15

In connection with the moderator elections, we are holding a Q&A thread for the candidates. Questions collected from an earlier thread have been compiled into this one, which shall now serve as the space for the candidates to provide their answers.

Not every question was compiled - as noted, we only selected the top 9 questions as submitted by the community, plus 2 pre-set questions from us.

As a candidate, your job is simple - post an answer to this question, citing each of the questions and then post your answer to each question given in that same answer. For your convenience, I will include all of the questions in quote format with a break in between each, suitable for you to insert your answers. Just copy the whole thing after the first set of three dashes. Please consider putting your name at the top of your post so that readers will know who you are before they finish reading everything you have written, and also including a link to your answer on your nomination post.

Once all the answers have been compiled, this will serve as a transcript for voters to view the thoughts of their candidates, and will be appropriately linked in the Election page.

Good luck to all of the candidates!

Oh, and when you've completed your answer, please provide a link to it after this blurb here, before that set of three dashes. Please leave the list of links in the order of submission.

To save scrolling here are links to the submissions from each candidate (in order of submission):


  1. The elected Moderators on Skeptics have been accused on many occasions of over moderation, what steps would you take to increase the level of community moderation?

  2. There are a raft of policies on Skeptics.SE that often prove a challenge for new users. Are there any of these rules you would like to see the community change? Are there any of these rules that you feel you would not be able to enforce as a moderator?

  3. Skeptics has a high ratio of post deletion when compared to other SE sites. Is this a natural result of the site topic, or can/should certain things be done differently?

  4. Community participation on skeptics meta is quite light, what would you do to improve community participation in meta discussions?

  5. What is the most important issue facing the site's future success today? What do you plan to do about it as a moderator?

  6. 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?

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

  8. How do you feel about the Hot Network Questions effect?

  9. When should comments be deleted and when should they remain?

  10. How do you balance a skeptic's need to reveal the truth with the simple fact-checking nature of this Q&A site?

  11. Questions can be closed (and opened) either by moderators, or by the community. Under what circumstances is it beneficial to let the closure process be done by the community, and when is it better for moderators to do it?

| |
10
  1. The elected Moderators on Skeptics have been accused on many occasions of over moderation, what steps would you take to increase the level of community moderation?

I don't really agree that skeptics is over-moderated & I'm not sure an increase in community moderation would necessarily improve the impression of over-moderation.

I also feel like the level of community-moderation is already on a decent level (there can never be too much of it though).

  1. There are a raft of policies on Skeptics.SE that often prove a challenge for new users. Are there any of these rules you would like to see the community change? Are there any of these rules that you feel you would not be able to enforce as a moderator?

I am in favor of the current skeptics.SE specific rules and have no problem with enforcing them.

  1. Skeptics has a high ratio of post deletion when compared to other SE sites. Is this a natural result of the site topic, or can/should certain things be done differently?

imho the high amount of deleted posts is because of the nature of the site (requiring answers to supply references & questions to prove notability), and I don't think things need to change in this area.

  1. Community participation on skeptics meta is quite light, what would you do to improve community participation in meta discussions?

When appropriate, I'd direct users to meta & link to related meta questions in comments.

  1. What is the most important issue facing the site's future success today? What do you plan to do about it as a moderator?

Increasing the amount of good questions per day is probably the most important for this sites success. But I don't think that's an area where moderators can or should do very much.

  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 depends on the flags. For rude/abusive flags, I would follow the enforcement as described in the CoC, as valuable contributions do not cancel out harassment and similar misconduct.

I'd move repeated long arguments in comments (which are not helping to improve the question) to chat and delete posts which do not answer questions. If the behavior persists, I'd consider trying to explain to the user in a comment or chat what I feel the problem is, and how I think they could improve (but would not take any further actions enforcing this).

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

Talk to them in chat and listen to their reason & explain mine. Hopefully we can come to an agreement and either leave the question closed or reopen it (possibly after some improving edits). If not, I'd leave the question closed.

  1. How do you feel about the Hot Network Questions effect?

It's fine. It can have positive effects (good answers, draws users to skeptics.SE, etc) & bad (skews reputation, new users may not be familiar with skeptics.SE rules so it may draw inappropriate posts/comments, etc).

But I think we can - and currently are - dealing well with the bad impacts.

  1. When should comments be deleted and when should they remain?

Comments pointing out factual errors or misleading content in answers should stay (if they haven't been incorporated into the answer).

