2012 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.

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!

This election ended Feb 7 '12 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.

5,874 voters were eligible, 2,198 visited the site during the election, 652 visited the election page, and 297 voted
Called up to meet additional demand:

I took a lengthy break from P.SE after a holiday and getting slightly fed up with the diminishing quality of questions and answers, so I don't expect anyone new to read more than two sentences in my application. I don't expect anyone older to recognise my name and contribution either - one can only hope!

Edit: A few words on my moderation aptitude as prompted by Rachel.

For example, are you more for keeping the site in line with the FAQ, or in line with community-driven content?

I'm sorry, but my answer is neither.

I believe that the FAQ - after many iterations - provides a fantastic guide indicating what P.SE is about and showing the acceptable directions it may take. However, there are many edge cases that are (in my opinion) important and beneficial to other software engineers in general that may not align directly with the FAQ. After all, we are one of the more subjective sites on SE.

A community-driven approach is also harder to understand than what most people believe. As a user, the push comes from the most active participants. If anyone wanted to, they could assemble a group of ten very active users and uniformly push several ideas. This would, to everyone else, form the "community".

We have an obligation to listen and to serve the community, but I don't think most people realise that others are just hiding being fluffy political terms to sway the opinion of others. Think about how you would define "community". These definitions come to my mind:

  • The top 20 people who answer daily.
  • The majority of users who answer (via a time-on-site weighted calculation).
  • The majority of those who read content on P.SE (including non-answering 'members').

These definitions seem feasible to me. If the term 'community' was defined as any one of these by SE - and they utilised tools to determine the community - I would not dispute it at all as it would be a well-defined set of users.

Moderation requires using your brain and your personality to effect change without annoying people and scaring off new or potential members.

As a candidate, I'm ultimately betting on:

  • If I think the content is beneficial, then you will think the content is beneficial.
  • If I think reading that question wasted my time, then you will think the question has wasted your time.

I have no problem in correcting - in a diplomatic fashion - an inexperienced software engineer. I have no problem in closing questions and deleting rubbish answers in order to save time for my co-users. We - people partaking in the nomination discussion - would have no trouble doing a good job. It's why we're already excelling as professionals in our career. It's what we already do in our work and personal life - we lead.

I was the first person to obtain the deputy badge. This shows that my views on what is acceptable was well aligned with the previous group of moderators. (I understand if this is different now.)

I firmly believe that English is the most important language for P.SE users because it saves time for everyone reading anything on this site. My 'ideal' version of this site would have well-presented and well-written arguments everywhere. This, of course, has no bearing on how I would (hypothetically) moderate - it's just something I believe in.

There's nothing more that I can write in here make this my any stronger. If you want to know more, pick a question or answer at random of mine and see for yourself!

  • 4
    I remember you! I seem to recall liking your responses and your views on Programmers.SE. I'll browse your answers later when I'm not at work, but you're definitely in consideration for my 3rd vote :) Would you mind outlining what approach you would take as a moderator? For example, are you more for keeping the site in line with the FAQ, or in line with community-driven content? I feel that's a big question in this election because there are many people who feel strongly for both sides of the argument. Also, do you plan on being more active? – Rachel Jan 27 '12 at 14:06
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    @Rachel: Nothing against Jonathan Khoo, but he's not very active. Only seldom do I see his name on the list of the "voted to close" users and stuff. While he's certainly a fine internet scribe, I doubt he's the best fit for the moderator position. – Falcon Jan 27 '12 at 18:00
  • @Falcon I agree, I made the assumption that he was back from his "long break" but I'd like to know if that isn't the case. I definitely think P.SE needs some active moderators. – Rachel Jan 27 '12 at 21:20
  • @Rachel: Glad to see you're still around! You and I possess similar aptitudes. I've extended my application now and have addressed your question. I'm also back on P.SE now, so you've got nothing to worry about there. – J.K. Jan 28 '12 at 0:40

Greetings Programmers,

My handle is World Engineer. I joined this site back in early Summer and found myself increasingly interested in the subject material presented as well as the style of participation and the sheer quality of the signal to noise ration. Since then I have endeavored to push toward clarity and to banish ambiguity and if elected moderator, I will to promote those traits on the site. I, for better or worse, am something of a late arrival. I was not present at the beginning and thus did not have a clear picture of the "old programmers". I've come to understand that this is not the direction we should head back toward but at the same time it should be clear and unambiguous precisely what it is that is wanted. However, this should not be a wall toward new users. A firm but gentle hand are needed here and I believe I can offer such a hand. At the same time, a standard quality must be upheld. We were all new once, I never forget this. I believe I can deliver such a balance.

Balance of temperament has long been important to me. For instance, in World of Warcraft, I led and moderated large raid guilds, often highly fractious and political. There I developed a reputation as level-headed and unflappable. I bring the same qualities with me to moderation here. I work in a technical-skewed bookstore where I deal often with confused or angry people. I never take things personally in public. I don't let effect my judgement. My duty is and shall be to improve the site as the community sees fit and in accordance with the Stack-Exchange guidelines as a whole.

My technical background is thus: I am a Computer Science student at Georgia State University, from which I also hold a degree in Religious Studies. I am thoroughly used to impartially examining competing and often violently opposing viewpoints and reaching a conclusion analyzing the whys and wherefores of both sides. My technical language background is extensive, having experience in Java, C, Python, and Haskell with a smattering of bits and pieces from other languages. My primary interest is in Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and Programming Language design. I also maintain a strong interest in educational and disability friendly computing.

On the Stack Exchange I want you to have an answer and more than that, I want you get the right answer. To do that, I want help you ask the right questions. You should be able to learn by example through a combination of promoting of good questions and the careful closing of questions that do not meet the community's standards. However, it is my view that moderation is surgery with a scalpel, not a bone saw. Bedside manner is important, I promise to bring a considered, approachable presence as I have demonstrated in chat on a number of occasions. My meta participation is somewhat low, I believe in direct interaction to resolve issues though meta serves a highly useful functions and I have asked questions and gotten good answers there on a number of occasions.

