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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.

Not every question was compiled - as noted, we only selected the top upvoted questions as submitted by the community, plus pre-set questions from us, 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.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):

user 170039

Frank Hubeny

Geoffrey Thomas


  1. How would you delimitate "philosophy" as the subject matter of this site? Is every more or less "deep" thought philosophy or are qualifications in content and/or style necessary in order to make this site work as intended? If so, what would you deem essential?

  2. What problems do you see with the principle mechanisms of a Q&A format like StackExchange aspiring to create a database of knowledge when it comes to philosophy? How would you take them into consideration when moderating?

  3. How will you go about navigating the fine line between acceptable and unacceptable when it comes to posts reflecting fringe or politically incorrect positions? Please be concrete: what actual steps would you take, if any?

  4. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

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

  6. How often do you visit the site, and what do you do when you do visit - reviewing, answering questions, asking questions, commenting? Which of these do you think you can contribute the most at?

  7. Consider seeing a question that is too vague, too general or too subjective to answer. Would you flag to close the question immediately, or would you try to help the user revise the question? If you would help the user, how would you go about doing that? Would you edit yourself, would you give advice to the user, etc. Would you act differently if it were a new user/contributer? Please elaborate.

  8. What do you think is the use of the chat rooms (or, what is your use of the chat), in relation to our Q&A format and our community? Do yoh use it just to "move discussions to chat" rather than long conversations in comments, or do you see it as a well to expand our way of communication further than Q&A style? Do you visit the chat frequently? Extra - do you think the community's use of the chat rooms could be utilized better than today? Elaborate.

  9. Suppose a comment is flagged as "unfriendly or unkind". How would you handle something like that as distinct from a flag for "harassment, bigotry, or abuse"?

  10. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

  • @GeoffreyThomas I am glad you nominated yourself. Please do not forget to fill out the questionnaire. :) – Philip Klöcking Oct 7 '18 at 19:15
  • @PhilipKlöcking where did he nominated himself? – Yechiam Weiss Oct 7 '18 at 20:22
  • @YechiamWeiss On the election site. – Philip Klöcking Oct 7 '18 at 20:43
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    @Grace *principle = principal. I don't have editing rights. – user334732 Oct 8 '18 at 20:11
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    ...and I guess delimitate is meant to be delineate. – user334732 Oct 9 '18 at 2:28
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    @Robert Frost. I took 'delimitate' to be 'delimit' but you could well be right. Best - Geoffrey – Geoffrey Thomas Oct 9 '18 at 7:53
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    @RobertFrost: Nope on the second point, delimitate was deliberate because of the stronger connotations regarding confinements of the field as opposed to simply describing its extent or content ;) – Philip Klöcking Oct 9 '18 at 9:29
  • @PhilipKlöcking ok. We don't have that in UK English, the verb to delimit has that meaning so the ...ate on the end is redundant. Sounds like it may be an Americanism like burglarize. In UK we have burgle as the verb, burglar and burglary are the nouns derived from it and then in US the additional verb burglarize also exists, derived from the nouns derived from the original verb. But we just use Burgle. – user334732 Oct 9 '18 at 10:38
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    @GeoffreyThomas I'm struggling to discriminate any difference between the meanings of delimit and delineate anyway. I guess to delimit is to mark the permiter of one thing as opposed to delineate which is to mark the boundary between one thing and other things. – user334732 Oct 9 '18 at 10:43
6

Geoffrey Thomas

  1. How would you delimit "philosophy" as the subject matter of this site? Is every more or less "deep" thought philosophy or are qualifications in content and/or style necessary in order to make this site work as intended? If so, what would you deem essential?

I don't think there is an essence of philosophy. We can't say that a question, topic or problem is philosophical if and only if ... But we can get a good idea of what philosophy is about through examples. For instance, historians use concepts of time and specifically of the past, but historians as such are not concerned with the analysis of these concepts. But physics is ! Yes : but there are puzzles about time, pressed in McTaggart's 'proof' of the unreality of time, that do not belong to physics. Whatever the inquiry or activity, there concepts it uses rather than puzzles over the use of. Asssumptions, too. I am not shrinking philosophy to conceptual analysis.

