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The following is a "digest" version of the 2011 Moderator Election Town Hall Chat. The format, as described on Meta Stack Overflow, is one answer to this question for every question asked in the Town Hall, containing all the candidate's answers to that question.

To view the digest chronologically, please sort the answers by "oldest".

If you have questions or comments about this, please do not answer this question as the answers are designed to be used for the questions from the Town hall itself. Instead, please ask on the parent question or in the Town Hall Discussion Room.

If you see any corrections which need to be made to this digest, or if you were a candidate who was unable to attend the town hall and would like your answers included, please @Rebecca or @TimStone in the comments or in the chat room and let us know!

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Kit Menke Kit Menke asked: As a moderator, what are some things on the site that you would improve?


Stuart Pegg Stuart Pegg answered: I would look to improve the acknowledgement of our experts, as they're our biggest asset. Such as looking to expand the newsletter to include 'Top users this week'

SPDoctor SPDoctor answered: The biggest challenge is to get people to vote. I think that is even harder than getting answers, and is the key to a successful site because it filters the answers.

  • Stuart Pegg Stuart Pegg noted: That's true. But getting people to vote is quite a big challenge. I'm not sure how we could encourage it from a moderator perspective, short of e-mailing all the users individually and asking real nice. :/

    SPDoctor SPDoctor responded: I think we are in agreement ;-). Or failing that, getting questioners to accept answers. I have seen many detailed and authoratative answers where the questioner comments "thanks for fantastic answer - solved my problem". But the answer is still not accepted, and not a single upvote.

Lori G. Lori G. answered: I would like to address the unanswered questions. One of the things I try to do on a daily basis is review the unanswered questions, some of which have very good answers but they have not been upvoted and the person who asks the question has not accepted an answer. I think encouraging people to use that section and ensure that questions do get answered would help encourage more people to use the forum in general.

Anders Rask Anders Rask answered: I set of say ½ an hour to just improve the quality of the tagging. Earlier today I attacked all posts tagged with both 2007 and 2010 and read them through and tagged them more appropriately. The data quality is important for people that come here through search engines to seek answers among the existing content

  • SPDoctor SPDoctor agreed: Totally agree with this. Many excellent answers get no upvotes and are not accepted. Really dragged us back when we were trying to get out of beta.
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Kit Menke Kit Menke asked: How would you encourage more high quality questions and answers?


Stuart Pegg Stuart Pegg answered: Editing is key: Editing a post has an immediate impact, but it also shows the user how they can improve future questions.

Stuart Pegg Stuart Pegg continued: Flagging is also a big part of the quality push; acting firmly in response to those who would use our site for nothing but cheap self-promotion is very important, I feel. But even the most abusive user may be turned towards more constructive contributions.

Anders Rask Anders Rask answered: I think I'm already doing that :-) I brought a package of SWAG to the SharePoint Conference in Anaheim (SP.SE t-shirts and stickers) that I gave (with appropriate sales speech) to interested and especially to the expert already gathered

SPDoctor SPDoctor answered: I think we need to get the experts and MVPs involved - it is worth their while if it takes people to their blogs. Also get questions on StackOverflow migrated - make SO users aware of the site.

**omlin omlin answered: 1. I'm posting comprehensive answers with screenshots, code samples, and I'm trying always to check the code really works on my local testing environment. 2. I always advertise good questions and answers (not only mine) in twitter. 3. I prefer to comment partially correct answers rather than post a new answer - I believe that all that makes me a bit odd and maybe for some people, I'm becoming a leader

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Rebecca Chernoff http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/d8c43bb4c449d8054aebdd4ad98c6f6c?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Rebecca Chernoff asked: In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching higher rep privilege levels?


Anders Rask http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/1cf349aea02c67fca273a5428cbdd26d?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Anders Rask answered: Well there are much more to mod'ing than editing as a 10k user. For example you get all the mod tools to look for suspicious voting patterns

Anders Rask http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/1cf349aea02c67fca273a5428cbdd26d?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Anders Rask continued: I think @Fabian did a good job of describing the differences between a 10K user and a diamond mod here: Question about Mod Elections

Stuart Pegg http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/6d11f2969573e2a07ff99f6c4b0237f1?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Stuart Pegg answered: One of the things I see time and time again is an answer that should be a comment. Currently I flag these and wait for the flag to be dealt with, rather than directly dealing with the issue.

