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2011 Moderator Election

nomination began
Feb 7, 2011 at 20:00
election began
Feb 15, 2011 at 20:00
election ended
Feb 23, 2011 at 20:00

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

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

Our general criteria for moderators is as follows:

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

Every election has three phases:

  1. Nomination
  2. Primary
  3. Election

Please participate in the moderator elections by voting, and perhaps even by nominating yourself to be a community moderator!

I hate writing these sorts of things, but here it goes anyway:

I've been on the site since it came out of private beta and have been a pretty good contributor (if you ask me). This is my first SE site, but I've been following it with interest since SO started. I was excited to finally have a go at a community in my wheelhouse (as I'm not a developer).

I have some, but not all of the relevant "moderator" badges: Quorum / Convention, Talkative, Suffrage, Civic Duty (I haven't voted on enough questions for Electorate)

I value rationale discourse and try to keep my tone and approach civil. As a moderator, I would attempt to hold myself and others to this same value.

I think anyone who is unwilling to entertain the idea that they may be wrong is probably wrong. As such, I try to continually evaluate my position and change it when evidence is to the contrary. As a moderator, I would be open to arguments and would not be heavy handed.

I think the community is the coolest aspect of these sites. Seriously, how awesome is it that strangers get together to share knowledge and help make the internet a better place for no reward?! Ok, we get badges, and we're kinda proud of those, but essentially no reward. So as a moderator, I think we need to let the community guide itself as much as possible. The community should close questions, flag content, determine scope, etc. A moderator should support the communities decisions and not dictate the communities policies. So I guess that would be a laissez faire, hands off policy.

I've been moderately involved in meta, as I think the philosophical aspect of these sites is fascinating. I'm no Aaronut or Hobodave, but I think I've contributed in a meaningful way there.

And don't forget, it was me that set my banana on fire in the microwave.

So there you go.

Greetings! I'm Aaron, pro-tem moderator and regular contributor on seasoned advice. I'm hoping you'll consider voting for me in the upcoming moderator election.

Why I want to be a moderator here:

I've been involved with this site ever since it was just a germ of an idea on Area 51, helping to define the site and get it off the ground. I know that I am just one of many cooks in this kitchen today, but to me this place is the Beef Bourguignon that's been 3 days in the making. We're a growing community, and being a moderator means giving it that extra little bit of TLC to make it come out perfect.

My vision for Seasoned Advice:

Cooking is an art form, sprinkled with bits of science here and there. Our community was really the first (and arguably is still the best) demonstration of how quality Q&A can take place even in the face of many unknowns. We've established several trends and guidelines that have spread across the network, been quoted on other meta sites and even the Stack Exchange blog.

That consistent quality is what's going to set us apart from the hundreds (thousands?) of other cooking sites on the web. Most people come here (and to other Stack Exchanges) with problems; they're looking for solutions. Our mission is to lead them to those solutions without the all-too-familiar obstacles of spam, off-topic posts, inside jokes, and other noise. Nothing's more frustrating than when your banana's on fire and all you can find are a bunch of useless videos.

I lead by example:

You can all see my reputation and my profile. I have a lot of activity here. But in case you've only seen glimpses of me, here are some things you might not already know:

  • I do a ton of editing, especially to improve the quality of questions, because well-formed questions get well-formed answers. I'm one of just four members with the Strunk & White Badge.

  • I always respond to comments, and if somebody shows me my answer is wrong, I fix it. Pencils have erasers here, and that is a big part of what makes the SE sites unique.

  • I am pretty sure I have the highest meta participation of all members. I also have quite a bit of reputation on our "mother meta", Meta Stack Overflow. I've spent a lot of time not just helping people with their cooking, but helping them to make the best use of the site itself. A number of my meta answers and FAQs have been quoted on other site metas or even the Stack Exchange blog.

  • I try to find compromises when I see value in something that doesn't quite work with the mechanics of the site.

  • I vastly prefer editing to closing, but whenever a question has been too far off-topic or otherwise problematic for editing to be useful, I have always left feedback politely explaining the specific reasons for the closure and also, if there is something they can do to get it reopened.

  • I vote frequently; I have the Civic Duty and Electorate badges. The vast majority of my votes are upvotes, but I am not afraid to downvote, non-anonymously, if I feel that an answer is not helpful or productive at all.

  • I defended our site/community from the skeptics and pessimists on multiple occasions.

