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.

Due to the submission count, we have selected all provided questions as well as one of our back up questions (the only one that didn't get covered by one of the other submissions, as it were) 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. This is an old site with pretty well-established policies about a variety of things both site-specific and network-wide. Do you feel yourself to be familiar with the site policies? If you do, do you generally agree with them? If there are policies you disagree with, how would you act on this if called to handle a situation where you disagreed with the standard practice? Alternatively, if you're not familiar with them, how will you become familiar with the policy? Do you think you can moderate effectively without this knowledge from the start? Why or why not?

  2. Becoming a moderator means more often being the bearer of "bad news" (e.g. question closure or post/comment deletion), which can lead to more friction with users. How do you feel about taking on this role, and how would you deal with it?

  3. What spices or herbs do you use most often?

  4. As a moderator, sometimes you end up dealing with folks who're less than nice. How would you deal with folks who're clearly trying to rile you up either in comments, mod messages or chat?

  5. Why do you want to be a moderator? I am a mod on another SE site, we mainly use blenders there, so I know what us mods do. I want to know why you want to be a mod. (No, the hat is not a good reason.)

  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. Nobody is perfect, we all have our strengths and weaknesses: What do you think are the fields where you need to improve most and how are you going to do this? Think about knowledge, personal habits, types of contributions etc. and how the site would benefit from it.

  9. How would being a moderator change your behavior on the site? Don’t think just about the fact that the diamond will be attached to all of your posts, but also that some actions like voting to close have stronger effects - aka the “Mod Hammer”. Do you expect other changes?

  10. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

  • @Cindy - Can you add your input? – PoloHoleSet Feb 20 at 21:44
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    @PoloHoleSet Cindy is still working on hers - she decided to nominate much later than the others, so they had a head start on the huge amount of writing required here. (she mentioned this in the chat; repeating here since @ notification in comments only works on people already involved on the post, so she wouldn't have seen it.) – Cascabel Feb 20 at 22:05
  • @Cascabel - Cool. I didn't want her candidacy to suffer if she somehow didn't see this out there. – PoloHoleSet Feb 20 at 22:23
  • @PoloHoleSet Thanks. Just finished answering the questions! Took a little bit to get it done. Lots of thought. Hoping for the best! – Cindy Feb 20 at 22:26
  • @Cindy - hey, I just wanted to see what you had to say. I'm glad I waited on voting until I could read all three! – PoloHoleSet Feb 20 at 22:49
  • I'd like to say, this is a terrible election - its really hard to pick between 3 serious and extemely credible candidates :) – Journeyman Geek Feb 24 at 15:01

I am Stephie, find my answers to the 2018 questionnaire below:

  1. This is an old site with pretty well-established policies about a variety of things both site-specific and network-wide. Do you feel yourself to be familiar with the site policies? If you do, do you generally agree with them? If there are policies you disagree with, how would you act on this if called to handle a situation where you disagreed with the standard practice? Alternatively, if you're not familiar with them, how will you become familiar with the policy? Do you think you can moderate effectively without this knowledge from the start? Why or why not?

I have been a member of this community for over three years. Right from the beginning, I figured I’d better observe, read and ask about “how this whole thing works”. So this is what I did - when I today point new users to the tour and help center, it’s because I actually read the whole thing early on. And that was a long time before I became a regular contributor on the site and the network. Am I familliar with the main policies? Probably yes. Do I sometimes wish we’d do things differently? Of course, there’s always room for improvement and sometimes it pains me to VTC a question that is interesting, yet just not a good fit for the site. But so far I have found most practices reasonable and established for a good reason. Seasoned Advice, although generally pretty well-defined in its scope, is still occasionally discussing corner cases in Meta and I have participated in those discussions. If I would stumble upon something that I felt change-worthy, Meta is the first place to start a discussion about change.

  1. Becoming a moderator means more often being the bearer of "bad news" (e.g. question closure or post/comment deletion), which can lead to more friction with users. How do you feel about taking on this role, and how would you deal with it?

This is the topic where I don’t think being a moderator would be really different from my role as non-moderator with review queue privileges: I have been part of the “welcome wagon” and written more “Welcome to Seasoned Advice!” messages than I can remember. And we know that especially new users are likely to post content that will be closed or removed for various reasons. So I often had to include an explanation why their post would be removed, could be improved, etc., trying to soften the blow and encouraging them to try again. The same is true for other tasks - I try to leave a comment instead of just pushing a button. Have all users appreciated this? No, of course not. But that’s just how it is. I can accept that. I’m not here to be loved by every single user, I’m here because I want to contribute to the community as a whole.

