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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 questions as well as our back up questions. However, I've opted to strike out one of our default questions, as the topic space covered by the first question in the list is basically the same, but far closer to home for the community. The total number of questions is thus 9.

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):

tlhIngan's answers

Darth Vader's answers

Bex's answers


  1. How would you answer this question regarding the negative actions of a high reputation user, which was posted to raspberrypi.meta earlier this year? Complete answers should address not only the concerns of the OP, but the behavior in question and the concerns raised in the comments.

  2. Our community is struggling to maintain higher level users over time. Why do you think this is? Do you have any ideas on how that might be fixed?

  3. Over time there have been a few meta questions related to including other-fruited-pis, such as this one that mentioned banana pi: Can we ask questions related to banana pi here? With some quick search you can also find similar questions about orange pi. The historical answer has been that these are and should be off-topic here. Do you support continuing that position? Why or why not?

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

  5. This site has experimented with "policies" that arguably run counter to the process and experience expected from the larger SE universe. There was some discussion of that, for example, on these two questions: Is converting link-only answers to Community Wiki working? and How related to Raspberry Pi must a question be?. What are your thoughts on how closely this site should follow the norms of other SE sites versus developing its own norms that attempt to respect its size and audience. If you argue for following norms from larger SE sites, how would your respond to the arguments in the meta questions listed that the small size and diverse subject matter encountered on this site require a different approach? If you argue for "customizing" on this site, how would you choose what fits and mitigate any potential learning curve on high-quality users used to other SE sites who might occasionally contribute here?

  6. How would you respond to a user that attacked you personally for actions you take as a moderator (e.g. deleting or closing their posts).

  7. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

  8. 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?

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

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  1. How would you answer this question regarding the negative actions of a high reputation user, which was posted to raspberrypi.meta earlier this year? Complete answers should address not only the concerns of the OP, but the behavior in question and the concerns raised in the comments.

Its certainly very unfortunate this occurred, especially since active high rep users are a rarity on the site so are an invaluable resource.

That being said any negative action towards any member of the community is always completely unacceptable. As a community we should be welcoming (as well as firm but fair), in our approach to users, especially new users. Yes they may not being using certain aspects of the site correctly, but that's not an excuse to give them a hard time.

The correct action is to always gently point them in the right direction. Whether that's encouraging them to take the Tour or look through the FAQ. If someone new to the site gets a really bad experience, its fairly unlikely they will return. This is a problem because it will stifle the growth of the site.

As to how to deal with the offending user in question, opening up a private chat with the other mods and the user to discuss their poor behavior would be the starting point. From there I think it would be necessary to keep an eye on their posts to make sure they are not slipping into bad habits again. I have also heard of mods sending emails to users for serious matters and that along with a temporary ban from the site would also be an option to consider.

The concerns raised in the comments are well founded, I think some examples of the sorts of posts this high rep user where posting could have been useful to include in the discussion. It would make it easier for the community to catch such posts in the future if they knew the sort of things they should be looking out for. But I'm against publicly naming and shaming the user, that's something I feel is unnecessary.

I also disagree with the idea that flagging the inappropriate comments would not be effective. I regularly flag posts and my flags are dealt with in a timely manner 9 times out of 10. I've also raised lots of concerns in the past on the Meta site and I've always got exceptional answers, which is a testament to our community.

  1. Our community is struggling to maintain higher level users over time. Why do you think this is? Do you have any ideas on how that might be fixed?

I'm not sure if I'm going to be popular for saying this, but its my gut feeling on the matter. I think the biggest issue with maintaining high level users is people on this site can be a little bit stingy when it comes to voting. I've personally also found from answering new user's questions that once they've got an answer they won't stick around long enough to mark it as correct. This is a problem because each accept is worth 15 rep, so losing out on lots of accepts on answers starts to hurt in the long run.

Based on my experience of being heavily active on the site over the summer I can see why high level users get bored of the site and become less active. It can become a real chore sometimes to work through posts in review queues, In fact its an issue I raised on Meta.

