The 2012 Community Moderator Election is now underway!

Community moderator elections have three phases:

  1. Nomination phase
  2. Primary phase
  3. Election phase

Most elections take between two and three weeks, but this depends on how many candidates there are.

Please visit the official election page at

for more detail, and to participate!

If you have general questions about the election process, or questions for moderator candidates, feel free to ask them here on meta -- just make sure your questions are tagged .

(Answers posted to this announcement should consist of questions for the nominees and general commentary - use separate posts for questions on the election process, suggestions, concerns, and bug reports.)

I live in Asia(Taiwan). From time to time, I have seen bad things happen on Math SE and were taken care of much later because of time zone. I am hoping somebody in Asia can watch this forum for us(not me, I am not qualified). How do we find such person and nominate him/her? Should I ask this question in a separte question tagged election? – scaaahu May 1 '12 at 0:42
People thinking of questions to ask the candidates might want to take a look at previous threads for inspiration. – J. M. May 1 '12 at 1:04
@TheChaz: I've added a bit of clarifying text. Posting an answer here effectively addresses all the candidates (no one owns this question). Post a separate question to begin a tangential discussion, raise concerns, or report bugs. – Shog9 May 1 '12 at 1:04
@TheChaz Update your bookmarks - Stack Exchange has provided us with some hosting: – Yi Jiang May 1 '12 at 8:23
I think scaaahu has a good point that it would be nice to have the moderators spread out a bit over different time zones. – Tara B May 1 '12 at 9:07
@scaaahu: There is now a candidate (Benjamin Lim) who lives in Australia. – Tara B May 1 '12 at 12:47
On that note: it would be quite nice if the prospective nominees can mention their timezones and how often they visit the site in their nomination text... – J. M. May 1 '12 at 14:32
@J.M. I did the latter, will add the former. – Pedro Tamaroff May 1 '12 at 14:54
@TaraB, I think it would be very painful for a moderator to spread out over different time zones. – Gerry Myerson May 2 '12 at 0:04
@Gerry: I believe that's why Tara judiciously chose to use the plural. ;) – J. M. May 2 '12 at 1:50
I agree with the reasoning that ideally moderators should come from a wider range of time zones. OTOH some of them may be 24/7 addicts, so it doesn't necessarily matter much :-) – Jyrki Lahtonen May 2 '12 at 3:48
@TaraB Indeed I am able to cover the asia pacific region. I have commented on Willie's post below too about this. – user5783 May 3 '12 at 6:49
Are candidates supposed to answer the questions here (as in, the 'answers' to this 'question') in the comments, or by editing their proposal? – Chris Taylor May 3 '12 at 8:23
Wish you all good luck. – AD. May 15 '12 at 18:41

I see that out of the current candidates only two have $>50$ many helpful flags, and only one has the Deputy badge.

In my eyes flagging is the way for non-moderators help with moderation. It seems to me as intriguing why most candidates wish to "take a leap" from zero to a full-time moderation job.

Furthermore, flagging a lot helps the flagging user shape some idea about the fine-structure of the content boundaries of the website, or on CW

  1. (To those whose flag weight is less than $50$) In all the time active on the site, why did you not raise many flags? How do you think you will handle this shift from not-flagging to clear flags?

  2. (To all) What is your stand on the CW policy? Do you agree or disagree that most big list and soft questions should be turned CW?

