This has been done on several sites so far and were pretty successful, I think they have also had live chats with the candidates but since you all have an adversion to the chat I'm not sure how well that would work.

Feel free to answer as many or as little as you have time for. Many of these questions are identical to those asked on other SE's. Credits below.

Openers

  • What do you believe is the biggest issue currently facing WPA? How do you plan to handle it?

Personal

  • Should we be afraid you'll burn out or become even more fanatic?

  • How do you expect becoming a moderator will change or influence the way you use WPA?

  • Will you have the time to spend moderating the site? How much time do you think you'll spend modding?

  • What is it of being a moderator that appeals to you? You will be, for many users, the overlords of the site, and will have to make decisions on behalf of the community. Is it so you can show people you have a pointy diamond next to your name, to give back to the community, because you really, really like power, or something else?

Topics

  • What are your opinions on the various WordPress versioning tags? Do you feel they benefit the site and make it easier to use?

  • What's your stance on duplicates and how should they be handled?

  • Do you feel it is the role of a moderator to promote the site? How would you promote WPA to the wider WordPress community?

  • How do you feel that WPA fits in with the overall WordPress ecology?

Moderator Powers

  • How will you deal with having a binding close vote?

  • How do you feel about suspensions? in what cases should it be used? and not?

Users

  • What do you feel is a good way to deal with new users posting bad questions?

  • 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?

Closers

  • Which three nominees do you think are the most suited to become the next moderators and why?

Credits

Based on the Gaming.SE questions, which were based on Ivo's work on Super User, which in turn was based on Math.SE

Please feel free to add questions to this list for the candidates

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I wouldn't say we all have an aversion to chat ... it's just difficult to get us all on the same timeframe :-) –  EAMann Mar 15 '11 at 22:01
    
Just as I was hoping to finally get a weekend free and not be a slave to the keyboard the entire weeekend... ;-) I have social plans later today but will try to get to this tomorrow. RE:Chats; I've found chats to be very in-efficient use of time as everyone waits for everyone else to pontificate and when there are not many people around they aren't much use. If a chat were very focused with a short timeframe, they would be more viable. –  MikeSchinkel Mar 19 '11 at 18:38
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4 Answers

Openers

  • What do you believe is the biggest issue currently facing WPA? How do you plan to handle it?

I believe new users who are ignorant of the rules and conventions of the site are at least a big issue facing us right now. I think those users fall into two rough groups: 1)Well-intentioned folks who are willing to cooperate and contribute, and 2)People who here for a quick answer and will not be back, and thus don't care about the rules and conventions. In both cases, I'd handle the issue with a "lead by example" approach - politely asking people to observe our rules and customs and giving them an opportunity to make any corrections necessary, and if they don't do so in a reasonable amount of time, using mod powers to correct any 'violations'.

Personal

  • Should we be afraid you'll burn out or become even more fanatic?

No. I use WordPress to make a living. However, I by no means know everything there is to know about it, so regardless of whether I'm elected to be a moderator, I'll be visiting the site on a daily basis for the foreseeable fture.

  • How do you expect becoming a moderator will change or influence the way you use WPA?

Because I've been a moderator pro tem since September, my usage of the site won't be immediately changing to any signifiant degree. However, I will always try to be attentive to the changing needs of our community and adjust my behavior accordingly.

  • Will you have the time to spend moderating the site? How much time do you think you'll spend modding?

Yes, I know I will, since I've been doing so for six months already. I typically visit the site several times per day, and usually perform moderator actions at least once a day (tending to any flags, leaving comments asking folks to delete or move errant posts, etc.).

  • What is it of being a moderator that appeals to you? You will be, for many users, the overlords of the site, and will have to make decisions on behalf of the community. Is it so you can show people you have a pointy diamond next to your name, to give back to the community, because you really, really like power, or something else?

My serious answer is that it's to give back to the community. WordPress Answers is an incredibly valuable resource for me professionally, and being able to volunteer my time to support it over the past six months is something I've really enjoyed, especially because I'm not one of the most knowledgable people here (so I don't feel like my answers are as much of a contribution as some other folks here). Additionally, I'm just very interested in online communities, and figuring out how to best help them grow and succeed.