  1. What spices or herbs do you use most often?

I am one of the lucky cooks that have access to a little herb garden and I live in an area where I can do a bit of foraging. My absolute go-to herbs year-round are my rosemary, thyme and bay laurel that live in my garden and in pots. Other Mediterranean herbs like sage, oregano and even lavender keep them company. Right now, I’m looking forward to spring and the new growth of wild herbs like bear’s garlic, oxalis, cuckoo flower, dandelions, sorrel... My spice cupboard is so diverse that I can’t pick a favorite, what I use will depend on the dish of the day. For sweet dishes, I will reflexively grab vanilla.

  1. As a moderator, sometimes you end up dealing with folks who're less than nice. How would you deal with folks who're clearly trying to rile you up either in comments, mod messages or chat?

I have learned to be patient, but firm. I am unlikely to blow a fuse just because of a few comments that are out of line. When I have gotten into heated discussions and had the impression that the other person wanted to provoke a conflict and I couldn’t help myself in the past, I flagged a moderator, and I intend to continue this approach. Not because I am unwilling to resolve the issue on my own, but because a third person can provide a sanity-check and bring a neutral perspective: Just because I think I’m right doesn’t mean I am. This can also reduce the “you abused the mod powers for revenge” claims. I’d be happy to return the favor if a fellow moderator was in the same situation. And yes, if no other moderator is around, I will not hesitate to take the necessary actions if a fast response is required.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator? I am a mod on another SE site, we mainly use blenders there, so I know what us mods do. I want to know why you want to be a mod. (No, the hat is not a good reason.)

To serve the community better. And because diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

  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?

Seasoned Advice has over 40,000 users, even if many of them are not actively participating in the site. We welcome and value each of them and many active users work hard and dedicate their time to keep the community alive and a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. If a user continuously wants to “stir the pot”, they can poison the atmosphere quickly. If the user is unable or unwilling to be nice, even after direct communication and possibly corrective measures, I’d rather lose the contributions from one than alienate many.
You will occasionally hear that sometimes a user is not a good fit for the site. But we also need to look at it the other way around: Sometimes we are not what a user needs or wants.

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

I have two rules about interacting with others: “Don’t assume, ask!” and “Praise in public, criticize in private.”. So if another moderator does something that I don’t understand or feel is plain wrong, I’d ask for the reasons. In private. There we can try to find an agreement - and I welcome the (probably few) cases where we don’t: This is likely a corner case where a Meta discussion is in order.
Many decisions can be challenged and reversed, not only by moderators, but by the community, which is a great thing.

  1. Nobody is perfect, we all have our strengths and weaknesses: What do you think are the fields where you need to improve most and how are you going to do this? Think about knowledge, personal habits, types of contributions etc. and how the site would benefit from it.

My first and very simple plan is to work on my toolbox: Many times we are dealing with recurring topics and I guess many of us have starred generic Q/As like How do I know if food left at room temperature is safe to eat because we use it for duplicates all the time. In order to be more efficient, I need to collect more frequently used links instead of remembering that “there must be something somewhere” and starting to search. Maybe I’ll also prepare some useful text snippets while I’m at it.
I must admit that I have neglected Meta a bit in the past. Topics sometimes were vaguely discussed in chat, but not necessarily formally brought to Meta. This doesn’t mean that I plan to write lots of questions myself, but rather that I need to encourage all users to do so - and share their thoughts by answering on Meta, too.

  1. How would being a moderator change your behavior on the site? Don’t think just about the fact that the diamond will be attached to all of your posts, but also that some actions like voting to close have stronger effects - aka the “Mod Hammer”. Do you expect other changes?