I've also noticed that we seem to get fewer really interesting questions that end up being a hot question on the network. I think the last question to achieve that was about a soil moisture sensor. If we don't get enough questions that are fun to answer then people will lose interest.

As to how to fix that problem, that's tough. Since it can be really difficult to earn rep on the site we need to be encouraging users to vote more and also accept answers to their questions, (where appropriate). Getting the high rep users to stick around is an even harder task. Ideas I have include introducing new badges so they've always got something to work towards. I think occasionally dropping them an email with some questions they might find interesting could work as well.

  1. Over time there have been a few meta questions related to including other-fruited-pis, such as this one that mentioned banana pi: Can we ask questions related to banana pi here? With some quick search you can also find similar questions about orange pi. The historical answer has been that these are and should be off-topic here. Do you support continuing that position? Why or why not?

Having a site exclusively about Raspberry Pi's is fairly niche, especially given the scope of some of the sites on SE. Now imagine how niche a site about the banana pi or orange pi would be. I think it seems somewhat ridiculous that those should exist as separate sites. The problem is the user base for those devices is so small that they would have a hard time keeping an SE site going.

On the other hand if we widened the scope to include those devices do we actually have any active users with the required knowledge? The demographic of our site is lots of fairly low rep users asking questions which are answered by a very small number of users. I'm not sure we have enough knowledgeable people to make that work if we widen the scope of the site.

Furthermore, it then brings into question where we draw the line, at what point is the scope of the site to wide? If orange pi's and banana pi's become on-topic, does that mean every single one of those types of devices also becomes on-topic?

If widening the scope of the site to include such devices is something that enough users are happy with I don't see the issue with having some kind of trial period to see how it works out.

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

I would open up a chat with that mod, and possibly the other mods as well and discuss the matter. The aim of the discussion would be to come to some kind of consensus and make sure everyone is happy and understands any final decision we make.

  1. This site has experimented with "policies" that arguably run counter to the process and experience expected from the larger SE universe. There was some discussion of that, for example, on these two questions: Is converting link-only answers to Community Wiki working? and How related to Raspberry Pi must a question be?. What are your thoughts on how closely this site should follow the norms of other SE sites versus developing its own norms that attempt to respect its size and audience. If you argue for following norms from larger SE sites, how would your respond to the arguments in the meta questions listed that the small size and diverse subject matter encountered on this site require a different approach? If you argue for "customizing" on this site, how would you choose what fits and mitigate any potential learning curve on high-quality users used to other SE sites who might occasionally contribute here?

I don't see any reason why we should have to follow all of the norms of the SE network. We are a fairly unique site and what works for everyone else might not work for us.

With regards to the converting link only answers to Wiki, yes I don't think that was particularly successful. Possibly due to the amount of effort required to properly produce the answer and then not really gaining much from that. Although I'm not sure I particularly like the current approach of simply deleting the answer.

As to how far we diverge from the norms of SE, I don't think going to far is sensible. Having high rep users from other SE sites on here would be great to see. Including extra detail about how we run things a little differently in the FAQ or Tour would hopefully reduce any learning curve. There is of course also the Meta site and the chatrooms to seek clarification on things.

As to how on topic a question about the Raspberry Pi must be? I have found that a difficult thing to gauge when reviewing posts. The problem boils down to; does this fit on Electrical Engineering, StackOverflow or Arduino? If no this is probably the suitable site for it. Of course the rules about no questions about shopping advice, e.t.c... Still apply.

  1. How would you respond to a user that attacked you personally for actions you take as a moderator (e.g. deleting or closing their posts).

I could understand receiving backlash for taking such actions. Although, I would open up a chat with the user and possibly another mod as a second opinion. I would proceed to outline my reasoning for taking such action and hopefully get them to a point where they understand my decision. I could have course made a mistake and it gives the user an opportunity to explain why they think I made the wrong call. This seems like a fair way of dealing with this.

To give you an example of this sort of approach being used, one user recently posted on Meta asking why their question had been closed. I'm really pleased they did this as its the correct sort of response to a decision you disagree with. You can see the post and my response here.

