2021 Moderator Election

nomination began
Sep 13, 2021 at 20:00
election began
Sep 20, 2021 at 20:00
election ended
Sep 28, 2021 at 20:00
candidates
6
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

Full elections have three phases and an optional fourth phase (Primary):

  1. Question Collection
  2. Nomination
  3. Primary
  4. 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?

[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. Moderating a site can be seen similar to tending to a garden. What’s your philosophy when handling weeds - both the green ones in the garden and the virtual ones on the site? How orderly should your garden be?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 4 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 5 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 6 here]

Niall C.

I've been a pro tempore moderator on this site since early in its history, and I'd like to continue on now that it has graduated. I've learned a lot from this site over the years, both about gardening and about dealing with people on-line.

While I don't ask or answer questions as much as I used to, I still enjoy helping people to get the help they're looking for by guiding them to ask better questions, or by pointing them to sites that are more appropriate for the question they're asking.

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 review the posts in question to see what action is needed. Start with asking the user(s) to review the Code of Conduct, and explain that we require civility towards others. If they persist in their behavior, ask them to step away from the site for a while to calm down. Beyond that, there are other tools that can be deployed: locking the posts to prevent further argument, suspending the problematic users, and so on.

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

Almost any written communication can be interpreted in more than one way, so I'd discuss it with them in private to try to understand why we have a difference in opinion. Stack Exchange likes to have three or more moderators on every site, so if two moderators disagree, there's at least one more to help arbitrate.

  1. Moderating a site can be seen similar to tending to a garden. What’s your philosophy when handling weeds - both the green ones in the garden and the virtual ones on the site? How orderly should your garden be?

There are weeds that I'll pull on sight (pokeweed, woody nightshade), and there are weeds that I'll manage (dandelions rarely go to seed here), and there are weeds that I've accepted (my volunteer population of borage).

Similarly on the site, there are things that I take action on immediately (such as spam), things to manage (users that have minor problems in their posts), and things to allow the community at large to deal with.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?
  • Moderators step in where needed to keep the tone of the site civil, respectful and welcoming to all users.

  • Moderators maintain the focus of the site by guiding new users who don't understand how the site operates: create multiple accounts, ask off-topic questions, etc.

  • Moderators do the clean-up jobs that regular users can't.

  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?

Even before becoming a moderator, I always tried to be polite, helpful, and communicate clearly. I'm very comfortable with having my past activity reviewed.

Whenever I'm about to take some action as a moderator, I've gotten into the habit of stopping and thinking "how would I defend this action if asked about it on meta?". It's a practice that has served me well.

  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?

The main thing is being able to deal with issues immediately instead of flagging them for a moderator to review such as deleting spam (not that we get much here) or cleaning up follow-on questions from new users who don't understand the site.

Stephie

Hello fellow gardeners, I’m Stephie. I have been a member of the site since late 2014.

This community entrusted me with a moderator diamond three years ago. I would love to continue to serve and so I nominate myself in this election.

Even before becoming a moderator, my focus has gradually shifted from just asking and answering more towards helping new users, guiding those who struggle with the principles, and handling those with malicious intent. As a moderator, I also keep an eye on the developments across the network and bring it to this community’s attention where needed.

I am on the site every day with very few exceptions and together with the current team in different time zones we keep the flag handling time reasonably low.

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?

A large amount of flags for one user is a warning sign on a comparatively quiet and peaceful site like this one. I would certainly very carefully look into the situation and use all available tools - from one-on-one chat to suspension - to help the user improve. The Code of Conduct is non-negotiable, breaking that on purpose will have consequences. As sad as it sounds, if one user is endangering the community, I would rather lose one than have many be driven away. There’s not only the question whether a user is good for the community, sometimes we as community are not what the user needs.

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

First step is to ping the moderator(s) in the moderator chat and talk about it. If we really disagree, we should consider to bring the topic (sufficiently anonymous and generalized if necessary) to Gardening Meta, because then it’s almost certainly based on unclear policies and boundaries, and we can use the opportunity to work on a community consensus for that.

Moderators are humans and as such, we all make mistakes. We help each other out and strive to do what’s best for the site.

  1. Moderating a site can be seen similar to tending to a garden. What’s your philosophy when handling weeds - both the green ones in the garden and the virtual ones on the site? How orderly should your garden be?

I have an “artfully neglected” garden. One of the most valuable insights there was that a community of plants that sits in the right spot and has the best growing conditions for their needs will be able to keep many weeds in check with minimal interference from the gardener. So instead of weeding, I rather focus on caring for the plants I want in my garden and help them get stronger. There are occasionally a few weeds of the more invasive type, those get pulled at first sight.

