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2024 Moderator Election

nomination began
Mar 12 at 20:00
election began
Mar 19 at 20:00
election ended
Mar 27 at 20:00
candidates
4
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!

Additional Links

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. In lack of a strong engagement in review tasks, what do you think a moderator should do if they encounter a question which, in their opinion, is most likely going to be closed by the community (for example because of extreme lack of clarity, bad formatting, or if the question is blatantly off-topic)? Would you close the question immediately, speeding up the review process but risking going against what the community would do, or would you rather just leave it up to the review queue?

    On a similar note, in situations where there is a low engagement on meta, which would make it hard to reach a definite consensus, what do you think a moderator should do when deciding on whether to enact policy changes (e.g. regarding policy on question closing, tag management, etc)? Where would you draw the line between matters that can be handled directly by moderators, and matters that need to be brought up on meta before acting?

Answer 3 here

  1. According to you, which questions concerning quantum programming languages/frameworks should be considered as off-topic for this site? Putting this differently, which attributes does a relevant question about these topics possess?

Answer 4 here

  1. How important (or unimportant) do you think it is for a moderator to be an expert in the field of quantum computing (or a subfield/related field), and why?

Answer 5 here

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Answer 6 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 7 here

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

Answer 8 here

FDGod

Greetings to the QCSE community members!

I am nominating myself as a moderator in the upcoming elections. I am a very curious and passionate college student aiming to embark on my PhD in Quantum Computing and Quantum Information Science in the fall of 2024. I firmly adhere to the belief that knowledge flourishes through sharing, and that's why I started contributing to QCSE a few months back. I am committed to contributing to our community, maintaining a high quality of the forum and fostering a learning environment without any gatekeeping.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my candidacy.

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?

The course of action depends on the specific circumstances. In cases where the argument remains a civil and healthy disagreement, I believe moderator intervention may not be necessary. However, I would ask the users in question to move to the chatroom instead of doing it over the comments. Conversely, if the user is having uncivil arguments, then, In general, I will initiate a conversation with the user and remind them regarding the code of conduct that they need to follow and treat one another with kindness and respect.

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

I would discuss it with the other moderator, explain my reasoning behind why it should not have been closed/deleted/etc., learn their perspective on why they took that action, and try to reach a consensus among ourselves.

  1. In lack of a strong engagement in review tasks, what do you think a moderator should do if they encounter a question which, in their opinion, is most likely going to be closed by the community (for example because of extreme lack of clarity, bad formatting, or if the question is blatantly off-topic)? Would you close the question immediately, speeding up the review process but risking going against what the community would do, or would you rather just leave it up to the review queue?

    On a similar note, in situations where there is a low engagement on meta, which would make it hard to reach a definite consensus, what do you think a moderator should do when deciding on whether to enact policy changes (e.g. regarding policy on question closing, tag management, etc)? Where would you draw the line between matters that can be handled directly by moderators, and matters that need to be brought up on meta before acting?

The blatantly bad questions due to extreme lack of clarity or off-topic questions should be immediately close, if they fail to meet the standards for asking described here. However, poorly formatted questions should not be closed, especially if the user is new. A better approach is to inform the user on how to use Markdown and LaTeX and edit posts yourself to improve the formatting. However, I believe there is a strong engagement in review tasks for our community.

As for the low engagement on meta, in that situation, an appropirate decision to benefit the community should be taken by the moderation team by reaching concensus amoungst themselves as there would be now a team of 3 moderators and implement the change. Users can always post against these changes on meta and if there is enough backing, moderators should think about reverting the changes in that case.

  1. According to you, which questions concerning quantum programming languages/frameworks should be considered as off-topic for this site? Putting this differently, which attributes does a relevant question about these topics possess?

The questions with package installation issues or package importing issues should be considered as off-topic as they are more suited for other communities like StackOverflow. If a programming-based question requires quantum computing knowledge, whether to debug the code or any other reason, it should not be considered off-topic for QCSE.

  1. How important (or unimportant) do you think it is for a moderator to be an expert in the field of quantum computing (or a subfield/related field), and why?

I don't think it is important at all to be an expert in the field to be a moderator. However, you should have some basic knowledge in the field of quantum computing to be able to decide what is off-topic or not, which questions should be closed, or how to revise and improve questions and answers to maintain the high quality of the forum. Also, one of the main job of the moderators is to enforce the code of conduct, and expected behavior, which does not require expertise in the field.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

They do the moderation duties. Expectations for a community moderator on a Stack Exchange site is given 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?