Stuart Pegg http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/6d11f2969573e2a07ff99f6c4b0237f1?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Stuart Pegg continued: We also don't have as large a community of high-rep users as other SE sites, which means the Close votes aren't as frequently used to close questions. With the moderator's close ability I could more effectively deal with questions and answers that need closing.

Lori G. http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/c568142ba48f81682f0422baff564408?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Lori G. answered: I've never been a moderator, and honestly this is one of the first forums I've ever participated in on any kind of regular basis, but it is a site that I find very valuable and want to help grow. It has challenged me to learn more so that I can answer questions as well allowed me to see the types of issues people are having so that I can try to be proactive in preventing them.

omlin http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/c173ac7eac99b485f4a87e1ce2a7a9b5?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG omlin answered: Actually what I can say from my own experience as an ordinary SharePoint StackExchange user: this little rhomb next to user nickname gives to moderators not only some hidden abilities, but also some kind of reputation. So the comments and reproofs about quality of questions or other things are then much more convincing :)

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Rebecca Chernoff http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/d8c43bb4c449d8054aebdd4ad98c6f6c?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Rebecca Chernoff asked: Can you explain (or link if you can easily find it) an example that demonstrates a valuable contribution to the site that shows your leadership / how you would handle something as a moderator?


Anders Rask http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/1cf349aea02c67fca273a5428cbdd26d?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Anders Rask answered: I can give an example: using the "suspicious vote pattern" I tracked down 4 sockpuppet voters so far. By going into the logs I cross referenced IP log entries and brought forward persons who fabricated questions with one user and answered them with another.

Anders Rask http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/1cf349aea02c67fca273a5428cbdd26d?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Anders Rask continued: In general I’m not sure about the "leadership" thing. Moderators got special powers, but they should be used discreetly not as a hammer

Stuart Pegg http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/6d11f2969573e2a07ff99f6c4b0237f1?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Stuart Pegg answered: Here's one example of being firm but fair: Respecting the newcomer Rep and Privilege limitations when considering to downvote , and one for an original take on an old problem: Most wanted hitlist of unanswered questions?

Stuart Pegg http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/6d11f2969573e2a07ff99f6c4b0237f1?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Stuart Pegg continued: Oh and I still hold the highest flag weight on the site. :) https://sharepoint.stackexchange.com/badges/65/deputy

SPDoctor http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/78e4cc5b2cf1160437ed3aa96250c508?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG SPDoctor answered: I think the important thing is to be polite and diplomatic. And explain things clearly. I often go over my posts numerous times before publishing.

Lori G. http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/c568142ba48f81682f0422baff564408?s=16&d=identicon&r=PG Lori G. answered: The only current examples that I have are encouraging others to answer, and pointing out questions to people that I know who might be able to answer specific questions. But handling issues will arise. I haven't had any encounters, but like to think that I can be polite and fair if there is an issue that needs to be addressed.

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Rebecca Chernoff Rebecca Chernoff asked: 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?


Anders Rask Anders Rask answered: I would probably start by annotating the user, so get the other mods in the loop

Anders Rask Anders Rask continued: Luckily we still haven’t had to use suspension, people tend to behave nicely :-)

Stuart Pegg Stuart Pegg answered: I would open a chat room with them, and talk them through the fact that they were a valuable asset, but that there were areas to improve. I would also try to find out what was causing them to start these arguments, and try to find a way to alleviate this.

  • Anders Rask Anders Rask agreed: An eye-to-eye confrontation in a chat room would also be effective, but also noted: Unfortunately it isn’t always easy to get hold of them

    Stuart Pegg Stuart Pegg responded: Fair enough, but it's at least worth a try. Or perhaps an e-mail conversation?