Not all deep thought is philosophical. 'Deep' is, of course, a metaphor but I should say that questions about reducibility in the natural sciences need to be addressed by deep thought - the question, for instance, of whether all natural sciences are ultimately reducible to particle physics. Philosophy might contribute something to the analysis of the concept of reducibility but the question is one for scientists. Can it be done or can't it ? Don't ask a philosopher.

So much, briefly, for content. As to style, it's important that a question deal in a concentrated manner with a single subject, and not the variety of topics that often emerge in the explanation box, and that it should be capable of a definite, reasoned answer.

  1. What problems do you see with the principal mechanisms of a Q&A format like StackExchange aspiring to create a database of knowledge when it comes to philosophy? How would you take them into consideration when moderating?

Knowledge-base, yes

I don't think we can ever be quite sure that the answer to a philosophical question embodies knowledge - exact knowledge and only knowledge - which can be taken for granted and built on. Yet the body of answers on PSE does comprise a set of argued answers which serve as a reference point for anyone interested in the questions it answers. The answers to a question on, say, the difference between the 'is' of predication and the 'is' of identity will usefully inform any newcomer of what the difference is, and provide basic, reliable material from which they can work.

If the aim is to create such a reference point, then a moderator must ensure that questions are framed in such a way as to elicit reliable answers, and answers must be scrutinised for accuracy.

Beyond the knowledge-base

We can all accept that a question such as, ‘Is pleasure better than knowledge? All opinions welcome’, is unlikely to be of much value here. Nor is an answer that simply claims, ‘All morality depends on religion’; this combines vagueness with a complete lack of argument. ‘Only your opinion’, at best.

But there's ground between the knowledge-base and opinion-based questions and answers. In that middle ground philosophy raises questions to which the answers are not mere opinion, don't embody knowledge but do involve judgement. ‘Can moral scepticism be disproved ?’, ‘Is solipsism false ?’, ‘Can mind/ body dualism be disproved ?’, are perfectly proper questions (if a little precision is added) but the most that can be reasonably expected in response to them are - and I can claim no originality here - answers that are based on (a) clear and relevant arguments that (b) are supported by grounds or reasons that are not bare assertions, unexamined beliefs, or ‘parroted’ ideas merely adopted, but by grounds or reasons that are careful, considered, reflective and as objective as possible. By ‘objective’ I mean roughly ‘open to intersubjective agreement on the basis of rational argument’. All this is packed into my idea of ‘judgement’.

I'll say flat out that on occasion questions and answers have been rejected as ‘opinion-based’ when they've met the requirements of ‘judgement’ as I’ve defined it. I stress the ‘on occasion’. All I can say is that no institution is perfect and that the site is democratically run but that I would defend any question or answer that I felt had been wrongly frozen out as ‘opinion-based’ when it was careful, considered, reflective and as objective as possible - regardless of whether it contributed to the 'knowledge-base'.

  1. How will you go about navigating the fine line between acceptable and unacceptable when it comes to posts reflecting fringe or politically incorrect positions? Please be concrete: what actual steps would you take, if any?

The PC filter is not one I would directly apply since in politically and socially controversial areas I think a question should be taken on the merits of its seriousness and politeness. To assess this would be my first step. A question which assumes a position of abusiveness or prejudice to a particular group should be removed. That would be my second step.

  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?

How to deal with flags depends on the justifiability of the complaints or protests which they raise. The moderator must make up their mind. A comment could be posted in defence of the answer or other comment if appropriate, or a warning post issued to the offender if their behaviour violates community standards. In the last resort, where an answer or comment is plainly abusive, suspension should be applied.

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

A comment could be posted, pointing out and explaining the interest or significance of the question. If that didn't work, and I still felt the question was in good order, I would advise the questioner to rephrase the question. I do not yet know enough about the mechanics of moderation to know whether I could contact the opposed moderator independently.

  1. How often do you visit the site, and what do you do when you do visit - reviewing, answering questions, asking questions, commenting? Which of these do you think you can contribute the most at?

I visit the site several times a day, every day. I mainly answer questions rather than ask them. I have plenty of philosophical questions that bother me intensely but there are research questions and unlikely to attract general interest. I comment. I also edit questions. I have not been active in the chat rooms but this is for no special reason. It will be my next area of activity.

