The purpose of this thread was to collect questions for the questionnaire. The questionnaire is now live, and you may find it here.

Literature Stack Exchange is scheduled for an election next week, 2023-03-28. In connection with that, we will be holding a Q&A with the candidates. This will be an opportunity for members of the community to pose questions to the candidates on the topic of moderation. Participation is completely voluntary.

Here’s how it’ll work:

  • Until the nomination phase, (so, until 2023-03-28 at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 4:00 pm EDT on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.

  • If your question contains a link, please use the syntax of [text](link), as that will make it easier for transcribing for the finished questionnaire.

  • This is a perfect opportunity to voice questions that are specific to your community and issues that you are running into currently.

  • We, the Community Team, will be providing a small selection of generic questions. The following two questions are guaranteed to be included:

    • 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?
    • How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc. a question that you feel shouldn’t have been?
  • The community team may also include the following three questions if the community doesn’t supply enough questions.

    • In your opinion, what do moderators do?
    • 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?
    • 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?
  • At the start of the nomination phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions. We reserve some editorial control in the selection of the questions and may opt not to select a question that is tangential or irrelevant to moderation or the election. We exclude any suggested questions that are negatively scored.

    • We will post the final questionnaire on the Election page. Candidates will have the option to fill out the questionnaire, and their answers will appear beneath their intro statements.
    • This is not the only option that users have for gathering information on candidates. As a community, you are still free to, for example, hold a live chat session with your candidates to ask further questions, or perhaps clarifications from what is provided in the Q&A.

If you have any questions or feedback about this process, feel free to post as a comment here.

10 Answers 10


This site and community have often struggled with balancing the desire for content quality and the desire to be welcoming. What are your thoughts on this issue? Does being too strict on quality make us cold, unforgiving, and unapproachable? Does being too lax make us unattractive to scholars and enthusiasts? How should a balance be struck?

  • Not sure if I've phrased this ideally, but I wanted to get it out there. People look to diamond mods to set an example, and it's super important to understand what kind of viewpoints will be represented on the mod team.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 20:09

From the early days of this site, there's been a very strong impetus toward adding references to answers to support claims made. While there are many obvious instances where this is desirable, there are also many cases - especially around the interpretation of close readings - where very valuable answers can be provided without citations. Another circumstance where referencing isn't always appropriate involves explaining language use, especially localisms.

How do we propose balancing the value added by referencing some answers with the offputting nature of prodding users to reference everything, when it isn't always appropriate to do so?


As a moderator, your votes become binding. Actions you used to take like flagging, reviewing, closing, and deleting will take effect immediately without any input from any other users or moderators.

How will you adapt the way you currently flag and vote to deal with this change?

This question is shamelessly stolen from https://scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/a/13372/4918

  • Well, not all types of votes are binding, since up and down votes aren't :-)
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 18:04
  • @Tsundoku More precisely, upvotes and downvotes are binding for everyone - everyone with sufficient reputation can unilaterally cast upvotes and downvotes. Commented Mar 24, 2023 at 16:32
  • @EJoshuaS-StandwithUkraine The question is about the distinction between moderator votes and non-moderator votes, not about ordinary upvotes and downvotes. Anyone can downvote a post that was updated by a moderator; in that sense, upvotes and downvotes are not binding. But only moderators can undelete an answer deleted by a moderator, because a moderator deletion is binding.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 13:54

It's been raised in the past that the Stack Exchange format of having a "correct" answer isn't the best fit for a subject which, even at the serious academic level, can be strongly opinion-based.

Furthermore, there's a tendency to reward quick answers and to discourage multiple answers neither of which fit well with the research and argument-building needed to create a good literature answer.

How can moderator input help us make the best use of this format to support generating quality content in our community?


What, if any, previous moderator (or similar) experience do you have from a different Stack Exchange site, a different website, and/or the real world (e.g. arbitration)?

I stole this question from https://scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/a/7991/4918


Will you participate in the chat room, or at least be pingable for casual discussion of moderation matters?

(I consider it important that at least some mods be reachable via chat.)


If an otherwise perfectly fine question starts attracting too much low-quality attention, such as no-effort/unexplained answers, chatty comments, or similar, what actions would you take or not take to address this? This specifically can often be attributed to Hot Network Question visitors - would you consider mod-removing a question from the HNQ list?


Sometimes users will be unhappy about moderator actions and respond in a persistent and/or insistent manner, or not respond in as timely a manner as you might wish.

Will you be able to avoid taking this personally and keeping responses cool and professional and do you have strategies to prevent such issues depleting your personal mental and emotional reserves?


At what times of the day or week do you expect to review diamond moderation tasks?

There were some concerns that moderation tasks may get handled slowly in the European early mornings, especially during the weekend, because no moderators are active then.

  • 2
    This is a good way to phrase it, rather than "what time zone are you in". Some people have ... unusual sleep/work cycles :-)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 13:19

When, if ever, do you believe an identification question should be closed as a duplicate?

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