Undoubtedly, this carries a significant weight and responsibility as my words and actions may potentially hold greater influence within the communuity and would be scrutinized more closely. This thought seems daunting to me at first! However, I would like to view this as an opportunity to uphold high standards within my actions and words.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

I am not sure about this.

glS

I'll try (and fail, probably) to keep this short and sweet. I'll throw my hat this time around as well. I've never been eager to be a mod, and I'm still not, but I do feel some degree of responsibility towards helping maintain a site that I personally take so much value out of. Regardless, at this point, I guess I did learn a fair bit about how to be an internet janitor, so it seems sensible to keep doing it.

As for my pitch, I'll just say that if I keep being a mod, I'll keep doing things like I've done them up to now. So if you are happy with that, great, you might want to vote for me. If you are not happy with that, well, I encourage you to vote for someone that better reflects your ideas, or even better, to run yourself if you can!

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?

As always, it all depends on the specifics of the situation. What should be said is that IMO civil discussion needs to be upheld regardless of the scientific contribution that person can bring. In other words, I don't care how valuable your answers are, if you can't interact with folks without inflaming spirits and insulting others, you are not welcome on the site in my book.

I can see one trying to be a bit more lenient and forgiving in truly exceptional cases (like, idk, if we get a Nobel laureate who provides great answers and insight but is also rude to others), but really, such situations are so rare that it's just better to figure out what to do if and when they actually happen.

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

We'd just discuss it internally and figure out the best course of action.

  1. In lack of a strong engagement in review tasks, what do you think a moderator should do if they encounter a question which, in their opinion, is most likely going to be closed by the community (for example because of extreme lack of clarity, bad formatting, or if the question is blatantly off-topic)? Would you close the question immediately, speeding up the review process but risking going against what the community would do, or would you rather just leave it up to the review queue?

    On a similar note, in situations where there is a low engagement on meta, which would make it hard to reach a definite consensus, what do you think a moderator should do when deciding on whether to enact policy changes (e.g. regarding policy on question closing, tag management, etc)? Where would you draw the line between matters that can be handled directly by moderators, and matters that need to be brought up on meta before acting?

Thanks, what a great question! =)

As a general note on my perspective to these conundrums: the way I see it, moderators are people that the community trusts to act in the best interest of the site. And I therefore find it part of the job to take responsibility in making specific choices. If I end up making a wrong choice, most of the time it's just easily fixable anyway. If it turns out that my ideas for the site diverge enough from what the community wants to make most of my choices wrong (as in, in disagreement with what many other people would have wanted), that probably means that someone else should take my place and I'll happily step down as mod.

Review tasks --- It follows from the above that if I think a question is most likely going to be closed by the community, and I'm currently looking at it, then there's no point in delaying the inevitable: I'd close it directly myself. This is because I think that if a post is going to be closed, it should be closed ASAP: if answers creep in and then the post is closed, that just sends mixed and confusing signals. Typically, if I do this, I also follow the question to be able to reopen it just as promptly if the question is fixed.

Of course, in most situations it's not so obvious whether the post will be closed or not, and in those cases I'd just leave it to the review queue. What I'm talking about here are posts that are very obviously going to be closed. Of course, I can't predict the future, but I feel like at this point I can predict with sufficient accuracy when some posts are going to be closed to make the action worth the risk.

Meta stuff --- Similarly for meta matters, I think it's part of the responsibilities of being a mod to make choices for the site. For the most important and less reversible choices, it's of course always better to ask the community first. But it has to be said that on this site in particular, it's often quite hard to really parse what the mystical entity of "the community" really wants. Most people (understandably) don't care too much about meta affairs, and even if they do a little, they might not think it's worth the effort to argue with other people about it (which, again, it's totally understandable).

I think in situations where the community is split and consensus isn't clear, it's the moderators job to make a decision (which of course, depending on the issue at hand, might very well be to do nothing at all). If you want to know what this means for me more in practice, well, I just mean what I've done up to now.

It's maybe worth mentioning here that I'm arguably a relatively proactive person. Meaning that when in doubt I'd rather take action and speed things up if I'm fairly confident that's the correct course of action. I prefer this to just never enact any change because of us getting stuck in endless meta discussions.