  1. Consider seeing a question that is too vague, too general or too subjective to answer. Would you flag to close the question immediately, or would you try to help the user revise the question? If you would help the user, how would you go about doing that? Would you edit yourself, would you give advice to the user, etc. Would you act differently if it were a new user/contributer? Please elaborate.

A comment would be necessary pointing out what I regarded as the defect(s). I would try to orient a beginner to the kinds of questions and style of formulation we are looking for. I would not usually flag to close the question immediately but suggest where and how the question could be, and needs to be, improved. I have edited questions but now regret this, since the questioner learns best by prompting and suggestion.

  1. What do you think is the use of the chat rooms (or, what is your use of the chat), in relation to our Q&A format and our community? Do you use it just to "move discussions to chat" rather than long conversations in comments, or do you see it as a well to expand our way of communication further than Q&A style? Do you visit the chat frequently? Extra - do you think the community's use of the chat rooms could be utilized better than today? Elaborate.

I have not used the chat rooms to any great extent. But they are not just a way of moving staggered discussions off screen - though I've just done this myself to a string of comments and replies that needed fuller discussion. The strength of chat rooms is that they allow discussion that is not tied to question and answer. There are times when you just want to talk things over, and the chat rooms are dead right for this. I would like to encourage the positive use of chat rooms and shed their just a bit negative image as places to shunt off over-extended comments.

  1. Suppose a comment is flagged as "unfriendly or unkind". How would you handle something like that as distinct from a flag for "harassment, bigotry, or abuse"?

'Harassment, bigotry or abuse' are easier to recognise and to decide on than the milder 'unfriendly and unkind'. The first are not to be tolerated. What constitutes unfriendliness and unkindness is harder to determine but if I felt that a comment was unfriendly or unkind I would make a counter-comment gently suggesting that the site maintains a broadly tolerant and co-operative environment.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

Largely, moderators allow the site to self-regulate. This is exactly as it should be. But their role is also maintain a general supervision so that questions, answers and comments are kept up to a suitable intellectual standard and out-of-line behaviour is controlled. They are also alert to ways in which the site can be enhanced : two routes to this are to think creatively about the site and to listen to comments from site users.

  • These are interesting and important comments but I cannot answer them with without reeling out a string of comments in reply. Exchange transferred to Chat. – Geoffrey Thomas Oct 14 '18 at 18:15
4
  1. How would you delimitate "philosophy" as the subject matter of this site? Is every more or less "deep" thought philosophy or are qualifications in content and/or style necessary in order to make this site work as intended? If so, what would you deem essential?

I see philosophy as anything that can related to a specific philosopher or to a tagged topic. Topics that are hard to tag are not likely philosophy.

  1. What problems do you see with the principle mechanisms of a Q&A format like StackExchange aspiring to create a database of knowledge when it comes to philosophy? How would you take them into consideration when moderating?

In general I see nothing wrong with the mechanism. However, down-voting should be eliminated. It is a surrogate for rudeness. Flagging problematic posts should replace down-voting.

  1. How will you go about navigating the fine line between acceptable and unacceptable when it comes to posts reflecting fringe or politically incorrect positions? Please be concrete: what actual steps would you take, if any?

Unless there is rudeness involved, I would encourage fringe or politically incorrect positions. They exist. They will not go away by censoring them or banning the one asking the question. They need good answers.

  1. How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?

I would remove comments that are flagged to protect this user who may not realize that such behavior in the real world could get him or her into serious trouble.

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

One can easily create another question that might get by those looking to close the question. If a pattern of such closures occurred I think this should be discussed on meta.

  1. How often do you visit the site, and what do you do when you do visit - reviewing, answering questions, asking questions, commenting? Which of these do you think you can contribute the most at?

I am at my computer every day. I check the site as a way to distract myself. So I am on this site every day.

  1. Consider seeing a question that is too vague, too general or too subjective to answer. Would you flag to close the question immediately, or would you try to help the user revise the question? If you would help the user, how would you go about doing that? Would you edit yourself, would you give advice to the user, etc. Would you act differently if it were a new user/contributer? Please elaborate.

