was moderating technical programming forums which have long disappeared from the internet. I am also a moderator on Skeptics stack exchange

  1. Whether you are an aviation professional or not, what skills/experiences/qualifications/etc. acquired in your job do you think might help you in your role as a moderator on this site?

I have 20 years experience in a web-based technical role, so the tools available are well understood. In addition, I am a manager of a number of staff so have the patience and people management experience which I think is vital to a moderation role.

  1. You find a question in the review queue which you're sure you've seen before, but you can't find the original to close it. What do you do?

In this case I would probably either look harder (if I'm sure it has a duplicate) or leave it open and allow community moderation as they see fit.

  1. Should the on-topic guidance in the help centre be expanded beyond its current scope? The target audience is now defined as pilots, mechanics and controllers, but not for instance aeronautical engineers or aircraft design professionals. Aerodynamics is a field of physics that is applicable to aircraft, but so are a variety of others. Other non-pilot activities such as airport logistics etc. may be considered on-topic as well. Guidance about being on-topic if not specifically specified as off-topic might also be considered.

Having not visited the on-topic guidance for a while I took a look. In my opinion this should be kept brief and to the point which I think it currently is. This guidance should be adapted over time in line with what the community feels is right. I do not think it is the moderators duty to make decisions on what is on or off topic. That is for the community to decide and the guidance to be updated as appropriate.

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SMS von der Tann's answers:

  1. How often, on average, would you be able to attend to moderator duties?

I will be able to attend moderator duties every day for a short time in the morning (EST) and pretty much every afternoon and evening.

  1. There are "mod-only" flags, and all the others. Will you let the community have their say on the latter, or will you handle all the flags you possibly can? For example, there are "Very Low Quality" or "Not an Answer" flags that would go in the "Low quality" review queue. Will you let the queue review process complete before intervening, or will you handle the flag before that? I am specifically speaking of those situations where a mod is not required, since the community review process can handle them.

I would let the community handle those flags themselves, if the situation does not require a mod to take care of it, then it shouldn't need a mod on it.

  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?

Talk with that other person and see if there would be a way to stop those things that generate those arguments/flags like refraining from commenting unless necessary, working on making sure that content would not appear in future comments, or maybe taking a break from this site.

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

Communicate with him/her. I wouldn't be able to understand why that post was removed if I never talk to that other person. If there was a truly questionable reason why a certain post was removed, then there would be things that need to be smoothed out. If there was a valid reason for removing a post, then it can just be let go of.

  1. The site can be quite harsh on new users who don't ask "perfect" first questions. (Can we stop downvoting posts from new users?) How do you think you can help new users prosper at Aviation.SE? Conversely, some users can't be helped and will continue to post low quality questions, vaguely to do with aviation. What will you do in this case?

For those new users who really want to contribute to this site but may have some problems in their questions/answers, it would be best to coach them through comments and sometimes editing their questions to help others understand their points/questions. For those consistently posting low quality material, I would let the automated system deal with them first and then communicate with them to understand their intentions so I would know how to better deal with them.

  1. One of the duties of moderators is sending private messages to problem users. Can you think of a situation specific to this site when you might need to message a user?

Any of those three points before this would have a situation that might require the use of such private messages.

  1. What moderator experience do you have? (Both on SE and other sites and offline)

I have never been a moderator on any other SE site (but got to start somewhere though, right?), but I do currently moderate a few active social media groups, one of which has several thousand users.

  1. Whether you are an aviation professional or not, what skills/experiences/qualifications/etc. acquired in your job do you think might help you in your role as a moderator on this site?

I am just a student (yay), but I have been appointed as a group leader quite a few times based on my ability and experience in dealing with moderation stuff.

  1. You find a question in the review queue which you're sure you've seen before, but you can't find the original to close it. What do you do?

Leave it open until the original is found. Sometimes there are questions that are similar to each other but slightly different in what they are asking for.

  1. Should the on-topic guidance in the help centre be expanded beyond its current scope? The target audience is now defined as pilots, mechanics and controllers, but not for instance aeronautical engineers or aircraft design professionals. Aerodynamics is a field of physics that is applicable to aircraft, but so are a variety of others. Other non-pilot activities such as airport logistics etc. may be considered on-topic as well. Guidance about being on-topic if not specifically specified as off-topic might also be considered.

Yes, aviation is a much wider field than just pilots, ATC, and maintenance. This site is very much used for discussing those other branches of aviation already, so updating the on-topic guidance should be done to reflect that.

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