  1. According to you, which questions concerning quantum programming languages/frameworks should be considered as off-topic for this site? Putting this differently, which attributes does a relevant question about these topics possess?

In my mind the main discriminator is whether answering the question requires or involves knowledge of quantum information to any degree. If it does, then the question might be fine. If the question is just about, say, how to import some python package, then the question is probably not fine.

  1. How important (or unimportant) do you think it is for a moderator to be an expert in the field of quantum computing (or a subfield/related field), and why?

I don't think it should be a requirement. That said, I do think that "experts" or anyway people having a strong direct interest in the site's topics are more likely to be around in the long run. But if someone is for whatever reason willing and able to stick around and engage in the site's matter even without having an actual background in quantum information, that's totally fine by me. At the end of the day, most of the job requires making sure people remain civil, and issues strictly related to scientific content of posts can almost entirely be delegated to the trusted users in the community.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

They... moderate? I I went long enough above, I think I'll just skip this one =).

  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?

Not great, but I got used to it.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

Not sure it applies because I'm rerunning. Mods have access to tool and resources that regular or trusted users don't. Binding votes are an obvious one, but there's other things. For example, mods can have endless fun in making sure people don't insult each other, and have to decide when to delete comments to this end, convert them to chat, etc.

Tristan Nemoz

Hey there!

My name is Tristan Nemoz (hoping this doesn't come out as a big surprise), and I'm a French PhD Student in Quantum Cryptography. I've used QCSE for 4 years and I would now like to take this occasion to give back to this site.

I'm not too used to introduce myself like that, so if you'd like to know a bit more about me, please don't hesitate to ask in a comment!

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?

Such a user brings great value to the site, but on the other hand might "scare" new users and be detrimental to the site as a whole.

I would try to defuse the discussions at first and, if this problem continues, would ask the other mods about their opinion. I won't take an isolated action (like banning, even temporarily) that could have large consequences without talking with the others first. I would delete comments that I judge straight out-of-line though (e.g. insulting).

I would expect this leading to a discussion with both this user and the other party, if the said party is another regular member of this site. If no long-term solution is found, this matter would have to be ultimately decided by the whole moderation team.

  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 ask the said moderator about their reasons for doing so. If I disagree, I would express why, and would ask the third mod for their opinion if we don't find an agreement.

  1. In lack of a strong engagement in review tasks, what do you think a moderator should do if they encounter a question which, in their opinion, is most likely going to be closed by the community (for example because of extreme lack of clarity, bad formatting, or if the question is blatantly off-topic)? Would you close the question immediately, speeding up the review process but risking going against what the community would do, or would you rather just leave it up to the review queue?

    On a similar note, in situations where there is a low engagement on meta, which would make it hard to reach a definite consensus, what do you think a moderator should do when deciding on whether to enact policy changes (e.g. regarding policy on question closing, tag management, etc)? Where would you draw the line between matters that can be handled directly by moderators, and matters that need to be brought up on meta before acting?

Since it's a two-part question, I'll give a two-part answer.

I think the votes I cast tend to align with the community's opinion in the end (it should probably be possible to check so). The problem I have here is that I currently react differently in the three examples given:

  • In case of lack of clarity, I either vote to close or ask the OP to clarify their problem.

  • In case of bad formatting, if this is something that I can handle, I generally correct it (except in extreme case, in which case I'd ask the OP to clarify).

  • In case of blatantly off-topic questions, I vote to close.

Being a moderator, only in the last case would I close the question immediately, since this is one of the few cases where I would have no reasonable doubt about the community's opinion.

Concerning the meta-related question, I've actually wondered about this myself several times. It's of course hard to define a hard threshold above which one could safely say that a consensus has been reached. I don't know how it's like on other Meta sites, but it seems like this one has about 10 active users on it (according to the number of upvotes on the most recent questions). Though it's sometimes clear what the consensus is, sometimes the engagement is too low to say so (for instance here or here).

In case of low engagement, I think the moderators are to be trusted to take the decision they think better for this site. Though the number of active users on Meta is low, it is high enough for users to make themselves heard if they think such a decision led to bad consequences for this site. Moderators should then reverse their decision in such a case.

I can't think of a matter where asking for the community opinion's first wouldn't be needed. Either a consensus is reached, in which case the matter's settled, or it's not and we're in the previous case, but at least the community knows that this matter is under consideration by the moderators team.