My commitment to the site is demonstrated by my Fanatic Badge and my 130+ helpful flags as well as over 500 upvotes on questions. I have two downvotes, I can't even recall when or why I used them. I don't plan on downvoting again. Instead, I have adopted a strategy of directly asking for additional information or clarity. I routinely attempt to correct bad grammar whilst retaining as much of the original content as possible though this has proven difficult on occasion. Tough choices are part of moderation too and fine lines must be considered. And they will be. It comes back to the scalpel analogy, where small incisions and careful stitching should be favored. I helped launch the History.SE site so I understand what it takes to get a community going and how to keep one going as well as the thorny issues of what should and should not be allowed.

I understand the value of humility as well. I have been completely off-base on questions before and answers before and I am the first to admit that. I delete my own negatively voted questions and answers to remove bad examples for the rest of the community. Learning takes practice but above all, good examples to follow. Tag Clean-up is such an example, the blog effort is such an example. I will push for these and much more if elected.

TL;DR: Approachable, Impartial, Community Driven Moderation.

  • Good job with the helpful flags! – maple_shaft Jan 25 '12 at 2:35
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    You indicate that you've almost never used your downvotes. Downvoting, when used as intended, is one of the ways that a community indicates that content is good/bad, and extreme downvotes (again, when used as intended) can be an indication that a question is most definitely not suitable for a site. That said, how will you deal with the fact that the majority of your work as a moderator will entail with having to deal with what the community is directly telling you that content is not appropriate for P.SE? How will you be able to judge what is and is not appropriate for the site? – casperOne Jan 25 '12 at 20:20
  • @casperOne as I mentioned, I no longer use downvotes, however, I have posted comments asking for clarifications or that their question is off-topic or otherwise unsuitable. As far as moderation goes while I use comments to address problem posts; I will certainly take the negative votes of others into account when deciding what course of action to pursue. I feel that negative votes, while useful are not informative to the person I am trying to address. They get downvotes, don't understand why and drop off the site. I don't object to others using downvotes, I simply try to avoid them myself. – World Engineer Jan 25 '12 at 22:02
  • programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/131756/… is an example. – World Engineer Jan 25 '12 at 22:05
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    @WorldEngineer Apologies, but I see your response as a little bit of a non-answer. To clarify, your primary role as moderator will be to deal with the worst of what your site has to offer. If you rarely use negative votes because of your concerns about user retention, then how will you be able to perform your duties as a moderator successfully? By your response, it seems you would put concerns over user retention over maintaining the quality of the site (many times, maintaining this quality is through closures and deletions, and remember, on all SE sites, quality content is king). – casperOne Jan 25 '12 at 22:09
  • @casperOne I've zero issue with voting to close a bad question. Content is indeed king here and I'd not have it any other way. However, I feel that negative votes dissuade people who could potentially be crafted into valuable contributors through reinforced learning. That being said, some users never seem to understand the purpose of the site or cannot generate useful content. These cases certainly warrant firm or even harsh action as the case demands. An iron fist when necessary but only when necessary. And for better or worse, it appears to be often necessary. – World Engineer Jan 25 '12 at 22:17

I submit that I would make a good moderator for the following reasons:

  • I am not easily drawn into arguments in comments. In this answer, for example, people disagreed, but I didn't feel the need to get defensive.

  • I have always put the quality of the site above my own reputation. I earned the "disciplined" badge for deleting an answer people liked, but that was pointed out to me didn't really answer the question. I don't add my own answers unless I think I can improve on what has already been said.

  • I recognize when a question is poorly worded rather than intrinsically bad, and try to fix it rather than just blindly closing everything. See this question for example. Ultimately, the community disagreed with me and closed it anyway, which I respect, but it wasn't for lack of trying to salvage it. However, that doesn't mean I don't regularly vote against posts I think are unsalvageable.

  • I often comment to gently encourage people to improve their answers, such as in my comment on this answer. I'd rather people get credit for their good ideas that just needed a little help, rather than poach their ideas to make my own answer that would get votes just by being better worded.

  • I spend a lot of time on various stackexchange sites, so I know what is a good fit to migrate to other sites, but my reputation is highest on programmers.

  • You'll get my vote because what you claim is true in my eyes and these are very good qualifications. Also, you're as constant as the nothern star when it comes to participation/site activity - unlike other candidates. – Falcon Jan 27 '12 at 18:41

Hi Programmers!

I hereby would like to express interest in running for election of community moderator.

Please note the following points when considering myself for election:

  • I have had consistent participation and activity as evidenced by my reputation graph since I started actively contributing in May of 2011.

  • I proudly wear the Enthusiast badge, Civic Duty badge, Quorum badge, Citizen Patrol badge, and Sportsmanship badge.

  • I have answered over 266 questions with only 5 having a negative score.

  • I strongly believe that a good answer is important, but the backbone of this site is and always will be Good Questions. I have contributed over 18 questions that have received high attention and quality, none of which have a negative score thus far.

  • I have been actively utilizing my new moderation abilities by reviewing proposed edits, participating in closing poor questions.

  • I regularly flag moderators for attention and have a majority of helpful flags that have helped moderators take the appropriate course of action.

  • I have a Meta account which I have contributed to a few answers but more or less I learn more by reading on the Meta site than by asking duplicate questions. There is almost never a question I was not able to find an appropriate question that has been asked previously that answers my personal questions or concerns.

  • I almost never downvote without giving an explanation. This can be frustrating and demoralizing for others so I think downvotes should be a used as means to call attention to content, engage in a helpful and informative discussion, and help coach others to improving their questions and answers so that the downvotes can hopefully be removed or reversed.

  • Expecting the users to read the FAQ before posting their first question may be unrealistic, and I feel that we may be too harsh sometimes on new users who don't quite understand the purpose of this SE site. I routinely address new users with a welcoming message and helpful links or information to get them started. I will also take every effort to help move Off Topic Questions to the most appropriate site.