My lesson for the site is that strengthening the community beats manually weeding through unruly users and was confirmed just last week when a spam post was deleted by the community, not by us moderators, within a few minutes.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

As little as possible. At least that’s what it should look like to the community. As moderators we are servants to the community and strive to keep them empowered, encourage them to contribute and move the site forward. In truth, a moderator watches carefully, is available when needed (from handling flags to calming down heated comments) and ready to act in a short time. On occasion and especially on younger sites they will start a Meta discussion to further shape the site.

  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?

Even before getting my first diamond, I was working hard on being clear, polite and positive. As a non-native speaker I am well aware of the pitfalls hiding in foreign languages and the limitations of text-only communication. Getting my first diamond made me even more careful and aware of that. I am quite comfortable with the scrutiny.

  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?

The high-rep privileges are useful and we need the community moderation. At 15k, I am not missing much based on rep alone. However, for me, the most important abilities attached to the diamond are truly some moderator-only privileges that help keep the site spam free, track down sock puppetry etc. Being able to exchange information with moderators from other sites in a protected space is very helpful.

Spectra

Hi, I am Spectra. I would like to nominate myself for the post of moderator as well. I have been a member of this site for more than three years. Since joining, I have been learning a lot of stuffs about gardening from people and enjoying being here.

Frankly speaking, I am a beginner in the field of gardening. Hence I may not provide a lot of useful advices regarding gardening for people who need help here, but I certainly can help to keep the place clean and organised. In my limited scope I have enjoyed to do so so far.

Also, I belong to a completely different time zone than the majority, so I will be able to keep an eye in here(if I am chosen) in the absence of other moderators.

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 haven’t seen such comments or discussions in Gardening SE which can be derogatory for the site. It has always been a friendly site. However if such situation arises, then it should be handled properly. Constructive discussions are always welcome in SE as long as it remains civil.

My first step will be to determine whether those flags are appropriate or not. In either case, I would chime in to calm down the users. I would like to remind the users to behave properly in the public site. However, I shall keep a track of the behavioural pattern of the users. Next time, the users will get warning, suspension. I don’t think the inappropriate behaviour will persist after that. If it does, I will ban the user. Surely we will miss the users’ valuable contents, but I would not let anyone to drag this site down and am sure there are other users who can fill-in the void.

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

I haven’t seen such questions in Gardening SE, which can cause conflicts in here, questions here are pretty much straight forward. Even if it happens anytime then...

I think the way to solve this is to have a conversation with the particular moderator with whom I disagree. If I am mistaken then I will have no objection with the decision taken. If I am not convinced or believe that the other moderator is wrong, then I will try to make him realise my point. If we are unable to come up with a conclusion, I will invite other mods to help us out.

  1. Moderating a site can be seen similar to tending to a garden. What’s your philosophy when handling weeds - both the green ones in the garden and the virtual ones on the site? How orderly should your garden be?

Like every other gardener, I too like to keep my garden clean, free of weeds. Earlier when I started, I did not pay much attention to the weeds and in due time I did learn my lesson :p Now, whenever I see any unwanted green visitor in my garden, I do not let them grow. I just pluck them one by one. I have found out that this works for me - not a load of work at a time.

Similarly, I will not allow unwanted or irrelevant posts to remain on the site. They will have to go away.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators:

  1. help new users with their difficulties to post questions or answers,

  2. encourage the users to participate and provide useful contents, be it questions or answers or tips in the comments section by upvoting,

  3. discourage the users from posting irrelevant question answers by downvoting, closing them or deleting the spams,

  4. help in maintaining the code of conduct of the site,

  5. keep the site clean and organised.

  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 am chosen, the diamond....well, it will be a huge responsibility. It will always remind me of my position and the power that I have and the trust this community has offered me. It will be an honour to represent the community and I will act accordingly.

  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?

Oh hell...I am not gonna answer that...

Okay fine, I don’t think I will be able to achieve 5k reputation in near future, leave alone 10k or 20k :p, so you see, this does make a difference for me! Jokes apart, being a moderator will help me act fast with the edits, removing spams.

Ken Graham

Hello everyone my name is Ken Graham and I am nominating myself as a possible candidate for this site.

I was involved in landscaping in BC for some 20 years prior to changing jobs in 2018. I moved from an outdoor to an indoor occupation.

I still enjoy landscaping and the Great Outdoors immensely.

I am also a moderator on two other Stack Exchange sites.

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?

Moderators such not get involved too hastily in the comments. But as “on a need to do so bases only”. Conflicts will arise, but unless there are clear abuses shown, moderator would be able to guide individuals to follow the guidelines of the site in a polite and demonstrative manner.

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

As in any other site, I would take it to the moderators chat room and find out their reasoning. There is always the opportunity to learn their different viewpoint.