When a comment threat devolves into long arguments, it is time to move them to chat (with the exception of the first corrective comment and possibly one response).

Comments which are rude or personal attacks should be deleted.

  1. How do you balance a skeptic's need to reveal the truth with the simple fact-checking nature of this Q&A site?

I'm in favor of supplying additional context in answers if a plain fact-check - while technically true - obscures the truth.

But I don't think that it's necessary for an answer to do so, and if done it should not be the main focus.

  1. Questions can be closed (and opened) either by moderators, or by the community. Under what circumstances is it beneficial to let the closure process be done by the community, and when is it better for moderators to do it?

I think that for questions which are on the line between acceptable and off-topic, the community should decide. For everything clearly over the line, moderators should do so.

| |
9
  1. The elected Moderators on Skeptics have been accused on many occasions of over moderation, what steps would you take to increase the level of community moderation?

To increase community moderation I will avoid using mod tools unilaterally as much as possible. Five close votes is not a hard bar to reach in most cases, so I will strive to treat my own moderator close vote as worth 2-3 regular votes, rather than all 5. For example, if I believe a question is just a troll or otherwise made in bad faith, I will wait to use any moderator tools until the community indicates that they feel the same via at least some downvotes, close votes, or flags.

However, I believe accusations of over-moderation are completely unavoidable due to the strong opinions that a site like Skeptics tends to attract, and the best a mod can do is avoid the perception of over-moderation by staying by-the-book in regards to moderator guidelines.

  1. There are a raft of policies on Skeptics.SE that often prove a challenge for new users. Are there any of these rules you would like to see the community change? Are there any of these rules that you feel you would not be able to enforce as a moderator?

When you boil it down, the core rules for Skeptics can be written in one sentence: Have a claim that is notable and can be answered without speculation. For new users, rule explanations should start this simple, and build up as needed. These rules are fairly easy to enforce, and there is no particular rule I'd like to see changed.

However the written rules/explanations/citations in the help center and meta could probably be consolidated and simplified to be a bit clearer. Simple rules create a situation where enforcement is easy and rule breakers are obvious, complex rules create a situation where you're trying to fix a leaking dam one finger at a time.

  1. Skeptics has a high ratio of post deletion when compared to other SE sites. Is this a natural result of the site topic, or can/should certain things be done differently?

To put it nicely: Skeptics attracts a lot passionately opinionated people.

Flame wars in the comments, political rants thinly veiled as questions, one-sentence answers insulting the questioner... all of this is unavoidable, and the best a moderator can do is try to curtail bad faith posts before tensions get too hot.

  1. Community participation on skeptics meta is quite light, what would you do to improve community participation in meta discussions?

Low activity on Meta may mean that users don't need to ask questions there to learn how the site works. However, it's more likely that a lot of users simply don't know that's what Meta is for.

Whenever a user has a question about the site, a rule, is confused by something, etc., in addition to providing them with a link to a relevant question on Meta, I will also simply explain what Meta is.

  1. What is the most important issue facing the site's future success today? What do you plan to do about it as a moderator?

The most important issues for Skeptics is the same as for many of the sites on Stack Exchange: attracting more users, attracting more questions, providing high quality questions and answers, ...

However, moderators cannot really affect most of that. The best a moderator can do is encourage a healthy community by identifying bad actors before they cause too much disruption.

  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?

Comments have a specific purpose: to discuss how to make a question or answer better.

If a user is making provocative, off-topic, or otherwise disruptive comments, I will either move them to a chat or delete them. If they continually make comments in a way that breaks specific rules and show no sign of changing their behavior, I will apply bans according to moderator guidelines.

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

If another mod uses their tools in a way I disagree with, I'll ask them directly to understand their reasoning behind it, and ideally we can come to an agreement about what to do going forward.

However, all mods have equal power and responsibility, so if we can't come to an agreement I will leave things as-is. If I disagree with a unilateral action, it would be hypocritical to do a unilateral reversal that they disagree with.

  1. How do you feel about the Hot Network Questions effect?

On the one hand, it's a good way to bring new users to Skeptics who otherwise wouldn't know such a site exists (for example, it's how I found it), helping the site in the long-term.

One the other hand, it attracts a large number of people who don't know the rules of Skeptics/Stack Exchange, bad actors, and opinionated people who want to discuss a topic, all of which hurts the site in the short-term.

Overall, with active moderators the benefits outweigh the costs.

