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In connection with the moderator elections, we are holding a Q&A thread for the candidates. Questions collected from an earlier thread have been compiled into this one, which shall now serve as the space for the candidates to provide their answers.

Due to the submission count, we have selected all provided and non-negatively-scored questions as well as our back up questions for a total of 9 questions.

As a candidate, your job is simple - post an answer to this question, citing each of the questions and then post your answer to each question given in that same answer. For your convenience, I will include all of the questions in quote format with a break in between each, suitable for you to insert your answers. Just copy the whole thing after the first set of three dashes. Please consider putting your name at the top of your post so that readers will know who you are before they finish reading everything you have written, and also including a link to your answer on your nomination post.

Once all the answers have been compiled, this will serve as a transcript for voters to view the thoughts of their candidates, and will be appropriately linked in the Election page.

Good luck to all of the candidates!

Oh, and when you've completed your answer, please provide a link to it after this blurb here, before that set of three dashes. Please leave the list of links in the order of submission.

To save scrolling here are links to the submissions from each candidate (in order of submission):


  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

  2. 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?

  3. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

  4. 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?

  5. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

  6. In your opinion, what is the biggest problem/challenge Database Administrators is currently facing? How would you propose to solve it?

  7. Would you be proud to tell people in other places that you're a moderator here? Ex: on your linkedin profile, or at conferences?

  8. What is your favorite StackExchange experience or question/answer? What gave you the best engagement/entertainment? What specifically about this made it so memorable?

  9. What are some of the things Stack Exchange (and DBA.se in particular) has done well to promote diversity among askers, answerers, and moderators? What are areas they/we have done poorly? For example, many women feel they must obscure their female identify (through pseudonyms, avatars, etc) to be welcome on the site. Similar could be said for other minorities and underrepresented groups. As a moderator, how will you contribute to promoting a more welcoming environment that allows individuals to feel that their whole person is a part of the Stack Exchange community?

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10

Max Vernon's answers to the questions:

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

95% of the work of a StackExchange moderator entails cleanup of various bits of newly created site content, such as removal of spam posts, conversion of comments into permanent content where applicable, removal of non-applicable content (where someone posts a question about their cat to dba.se), with the odd bit of user-account housekeeping such as providing guidance to a user on how to merge their accounts, or how they might best get the information they are looking for. Once in a while, a moderator is required to remind site users about the Stack Exchange acceptable use policies or the Code of Conduct, and to enforce certain policies, such as "be nice", including perhaps escalation to a staff member if things get completely out of hand.

  1. 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?

As a long time member of the dba.se site, I have spent a really large amount of time creating quality questions, providing long-lasting quality answers where I can, and generally performing what I see to be helpful caretaking actions on the site, including making nearly 2,000 quality edits to posts. I believe all my posts, including chat, have been respectful of others, and have been seen as providing value. So, in short, I believe my past questions, answers and comments are already reflective of what would be required of a site moderator.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

Since I'm already at the highest level of privilege afforded a non-moderator user, there aren't a lot of things I can't do on the site. However, I am consistently running into things like per-day vote-caps, limits on delete-votes, things like that. As a moderator, I feel I would be better able to provide cleanup required, because some of those limits aren't applicable to moderators, and perhaps I might be able to alleviate some of the load from the other moderators, Paul and Cole. Both moderators have done an incredible, wide-ranging, and fair job of moderation, and I am consistenly in awe of the dedication they have brought to the site.

  1. 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?

In my experience, it's best to be firm but nice with people who are obviously spending a significant portion of their valuable unpaid time contributing to the site. Sometimes, people just need to be informed that their behavior is unacceptable or shown how others see it. In extremely rare circumstances, individuals may need a cooling off period via a short suspension from the site. While that is not an action I would take without consulting the other moderators, it's also not something I would be afraid to do in those rare dire circumstances that may require it. The single most important aspect that I've found helpful about Stack Exchange is that in my experience it's been a welcoming, caring place to exchange ideas and knowledge. As a moderator, I would work towards maintaining and extending that experience to others, and would protect those who may need it from those who might wish to be harmful.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

As with any other experience, the only way forward to resolution is through open and honest communication. It's not necessary to have everyone agree with me (as much as that would be nice), it's really only required that two out of the three moderators can agree on controversial actions. As the junior moderator, I would look to the existing mods to provide an example, and can honestly say there has been very vew things I've disagreed with them about in the past. So, to be frank, I don't see this a problem that would crop up often.

  1. In your opinion, what is the biggest problem/challenge Database Administrators is currently facing? How would you propose to solve it?

We're currently seeing stagnant traffic levels. As mod, I would work to promote dba.se as a place to find excellent answers to database-related questions. I would work towards ensuring new database products have coverage, and aren't mocked or ridiculed by the existing userbase, who perhaps might want to disparage certain technologies that don't align with their ideals.

  1. Would you be proud to tell people in other places that you're a moderator here? Ex: on your linkedin profile, or at conferences?