Hopefully, being a moderator would not change much. I have always tried hard to be open, friendly and positive when commenting on posts or in chat. Being a non-native speaker myself, I am very aware of how quickly something intended as an offhand joke or light banter can be misunderstood or taken seriously. The same is true for reading posts from users with limited knowledge of the English language, assuming good intentions is a good start for questionable cases. A diamond will only encourage me to continue with this approach. I also prefer to ask, suggest and encourage over phrasing things in a way that sounds like an order. As a user, I am not here to tell others what they should do and as a moderator I would do so only when necessary. The way moderator votes work is something to be taken into account. I intend to copy the current practice of the mod team and mostly let the community do the voting except for blatant cases. Luckily we have enough users who have the privilege to VTC etc. and are willing to exercise their right. By waiting a bit, we encourage the community to remain active and this is a good thing.
As far as plain posting is concerned, I don’t expect any change. I spend more time on the site’s review queue, reading, editing and commenting on posts and of course in chat than with asking or answering questions.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

A lot has been said in A Theory of Moderation and I won’t repeat it here.

From the average users’ view, a mod’s actions become mostly noticeable when posts are closed, comments added or deleted, and flags taken care of. Janitorial stuff that keeps the site in a good shape. But that’s just the outer shell of being a mod.
Then there are the “behind the scene” activities that involves everything that requires moderator rights, but is not done in public - privately addressing users that need very special guidance (and sometimes restrictive measures) comes to mind as the perhaps most obvious example.
Let’s not forget that Seasoned Advice is not a lonely island. We are part of a network and I’m positive that the exchange between sites is essential. This may be as simple as clarifying the scope and overlap between sites and as complex as ensuring the different sites don’t develop their policies in contradicting ways.

But apart from all that “doing things”, a moderator is someone who looks closely. Watches what is going on and how the site as a whole is doing. Discusses this with the other mods. Then, from the position as an observer, he or she should recognize when some kind of action is required and be there for the site and its users.

  • You do have a low participation on Meta. From what I recall your questions, answers, and comments on the main site were reasonable. – paparazzo Feb 18 at 19:13
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    @Paparazzi you are correct about my meta participation, and I clearly stated it above. On the other hand, our Meta is not exactly a hub of activity (40 posts in 2017, not counting one deliberate duplicate and two announcements). And yes, this may be a bit of a chicken-egg-problem: people tend to “forget” checking Meta if they hopped over a few times and found nothing new or interesting. Am I happy about relative silence there? No. But I’m also not super-worried. And thanks for the compliment re. the rest. – Stephie Feb 18 at 20:32
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    Assuming there's things to be active about. I have less than 50 questions per year answered on MSU. I have a total of 61 questions and a good chunk of those are policy questions - which are unusual by design. – Journeyman Geek Feb 20 at 8:17
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    Stephie is very active on the main site in meta-ish issues (close voting, flagging, etc), so it's clear that she's read plenty from meta, and that she's put effort into the actual implementation of the policies that were decided on meta. When a site is well-established, that's probably more important than trying to create new policy. And I do agree with both Stephie and Journeyman Geek that there's just not that much ongoing meta issues to be active about. We get a question per week, and that's including all the announcement-ish things, things that only mods can answer, and so on. – Cascabel Feb 20 at 17:25
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    Shouldn't comments be used to ask for any needed clarifications? Seems like lobbying for or against a candidate is not appropriate use of the comment section. If you like them, vote for them. If you don't, don't. Leave it at that. – PoloHoleSet Feb 20 at 21:43
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    @PoloHoleSet I think it's somewhere in the middle: comments here aren't just for clarifications, since it's also fine and even desirable to discuss a candidates' answers and views. But straight-up lobbying is probably not ideal; let's indeed try to keep focused on the questionnaire topics. – Cascabel Feb 20 at 21:51

Catija's Answers:

  1. This is an old site with pretty well-established policies about a variety of things both site-specific and network-wide. Do you feel yourself to be familiar with the site policies? If you do, do you generally agree with them? If there are policies you disagree with, how would you act on this if called to handle a situation where you disagreed with the standard practice? Alternatively, if you're not familiar with them, how will you become familiar with the policy? Do you think you can moderate effectively without this knowledge from the start? Why or why not?

In general, I do feel very knowledgeable about this site's policies. I mostly agree with them. I think that the one place the current moderators and I somewhat disagree is on what constitutes an answer. I find a lot of answers here are just ideas or guesses with no supporting information or near duplicates of existing ones. I'm not a huge fan of these but if we (as a site) want to retain them, I'll abide.

  1. Becoming a moderator means more often being the bearer of "bad news" (e.g. question closure or post/comment deletion), which can lead to more friction with users. How do you feel about taking on this role, and how would you deal with it?