Lastly, the pointy diamond is awesome.

Topics

  • What are your opinions on the various WordPress versioning tags? Do you feel they benefit the site and make it easier to use?

I think version tags should only be used when the question being asked is very specific to a particular version, and not knowing which version that is would make answering the question difficult or impossible. Practically, I think that most of the time the person asking the question won't know if that's the case! As a result, I suspect that most of the time a version tag is appropriate, it will be discovered as such by people helping to troubleshoot whatever the issue is, and can then be added (by the asker or someone with edit powers). As such, I think that adding a version tag when asking a question should typically be discouraged.

  • What's your stance on duplicates and how should they be handled?

If the question being asked is truly a duplicate, it should be marked as such and closed.

  • Do you feel it is the role of a moderator to promote the site? How would you promote WPA to the wider WordPress community?

Absolutely! I already promote the site, mostly through Twitter (which I use mostly as a way of connecting to other people who use WordPress in their work). I'd also like to explore promotional efforts that we can participate in as a group - things like creating a community blog at wordpress.blogoverflow.com (similar to superuser.blogoverflow.com), as well as working to get more coverage from WordPress sites like wpcandy.com.

  • How do you feel that WPA fits in with the overall WordPress ecology?

I believe it can continue to be the best place to gain practical knowledge about WordPress. The site is structured in a way the helps the 'cream rise to the top', and thus makes learning a much easier task than through a forum-based site (or other structure). I also feel that because of the way this site is structured, it naturally discourages the drama and politics that come along with any large organization. WordPress is not immune to said drama and politics, but I think our site largely avoids that (and I'll do my best to help it stay that way).

Moderator Powers

  • How will you deal with having a binding close vote?

My tendency in the past (and what I'll do in the future) has been to leave a comment asking the user to change or close their question (or answer), and only close it unilaterally if they refuse or don't comply in a timely manner. If it's blatantly off topic, offensive, or if there are several other close votes already, I'll go ahead and close.

  • How do you feel about suspensions? in what cases should it be used? and not?

They're rarely appropriate given our site structure, in my opinion. This isn't a discussion forum where the line between appropriate and inappropriate is blurry - you're either contributing and on-topic, or you're not. Typically, the voting mechanism takes care of people who aren't contributing, are posting wrong information, or are off-topic, and they either leave or improve.

I have no mercy or patience for spammers. If I see that someone is spamming the site with links and they've not contributed anything of value (and I've never seen a case where they have, by the way), I destroy the account with no warning. Harsh, perhaps, but so is spamming our community.

Users

  • What do you feel is a good way to deal with new users posting bad questions?

Usually a comment offering some advice is all it takes. If they have any desire to be a part of the community and want to stick around, they'll typically be quite eager to correct their mistakes. I should mention that I don't see this (dealing with new users posting bad questions) as solely a job for moderators. Quite the contrary - anyone who observes this should be willing to offer some friendly advice to the user about what they can do to get answers and be a part of our community. If they continue to post bad questions, that's where a moderator comes in (emailing them with more information, suspending as necessary, etc.).

  • 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'd send them a message explaining the issue, and offer some advice on how to correct whatever they're doing 'wrong'.

Closers

  • Which three nominees do you think are the most suited to become the next moderators and why?

MikeSchinkel - unquestioned commitment to the site. Does an incredible, incredible job of "lead by example" with regard to how questions should be answered.

EAMann - knowledgable, great contributor, and exhibits genuine care for the community.

Jan Fabry - I've noticed Jan does a great job of prompting us as a community to carefully consider issues and address them before they're a problem. His participation on meta is fantastic.

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Openers

What do you believe is the biggest issue currently facing WPA? How do you plan to handle it?

Visibility. A lot of people looking for answers don't really know where to turn. They'll troll the WP.org support forums, constantly bumping their own questions, drop notes on IRC, ping the hackers list, or just hope that the Google gods will return something in response to their question. This is where we shine - SE sites can outscore anything on Google if the content is of a high enough quality.