  1. When should comments be deleted and when should they remain?

As I said in question 6, comments have a specific purpose: to discuss how to make a question or answer better.

If comments are suggesting edits to a post, offer sources or information to improve quality, or otherwise are attempting to adjust the post itself, they should remain.

If comments are discussing the merits of a topic, veer off into topics unrelated to the post, or otherwise aren't dealing with the post itself, they should be moved to chat or deleted.

  1. How do you balance a skeptic's need to reveal the truth with the simple fact-checking nature of this Q&A site?

It's unavoidable that some topics need paragraphs of background, either to provide necessary context or prevent it from being twisted way from what the author meant. It's also unavoidable that even if such context is provided, many will not read past the first 'yes/no' they see.

The best we can do is try to provide clear answers to clear questions for the users who only care about a 'yes or no', and give required context as succinctly as possible to users who want or need to know more.

  1. Questions can be closed (and opened) either by moderators, or by the community. Under what circumstances is it beneficial to let the closure process be done by the community, and when is it better for moderators to do it?

As I said in question 1, I will tend to treat my open/close vote as 2-3 votes rather than all 5 needed to open or close a question, and will avoid taking unilateral action as much as possible.

However, if a question is generating a lot of controversy, edit wars, breaking some rule despite warnings, or is very clearly being made in bad faith, I will err on the side of caution and reign things in before they get out of hand.

| |
  • 1
    I think you have earned my vote, sir. I'd give you first position, but I have a soft spot for one of the other candidates. – fredsbend Jun 26 at 22:25
9

Hello, I'm fredsbend. Please see my nomination to accompany this questionnaire.

  1. The elected Moderators on Skeptics have been accused on many occasions of over moderation, what steps would you take to increase the level of community moderation?

I think commenting before taking action helps. For example, commenting that you (as a moderator) intend to close a question within the next day if it is not fixed should motivate the asker and other users to do something about it. I think this principle can probably be applied to other areas like deletion or alert banners. Plainly stating "I may delete this post in the next day if x problems aren't fixed. Community participation is encouraged by flagging and commenting." This gives a sense of urgency to act on their own, like giving permission for them to decide, rather than expecting mods to just figure it out. Perhaps under the hood are some missing lines between actions and policy. Other questions address this.

  1. There are a raft of policies on Skeptics.SE that often prove a challenge for new users. Are there any of these rules you would like to see the community change? Are there any of these rules that you feel you would not be able to enforce as a moderator?

Using the summary from Oddthinking, the major site policies with my response follows:

  • Questions

    • The claim must come from someone else, not personal speculation or curiosity.

    • The claim should be widely-believed (which we describe as "notable").

    • The claim should generally be clearly referenced.

      These three policies are the foundation of Skeptics SE. We evaluate notable claims. I believe there is a trap to interpret this, in practice, as simple fact checking, but that affects answers more than questions. We need policies that encourage and even enforce answers that are not just factually correct, but also not misleading or even non-truth. Many answers lack thoroughness.

    • The claim must be answerable with empirical evidence.

      In general, I agree, but sometimes I've seen a mod close a question because they believe empirical evidence doesn't or even cannot exist. Baring problems with teapots in space, I don't typically buy that reasoning. In some ways I'd like to see theory and logic stressed a little more in answers, rather than routed out with prejudice, and I think maybe the harsh stress that questions be answerable with empirical evidence is conflated with questions must be answered with empirical evidence only, as some answers are.

    • The question should accept answers for or against (e.g. not "What's the best evidence for homeopathy?")

      This is the basis of skeptical thought. Skeptics do not seek support nor opposition. They seek truth. Skeptics are therefore open to both sides of any question turning out to be truth. I can't imagine doing this any other way.

  • Answers:

    • References must be given.

    • Personal experiments and conjectures aren't of interest.

      These two are pretty obvious. We seek truth, so speculation and unchecked home science aren't going to cut it. I personally "conjecture" in comments as an effort to spur answers. I feel like this "talking out loud" approach is helpful and I am okay with it happening as long as commenters are okay with comment deletion after a day or two.

    • Personal opinions aren't answers.

      Speculation is clearly not an answer. I don't usually call posts "opinion" because the word can imply that there is a great deal of information behind it and it can be well founded. Whether that founding is expressed is the issue in many poor answers. I usually like to ask for references and quotes from experts that agree with the poster. If they can show them, it's still an opinion, but it's no longer speculation. I would call that corroboration, and if an accurate and thorough answer includes this, it then becomes complete in my mind.