The question does not specify what sort of action this hypothetical user took in anger but I think its a point worth addressing. As well as discussing why I took the action on their post I did, I would also remind them to behave nicely on the site. Pointing out the correct way to deal with the problem is to open a chat with a mod or posting a question on Meta is something I would suggest they do next time.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

In a perfect world we would not need moderators and everyone would just get along without a problem.

This is not the case and occasionally a user with some extra abilities is required to step in and resolve the issue. Mods should ideally do as little as possible on the site.

Their role should be to point users in the right direction, help users understand how the site works and deal with the occasional serious matters.

Given the limited number of high rep users on the site its also important they are active in review queues, (though not too active). As well as other less exciting things like editing posts.

  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've come a really long way in the past 3 years, and I definitely feel like the quality of my posts has improved. Every now and then I do go back and edit some of my older stuff to improve it, but for the most part I'm fairly happy with my posts.

I think its also useful that users could see that I have transitioned from a newbie on the site up to high ranking member of the community. It shows that progression on the site is possible and everyone has to start somewhere.

  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 made a calculation during the summer that at the rate I was earning rep it would take up to 2 years to reach such levels of reputation. And that was when I was answering multiple questions a day. I don't have the luxury of lots of spare time now to do that, and I think focusing my efforts on the moderator side of things is more important anyway.

Therefore, being a mod would allow me to gain the extra tools I would get at 10k and 20k rep to continue helping the site along. In addition to this being a mod also gives access to an exclusive extra set of tools. Furthermore, having the diamond attached to all of your posts gives them extra weight and users will take you that little bit more seriously.

  • I thought your comment about having few "hot questions" was interesting. I know that some other sites have tried to get Stack Exchange to exclude their site from inclusion on that list. The rationale was that the "hot questions" typically draw a lot of low-quality attention to their site leading to poor answers getting up-votes and questions of (often) relatively little significance getting high scores. I'm voting for you in the mod election, but this may (or may not) be something to think about if you have ideas for trying to get this site on that list. – Brick Nov 12 '17 at 13:47
  • I understand the scenario of a post attracting a lot of low quality posts. However, I regularly look through the hot network questions and its lead to me becoming more involved in sites I might not otherwise. I think a question gaining more attention on the network might help to increase awareness of the site, but I don't have any plans to push questions to be featured on that list. I just thought it was something worth mentioning. Thank you for your support, but I do wish we had a greater variety of candidates in this election. – Darth Vader Nov 12 '17 at 16:14
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  1. How would you answer this question regarding the negative actions of a high reputation user, which was posted to raspberrypi.meta earlier this year? Complete answers should address not only the concerns of the OP, but the behavior in question and the concerns raised in the comments.

I think the topic is difficult and sad, which is why I asked that question. As a moderator, I would watch out for such behaviour, and regarding comments, I would probably be quite hard. Many users of SE sites do not have English as their first language (indeed "our first language" - my first language is Swedish) and some struggle with it. Sarcastic comments breed insecurity, which is bad for retention. I would rather remove a borderline comment than letting it discourage a new, or a potential, user.

That being said, of course, there is room for play and jokes as well, but primarily this is a Q&A site, and by the nature of this particular topic, we cater inexperienced users. Let's be nice.

  1. Our community is struggling to maintain higher level users over time. Why do you think this is? Do you have any ideas on how that might be fixed?

Voting is scarce. As compared to other sites on SE, collecting reputation is more tedious here. It has to do with the voting behaviour of our users, but probably more influential is the fact that the site is more heavily niched than some other sites: we get fewer hits on search engines, and the ones who find us are less likely to already be members.

The only long term solution is to grow the community.

  1. Over time there have been a few meta questions related to including other-fruited-pis, such as this one that mentioned banana pi: Can we ask questions related to banana pi here? With some quick search you can also find similar questions about orange pi. The historical answer has been that these are and should be off-topic here. Do you support continuing that position? Why or why not?