We need to make sure questions and answers both are well-written and well supported. I'll handle this by example and by working with the community to hold up a high standard.

Personal

Should we be afraid you'll burn out or become even more fanatic?

Nope. I was a fan of this idea when it was still an "idea" floating around the hackers list and I plan to be here for a while. As far as becoming more fanatic, I don't see that as a negative thing :-)

How do you expect becoming a moderator will change or influence the way you use WPA?

I think I'll still use it just as frequently. I usually check in a couple of times a day to see what's going on. More frequently in my off-hours to answer longer issues and lend support where needed.

Will you have the time to spend moderating the site? How much time do you think you'll spend modding?

I try to spend at least 10-15 minutes a day checking mod flags. I doubt that will change unless the flagging frequency goes up.

What is it of being a moderator that appeals to you? You will be, for many users, the overlords of the site, and will have to make decisions on behalf of the community. Is it so you can show people you have a pointy diamond next to your name, to give back to the community, because you really, really like power, or something else?

I don't have as much time to contribute to core as I wish I did, and I've given up on being able to offer any kind of meaningful support in the WP.org forums or on the hackers list. But I still want to give back and contribute to the community at large. That's why I came here in the first place.

And you've got to admit, the little diamond thing is pretty nifty :-)

Topics

What are your opinions on the various WordPress versioning tags? Do you feel they benefit the site and make it easier to use?

I think they have some marginal significance. People are still using 3.0.5 on their sites and have issue specific to that version. Most have upgraded to 3.1 and have issues that don't apply to legacy sites. Others break the rules and run 3.2-bleeding on their production sites and will have questions or concerns that make no sense to the rest of us. In those three cases - current version, previous version, and development - versioning tags make sense. But if people start tagging things as 2.8 and asking questions I think I'd lose it.

What's your stance on duplicates and how should they be handled?

Duplicate questions should be merged if possible. Many times one variation of the question gets a couple of great answers while the other gets no feedback at all ... but Google (and lost WordPress users) will find their way to both. If they can be merged, they should be.

Duplicate tags/topics should use synonyms to prevent confusion and help people find the best answer as quickly as possible.

Do you feel it is the role of a moderator to promote the site? How would you promote WPA to the wider WordPress community?

I ask questions, I offer bounties, and I promote individual questions on Twitter and through my own blog. A lot of techies follow me online, so it gets us some additional visibility. I also take the time to track down loose WordPress questions on Stack Overflow to help new users find the site and the community.

How do you feel that WPA fits in with the overall WordPress ecology?

I'd say it sits alongside the official WP.org forums as a great channel for user support. It's easier to share code (without resorting to pastebins) but not quite powerful enough for patching core (i.e. Trac). WPA is a key element of the overall WordPress community in that it helps new users easily track down issues and write code snippets, and is very discoverable in terms of Google searches.

Moderator Powers

How will you deal with having a binding close vote?

Unless the question is blatantly off-topic (i.e. "How do I do XXX with Drupal") I will add a comment with my concerns and suggest the question either be changed or closed if enough people agree. If at least 2 or 3 other high-profile users agree in the comments or also vote to close, I'll step in and make a binding vote.

How do you feel about suspensions? in what cases should it be used? and not?

They are powerful and should be used rarely. In the instance where a user joins and begins spamming with links to his or her commercial plug-in (with the best intentions, but it still comes across as spamming), I'll email them first and clarify the purpose of the site. If it continues, I'll issue a timed suspension.

Users

What do you feel is a good way to deal with new users posting bad questions?

Start out with comments on each question and tips for improvement. If that goes nowhere, a quick email explaining what's "bad" about the questions and a sincere request to fix the problem with a follow-up shortly thereafter.

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 flags are for offensive content, it would warrant a discussion with the user outside of the site. Offensive comments and personal attacks have no place on the site and would be removed.

Closers

Which three nominees do you think are the most suited to become the next moderators and why?

Not including myself ...

MikeSchinkel - Mike has some of the most refined, thought-out answers I've seen on any community site. His dedication to WPA is phenomenal, and I know he'd do an outstanding job leading this community.