    • Empirical beats theoretical.

      Empirical informs theoretical. Proper theories are based on empirical evidence, thus properly cited theories can indeed answer questions, however, such answers are often deleted. A purely empirical answer is non-informative. It merely points to some study, quotes some data bits and maybe part of the conclusions, then leaves the reader parsing whether there's any meaning there. I hate those answers. I downvote them half the time, even when they are correct because they are not very useful.

      This leaves non-science topics on an unearned pedestal just because there's an answer with a link to some news outlet that enough readers here think was fair and thorough about the question. These aren't "empirical" answers, nor are they even theoretical. There are no site policies regarding answers to non-science topics and what they should look like. We need to define those policies.

    • Back-of-the-envelope calculations are considered highly unreliable (and are rarely adequately referenced)

      I generally agree, but there's some gray here. Some calculations are pretty sensible and simple. Under the calculations the answer depends on some theory, really, even if that theory is as simple as arithmetic. Sitting by themselves, math answers aren't very good because they just seem so pedestrian. Backed up with some sources for the starts of those calculations and references corroborating the conclusions of the calculations, it starts to look like an acceptable answer to me. Maybe not the best one for any given question, but still acceptable.

  • Comments:

    • Pseudo-answers in comments aren't permitted.

    • Chattiness is pushed into chat.

    • Political posturing isn't permitted.

      Always with this three. If you can answer, answer. If you want to chat, chat. If you want to politic, gtfo. Just kidding on that last one. You can chat about politics, but leave it out of comments. I do intend to be particularly harsh on political comments. I realize there's a gray line between improving the post's political accuracy and pushing political opinion, but I'm probably going to favor deleting over preserving here. My nomination lists political topics needing scope as an issue that I hope to address. While working on that, I will be quick and even aggressive in deleting comments on political posts until we have a clear policy direction. In question 9 you can see that I frequently favor pushing to chat over deletion. This will remain true for political posts.

  1. Skeptics has a high ratio of post deletion when compared to other SE sites. Is this a natural result of the site topic, or can/should certain things be done differently?

According to SE data, Skeptics does have a relatively high post deletion rate. I do not believe this is because the moderators act in bad faith, nor do I believe they unwittingly apply the current policies unfairly or incorrectly at any significant rate. Whether we should do something about this is a tough question. We can, as a community, decide it's too high regardless of the reason. That has some merit, mostly because getting a post deleted is very disenfranchising. We want users to feel good about their answers and be rewarded with upvotes and community appreciation. I'm very willing to try to decrease post deletions, but since I believe the moderators and community votes delete in accordance with site policies almost always, the answer is clear that some site policies would have to change and likely we would have to be more clear in how we express those policies, whether that is in the tour, help center, or proactive meta link pointers. Since question 2 covers site policies specifically, please refer there to see where I think we can/should change.

  1. Community participation on skeptics meta is quite light, what would you do to improve community participation in meta discussions?

Lead by example. Any activity draws others in. Having a diamond on your name helps. It kind of looks like "Oh, hey, this is management here, not just some guy." In my nomination you have my promise of focus on three things, all of which would require at least my meta participation. Whether others come, I cannot promise, but I hope to draw them by linking to relevant meta posts, whether "settled" policy or ongoing discussion. A sort of nudge for them to weigh in. You have to put up signs for people to find you.

  1. What is the most important issue facing the site's future success today? What do you plan to do about it as a moderator?

In my nomination I listed explicitly three things.

  1. Politics as a topic needs scoping, for questions and/or answers.
  2. HNQs is overall harmful to the site quality. This issue has been granted it's own question. See question 8 below.
  3. Meta participation is too low.

The HNQs issue is explained in question 8 and meta participation in question 4. I will explain how the current way we handle political questions is a threat to the site's future success. Most political questions on this site are not good. They either are of no lasting consequence or they are truly trivial. Those are just the ones trying to be good. There's a bunch more that look suspiciously like political signaling. "Oh, hey, this politician said a stupid thing, uhhhh, is it true?" It's pretty tiring and somewhat sad to have seen this trend increase greatly over that last few years. I hope we can determine an actual scoping for political questions because I don't want to disallow them entirely. I want to guide our questions to be meaningful and lasting.