This is something I'm pretty used to dealing with on the other sites I moderate. I find the easiest solution is to explain the rules and help fix things up so that they will work for the site, if possible. Sometimes this involves a heroic edit and other times, giving the OP the information they need that will help them edit their question (or answer) to improve it. Comments I generally don't feel deserve an explanation for removal. If they're not serving a purpose, they don't belong.

  1. What spices or herbs do you use most often?

I love rosemary; the pungency and woodsiness. I have bushes surrounding my door at home and I'll often run my hands through it just for the smell. Spices I love - cumin for savory, nutmeg for both savory and sweet, and cinnamon for sweet.

  1. As a moderator, sometimes you end up dealing with folks who're less than nice. How would you deal with folks who're clearly trying to rile you up either in comments, mod messages or chat?

I find the best solution is to talk with someone else about it. Step back and get another opinion. This may diffuse the situation without further interaction required or, if it needs to be addressed, someone who's less involved may be better able to handle things. If they're crossing lines into being rude or abusive, they can easily be put in timeout for a period of time to chill.

In mod messages, I tend to just ignore it because they only get one chance to respond. If they used that one chance to scream obscenities, responding to them only gives them another opportunity to be rude. If the message was a warning and they respond with rudeness, that warning will often turn into a suspension.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator? I am a mod on another SE site, we mainly use blenders there, so I know what us mods do. I want to know why you want to be a mod. (No, the hat is not a good reason.)

Besides the hat being an excellent reason... though I have one already and they only send you one, not one per site... I like moderation. It gives you something else to do on a site, other frames of reference, other interactions with the users. It keeps me coming back. And I like the moderators here and would love to help them.

  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?

Users who are breaking the site, are breaking the site. What other contributions they have are sort of irrelevant if they're scaring away the rest of the community due to being argumentative or rude. Every site needs valuable, content-creating users but these users also need to be good site citizens. If they aren't, then action must be taken to explain what sort of interaction is expected here and, if they can't comply, suspensions may be the only option.

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

Everyone makes mistakes! I've made them myself... sometimes I'm not in the right frame of mind and I miss something. I really appreciate it when that's brought to my attention, though it's nice if it's done in private. The moderators have the opportunity to use a private site room just for mods and that makes for a perfect place for discussion. If such a discussion leads to a stalemate, then moving the conversation to Meta is the next step.

  1. Nobody is perfect, we all have our strengths and weaknesses: What do you think are the fields where you need to improve most and how are you going to do this? Think about knowledge, personal habits, types of contributions etc. and how the site would benefit from it.

I need to be more willing to offer a heroic edit to save a post. It's something I see Cascabel, particularly, do from time to time and I really admire it. I have a difficult time seeing the good in some questions without really looking hard for it, and I have a strong sense of authorship, so I have difficulty both recognizing and then changing posts so that they meet the community standards. I hope that I'll be able to get some guidance on how to recognize this and improve in the future.

  1. How would being a moderator change your behavior on the site? Don’t think just about the fact that the diamond will be attached to all of your posts, but also that some actions like voting to close have stronger effects - aka the “Mod Hammer”. Do you expect other changes?

One of the downsides here is that we're not super active in the review queues, so moderators often hammer questions closed if they're not a good fit for the site or aren't on topic. As someone who tries to cast a lot of close votes (when warranted), that makes me less able to poke something into the review queue as there's no way for a moderator to do that. As such, I'll probably check in with the other moderators to see what they think before hammering something closed, at least until I get a sense of things.

I try to behave cordially in general, so I hope my behavior wouldn't need to change too much, particularly as I'm already a moderator on two other sites, so my actions on those sites tends to affect my actions everywhere.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Stuff. And things... Largely, in addition to the stuff everyone can do (editing, commenting, answering meta questions) mods do stuff the CMs trust them to do that they don't trust other users to do... a lot of it is administrative, like merging tags, moving answers that should have been comments to comments, merging user accounts (or at least asking the CMs to do that... and some of it relates to community management - direct user contact and suspensions, keeping an eye on sockpuppetry.

I'm Cindy, one of the candidates in the 2018 moderator election. Below please find my answers to the election questions.

  1. This is an old site with pretty well-established policies about a variety of things both site-specific and network-wide. Do you feel yourself to be familiar with the site policies? If you do, do you generally agree with them? If there are policies you disagree with, how would you act on this if called to handle a situation where you disagreed with the standard practice? Alternatively, if you're not familiar with them, how will you become familiar with the policy? Do you think you can moderate effectively without this knowledge from the start? Why or why not?

