17

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. I've opted to merge two questions related to activity time, and otherwise selected with that the top 8 submissions from the community, plus the two pre-selected options from us for a total of 10 questions.

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. Do you believe that travel.stackexchange "isn't very welcoming?" If so, how will you address that as a moderator?

  2. As an elected moderator, how much time will you be able to contribute to Travel SE tasks, at what time of the day and in which time zone? What is your expected availability in terms of number of hours contributed to the site per day? Will you have regular offline periods (we all love travelling) that you can foresee already?

  3. Which of your contributions to Travel Meta do you feel has been particularly valuable or is most representative of your potential style as a moderator?

  4. Do you use the Travel Chat room? If not, why not? If so, how would you deal with negative attitudes or disagreements/fights between users new and old?

  5. 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?

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

  7. What do you intend to change, improve and keep as it is about how moderation is currently run on Travel SE?

  8. Do you think funny comments should be deleted? Do you think that any unrelated comment should be deleted?

  9. Our unanswered question count is slowly creeping up, nearing 500. What would you do to help with this?

  10. In the past (a) single user(s) have been on a spree of intensive editing of old posts, often mostly tag edits, which has led to some annoyance with other users in chat & comments. What is your stance on this, do you intend to intervene and if so, how?

15

Do you believe that travel.stackexchange "isn't very welcoming?" If so, how will you address that as a moderator?

On average, TSE is rather welcoming but there is a tendency to close questions and delete answers without a good explanation to the new users who posted them. So I do want to post 'welcome to the site' messages for all new users and write comments with the reason why the question or answer was not suited to the site. And encourage others to do so as well.
In case others are not as welcoming, I intent to keep a sharp eye out and take action if needed. (Not often here, compared to other sites.)

As an elected moderator, how much time will you be able to contribute to Travel SE tasks, at what time of the day and in which time zone? What is your expected availability in terms of number of hours contributed to the site per day? Will you have regular offline periods (we all love travelling) that you can foresee already

I live in the Central European time zone and have a 40 hours a week job in which I can not use a computer. I am online from arriving home to bedtime and often longer in the weekends and when I am online I will be available for moderation tasks.
I do travel abroad for about 5 times per year and will be available part of that time, but less. No change of life in the foreseeable future, with at least 15 more years working unless I win the lottery.

Which of your contributions to Travel Meta do you feel has been particularly valuable or is most representative of your potential style as a moderator?

I have never been very active on the Meta sites of the Stack Exchange sites but this post is one I still stand behind. Working on the site is welcome but overpowering the site for long periods of time is something I will discourage.

Do you use the Travel Chat room? If not, why not? If so, how would you deal with negative attitudes or disagreements/fights between users new and old?

I am a regular at the chat. I already try to be a calming voice and will try to be more of that as a mod, trying to find ways to reconcile those who are at odds with each other. Listening to both sides of the argument and trying my best to be impartial.
But I am also willing to silence those who do not want to see reason, as in a cool down period or even in a permanent lock out if the person keeps being unreasonable. That is something I never hope to need but did see as a solution for some problems in the past.

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 will feel bad about it, but if the user does not listen to requests to calm down harder action will be taken. I am not yet sure if a mod can just make him stop posting comments, but when a limiting is not possible, he might need to be stopped using the site at all.

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

Fierce discussion in the mods chatroom. And as I think SE closes too many questions, I foresee a few of those at least.
But no re-opening/re-closing wars on the site, nobody is helped by that.

What do you intend to change, improve and keep as it is about how moderation is currently run on Travel SE?

I think the current team is doing a reasonable good job. When starting out one of the current mods was a bit heavy handed but that has passed. I will try not to be heavy handed myself and might be a bit slower in taking action at first, till I am familiar with all the new tools.

Do you think funny comments should be deleted? Do you think that any unrelated comment should be deleted?

Some chattiness in comments is acceptable, but 'funny' comments need to be properly funny for all and not be nasty for some. If the funny comment is innocent I am willing to leave it be.
Unrelated comments do not belong on the site. But I have intent to leave a bit of leeway for 'unrelated' having been on SE sites where the mod deletes almost all comments and being rather unhappy about that myself.