Then there's the answers on these questions. Some of them are good. Many of them are quick little shots "Yes/No, see this link", failing to give any context, as in, meaning. Unfortunately, sometimes these quick shots can be factually correct but "untruthful", in that they are (usually unintentionally) misleading. We don't have any policies on these answers either. All the policies we have don't apparently consider politics as a major site topic.

  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?

No user is exempt from the rules. Positive contributors are weighed against everything they do, not just their answers. None of us want to see a source for high value content lost, but we also expect users to exhibit good manners and self control. The flag type matters. I can quickly forgive a chatty high value poster; not so much a rude and insufferable one. Currently, I don't think any such user exists on Skeptics.

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

The first month or so of my moderatorship on this site would be spent taking advice wholesale from the current moderators. I will defer to them for virtually everything at first. After that, however, I hope to have built a rapport with them so that we can quickly and quietly resolve our disagreements. If we cannot, our actions are supposed to represent site policy, a community generated concept. A meta post (in theory) can resolve every conflict of site moderation. In most cases, I'll probably just let it go if they feel strongly about it.

  1. How do you feel about the Hot Network Questions effect?

My nomination clearly states I believe it is an overall harm to site quality. I will explain how I believe it is a harm. There's several facts about this site that come together in a bit of a perfect storm that have the reverse effect intended by the HNQ list.

  1. Skeptics questions regularly hit the HNQ sweet spot. Many Skeptics questions end up in the list.
  2. The topic that often ends up in the HNQ list is "politics", a naturally divisive and not particularly scientific item.
  3. Skeptics has hamfisted scientific based policies into its politics questions, leaving a lot a gray space for interpretation on what makes good questions and answers.
  4. Users from across the network cannot be expected to have much Skeptics policy knowledge, thus are unlikely to comment/answer/vote accordingly.
  5. The HNQ list brings users that do not have the downvote privilege, thus votes on posts in the list are skewed upwards.

These facts come together to give us a high burden on a topic with no policies for quality and cues the average reader via votes that "it's all good". A perfect (shit) storm, stirs together several times a week on Skeptics SE.

Without having access to the data, my first inclination is to suggest any politics tagged question is not added to the HNQ list, at least until we have some proper scoping. When we have clear policies and procedures to create meaningful and lasting politics questions, then we can expect to have a good defense against the wave of contributors from a HNQ run. Once I can get a good look at the data, I'll be peeling through it to see if the politics/HNQ issues in my nomination are really hand-in-hand. If not, I'll adjust. This is Skeptics, afterall.

  1. When should comments be deleted and when should they remain?

Comments are by design noise. They serve primarily to critique posts so that they can be made better, thus become obsolete once they are addressed. They are meant to be deleted eventually. But a skeptical approach is necessarily verbose, so I may let comments have a "longer life" here than you'd see elsewhere. I'll push to chat most comments eventually, while deleting obsolete and snarky/rude ones on sight. As mentioned previously, I'll be a bit more aggressive with political posts. Very much "no nonsense" there.

  1. How do you balance a skeptic's need to reveal the truth with the simple fact-checking nature of this Q&A site?

In a grand way, I hope to make Skeptics less "simple fact checker site" and more "skeptical analysis site". I don't have exact paths to get there, but I believe a start would be policies for answers that require several items be met as a minimum for it to be considered an answer. I've participated in creating these kinds of policies on other sites and it has worked out very well. In a more pragmatic way, "good enough" is a valid sentiment sometimes, so we have to define this "skeptic's need" in site policy, or it won't show though in the content we make.

  1. Questions can be closed (and opened) either by moderators, or by the community. Under what circumstances is it beneficial to let the closure process be done by the community, and when is it better for moderators to do it?

Obvious cases get mod hammered. When it's fuzzy, I see no sense in mod-closing unilaterally, then getting your fuzzies cleared up. Mods are users too, thus can comment and edit as well to engage in what we do here. I can very much see myself commenting "I'm thinking about closing this because of x. Opinions?" Then if I come back 12 hours later and see three close votes, I'll toss in the fourth. Many people worry about answers coming in before a question is closed, then possibly the question is changed to something, thus invalidating the answers. I think that's a risk you take when you answer borderline questions. You don't have to be the fastest gun in the west on Skeptics. It's much better to be the most accurate gun.