  1. Moderating a site can be seen similar to tending to a garden. What’s your philosophy when handling weeds - both the green ones in the garden and the virtual ones on the site? How orderly should your garden be?

Handling weeds requires a lot of patience and determination to keep them under control. The same applies to the virtual weeds on this site. Moderators need to be patient, yet firm in not letting those bad weeds take hold, especially from newcomers to the site, who do not fully comprehend the statutes of the site.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators should be there to maintain a healthy and the highest level of standards in the areas quality and civility. They are there to help others, especially newcomers in maintaining a certain amount of understanding of how the site works and editing posts as needed.

  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?

A diamond will not change too much for me as I am already a moderator on other sites. I feel okay with that in general terms. However my future behaviour on this site will be somewhat modified. Before I would be flagging things for moderators to look into. In the future, I would be more cautious as to not to inadvertently offend another by undue process of reflective thought. I will also be slower to close questions and let the community chime in before making in on a decision in some situations that are not clearly off topic.

  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?

Being able to close and delete things directly, rather than flagging for the mods to clean up later . We do not want lots of poorly scoped questions here. If elected, I'd like to see most of those questions closed a little more promptly only if truly necessary , so that they can be edited and hopefully reopened and only then get answers that are of a higher quality.

kevinskio

Hi there, I would like to nominate myself for moderator. As a member of this site for over ten years I have been able to provide over a thousand answers to help out our members. This has allowed me to get know the users and the problems they have.

  • adding photos for first time users is still a huge problem. I have been working on this by making suggestions for improvement since 2018. My latest suggestion for this was well received by the community and I am hopeful that a patient but persistent approach means we won't have new users who can't get an answer because they don't know the rules to post a photo.

  • worked with the community to consolidate tags

  • the most important thing about being a moderator is being on the site on a regular basis to vote up, edit and answer. I am in the North American Eastern Standard time zone which is popular and have visited every day for an extended period

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's okay to have different opinions as long as there is some research to back them up and a gentle tone when answering. When I see a pattern that is not in the best interests of a good discussion I would start with suggesting ways to improve their answers. A chat in a private room is a discreet option to suggest better ways to interact with members. More official action such as a ban is rarely needed for Gardening and Landscaping and I would like to keep it that way

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

Take it to the moderators chat room and find out their reasoning. There is always the opportunity to learn a different viewpoint.

  1. Moderating a site can be seen similar to tending to a garden. What’s your philosophy when handling weeds - both the green ones in the garden and the virtual ones on the site? How orderly should your garden be?

I have tried a lot of solutions for weeds in my garden and found that a yearly application of mulch goes a long way to making them easy to pull. The virtual weeds on this site are usually people who are unaware or don't care about the non commercial nature of this site. They are getting more inventive but going through the review queues for first answers makes them easier to spot.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators encourage new users to post and answer questions. They help ensure a civil tone of discourse for all users. They can answer questions that are not getting enough attention but the most important thing is to vote up good questions and answers.

  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?

It encourages one to think about your actions and how they might be perceived by 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?

Being a moderator would allow me to continue my goal of making the site easier to use by improving picture uploading, the Help Centre and acting for our users who need a hand with other users who are not following the community rules.

Conor

Hi, my name is conor and I'd like to nominate myself as a moderator. I've been a member for around a year and a half now and have found the community on here supportive, positive and really helpful.

Why am I doing this:

  • I'm awful at growing plants. So I know the struggles and what causes/encourages users to post their questions on here.

  • I want to encourage and nurture a positive environment where anyone can ask questions and provide input to other users questions.

  • Without wanting to sound to cliché, I want to help people in their gardening endeavours.

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?

Disagreement isn't always a bad thing. If we all agreed and thought the same thing the world would be boring. Provided that the arguments/flags are constructive or something positive can be taken or learnt from them then that's fine

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

Communication is key, I'd set up a room to chat with the other moderator to discuss the issue and reach an agreement between us. If we can't agree then perhaps bring in another Mod for their opinion.

  1. Moderating a site can be seen similar to tending to a garden. What’s your philosophy when handling weeds - both the green ones in the garden and the virtual ones on the site? How orderly should your garden be?

Firstly weed is subjective, what could be a weed for one user might not necessarily be a weed for another user.

I think for this site, you would need to gauge the overall desire of the community to work out what is/isn't a weed perhaps based on flags, upvotes & downvotes.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Keep things running smoothly, identifying or escalating questions that require attention and doing the same thing with Answers.

  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?

Fine, I think the most important 2 things on here is to be polite and honest. I think that all of my questions, answers and comments have met those 2 criteria so I don't have any concerns about this.

  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?

Hopefully been a moderator I can provide more help to new users now rather than when I have 10k or 20k rep which would take time. I'd quite like to be able to help now rather than later.

This election is over.