  • I really like the Chat feature and feel it is a shame that it is not used more often. The number of times I have tried to use the Chat to engage in a discussion not appropriate for the Comments section I tended to be the only one there waiting for others to join in. I am guilty of comment discussion abuse from time to time as most of us are, so I will attempt to encourage users to join the Chat wherever possible.

  • I am fairly approachable and I feel that I am a likable guy. I may be opinionated at times but I am generally pretty consistent and am always open to different viewpoints.

Please elect me and I will be committed to improving the content and user experience on this site for the better.

  • 8
    Seeing that both maple shaft and Yannis Rizos have joined the race I have decided to withdraw, and Throw my support behind the two of them. Both are individuals that I respect greatly and we would be lucky to have them as moderators. – Morons Jan 24 '12 at 14:04
  • @Morons Thanks! – maple_shaft Jan 24 '12 at 14:09
  • 2
    Choosing one will be very difficult for me! – user2567 Jan 24 '12 at 14:55
  • 5
    @Great gesture Morons. – Ubermensch Jan 24 '12 at 15:00
  • @Pierre303 If this works anything like the last StackOverflow election, you will get more than one vote, but then there were easily 40 qualified candidates so it may not be the same. – maple_shaft Jan 24 '12 at 15:04
  • 1
    I think 3 votes, It was on the side bar before.. but they changed entire side bar text! – Morons Jan 24 '12 at 15:26
  • 1
    @Morons Yeah, it's 3 votes. Unlimited up/down voting in the primaries (if there are more then 10 candidates nominated; otherwise we'll go straight to the election and skip the primary). 3 votes (in order of preference: 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice) during the election itself. – Adam Lear Jan 24 '12 at 17:44
  • If I'm not elected, I would not be offended to be beaten by you maple_shaft. You'll get one of my votes. – Steven Evers Jan 24 '12 at 22:22
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    @Pierre303: Why aren't you running? I'd vote for you! – Jim G. Jan 25 '12 at 3:14
  • 2
    @JimG.Heavy lies the crown – Chani Jan 25 '12 at 4:17
  • 1
    @maple_shaft: I have no available time for those extra responsbilities and I don't think I would be a good moderator given my opinions – user2567 Jan 25 '12 at 7:00
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    @Pierre303: Darn. I would've voted for you. – Jim G. Jan 25 '12 at 17:01
  • 1
    @JimG. I asked him that last election :) – Rachel Jan 26 '12 at 4:31
  • @maple_shaft I'm quite happy to see you running for a moderator position. I've benefited from many of your answers, and often see you offering some great advice. I also like the way you can make your point without offending anyone, and the way you handle bad questions / new users. You'll get a vote from me for sure :) – Rachel Jan 27 '12 at 4:20

Hello! I am Jae, and I would like to nominate myself for Programmers.SE Community Moderator.

I understand that I have not been here as long as some of you, and that my reputation is not that high, but I believe I will make a very good moderator. I also believe that counted reputation does not make a moderator. A moderator is made by 5 things:

  1. A moderator must be fair, just, and respectful to is fellow community members.
  2. A moderator must fairly take actions, and not make "favorites".
  3. A moderator must moderate "with an iron fist" and do what needs to be done for the sake of the community.
  4. A moderator must be actively participating in all productive community and SE activities.
  5. A moderator must understand that a lot of his work is janitorial and accept that.

I think I meet this criteria. I also believe in A Theory of Moderation, on top of the above criteria.

What have you already done for the community?

I have been extremely active in the Meta and the Main site. For example, I've already become accustomed to "janitorial work". I am on the first page of editors all-time and I'm one of the top 6 individuals this year. Also, most of my edits are usually major.

I've also participated in meta fairly well. Although I have not asked/answered many questions, I participated in the "software" tag clean-up. Also, I've been trying my hardest, along with others, to get something ready with a Programmers.SE Contest.

What are your goals as a moderator?

To make Programmers.SE, and StackExchange in general, as great as it can be. This site is Community Driven. I plan to make that clear and work as hard as I can to keep the community going.

I also plan to keep in close contact with the community. I am willing to here out any ideas that anybody may have, just as the current moderators have done for us.

I also plan to grow our Meta. The Meta, IMO, is just as important as the main site. It needs active participation and quality. This will be a major goal for me.

Another major goal of mine is a P.SE blog. It has been brought up in Meta, and I plan to get as much input from the community as I can, and try my best to get it started.

I have been fairly active in what goes on in Meta.StackOverflow. This experience, I believe, will allow me to be a better moderator from the start.

What will you do to set examples to fellow Stack Exchange members?

  • I will edit for the better. I will make every question I see as great as it could possibly be without changing the meaning of it.
  • I will collaborate with my fellow community members. I will try my hardest to get things done for the better, never the worst.
  • I will focus on moderation. On top of all of the things that I am looking to do for the community, I will also focus on moderation.

Anything else you would like to say?

One of the major things a moderator must have is time. Let me tell you, I have a lot of that.

We have and have had many amazing moderators. I plan to strive to be as good as them, and if possible, better.

Please take my vote in to consideration. I do not think you will be disappointed.