No. I think this site is too niched. I think that much of the knowledge and experience that is applicable to problems with the Raspberry Pi are also applicable to a number of other ARM dev boards or minicomputers. I think it is suboptimal that we have one community for Arduino, one for IoT and one for Raspberry Pi - and no community for Oranges, Bananas, Radxa, Odroid and so on. Just as I think it is suboptimal to have one Ubuntu-community and one U&L community. Product placements and cults are bad for knowledge distribution, and that is what the SE sites should be about.

That being said, I'm not sure raspberrypi.SE should be the goto site for questions about all these topics.

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

I have never been a moderator in an online community before. I'm here to learn. I would take it as a learning opportunity, ask the mod about the decision, and try to understand their position. If I still wouldn't agree, I would put forward my arguments.

  1. This site has experimented with "policies" that arguably run counter to the process and experience expected from the larger SE universe. There was some discussion of that, for example, on these two questions: Is converting link-only answers to Community Wiki working? and How related to Raspberry Pi must a question be?. What are your thoughts on how closely this site should follow the norms of other SE sites versus developing its own norms that attempt to respect its size and audience. If you argue for following norms from larger SE sites, how would your respond to the arguments in the meta questions listed that the small size and diverse subject matter encountered on this site require a different approach? If you argue for "customizing" on this site, how would you choose what fits and mitigate any potential learning curve on high-quality users used to other SE sites who might occasionally contribute here?

This question is a symptom of this site's problems with size, user retention, and nicheness. If we believe that the site has potential to grow, and that it has potential to become a larger site, then these tweaks must be at most temporary. And there are cases where we should implement temporary solutions, where they might be helpful, but I don't believe we should make a very great deal of it, since they should be temporary.

  1. How would you respond to a user that attacked you personally for actions you take as a moderator (e.g. deleting or closing their posts).

Step away from the keyboard. Take a deep breath. Get a cup of coffee. From the slow machine. Read the "attack" again. Repeat as necessary.

Answer in a way that is as constructive as possible. Be open to change and to constructive criticism.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Try to make sure everyone plays nicely. Pick up the slack when the community is slow to review.

  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?

To be totally honest, it feels scary. It will make me focus (even) more on moderation, and less on Q&A, I'm afraid.

  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 an elected moderator is a means of service to the community, as a moderator. It is another kind of user and another kind of focus.

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  1. How would you answer this question regarding the negative actions of a high reputation user, which was posted to raspberrypi.meta earlier this year? Complete answers should address not only the concerns of the OP, but the behavior in question and the concerns raised in the comments.

Well, there's 2 things that can be done:

  1. Flag the inappropriate comments. That's what flags are for. Let the community police itself. The "Be Nice" policy is implemented very differently on different sites of the Stack Exchange network, let each site decide on what angle they want to take.
  2. Talk to the user. Stack Exchange is 100% typed, and it can be easy to read way too much into tone and intent, just as it can be easy to overlook the tone and intent that is coming out of our fingers. Talk to the user, make them realise the concerns that are arising from their comments.
  1. Our community is struggling to maintain higher level users over time. Why do you think this is? Do you have any ideas on how that might be fixed?

You can't force people to stick around. The Raspberry Pi platform attracts different crowds, from hobbyists to IT professionals, to laypeople who have a cool idea but don't know how to get it realised. Some hobbyists and IT professionals will naturally stop coming when their interest in the RPi dies off. They are an important resource for this community, and as long as they feel welcome and their input appreciated, they may drop by from time to time and still be semi-active.

  1. Over time there have been a few meta questions related to including other-fruited-pis, such as this one that mentioned banana pi: Can we ask questions related to banana pi here? With some quick search you can also find similar questions about orange pi. The historical answer has been that these are and should be off-topic here. Do you support continuing that position? Why or why not?

Every single site on the Stack Exchange faces a similar question once it reaches a certain size: there are questions that (because of the community's expertise) best belong on their site, but unfortunately there's a rule somewhere that could be construed as saying "NO!" We have 2 options:

  1. Start a new StackExchange site for those questions, with all the growing pains and tiny community that it entails and banish those questions from this site.
  2. Expand the guidelines of this site to include those questions that fall under the existing skill set and expertise of the community, and perhaps rename the site to reflect this.

