Mi Yodeya is scheduled for an election starting next week, January 23rd. In connection with that election, we will be hosting a Q&A here for candidates. This will be an opportunity for members of the community to pose questions to the candidates on the topic of moderation. Participation is completely voluntary.

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

Here's how it'll work:

  • Until the nomination phase, (so, until Monday, January 23th at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 3:00 pm EST on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.

  • We, the Community Team, will be providing a small selection of generic questions. The first two will be guaranteed to be included, the latter ones are if the community doesn't supply enough questions. This will be done in a single post, unlike the prior instruction.

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

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

  • At the end of the collection phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions. We reserve some editorial control in the selection of the questions and may opt not to select a question that is tangential or irrelevant to moderation or the election. That said, if I have concerns about any questions in this fashion, I will be sure to point this out in comments before the decision making time.

  • Once questions have been selected, a new question will be opened to host the actual questionnaire for the candidates, containing (up to) 10 questions in total.

  • This is not the only option that users have for gathering information on candidates. As a community, you are still free to, for example, hold a live chat session with your candidates to ask further questions, or perhaps clarifications from what is provided in the Q&A.

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

  • Am I the only non-moderator posting a question? Was this question meant to be restricted to moderators? What's happening?
    – DanF
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 21:04
  • 4
    @DanF this question is for everybody, so the community (not just mods) can ask questions of candidates in a structured way. Also, Isaac is not a moderator (though, of course, he was). Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 21:15
  • @MonicaCellio Yes, I know that fact about Isaac, so I included him by implication. Who is this Ms. Grace Note?
    – DanF
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 2:10
  • @DanF Grace Note is a Community Manager (SE employee). Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 2:11

10 Answers 10


What is something about the character or policy of the Mi Yodeya that you'd like to work to improve as a mod, and how would you work on it?


Why do you want to be a moderator?


What is something new and/or unique that you can bring to the moderator team and/or to the site? (eg. active at unusual times, familiarity with a certain topic, past applicable work experience, extreme love of waffles, etc.)


Purim Torah season is a time when moderators here end up having to use personal judgement a little more than they usually do. As a moderator, how would you tend to steer the direction of our annual Purim silliness (compared to how it's been in the past, I suppose): keep more of it around since it's just two weeks or cull mediocre or borderline jokes to keep things somewhat focused? Something else?


Tell us about a time (here or elsewhere) when you managed to successfully spur a group of people to positive action that wasn't required of them.


Mi Yodeya sometimes struggles with posts that are not from a mainstream Orthodox perspective. We generally follow the approach we worked out here for questions and answers from other movements, and we tend to delete posts that ascribe authority to non-Jewish sources/ideas. That said, there's still a lot of room for interpretation, and sometimes discussions get heated and flags build up quickly. As a moderator you'll be called on to adjudicate. Please describe your approach to these challenges and your comfort with enforcing the existing policies.

  • I wonder if it'd be better to generalize this to any place where what one thinks the policy should be doesn't jive with the accepted policy (or something like that)
    – Double AA Mod
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 17:56
  • 1
    @DoubleAA I think the general case is worth probing, and this very MY-specific issue is independently worth probing.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 18:05
  • Re "We generally follow the approach we worked out here": not really. The currently highest-voted answer there is Avrohom Yitzchok's, which I don't think we follow.
    – msh210 Mod
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 21:46
  • 1
    @msh210 my impression is that we pretty much follow your answer, which is why I marked it as accepted. (When I did it was also the highest-voted, but a difference of one point isn't all that major, especially when you factor in downvotes.) Part of the reason I'm asking this question of candidates -- and why I said "generally", is that there is some controversy around pluralistic posts, and I want to know how candidates will approach that. Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 21:51

I have frequently found that a number of new users are intimidated and discouraged to continue on this site because of moderators closing questions or putting them on hold. While we do publish our policy in the guide, the language there may be too wordy or ambiguous to many new users. Even with carefully readig the policy, the decision to close or put a question on hold is often voted on by several users often without adequate explanation. Sometimes, moderators take action without waiting for the vote.

Comments sometimes help clarify things, but, I sense that often, it has discouraged new users to persevere and stay with our site. They may get intimdated and leave.

What actions would you do as moderator to encourage users to stay?

(I have my own ideas, but I want to leave this question somewhat vague, for now.)

  • It might be worth generalizing this slightly. Some new users (like you) are put off by closures; others are put off by stuff that happens in comments; others are probably put off for other reasons. Or do you want to specifically ask about putting question on hold/closing? Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 19:31
  • 1
    @Monica - you raise valid points. But, my intent in this question was focused on moderator-unique privileges which are mainly closures and holds. I'm aware that moderators comment, as well as other users.
    – DanF
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 21:02
  • Ok, that's fine -- just checking. You should ask the question you want to ask! Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 21:16
  • 2
    @DanF Could you clarify your intention a bit here? I don't really understand what would constitute an answer to this question.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 2:22
  • 3
    My impression from new user reports in real life is that this is a major encumbrance to their posing of (in my opinion) valid and appropriate questions. I believe the use of comments aimed at improving questions and encouraging new users also stands to improve somewhat, and contribute to the effort you are describing, but that is not directly a moderator function.
    – WAF
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 17:51
  • @MonicaCellio Please inform me if my edits have clarified things, or what else I should do. In re-rading your first comment, "other reasons" - yes, there are quite a few. I've been a bit surprised by some aggressiveness, here. Sometimes, it's been done by moderators, too. It sets a bad example.
    – DanF
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 2:07
  • Thanks @DanF. Now that I realize you specifically meant mod closures, this makes more sense. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 2:09

Comments: bane of any site that wants to maintain a good signal:noise ratio, harmless, something in between? What do you think about comments and the moderation thereof on Mi Yodeya, and what would you like to change about it?

  • 2
    Just to tease you, Monica - I'm putting in a comment, here ;-) Not even you can change it!
    – DanF
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 18:50
  • 2
    @DanF well I can, but I won't. :-) Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 18:55

Here is a set of general questions, gathered as very common questions asked every election. As mentioned in the instructions, the first two questions are guaranteed to show up in the Q&A, while the others are if there aren't enough questions (or, if you like one enough, you may split it off as a separate answer for review within the community's 8).

  • How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?
  • How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

  • In your opinion, what do moderators do?
  • A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?
  • In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

I'm uncertain how often moderator elections occur, but I gather that it's every 3 years?

I'd like to suggest a somewhat "novel" idea. I think moderators should be subject to an annual review, similar to what happens in the work place. Feedback can come via several ways, subject to moderator and, perhaps, community agreement. Performance could be partially measured via any complaints or compliments coming from users; activity level (e.g. how often are they monitoring questions and taking some action), and / or a survey submitted to the community or a selected group from the community (By "Community, I mean Mi Yodeya members.)

As a moderator, would you agree to this type of review and accept feedback from other moderators and / or other users?

  • 2
    Just to clarify: there is no set interval for mod elections. Elections occur when the current mods need more help (eg. a mod retires, a mod has less time for the site, the site grows, etc.), whenever that may be. Our last election was in July 2012.
    – Double AA Mod
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 4:30
  • This is an interesting idea, but perhaps technically very hard. moderation needs a lot of experience. I can imagine that this is an entire profession.
    – kouty
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 10:03
  • 3
    While instituting a system of mod feedback is an interesting idea, I don't think asking potential mods about a hypothetical system which doesn't exist [yet] is very helpful for an election. If you want to propose new features for Mi Yodeya you can ask here on meta.
    – Double AA Mod
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 14:40

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