Rarst - Rarst is, by reputation points, even more active than Mike ... by a hair. He'd be a great addition to the existing moderation team and would be a great example for new members.

tnorthcutt - tnorthcutt is calm and measured when responding to new users and always has great insights. His comments on questions are just as useful as his answers, which leads me to believe he'd be an even stronger leader if made a permanent moderator.

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Openers

What do you believe is the biggest issue currently facing WPA? How do you plan to handle it?

Growth. Which is solving itself.

As for something more actionable I think tags need dedicated attention and work to make them adequate and useful.

Personal

Should we be afraid you'll burn out or become even more fanatic?

I am openly anti-fanatic. I spend so much time here because it is educational and worthwhile. And will keep doing so for those reasons, not out of blind habit or boredom.

How do you expect becoming a moderator will change or influence the way you use WPA?

I will spend a lot of time on site, cleaning up things that need attention as I ecnounter them. So - won't change anything.

Will you have the time to spend moderating the site? How much time do you think you'll spend modding?

Additional time? Not really. Currently most of my cleanups are when reading stream of recent questions, in community wikis and when I have time to burn on old unanswered questions.

I don't see much to do on top of it (on regular basis, some things like discussions on meta aren't daily).

What is it of being a moderator that appeals to you? You will be, for many users, the overlords of the site, and will have to make decisions on behalf of the community. Is it so you can show people you have a pointy diamond next to your name, to give back to the community, because you really, really like power, or something else?

I do not see moderators as governing overlords. I mostly see their role as stamp of (dis)approval. That is role of guidance and control rather than throwing from-the-top commands.

The appeal for me personally is being able to expedite (and answer for of course) my own decisions. It's about doing things worth doing on the spot and right now.

Topics

What are your opinions on the various WordPress versioning tags? Do you feel they benefit the site and make it easier to use?

I see the merit in the idea, but in practice (due to technical nuances like auto-suggest) it fails miserably. The cases of adequate usage drown in sea of messy. I believe that version tags should be banned.

What's your stance on duplicates and how should they be handled?

There is no blanket solution to duplicates. I always treat them individually.

Do you feel it is the role of a moderator to promote the site? How would you promote WPA to the wider WordPress community?

Promotion is a function that any user (moderator or not) can take. Being moderator doesn't make you more responsible for it (or productive at it either).

I promote site just like and just as much as I promote anything I like - through my blog, twitter and such. It's what I know.

How do you feel that WPA fits in with the overall WordPress ecology?

I think that in light of lacking and inconsistent documentation it is de-facto best model to handle information on topic that complex with community oversight and input that efficient.

Moderator Powers

How will you deal with having a binding close vote?

When I think it's thumbs-down - it's thumbs-down. I feel that there still is not enough users to reliably close question by community vote alone. I know old useless questions that I initiated and failed to close multiple times.

Maybe later moderators will be able to stand aside, but for now binding close is important to exercise because otherwise many deserving questions won't be closed.

How do you feel about suspensions? in what cases should it be used? and not?

We have suspensions? First time I hear about that and I am not aware if it was ever used at WPSE. No experience, so no opinion.

Users

What do you feel is a good way to deal with new users posting bad questions?

There are different kinds of bad questions. Try to give some guidance, give it time, take appropriate action (ignore, cleanup, close, etc) from there.

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?

While I will need to adjust my action and reaction for benefit of site's community, personally I have zero tolerance for trolls. There are a lot of experts and most of them have a clue about efficient interaction. I fail to imagine WP knowledge that valuable and exclusive that will make it worthwhile to waste nerves on conflict and disrespect.

Closers

Which three nominees do you think are the most suited to become the next moderators and why?

To be honest I think that Mike's enormous contribution to content makes his contribution to moderation not that significant in comparison. :) He is one of the site's cornerstones and deserves community's trust more than anyone.

As I mentioned on nomination page it's Eric who is usually on receiving end of our flags. I saw him handle countless issues and it is moderation aspect that is not flashy yet highly important.

