2012 Moderator Election

nomination began
Jan 23, 2012 at 20:00
election began
Jan 30, 2012 at 20:00
election ended
Feb 7, 2012 at 20:00

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!


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.

This election is over.