I consider the number of flags virtually irrelevant as a measure of a candidate's qualifications. Dealing with flags is not the same as raising them. Frankly, I'd be more worried about a candidate with a history of raising lots of flags, as I favor keeping moderation to a practical minimum. – Brian M. Scott May 2 '12 at 21:23
@Brian: I agree that it is not very relevant. I also strongly agree that minimal moderation is often better than highly intervening one. However there are still a lot of posts that require handling, and there are many flags which are essentially unjustified and should be rejected. I wonder how people unexperienced with knowing what to flag are going to handle this task. – Asaf Karagila May 2 '12 at 21:37
I don't see why you assume that not flagging means that one doesn't know what to flag or, more important, what not to flag. I've almost never flagged simply because I've very seldom seen anything that I thought warranted flagging. Closing, yes; flagging, no. – Brian M. Scott May 2 '12 at 21:47
@BrianM.Scott: And are you running for moderator? :-) – Asaf Karagila May 2 '12 at 21:49
Not at the moment. But what I said may well apply to one or more announced candidates. Whether it does or not, the possibility has to be considered and tends to undermine the notion that number of flags raised is a useful measure of ability to handle flags. – Brian M. Scott May 2 '12 at 21:50
@Brian: Flagging is not only when there is spam. It is also when someone posts a comment to another answer as an answer; when unregistered accounts need to get merged; etc. I expect moderators to be able to identify such posts on their own as well. I also expect them to be able to judge correctly when an account needs to be merged, or deleted, or so on. This sort of experience is bought in flags. – Asaf Karagila May 2 '12 at 21:54
Asaf, I know all of this. I still don't agree with your last sentence. – Brian M. Scott May 2 '12 at 21:56
@Gigili: From my experience the high-rep "control" is for closing questions and occasionally killing spam. Moderator attention is needed for other things as well. – Asaf Karagila May 2 '12 at 22:03
@Gigili: Is my bad Mediterranean English a trouble for you to understand what I am trying to say? Why would any moderator flag anything? I'm not even sure they can. I can testify that my experience with flags slowly made me quicker to notice when accounts need to be merged, when answers should be turned into comments, and when people are just writing low-quality stuff. What you are saying in your above comments reads to me as: I do not wish to go through all the posts, but just through those others have flagged, although I did not bother to make the life of current moderators this easy. – Asaf Karagila May 2 '12 at 22:31
@AsafKaragila Is there any way to bully you into nominating yourself as a moderator? Mainly, so you you don't substitute by running for a political office in which you have access to nuclear weapons. – Michael Greinecker May 2 '12 at 23:50
@Asaf: 1. Perhaps the topics or questions I've chosen to answer are atypical in that they don't attract the type of responders that require flagging. I have not come across answers or comments myself that I've thought required flagging. Although I have no 'helpful flags', when I've noticed low-quality or duplicate questions, or they are brought to my attention, I have voted to close or delete where appropriate. To me, this is closer (than flagging) to one of the responsibilities of a moderator: taking action when others point out problems. – robjohn May 3 '12 at 4:37
@Asaf: 1. (continued) When I have come across wrong or low-quality answers, rather than downvoting or flagging, I have commented to point out the error or weakness, and tried to offer suggestions for improvement where I could. In my opinion, this helps to produce better answers than simply flagging. – robjohn May 3 '12 at 4:37
@Asaf: 2. Most big-list and soft questions are more survey than research, and for this reason, I would say that most should probably be CW. This is not to say that they are without value; some big-list and soft questions have inspired insightful and interesting answers. I am afraid that setting all big-list and soft questions to CW might reduce the number of good big-list and soft questions along with the bad. – robjohn May 3 '12 at 4:38
@All(2): With respect to CW, I like how MSE currently runs. I think it's interesting that we have retained a distinct CW policy from the rest of the SE sites, likely due to our affinity with MO. I think it was Atwood himself who once descended from the Overflow-heavens to say that he thought that MSE could handle CW and soft questions due to the large number of 'real' or 'hard' questions we get. I think I largely agree with Atwood on this point (not with everything). I would be saddened if every question were soft, but they aren't and they won't be. So I believe in them. But I also believe... – mixedmath May 5 '12 at 0:44
...(continued) that big-list or very soft questions should be CW in general. This isn't a hard line. It's like trying to define math: I can't really do it, but I know it when I see it. And fortunately, usually people from the communnity (i.e. not official mods) call out that something should or shouldn't be CW, and I like the current way we deal with such questions. – mixedmath May 5 '12 at 0:45

Question to Moderator Candidates: In Which Time Zone are you?