  1. According to you, which questions concerning quantum programming languages/frameworks should be considered as off-topic for this site? Putting this differently, which attributes does a relevant question about these topics possess?

This has been a debate from quite some time now, along with a request for adding StackOverflow as a migration site.

The current consensus, if I'm not mistaken, is that we should allow questions that require quantum computing/information knowledge to be answered, and migrate the others to StackOverflow. I stand with this stance, and have flagged questions accordingly in the past. I intend to continue acting in this way and to push so that SO is added as a migration site if I'm elected.

I think I'm even a bit more lenient than others on this matter. If the answer to a question is simply "use that class", I still think it's an on-topic question. I think that a good rule of thumb for that matter would be:

  • If there is code in the question, does it raise an error on execution? If not, it's probably on-topic. If yes, it probably isn't.

  • If there isn't, is it a general question about the framework? If yes, it's probably on-topic.

  • If it's an installation/dependecies/confguration problem, it's probably off-topic.

Most questions about frameworks should fall under these, and the others should be considered as on-topic by default, to be more compliant with the user.

  1. How important (or unimportant) do you think it is for a moderator to be an expert in the field of quantum computing (or a subfield/related field), and why?

*Expert* would be a strong term here, but I do think that having some basic knowledge is required. If a moderator is to close a question as off-topic, they have to know enough about the said topic to do so.

However, this is the single example that comes to my mind about why such knowledge would be desirable. I don't think the others roles of a moderator require it.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

According to a current moderator, most of a moderator's work on this site is managing conversations so that they don't escalate.

Apart from that, I think the moderators are the one responsible for making this site move forward, which implies bring forth matters they deem important on meta or taking decisions after having gathered the community's opinion, as mentioned above.

  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?

I don't particularly mind. I haven't expressed strong opinions on comments, questions or answers, and am keen to acknowledge a mistake if someone calls it out. So I don't see this being a problem.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

I don't think it would make *me* more effective, but I think it would make the moderation more effective. One of the active moderators said that the moderation team was currently understaffed, notably in terms of sharing responsibility when it comes to taking decisions.

Also, as mentioned earlier, one of the most time-consuming task for a moderator here is to moderate discussions between users so that they stay civil. This isn't something that I can directly do, even though I do have access to the moderator tools and am a trusted user.

Mithrandir24601

Hi all! I've been around since day 0 and been a moderator since the first election several years ago. I like to hope I've had some sort of say and influence on how the site became what it is today.

Whether or not my lack of recent question-answering matters is up to everyone voting, but for a 'job' that's important in e.g. emergencies and exceptional circumstances, having someone with experience is vital, although thankfully, over the past while, things have been relatively smooth and crisis free. I'll admit that when things get chaotic, I find it draining - there's no point pretending I've been visible every day for the past year, or that I'm content with all the decisions that the SE company has made but QCSE is a great site and I want it to keep getting better.

So why am I nominating myself? Essentially, I want the site to succeed and if I need to be a moderator for that to happen, it's worthwhile: I recently realised that I'm still one of the sites top all-time reviewers, so I have experience of keeping the site clean and tidy. I also interact with other mods on a network-level and we at least try to have our say in the direction SE is headed in.

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?

"tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags" seems to me to be an unusual wording but anyone who is continually rude/abusive/spamming (etc.) should be suspended, independent of the quality of their answers. There are several steps to go through before reaching this stage though - ideally the issue is dealt with before a large number of arguments or flags are generated (which is part of why I find the wording unusual), although sometimes this is easier said than done.

If someone who posts a lot of good answers randomly posts an innapropriate comment one day, I might just delete it and say nothing more. If they make a couple of such comments, I might make a comment asking them to stop or dial it down and discuss the issue. If it continues, a mod-message or private chat. Then, if that does nothing, increasingly long suspensions start.

For anything more convoluted or requiring more context, we discuss as a mod team. I've had times before where things got complicated enough that we discussed the issue with other mods in the network-wide moderator chat-room.

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

Depending on how much I feel it shouldn't have been deleted and additional context (was it closed? Flagged? Unilaterally deleted or were there community deletion votes as well?), I'd either outright trust their judgement over mine, or discuss it in private chat. It would be more of an issue if non-moderators were wondering why it was deleted, in which case, a meta discussion-question would be more appropriate.