  • Welcome to the race! Thanks for joining the effort to cleanup [software]... – yannis Jan 24 '12 at 12:27
  • @YannisRizos: No problem! Good luck! – Dynamic Jan 25 '12 at 0:14
  • 2
    You mention that one of your goals as a moderator will be to grow our Meta. How do you plan on achieving this? Same question for the blog - what are you going to do that hasn't already been tried, that will (hopefully) result in a successful launch? – Marvin Pinto Jan 25 '12 at 23:26
  • 1
    What exactly do you believe in A Theory of Moderation? I've seen that thrown around a lot and I'd like to hear your understanding of it. – Marvin Pinto Jan 25 '12 at 23:26
  • @MarvinPinto| Question 1: Pursuit. I think that's a major part of what we're missing. We need somebody to keep pushing and pushing for a request. Currently, a topic comes up, it gets lost after a few weeks, and then it comes back a month later. We need steady participation. – Dynamic Jan 26 '12 at 10:47
  • @MarvinPinto: As for the meta... one of the biggest reasons that we can't get some ideas off the floor, whether its a contest or a blog, is that we do not have a very active meta. This is what I mean. I will try to grow our Meta participation so that we can make the Main site even better! – Dynamic Jan 26 '12 at 10:50
  • @MarvinPinto: If you look through "A Theory of Moderation", you will see many different things. And I, honestly, will accept everything I have to do, because I am doing a lot of it right now. I mentioned this post, because I believe it is a great of example of what I am out to be, as well as the other items that I mentioned. – Dynamic Jan 26 '12 at 10:54
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    @Jae I understand that you will try to grow our Meta participation, but my question was how will you go about doing this, keeping in mind what's already been discussed. To get to the point, what will you do different? Same question for the blog. – Marvin Pinto Jan 26 '12 at 18:54
  • 1
    @Jae To be fair, A Theory of Moderation essentially discusses how moderation works on SE. It's not really a charter per se. There's nothing really to believe in.. a moderator has no choice but to accept the moderator agreement :) But I'm just splitting hairs at this point, you can ignore me :) – Marvin Pinto Jan 26 '12 at 18:54
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    @MarvinPinto: No please, keep asking. You are asking what I am going to do differently, but I thought I had already answered that (to an extent). Honestly, I don't think any candidate should change the way things are going too drastically. Yes, there should be some change. Honestly, I can't say exactly what I am going to do differently, because I haven't been faced with the problem yet, and I think most candidates can agree. You can say you are going to change, but you can't know what until you are faced with the situation, no matter how well you know this site. – Dynamic Jan 27 '12 at 0:22
  • 1
    @Jae No no, let me clarify. I meant differently in the context of launching the blog and increasing meta participation, this isn't a loaded question :) Re-read my question in that context and give it a shot. To further clarify, consider differently to be what will you do that hasn't been tried. Does this make sense? – Marvin Pinto Jan 27 '12 at 0:27
  • 1
    @MarvinPinto: I'll do whatever it takes. For example, with the blog, I will literally set as much as I can up before proposing this once again, so that the community, really, only has to judge on it. As for the meta, I will try anything from a contest to straight up "sharing" to try to get it going. Currently this is the best I can answer, because, as said before, I have not been faced with anything yet. – Dynamic Jan 27 '12 at 0:45
  • Thank you, @Jae. Best of luck! – Marvin Pinto Jan 27 '12 at 0:48
  • 1
    @MarvinPinto: Thank You. I can only hope to eventually get your vote :-) – Dynamic Jan 27 '12 at 0:49

Hello everyone!

My name is Yannis, I am a web developer from Thessaloniki, Greece and I would like to nominate myself for moderator on Programmers Stack Exchange.

Insofar most of my contributions to the site are on PHP related questions, and I was very surprised to find out that I am the top user for the tag. Surprised to the point that I reached out to PHP developers through our internal mailing lists, in hopes of luring a few actual experts our way.

I have been pretty active on the site these past 8 months, migrating from Stack Overflow, as probably did most of us. I find Programmers to be a far more welcoming community, one that has greatly helped me professionally. When you get a surprise up vote on one of your very old posts that you've almost forgot about, it's probably me, reading it late at night and having a light bulb moment. Thanks, y'all!

Following, is a summary of my moderation related activities.

Meta participation

I and Thomas Owens are the only non moderators to have been awarded the Discussion Meta tag. I have collected a few posts that outline my approach to moderation and my philosophy for the site.

My answers on:

And my cry for help:

Recently, I started lurking around Meta Stack Overflow, fighting the good fight on all fronts. I have posted a few questions that relate or were inspired by Programmers:

Badges! We all love badges!

I have a unique collection of very rare badges:

Why should you vote for me?

I've recently left a chat comment, that one of our current moderators has pinned:

Anyways, when you think something is wrong the steps are 1) improve, 2) ask OP to improve 3) down vote 4) flag...

That's my process1, and one I will follow regardless of whether you vote for me or not. In a sense, I am already a moderator, passionately doing the work not many seem to care enough for:

  • I've participated in quite a few cleanups, even initiated a couple,
  • I'm always on chat, and the contribution I'm mostly proud of is helping introduce new users to the site, and
  • I have over 300 helpful flags, and only 10 declined.

Last week a few fellow users raised some concerns on the [software] clean up, and more specifically on a list of close candidates I assembled. Although I greatly appreciate the discussion, I was a bit disappointed that everyone jumped in after I and the moderators have finished the bulk of the work. The clean up was initiated on Jan 4 and I spammed chat quite a few times asking for help, and was surprised to find out there were arguments, so late in the process.

I feel that this is our most important issue, and one that inspired me to ask for your vote. The community must take ownership of the site, and as a moderator my priority will be to inspire people to actively participate in the janitorial aspects of the site. I particularly enjoyed every discussion I was part of, either directly or indirectly, and in no way am I suggesting they are a bad thing, but at some point we need to stop talking and start doing.

I know how contradictory that sounds, elect me so you can do my work for me, but it's not the moderators responsibility to set the tone and scope of the site, that is (or should be) solely up to the community. I am fully aware of the historical reasons that created and continue to create friction between users and moderators, but there are also quite a few users that enjoy the site as is, and are way less vocal. I would love to be in a position to bring all of you together and make Programmers an even better place.

1 Full disclosure, my next comment was: "5) Start cursing at the screen, and wishing you could punch people over standard TCP/IP..."


I have been particularly active on the janitorial aspects of the site, and I think I'm fully prepared to take the next step. And I love unicorns!


Your process to approaching things that are wrong is great, but they are for users. Moderators have a distinctly different role and additional abilities, so that they can do what users can't. That said, how would your process change to suit your new role and new responsibilities? - casperOne

To be honest, I don't think I will need to adjust my process that much - am I in for a big surprise? I have been doing a fair share of mundane janitorial work, I'm accustomed to it and for the biggest part I enjoy it. I expect that I will not have time to moderate and provide quality content, and I if need be I will prioritize moderation.

