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5:29 PM
Do we get good cell reception in here?
 
6:04 PM
Could some mention me when it starts? I’m deep down in code.
 
6:31 PM
I might be a bit late but should be about.
 
Made it! :)
 
Hey everyone!
 
Hey
 
6:56 PM
Hey everyone!
 
We'll get started in about 5 minutes (:
Hi everyone! (:
Welcome to the WordPress Answers Town Hall Chat
 
Hello
 
Hi
 
Thanks!
 
We're just here to get to know the candidates and ask questions regarding the candidates views on moderation that may help in voting.
A few notes about the format:
The format is open, feel free to ask your question(s) unprompted, however please be mindful of whether or not candidates have answered the previous questions so that they don't get behind and start missing questions. Other than that, feel free to jump in.
Candidates, please use the reply feature so that questions and their answers are linked together. (Hover your mouse over the left of the message, click the down arrow, click reply)
When a question is asked, I'll star it - please star it yourself also to help! Please save stars for the questions so that candidates can refer to the star list to make sure they haven't missed a question.
We will be creating a digest version of the town hall chat after it is completed. This digest will take the form of a question on meta, containing all the questions asked as well as their answers for easier reading.
There's a system message up on the site, so we may get some stragglers joining us.
The candidates I see here are: @Brady, @BrianFegter, @Jared, @toscho.
With that, I think I've got all my initial messages, so I open the floor to y'all. Who has a question to start us off? (:
ok, I'll start! (:
Why do you want to be a moderator (as opposed to having high rep privs)
2
 
7:05 PM
Question @RebeccaChernoff should I wait for all the answers before I ask anything?
 
you can hop in whenever, I'd say just try to give the candidates time so you aren't burying them with questions.
 
@RebeccaChernoff To make the review process more efficient and to keeps the tags better organized.
 
Thanks.
 
@RebeccaChernoff Well, I have always been told I'm a leader which I think being a moderator would be somewhat of a leader-role, and on top of that I love working together with others to make sure this stays as nice of a place as it is already, if not better.
 
@RebeccaChernoff My main motivation is to help ease the load on other moderators. A secondary motivation is to help maintain the integrity of the site.
 
7:08 PM
please don't star the answers, only the questions
 
What is your opinion on theme and plugin recommendation questions?
4
 
that way candidates can view the starred list to see what questions to answer
 
@Rarst These questions and their answers are outdated very fast. I’m not sure how useful they are.
 
@Rarst These type of questions tend to lead to discussion and opinion which really are outside the scope of WPSE. I have no problem with asking WP related questions about a specific plugin. I frequently recommend question authors to use the .org forums for plugin-specific functions.
 
@Rarst I believe some of the questions asked regarding theme/plugin recommendations are far too localized and vague in description, but some of them can actually be very beneficial if the question is properly asked.
 
7:11 PM
@Jared "properly asked"? can you elaborate?
 
How would you distinguish good recommendation questions from too localized or poorly formulated in practice and enforce that?
2
 
How would you place a question concerning PHP knowledge, but somewhat connected to WordPress logic (loop, Classes or Objects)?
2
 
@RebeccaChernoff Well most plugins and themes can be found easily by searching Google, I've never had a problem with it, but if someone is asking what the difference is between two of them and what the better choice would be and why, then I think it's a good question.
 
@Rarst If I can imagine other people benefiting from the answers, the question is not too localized. If not, I can improve the question – or it should be closed after the author had enough time to improve the question.
@Webord If it requires WordPress specific knowledge to answer the question it should stay on WPSE. We shouldn’t send people away too fast.
 
@Rarst I think a good format is a well documented use case by the author noting any downfalls experienced with other plugins. A plugin recommendation question really should be one where expert advice is 'needed' and not necessarily a random vague 'what apps should I download for my iPhone' type question.
 
