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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, we have selected all provided questions as well as our back up 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. dalearn
  2. Therac
  3. Dan Hulme
  4. fooot

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

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

  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 deal with an enthusiastic user that produces mostly chaff, non-answers, or outright wrong answers but occasionally does contribute a good and useful reply?

  5. In light of the site's growth, are there any long-standing policies you'd like to look at to see if they've outlived their usefulness?

  6. Being a moderator means sometimes that for the good of the community you might have to do things with which you disagree. How would you deal with such scenarios?

  7. Why is this site (or SE as a whole) important to you? (Preferably in as few lines as possible.)

  8. What do you think the site needs more of in terms of moderating?

  9. What moderator action(s) have you witnessed that you appreciate the most, and why? Either on Aviation or any other SE community.

  10. What is your experience, either professionally or otherwise, in the Aviation industry?

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fooot

Nomination link

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators use special powers entrusted to them by their community to maintain order and keep the site healthy.

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

I would first contact them via a side channel to better understand their thought process. If we could not resolve a difference in opinion, I may post on Meta to see what the community thinks. I would focus on constructive dialogue rather than attacking their decision. I try to handle it the same way with any other user.

  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 give the user plenty of warnings to let them know which behavior is not acceptable. I'd prefer to continue to delete the items at issue, but if it becomes a burden on the moderators to keep doing this I would support further action such as a suspension. I don't think people want to come here to see arguments and drama.

  1. How would you deal with an enthusiastic user that produces mostly chaff, non-answers, or outright wrong answers but occasionally does contribute a good and useful reply?

I would handle this similarly to the situation in the previous question, trying to communicate the way this community works and encouraging them to post more of the good and useful content. It may be worth evaluating whether the occasional good reply is worth the many low-quality posts.

  1. In light of the site's growth, are there any long-standing policies you'd like to look at to see if they've outlived their usefulness?

I can't really think of anything at this time. I think the community has done a good job of bringing up topics on meta or at least in chat, and adjusting policies as we have grown.

  1. Being a moderator means sometimes that for the good of the community you might have to do things with which you disagree. How would you deal with such scenarios?

I'm willing to join the other moderators in such a decision. While I would prefer another moderator to have their name attached to it, if applicable, I would be willing to do so if needed.

  1. Why is this site (or SE as a whole) important to you? (Preferably in as few lines as possible.)

I love to learn new things, and this site provides a steady stream of interesting topics from many different users. It also provides an opportunity for me to share my own knowledge.

  1. What do you think the site needs more of in terms of moderating?

In the vein of the questions above about users that generate large amounts issues, but perhaps focusing more on bad questions, it seems that the community has sometimes felt they had to step in and respond in a harsh manner to discourage further behavior from that user. I feel this has lead to people downvoting/closing posts because of the author more than the content of the post. The moderators may be able to step in and show that something is being done to encourage the user to change, and to encourage the other users to support better posts from that user.

I understand that not all users here may agree with this and would support a discussion on how moderators may be more active in dealing with these issues.

  1. What moderator action(s) have you witnessed that you appreciate the most, and why? Either on Aviation or any other SE community.

I think I appreciate the actions that I don't witness the most. Non-moderators don't always notice when users get suspended, posts get deleted, or discussions happen in the background.

  1. What is your experience, either professionally or otherwise, in the Aviation industry?

I have been interested in aviation from a young age. I am currently a mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry and participate in the VATSIM simulation community.

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  • $\begingroup$ Very nice set of answers! I fully support your answer to q.8, thank you for bringing that up. $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima Aug 27 at 13:09
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I'm Dan, and this is my nomination.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

I think moderators have two roles. The first is to act on the community's decisions and policies, in cases where the review queues aren't doing the job - for example stepping in with reopen wars or helping turn problem users into valuable contributors.

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

I raise situations like these in mod chat. Usually it comes down to a simple misunderstanding, such as me failing to spot the sentence asking for accident speculation. Sometimes it might be that we interpret the community's policies different, and then we agree to ask for a clarification in meta, or to let the review queues decide what to do about 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?