Our unanswered question count is slowly creeping up, nearing 500. What would you do to help with this?

Answer all I can but not worry about it too much. Some questions are not easy to answer and need the right person passing by. If questions are marginally on topic, closing them might be the right solution.
And competitions in which unanswered Q are answered to win might be a good way to work at it as the whole community.

In the past (a) single user(s) have been on a spree of intensive editing of old posts, often mostly tag edits, which has led to some annoyance with other users in chat & comments. What is your stance on this, do you intend to intervene and if so, how

As I indicated above, I do feel strongly about it and will be active to stop the situation if it gets out of hand in my view (likely only after talking it over with others as my threshold might be a bit low in this) and the calming voice and the 'if needed stronger action' will be active again.
Edits themselves are often good, too many of them can stop all other activity on the site and that is bad. Before the site goes to sleep/dead action is needed. But only if there is a real problem.

14
  1. Do you believe that travel.stackexchange "isn't very welcoming?" If so, how will you address that as a moderator?

Like many sites, there are some things we could do better, but I think we are already more welcoming than some of the technical sites. Chat is used rather effectively to welcome people as well. Keeping an eye on the new users' First Questions queue is essential for mods and high rep users, so I will continue to monitor this in order to guide people with a comment or link to the various How To's.

  1. As an elected moderator, how much time will you be able to contribute to Travel SE tasks, at what time of the day and in which time zone? What is your expected availability in terms of number of hours contributed to the site per day? Will you have regular offline periods (we all love travelling) that you can foresee already?

I have a pretty good routine worked out with my moderating - I used to moderate 7 sites, but currently moderate 6 so I have capacity. I am based in the UK and manage a pre-work slot, as well as check-ins throughout the day at coffee breaks, lunch etc., then an early evening and a late night slot. It fits in well with work and family life. When travelling, I moderate on my phone or laptop. Mobile devices aren't ideal for this, but again, I have a routine which works.

  1. Which of your contributions to Travel Meta do you feel has been particularly valuable or is most representative of your potential style as a moderator?

I don't know actually. My answer here sums up part of my ethos, which is to assume the best of others and be nice where possible.

  1. Do you use the Travel Chat room? If not, why not? If so, how would you deal with negative attitudes or disagreements/fights between users new and old?

I pop in and out all the time, and have had periods where I'm very chatty and others where less so. The main thing I do in chat is be nice, and enthusiastic, and where others are arguing, try to be a calming role model. I probably have better examples of this in chats on sites where I am a mod, and can show my fairly laid back style.

  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?

Having encountered individuals like this over the years my focus is mostly on the community, so if guidance and warnings don't work, suspensions are next, with an end goal of reducing the number of inflammatory comments. Sometimes individuals can take this the wrong way - I have seen sites where people ended up leaving - but if the result is a happier community, then I feel that may be worth the risk.

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

Chat with them first to understand why - I may be wrong, or they may be wrong. Or both. But a conversation can help bottom that out. If we couldn't agree, I'd leave it, but of course any other community members in chat could weigh in too.

  1. What do you intend to change, improve and keep as it is about how moderation is currently run on Travel SE?

I don't think we need to change anything, but having seen the growth and development of the community and SE as a whole, I'd help by being a positive and welcoming role model for both new users and existing folks. It works pretty well just now, to be honest. We have a great set of mods.

  1. Do you think funny comments should be deleted? Do you think that any unrelated comment should be deleted?

I tend to think that comments that are purely for fun should be left for a wee while and then deleted. They are fun, but don't meet the needs of comments, which are to request improvement or clarity etc. I am also a supporter of removing comments no longer needed, in order that questions and answers are more easily seen.

  1. Our unanswered question count is slowly creeping up, nearing 500. What would you do to help with this?

I like revisiting the Unanswered tab reasonably regularly, and answer those I can. But if I can't then editing to improve them, or adding bounties are both useful tools to get further interest. Existing mods and high-rep users have held competitions in the past which have helped clear the unanswered queue, so I'd look at something similar.

  1. In the past (a) single user(s) have been on a spree of intensive editing of old posts, often mostly tag edits, which has led to some annoyance with other users in chat & comments. What is your stance on this, do you intend to intervene and if so, how?

This happens on occasion on various sites. My usual stance is to advise the helpful user to just slow down a bit, to avoid filling the front page. If the edits are useful, then I'd rather they happened, but maybe not in huge numbers all at once. If done at the rate of a couple a day, they don't tend to be anywhere near as annoying. Generally the sort of people who make helpful edits do understand this - they want a better site too.

10

Do you believe that travel.stackexchange "isn't very welcoming?" If so, how will you address that as a moderator?

Yes, I believe so. I will strive to Assume Good Faith and ask others to do so as well: for example, help newbies clean up their questions, instead of downvoting them to oblivion on technicalities. See this somewhat ranty post of mine on Meta for a good example.

As an elected moderator, how much time will you be able to contribute to Travel SE tasks, at what time of the day and in which time zone? What is your expected availability in terms of number of hours contributed to the site per day? Will you have regular offline periods (we all love travelling) that you can foresee already?

I probably spend an hour a day here, mostly during Australian hours and in short increments, and expect to do so going forward. Unsurprisingly I travel a lot, but am rarely offline even when I do.

Which of your contributions to Travel Meta do you feel has been particularly valuable or is most representative of your potential style as a moderator?

Most valuable, probably this. For representative style, which I'd summarize as "unapologetic yet easy-going", probably this.

Do you use the Travel Chat room? If not, why not? If so, how would you deal with negative attitudes or disagreements/fights between users new and old?

No, I don't, way too much unproductive drama. I will respond to @mentions (as I do today) and I would deal with flags as a moderator, I just do not intend to participate in general conversation.

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?

This is a nuanced and complicated topic. The factual knowledge contained in our answers are what make Travel.SE such a valuable resource, and encouraging the creation of these answers is our prime directive. But because it's built by humans, there's inevitably egos and emotions involved.

So my view is that moderators need to walk the fine line between keeping good contributors around and letting drama get in the way, and a big part of that is keeping a neutral distance — which, to me, also implies not getting personally involved in the petty shitfights of chat.

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

I would likely respect their judgment, but if I violently disagreed, I would bring it up on Meta.

What do you intend to change, improve and keep as it is about how moderation is currently run on Travel SE?

I think we sometimes moderate with an excessively heavy hand and would likely employ a lighter touch (see also, Assume Good Faith), but overall I think the current mod team does a pretty good job.

Do you think funny comments should be deleted? Do you think that any unrelated comment should be deleted?

Funny comments rock! Overall my attitude towards comments is pretty liberal, I'm unlikely to be reaching for the nuke button unless they descend into flamewars or endless quibbling. Snark & personal attacks directed at users is also off limits.

Our unanswered question count is slowly creeping up, nearing 500. What would you do to help with this?

Realistic/fatalistic answer: there's not a whole lot we can do, except pop bounties on the interesting ones.

In the past (a) single user(s) have been on a spree of intensive editing of old posts, often mostly tag edits, which has led to some annoyance with other users in chat & comments. What is your stance on this, do you intend to intervene and if so, how?

Tag edits should be encouraged and I do not intend to intervene unless the content of the edits themselves is harmful.

  • I think that as a mod it's important to participate in the chat. It's arguably the easiest way to be reached by users and fellow mods. Also I don't think that post quality outweighs rude attitude. The SE rules say be nice. That comes before reputation and travel knowledge. As a mod your role is to uphold the rules. – JoErNanO Jun 14 '18 at 21:51
  • @JoErNanO I'm happy to respond on chat if pinged. Also, could you point out some examples of this "rude attitude"? I aim to be scrupulously nice to people, particularly newbies, and intend to uphold that for others as well. – lambshaanxy Jun 15 '18 at 0:20
  • I will not point out such examples because it would be finger pointing and would serve no purpose. I just disagree with The answers are what matters here, everything else is ephemeral.. I am not allowed to be rude just because I have a few good answers under my belt. Nor is anyone else. – JoErNanO Jun 15 '18 at 0:25
  • Which accusation? I am not accusing you or anyone of being rude. The question is 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? your answer could be interpreted as it does not matter as long as the answers are good. I say if someone say, breaches the n 1 rule "be nice" then it does not matter if their answers are good. Long story short: nobody is above the law. I hope this clarifies. – JoErNanO Jun 15 '18 at 1:38
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    @JoErNanO Apologies, I misread your remarks as being addressed towards me personally. I've also rewritten my answer for clarity. – lambshaanxy Jun 15 '18 at 1:52
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    Yeah, wasn't directed at you. We've had users in the past who were incredibly valuable contributors but would insult/attack etc - doesn't matter how many good posts they've had, that's not permitted. :/ Loving your attention to detail in your answers btw. – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Jun 15 '18 at 2:04
  • Solid answers. As a huge fan of Wikivoyage, I have to ask you this question: What are your views on travel.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1214/81 ? – nic Jun 19 '18 at 5:26
  • @nic I'm also a fan of Wikivoyage, but I would not go around unilaterally editing other people's answers, particularly because the content is often not the same. – lambshaanxy Jun 19 '18 at 6:02
8
  1. Do you believe that travel.stackexchange "isn't very welcoming?" If so, how will you address that as a moderator?

I think it can be, principally when it comes to questions that are closed with little comment. A friendly comment or explanation can make a difference in how willing a first-time contributor might be to contribute again. When it comes to whether something is on-topic or not, I tend to be slightly liberal, too, for the same reasons.

  1. As an elected moderator, how much time will you be able to contribute to Travel SE tasks, at what time of the day and in which time zone? What is your expected availability in terms of number of hours contributed to the site per day? Will you have regular offline periods (we all love travelling) that you can foresee already?

I'm in UTC-6 year-round (no daylight time here) and will be able to contribute weekday noon hours and some evenings, plus some time on the weekends. I will be offline for extended periods when traveling once or twice a year.

  1. Which of your contributions to Travel Meta do you feel has been particularly valuable or is most representative of your potential style as a moderator?

I'm not sure there is such a single contribution. I answer questions in Meta when I feel I have a concrete response to make. I'm always thinking about the site as a whole, not the whims of individual users.

  1. Do you use the Travel Chat room? If not, why not? If so, how would you deal with negative attitudes or disagreements/fights between users new and old?

I am in there frequently (except when traveling). It's difficult to settle major disagreements but I try to remind people to keep to the issues and to not be personal. Healthy debate is okay; getting personal is not.

  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 former outweighs the latter - continued moderation to maximize the value of the content is going to be key. Some gentle direction on the participant would be helpful, but in the past, such direction has caused such users to disappear entirely, which is counterproductive.

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

I'd nominate it for reopening, and explain in the comments why I did so. That's what the process is for.

  1. What do you intend to change, improve and keep as it is about how moderation is currently run on Travel SE?

I'm still relatively new at Travel.SE (about a year) but I've been a major contributor in the last year (the #1 contributor for much of this year, until my travel of late May/early June). I intend to keep contributing in a way that makes new users feel welcome, yet leverages the value of the content we already have here.

  1. Do you think funny comments should be deleted? Do you think that any unrelated comment should be deleted?

Really off-topic comments should be deleted, but I don't mind humour and I don't mind comments that are somewhat off-topic if they help to indicate the thought processes of the poster.

  1. Our unanswered question count is slowly creeping up, nearing 500. What would you do to help with this?

I routinely go through and look for posts where I have some useful information to contribute. If I were convinced that offering a bounty would help get questions answered, I'd give this serious consideration.

  1. In the past (a) single user(s) have been on a spree of intensive editing of old posts, often mostly tag edits, which has led to some annoyance with other users in chat & comments. What is your stance on this, do you intend to intervene and if so, how?

This issue is new to me. The site offers badges for editing old posts, so there is an intention that they be edited. That having been said, I'm not a fan of editing for the sake of editing. If the edits are improving the utility of the content, they should be encouraged; if not, they are unhelpful. I need to learn more before knowing if I'd intervene in a specific case.