A very pragmatic question that scaaahu raised in the comments is that our current set of moderators all live in (if I am not mistaken) the narrow band of time zones between UTC+2 and UTC-8. In particular, we have no one covering the "Asian-Pacific region".

The question to the candidates/nominees, should they choose to answer it, is

In which time-zone are you active*?

* It would be most helpful if you factor in your sleep/awake hours. Namely if you live in London but work nights and so get up at 2pm local, you put down something more like UTC-7.

I fit the status quo, unfortunately. I'm in UTC-5, US East Coast. – mixedmath May 3 '12 at 2:40
I am UTC +10, so I should be able to cover the asia pacific region. Besides during 2pm - 6pm local time here (UTC +10) I have no classes. – user5783 May 3 '12 at 6:47
I disagree on the relevance of this. There was a thread about this recently; I think on English.SE. The point was made that even within a time zone, there are people who use SE in the morning, others who log in in the evening, and some who are here in the wee small hours. So having moderators from multiple time zones is no more beneficial than having a number of moderators in the same time zone. – user22805 May 3 '12 at 9:58
@David: I disagree with that. If you have seven moderators which are active at the same time (say, 10am-10pm of some timezone) then you have twelve more hours without real-time moderator response. It is often not the worst thing that could happen, but there might be rare cases where a real-time intervention is required. – Asaf Karagila May 3 '12 at 18:46
@Asaf: David's point is that being in the same time zone is no guarantee that moderators are active at the same time. The actual habits of the individuals are far more important than the time zones in which they live. Willie's might better have asked when the individual candidates expect to be actively available; their time zone of residence is a proxy, but possibly not a very good one. – Brian M. Scott May 3 '12 at 20:20
@Brian: Are we looking at the same question? Mine reads "In which time-zone are you active" and requests to factor sleeping patterns and actual activity hours in... – Asaf Karagila May 3 '12 at 20:30
@Asaf: Ignore the last sentence of my comment: I remembered only the question proper, in which are active can easily be understood as reside (at least by a native speaker), and forgot that Willie had in fact addressed the real issue in the expansion below it. – Brian M. Scott May 3 '12 at 20:35
My observation is: during UTC time 06:00-08:00, the traffic volume on Math SE is very low. I believe most people are in bed or not log in to our site except the people in pacific region. I was more worried about spams than anything else. – scaaahu May 4 '12 at 3:22
My time zone is UTC+03:30. – Gigili May 7 '12 at 20:05
Though I have added it in my nomination passage, i think i must add it here as well, my time zone is UTC + 5:30 – Tomarinator May 8 '12 at 13:08
  1. How much time do you have to spare and have you thought about whether you are really willing to continue this effort over a long time period?
  2. What is your stance on "answers in comments" that leave lots of unanswered questions and their flip-side, the "incomplete hint answers"?
  3. Have you looked at the behaviour and style of the current moderators and do you think that you could cooperate well with them?
1. I have been spending several hours a day on Q&A and chat. I don't see any reason why that would change. 2. If an answer is given in a comment that looks acceptable, I would suggest, in a comment to the commenter, that it be added it as an answer. If they don't add it as an answer in a reasonable time (a few days), I see no difficulty adding the answer as CW. 3. The moderators I have dealt with seem quite amicable; I don't think I would have any difficulty working with them. – robjohn May 4 '12 at 1:22
1. As I said in my nomination, My job is such that I need to be online. Consequently, I'm nearly always online and available, except when I'm eating or sleeping of course. 2. If I think a comment answers a question, and I see no reason for it not to be an answer, I'll convert it to an answer immediately. Otherwise, I'll inform the commentator or leave the comment alone. – Gigili May 4 '12 at 8:48
3. I know Mariano from chat, but I don't think I'm the kind of person who has difficulty communicating with people, especially well-educated people such as the Stack Exchange moderators. – Gigili May 4 '12 at 8:57
Do the current moderators convert people's comments to answers without asking them first? I would consider that much too strong an intervention. – Tara B May 4 '12 at 9:19