The same way as any other member of the community who generates arguments and problem comments. While suspension can prevent this member hurting the community (by de-platforming them), there's other options to try first, to work with the person, to let them know their helpful contributions are appreciated, to understand where the hostility comes from, and to ensure they know it's not appropriate. I've found this very effective and often makes suspensions unnecessary.

  1. How would you deal with an enthusiastic user that produces mostly chaff, non-answers, or outright wrong answers but occasionally does contribute a good and useful reply?

I find this doesn't happen so much, because the site quickly teaches people the difference between good and bad answers. Often the people who think their random ideas are worthwhile additions to the site get discouraged the first time a non-answer gets deleted or downvoted: they either learn to up their standards, or they leave in a huff. If they don't, perhaps an intervention can help them see what kind of answers are useful, but if they don't learn to self-edit in the long-term, I don't want to waste four reviewers' time for the benefit of the occasional good answer.

  1. In light of the site's growth, are there any long-standing policies you'd like to look at to see if they've outlived their usefulness?

The top thing for me isn't actually a policy: I'd like to see some outreach to other aviation professionals who are under-represented here, such as controllers, mechanics, and aircraft designers.

That said, I wonder if we could do better with the accident speculation policy. I don't want to invite speculation, but final reports are slow to come out, and there are a lot of purely factual questions that can be asked about accidents even when the full facts aren't yet known. Right now, people have to get information about high-profile accidents from FOX News and the comments section from Aviation Herald. I'd like to solicit ideas to enable the high-quality information this site is known for to be available to visitors who find us through Google, without it becoming the moderation nightmare that would be the result of removing that rule completely.

  1. Being a moderator means sometimes that for the good of the community you might have to do things with which you disagree. How would you deal with such scenarios?

I've done it before and I'll do it again. It's not a problem, because it's what you sign up for as a moderator.

  1. Why is this site (or SE as a whole) important to you? (Preferably in as few lines as possible.)

For me it's a place not just to get answers to my questions and help others, but to connect with aviators around the world and learn about different practices and attitudes in different places.

  1. What do you think the site needs more of in terms of moderating?

  2. What moderator action(s) have you witnessed that you appreciate the most, and why? Either on Aviation or any other SE community.

My moderator experience teaches me that the actions I appreciate the most are the ones I don't even get to see. I've found sending mod messages to problem users the hardest part of moderation, but it's (quite rightly) done in private, so most of the community doesn't get to see the work they have to appreciate the most.

For that reason, I don't have an answer to question 8, because if the site is healthy, it shows the moderators are doing the right things - both the things we can see and the things we can't.

  1. What is your experience, either professionally or otherwise, in the Aviation industry?

As I said in my nomination, I'm a PPL student (with no ambitions to be a professional pilot). I started learning in a Tiger Moth (a 1930's biplane) but found the weather limited how much I can fly, so I restarted with the PA-20, which is much more manageable. Although I'm not a professional, I live in an area with an aerodrome and lots of technology companies, so I have a lot of friends in the industry, some who build or maintain aircraft, others who develop the new technologies that will make aviation safer and more efficient in the years to come.

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dalearn

Nomination Post

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Beyond the obvious answer of controlling spam, moderators are the core of our community and are responsible for maintaining the unique culture of this site.

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

This question has no one single answer and my response would most definitely depend on the circumstances. If I believed that it was definitely a mistake, I would probably cautiously reverse the decision. If I personally disagreed with the decision, I would reach out to the other moderator to discuss the issue before taking action.

  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?

Communication is key. As a moderator, you job is to mediate controversial discussions and part of that duty is engaging with the community. I would most likely have a private discussion with the community member in a friendly way that lets them know that their behavior is not appropriate while not using my scary moderator hat too much.

  1. How would you deal with an enthusiastic user that produces mostly chaff, non-answers, or outright wrong answers but occasionally does contribute a good and useful reply?

