The following is a "digest" version of the Second 2012 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 @GraceNote or @TimStone in the chat room and let us know!

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    I was away on business when the chat was held, so sorry about the delay! – Tim Stone Oct 26 '12 at 13:40

14 Answers 14


kiamlaluno kiamlaluno asked: Currently, there are five 10/20K users; two of them are moderators, and two of them are candidates to be moderators. If elected, are you prepared to shoulder the the bulk of the community's "janitorial" responsibilities?

Clive Clive answered: Absolutely. I already spend quite a bit of time in the review queue (even more so since the new version), it would really be just a continuation of that with escalated privileges (as far as the "janitorial" work goes)

Chapabu Chapabu answered: Certainly! Had I had the time over the last couple of months, I'd like to think that I could have been one of the 10/20k 'club' anyway! I almost always have a DA tab open in Chrome - the main thing for me would be having the permissions to do so

Chapabu Chapabu continued: As @Clive has mentioned, the new style review queue has made things even easier!


kiamlaluno kiamlaluno asked: Do you think that having more power will limit your participation on the site? Are you prepared to change your voting behavior, if you are elected?

Chapabu Chapabu answered: I've already started changing my voting habits! Whilst the site was in beta, the questions were generally less trivial for a seasoned Drupaller, and I've learned a lot myself as well as helped others.

The short answer is no, I don't think becoming a mod would affect my participation in the main site. If anything, I would like to become more visible so people feel they can approach me at any time.

Clive Clive answered: I wouldn't say limit so much as shift the focus of my participation a bit. Obviously mods needs to be mindful of casting close/delete votes as they're binding, and as I understand it should only really do so if the question is blatantly off-topic/spam/etc. Other than that the community needs to decide. It'll definitely take a bit of getting used to but I can't imagine it being a problem

MPD MPD answered: voting... being a mod wouldn't change my question/answer voting, as i vote a lot anyway... i am more "hands off" with close votes, non-answer flags, etc, as i would rather err on leaving bad things than removing something that someone may find usefull... as a mod, though, i wouldn't have problems casting the binding vote/close when there is consensus


Grace Note Grace Note asked: What is one contribution you feel demonstrates that you can be a good moderator?

MPD MPD answered: i think flag history is an indication that a candidate understands what is good.bad on the site... i also think that "encouraging" commentsto new users, as opposed to downvoting immediately is also an indicator

Chapabu Chapabu answered: I think a big contribution to any Stack Exchange site is the ability to contribute without feeling that reputation is the be all and end all. If someone can contributes through every channel of the community, even the ones that reap no benefit to the individual, then that shows great commitment. I feel that I can and do contribute in this manner so that question askers get the best possible advice for their needs.

Clive Clive answered: I think mainly the fact that I genuinely care about the site and how it progresses in the future. I'm a huge fan of the SE platform, I love the way it works and encourages such high quality content. My main goal would be to help make sure that standard is upheld as much as possible.


Grace Note Grace Note 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?

Chapabu Chapabu answered: Interesting. I think it would depend on the arguments on a comment by comment basis. I have had one situation where I have been in a 'comment argument' with another user, and I felt I was in the right. That said however, I flagged all comments as abusive including my own.

Chapabu Chapabu continued: There could be situations where the "problem user" is well within their right to voice their opinion. I would perhaps suggest to them to move a discussion into a chat room and away from the public forums, or air their concerns on the meta site.

Clive Clive answered: In the first instance I would contact the user privately and raise those concerns, in the hope that will resolve the issue. If it continued I would seek advice from fellow moderators (or in the Teacher's Lounge) about whether a short suspension would be appropriate, or whether it could be handled in a less intrusive way.


kiamlaluno kiamlaluno asked: Do you think that automatic flags for low quality posts should be first visible in the 10K users' queue and then in the moderator's one, or that moderators should immediately see them?

Clive Clive answered: I'm not sure it makes a huge amount of difference. But I guess the queue would probably be handled at the same speed, if not quicker, if it was shown to moderators at the same time.

Chapabu Chapabu answered: If delaying the moderator visibility increases the flag action time from say 1-2 hours to 3-4 or even 5-6 hours then it's a bad thing. I think it would be a trial and error event, but it would need to be monitored. The new review queue is fantastic though, and I should hope that low quality flags should start to become fewer and fewer as more people catch on to it.

