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 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. Participation in this communities Meta site is rather low. Do you feel this is a problem, and if so - how would you go about increasing participation and use of this aspect of the site? The same goes for the Chat. Most participation of this site is focussed exclusively to the main Q&A page. Is that an issue? How would you change this if so?

  2. Subjectivity is all part of User Experience design, but Stack Exchange as a platform doesn't really fit well with subjective opinions - it's a Question and Answer site, providing visitors with a curated list of questions around specific problems that User Experience Designers have, and the respective solutions to those problems. With this in mind, how would you balance deciding what questions are too far into the subjective territory to be appropriate to this site? What criteria do you go by before deciding to cast that binding 'close' (or delete) vote as a moderator?

  3. A low-quality question is posted by a user with 1 reputation point (e.g. "hi do i show Order history in navigation if they have 0 orders? thanks). Would you be more inclined to start a dialogue to try and teach the asker how the site works and/or guide them to the help center so they can supplement and clarify their question and avoid closure? Or would you leverage the existing infrastructure for handling such questions and close it with the appropriate reason knowing that any improvements they make will bring the question to the reopen queue? Would your response be different for users with 101 rep (i.e. users that have participated on some other Q&A site)? What about 500+ rep?

  4. A very popular, trivial question is posted (something like: "Why don't Segways have seats?"). It receives a lot of votes and answers and generates a large degree of comments and discussions. It has clearly been linked to from an external source and is bringing in lots of new users, some are leaving clearly useless answers ("I like this question!") and others are leaving brief, subjective answers ("I think it is because it looks nicer that way"). It also has answers from existing site members with good reputations and include citations and well though-out reasoning. It was posted overnight when you weren't available, and you only see this when you first visit the site in the morning. This post gets flagged as being off topic by several users, and you are pretty sure it is off topic for the site (it's not really about User Experience, it's more of a "Hmm, what's the deal with this thing not being how I want it to be" question). How would you deal with this situation?

  5. 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?

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

  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?

  • 1
    What is the purpose of a vote up on a candidate's responses? Is it an informal endorsement? – Benjamin S Jun 21 at 16:12
  • First time I see this moderator @Grace Note, not very active to say the least :) . Anyways, I voted, good luck to candidates, really good people, any of them will be perfect for teh position :) – Devin Jun 25 at 21:29
  • @Devin I thought the same thing at first, but his profile explains that he works for Stack Exchange as a Community Manager :) I get the impression that running elections like this is one of his job responsibilities. – maxathousand Jun 25 at 23:45

Participation in this communities Meta site is rather low. Do you feel this is a problem, and if so - how would you go about increasing participation and use of this aspect of the site? The same goes for the Chat. Most participation of this site is focused exclusively to the main Q&A page. Is that an issue? How would you change this if so?

The only way to increase participation is to have more people use both the chat and meta sections. It will be a very labor intensive project to prime the pump in order to create an active and ongoing meta/chat community.

Answering the question “is this a problem?” Yes. We are missing out on an important aspect of building a useful community. It would be nice to be able to ask about conferences or courses, etc…

Will my addition to the moderator community solve or directly address this problem? No.

Subjectivity is all part of User Experience design, but Stack Exchange as a platform doesn't really fit well with subjective opinions - it's a Question and Answer site, providing visitors with a curated list of questions around specific problems that User Experience Designers have, and the respective solutions to those problems. With this in mind, how would you balance deciding what questions are too far into the subjective territory to be appropriate to this site? What criteria do you go by before deciding to cast that binding 'close' (or delete) vote as a moderator?

If it’s a new question and it is too subjective then the question ought to be closed. The first step would be to see if the question can be edited in order to make it better fit the Q/A aspect of this site. Then the submitter needs to be contacted and, if necessary, helped through this process. If it’s an older question, especially one with numerous upvoted answers I recommend keeping it and marking it as “not fitting the established QA aspect of the site but that it’s being kept for historical reasons”.

Criteria used? Judging what is too subjective is … subjective. I suppose, after mulling it over I would ask myself if the question and resulting answers would be able to stand up to the test of time.

A low-quality question is posted by a user with 1 reputation point (e.g. "hi do i show Order history in navigation if they have 0 orders? thanks). Would you be more inclined to start a dialogue to try and teach the asker how the site works and/or guide them to the help center so they can supplement and clarify their question and avoid closure? Or would you leverage the existing infrastructure for handling such questions and close it with the appropriate reason knowing that any improvements they make will bring the question to the reopen queue? Would your response be different for users with 101 rep (i.e. users that have participated on some other Q&A site)? What about 500+ rep?

The user needs to be engaged, prompted to add a wireframe (or supporting information) and guided through the process of asking a question that can be properly answered. It would not make a difference how much rep the user has. Someone used to stackoverflow may not know how to phrase a question for this section.