Being a moderator of a Stack Exchange site carries with it a certain cachet amongst peers of that community. I would be very proud to be elected moderator, and would be never shy away from being open about it. However, I wouldn't use my mod status as a badge to gain undue prominence. Being a moderator is not about helping me, it's about helping the community.

  1. What is your favorite StackExchange experience or question/answer? What gave you the best engagement/entertainment? What specifically about this made it so memorable?

Since I've been involved in StackExchange for over 8 years there have been quite a few interesting posts where I've learnt a lot. However, for me, chat has been the perpetual draw - interacting in a personable, respectful manner with other members of the site remains an ongoing source of enjoyment.

  1. What are some of the things Stack Exchange (and DBA.se in particular) has done well to promote diversity among askers, answerers, and moderators? What are areas they/we have done poorly? For example, many women feel they must obscure their female identify (through pseudonyms, avatars, etc) to be welcome on the site. Similar could be said for other minorities and underrepresented groups. As a moderator, how will you contribute to promoting a more welcoming environment that allows individuals to feel that their whole person is a part of the Stack Exchange community?

This question has personal meaning for me. I've personally been very aware of the issues StackOverflow has had with bigotry and hatred towards women. It sickens me that some find gender more important than knowledge and experience. The way women are treated by a small segment of the SE user population certainly worries me personally. The Meta.se events over the past 8 or 9 months have been concerning since it seemed that while StackOverflow (the company) is trying to ensure the StackExchange network remains an open, welcoming, friendly environment for all kinds of human beings, the level of vitriol seen from certain segments of the user population continues to be sickening. As a moderator of the DBA.se site, I would work towards ensuring everyone feels welcome, regardless of their gender, race, sexuality, or any other characteristic they may have. I believe harassment of any kind must not be tolerated, but should be handled with fairness, while showing grace and dignity towards those being harassed. Anyone engaging in ongoing harassment, either against a single individual, or a group of individuals, should be given a warning, and a chance to change their behavior, and if they don't they should be suspended or banned from the site in accordance with the Code of Conduct.

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  • My election nomination can be seen here. – Max Vernon Oct 14 at 15:53
5

John aka hot2use's answers to the submitted questions.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators are here to do as least as possible. They uphold the values of the community and only respond when asked by the community to do so, either via flag or when called in chat. The moderators are here to resolve conflicts, that the community themselves are not able to.

  1. 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?

Going back in time and looking at some of my comments I guess I possibly could have done better. But the past is ingrained in the community and it just goes to show that I have matured over the past couple of years. What I was has made me what I am today.

  1. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?

Being a moderator will not make me more effective, it will allow me to participate in resolving issues, that the community otherwise cannot resolve themselves. It will equally allow me to participate in household chores.

  1. 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?

Talk with the user and ask them about the reasoning behind their comments. Just because something sounds/reads as flag-worthy does not mean that it was intended to be interpreted that way. E.g. foreign language community members sometimes have issues with the English language and grammar, and what they intended to write is not reflected in what the community reads in the comments. If the community member in question is not able to explain the comments, then I would remind the user of the guidelines. In a next step I guess that future comments might have to be deleted and the user reminded of the consequences of continuous inappropriate comments. Comments that coflict with the CoC will of course be deleted.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

Communicate with the moderator if possible. If the question can be salvaged by editing the contents to produce a noteworthy question, then I would do that and possibly reopen/undelete the question. If the question has ben requested to be closed/deleted then of course, the question will remain that way. Moderators aren't here to always question decisions made by other moderators, but to contribute to the community at a higher level.

  1. In your opinion, what is the biggest problem/challenge Database Administrators is currently facing? How would you propose to solve it?

Some of the biggest challenges are the high proportion of new users that are either asking for the first time and are unregistered or from users that believe Stack Exchange is a Newsgroup. This becomes obvious when observing the questions and the responses in answers and comments.

The first issue was brought up by myself in 2017 with the following DBA Meta Question:
Policy Change : Disallow unregistered users from asking/answering questions?
The Meta post has since been evaluated and will be implemented sometime in the future.

The second issue can be mitigated through constant coaching of newcomers to the site and by guiding them during their first steps. This can be pointing them to the help centre or assisting in creating valuable questions and answers.

  1. Would you be proud to tell people in other places that you're a moderator here? Ex: on your linkedin profile, or at conferences?

Yes, I would be proud to let people know of my moderator's job. I wouldn't use the title to brag, but given the opportunity in a discussion or at a conference, I might be inclined to tell others of my activities.

  1. What is your favorite StackExchange experience or question/answer? What gave you the best engagement/entertainment? What specifically about this made it so memorable?

I guess one of my favourite experiences was changing a down-voted question during Hats season into an upvoted question with an accepted answer. If I recall correctly it was written by a non-native English user. I guess the user wasn't really expecting an answer after their question reached -3, but after re-writing the question the user had an upvoted question and an upvoted answer.

And my previously mentioned meta question that is to implemented on DBA.SE.

