7

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. There were exactly 8 submissions that were voted so we've selected all 8 of them, plus our base 2, for a total of 10 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. Oh, and 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.

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!


  1. How do you plan to respond to a 'This is not an answer' flag on a post of a topic you are not familiar with?

  2. 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?

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

  4. How do you plan to handle a situation where a (normal-avid) user of the site is dissatisfied with your moderation?

  5. What criteria do or would you use to determine when an analysis question is too basic and/or specific and should be closed? For example, what reasons would you give for leaving this question open and closing this question?

  6. If you do not moderate on another SE site, do you have any experience moderating a community? Otherwise, if you moderate on other SE sites, how can you be sure that you will have time to moderate all of them? This SE site is currently growing and needs more moderation than before.

  7. What one thing do you most wish were different about how Stack Exchange sites work (i.e., what feature would you add, remove, change, etc.)? Would it be different if it had to be one feature or capability that would you most like to have for Music: Practice & Theory specifically?

  8. What times of the day will you be most active?

  9. How much time of your day are you willing to spend on your moderators duties?

  10. Whilst Music Practice and Music Fans have different points of focus, there is an area of overlap between the two sites. How do you think this overlap should be handled? With regards to questions that fall into this grey area - although may be 'more suited' to one site or the other.

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  1. How do you plan to respond to a 'This is not an answer' flag on a post of a topic you are not familiar with?

"This is not an answer" flags are reserved for questions that make no attempt to answer the question, and as such they are usually easy to handle independent of the subject matter. They are frequently used for people misusing the answer space to ask questions, provide commentary on other answers, or make odd statements about other matters. They are also sometimes used on wrong answers, which is incorrect (that's what downvotes are for) and they should be declined in that case.

The only case that might present difficulty is when the post is an answer to a different question. In this case there are a number of things I would do:

  • Research the question and answer. If I can learn about the subject matter well enough, I'll be able to tell whether the answer addresses the question.
  • If still unclear, I'd leave it for another moderator. So far we've had great coverage of different concepts by the mods, such as Dr Mayhem making up for my lack of knowledge of guitar effects and NReilingh making up for my lack of knowledge of brass instruments.
  • If another mod can't handle it, we should consult the community via chat or Meta. We have an incredible user base and I'm confident they could provide insight on virtually any subject.
  • Worst case, mark the flag "helpful" but take no action. When something is on the fence, you decide in favor of the user — both that the poster and flaggers were trying to be helpful.
  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?

We've actually had to deal with this a couple times on this site, with a range of outcomes. Obviously the goal is always to resolve the problematic behavior and allow the user to continue contributing to the site.

Specifically, we've had a few occasions where comments have spiralled out into extended discussions that get off-topic. Usually it's enough to clean up the comments, preserving any that are useful and polite, and to leave a comment indicating the action taken and a mild admonishment of the behavior (rather than the users). If that doesn't work and a particular user continues to engage in the same way, we escalate to a direct message (private mod messages provided through the site) and attempt to explain to the user directly what is wrong.

If the behavior still continues we have to make a judgment call about its severity. If they're just misusing comments to get into deep discussion about something, it probably makes sense to continue cleanup and the gentle reminders. But things like attacking/insulting other people are not acceptable on Stack Exchange, so in those cases we proceed to suspensions (accompanied by mod messages re-explaining the issue). Suspensions to continue to increase in length if they are issued multiple times. It's extremely rare for someone to need to be suspended permanently, but it's important that we don't allow them to drive away others that are or might be extremely valuable contributors themselves.

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

Once or twice there has been a clear and simple misunderstanding where the other mod misread what was being asked. In that case it suffices to revert the action and explain with a comment (and possibly alert the other mod to the action).

Otherwise, we bring it up in our private moderator chatroom. It's important to trust the other moderators and their judgment (and all my fellow mods thus far have definitely earned it). So you want to establish their motivation and thinking. Usually we can reach a consensus and proceed from there. In borderline cases we, again, decide in favor of the user. If we continue to disagree, but recognize that the other mod acted reasonably, we allow their action to stand. Depending on the situation, it might be good to propose alternative actions to the user (rephrasing the question, posting on another site, etc.).

In a case of mod abuse I would contact the Community team at SE, but so far I've never had reason to so much as consider that.