Also, the problem with "answers in comment" is, usually people tend to do so because they want to see other users' reaction to their comment then they are more willing to post it as an answer. Who finds earning reps annoying? – Gigili May 4 '12 at 9:42
I am not sure a moderator can convert comments into answers. However I am sure, the other way around is possible? Will some moderator shed some light? – user21436 May 4 '12 at 11:28
We do convert answers into comments: I have only done this in cases where it was obvious that the user was really trying to ask for amplifications on some other user's answer, or on the question itself, or obviously not anwering the question nor giving a hint or anything—except for a couple of cases in months, I have only done this in response to not-an-answer flags (but I do not always react to not-an-answer flag in this way). I am pretty sure the other mods follow the same standard here. – Mariano Suárez-Alvarez May 4 '12 at 18:36
Dar Phira, your point 2 does not so much pertain to what moderators do, but what users do: IMO it is users who should suggest those that leave answers as comments to turn them into full answers, and authors of too-partial-hints to expand on them so that they become more generally useful. I will not intervene in such situations with my mod hat unless there is an actual problem. – Mariano Suárez-Alvarez May 4 '12 at 18:39
@MarianoSuárez-Alvarez I don't think that your stance (it is the users' job to flag this) can be just assumed for the candidates I am asking. It is also not clear that they will react in the same way to flags as you do. Read what Gigili answered to question 2 if you think that your answer is a given. – Phira May 4 '12 at 18:53
I have read it, and other things related to this, and I am pretty sure that my stance is not a given! :) In fact, several of the nominees seem to view the role of mods to be closer to that of «curators» or «editors» of the site—I am of quite the opposite view. Even before becomign a mod I preferred to leave a comment on a question suggesting that the author fix something than actually fixing it myself (and this is, in general, more work for me than the alternative!) It is more instructive, I think, to point to a typo on a title suggesting that it be fixed than fixing it myself :) – Mariano Suárez-Alvarez May 4 '12 at 18:58
@Gigili, sorry but I find your comment ...usually people tend to do so because they want to see other users' reaction to their comment... actually a bit offensive. There are several of us college/university level teachers here. Many of us give "answers in comments" for the sole purpose to give extensive hints and try to teach the original poster to see the light him/herself. This is not a perfect approach on a Q&A forum, but it is the best we can do. I feel that the keen student's interests are best served this way. If you think that we do it to "test waters" that makes me very sad. – Jyrki Lahtonen May 4 '12 at 19:33
@JyrkiLahtonen: I know there are college level teachers here as well students. It was my observation, not a long ago (yesterday) someone posted a comment and when it received 7 upvotes, he posted an answer and I've seen a lot of cases like that. I didn't mean to upset you, I was just clarifying the point I made, that sometimes it's possible to convert the comment to an answer without warnings. Sorry if my comment was a bit harsh, It wasn't targeted to high-level mathematicians like you. – Gigili May 4 '12 at 19:53
@JyrkiLahtonen: FWIW, your comment to the other answer made me sad as well! – Gigili May 4 '12 at 20:01
How much time do I have to spare? It's not at all constant - I'm a math phd student. Sometimes I'm really busy, other times I'm without inspiration. But I've been a site regular for the last year, and I plan on being one for the coming year too. Answers in Comments I don't think it's a moderator's place intervene. I'd leave a comment... – mixedmath May 5 '12 at 1:11
(oops - I missed one): And I leave partial answers all the time. Sometimes, they're the only answer. Sometimes, the OP asks for details in the comments. Or other users. Others sometimes do the same; or they don't, and they give the full answer. This is another case where I don't think the mods intervene. I certainly wouldn't edit out details from a question. But in the past, I have been annoyed when some of us answered a question in hints and someone else wrote an explicit description. So I did what I think any member of the community would do: I wrote a comment. And that's still what I'd do. – mixedmath May 5 '12 at 1:14

Question for Moderator Candidates:

Has your account on Math.SE ever been suspended? How many times? What were the circumstances of your suspension, and why do you think that your behavior will improve once you are given greater authority?

