2022 Moderator Election

nomination began
Mar 21 at 20:00
election began
Apr 4 at 20:00
election ended
Apr 12 at 20:00
candidates
3
positions
1

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!

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. Say a question post includes multiple questions, almost all of which are duplicates of other questions already asked on the site. What action would you take?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. The site usually struggles to get to the required 5 votes to close a question, and we haven't had that threshold lowered to 3. Would you close questions yourself when the votes reach 3?

[Answer 4 here]

  1. How would the fact that a question is about cryptocurrency influence your decision about whether to close it as off-topic or not?

[Answer 5 here]

  1. What has your involvement in moderation in the past been? For example, have you helped maintain particular tags, been active in review queues, or provided help on meta? How do you see this changing as you step into a more official role?

[Answer 6 here]

  1. It is usually left up to the user base to decide if a question is on topic or not. In which cases do you think it is prudent to close the question yourself? In which cases would you try and salvage the question?

[Answer 7 here]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 8 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 9 here]

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

[Answer 10 here]

forest

It seems no one has nominated themselves for election so far and some of the existing moderators are not going up for reelection. A few people suggested that I nominate myself, so that's what I'm doing. I've been fairly active in this community for several years, and I am even more active on other Stack Exchange sites. I don't have the same level of knowledge of cryptography as some of the others on this site, but I do know how to deal with conflict and can perform moderation tasks.

This site really doesn't get much in the way of trolling or abusive behavior anyway, so the majority of my role would be as a last defense when the typical community self-moderation tools fail. Other than that, I would behave as a regular user, asking questions and writing answers, and performing edits and commenting when necessary.

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?

Comments can be deleted easily or moved to chat, but valuable answers don't grow on trees. Unless it gets out of control, I would not take any long-lasting actions such as suspensions, but I would contact the user privately if the behavior is not improving.

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

My opinions are not the only opinions in the world. I would consult with the other moderators. Almost anything can be resolved through discussion.

  1. Say a question post includes multiple questions, almost all of which are duplicates of other questions already asked on the site. What action would you take?

There's already a close reason for when a question is not sufficiently focused. I would want to see it closed for that reason, not marked as a duplicate to just one of the others. I would link to the relevant duplicate questions in a comment as a courtesy if no one else does.

  1. The site usually struggles to get to the required 5 votes to close a question, and we haven't had that threshold lowered to 3. Would you close questions yourself when the votes reach 3?

If it's clear that the question is going to get closed eventually, I'd close it. I would defer to the community if there's any question about whether or not it belongs, but I have no issues with closing it if the situation is cut-and-dry.

  1. How would the fact that a question is about cryptocurrency influence your decision about whether to close it as off-topic or not?

Cryptocurrency uses cryptography, and if the question is about cryptography, it is on-topic. Thus a question about the cryptographic properties of SHA-256d as used by Bitcoin would be acceptable, but not a question about where to buy Bitcoins or how to predict its market value.

  1. What has your involvement in moderation in the past been? For example, have you helped maintain particular tags, been active in review queues, or provided help on meta? How do you see this changing as you step into a more official role?

I primarily try to help people when I know the answer to a question or can point them in the right direction. This site is small enough that the review queues are very small, and the meta is not very active. As a moderator, I would try to increase my level of activity to fit the role.

  1. It is usually left up to the user base to decide if a question is on topic or not. In which cases do you think it is prudent to close the question yourself? In which cases would you try and salvage the question?

This depends highly on the specific situation, but I believe my answer in #4 applies as well here.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are just regular users with extra capabilities attached to their account. In my opinion, a good moderator only steps in when it's necessary and otherwise behaves like a regular user, albeit with a higher level of professionalism and activity to go with the diamond.

  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 would hope that users would understand that moderators are not guaranteed to be experts in any particular field. Even as a moderator, I would still be learning cryptography, but I do know enough to function effectively.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

While I can already edit tags and posts and vote to close and reopen questions, a moderator is the last defense against serious incivility and should only invoke their particular powers when community self-moderation is insufficient to deal with the situation.

b degnan

I figured that I'd throw my name in the hat as well. I am one of the passive members of crypto.se as work is related to semiconductor implementations. Being a quasi-academic, much of my day-to-day work relates reviewing designs and reviewing papers and documentation. Much of the work out of crypto.se is clearer and more concise than many of the papers out there, and this if why this site is such a resource. I see much of what crypto.se needs as just a new twist on what I do anyway.

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

I have found that everything seems to converge well eventually, and I am not at all opposed to a little chaos to get there. There are always specific cases where people have unbecoming behavior for this or any other site, and I would deal with things case-by-case as there is some behavior that is not excusable. However, between time and edits, it seems that the general crypto.se userbase is rather good at self regulation.

  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 the reason with the other mods, as well as dig into similar questions. Usually, questions are closed because they are explicit duplicates, but occasionally, there's some interesting nuance where I have disagreed in the past. I would probably fight with bit with the other mods to get it reopened, possibly with a slightly different scope, if there was some interesting nuance to the question.