  1. How do you plan to handle a situation where a (normal-avid) user of the site is dissatisfied with your moderation?

There's often a lesson to be taken when this happens. Users here and on Android have made me aware of the fact that my moderation from mobile was often a bit hasty and I ought to leave a bit more explanation in comments regarding my actions, which was absolutely on-point. In response, I've taken greater care when accessing the site on my phone and moved most of my moderation time to the desktop.

Frequently there's also a misunderstanding of site scope or the fundamentals of the SE platform. Here I need to explain how things work, and that scope is ultimately up to the users — not me or the other mods. I'd direct them to Meta discussions or the Help Center as appropriate.

Otherwise it should be taken on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes I can improve, they can improve, or we can agree to disagree.

  1. What criteria do or would you use to determine when an analysis question is too basic and/or specific and should be closed? For example, what reasons would you give for leaving this question open and closing this question?

For borderline questions, we should not close them. The community can decide via votes, and a mod should only step in if the community keeps oscilliating or arguing — and generally decide in favor of the poster in that case. As for these specific examples, I think the outcome very clearly matches the wording of the close reason and not much interpretation was required.

It's always a judgment call, and other than what's been outlined in the close reasons and the Meta discussions backing them I do not hold specific criteria. It's always best when regular users come together and decide on a direction, and with the site's increasing size it's becoming less and less often that I need to decide myself about question closures.

  1. If you do not moderate on another SE site, do you have any experience moderating a community? Otherwise, if you moderate on other SE sites, how can you be sure that you will have time to moderate all of them? This SE site is currently growing and needs more moderation than before.

I've moderated the Literature site (now defunct) and currently moderate the Android site, which is considerably larger than this one. When it comes to moderation time, this site requires about a sixth of it. Currently I have more than enough time to handle them and have zero concerns about that changing (actually I expect to have more time going forward). However, if that changes I will be sure to alert SE and the other moderators so that we can make temporary adjustments or elect additional mods.

  1. What one thing do you most wish were different about how Stack Exchange sites work (i.e., what feature would you add, remove, change, etc.)? Would it be different if it had to be one feature or capability that would you most like to have for Music: Practice & Theory specifically?

I really want improved search. It's obviously valuable to users, and as a mod it would make my life way easier to be able to find duplicates. I also want a mod message template for low-quality answers so that I don't have to manually do it all the time.

In the past, I've helped champion the removal of the Accept Rate and a number of bug fixes (such as improper rate-limiting).

As for this site, it would be great to have a general notation plugin; this is probably the most-requested feature by users of this site. It would also be nice for the rich text bar to have a short list of musical symbols (sharp/flat etc.) so that people don't need to look up the Unicode characters or HTML codes.

  1. What times of the day will you be most active?

I typically moderate a bit in the morning and again in the early evening, Eastern Time, with occasional spurts in the afternoon and late evening.

  1. How much time of your day are you willing to spend on your moderators duties?

Currently, as much as is needed and more — I've often lead tag clean-ups and other activities outside typical moderator duties. See #6 for more on my time constraints (or lack thereof).

  1. Whilst Music Practice and Music Fans have different points of focus, there is an area of overlap between the two sites. How do you think this overlap should be handled? With regards to questions that fall into this grey area - although may be 'more suited' to one site or the other.

I think the grey area is very small, to be honest. Like English is to the US and Canada, music is a common language between our sites but there is still a clear and well-defined border.

As far as I'm aware, this issue has only had significant opposing opinions once (in this Meta post). Dave's answer is excellent, and easily extended to any kind of question:

The linked question is off topic because it is a question from/about the audience side of the performance.

I can imagine applause related questions that are on topic because they come from the performer side. Performers may have questions with respect to managing their stage presence during applause, and these could be on topic.

It would also be excellent to have Dom on board as a moderator here, since he is also a moderator there. If there really was an issue in determining where a question belongs, I think he'd be best-equipped to handle it.

1

I'm Shevliaskovic.

  1. How do you plan to respond to a 'This is not an answer' flag on a post of a topic you are not familiar with?

If the answer makes an attempt to answer, I would consider it an answer; so, I would dispute/decline the flag. The answer might be wrong, yes, but we have the up and down votes to determine which answers are good and which ones are not. A wrong answer is an answer nonetheless.

  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?

Take it to the chat (or some Private Message, which I think mods have) and talk it over with him. If the flags are concerning comments that are too chatty, I'll refer the user to the chatroom. If the user is being aggressive and/or offensive, I'll try to explain that we need a friendly environment on the site and if the user doesn't realize that and keeps on offending people, I might consider suspension.