Again, this would depend on the scenario as well as the proportion of bad to good answers. If the community member has the potential to become an asset to the community, I would leave most of the decision-making to the community through the voting system. If the volume of poor answers is quite high, it may be necessary for me to step in and have a private conversation with the member.

  1. In light of the site's growth, are there any long-standing policies you'd like to look at to see if they've outlived their usefulness?

Not really. Although I do think a number of StackExchange policies relating to the flagging system and review queues could be changed, part of why I spend so much time on this site is that the policies fit the community very well.

  1. Being a moderator means sometimes that for the good of the community you might have to do things with which you disagree. How would you deal with such scenarios?

As a moderator, your job is to do what is best for the community. What is best for the community comes before my opinion and I will do my absolute best to moderate with the goals of the community in mind while setting my own aside.

  1. Why is this site (or SE as a whole) important to you?

Stack Exchange and more specifically this site on Stack Exchange are important to me because SE is a collection of educated individuals answering questions about topics that require a significant amount of knowledge to understand. For me, SE is how I diversify my understanding by reading random questions and learning random facts such as why a given antenna was placed in a given spot or why a plane uses four propellers instead of two.

  1. What do you think the site needs more of in terms of moderating?

As it is now, the moderators we currently have are excellent in keeping the levels of spam down. I am particularly strict about enforcing image/quote citations and I think that it is important to require every user to properly cite their image sources.

  1. What moderator action(s) have you witnessed that you appreciate the most, and why? Either on Aviation or any other SE community.

I would like to specifically mention that when I first joined the site, I had a number of flags declined and approved posts in the review queues that should not have been approved. The moderators contacted me to give me some feedback about it and since then I have only had a few flags declined. Ever since then, I have carefully analyzed the pros and cons of raising each flag and the joy I get from doing that is what motivates me to apply to be a moderator.

  1. What is your experience, either professionally or otherwise, in the Aviation industry?

None. I am airplane enthusiast and model aircraft pilot but I have not spent any time in the aviation industry.

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    $\begingroup$ Very much like your emphasis on doing a job while remaining civilised in communication. $\endgroup$ – Koyovis Aug 25 at 3:34
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Therac
Nomination Post

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Participate like everyone else, and also tidy up the place.

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

Approach them, ask them for the reason, and present my reason why it should be restored/reopened.

I will be fairly argumentative in my discussion, up to the point of creating a meta discussion if necessary. I believe moderators should only unilaterally close/delete questions when they're in clear violation of site rules, or if the decision is clear and non-controversial, or if there's urgency. The threshold for taking moderator action should be much higher than for simply casting a close vote.

However, I will not simply reverse a decision made by another moderator without discussion. My experience as a moderator and a community manager on other sites has taught me it's an extremely bad idea. Even when overruling moderators is in your job description, the negative feelings and potential conflicts that result can have worse consequences than the overruled action itself.

It's unfair that it's the regular users that get the short end of the stick here, as their post stays closed/deleted while the mods debate. But it's more important to ensure that no moderation disagreements play out in the open forum. I hope to find a better solution someday. But so far it's discuss, agree, decide, act.

  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?

Look in the mirror to make sure it isn't me!

Not me? Good. Guess I've learned enough network etiquette by now not to be the subject of flags. As recently as 12 years ago, I received a talk from a mod on another website that made me ashamed to realize that I had been one of those users, starting discussions where it wasn't called for.

Fortunately, SE is not a debating site at all, so it's not a gray area here. We have a limited comment system for improving, correcting, and clarifying answers and questions. There is a chat for some limited discussion, but that's about it. If the user is seriously interested in debating a subject, I'll try to privately direct them to relevant PPRuNe or Airliners topics.

Otherwise, stopping a discussion is like smothering a fire - remove fuel, oxidizer, heat, or reaction. Talking to the user is the first step, and I've seen it help in some cases.

If that fails, since restricting user access is very rare on SE (and I'd be the last person to make it a tradition), what's left is taking any heat out of the discussion. Delete the comments if they're trivial, move everything to chat otherwise. In my experience, even the most persistent debaters will flame out, if you consistently remove their posts out of the public eye.