Obviously, suspensions and the circumstances for suspensions are generally not publicly discussed; however, I think once a user nominates themselves for a moderator position the community has some right to get an explanation for behavior that warranted a suspension.

Yes, once. Since I'm active in MSE chat room, I once got into an argument with a user who called me "he" despite he knew I'm female. I got offended and made a remark and a 30 minutes chat suspension afterwards. I don't want to vindicate it but I think I needed an experience like that. I'll try my best to be reasonable and avoid getting into an argument like that but in a case it happens again, I'll take some pills to control my temper! =) – Gigili May 7 '12 at 20:52
No, mine has never been suspended. – mixedmath May 7 '12 at 20:55
@Gigili: Aspirin is just a blood thinner. You might want to try something that will actually help you relax. – Asaf Karagila May 7 '12 at 21:29
So, the candidates can arm twist facts? And, nobody should clarify that the statements here are not true? – user21436 May 7 '12 at 21:32
@KannappanSampath Obviously, a lot of posts are already missing from this conversation, but I have to inform you that no, "he" is not a general reference to an unknown person. – Phira May 7 '12 at 22:02
@KannappanSampath, Gigili: can you please remove these comments and maybe replace them by something less inflamed? There is no need to retrace history here. – Mariano Suárez-Alvarez May 8 '12 at 3:14
@KannappanSampath However unappropriate the situation was, I don't think it should be brought up here. – Pedro Tamaroff May 8 '12 at 4:04
@Mariano I have obliged. And, I am willing to see the same from Gigili. – user21436 May 8 '12 at 7:49
@Peter So, I should shut my mouth whenever she pokes needle into my mouth? I don't understand your logic. Regards, – user21436 May 8 '12 at 7:50
NO,my account has not been suspended , ever. – Tomarinator May 8 '12 at 13:04
@KannappanSampath I think you should stand up for yourself, but elswhere. – Pedro Tamaroff May 8 '12 at 14:36

(This is not an official announcement)

It looks as though Bill Dubuque and Eric Naslund were elected. Just wanted to upload this for those who aren't active on chat.

Zhen Lin posted his computations:
Not sure if these are identical, but Bill uploaded more:

Thanks for the information @TheChaz. I think you should post this as a new post instead. – user17762 May 15 '12 at 20:29
@Marvis: I get the sense that there are official protocols for identifying those elected, and notifying them/the hoi polloi. Just wanted to put up a stopgap without stepping on too many toes... – The Chaz 2.0 May 15 '12 at 20:31
Congratulations @BillDubuque – user17762 May 15 '12 at 20:36
Congratulations @EricNaslund – user17762 May 15 '12 at 20:37
Thanks for the preliminary results. These were available as raw data at 20:00 UTC, but the processed results are now available here and here – robjohn May 16 '12 at 3:43
@robjohn Bad luck! You were one among my three candidates. You should definitely contest the next time as well! Good luck next time! – user17762 May 16 '12 at 4:20
Congrats to Bill and Eric. Good luck! Just one general question. How was the outcome decided? The numbers on the transcript are mostly Greek to me :-) It would not have changed my votes, but it would have been nice to have seen a description of the algorithm in advance. Why was this bit left out? I still couldn't find it from any official SE page. Without an explanation I would have expected something like: 3 votes to 1st pick, 2 to the 2nd, one to the 3rd. A big minus to the system for not automatically giving a link to an explanation. – Jyrki Lahtonen May 16 '12 at 6:55
@Jyrki: (a link to the wiki page of) the method of tabulation was available on the sidebar of the main election page (linked in the OP above). Meeks method, or something like that. This was discussed/confirmed in chat as said users were posting the calculations. – The Chaz 2.0 May 16 '12 at 15:02

Question to Moderator Candidates: Are you also active on MathOverflow? Are you active on Meta there?

The two sites are somewhat connected and I quite like that. There are also often discussion on MO-Meta about problematic behaviors of users active at both sites. I think this is relevant information for MO-moderators.