| |
  • 11
    +1, I am sick and tired of how every current political titbit from the US gets transformed into a question, which has a high probability on becoming part of the HNQ, which in turn brings unwanted traffic. – Jordy Jun 27 at 13:00
  • If a post merits closure then it should be closed & downvoted. Waiting is wrong. It just promotes poor questions & answers. – philipxy Jun 30 at 0:06
  • @philipxy As a moderator, I would sometimes want to give the community the opportunity to decide. Those instances would be when I'm not sure if it should be closed. As a regular user, I submit close votes even when I'm not sure because that puts it in the review queue. – fredsbend Jun 30 at 0:33
  • 1
    Regarding the HNQ issues, 1) I agree completely and 2) I've suggested some possible fixes to this problem on meta.SE that might be worth consideration, especially if you're able to push for SE to implement some of it as a moderator. – reirab Jun 30 at 1:08
  • @reirab Thank you. Yes, some good ideas there. Also a great starting point in how the hnq list works. – fredsbend Jun 30 at 15:27
0

The elected Moderators on Skeptics have been accused on many >occasions of over moderation, what steps would you take to >increase the level of community moderation?

I don't think Moderators have been over moderating. I also think community moderation is at an ok level, and I don't think I alone could increase community moderation.

There are a raft of policies on Skeptics.SE that often prove a >challenge for new users. Are there any of these rules you would like >to see the community change? Are there any of these rules that you >feel you would not be able to enforce as a moderator?

I think the policies and expectations we have are great the way they are. Using notable claims in questions helps establish some credibility (as in it shows that some people actually believe something to be true). And using references in answers gives the asker and others insightful information that they can fact-check themselves. Both are reasons why Skeptics takes questions seriously. I have no policy change suggestions and I don't see any policies that I couldn't enforce as moderator.

Skeptics has a high ratio of post deletion when compared to other >SE sites. Is this a natural result of the site topic, or can/should >certain things be done differently?

This is a sort of a result of the site topic. Plenty of folks join the community and ask or answer with somewhat personal beliefs, and/or no evidence nor notable claims. Things should not be done differently, new users will soon realize why Skeptics has high expectations, and friendly reminders of the expectations wouldn't hurt anyone. To remind of expectations, this: FAQ: Welcome to New Users is a good reference for new users to see.

Community participation on skeptics meta is quite light, what would >you do to improve community participation in meta discussions?

I would often try to link to meta questions and discussions that may be similar to a topic being questioned.

What is the most important issue facing the site's future success >today? What do you plan to do about it as a moderator?

We should decrease the deletion rate by reminding people of the expectations of the site and encouraging other current users to do the same. Also increase the amount of good questions per day (as tim notes). This is a tough one to improve since, as a moderator, I can't force people to think of good questions to ask, I can only say what the expectations for questions are (notable claim, with reason to doubt it, etc).

How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of >valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of >arguments/flags from comments?

I would deal with them according to the Code of Conduct. Insightful answers does not justify bad behavior.

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

I would have a discussion with them, giving them reasons why I feel the way I do and listening to what they have to say. If we come to an agreement, maybe the question can be opened again.

How do you feel about the Hot Network Questions effect?

I feel it has good and bad effects. It attracts the attention of different people to get insightful answers and suggestions but it also attracts possibly unwanted arguments and skews reputation (as tim notes). Overall it's a mostly positive effect due to lots of answers coming in, having a better chance of getting great answers.

When should comments be deleted and when should they remain?

Comments that are abusive and attack someone personally should be deleted, and arguments and discussions should be moved to chat. Comments that are insightful and give suggestions to improving an answer, or add references related to the question should be kept.

How do you balance a skeptic's need to reveal the truth with the >simple fact-checking nature of this Q&A site?

A pure fact check on its own may not be enough to reveal truths. Giving context (as tim suggests) and giving reasons for people's beliefs and intentions supplies the OP with the high-quality answer they should receive.

Questions can be closed (and opened) either by moderators, or by >the community. Under what circumstances is it beneficial to let the >closure process be done by the community, and when is it better for >moderators to do it?

I think it is better to let the community do it most of the time, for I trust the masses. The closure process should be done by a moderator if the question is obviously off the deep end.

| |
  • 6
    Your post is marked "new contributor" and to be honest, it shows: your formatting is off (> left in). I appreciate your willingness to step up and do the dirty work, but I think you need more familiarity with Stack Exchange as a whole. – SQB Jun 29 at 6:57
  • 1
    @SQB that's fair – Cotton Headed Ninnymuggins Jun 29 at 17:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .