2011 Moderator Election

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.

See a theory of moderation for the typical roles and abilities of a moderator. Once elected, moderators may hold the position as long as they wish, unless they become inactive or exhibit gross misbehavior.

Community moderators are accorded the highest level of privilege and trust on our community, and should themselves be exemplars of positive behavior 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

Depending on the number of nominees that enter, and the number of moderator positions to be filled, in some circumstances the election may skip the Primary phase and proceed directly to the Election phase.

Please participate in the moderator elections by voting, and perhaps even by nominating yourself to be a community moderator!

This election ended Jun 23 '11 at 20:00.

Anyone may download the election data. Voters have access to pre-built OpenSTV software to audit the results; all others may use this source distribution.

1,050 voters were eligible, 615 visited the site during the election, 378 visited the election page, and 225 voted

I am a mathematician working at the University of Buenos Aires, in Argentina. My main interest is homological algebra, and the various things connected to it—that is, everything else. I'm a regular MathOverflow user and I have been on math.stackechange since it started (if I recall correctly) I find both sites quite useful and fun, and I find the coexistence of the two a really good thing.

I have to admit that I don't know what a flag weight is... My flag weight is 115!

My theory of moderation is, essentially, that as little moderation as possible should take place. As for the Homework Issue: I think that it is best if we know when a question is homework because it makes it easier for us to write helpful answers—and helpfulness can often mean avoiding writing out full details.

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    $\begingroup$ Well, your flag weight is 115; (you get points added to your "flag weight" every time that you flag something and moderators take the corresponding action). Just in case you wanted to know. (-: $\endgroup$ – Arturo Magidin Jun 12 '11 at 2:29
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    $\begingroup$ According to this Data Explorer query, of users with at least 1k rep, you have the 4th-highest rep-to-upvotes ratio (alternately, 4th-lowest upvotes-to-rep ratio). Do you think voting on questions and answers is not important? $\endgroup$ – Isaac Jun 14 '11 at 12:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Isaac: I mostly vote up questions and answers that I find particularly useful or nice (and down those that I find either 'harmful' or ugly) I think that voting is important, but I also think that one should vote what one finds significant, lest votes end up being meaningless. $\endgroup$ – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Jun 14 '11 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Isaac: Wouldn't be the upvotes-to-given-answers ratio a better measure than the upvotes-to-rep ratio? The latter punishes people giving few but brilliant answers. Is the upvotes-to-given-answers ratio somewhere available? $\endgroup$ – j.p. Jun 15 '11 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe even better: the upvotes-to-views ratio. $\endgroup$ – Rasmus Jun 15 '11 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Rasmus: what exactly is that supposed to measure, how easily pleased one is? $\endgroup$ – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Jun 15 '11 at 16:57
  • $\begingroup$ @jug: Here's an attempt at the query you're asking for. Of the top 100 users by number of answers, Mariano Suárez-Alvarez ranks 3rd in answers divided by upvotes cast; of users with 100 or more answers, he ranks 2nd. $\endgroup$ – Isaac Jun 15 '11 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Mariano: well, the avarage willingness to give upvotes - whatever that tells us. ;) Anyway, I agree that voting up too many answers is pointless, and I think you don't need to vote a lot in order to be a good moderator. $\endgroup$ – Rasmus Jun 15 '11 at 19:21

I am undergraduate student pursuing mathematics at the University of British Columbia. Next year I will be on exchange at L'Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. I am personally most interested in number theory, and am currently working in analytic number theory.

I joined Math Stack Exchange 5 months ago, and have been an active participant ever since. I also frequently partake in discussions on meta. I have come to really enjoy this website, and I think it has a certain quality which draws many of us back every day. Part of it is the community, which I think is overall very positive and agreeable. (with a few minor arguments here and there)

I have been fairly strong with my thoughts on certain issues, and I doubt I leave any ambiguities. In particular, I believe homework should be allowed, and given helpful hints rather than full solutions. I also am in favor of being more lenient to users asking their first question on this site. It can seem pretty natural to just ask a question the way you found it, in imperative form. Brand new users should be given a bit more slack then usual. (Specifically, gently explaining how things should be asked, and giving constructive comments rather than closing the question.)

However, let me be clear: I think that since these issues were brought up on the meta page, and actively discussed, the situation is fairly good. From what I see, most users handle poorly-posed questions in a very supportive, constructive and helpful way.

As a moderator, I would always be open minded, and try to the best of my abilities. Although I have not been a moderator of an online forum before, I believe that I would be able to learn, do it well, and help the community further.

In short: I would like to be given the chance to be moderator, and volunteer my time to help this site and this community.

I think I'll throw my hat into the ring.

About Me
I'm a rising senior at Brown University (see you next year, mixedmath!), planning to apply to math grad schools this fall. My interests are mainly algebraic number theory and algebraic geometry, although differential topology and differential geometry are growing on me lately. Before coming to math.SE (indeed, before the creation of math.SE), I participated on MathOverflow a fair bit, but now my math forum time is almost exclusively spent here.

Campaign Speech
First of all, I'm on the site quite often, and participate on meta. My flag weight is excellent (in fact I just received a Deputy badge), which indicates good judgment about what requires moderation. I'm patient with new and old members alike. I've been vocal and firm when it comes to calling out inappropriate actions; I think that I've avoided being overly contentious, but as a moderator, I would take extra care to hold myself to the expected higher standard of behavior when doing so.

This would be my first time moderating a website, but I think I'm active enough that I'll be able to pick it up quickly. I would enjoy the opportunity to help run the site, together with the community, in the position of moderator.

Homework Policy
In this post on meta, it's proposed that candidates offer their stance on homework questions, which I agree is an important piece of information to know before electing someone a moderator.

My stance is that, seeing as how there will always exist people attempting to get help on their homework, the best policy is our current one - namely, to explicitly allow homework questions, on the condition that they are tagged as such, and with a strong recommendation to the OP to explain what they've tried so far. If everyone asking homework questions is upfront about it, the responses they receive are far more likely to be educational for them - hints in the right direction, perhaps a simpler version of the problem that is easier to solve, etc. Essentially, the homework tag indicates to the community to act more as a tutor, and less as a question-answering machine. Of course, it is entirely up to the ethical judgment of people who answer homework questions whether to provide a hint (and how strong of a hint), or provide a full answer.

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    $\begingroup$ It must be a Brown thing - $\endgroup$ – davidlowryduda Jun 7 '11 at 8:15
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure whether the idea is to use the comments to comment on the nominations, but since there's already one such comment, I'll add one here, too: Several of Zev's comments in this meta thread: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/2262/the-b-incident where among the most upvoted ones and to my mind displayed a good sense for the situation; I support his nomination. $\endgroup$ – joriki Jun 7 '11 at 9:17
  • $\begingroup$ I checked out your CV on your site... can't wait to hear your thoughts on the course you took titled "Freedom"! $\endgroup$ – The Chaz 2.0 Jun 7 '11 at 13:37
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    $\begingroup$ @joriki Popular opinion is not necessarily wise. I wish that some more experienced folks were running for moderator - folks with decades of experience on other general math forums. Alas, we lost our sole experienced moderator long ago. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Jun 7 '11 at 14:27
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    $\begingroup$ @joriki (and upvoters of his comment): Thanks, I sincerely appreciate your support. $\endgroup$ – Zev Chonoles Jun 7 '11 at 15:21
  • $\begingroup$ @The Chaz: Haha, as regarding how I would moderate? I'm afraid it does not bear much relevance; it was not a terribly practical course. It was a rewarding experience though. $\endgroup$ – Zev Chonoles Jun 7 '11 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Bill: I agree, although neither is it necessarily unwise. I'm content to let people draw what conclusions they may after reading the comments. I agree that an experienced moderator would be a valuable addition, and you have the prior experience you speak of - perhaps you would like to run? $\endgroup$ – Zev Chonoles Jun 7 '11 at 16:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Bill: "Decades of experience in general math forums" is not necessarily a good thing, either... In any case: instead of obliquely commenting on our current moderators, you should nominate yourself, being as it is that you satisfy your own requirement of experience on online forums! $\endgroup$ – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Jun 7 '11 at 18:23

I admit that having seen Zev's set of revisions to his 'campaign speech,' I feel that I should write a little more myself.

I'm a PhD student at Brown University, entering into my first year this fall (Funny enough, when I visited Brown in the spring, I ended up sitting next to Zev when I attended a number theory class. I suspect I'll see a lot more of him next year). This means that by no measure am I the most knowledgeable or accomplished participant in the forum. Fortunately, I don't think that's necessary for a moderator.

The moderators here are like every other member of the forum, except that they handle the exceptional situations. They maintain decorum, rarely intervening or altering the course of the forum. Thus we should want our moderators to be those active members of the community who have shown a knack for restraint and patience.

Really, though, it is not in my nature to boast. I cannot say that I would be the best candidate for moderator (should some of the people I have come to really respect in this forum, like Ross, Pete, Arturo, etc. want to be moderator, I wouldn't even attempt to compete). I've only been a member for about 2 months. Most of my math-foruming experience comes from mymathforum.com, which I've been a part of for several years. Strangely, Zev and I earned our Deputy badges within an hour of each other - and it's really not that common.

I will again follow Zev's lead in speaking on Sivaram's answer on the meta. I frequent the site very often (although, unfortunately enough, I will be helping someone in a transcontinental move next week and will likely be MIA for a bit). With respect to homework, I don't mind people asking homework questions. They should be tagged as homework and the question should include progress. From what I've seen, users often act with restraint when answering homework questions, and that's something that I respect very much.

I suppose what I really think can be boiled down to two sentences: Firstly, I think that this site works well right now, and that any new moderators should follow the current moderators' examples and guidance. Secondly, I make mistakes like everyone else, and I try to learn from them.

I'm not going to change MathSE - I just want it to continue to run smoothly.

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    $\begingroup$ How frequently do you visit MSE? Do you have any other forum moderating experience? $\endgroup$ – The Chaz 2.0 Jun 6 '11 at 23:26
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    $\begingroup$ @The Chaz: probably too often. More seriously, whenever I check my email, I usually open MSE too, to see what's new. Are you the same "The Chaz" from mymathforum.com? $\endgroup$ – davidlowryduda Jun 6 '11 at 23:42
  • $\begingroup$ Guilty. Not that I have much pull around here, but I give my full approval to your nomination. MSE would greatly benefit from the likes of Jason Spade. :) $\endgroup$ – The Chaz 2.0 Jun 7 '11 at 0:18
  • $\begingroup$ @The Chaz: It's very funny - you've been around my online math identity for years and years. I'd almost think you'd have tired of me by now. ;p $\endgroup$ – davidlowryduda Jun 7 '11 at 0:20
  • $\begingroup$ @mix: I hope that we are just getting started. It would be a joy to have a "forum connections" meeting at a math convention one of these days (years?). I'd love to interface with the original Chaz... heck, I'd even buy johnny a drink! $\endgroup$ – The Chaz 2.0 Jun 7 '11 at 0:23
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    $\begingroup$ @mixedmath You have my vote ^_^! $\endgroup$ – Nicolas Villanueva Jun 7 '11 at 19:46

This election is complete.