Generally, what I would do is to amicably ask the user to stop.

  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 it over with the mod. I would explain why I disagree with their opinion, explain my own and see where that leads us. If we don't reach an agreement, we can always take it to the chatroom and/or the meta to see where the community stands.

  1. How do you plan to handle a situation where a (normal-avid) user of the site is dissatisfied with your moderation?

Ask the user what they are dissatisfied about. Two reasonable people can reach an outcome satisfying to both, with a mature discussion. If what the user is dissatisfied about is reasonable I will try to change it; if not, I will try to explain what it is not.

  1. What criteria do or would you use to determine when an analysis question is too basic and/or specific and should be closed? For example, what reasons would you give for leaving this question open and closing this question?

Whether close an analysis question or leave it open, is pretty much up to the OP. The closed aforementioned example was a question that didn't show any research and is highly likely that it was a homework question. Moreover, it isn't a question that will last and will be helpful to others as well. I don't mean to say that it will be useless, but it won't be the most-searched question. But a similar, more general question, like How to tell the time signature of a song by listening? is something that a lot of people will need. It is something that a lot of musicians (especially new ones) need help with.

Now, concerning the question that was left open; we can see that OP has a good question, simply because he doesn't say Tell me what is going on here!. He states that the progressions can be explained in some way (ii7-V7-IM7), but there is still some link missing between the 4 different progressions and wonders whether there is something more than an arbitrary connection. The link is something really really interesting and pretty complex, which deserves a question that is left open with a good answer, such as the one it already has.

  1. If you do not moderate on another SE site, do you have any experience moderating a community? Otherwise, if you moderate on other SE sites, how can you be sure that you will have time to moderate all of them? This SE site is currently growing and needs more moderation than before.

The truth is that I don't have much moderating experience to speak of. I've never moderated any SE site; over the last 8 years or so, I've moderated half a dozen forums, but small ones; nothing to speak highly of.

But for the last 2 years that I've been on this site, I've moderating it the way I can; the way the community can help the moderators out. I'm the top reviewer on all the review queues, one of the top editors and a few flags away from 500 (Marshal badge). This might count as a kind of experience.

  1. What one thing do you most wish were different about how Stack Exchange sites work (i.e., what feature would you add, remove, change, etc.)? Would it be different if it had to be one feature or capability that would you most like to have for Music: Practice & Theory specifically?

I wish the no-lists policy was different. For instance, I would like to see questions like What are some good books about jazz theory? etc. I know they are bound to be opinion based, but still up to a point, they will have subjectivity.

Concerning this site, it would differ; like many users (including me) have mentioned on the meta, I would add some kind of musical notation to the specific SE site. It will not only help a lot writing answers but also the answers per se will be more easily read. The latter because a question that has notation, is much more beautiful that one that tries to explain it with words.

  1. What times of the day will you be most active?

I live in Greece, so the time zone is the Eastern European, UTC +2:00.

Generally, I am active most of the day. My PC is turned on for about 15 hours a day, and there is always a tab with this site on my browser. But, if I have to say which time of the day I will be more active, I will say during the morning and noon. This is because during the afternoon/night I have lessons, so there are days of the week that I won't be active on the afternoon.

  1. How much time of your day are you willing to spend on your moderators duties?

Like I mentioned above, most of the day my PC is turned on and I have a tab with this site on my browser. So, I can pretty much say that I'll be active most of the day.

  1. Whilst Music Practice and Music Fans have different points of focus, there is an area of overlap between the two sites. How do you think this overlap should be handled? With regards to questions that fall into this grey area - although may be 'more suited' to one site or the other.

If the question is on topic on both of the sites, why not leave it on the site that it was asked? It doesn't cause any harm.

Recently, I asked a question ( Will a marching band on the go sound out of tune to an observer due to the Doppler Effect? ) which was on topic here and would also be on topic on Physics.SE; it fell on the gray area. But it didn't cause any harm to leave it here (and it received some good answers), so that is why the community didn't vote to move it.

  • 1
    Great answer to #10, and good point on #3 about taking it up with the community (though in some cases the action may need to be kept private). – Matthew Read Nov 16 '15 at 21:44
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  1. How do you plan to respond to a 'This is not an answer' flag on a post of a topic you are not familiar with?

In general, the question space is for questions and the answer space is for answers. As long as a user attempts to answer the question, then it is an answer.