ETA: As a response to some comments that don't see any way in which being on MO or MO-Meta could impact moderation of Math.SE I thought I would add some concrete examples as to why it might be helpful for moderators here to be involved on MO, particularly MO-Meta.

First, MO and math.SE are overlapping communities, and as such have many overlapping users and problems. Sometimes being aware of a problem user or question from MO-Meta can help the moderators here be more vigilant with respect to that user or question on math.SE. Also some system problems crop up in both places, and more information in such situations is always better. Some examples from MO-Meta:

On chrome crashing on math.SE and MO
On a problematic user/question
Overlapping problematic behavior on both math.SE and MO

There are many more such examples if one wants to search the comments on MO-Meta for "math.SE" or "MSE".

In addition to helping the moderators become aware of potential problems earlier, some high rep math.SE users and moderators have, I would say, been "unofficial spokespeople" for the math.SE community. This is obviously above and beyond moderation duties, but is a very nice thing for them to have done and helps the math.SE community (and its moderation) by making sure MO is referring the right sorts of questions here, and in the right way. Two great examples of such posts on MO-Meta:

On trying to send people to math.SE in the "right" way
On cross-posted questions

I hope these examples illustrate some of the benefits the math.SE community has derived from having moderators here be aware of what is going on at MO and MO-Meta. Of course, being a research mathematician certainly shouldn't be a prerequisite for being a moderator of math.SE, but there are solid reasons to ask the question about activity on that site in particular.

Yes, good question. I know at least two current moderators actively participate meta.MO and I suppose they can carry the word over if needed. – Asaf Karagila May 3 '12 at 0:24
I browse MO quite a bit, but I haven't been an active participant, unfortunately. But as I delve deeper into my studies, I suspect that I will be using it more. – mixedmath May 3 '12 at 2:36
I am not a member of MathOverflow; however, I have frequently read posts on MO and on meta.MO. However, as it might be informative not only regarding users with problem behaviors, but also regarding topics related to site moderation, it would seem to be a good idea for any math.SE moderator to join MO. – robjohn May 3 '12 at 5:06
I don't see how this might help one moderating MSE. – Gigili May 3 '12 at 5:38
One can't help but wonder if the ever-charming Princess @Gigili is responsible for the lone downvote on 3 of the 4 "answers" here... you don't like me, you argued with Asaf, and you don't see the benefit of being an MO user ! – The Chaz 2.0 May 3 '12 at 6:04
@rar: That makes perfect sense. But it goes beyond the moderating role, as you said. – Gigili May 3 '12 at 6:37
@TheChaz: On meta, I simply downvote when I disagree, I suppose it's how it works. – Gigili May 3 '12 at 6:42
@Gigili I guess I shouldn't have deleted that comment now that you've responded to it. I don't seem to have any way to undelete it, however. Sorry. – user23784 May 3 '12 at 6:44
I'm not active on MO because I'm not a research mathematician. I have an account, which I used before I knew of the existence of M.SE, but quickly transitioned to using M.SE as a more appropriate forum for the kind of mathematics that I want to discuss. The two sites have different aims, participants and cultures. It is common that questions on MO should be moved to M.SE (so there is benefit to an MO moderator being familiar with M.SE) but the flow rarely goes in the other direction. It's possible that problematic users will use both sites though, so I would check Meta.MO if I was a moderator. – Chris Taylor May 3 '12 at 8:36
@TheChaz - I think that not being afraid of an argument is a great attribute for a moderator to have. Sometimes, it is necessary for a moderator to show his/her teeth, as well as to be able to justify his/her position. And let's face it, Asaf badly needed someone to argue with him, after all that talk of nuclear domination. Also, I don't understand how being an MO user would help a moderator here; Gigili is a user of many other sites, so she's perfectly well aware of the principles of moderation. The fact that she's not a research-level mathematician is completely irrelevant. – user22805 May 3 '12 at 10:50
@TheChaz and honestly, after your sarcastic remarks about charming princesses, I wouldn't be too surprised if Gigili doesn't like you much. The fact that she has spoken up so vocally here makes me far more inclined to support her candidacy than if she had just lain back and sucked up all the vitriol that has been directed at her. After everything that's happened here, I admire her backbone immensely. I will undoubtedly be voting for her once the election begins. – user22805 May 3 '12 at 10:55
My concern when I hear about meta.MO being used to discuss things happening on math.SE is things like this and this. – Isaac May 3 '12 at 19:09
@David: Surprisingly, I find myself in total agreement with your first comment (though I meant my comment about MO/lack thereof to be evidence of a downvote only). I confess to playing the antagonist with the Harbinger of Pleasantry, but am concerned with... well, I'll save it for the primary :) – The Chaz 2.0 May 3 '12 at 19:21
FWIW I upvoted this answer, too. Something that the candidates should know about, and certainly me the voter likes to hear about. BUT a nominee, who is not a research mathematician, should not register at MO as a response to this question. IMHO that is quite the wrong reaction. – Jyrki Lahtonen May 4 '12 at 14:16
@AsafKaragila I'm sorry, but I did not mean you any offence. However, I do stand by my comment. If you want it deleted, then flag it for moderator attention. I will not delete it myself. – user22805 May 5 '12 at 12:39