  1. In lack of a strong engagement in review tasks, what do you think a moderator should do if they encounter a question which, in their opinion, is most likely going to be closed by the community (for example because of extreme lack of clarity, bad formatting, or if the question is blatantly off-topic)? Would you close the question immediately, speeding up the review process but risking going against what the community would do, or would you rather just leave it up to the review queue?

    On a similar note, in situations where there is a low engagement on meta, which would make it hard to reach a definite consensus, what do you think a moderator should do when deciding on whether to enact policy changes (e.g. regarding policy on question closing, tag management, etc)? Where would you draw the line between matters that can be handled directly by moderators, and matters that need to be brought up on meta before acting?

If there are 4 close votes already and I also think it should be closed, I'd go ahead and close it. If there are 3 close votes and no 'leave open' votes, I'd do likewise. Beyond that, it's a sliding scale of 'how much do I think it should be closed?' vs. 'how many close votes does it have?'. In the limit of 'there's a discussion going on about whether this question is e.g. on topic', then my opinion is that the job of a mod in such scenarios is to facilitate and enable such discussions, instead of unilaterally enforcing their own viewpoint.

However, the case of a single question is less important than the broader context here of 'lack of strong engagement of review tasks', in that closing and reopening is a click of a button but getting people actively involved in reviewing can't be done by clicking buttons alone. This requires going to chat, featuring posts on meta, perhaps reminding people to vote instead of/as well as discussing in comments.

When there is low engagement on meta (even after a post being featured), this can make it harder to see a consensus, but it's fairly clearly always a 'yes', 'no' or some variation of 'uncertain' - it's not just votes that matter, but what people say in the comments and answers - in the case of 'uncertain', what people actually type in comments and answers gives me a much better indication of what people actually want than some 'up' and 'down' numbers to a specific discussion or question e.g. 'we like the general idea but want it implemented differently'.

Ultimately, if something is easy to undo, I'm not against just directly handling it. If it's hard to undo, a direct and clear consensus (on meta) is much more important first.

  1. According to you, which questions concerning quantum programming languages/frameworks should be considered as off-topic for this site? Putting this differently, which attributes does a relevant question about these topics possess?

This is slightly fiddly - if the question is explicitly about quantum computing, it's definitely fine. If it's explicitly not quantum-anything related, it's off-topic. However, the issue is when you get a question where the asker doesn't know what the issue is (which is why they ask the question) and thinks it's a quantum info question, while in reality they e.g. forgot to install something or are using the wrong environment. I think there is no truly satisfactory solution to such issues without say, some kind of network-wide 'if you post your question here first, we'll tell you which site it best fits on'. If knowing the site to post the question on requires first knowing the answer...

Practically, I would say that a better methodology than thinking about whether or not a question is on- or off- topic here in this context, is to engage with the asker about which site they might get a better answer on. I've always been relatively lax about thinking whether programming questions are or aren't on topic because (see question 3), the closest thing to a meta consensus we have looks to me like 'we're not sure what to do, but we probably shouldn't get rid of the programming stuff', so that's what I'll go with.

  1. How important (or unimportant) do you think it is for a moderator to be an expert in the field of quantum computing (or a subfield/related field), and why?

It's not important to be an 'expert', it is important to have some kind of knowledge/experience/understanding. I think maybe 5 years ago, we figured that the ideal moderation team, as a whole, would have at least one of each of: a QC/QI expert, a 'quantum programmer' and an experienced moderator. That is, I think having at least one mod be an expert is important, but it's not important that every mod is such an expert. It's about the team as a whole, not any one specific mod. For me, I do have experience in both quantum photonics (my job) and moderating (here etc.), but rarely use any quantum programming languages and rarely even do any programming in general.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Deal with flags and the users being flagged, discuss borderline issues when they occur, 'tend and garden' the site, interact with the SE company as and when necessary.

  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?

I don't like that I can't review as a regular user and that I can't 'flag and let someone else deal with it' as easily, but my questions, answers and comments currently have a diamond attached to them, so that much would be unchanged.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?

As glS also said, I'm already a mod. For me, it's the difference between 'I think that might be rude, I'll flag it' and putting in time and effort into figuring out the exact best response in a borderline scenario, which might be 'the comments on this question need cleaning up' or 'this user is provoking a lot of people and needs to be suspended'. I can also interact with the Stack Exchange company and try to get them to do what I feel best for the site.

This election is over.