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2024 Moderator Election

nomination began
Mar 5 at 20:00
election began
Mar 12 at 20:00
election ended
Mar 20 at 20:00
candidates
2
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. There are quite a few questions posted that contain code. When would you consider a question on-topic or off-topic (ask on Stack Overflow)? What would you do if a question consists mainly of code?

[Answer 3 here]

  1. We occasionally have a series of questions by the same new user that are obviously crypto homework, with some degree of work towards resolution. (e.g. these: Q1 / Q2 / Q3 / Q4 / Q5). How would you handle such situation?

[Answer 4 here]

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

[Answer 5 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 6 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 7 here]

b degnan

I am a quasi-academic who's always around crypto.se. I am currently a "moderator" of sorts for sorts for several academic journals. I am not a cryptographer and therefore my opinions are literally based on content and approach to questions, as well as behavior.

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 fundamental question is what is triggering arguments and flags. The Code of Conduct basically outlines good behavior, and if someone needs to be reminded of this, then you just remind them. Crypto.se has a solid group of experts who are respectful and bad behavior has not been a problem in the past, and I doubt it'll be much a problem in the future.

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

I've never seen a question closed that wasn't outside of things that don't belong, such as code snipplets. However, let's assume there was something vague where it was on the boundary of acceptable, I'd probably post of note regarding clarification and then shepherd the question to be better if it really is unique.

  1. There are quite a few questions posted that contain code. When would you consider a question on-topic or off-topic (ask on Stack Overflow)? What would you do if a question consists mainly of code?

I generally consider code off-topic; however, I have seem some specific questions where the code was used to better explain the question that was being asked. I am in favor of concise pieces of code if they are related to the structure of a cryptographic question and not a code implementation question.

  1. We occasionally have a series of questions by the same new user that are obviously crypto homework, with some degree of work towards resolution. (e.g. these: Q1 / Q2 / Q3 / Q4 / Q5). How would you handle such situation?

I actually don't know the best way to approach this. In the past, there have been some interesting questions that were obviously from homework, where the poster was able to answer the question after a few comments. I don't believe that most homework questions are unique from what I've seen, and thereby duplicates. The corner cases would discuss with other mods.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Direct traffic.

  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'm fine with this as I'm already easy to find, and I'll stand by everything that I've said. I've been wrong in the past, and I have no problem saying that I was wrong and why.

  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 will likely never become a trusted user as I generally only answer hardware questions.

Mark

I'm a lattices/FHE enthusiast, and one of the top users (if not the top user) on most lattices-related tags. If I'm mod, I'll likely continue mostly engaging in these tags. There's some reason to expect growth in lattices-related questions due to the NIST PQC competition, as well as further practical developments of FHE, and I am an expert in both of these topics (though only publish on FHE tbh).

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?

Probably try to intervene with the problematic comments? It really depends on the severity of the comments though. In my experience users who generate annoying comments also tend to have low-quality answers, so I don't tend to worry about this particular possibility that much.

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

I think it depends. If it is in a tag I am familiar with (say lattice-crypto/FHE stuff) I would probably try to see if the question can be edited to be appropriate, and then reopen things. If it's in a tag I am less familiar with I might just post a comment.

  1. There are quite a few questions posted that contain code. When would you consider a question on-topic or off-topic (ask on Stack Overflow)? What would you do if a question consists mainly of code?

I think it depends on the purpose of the code. For example, ML-KEM (formerly Kyber) was just noticed to have some non-constant-time code in it, leading to a side-channel vulnerability (named something like KyberBleed or KyberHertz, I forget). I think it would be very reasonable for questions about this vulnerability to contain code.

Similarly, some FHE questions amount to "How does \ do ?" See for example Q1, Q2, Q3, where Q2 contains a link to a codebase to illustrate explicit parameters that applied cryptographers choose. I think the code in these questions are appropriate.

In general, I'd say in both settings I find code appropriate when it is used to make explicit some cryptographic question, and would suggest that questions are off-topic when understanding the code does not obviously require understanding cryptography better.

  1. We occasionally have a series of questions by the same new user that are obviously crypto homework, with some degree of work towards resolution. (e.g. these: Q1 / Q2 / Q3 / Q4 / Q5). How would you handle such situation?

I'd defer to whatever the current rules are, which I believe are no homework questions. I don't particularly agree with this rule personally though, and haven't closely followed it in answering questions in the past. I'd be fine with following it more closely though.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

In my view moderators mainly clean up obvious spam, and also potentially intervene when there is some hostile user. I've only really seen one repeated hostile user on this site (I won't name names, I'll just write TRNG for those who know), so I instead expect that moderators mainly handle spam.

  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?

Fine. I mostly engage on crypto.se as a way to procrastinate research by answering more easy questions in my area (lattices). I have some degree of pride for being one of the highest-scoring users on this tag, and probably would have some degree of pride for being a moderator, but I don't think I post particularly hot-takes that will be implicitly endorsed by a diamond.

  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 will particularly change much. As mentioned, I'm mostly interested in lattices-related tags. Not being a moderator hasn't really impacted my ability to engage with these tags at all. Still, I've engaged with this site for some 6+ years, so (from my perspective) it makes some degree of sense for me to apply.

This election is over.