Since it is more organized, and I am one of the last people to nominate themselves, I am posting my answers here:

How much time do you have to spare and have you thought about whether you are really willing to continue this effort over a long time period?

Hopefully my participation up to present will answer this question: So far, I having been using the site consistently for the last 15 months, averaging a post a day and reading many more. During this time I have also participated actively on Meta, frequently commenting and visiting the site, and averaging a post every two weeks.

What is your stance on "answers in comments" that leave lots of unanswered questions and their flip-side, the "incomplete hint answers"?

For answers in comments, I don't think this is a problem unless the answer in the comments discourages people from posting any answer at all, leaving the question "unanswered." In this case, I agree with Rahul Narain's proposal in this old meta thread: Dealing with answers in comments. I personally have not noticed the problem of "incomplete hint answers" as from my experience, the answer writer will often modify their post after receiving a confused comment from the OP. I don't think any type of answers should be outright discouraged. Hints have their place, and so do complete solutions.

Have you looked at the behaviour and style of the current moderators and do you think that you could cooperate well with them?


In Which Time Zone are you?

I currently live in Paris, UTC+2, but will be returning to Vancouver, UTC-7, in August. It is worth noting that in November Vancouver returns to standard time (from daylight savings) which is UTC-8.

Are you also active on MathOverflow? Are you active on Meta there?

I frequently use Math Overflow, and browse several of the tags daily; here is my account. I also read the meta posts, but I am not interested in participating in the meta there for several reasons.

(To those whose flag weight is less than 50) In all the time active on the site, why did you not raise many flags? How do you think you will handle this shift from not-flagging to clear flags?

I have usually tried to deal with problematic posts in one of the many ways which are open to top users. Often leaving a comment for the OP can be very constructive. There are however some cases where flagging is important, and I have occasionally come across this and appropriately flagged.

(To all) What is your stand on the CW policy? Do you agree or disagree that most big list and soft questions should be turned CW?

I think it depends on the question, but I am more inclined to make soft questions CW. What I believe is most important is having a consistent standard.

Has your account on Math.SE ever been suspended?

No, never.


First round of answers:

(To those whose flag weight is less than 50) In all the time active on the site, why did you not raise many flags? How do you think you will handle this shift from not-flagging to clear flags? - Asaf Karagila

I tended to comment on the mishap rather than flag, since the system was alien to me. However, when I discovered the system, I flagged and commented on problematic situations. When it comes to questions, I tend to vote to close rather than flagging, since it saves the mods some time.