MPD MPD answered: Given the low number of 10k users right now, I think flags should be shown to everyone until we get more 10k users. As I gained 10k right around the same time the new review system was launched, I don't know how much impact that has had on the flag queue.


kiamlaluno kiamlaluno asked: If a user complains about a flag not being handled correctly, asking a question on the meta site, what do you do? Do you reply to his question explaining why you marked the flag as not helpful (even just to say that you were wrong), or do you avoid writing an answer?

Clive Clive answered: I would always answer the question. If I declined a flag there must have been a good reason (unless I made a mistake of course). I would either explain that reasoning, citing sources from the various meta sites, or apologise for the mistake

Chapabu Chapabu answered: If I was accused of an incorrect flag, then yes - I would answer a potential question. Nobody wants dispute in the community, and it's the mod's responsibility to help prevent that. If after further discussion it turns out I was wrong, then yes - I would admit that I was wrong and apologise.

Chapabu Chapabu continued: If you leave questions unanswered on Stack Exchange, then what's the point of Stack Exchange - it's like the opposite of Fight Club ;)

MPD MPD answered: If a user brings up a flag issue to Meta, then it is the handler's responsibility to address it, and also for other moderators to weigh in. Over the last year or so, I have been reading a lot of these posts on Meta.SO to see how decisions get made.


kiamlaluno kiamlaluno asked: There are a lot of Drupal questions on Stack Overflow. How do you see the relationship between these two sites/communities?

Clive Clive answered: There's a fair bit of overlap in my opinion, plenty of questions are perfectly valid on either site. I actually spend plenty of time in the Drupal tags on SO and flag a lot of duplicate questions between the sites, flag to migrate questions that really belong on DA, etc. I think they can co-exist perfectly well

Chapabu Chapabu answered: I have tended to find the community on DA much closer than the community on SO. Perhaps because we all share a much closer linked interest here compared to the broadness of topics covered on SO.

I'd still like to see questions posted on SO related to Drupal if I'm being honest - there are people who are not day-to-day Drupallers who may benefit from a site they recognize and trust. I will go on SO from time to time with regards to Drupal questions, but I personally prefer the community spirit found on DA.


Patrick Kenny Patrick Kenny asked: Drupal terminology (views/nodes/triggers/etc.) can be difficult, particularly for new users. Drupal novices are likely to get their first few questions voted down if they do not understand the terminology, discouraging them from participating on the site. As a moderator, do you see this as a problem and do you think there is anything that can be done to mitigate that sense of discouragement?

MPD MPD answered: it is a problem and no-penalty downvoting has made that worse... editing questions and asking for clarifications are a way to help these users

Clive Clive answered: Yes it's definitely a problem, there are also language barriers that don't help on occasion. I think the only thing you can really do is comment liberally in a pleasant manner, in the hope other users take their cue from that and do the same, rather than downvoting immediately

Chapabu Chapabu answered: With no penalty down voting there is always the danger that a community such as this is going to turn Reddit-esque. However the only downvoted Drupal newbie questions I have seen voted down recently have been very poorly written (grammar wise, not terminology wise). I will sometimes link to tutorials/API docs in comments for people who are obviously new to Drupal, although I leave the answers to newer community members.

Chapabu Chapabu continued: Of course it would be easier on everyone if new users could comment...


googletorp googletorp asked: If elected - How will you promote "good behavior" on drupal.SE among the users?

Chapabu Chapabu answered: I would make myself visible, definitely. As a moderator you are a community leader; leading by example is a great method of moderation, and really works well on all of the SE sites. For example, I think a "Welcome to DA" comment is always a nice sign on new users' posts - and I have seen other people (including myself) saying it more frequently because I have seen others do it too. I would promote good behaviour by being a role model myself.

Clive Clive answered: Mostly be "leading by example" as it were; being friendly, resolving and mediating disputes between users quickly, etc. I also think smiley faces in comments can break down barriers :)


Anna Lear Anna Lear asked: Do you have any plans or ideas for promoting and representing Drupal SE to the wider Drupal community?