It may be incorrect, bad, or entirely miss the point of the question, but it is still an answer. It is however the job of the community to let the user know and down vote if necessary. If I come across the case where I don't know the topic at all then I'll just check and make sure the user attempts an answer on the question and let the community vote and comment as needed.


  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?

First I would just try to make note of it and guide him though comments on problem posts and point him to the FAQ and related site rules as needed. If the problems persist than pulling the user into a chat and have a one on one discussion about the issues at hand. If it still persisted, then more drastic measures would likely be necessary like the penalty box.


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

If I perceive it as an issue, I'll do what any other member of the site will do and bring it up in the meta for discussion for the community to talk about and see what the community wants. I'm a member of the community just like the other users and my views may not be the same as the rest of the community thus bringing the issue to the meta lets the community figure out what they want which is more than what one moderator wants.


  1. How do you plan to handle a situation where a (normal-avid) user of the site is dissatisfied with your moderation?

If this situation were to arise I would talk it over with the user via chat and possible have another moderator talk to and discuss it with them alone to give an independent view on the situation. I'm human I am prone to mistakes. If I am being ineffective, too harsh, etc. I would like to know so I can correct any issues.


  1. What criteria do or would you use to determine when an analysis question is too basic and/or specific and should be closed? For example, what reasons would you give for leaving this question open and closing this question?

Questions on analysis should be insightful and be what analysis is for which is the "why" in music. Asking what chords are in this section, what time signature a song is in, or what key the song is in can typically be solved by just viewing the notation for the song thus are more like transcription in nature and form an analysis standpoint really only pertain to the one song so they are not allowed. However, questions like this that ask "why" like why is a D chord used in the key of C or why does this progression work tend to go deeper into what is going on and apply to much more than one given song.


  1. If you do not moderate on another SE site, do you have any experience moderating a community? Otherwise, if you moderate on other SE sites, how can you be sure that you will have time to moderate all of them? This SE site is currently growing and needs more moderation than before.

I moderate on the Music Fan SE. It's a very related site and has gave me a lot of moderation experiencing on a different SE so I understand what the position requires. The Music Fan SE workload for a mod isn't too bad and in my opinion will help here since if questions need to be migrated I can easily facilitate this.


  1. What one thing do you most wish were different about how Stack Exchange sites work (i.e., what feature would you add, remove, change, etc.)? Would it be different if it had to be one feature or capability that would you most like to have for Music: Practice & Theory specifically?

We have the main site, the meta, and the chat which exists on every site. While the chat and meta together can kind of get the idea of community, I wish there was another way to build and interact with the communities on each SE instead kind of like a chat/meta hybrid where we can talk about the site and what we are doing together and keep track of it. For example, a lot of us are musicians and perform and having an area to post it and keep it around would be kind of cool besides just your profile or posting it in chat and hoping people see it.

For this specific site however, notation is a must before then. It's way too often that I have to load up Finale to show an example of what I am talking about in notation. Also having some Analysis notation support like chord symbols and Roman Numerals would be great, but the standard notion takes priority.


  1. What times of the day will you be most active?

On a typical day, I will be active from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM EST or 1:00 PM to 4:00 AM UTC. I'm most active in the evenings after 7:00 PM EST and midday around 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM both EST. I do frequently check the site on my laptop and on my phone during my active times.


  1. How much time of your day are you willing to spend on your moderators duties?

As much as it takes within reason. I imagine eventually some days I'll only be able to moderate due to the number of flags and meta and on slower days when there is little to no flags I'll just participate like a normal user. Right now I spend a few hours a day on the site and like I said I'll spend as much as I need to handle issues that arise on the site.


  1. Whilst Music Practice and Music Fans have different points of focus, there is an area of overlap between the two sites. How do you think this overlap should be handled? With regards to questions that fall into this grey area - although may be 'more suited' to one site or the other.

There's not just overlap between us and the other music related SEs and soon to be, but there are other SEs like we sometime get guitar/amp electronics that could potentially be asked on EE instead.

If a question is asked on any site with overlap as long as it is on topic it that site should stay there. Whether it be Music Fans, this SE, or any other SE. Another thing to note is let's say a question asked here is off-topic here, but on-topic on the Music Fan SE. As long as the question wasn't low quality, I'd be willing to migrate to the Music Fan site.