(To all) What is your stand on the CW policy? Do you agree or disagree that most big list and soft questions should be turned CW? - Asaf Karagila

I agree that most big list and soft questions should be CW. The latter tend to get votes steming from subjectivity and the former is just a compendium The votes should serve to order the questions as the community sees fit. See here how I got simply +1 and another user got +6, but the OP chose my question (please avoid voting when visiting the link, I don't want any complaints of propaganda). It is simply subjective.

How much time do you have to spare and have you thought about whether you are really willing to continue this effort over a long time period?

I have a nice deal of time to spare. However, since I'm in University, there will be times I'll be studying for exams. I don't think being a moderator is too hard of an effort, so I think I will be able to continue participating.

What is your stance on "answers in comments" that leave lots of unanswered questions and their flip-side, the "incomplete hint answers"?

Both are useful. Why? They help the OP to think. They don't serve the full dish, so it (hopefully) motivates the OP in trying to work on his own. The hint comments do no harm, and are usually upvoted by the community. As for questions, they have to be well thought out. Usually, the good hint answers come from high rep users who can produce such useful hints. I see a small problematic in new users that tend to answer with a comment, saying "Use this and that", but produce low quality hints. These can be either made a comment or deleted altogether, depending on their quality.

Have you looked at the behaviour and style of the current moderators and do you think that you could cooperate well with them?

I have. However, since I am not part of the team, I will have to get to know their ways and preferences, and this can be only achieved with some time of work.

Question to Moderator Candidates: Are you also active on MathOverflow? Are you active on Meta there? I am not active. I'm a freshman university student in mathematics.

Question to Moderator Candidates: In Which Time Zone are you? I'm in UTC -3.00.


Question to moderator candidates

The election statistics page (click "Mathematics") lists some statistics, including:

  • Number of answers/questions (on both main and meta)
  • Reputation (total, per post, per day)
  • Badges (number of gold, silver, as well as "Yes/no" for "Noteworthy badges")

The nomination page also lists the number of helpful flags of each candidate. (Asaf has now written an entire question about this, so I'll defer to that)

$1.$ Which of these statistics do you think is most important for determining if a candidate is qualified to be a moderator? Least important?

$2.$ Are there other objective/quantifiable qualities that the community should look for in the candidates?

$3.$ Are you "weak" (numerically) in any important areas? What are your thoughts on this area(s) as it relates to you specifically?

$4.$ On a scale of $1 - 10$ (low to high), how proud of you will your mother/maternal figure be if you are elected?

The fourth one should not be a question here. – Eric Naslund May 3 '12 at 18:02
@Eric: "Should"?? Maybe not. I find the fourth point of Saurav's nomination endearing, and thought it funny to include. Feel free to not answer it. – The Chaz 2.0 May 3 '12 at 18:41
It is endearing, my comment was a bit harsh, but I don't think there is a strong connection between $4$ and choosing who would best moderator Math Stack Exchange. – Eric Naslund May 3 '12 at 22:56
@Eric: Agreed. ${}{}$ – The Chaz 2.0 May 3 '12 at 23:24
in response to question number 4, a sure 10. :-) – Tomarinator May 8 '12 at 13:03
@EricNaslund, The Chaz's humorousness and informality is a nice and balancing touch to some of the more serious-toned users here. Don't think anything was meant by it. :) – 000 May 8 '12 at 23:26
@Limitless: Maybe I went too far... none of the candidates have felt the need to answer any of the first three questions! I chalk this (and other seemingly negative experiences that I have on MSE) up to the "jackass" persona that I have carefully crafted over the past year. – The Chaz 2.0 May 8 '12 at 23:50
@TheChaz, very possible. However, I see purpose in your questions. I do not know about their intentions with respect to not answering your questions. – 000 May 8 '12 at 23:56
Re: 2: I would advise the community to vote for the candidates that they think will be most effective solving the major issues challenging the site, esp. dealing with tension over contentious meta issues. These are often the things that can cause a general math forum to crash and burn. Conversely, the quicker such issues are resolved, the smoother the main site will grow, and the easier it will be to attract further knowledgeable members. – Bill Dubuque May 9 '12 at 2:08

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