I edit questions (and answers) from new users so they realize what they write can be edited and to try to make their questions or answers look as good as possible. Weak questions may generate interesting answers. Answers are what count. If the questions prompt good answers with references and quotes, the questions have done their job no matter how weak they may be. I am only here for the answers and hope there are many questions of all levels of quality.

  1. What do you think is the use of the chat rooms (or, what is your use of the chat), in relation to our Q&A format and our community? Do yoh use it just to "move discussions to chat" rather than long conversations in comments, or do you see it as a well to expand our way of communication further than Q&A style? Do you visit the chat frequently? Extra - do you think the community's use of the chat rooms could be utilized better than today? Elaborate.

Chat rooms are for extended discussions. I usually go to one every other day or when I get pinged with a message from one of them.

  1. Suppose a comment is flagged as "unfriendly or unkind". How would you handle something like that as distinct from a flag for "harassment, bigotry, or abuse"?

I would track the unfriendly and unkind flags to make sure it is not from the same user who might have a problem with another user. In general, if a comment looks in the slightest way compromising, I would remove the comment without any other warning to the user who made the comment. Some users do not realize how damaging what they say can be. Removing such comments is for their own protection as much as to protect the feelings of someone who might find these comments offensive.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

They should handle flags and respond to posts on the meta site. They should do as little as possible to keep the site running smoothly.

  • Hi Frank, would you mind elaborating on your first answer a bit? Topics related to a philosopher -- great; topics related to a tagged topic -- I'm a little confused about that. Any question can introduce a new tag but surely that by itself wouldn't make it on-topic? Also, some tags are borderline cases (e.g., society, psychology, physics) and it would really depend on the specifics of the question whether they are on-topic, I think. Thanks. – Eliran Oct 7 '18 at 17:12
  • @EliranH So am I. I don't know what fits under a philosophy context until I read some answers to the question. Can someone answer the question without only expressing a personal opinion, that is, making an assertion? I would prefer that all answers on this site have references associated with them even if they are just to Wikipedia The answers determine if the question was any good. Some questions (and answers) appear to be spam or nonsense. These need to be closed, removed or turned into comments. – Frank Hubeny Oct 7 '18 at 18:42
  • Only by seeing how active you are on the site makes me want to have you as a mod. You truly contribute a lot to the site daily, which is remarkable in my honest opinion. – Yechiam Weiss Oct 7 '18 at 20:17
  • Although, I do think that you (in my opinion) don't fully grasp the full potential of moderating. Mods don't only "handle flags" and keeps the meta active. They basically manage the community. This could go as far as a mod would want it to go, but I think that if you'd think a bit more about it, you'll understand that as a mod you could contribute significantly more to the site than what you already do. – Yechiam Weiss Oct 7 '18 at 20:19
  • @YechiamWeiss I am sure there is much I don't anticipate about moderating such a site. I am only running because it was getting to the last minute and we need someone active on the site as moderator. Now that Geoffrey Thomas is running, I will be voting for him. – Frank Hubeny Oct 7 '18 at 22:23
  • @FrankHubeny don't get me wrong, by all means I think you can be a good fit for moderation. You definitely give GT a challenge :) – Yechiam Weiss Oct 8 '18 at 4:10
  • @YechiamWeiss Actually I don't want to give him a challenge. I am not withdrawing because I want to make sure there is a backup candidate. I don't expect anyone to vote for me except as last resort. – Frank Hubeny Oct 8 '18 at 12:30
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    @FrankHubeny dude are you serious? You are one of the top contributers to the site if you haven't noticed. Even without the mod title you already go through everything you say a mod is suppose to do. You are definitely worth the title, if you'd want it. – Yechiam Weiss Oct 8 '18 at 12:46
  • "related to a specific philosopher or to a tagged topic" Do you not think such an approach might stifle original thought? And selecting what the tags are, is itself a democratic process over which moderators hold sway and as such follows what you and the community consider to be philosophy, rather than guides it. – user334732 Oct 8 '18 at 20:31
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    @RobertFrost One can always tag with a new tag. I'm pretty liberal when it comes to questions. Basically I hope to see what answers those questions generate to tell if the question is good or not. A question that looks weak to me may be significant to someone who can provide a good answer. My answer was vague. What I mean by the vagueness is that I am not interested in closing questions, but in answering them or seeing how someone else answers them--whatever those questions are. Some questions are rude or spam or nonsensical. These should probably be closed early on. – Frank Hubeny Oct 8 '18 at 23:46
  • "However, down-voting should be eliminated." This is a much deeper issue which could only be resolved on meta.se. And... I am not really optimistic on that now. – rus9384 Oct 9 '18 at 1:23
  • @rus9384 I'm not either, but it expresses my approach to moderation. I don't down-vote. I don't see the point in doing it. If I think there is a problem I flag the post. Otherwise, I have no problem tolerating a difference in viewpoints. – Frank Hubeny Oct 9 '18 at 1:33
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    I agree 100% that down-voting should be eliminated, and have raised the issue myself, on a different Meta site. – Bread Oct 12 '18 at 2:58
1
  1. How would you delimitate "philosophy" as the subject matter of this site? Is every more or less "deep" thought philosophy or are qualifications in content and/or style necessary in order to make this site work as intended? If so, what would you deem essential?