  1. What are some of the things Stack Exchange (and DBA.se in particular) has done well to promote diversity among askers, answerers, and moderators? What are areas they/we have done poorly? For example, many women feel they must obscure their female identify (through pseudonyms, avatars, etc) to be welcome on the site. Similar could be said for other minorities and underrepresented groups. As a moderator, how will you contribute to promoting a more welcoming environment that allows individuals to feel that their whole person is a part of the Stack Exchange community?

I'll pull the individual question a bit apart and answer them separately...

What are some of the things Stack Exchange (and DBA.se in particular) has done well to promote diversity among askers, answerers, and moderators?

Anybody in DBA.SE is accepted and highly welcome. We don't know who somebody is until they disclose it. I, and possibly others, send people here to read about questions or issues they may be interested in. We don't care where somebody is from, nor what native language somebody speaks, nor which minority somebody belongs to. If time permits, we'll even go the extra mile and convert questions into better English.

What are areas they/we have done poorly?

Communication over the past has been slow and sometimes lacking substance. The community reads a lot and hears even more. Pro-active communication could be improved upon.

For example, many women feel they must obscure their female identify (through pseudonyms, avatars, etc) to be welcome on the site. Similar could be said for other minorities and underrepresented groups.

I am not currently aware of a situation that women aren't being accepted in the DBA.SE community. I'm equally not aware of any issues with the LGBTQ community or other minorities or underrepresented groups on the DBS.SE site. I am aware that some of our community members have a different orientation than I do, but I treat them as normal community members like you do and everybody else does.

There has been discussions that some people might be posing as females to garner interest and to minimise the impact of low-quality questions, but this hasn't been a real issue.

As a moderator, how will you contribute to promoting a more welcoming environment that allows individuals to feel that their whole person is a part of the Stack Exchange community?

Do as the whole community should do. Support new users where possible. Guide them through their first questions with tolerance and understanding (it is hard getting in, I know it myself) and encourage community members to come back by not offending them.


Paul White had additional questions over in the 2020 DBA Moderator Election Chat. Specifically these two here:

Which I answered starting here. And after a small detour answering his next question (see below) I continued with remarks to additional faq articles.

Which I answered here.

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3

Randi Vertongen

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Serve the community with any question they have while moderating content.

  1. 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?

I feel like I would always and have always behaved professionally on these forums in the past, present and future.

  1. 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 have reached reputation in the past as a way to prove myself and help data professionals. I have been referred to as a FGIW (fastest gun in the west) when starting out answering questions on this platform since that was a way for me to get started and gain some reputation. I took that label as a form of respect but I do get that quickly answering questions for the sake of being first is not the way to progress. I took that as flattery and encouragement to give better answers and learn from the community. This is not to say that the community did not help me, feedback will always given to those who need it at this site. I know that some of these past answers were not the best they could be (or even really bad) but I always want to encourage people to start answering questions, good, average or even bad. Of course in the hopes of getting these bad answers better over time. Since I do remember starting out and answering questions without any reputation I hope to connect to that target area in the same way I did when I started out on this site. I have not been as active lately due to professional reasons but would like to make a come back and have an impact on the forum in the future by helping the community.

  1. 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?

I would send the user a message about these comments and try to have a discussion about what is appropriate and what is not. Hopefully that will solve the issue, otherwise different measures would have to be taken (unfortunately).

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

I would talk to the moderator about the question and if the reason for closure/deletion is not valid within my reasoning I would vote for reopening/undeleting the question.

  1. In your opinion, what is the biggest problem/challenge Database Administrators is currently facing? How would you propose to solve it?

Long term commitment of the participants. I would propose to be as transparent to the users and encourage healthy Q/A

  1. Would you be proud to tell people in other places that you're a moderator here? Ex: on your linkedin profile, or at conferences?

Yes, I mention dba.stackexhange at most conferences if I have the chance due to the possibilities it has given me to interact with the community. I am very proud of this platform.

  1. What is your favorite StackExchange experience or question/answer? What gave you the best engagement/entertainment? What specifically about this made it so memorable?

I will always appreciate Paul White for everything he does for this site and the effort and thought that goes into his responses, it will come over pretty pretentious but the ones where he answered questions of mine: 1 2 will always be my favorites.

  1. What are some of the things Stack Exchange (and DBA.se in particular) has done well to promote diversity among askers, answerers, and moderators? What are areas they/we have done poorly? For example, many women feel they must obscure their female identify (through pseudonyms, avatars, etc) to be welcome on the site. Similar could be said for other minorities and underrepresented groups. As a moderator, how will you contribute to promoting a more welcoming environment that allows individuals to feel that their whole person is a part of the Stack Exchange community?

I respect every person without difference. No if's and's or but's.
Simple as that.

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  • 3
    I have one question that I would like you to answer (I noticed too late to post it when the questions page was open). "Do you think your job at Microsoft publicly posted on your profile will in one form or another influence your ability to speak freely on a public forum if the role requires it?" – Tom V Oct 16 at 6:10

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