A very popular, trivial question is posted (something like: "Why don't Segways have seats?"). It receives a lot of votes and answers and generates a large degree of comments and discussions. It has clearly been linked to from an external source and is bringing in lots of new users, some are leaving clearly useless answers ("I like this question!") and others are leaving brief, subjective answers ("I think it is because it looks nicer that way"). It also has answers from existing site members with good reputations and include citations and well though-out reasoning. It was posted overnight when you weren't available, and you only see this when you first visit the site in the morning. This post gets flagged as being off topic by several users, and you are pretty sure it is off topic for the site (it's not really about User Experience, it's more of a "Hmm, what's the deal with this thing not being how I want it to be" question). How would you deal with this situation?

The fact that the question is popular makes it useful, especially if it’s bringing in new users. The fact that there are numerous “useless” answers is the price paid for the attention. These “useless” posts will have to be flagged; the posters informed that they need to edit their answers and, if not suitably edited, then the posts would need to be deleted.

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?

This is a Q/A site. Valuable answers trump almost anything but I suppose it would depend upon the nature of the complaints. Vile personal attacks cannot be tolerated on a professional site. Argumentative points about the topic at hand ought to be tolerated to a much greater degree.

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

I would communicate offline with the other moderator and we would come to an agreement. As a new moderator I would defer to those who have more experience.

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Moderators handle problematic users as well as make the final decision on whether a post ought to be kept or removed.

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?

Fine. :)

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

Effective? Effective for what? I find reading and answering questions and answers to be useful. I am not aware how my participation is “effective” in any way except as being part of a larger community.

  • I believe that on the strength of your contribution to the moderation activities for UXSE that you would be an ideal candidate. I didn't get my questions included in the questionnaire but I am still interested in your responses to them: What is your main passion/interest/expertise in UX design (e.g. ethical design practices)? How will you help shape the discussions and conversations in the community in your area of interest? What do you think is the main challenge facing UX designers today? How do you think we can leverage the collective knowledge and talent on UXSE to address this? – Michael Lai Jun 26 at 0:57
  • @MichaelLai - My main interest is in the accurate display of data; and then drilling down into these data displays for more information . (Think Tufte) This is especially challenging when one has huge amounts of data, large graphs, etc. – Mayo Jun 28 at 13:07
  • @MichaelLai - How will I help shape the discussion ... ? Until this question I never thought that was a goal of the moderators, but it is a very interesting point. – Mayo Jun 28 at 13:08
  • @MichaelLai - What do I think is the main challenge facing UX designers? From my limited experience at Meetups and general conversations I would say there are two - defining what we do (why is this still a conversation) and integrating our work within an agile environment. (This can be rephrased as getting everyone - business, PM, ourselves - comfortable with the fact that doing something good in a timely fashion is often superior to getting something great in 10x the time.) – Mayo Jun 28 at 13:20
  • I am also very interested in infographics and data visualization design, and your reference to Tufte means that we are probably on the same page :) I have mentioned that I want to put design ethics on the table for discussion more, and I wonder what your view about this is. I think the challenges you brought up are very relevant, but I don't think it will ever go away :D – Michael Lai Jun 28 at 22:27

Participation in this communities Meta site is rather low. Do you feel this is a problem, and if so - how would you go about increasing participation and use of this aspect of the site? The same goes for the Chat. Most participation of this site is focussed exclusively to the main Q&A page. Is that an issue? How would you change this if so?

I think that a significant portion of the activities on the main site could be redirected towards Meta and Chat. However, there might be other underlying reasons why these channels are not used as much as they have been. I hope that as a moderator there is an opportunity to do some 'UX' on UXSE to look into this further.

Personally I feel like Meta should be used for improvements to the main site (i.e. where the 'research' is done), while Chat should be used to onboard new users so that they don't feel too overwhelmed by the initial learning curve.

I hope that we can get a better understanding of the root cause for low participation in these areas before trying to propose a solution. Maybe it is not an issue and we could be spending time on more pressing matters.

Subjectivity is all part of User Experience design, but Stack Exchange as a platform doesn't really fit well with subjective opinions - it's a Question and Answer site, providing visitors with a curated list of questions around specific problems that User Experience Designers have, and the respective solutions to those problems. With this in mind, how would you balance deciding what questions are too far into the subjective territory to be appropriate to this site? What criteria do you go by before deciding to cast that binding 'close' (or delete) vote as a moderator?

I think context play a greater part in shaping that subjectivity. My experience with asking and answering questions has been to draw out the specific context from the OP to allow the community to apply their respective experience and knowledge in coming up answer that can help provide potential solutions.

I think it is important to understand what causes the subjectivity, and being able to highlight the context is what helps me determine the validity of that question and where the subjectivity comes from. If I am unable to do that within a reasonable attempt to communicate with the OP, or if the community is unable to ascertain a probably context then I would be inclined to close that question.