So far as I understand, it is certainly against the spirit of philosophy to delimit its subject matter in general. I have my reasons regarding this particular assertion, but I don't think that they are going to be much relevant for the specific question at hand, so let's leave it for another day.

Coming back to the specific questions at hand, let me first observe that the question specifically asks about delimiting "philosophy" as the subject matter of this site. It is undoubtedly true that since this site is not a discussion forum, we are forced to make some choices regarding what questions are to be allowed here. It is difficult to give a specific idea of the choices that we are to make because by the very dynamic nature of philosophy, I doubt that that choice can be rigidly maintained.

However, even if for the sake of argument we assume that every more or less "deep" thought is philosophy (keeping the subjectivity of "deep" aside for a moment) if it is not articulated in a clear manner, the "depth" of the thought may be lost. So, if you are here to communicate your "deep" thoughts with your fellow members, communicate them effectively and with the intention of getting an answer. In this case, I don't think I would have any more reservation with the formulation of a question than what is already given in the How to Ask page, unless it is clearly a case which is harmful for the greater good of our site.

The being said, I would like to emphasize one of the most crucial aspects (quoted from How to Ask page) that I would deem essential for an asker,

The answer to your question may not always be the one you wanted, but that doesn’t mean it is wrong. A conclusive answer isn’t always possible. When in doubt, ask people to cite their sources, or to explain how/where they learned something.

If you can't be open to different opinions, in my humble opinion, you are not fit for learning philosophy.

  1. What problems do you see with the principle mechanisms of a Q&A format like StackExchange aspiring to create a database of knowledge when it comes to philosophy? How would you take them into consideration when moderating?

One problem is that many interesting and really deep philosophical questions doesn't have a clear cut answer and is very much a matter of opinion. But I think that this problem is not such a severe problem because you have chatrooms. So, as a moderator, depending on the question, I may to some extent be flexible even though it is a matter-of-opinion type question but if it generates a very large amount of discussion, I may (and probably will) ask the current and future readers to perform this discussion in chat room.

  1. How will you go about navigating the fine line between acceptable and unacceptable when it comes to posts reflecting fringe or politically incorrect positions? Please be concrete: what actual steps would you take, if any?

Not being a native speaker of English I don't fully understand here what is meant by fringe. It is also not clear to me whether by "fringe or politically incorrect positions" what among the two is meant (if not anything else). Is it meant to ask "fringe positions or politically incorrect positions" or is it meant to ask "fringe and politically incorrect positions". It is the first then an academic fringe position is perfectly acceptable to me so long as it is backed up by solid logic. Politically incorrect positions are acceptable in an answer so long as they remain a source of academic investigation and so long as they are supported by facts. What is unacceptable to me is to use these opinions to push forward some agenda. To sum up, so long as the situation remains academic interaction, I am fine with it.

Depending on the nature of the situation I will be asking the participants to stop the discussion or to do it in a dedicated chatroom.

  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 tell him/her the situation precisely (i.e., his/her action tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments, which is not good either for him/her as a member of the community and the community itself) and tell him/her to be more careful in future conversation. If he/she doesn't listen then discuss the matter with fellow mods and give him/her a second and final warning. After that suspend him/her.