I feel that I am moderately knowledgable about our site's policies. I have learned a lot in the time I've been here, but I know there's still a lot to learn. The current moderators have been great about explaining things when I've had questions and have helped me to understand more about how things work.

While I generally agree with our policies, I know that there may be an instance where I don't agree. In that case I would abide by the set rules and if I felt it was of major importance, try to see what we could do to change things for the better.

With things I am not familiar with or just don't know the answer, I would ask the current moderators for help. One should never be afraid to ask for help - that's how we learn. I'm confident that, with the knowledge I have about our site and the guidance from the current moderators, I can step into the role and be an effective and fair moderator.

  1. Becoming a moderator means more often being the bearer of "bad news" (e.g. question closure or post/comment deletion), which can lead to more friction with users. How do you feel about taking on this role, and how would you deal with it?

I'm comfortable with taking on this role. In my career, I've been in management for 20+ years. The decisions or actions we need to make are not always popular, but are necessary. I feel that, as a moderator, we need to do everything we can to avoid conflict. But if or when it occurs, we need to handle it straightforward and fairly.

  1. What spices or herbs do you use most often?

Tough question because we use so many. Salt, pepper, and garlic are staples. Depending on what we're cooking, cumin, sage, turmeric, mace, cilantro, and dill come to mind first. Red peppers such as crushed red pepper, cayenne, and paprika get used quite a bit also.

  1. As a moderator, sometimes you end up dealing with folks who're less than nice. How would you deal with folks who're clearly trying to rile you up either in comments, mod messages or chat?

First, I have a motto that I will not engage on that level. I would first try to talk to them and explain site policies, etc. But if they insist on continuing, I would put an end to it. Here, or anywhere else, there's no room for people disrupting the normal, nice flow of things. We have a 'be nice' policy for a reason.

  1. Why do you want to be a moderator? I am a mod on another SE site, we mainly use blenders there, so I know what us mods do. I want to know why you want to be a mod. (No, the hat is not a good reason.)

While I realize that being a moderator is completely "volunteer", I feel like I am important part of this community. I feel that I can contribute to our site's success, and I value the site and the format. In short, it's something I want to be a part of and want to see a continued growth.

  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?

If the answers are truly valuable, I would try to engage the poster and explain how they might present their ideas/answers better. Sometimes people are condescending to others in their answers. Still, I would try to encourage them to state their information in a better way. If my attempts to change their behavior failed, I would take the next appropriate action.

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

I would speak directly, one-on-one, to that moderator to try and understand their decision. Often times, others see things that we don't see. That can work in both directions.

In this case, the new moderator would be the least experienced moderator. So, if a more experienced moderator takes such an action, I would give it deference and seriously listen to what they had to say, remembering that there's a lot to be learned.

  1. Nobody is perfect, we all have our strengths and weaknesses: What do you think are the fields where you need to improve most and how are you going to do this? Think about knowledge, personal habits, types of contributions etc. and how the site would benefit from it.

I think that one of the main areas I need to focus on is contributing more to Meta. I know that, while I have made contributions, I haven't been the most outspoken or given the most input. Quite simply, for that feat, I just need to spend more time there. Not a hard thing to do - and I will, whether I become a moderator or not.

Also, regardless of the outcome of the election, I plan to spend more time trying to salvage questions and answers by editing or asking for more information, and by better comments.

  1. How would being a moderator change your behavior on the site? Don’t think just about the fact that the diamond will be attached to all of your posts, but also that some actions like voting to close have stronger effects - aka the “Mod Hammer”. Do you expect other changes?

I think the first and foremost thing is that while I will vote to close a question now, in the hopes of putting in review for other users, I wouldn't do that as quickly because it would immediately close a question. I think that the community involvement is too important to surpass.

If there was a serious issue such as spam, abuse, or vandalism, I would have the opportunity to solve that, where I don't now. I mean, there is a place for the "mod hammer". But again, if I'm not sure, I'll ask the experienced moderators the best way to proceed.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are the overseers of our site. They work to ensure that we stay on track and succeed in our format. (Not an easy thing to do.)

Moderators are tasked with handling administrative tasks and things that other users aren't asked to do, or don't have the privilege to do. They are our leaders. Without good moderators, our site couldn't succeed. I am committed to being a devoted and conscientious moderator, if elected.

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