A simple example to this is the "mechanics" Stack Exchange was renamed to "Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair" in order to expand the scope to DIY and enthusiasts, which is most of the community's focus now.

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

I would PM them and talk about it. There may be more to the question or user than meets the eye. Such an issue occurred on another site of the Stack Exchange network where I am active, basically the site was getting trolled by questions that on the surface seemed legitimate and innocent, but the pattern of questions coming from the same user made it more look like they were trolling the site.

  1. This site has experimented with "policies" that arguably run counter to the process and experience expected from the larger SE universe. There was some discussion of that, for example, on these two questions: Is converting link-only answers to Community Wiki working? and How related to Raspberry Pi must a question be?. What are your thoughts on how closely this site should follow the norms of other SE sites versus developing its own norms that attempt to respect its size and audience. If you argue for following norms from larger SE sites, how would your respond to the arguments in the meta questions listed that the small size and diverse subject matter encountered on this site require a different approach? If you argue for "customizing" on this site, how would you choose what fits and mitigate any potential learning curve on high-quality users used to other SE sites who might occasionally contribute here?

Each site on the StackExchange network has it's own personality ranging form a unique take on the "Be nice" policy, to some having "custom" policies. The StackExchange network was never meant to be a collection of cookie-cutter topic-specific sites, it was meant to be a platform to exchange knowledge in Q&A form. As long as we continue to follow the spirit of the StackExchange network, I think we'll be fine, we just need to not go overboard with the custom policies.

Regarding the specific example in the question, I'm on the fence about link-only answers:

  1. It's annoying to summarise the content found on another site when that site would take the OP by the hand and walk them through their solution.
  2. It's even more annoying when your Google search bring up a really old answer to a really old question and the link doesn't work or the information isn't there.

I think converting a link-only answer to a Community Wiki is a good approach. The OP shouldn't be getting rep changes from other people fixing and improving their link-only answer, and at the same time, we are getting a quality answer. If the community feels this is the way forward, then experienced users from other sites of the Stack Exchange network will need to add that to their learning curve. Each site of the Stack Exchange network is a little bit different, and IT-related questions often have their answer change over time when an OS or software gets a new revision, making link-only answers highly problematic as the information at the other end may be volatile.

  1. How would you respond to a user that attacked you personally for actions you take as a moderator (e.g. deleting or closing their posts).

As a regular user, I have voted to close or delete posts countless times, and my name shows up ("put on hold by:"). Nobody has ever attacked me for that in the past, I don't see how being a moderator would be any different. But if they do, I would explain to them how to improve their post so it gets undeleted or reopened.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

I know for a fact that moderators sit around and drink Red Bull while browsing the site 25 hours per day. lol Each moderator takes his or her role and responsibilities slightly differently, some take a step back from answering questions in order to allow other users to participate, some remain as active as they were in their pre-mod days, some focus exclusively on policing the site, some just deal with issues as they come up. We need mods, and if the team of mods has non-overlapping interests and philosophy, we will get better coverage and better behind-the-scenes discussions between them.

  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?

Diamond? I get a diamond??? Can I have two??? And can I pick the colour??? lol Diamond-schmiamond. I say what I say and I do what I do. Diamond or no diamond, people are free to read as much or as little into posts as they please. The only thing I would be more careful about is anything related to site policy. A mod isn't the law, he or she just keeps things running smoothly for the community.

  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?

Getting more rep doesn't make me more effective, it just means I've been busier with up-voted questions and answers, which will invariantly be limited to my sphere of knowledge. Keeping the site clean and keeping discussions on track and on topic helps the entire community, beyond my sphere of knowledge.

  • 3
    I feel like you side-stepped a few of the questions in politician style. Skipped the second half of question 2. Avoided question 3. Answered a question other than what was asked in question 5. – Brick Nov 7 '17 at 1:13
  • 1
    @Brick My answer to #2 is in the last sentence. I answered #3 by providing a path forward. It's not up to the mods to decide, it's up to the community. Mods only apply what's been agreed upon. You are correct about #5 though, I'll go fix it. – tlhIngan Nov 7 '17 at 4:14

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