Becoming a moderator will allow me to do everything I have already been doing, but with a lot more flexibility. Although most of the crowd here has noticed my close votes, AFAIK only one question I voted to close was re-opened without significant improvements, and I've always contributed re-open votes when OP or anyone else stepped up and improved a question. I've even offered a bounty once, just for that. So I feel quite confident in saying that my approach insofar has been in line with the community, at least the active part of it. I've done more edits than any other user, while relatively new to the site, and I will continue to do so, before even thinking of closing a question.

Following the usual path from Stack Overflow to Programmers, I was (and still am) enthusiastic over how much more civilized we are as a community. I will be the first to admit that I haven't avoided the occasional flame war, but as a moderator I will make it a priority to stop them asap. I have monitored your progress as a moderator over at Stack Overflow, as I voted for you, and if elected I will nag you constantly for guidance.

I have already started researching the role, reading relevant MSO posts and studying moderator actions all over the network, long before Anna stepped down. I do not feel that I'm fully there yet, and if elected I will spent the first couple of months in training, reaching out to our current moderators and every other moderator on the network, if you'd be kind enough to waste some time. I am confident that I can cope with the role's responsibilities, but at the same time I don't assume I know everything there is to it.

From what I know:

  • I will do everything I can to reboot and kick off at least one community event, be it the blog or the birthday contest, or whatever else the community decides. I will be a constant pain in SEI's ass, until we get the attention that we, as a community, deserve.
  • The greatest virtue for a moderator seems to be thick skin. The thickest the better. I am fully aware of the constant scrutiny our moderators face, and I am fully prepared to make unpopular decisions, if I honestly believe they are the right ones. And equally prepared to revert them, and apologize, when proven wrong.
  • Our current biggest issues are the gigantic clean up of career related questions and the mini plague of crap migrations from Stack Overflow. Becoming a moderator will allow me to intensify my efforts in both, as both issues require moderator intervention.
  • I personally feel that the scope of the site is extremely well defined, but as a moderator I will do my best to encourage constructive dialogue. Everything that is not explicitly discouraged by the powers that be, is open for discussion.

My prime directive would be to make the Internet a better place, by making Programmers a better place. The moderator perks will help me do everything I already do a bit more efficiently. If anything, my participation as a user has been highly visible. As a moderator I will take a step back, encourage users to take ownership of the community and intervene only when necessary.

"Following the usual path from Stack Overflow to Programmers, I was (and still am) enthusiastic over how much more civilized we are as a community" - care to elaborate on that? – Marvin Pinto

First of all, it was a bit tongue in cheek. This is an election, after all.

The truth is that it's mostly a matter of size. Stack Overflow is gigantic compared to Programmers, even back when I first joined Programmers. Due to it's sheer size and traffic, it's understandable that it's not as easy to moderate, and although eventually every less civilized behavior is identified and dealt with accordingly, it may take a little bit more time.

And it's also a matter of scope. We are concentrated on conceptual white board questions and most times those demand longer and thorough answers, whereas questions on Stack Overflow mostly demand an answer that works. Those two aren't mutually exclusive, of course, but our scope also acts as a safeguard against gimme teh codez questions.

Lastly, Programmers is far younger than Stack Overflow, and most of us where active there before coming here. In a sense our community had a head start on how to best deal with various issues, benefiting from the collective experiences of the original trilogy. When I first joined Stack Overflow, it was still in it's early days, and my opinions where mostly formed in the then chaotic community.

Do any of the moderator candidates intend to moderate differently? - Jim G.

My answer.

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    Despite the fact you are pretty new here, you are an excellent candidate that I will personally support. – user2567 Jan 24 '12 at 6:53
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    Would definitely support atleast for spamming chats for blogs plus you are always there – Ubermensch Jan 24 '12 at 7:29
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    As @Pierre303, I will support your nomination even though I sometimes wonder if you ever sleep :-) And you're pretty fast with you edits/votes ! – Jalayn Jan 24 '12 at 7:33
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    @Pierre303 Thanks for the kind words, it means a lot coming from you. Your latest blog post appeared exactly when I needed the advice and you helped me win a pretty big argument at work - not with the boss, but still great advice for any argument. Any chance you join the effort for a Programmers blog? – yannis Jan 24 '12 at 7:50
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    I also will support you, for quite some time every other question I read has a "edited by Yannis Rizos" part... giving you the extra priviledges will make this site better. – Thanos Papathanasiou Jan 24 '12 at 8:32
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    @YannisRizos: yes I would love to. – user2567 Jan 24 '12 at 10:54
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    Seeing that both maple shaft and Yannis Rizos have joined the race I have decided to withdraw, and Throw my support behind the two of them. Both are individuals that I respect greatly and we would be lucky to have them as moderators. – Morons Jan 24 '12 at 14:04
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    Your process to approaching things that are wrong is great, but they are for users. Moderators have a distinctly different role and additional abilities, so that they can do what users can't. That said, how would your process change to suit your new role and new responsibilities? – casperOne Jan 24 '12 at 14:43
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    @YannisRizos Well played. To my dismay, I am not able to delete comments on nomination stump speeches. =) – casperOne Jan 24 '12 at 14:51
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    4 very strong candidates, with Thomas, Maple_Shaft and Snorfus, but @YannisRizos: yours is the first name I looked for and hoped would be on the list. You may not have been here long, but you have an excellent grasp of what makes a good question and what doesn't really fit here and you're always willing to explain your reasoning without even a hint of irritation. – pdr Jan 24 '12 at 16:32
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    Not sure if +1 for nagging or.... – casperOne Jan 24 '12 at 18:09
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    Oh, you were Zaphod! I was kinda wishing it were possible to nominate users since I remembered you being very active in helping to moderate discussions. It's lucky I didn't spend half-an-hour trying to figure out where the elusive Zaphod Beeblebrox went, then. =\ You have my sword - wait, wrong site - support! (not sure that means much haha ^^) – blahman Jan 25 '12 at 2:21
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    @YannisRizos Following the usual path from Stack Overflow to Programmers, I was (and still am) enthusiastic over how much more civilized we are as a community - care to elaborate on that? – Marvin Pinto Jan 25 '12 at 23:30
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    @YannisRizos At first I didn't think I would vote for you because my early impression of you was more like that of an overly aggressive troll, however I've taken the time to read some of your more recent answers and I think you'd make a fine moderator. You seem dedicated to the site, are willing to learn and adjust your views to what the community wants, and put a lot of time and energy towards improving the site, not just maintaining it. I'll be glad to vote for you when the time comes :) – Rachel Jan 27 '12 at 4:15
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    @YannisRizos Some people are a bit touchy if you do things like call them an aggressive troll, especially if that's not how they view themselves :) – Rachel Jan 27 '12 at 15:08