A low-quality question is posted by a user with 1 reputation point (e.g. "hi do i show Order history in navigation if they have 0 orders? thanks). Would you be more inclined to start a dialogue to try and teach the asker how the site works and/or guide them to the help center so they can supplement and clarify their question and avoid closure? Or would you leverage the existing infrastructure for handling such questions and close it with the appropriate reason knowing that any improvements they make will bring the question to the reopen queue? Would your response be different for users with 101 rep (i.e. users that have participated on some other Q&A site)? What about 500+ rep?

I think there it is possible to reach a compromise between trying to automate for efficiency and providing manual support for the personal touch. In my previous response I believe that there are other channels for directing people to where they will receive better support. So even if it is a automatic response from the platform, we should still provide the channels for people to reach out and seek further support (if that's what they want).

People who genuinely want to learn and contribute will be funneled into channels for further support, and those who are not serious can be filtered out by the platform. It is not a perfect system, but far better than erring one way or the other. I would determine the response from the content of the question rather than the reputation, since I know plenty of people who are very knowledgeable in the UX space that may be new to the platform and people who have been around for a while that may not be familiar with certain topics, so I wouldn't necessarily treat a user with 101 reputation differently to someone with 500+ rep.

A very popular, trivial question is posted (something like: "Why don't Segways have seats?"). It receives a lot of votes and answers and generates a large degree of comments and discussions. It has clearly been linked to from an external source and is bringing in lots of new users, some are leaving clearly useless answers ("I like this question!") and others are leaving brief, subjective answers ("I think it is because it looks nicer that way"). It also has answers from existing site members with good reputations and include citations and well though-out reasoning. It was posted overnight when you weren't available, and you only see this when you first visit the site in the morning. This post gets flagged as being off topic by several users, and you are pretty sure it is off topic for the site (it's not really about User Experience, it's more of a "Hmm, what's the deal with this thing not being how I want it to be" question). How would you deal with this situation?

If there is interest from the group, then the role of the moderator would be to try and draw out elements of benefit to the community from something that may not initially have the right ingredients for a good question. I see flagged questions as a way to engage with the audience on more topical issues, and it should not be seen as a punishment but a flag raised for further discussion that can be used as input for future directions in discussion.

There is always an opportunity for improvement and we have the ability to turn something that may not seem so positive into a lesson or learning for the community. Hopefully we can resolve it through meaningful conversations or discussions rather than flagging, but the tool is at the community's disposal and as long as it serves the purpose then it is just another tool to help manage communications and expectations. I don't see a need to deal with flagged posts too differently.

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?

If the arguments and flags are from specific individuals then perhaps there should be alternate channels used for them to resolve their differences within the spirit and guidelines of the platform (which the moderator can oversee). If it is from the community then some effort will need to go towards addressing the specific area(s) that is causing the arguments/flags.

It would seem logical that a person's conduct on the platform is consistent across posts and comments, so when there is a discrepancy between posts and comments then it is important to work out with the individual (again perhaps on a different channel) how to improve their communication with the rest of the community in their commenting of other people's posts.

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

I think moderators have to work together as a team but also bring their own individual perspectives to the work that they do. These differences should be discussed when the team is formed, and the outcome communicated to the wider community to create a feedback loop for future improvement. If I have a problem with the decision of another mod then I would discuss it with them offline and present the outcome publicly when the decision changes.

In your opinion, what do moderators do?

This was my contribution to the 2018 Moderator Election Q&A Question Colleciton that is relevant to this question:

I believe that moderators should help shape the discussions and conversations of the community so that there is a strong sense of how we want to move forward as a group and the focus of our conversations is clear. I also believe that UXSE can be a forum to help evolve and change the field in a positive manner, and should be used as such so we can become an influence for the wider UX community.

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?

With greater powers come greater responsibility. Whereas before I relied on the moderators to provide the answers and resolve issues, I need to put myself in those shoes now. Hopefully that will be the only change to my general conduct on UXSE.

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 already passed those milestones, but mostly through asking questions (which I believe is an often underestimated part of what we should be doing as more experience users) rather than answering questions. I think being given the mandate to help drive the discussions in specific areas will make my actions and activities on this platform more effective compared to acting on my own volition.

  • I will ask the same question that I asked to Mayo: How would you deal with users that have been here for a few months but continue to ask very low quality questions, even after being guided on how to improve their questions? – RobbyReindeer Jun 21 at 8:24
  • @RobE To be honest I don't really know :p I imagine that one posts questions so that they can get answers to them, and if they are low quality questions then they can only expect low quality answers in return. By showing them how the platform can be used in the optimal way to achieve the outcome that they want is the only thing I can think of. Failing that I think a reasonable person would come to the conclusion that this isn't necessarily the right place for them (and maybe they can try other platforms like Quroa?). – Michael Lai Jun 21 at 23:47
  • Just to add to my response: in the past I have also posted questions that have been closed or removed (as it was deemed to be of low quality). I think the issue I had with this is that there are other questions of similar nature that have been allowed to remain, although this could be due to the change over time of the guidelines for what is acceptable or not. What are your thoughts on the best course of action? – Michael Lai Jun 21 at 23:54

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