  1. How would you deal with an enthusiastic user that produces mostly chaff, non-answers, or outright wrong answers but occasionally does contribute a good and useful reply?

Well, hopefully that's not me either!

Actually, this is a very normal situation. Unless you know, you're very likely to produce answers that are at least partially wrong. Many questions will never get a perfectly right answer. Users shouldn't be discouraged from posting just because they might get it wrong. If they do, hopefully they'll be told their mistake through comments and (much less importantly) downvotes.

I will keep contributing to the community's effort of teaching them which of their answers are good, and which aren't. Perhaps I'll contact and ask them to avoid specific mistakes. Maybe I'll sometimes delete their non-answers without waiting for 5 votes.

All in all, this isn't a quick-fix scenario, this is a scenario where you have to teach the user to conform to site rules, which doesn't happen overnight. And if you can't, deal with the janitorial work of cleaning up after them, as long as they don't cross any lines.

  1. In light of the site's growth, are there any long-standing policies you'd like to look at to see if they've outlived their usefulness?

I'm not sure. There isn't a lot of site-specific policies on Aviation.SE; most are just SE-wide policies that also apply here.

I'd be looking more towards building consensus on new policies that simplify the decision-making in common situations. Probably make a clearer delineation between what belongs on Travel.SE and what belongs here, and ensure that questions get migrated promptly.

  1. Being a moderator means sometimes that for the good of the community you might have to do things with which you disagree. How would you deal with such scenarios?

You don't even have to be a mod to face such choices. When you realize the question should be deleted, but you know the exact answer, do you vote to close, or answer (there are even badges for answering downvoted questions), or both?

We do what our roles dictate us to. In one, I have to teach people to use some gear I wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole - and I tell them as much, but only once they've learned to use it. As a mod, my role would require me to prioritize the community. I do a lot of things I personally disagree with (within reason), when the role is more important than the feelings of the person performing it. Moderation is no different.

  1. Why is this site (or SE as a whole) important to you? (Preferably in as few lines as possible.)

I like being here. Overall, I like SE for being time-efficient: question-answer, not debates, opinions and musings. Aviation.SE is especially good at maintaining a balance of questions and answers. Oh, and it's a subject very close to my heart.

  1. What do you think the site needs more of in terms of moderating?

I'm all for community moderation as the primary means of managing the content, and for using elected or appointed moderators only as a backstop.

Where I'll personally add to that backstop is in actively monitoring questions that get on the Hot Network Questions list. These attract attention so fast that the active community can't build up the votes in time. On Aviation.SE, most such questions do fine, but they still call for mod monitoring to ensure quick response when and if required.

I also feel that moderators should be proactive in reviewing, improving, and reopening interesting but poorly-written questions. I haven't done as much of this myself as I should have, largely because of the uncertainty about whether the question will get reopened. I'll get more active about this in any event, and if the community decides to give me the mod tools, that's one of the areas where I'll focus my efforts.

  1. What moderator action(s) have you witnessed that you appreciate the most, and why? Either on Aviation or any other SE community.

Not many. Mod actions are difficult to spot, as most of them hide the subject of the action.

One of the few that I can recall as positive actually comes from a mod bot that bumped a few unanswered questions from the early days of this SE. They weren't too esoteric, but there was too few people to answer them back in their time, and now they got the answers they deserved.

It's a small action, but otherwise these questions would likely get asked again, then closed for being duplicates, leaving a few new users frustrated. That's how good moderation actions work: you don't notice them, just don't notice the problems that could've occurred if they weren't performed.

  1. What is your experience, either professionally or otherwise, in the Aviation industry?

Had a hand in designing some bits and pieces that go into flying machines. Not much to brag about, considering the accomplishments of many of this site's contributors.

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    $\begingroup$ The "anonymous community moderator" is actually a bot, not a human. $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Aug 25 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ @ymb1 I see. So that's what I have to measure up to, then )) OTOH, just because an action was automated, doesn't make it less useful. $\endgroup$ – Therac Aug 25 at 15:38

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