    Rebecca Chernoff Rebecca Chernoff noted: Emailing users should only be used as a very extreme last resort.

    Anders Rask Anders Rask added: We do have mod tools to contact users, but they are only meant to be used for serious issues, so it would depend on the severity

Lori G. Lori G. answered: I like the chat idea that @StuartPegg mentioned. You'd have to ensure that you addressed the content, though, not the person.

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Stuart Pegg Stuart Pegg asked: @SPDoctor mentioned earlier the importance of encouraging upvotes. Personally I have very few ideas on how to go about this, what are your thoughts? How would you go about this?


SPDoctor SPDoctor answered: How about if mods were allowed to accept an answer? Sometimes it is obvious from the comments, if not from the answer itself, that this is the best (or only) answer, but the questioner moves on.

Anders Rask Anders Rask answered: It is hard, because you need to be very careful not to "just upvote", so some carrot method like "a t-shirt to the guy with the most upvotes" is definitely not a good idea

Lori G. Lori G. answered: I'm not sure either. Personally I tend to upvote answers much more often than questions. It is much easier to look at an answer and say "Good answer" than it is sometimes to say "good question" because what people need to know varies so widely. I'm also frugal with upvotes. I know this and it is a limitation that I have. I have no strong ideas on how to encourage it other than to let people know that they should.

  • Anders Rask Anders Rask commented: Well you get the badges to upvote questions not answers tho ;-)

    Lori G. Lori G. responded: Yes, but a good question to me, is vastly different from a good question for you, because we have such different aspects to our knowledge (dev/admin)

Stuart Pegg Stuart Pegg answered: Pesonally my only thoughts are similar to @LoriG's. Leading by example is an important aspect with upvoting.

SPDoctor SPDoctor answered: I don't have an answer for upvotes either other than reminding people to do it. Any kind of rep carrot would make people go crazy. BTW, the quality bar for an upvote is much lower - you are just saying that the answer is "useful".

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Stuart Pegg Stuart Pegg asked in response to a comment by SPDoctor: How would you categorise yourself as a SharePoint person?


Stuart Pegg Stuart Pegg answered: I'm a developer through and through. :)

omlin omlin answered: I'm a developer, not a secret:)

Anders Rask Anders Rask answered: I'm a developer gone solution architect (shhh!)

Lori G. Lori G. answered: I'm an admin and also do a lot with no-code/end user solutions.

SPDoctor SPDoctor answered: I am either a developer or a software architect depending on who is paying.

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Lori G. Lori G. asked: What kind of time commitment do you plan to make for moderating the site?


SPDoctor SPDoctor answered: It depends on workload. Some days a couple of hours, other days nothing.

Lori G. Lori G. answered: Currently I set aside a 30 minute block of time at the beginning and end of each day to answer questions and come back to it repeatedly during the day for similar things. I've not been a moderator, but I'm sure if needed I could commit more time as needed.

Stuart Pegg Stuart Pegg answered: I'm on the site a total of between 0.5 to 2 hours each working day, before work, at lunch, and after work. Usually checking for flaggable posts. :)

omlin omlin answered: 1-2 hours a day, but not all days

Anders Rask Anders Rask answered: As of now Im popping by on/off 10-15 times a day to check flags etc and answering the odd question, in the evening i get time to go through the new questions more thorougly. but as @SPDoctor say, it depends on workload

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Rebecca Chernoff Rebecca Chernoff asked the candidates for final thoughts


Anders Rask Anders Rask answered: Well, I have had a bunch of fun as mod and I hope people have enough faith in me that they want me to continue. If not it has been a blast as long as it lasted :-)

Lori G. Lori G. answered: Thanks for arranging this! I have enjoyed watching the site grow, and hope to continue to see it grow, whether as a moderator or as a participant.

Stuart Pegg Stuart Pegg answered: I know that whomever gets voted in as the new set of moderators that we'll be in safe hands, but I hope I'll be one of those few responsible for guiding and caretaking the site in its new incarnation. :)

SPDoctor SPDoctor asked: Good luck everybody.

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