  • Your answer to #5 (does the question ask "why?") is an excellent rough approximation of how to tell where an analysis question falls, which I will find very useful when doing review tasks on such questions. Thanks! And in #7 you came up with something I have subconsciously wanted but not been able to articulate: one more communication channel. Not necessarily private messages (although I think that would be nice with a min rep.), but something. Tip o' the hat. – Todd Wilcox Nov 17 '15 at 20:42
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Answers from Doktor Mayhem:

  1. How do you plan to respond to a 'This is not an answer' flag on a post of a topic you are not familiar with?

While I am not an expert in any area of music, I am enough of a generalist that being in doubt about whether a particular post is a valid answer should be rare. If in doubt, however, I'd usually leave it unless I could see that the other mods had already reviewed and left it - in which case a quick chat in the mod room to gain consensus should be enough. Worst case, we leave it and see if the community raises more NAA flags, possibly dealing with it without mod intervention.


  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?

First step would be to leave a quick comment, and try to guide the user through the Help page guidance. If that didn't work, a private message, followed up by suspensions if needed. The vast majority of individuals never need to get this far, though.


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

This has happened on occasion. Usually a quick chat with the other mod to understand the reasons. Depending on outcome, we may leave it as is or revert with a comment as to why. In either case, the meta route is always open for the community to discuss, as at the end of the day it should be the community decision unless something steps outside politeness/normal behaviour etc.


  1. How do you plan to handle a situation where a (normal-avid) user of the site is dissatisfied with your moderation?

This scenario has happened on this, and other sites I moderate. What we try to do is have the mod concerned step away from the activity, and one of the others step in to provide a more independent view.


  1. What criteria do or would you use to determine when an analysis question is too basic and/or specific and should be closed? For example, what reasons would you give for leaving this question open and closing this question?

This has been one of the biggest challenges for Music.SE, and the criteria have evolved along the way. Currently the simplest criterion is simplicity - if a question could be answered simply by googling for the tablature or chords in a song, then it probably isn't suitable for analysis here. Similarly, an analysis question that applies only to one song is more likely to be closed than one that applies to a whole category of music.


  1. If you do not moderate on another SE site, do you have any experience moderating a community? Otherwise, if you moderate on other SE sites, how can you be sure that you will have time to moderate all of them? This SE site is currently growing and needs more moderation than before.

I currently moderate 7 sites including this one, so moving from pro-tem to elected mod will not change my moderating workload.

Contrary to what you believe, moderating actually gets easier as a site grows (really large sites such as SO are excepted from this!) and here on Music.SE we have an amazingly proactive community that really cares, so a lot of the work that a mod would typically pick up on a smaller site is actually handled by our high-rep community. So many times I get to a bad question only to find it closed successfully within a few minutes of posting.

The good thing is - we already have routes to request more help if things do get frenetic. When a mod goes on holiday, we will let the others know if we are going to be scarce for a couple of weeks; and if the workload does creep up to unpleasant levels, SE typically bring in another election for more mods.


  1. What one thing do you most wish were different about how Stack Exchange sites work (i.e., what feature would you add, remove, change, etc.)? Would it be different if it had to be one feature or capability that would you most like to have for Music: Practice & Theory specifically?

The two key things I'd like to see would be:

  • Some kind of fully integrated notation, ideally with live playback so we could post examples of what we are trying to describe. Being able to embed YouTube is nice, but for proper analysis/description, notation in various forms is essential
  • A Music.SE blog could help complete the information passing needs of the site

  1. What times of the day will you be most active?

I live in the UK, so typically I get some time between 0630 and 0900, 1300 and 1400 and then 1900-2300, with additional checks throughout the day for flags etc.


  1. How much time of your day are you willing to spend on your moderators duties?

Currently I spend about 3 hours a day moderating across my 7 sites, but this ebbs and flows with each site's needs. Sometimes first thing in the morning is really easy, as any flags have been handled during my night-time. Other days, flags pop up during the UK morning.


  1. Whilst Music Practice and Music Fans have different points of focus, there is an area of overlap between the two sites. How do you think this overlap should be handled? With regards to questions that fall into this grey area - although may be 'more suited' to one site or the other.

With Music Fans, the overlap is actually less than some other sites - and currently Dom is an excellent point of contact for that site - so if we are unsure we can ask him. In fact where there is doubt, we typically do check in the site-wide mods chat room to ask if they would like a question migrated.

Where the question would be perfectly valid here, my usual view is to leave it unless the OP or community vote otherwise. It causes no harm that way.

  • Good call about getting another mod to help for #4, and also on the all-SE mod chatroom for #10. – Matthew Read Nov 19 '15 at 5:25

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