I'd like to nominate myself for a moderator position.

Some quick Q&A:

Why do I you want to be a moderator?

I am quite fond of the community, the types of questions, and the answers that I have seen come from this community.

I have benefitted from P.SE and the whole stackexchange network via:

  • Reading the questions and answers here, has caused me to improve as a developer (and tester, for a time).
  • I have gained respect from my peers.
  • My wardrobe has improved.
  • My job has improved. As a result, I agree with Joel on this one.

All in all, P.SE has improved my life. Because of this, I think it's my responsibility to give back.


I have the utmost respect for all of the moderators that we have now - even the ones I've frequently disagreed with. I would be honoured to replace or join them, ensuring that the quality of questions and answers stays high, new users feel welcome and existing users feel appreciated.

All the while I intend to contribute as I always have by posting what I hope are intersting, relevant and thought provoking questions and answers.

How do you ensure that the quality of questions stays high?


  • Closing if necessary (necessary, as defined by the 6SG)
  • Voting as always
  • Migrating to appropriate sister-sites
  • Providing feedback and information to askers and answerers on the decisions made

Have you always agreed with the decisions made on P.SE?


Will that affect how you moderate?


I'll always have opinions of my own, and I may even have voiced them on meta in the past but the discussion is no-longer open for debate. At the end of the day it's not my site. The goal is to help the stack exchange staff continue to promote and maintain this community in their vision.

Instead, I and everyone else - moderator or not - can strive to write thought out, insightful and informative answers to questions that may play on the borders of off-topic in an effort to keep good knowledge and experience flowing.

What are you like, personally?

  • I'm fairly light-hearted; always appreciating good jokes and telling bad ones.
  • I talk programming too much. Wife doesn't mind. Dog does.
  • I'm an avid chess player, juggler and yo-yoer.
  • I enjoy video games a fair bit.


I'd like to see in your nomination are thoughts on community building. Are we doing enough of it? Any ideas for more?

I see community building as having 2 parts: Attracting new users, keeping existing users

Right now, as I see it, new users come here mainly because they need help and they are either asking a new question or reading the answers on an existing one. One thing that I'd like to see, that could be very helpful is to have the description of the site cleared up a bit (it's a bit vague right now) and displayed prominently on the site. P.SE has some ambiguous "rules" that a new user won't know and, to be honest, I don't expect new users to read a FAQ before asking a question.

To keep new users that are reading existing questions, we must be vigilant and maintain the quality of the answers as well as the questions must be kept as high as possible. This site is all about its existing content and our ability to contribute to it.

Keeping existing users is a bit different but I think we already do a lot for that - most of the site features are designed just for that (badges, rss, reputation, notifications, etc.). Right now... I don't have any input beyond continually having great content - although a pseudocode combination of P.SE and Project Euler would be interesting.

You've mentioned maintaining the quality of questions and answers. That sounds weasel-wordy. Give me a concrete example.

Our moderators work pretty hard, doing this already; migrating questions to the appropriate site(s) thoughtfully - going through old posts and closing/migrating even highly voted questions with intelligent conversation because they're off-topic. The same cannot be said for some of our sister-sites.

I will make the argument that SO moderators aren't doing their part. There are entire classes of questions that get posted to SO which are great questions that aren't within SO's scope and should be here. I think that this is a shame and an injustice. I just did a quick search for "algorithm" on SO and loved what I saw; great questions with great answers - and I think that nearly all of them belonged here.

Yes, there's overlap between the sites, and it's not easy for SO mods (if only because of the sheer quantity), but so far it looks like it's mostly been a 1-way sharing. What can I do about that? Lead by example, as a moderator, and make my opinion known. If need be, I would support the asking of existing questions from SO that belong here, if migration will not happen. I believe that the focus of this community and its interests and capabilities would lead to a different style of answer that would better suit whole classes of questions.