  1. Say a question post includes multiple questions, almost all of which are duplicates of other questions already asked on the site. What action would you take?

I would close the question and point to why in the comments.

  1. The site usually struggles to get to the required 5 votes to close a question, and we haven't had that threshold lowered to 3. Would you close questions yourself when the votes reach 3?

This would depend on the question. If it's obviously poor, I would close it. If it's interesting, but slight out of scope, I would likely leave it open and suggest an edit.

  1. How would the fact that a question is about cryptocurrency influence your decision about whether to close it as off-topic or not?

Depends on the scope of the question. The cryptography behind cryptocurrency is a fine topic.

  1. What has your involvement in moderation in the past been? For example, have you helped maintain particular tags, been active in review queues, or provided help on meta? How do you see this changing as you step into a more official role?

My involvement has primarily been on the topics related to my area of expertise, which is hardware. As a moderator, I would be more mindful of tags and review queues.

  1. It is usually left up to the user base to decide if a question is on topic or not. In which cases do you think it is prudent to close the question yourself? In which cases would you try and salvage the question?

This will depend heavily on the question. I believe my answers above cover it.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are simply users who direct traffic. You clear the roads and try to make it so everyone gets a goodnight's rest after a day on the site.

  1. A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?

As I'm one of the few users who is probably easy to find in reality, I have no problem being found virtually or otherwise.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

I don't believe that high rep necessarily makes one a good moderator. What makes one a good moderator is just the willingness to sort things out.

meshcollider

I have recently completed a PhD in Mathematics specialising in cryptography, and love contributing to this site. As there hasn't been many nominations for this election, I thought I would volunteer as a candidate too. I am professional, patient, and always willing to help, and would be extremely happy to provide more service to this community. I am also in a different timezone (New Zealand time) which is helpful.

I realise my reputation is fairly low - I have only recently become active on Crypto.SE. However, I have been a moderator of another SE site (Bitcoin.SE) for over four years now, so I have a lot of moderation experience and am familiar with the protocols, tools, and rules. I am also in #6 place this year in terms of reputation on Crypto.SE. Reputation alone does not define a good moderator!

My interests cryptographically lie primarily in public key cryptography --- more specifically, post-quantum cryptography, elliptic curves, isogenies, and zero knowledge proofs.

I hope that my experience as a moderator and academic will allow you to look past my low reputation and consider me as a viable candidate! Thank you for your consideration.

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

I would approach them in a private chat to let them know that their behaviour wasn't acceptable. A positive community is more important than a single good source of information, though, so if they refused to tone it down and continued to be inflammatory at an unacceptable level, they would have to be disciplined.

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

If I considered it a real issue, I would discuss it with the moderator privately, but otherwise I would respect their decision.

  1. Say a question post includes multiple questions, almost all of which are duplicates of other questions already asked on the site. What action would you take?

I would close it with "Needs more focus" and link the duplicates in comments, along with some friendly advice to the user so they can improve their questions in future.

  1. The site usually struggles to get to the required 5 votes to close a question, and we haven't had that threshold lowered to 3. Would you close questions yourself when the votes reach 3?

If I happen to see a question that is obviously in need of closure but hasn't reached the threshold, I usually just close it. If it was a borderline case (for example, maybe it had an upvote and wasn't obviously off-topic), I would leave it.

  1. How would the fact that a question is about cryptocurrency influence your decision about whether to close it as off-topic or not?

It would not influence my decision - this is an independent site and all decisions about closure should be made against the "on-topic" definition for this site alone.

  1. What has your involvement in moderation in the past been? For example, have you helped maintain particular tags, been active in review queues, or provided help on meta? How do you see this changing as you step into a more official role?

As mentioned, I have had over four years experience as a moderator of Bitcoin.SE so I know the process and tools well. I am very willing to help out the current moderators here too.

  1. It is usually left up to the user base to decide if a question is on topic or not. In which cases do you think it is prudent to close the question yourself? In which cases would you try and salvage the question?

If there are enough details in the question to salvage it, then I would do so. Formatting and language issues shouldn't prevent a good question being answered. However, if a question is clearly a homework question I would tend to close it myself when I saw it, to avoid someone answering it without realising that we discourage doing so here - this is simply an effort to help with academic integrity.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Deal with things that need more urgent attention such as spammers and scammers misusing the site, which shouldn't need to wait for the required community votes. Also a janitorial service, cleaning up tags and improving questions here and there just as privileged non-moderators would do. Occasionally stepping in to deal with disputes or users that are being difficult/inflammatory. Finally, simply being active role-models and helping out wherever we can.

  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?

Perfectly acceptable to me - I already have a diamond and always try to be professional, helpful, and kind.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

More ability to start doing things now, rather than waiting until my reputation is high enough. It certainly can take time to build up reputation, and I'm working on it, but I am very happy to help out more without waiting if the community votes for me.

This election is over.