Admittedly we will miss his/her valuable answers. But writing valuable answers doesn't give you the license to bend the ethical standards of the community.

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

I will discuss the reason for the closure/deletetion of the question with him/her privately and if I still feel that the reasons are not justified then I will write a meta post asking for the opinion of the community.

However, if it happens too frequently, the I feel that making a meta post each time will probably not be an optimal option. In that case, I will try to discuss with my fellow site mods regarding this issue and act accordingly.

  1. How often do you visit the site, and what do you do when you do visit - reviewing, answering questions, asking questions, commenting? Which of these do you think you can contribute the most at?

I visit the site almost every week. When I visit them I usually try to read the posts relevant to my interests. Due to the lack of my formal training in philosophy, I usually refrain from answering questions. I also try to ask questions when I am sure of its quality.

I think I can contribute the most regarding asking questions.

  1. Consider seeing a question that is too vague, too general or too subjective to answer. Would you flag to close the question immediately, or would you try to help the user revise the question? If you would help the user, how would you go about doing that? Would you edit yourself, would you give advice to the user, etc. Would you act differently if it were a new user/contributer? Please elaborate.

Closing a question immediately due to its being too vague, too general or too subjective is in general not a good idea unless it is from the same user who continue posting this sort of questions despite being repeatedly told earlier.

So, considering that particular case aside for the moment, what I would like to do in the situation is to make the user aware of the problems that I find to be inherent in his/her question and suggest him/her to modify it so that it is answerable (according to our site guidelines). I may also give advice for improvement. I will give the user some time to improve his/her post. If he/she doesn't show any effort to improve the question without any justification, I will be inclined to close the question.

I don't think my action would be much different in case of a new user.

  1. What do you think is the use of the chat rooms (or, what is your use of the chat), in relation to our Q&A format and our community? Do you use it just to "move discussions to chat" rather than long conversations in comments, or do you see it as a well to expand our way of communication further than Q&A style? Do you visit the chat frequently? Extra - do you think the community's use of the chat rooms could be utilized better than today? Elaborate.

I am largely active in rooms intended for mathematical discussion. Of course, I don't use it just to "move discussions to chat". Currently I am the owner of three chatrooms and I am going to describe their intended purpose so that it will clarify my use of chatrooms,

  • The room Archive is intended primarily to be a repository of academic materials that I find interesting or important.

  • The room Philosophy of Mathematics was intended for discussing topics related to Philosophy of Mathematics.

  • The room General chat with user 170039 is intended for discussing any topics not suitable for the Philosophy of Mathematics room.

I think that the chatrooms play a complementary role to the main site. Under this view I do see its role as expanding our way of communication further than Q&A style.

  1. Suppose a comment is flagged as "unfriendly or unkind". How would you handle something like that as distinct from a flag for "harassment, bigotry, or abuse"?

It depends on the comment, really. Sometimes I have seen comments which fall under both category, sometimes they fall under none and the user simply overreacts. In any case, if I think that the comment flag is justified then I will simply remove that comment. In case of "harassment, bigotry, or abuse", I would like to remind both the users to be constructive in their discussions. If this continues, stronger steps will be taken.

In any case if any violation of CoC is brought to my notice, I will take action accordingly.

  1. In your opinion, what do moderators do?

In short, I think that the moderators mainly are responsible for the following things,

  • To keep the community from falling apart.

  • To be a place where users can share their concerns about this site easily and act accordingly.

  • To be a bridge between CM's and non-moderator users.

I think that the above three points nicely summarizes what I need to say and so even though I initially thought about elaborating on them, I am not going to do that now primarily because they will be repetition of essentially same things.