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    I think yours was the first profile I checked, to read more of your posts, when I first joined the site. So it's partly your fault I stayed around, thanks :) – yannis Jan 24 '12 at 6:40
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    SnOrfus, I'll support you as well! – user2567 Jan 24 '12 at 6:53
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    I've enjoyed your answers and witty but on topic sense of humor. I think you're in the right spot mentally when it comes to wanting the job, you'd rather spend your time serving the community behind the scenes. The only thing I'd like to see in your nomination are thoughts on community building. Are we doing enough of it? Any ideas for more? Contests, perhaps? That's also a moderator's job to organize and bring to Stack Exchange. – Tim Post Jan 24 '12 at 13:35
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    You focus a great deal on continuing to provide good content on Programming if you are to become a moderator. Given that the primary role of a moderator on a site is to moderate, what is the assurance that you will prioritize moderation duties first? – casperOne Jan 24 '12 at 15:10
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    You state "The goal is to help the stack exchange staff continue to promote and maintain this community in their vision." The primary vision of any Stack Exchange site is to provide quality Q&A, and keeping content on topic is part of that. How will you be an effective moderator if you are encouraging "insightful and informative answers to questions that may play on the borders of off-topic" which are seemingly antithetical to the overall goal of the Stack Exchange sites? – casperOne Jan 24 '12 at 15:12
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    @casperOne: WRT to your last question: Many times, it has been noted by Jeff Atwood that the answers define the quality of the questions and are a primary indicator of whether or not a question should be closed. Because the guidelines are not clear for what is exactly, and always, on topic the result then is to have amazing answers to interesting questions that would otherwise be considered off-topic. Writing them myself, promoting existing ones, and allowing existing questions with such answers to stay open - and closing those that are opposite is the intention here. – Steven Evers Jan 24 '12 at 15:20
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    @casperOne: WRT to your first question: I think that if you looke through my activit histroy, I already prioritize the moderation duties that I have now over my participation (as limited as those duties may be). If you mean prioritizing the views of P.SE over my personal views, I think I answered that in my previous comment. – Steven Evers Jan 24 '12 at 15:30
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    @SnOrfus: You brought up ..SO moderators aren't doing their part .. entire classes of questions .. get posted to SO which .. aren't within SO's scope and should be here. Why do you feel it's their duty (SO moderators that is) to help or promote P.SE (in this context), do you not consider this to be a job of a P.SE moderator? And do you not feel that this is currently happening? (in some form or the other) – Marvin Pinto Jan 25 '12 at 18:28
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    @SnOrfus: Also, wrt your algorithms point, what good would bringing them over to P.SE do? You have people here who feel that P.SE questions should be lightly sprinkled with source code (I'm paraphrasing), whereas the majority of those questions are source code heavy. How would someone effectively demonstrate an answer without getting into source code (and possibly even language specific source code)? Granted I understand there are exceptions, but I bring this up because you feel that nearly all of them belonged here. – Marvin Pinto Jan 25 '12 at 18:29
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    @SnOrfus: Here's one exception I was trying to link to - ran out of characters :) BTW, you have my vote 100% - if I could vote for you with all my three votes, I would. Going through some of your history here, I think you'd bring a refreshing change to the moderators here on P.SE. – Marvin Pinto Jan 25 '12 at 18:30
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    "I will make the argument that SO moderators aren't doing their part. There are entire classes of questions that get posted to SO which are great questions that aren't within SO's scope and should be here." - Seriously, WTF? We're actually doing our best to not shovel crap in your direction. Better the unmigrated question than the migrated crap that's now your problem. – casperOne Jan 25 '12 at 19:57
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    I'll assume you don't really want us to double the size of Programmers by migrating over 16,000 algorithm questions, but I do want to point out that they're firmly on-topic on Stack Overflow. It's the second bullet point in our FAQ. – Bill the Lizard Jan 25 '12 at 19:58
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    Can you clarify the types of questions (assuming you didn't really mean all algorithm questions) you think are wrongfully unmigrated? We Programmers mods spend a lot of time working with the Stack Overflow mods to make sure only good stuff comes to us and we avoid what happened last year, where we got all the silly, massively upvoted stuff that now plagues our best-of lists. – user8 Jan 25 '12 at 20:01
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    If you want to work on attracting users that ask harder design problems, of which some might be algorithmic, I'd be all for it. But the way you described it seems counterproductive to what we've been working on for the last year (by us, I mean PSE/SO mods). You now have me wondering if we should have had the hundreds of conversations that we had over migrations on a more public venue, so people could literally see how hard we've been working to make sure you get less, but substantially better questions from SO. – Tim Post Jan 26 '12 at 8:08

I've been a contributing member of Programmers since very near the beginning, and I'd like to take this opportunity to contribute even more as a diamond moderator. My profile has a pretty extensive professional biography (along with the other goodies of the questions and answers that I've contributed to this community), if you're interested in that sort of thing.

As a moderator, I'd like to work with the Programmers community, the other Programmers moderators, the moderators of the other Stack Exchange sites, and the Stack Exchange administration/staff to further define this community and help "make the Internet a better place" (or at least this little corner of it a better place), as Jeff and Joel like to say about the SE network.

Personally, I think that Programmers is doing a fine job as a community, and I'd like to increase my contributions and providing a guiding hand to keep it good and try to make it better. This seems like the perfect opportunity for me to do that.

Professional accolades, while worthy of praise, don't automatically translate to good moderator skills by default. How do your professional accolades further qualify you to be a mod over someone less praised? Also, you indicate that you want to "further define this community" and make the Internet better. What about this community needs further definition? How will your moderation of Programmers translate to a better Stack Exchange and by extension, a better Internet? – casperOne

Professional accolades might not (don't?) make me more qualified than anyone else, which is why I just threw out a link to my profile with a mention that the information is available to anyone who wants to consider that information rather then dwelling on them here. There's a lot more about being a moderator than your education, job history, and any honors. I would prefer to be judged based on my contributions to the community, both on the main site and in Meta discussions, and even other SE communities if you wish to consider those. I would hope that those contributions are what people take a good look at, at least initially.

When it comes to further definition, some of the on-topic questions listed in the FAQ are rather vague and broad. Topics such as "development methodologies", "software architecture", and "software engineering" are probably among the broadest categories and aren't always the most well-defined. These three (mostly development methodologies and software engineering) are among my strengths in terms of breadth and depth of knowledge.

It might not be redefinition, but using my knowledge and experience in these areas to work not only with the Programmers community, but other communities as they are created, to minimize friction and try to determine where various questions can best be answered by the experts and professionals in that field. I believe that I can provide a unique and fresh perspective into how these areas are or can be defined in terms of Programmers and current and future Stack Exchange sites.

Having just joined the race, let me tell you that I really wouldn't mind losing to you :) (or anyone, really). I've noted your active participation in my own nomination, the one thing I would like to read more about is how (and if) you will be inspiring people to be a bit more active in the less rewarding aspects of the site. Especially considering that most early users joined the site expecting something quite different than what it eventually became... – Yannis Rizos

Inspiring people is hard, especially if there aren't any incentives to help out. Contributing to the main site has benefits - you get reputation (both that little counter of points and name among other users), you get badges, and you get nifty little features that let you help to contribute even more to the community. However, not all activities provide benefits.