Chapabu Chapabu answered: I am quite close to the Brighton Area Drupal Association (although I don't regularly attend myself due to distance constraints), and would go more out of my way to present this site as a sounding board for discussions/problems that begin there. I have also recently taken on an intern (in my office...not personally ;)), so would encourage them to bring their questions here as well as to myself. Word of mouth is a powerful advertising method. :)

Clive Clive answered: Honestly no, I don't have any ideas currently (wish I did). I'd love to see a tighter integration of the two communities, and I'd definitely jump on any initiative to make that happen. There was a meta discussion some time back about it but it sort of petered out a bit. Perhaps rejuvenating that post would be a good start, some of the core contributors visit the site quite regularly


Patrick Kenny Patrick Kenny asked: There is no straightforward upgrade path between Drupal major versions and backwards compatibility is not preserved with modules. Drupal 8 is under development and may be released within the next year. There are already a large number of Drupal 6- and Drupal 7-specific questions on Drupal Answers. As a moderator, do you foresee any problems with treating Drupal 8 the same way? What impact, if any, do you anticipate the release of Drupal 8 to have on this site?

MPD MPD answered: this site just came out of beta around the time D7 was released... DA handled this fairly well, and there were a bunch of good discussions on Meta.DA about this and how to handle version tags

Clive Clive answered: I don't see it being a problem to be honest. as @MPD said, it was handled pretty well when the last major version was released and I think it would be handled just as well this time round. I can imagine there being an influx of duplicate questions from new users when D8 is first released, so there will probably be more closing to do than normal. Other than that, though, I think it'll be fine

Chapabu Chapabu answered: Hi Patrick :) I foresee the probable re-appearance of version tags for a while after the release of Drupal 8. I've been following the core development, and it seems like it's going to be pretty different. Drupal 8 will have an initial impact on the site, however it'll peter out. You'll probably also see a drop in the difficulty of questions as seasoned users try to find out where the dang admin options are ;)


Anna Lear Anna Lear asked: How much time, on average, do you have to devote to moderating Drupal SE?

Chapabu Chapabu answered: As I previously mentioned, I always have a DA tab open, as well as Newt running for notifications to new activity on DA. Between 9 and 5 I can probably spend an hour or two throughout the day, and then in the evenings if needs be.

Clive Clive answered: Probably 1-2 hours a day on average, a bit more on weekends. I tend to spend time on DA during my down time, and I allow myself a fair bit of that :)

MPD MPD answered: My time on DA is hard to judge as. It tends to be many short visits, with some longer times in the morning as I settle into the office. I would guess over the day, it adds up to 1hr or so.


Johnathan Elmore Johnathan Elmore asked: Do any of you foresee moderator responsibilities taking away your capacity/availability for providing answers? And if that were to occur, would you consider stepping down so that you can get back to helping all of us out?

Chapabu Chapabu answered: Short answer, no. I don't foresee moderation taking over general use of the site. Drupal is something I love doing, and I'd love to see the community flourish - taking time away from helping others goes against that. I would see moderation as an extension of contribution, rather than a replacement.

Chapabu Chapabu continued: If I ever felt that being a moderator prevented me from answering questions/helping others, then I would be prepared to open a meta issue to discuss why this has become the case, as I guess it won't only be my problem.

Clive Clive answered: Not sure how to answer that :) Any mod will have less time to answer questions obviously, but there are so many knowledgable users that use the site on a regular basis that I don't honestly think it will be a problem

MPD MPD answered: DA is my primary "head clearer" during the day, and also part of my daily work routine (ie, reading questions to keep up on things)... I anticipate moderation would fit in with that. I still plan on answering question, and don't forsee a general change in how much I do this.


Anna Lear Anna Lear asked: Any final thoughts from the candidates?

Clive Clive answered: Not much, just to wish very good luck to @MPD and @Chapabu in the election and long live Drupal :)

  • Chapabu Chapabu added: And best of luck to @Clive and @MPD (but not too much luck ;-))

Chapabu Chapabu answered: I think to be honest, this election is really a case of two people looking for one spot. Thanks to everyone who asked any questions, and thanks to everyone who is an active member of DA :) Don't forget your vote ;-)

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