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    If you have no real understanding of philosophy except to a limited reading of a book limited to what may be called analytical philosophy and see no need to delimit the questions to philosophy, why call the forum a philosophy forum? Why not rename it to Whatever forum? You also suggest that the forum should be open to opinions? Questions that ask for opinions are not allowed on the forum. As a graduate student in math do you allow new freshmen to moderate/decide the subject matter for a course? If they decide the subject matter is to deep for them, do you eliminate it from the course? – Swami Vishwananda Oct 6 '18 at 4:53
  • I think your comment results from a misunderstanding of my position. Maybe I was not clear enough. So let me try to explain. First I can't see from which part of my post(s) it follows that I have "no real understanding of philosophy except to a limited reading of a book limited to what may be called analytical philosophy". Can you elaborate that please? Second, nowhere I said that I see no need to delimit the questions of philosophy. Please read my answer to the first question again. – user 170039 Oct 6 '18 at 5:21
  • Third, I suggest that the forum should be open to opinions provided they are backed by solid logic and/or evidences, I don't suggest that the forum should be open to mere opinions. Maybe we are simply disagreeing on our definition of "an opinion". Can you cite some specific example which you think is an opinion in your sense? – user 170039 Oct 6 '18 at 5:27
  • Fourth, I am not sure I understand the point of the analogy given in "graduate student" analogy and what point it is intended to address. Can you please be more specific? – user 170039 Oct 6 '18 at 5:29
  • To clarify my third point a bit more, I am not in favor of questions that ask for opinions. But I am in favor of questions that try to put forward a new opinion on a particular subject backed by solid logic and/or evidences. Are we still disagreeing @SwamiVishwananda? – user 170039 Oct 6 '18 at 5:38
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    merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fringe Fringe in this context is about marginal, especially extremist (political) views, see point 3 a,b here. Colloquially it is also used for conspiracists. In the context of this site, the occasional disputes about actual infinity can serve as perfect examples of problematic philosophical fringe (in the sense of extremely marginal) positions being expressed. – Philip Klöcking Oct 6 '18 at 12:45
  • I don't think my opinion changes substantially regarding this @PhilipKlöcking. I am in support of expressing unique opinions. But if one wants to have some input regarding them from the PSE community then one post an actual, answerable question. Otherwise, I see no reason which prevents me from closing it. – user 170039 Oct 6 '18 at 13:34
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    I sincerely appreciate and applaud the will to contribute and help the site. But with only one review (an edit suggested on your own post), one helpful flag, one meta post other than this, limited overall participation (196 total actions, visiting "almost every week"), it seems to me like you may be underestimating the responsibility. We are looking for a moderator to relieve the current team from workload, and typically a moderator should be well-entrenched in the community to be effective. – Keelan Oct 6 '18 at 20:37
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    On Math.SE you have more reputation, so you have experience with some of the power tools for higher privileges, but you do not have the deputy badge (80 helpful flags) and no reviewer badges (250 review tasks). You do not seem to have reviewed anything since April. In essence, it is not clear to me why you would like to be a moderator. Once again, I very much appreciate your step forward (all the more as you are the only one so far!), but I also have serious doubts about your affinity with moderation in general and this site in particular. – Keelan Oct 6 '18 at 20:42
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    @Keelan: Regarding your first comment I agree, that my participation in this site is not sufficient to make you believe that I understand the responsibility and unfortunately, I am not aware of any other way to make you believe so. So, if you have any alternative method to achieve this end, I will be glad to accept it. – user 170039 Oct 7 '18 at 3:05
  • Regarding your second comment, I have a lot to say. But first let me point out that the situation with MSE is a completely different one. I have plenty of reasons for not participating more actively there as I did once. But I am afraid that an elaboration of this will be completely irrelevant for the specific questions you ask. So, if you really want to know about them then I would like to discuss this issue in a private chatroom. – user 170039 Oct 7 '18 at 3:13
  • I think that I am balanced enough to deal with the "problematic situation" that arise in a growing community like this and especially in a community like this where (unlike MSE) different answers consisting of different viewpoints are more usual. I think that I can remain unbiased in most situations due to my low participation (ironically enough) primarily because I have not made any "special bond" with any particular user! – user 170039 Oct 7 '18 at 3:24
  • Consequently, I may be able to deal with flags, deletion, closure of questions and various problems of my fellow users in an impartial way - which I believe is essential for a moderator. – user 170039 Oct 7 '18 at 3:27
  • What can you say to convince PSE users that your reasons for no longer contributing as you once did on MSE are irrelevant here? – user334732 Oct 10 '18 at 1:18
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    @RobertFrost: I can say that till now the reason for which I decided to contribute less on MSE doesn't exist here at PSE. – user 170039 Oct 10 '18 at 3:23

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