The very first thing that I'd do is participate more myself (and this I'm planning on doing even if I didn't get a moderator position). I've done a little bit in the various tag clean-ups, and that is the big ongoing thing right now. I'm a huge supporter of Mark Trapp's idea for Structured Tag Cleanups, and even offered a suggestion for improving it. Structuring the cleanup efforts and giving them publicity would be a fantastic start.

The next thing I'd do is look at what other sites are doing to increase the community aspects. Some ideas include topic of the week and a community-driven blog. However, I don't want to spread the people who contribute to these efforts too thin. I don't want to jump into everything at the beginning. The community has a lot of good people with good ideas, but we need to prioritize and organize around the best ideas, launch them, and get more people on board.

You mention that some of the on-topic questions listed in the FAQ are rather vague and broad, yet we have other candidates here who feel quite the opposite (@YannisRizos: I personally feel that the scope of the site is extremely well defined). Where do you think this disconnect arises from and what (if anything) will you do to narrow the scope of P.SE? – Marvin Pinto

The things to ask about here are algorithm and data structure concepts, design patterns, developer testing, development methodologies, freelancing and business concerns, quality assurance, software architecture, software engineering, and software licensing. Based on this list, I have no intention, at this time, of doing anything to explicitly narrow the scope of Programmers, but rather try to draw better boundaries and try to better define some of these categories. Specifically, I'm concerned with developer testing, quality assurance, freelancing and business concerns, and software engineering.

Of the Stack Exchange sites that are out of beta, there's potential for significant overlap with Stack Overflow and Theoretical Computer Science, and some (much less possible) overlap with IT Security and User Experience. If you include sites still in beta, you add in OnStartups, Software Quality Assurance and Testing, Project Management, Cryptography, Computational Science, and Personal Productivity. There are also some proposals, such as Professional Matters and Computer Science, that are also related to some of our topic areas.

What I'd like to do is try to work with the members of Programmers as well as these various communities and figure out where to draw the lines. Ultimately, the purpose of Stack Exchange sites are to create communities of experts. If there are things that we, as individual communities can do to help connect the people that have questions with the people that have answers, we should do it.

If the scope narrows because the communities (with appropriate support from Stack Exchange) are in agreement that it's the best thing to do, then I'd be for it. If the scope becomes more well-defined and doesn't change, then I'd be for that too. But ultimately, I think there are some ambiguities that we can continually evaluate and discuss.

On Meta, Jim G. asked a generic question, directed toward all of the moderator candidates, about how they would moderate differently than the incumbents. I provided an answer to that question, discussing my concern about questions closed with one or two users and a diamond mod or even just a diamond mod alone.

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    Professional accolades, while worthy of praise, don't automatically translate to good moderator skills by default. How do your professional accolades further qualify you to be a mod over someone less praised? – casperOne Jan 24 '12 at 1:03
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    Also, you indicate that you want to "further define this community" and make the Internet better. What about this community needs further definition? How will your moderation of Programmers translate to a better Stack Exchange and by extension, a better Internet? – casperOne Jan 24 '12 at 1:05
  • @casperOne - Where do you see him claiming that his professional accolades are worthy of praise and therefore, will make him a good mod? – Mike L. Jan 24 '12 at 1:37
  • @casperOne The answers to your questions have been edited in. If you have any further questions or want further clarification, let me know. Thanks! – Thomas Owens Jan 24 '12 at 1:38
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    @Mike when people put information about themselves in a stump speech, it's usually to indicate their qualifications for the position that is up for in an election. That said, Thomas emphasized his professional accolades and I wanted to see how they are relevant to his ability to moderate Programmers successfully. – casperOne Jan 24 '12 at 3:17
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    The quality of Thomas' contributions is impressive. Solid candidate =) – Matthieu Jan 24 '12 at 3:33
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    Thomas Owens is a strong candidate – user2567 Jan 24 '12 at 6:54
  • Having just joined the race, let me tell you that I really wouldn't mind losing to you :) (or anyone, really). I've noted your active participation in my own nomination, the one thing I would like to read more about is how (and if) you will be inspiring people to be a bit more active in the less rewarding aspects of the site. Especially considering that most early users joined the site expecting something quite different than what it eventually became... – yannis Jan 24 '12 at 8:17
  • @YannisRizos I added your question to the post. If you would like any more clarification or have more questions, let me know. – Thomas Owens Jan 24 '12 at 11:12
  • @ThomasOwens Thanks. I really hope you take point on the tag wiki cleanup as well, and not let your own suggestion fade away because no one bothered to step up. As I wrote in a comment there, we (as users) should be a little bolder with such initiatives. As a moderator, even more so. Leading by example is imperative, and you will need to be prepared to step on someone's toes every now and then. – yannis Jan 24 '12 at 11:24
  • @ThomasOwens I'm a huge supporter of Mark Trapp's idea for Structured Tag Cleanup Well, since the structured tag cleanup was partly inspired by my cleanup of the [software] tag, I take that as an endorsement of my candidacy. Thanks! :P – yannis Jan 24 '12 at 11:36
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    I support Thomas Owens. He's really dedicated to this site, provides high quality answers and is a man of reason and does not react emotionally like others do. – Falcon Jan 25 '12 at 17:45
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    @MarvinPinto The answer to your question has been added. If you want further clarification, let me know. But Yannis in his last comment is dead on the money: to me, it's not the actual scope that's the problem, but some wording in the FAQ. – Thomas Owens Jan 26 '12 at 0:10
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    @ThomasOwens Fair enough. Clearly wording the FAQ to be closer to the (current) scope of P.SE is the right way to go - thanks! – Marvin Pinto Jan 26 '12 at 0:14
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    @MarvinPinto And it's quite funny that me and Thomas were doing just that a little before you asked. :) – yannis Jan 26 '12 at 0:44

This election is complete.