What I bring to the table:

For the Stack Exchange veterans:

I know how the SE team (esp. Jeff, Joel, Robert) thinks and can represent their philosophies here. I am also not afraid to grind their gears if I feel that we're getting the short end of the stick (c.f. domain names - we compromised on a redirect from And I'm active across the network (see SO, MSO, P.SE, M.SE for examples), which gives me a broader perspective, helps to spot recurring patterns, and continually reminds me of what life is like for non-moderators.

For the Newcomers and Seasoned Advice exclusives:

Cooking and code go together like cheese and chalk, so new members will be our lifeblood. They may lack SE experience but they are taking their time to contribute and need to be treated with special care. To that end I encourage positive behaviour when I see it (upvotes and compliments) and strive to leave constructive criticism when they make honest mistakes.

I have also been making and would continue to make full use of some of the newer newbie-friendly moderation features, such as converting answers to comments. I've also been a strong advocate for better documentation, and have tried to help identify usability issues and other technical obstacles.

How I actually moderate:

Moderators should spend most of their effort doing the things that the community cannot, and that is what I have been doing: Responding to flags, handling abuse, watching the analytics, and pruning dead questions (due to a lack of 10k-rep members).

On occasion the community may become deadlocked or simply not notice a problem, so I would still help close the occasional question. Over the long term I see this aspect becoming progressively less relevant as a moderator role.

In Conclusion:

I think that overall I have been a force for good in this community, helping to shed much of the baggage and drama that plagued other Stack Exchanges and establish ourselves as a legitimate and professional Q&A.

If you agree, vote for me!

Now, you're probably wondering, why on Earth is this low-rep user even nominating himself to be moderator? What has he ever done? "Clearly he is awful at cooking, or else he would have answered more questions!" "He doesn't participate enough!" (I have just returned from sabbatical, so this will no longer be an issue.)

To be honest, I am a terrible cook. However, I absolutely love delving into the minds of the professional experts on this site. In addition to the wonderful responses I have already received, I look forward to trying out any further advice given.

I worship a structured Q&A (which these communities seem to have gotten right!) Noticing the other two nominees at this time, I realize that they are two of the highest rated users on the site. What bothers me is, as moderators, they will be forced to deal with petty issues of spam, off-topic posts, flame-bait, and offensive users... somewhat deteriorating their true value of applying their food-related expertise! A CEO should not have to clean up his office, that is a responsibility deferred to the custodian (i.e. someone like me!)

I firmly believe in abiding by the rules set forth by the community, even if I do not personally agree with them. Though relatively small compared to some of the current superstars, my post history across multiple sites offers a proven track record of cool but professional behavior. I will not, however, make decisions based on a whim. Wielding the powers and responsibilities of a moderator, I will carefully weigh the costs and benefits of every click of the mouse. Any decisions I know I am not capable of handling will be delegated to the community of existing privileged users, a meta post, or the SE team if necessary.

If you agree with this philosophy, vote for Frank!

I would like to be considered for a moderator position on Seasoned Advice.

I think that I should be considered because I have demonstrated my ability as a temporary moderator from beta through now. My moderator viewpoint can be summarized as follows:

  • Moderate with patience and respect
  • Favor community solutions to problems over moderator heavy-handedness
  • Use the moderator button when the community can't or won't fix problems
  • Enforce the established community guidelines and expectations, as well as promoting the vision of how StackExchange sites should work based on guidance from Jeff & Co.

Throughout my time as a moderator I have shown my ability to behave and act respectfully and calmly when dealing with problem users. When there are borderline questions I do not use my moderator close ability. I will wait until the community provides input and votes of their own. However, if a question is blatantly off topic or inappropriate I will exercise my moderator powers and inform the user. If I can see a way to improve their question I will suggest this as well.

I frequently use the moderator tools to address flags, find delete-candidates. I also communicate regularly with other moderators in the channel chat room, as well as the system-wide moderator chat room. Whenever I'm in doubt I seek the advice and input of my peers.

I think our site is a great example of how to effectively and professionally handle moderation of a StackExchange site. We had to do quite a bit of moderator interventions in our early days, but lately the amount of community involvement has really stepped up. Our site has much less drama than many other SE sites, and I think our moderation team as a whole should be acknowledged for that.

If you have any questions for me please feel free to ask in the comments.

This election is over.