Not yet nominated, but I sincerely hope Jan will. While by SE moderation model a lot of it is reactive I see him bringing excellent proactive organizational thinking to the site.

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Openers

What do you believe is the biggest issue currently facing WPA? How do you plan to handle it?

Keeping the site attractive for experts, who can answer questions. The percentage of unanswered questions keeps rising, I think the group of people who can answer questions is still too small. If some of us are less active for a period of time, this has a noticeable influence on the number of open questions.

I would tackle this by highlighting the interesting, challenging questions that you see here, via bounties and promotion of individual questions (via blogs: our own or others). This should be a place where WP developers can train their WP muscles, where you can go if you want to learn something new about WordPress.

Personal

Should we be afraid you'll burn out or become even more fanatic?

You can't predict a burnout, but in the unlikely event that it would happen I will have no problem to notice the SE team that I'm no longer the best person to have the moderation tools, so they can give it to someone else.

How do you expect becoming a moderator will change or influence the way you use WPA?

I will focus even more on patterns, on things I can change to improve the site: retagging, writing tag wikis, ... I already had plans to write some tools that can help me (and others) keep track of "questions that deserve more attention", maybe I'll even get to that!

Will you have the time to spend moderating the site? How much time do you think you'll spend modding?

Normal moderation ("stuff you can't do with just high rep") will probably not take too much time: 15 minutes per day, spread over the day. It's the extra stuff that I want to do that can take much more time, and I can't predict where that will go.

What is it of being a moderator that appeals to you? You will be, for many users, the overlords of the site, and will have to make decisions on behalf of the community. Is it so you can show people you have a pointy diamond next to your name, to give back to the community, because you really, really like power, or something else?

I see many possibilities with this site, but then we need to make some decisions. Not enough people are involved on the meta site yet to choose A or B. If I am elected as a moderator, I would try out more new things and see where they go.

Topics

What are your opinions on the various WordPress versioning tags? Do you feel they benefit the site and make it easier to use?

I think I have stated my position in the specific discussions before: should be renamed to and then we should be on the lookout for new occurrences of these tags, and remove them if not needed (which will be almost every time). (Funny anecdote: today I suggested on the Drupal Stack Exchange site that they use instead of . The suggested was executed one hour later, without community discussion. That moderator decision was probably too fast.)

What's your stance on duplicates and how should they be handled?

I don't like duplicate questions and prefer to merge them, because this will group different solutions to the same problem.

Do you feel it is the role of a moderator to promote the site? How would you promote WPA to the wider WordPress community?

It should not be limited to only the moderator of course, but the moderators can certainly play a igniting role here if the promotion is low. I would focus on the experts: plugin authors, maintainers of sub-projects (bbPress, BackPress, ...), ...

How do you feel that WPA fits in with the overall WordPress ecology?

I understand and accept that this site will never be the "official" support channel of WordPress.org, but I think we should always strive to be the best unofficial one. I also want to find ways to use our content to give back to the WP community, for example by updating the Codex with WPSE content.

Moderator Powers

How will you deal with having a binding close vote?

This will depend on the question. If I have doubts I'll wait and go after three or four others have votes, otherwise I only need one or two other votes. If it's really clear I'll vote first.

How do you feel about suspensions? in what cases should it be used? and not?

If a user who should know better keeps abusing the system, then a suspension can be appropriate. But we will have to see it when it happens, and I would then certainly discuss it with the other mods.

Users

What do you feel is a good way to deal with new users posting bad questions?

I think the commenting system is a good way to guide newcomers, as long as we focus on what is wrong with the question, not with the person. If a user keeps posting bad questions the system will block them after a while.

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 a mail and focus on the positive behaviors. If you produce many valuable answers it can't be too hard to keep the annoying part of your writing style under control.

Closers

Which three nominees do you think are the most suited to become the next moderators and why?

The three current moderators have done a great job, so it would be very hard to choose between them. I would like to see a new face in the group, but I don't care whether it's Rarst, Bainternet or me. We all live on the right side of the prime meridian, and our countries all won the Eurovision Song Contest at least once. I can't think of any other criterium that matters in this election, sorry.

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