  • Re Q6 - As a mod all your actions are binding. You can't vote to reopen: you can only reopen. Hence why it's probably better to talk to the mod who closed before taking any action. – JoErNanO Jun 14 '18 at 21:43
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    @JoErNanO Fair point - and in that case, I absolutely would. I'd want to know what that mod thought that made him close the thread. Mods shouldn't be stepping on each others' toes, ideally... it's pretty counterproductive. And if there were a big debate to have about it, well, if it has to, it can go to Meta. – Jim MacKenzie Jun 14 '18 at 22:46
2
  1. Do you believe that travel.stackexchange "isn't very welcoming?" If so, how will you address that as a moderator?

I really don't think so. Most of the irritating questions are about visa which easily could have been searched or are even suggested when the question is entered, so people here are a bit impatient about those questions. Other questions receive in my humble opinion very good answers.

  1. As an elected moderator, how much time will you be able to contribute to Travel SE tasks, at what time of the day and in which time zone? What is your expected availability in terms of number of hours contributed to the site per day? Will you have regular offline periods (we all love travelling) that you can foresee already?

Currently I plan to invest one hour per day, from 18:00-19:00 UTC which is 20:00 ME(S)Z. I cannot foresee when I will be offline due to holiday because I am a bit spontaneous.

  1. Which of your contributions to Travel Meta do you feel has been particularly valuable or is most representative of your potential style as a moderator?

Technical problem, glad to solve it: Do we insist on using month names instead of numbers?

A complicated question which depends on culture and concerns safety: Should smuggling questions be considered on topic?.

  1. Do you use the Travel Chat room? If not, why not? If so, how would you deal with negative attitudes or disagreements/fights between users new and old?

I suck at chat :(. Communication is asynchronous, no nonverbal facial expression, several users are speaking at the same time etc. etc. If I am called, I would try to get a first picture. If it is already ugly, kick the participants out for a minute to an hour, if it is tense, ask that everyone calm down a moment until I get a view of the situation. Otherwise monitor and decide after some time what to do: personal talk etc.

  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?

Talk first with the other moderators and then talk with him in private.

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

Talk with the other moderators, especially the one who closed the question.

  1. What do you intend to change, improve and keep as it is about how moderation is currently run on Travel SE?

Earnestly I don't see much room for improvement. Travel.SE runs quite smoothly for my opinion.

  1. Do you think funny comments should be deleted? Do you think that any unrelated comment should be deleted?
  1. No :o)
  2. Normally yes.
  1. Our unanswered question count is slowly creeping up, nearing 500. What would you do to help with this?

We could do make a clean-up day. But, and this is a big but, perhaps the questions are really not that good and should be deleted.

  1. In the past (a) single user(s) have been on a spree of intensive editing of old posts, often mostly tag edits, which has led to some annoyance with other users in chat & comments. What is your stance on this, do you intend to intervene and if so, how?

I had no trouble with this as long as the user does not modify content and the edits seem to be well-thought out.

-26
  1. Yes. Delete fewer posts.

  2. I love travelling. Home base is Central Time ATM.

  3. Conciseness.

  4. Let 'em sort it out.

  5. Have a little talk.

  6. Ask them to consider reinstatement.

  7. Be less quick about closing and removing the questions.

  8. Only if it gets too much out-of-hand.

  9. Do more travel, and ask fewer questions until existing ones get answered. ^_^

  10. This is BS; folks shouldn't be editing old posts for nothing. I am all for preserving the status quo and making travel great again.

  • 12
    Please include a quote of each question before your answers, for clarity's sake. – JoErNanO Jun 12 '18 at 10:43
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    Looks like you've problem with questions. It seems you didn't understood some questions. For example, the second one asks you how much time you can moderate the site per day – i-- Jun 12 '18 at 16:18
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    cnst - please have a look at the answers from the last election to get an idea of what we would like to see from candidates: travel.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4318/1381 – Rory Alsop Jun 12 '18 at 20:49
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    Upvote this candidate! I like more laid-back/hands-off moderators. We need to be nice and stop the BS closing and deleting. – clickbait Jun 18 '18 at 20:37
  • +1, how about something different? The other moderators are all the same. – user1271772 Jun 30 '18 at 21:05

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