7:17 PM
@Rarst Like my message before this one, if it is a serious question and not 'Find a theme/plugin for me with these features: x, x, x', then I would think it's OK. (A serious question to me would be someone asking the difference between a few themes/plugins [with good reason for asking] like a caching plugin as an example) - Also the question should provide things that they have tried already and why they failed.
 
@toscho So this question should have been moved from WPSE? stackoverflow.com/questions/9418033/…
 
@Webord This question isn’t WordPress specific, it belongs to SO.
 
What is the main problem (including problems on how users use the site) that you actually see in the site you would be moderating, if you are elected moderator?
3
 
@RebeccaChernoff Make new users come back.
 
@Webord If a question has to do specifically with a WordPress function or feature, then it should be fine here. If you are solely using PHP or another language to accomplish a task that really has nothing to do with WP (even in context) then it should be migrated.
@RebeccaChernoff The biggest problem I see is new users coming here and not knowing exactly what this place is all about. That's not bad though -- we can educate them, but some ask a question then disappear. I think that's the main problem.
 
7:23 PM
@RebeccaChernoff Low quality questions that don't explain use cases, users not understanding how SE works, no feedback from authors when WPSE users take time to answer
 
@RebeccaChernoff The other main problem is the amount of unanswered 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?
 
@RebeccaChernoff A coordinated clean up contest like this one should be done, if we are enough moderators. :)
 
@RebeccaChernoff I may edit the users answer to be less argumentative or see what the main issue is in their answer that is causing it and try and fix it.
 
@Jared in this example, the answers are fine, it's comments that are generating flags/arguments.
maybe the answers are fabulous, but the user is problematic in chat
 
7:27 PM
@RebeccaChernoff I would invite her/him to our chat to talk about it.
 
As has been noted WPSE seems to have a large proportion of unanswered questions. As a moderator how would you go about reducing this?
 
@RebeccaChernoff Ah, well I would try and resolve it by chatting with them. If the comments are rude and unacceptable I would most likely remove them.
 
@RebeccaChernoff I think diplomatic admonishment from a moderator on proper behavior in the said offending chat/comment would be the first step. If that doesn't solve it, speak with other moderators about strategies for that specific user. I think this could be handled on a case-by-case basis.
 
@StephenHarris As already noted: Running a clean up contest, maybe with bounties.
 
@StephenHarris I find that a lot of unanswered questions are low quality and at times too localized. I would make a personal effort to start closing these types of questions to bring down that queue number.
 
7:30 PM
@StephenHarris I would answer some myself (as I already do often) and as @toscho said, a clean-up contest or putting bounties on some question would motivate some others to answer.
 
New users often are not accustomed to the Stack Exchange system, and sometimes struggle to present themselves properly, either in the way they use the site or their attitude. How willing are you to work with "problematic" users, and at what point do you decide that someone isn't worth the effort?
2
 
@RebeccaChernoff Oh, this a hard question. :) Usually, I a comments to help these users learning the system. For example: New users misuse the answer field for updates to their questions – I explain then that questions can be updated directly.
@RebeccaChernoff I give up when someone violates basic etiquette or refuses to learn.
 
@RebeccaChernoff I don't think anyone is 'not worth the effort', people who want to get their questions answered will likely be accepting of advice on how to improve their question. If not and they are rude and do not want to learn, then they probably will not stick around anyways.
 
@RebeccaChernoff The first thing I look for in a question is their 'tone' as it were. Are they presenting a legitimate question because they've tried and need help? Or, are they trying to get someone else to do the hard work for them? I think the answer gives us a good gauge on their motivation and if investing my time into them is good for the community and for them as well. If they are not abusing the system, but don't have the SE semantics right, I'm happy to help them out.
 
What do you consider the most important job of a moderator?
2
 
7:38 PM
@RebeccaChernoff Problematic also doesn't necessarily mean abusive. If problematic means novice issues, I was a novice to WPSE one time and had help.
 
@RebeccaChernoff Working with other moderators to control the order of this website so it continues to be a valuable resource and to make it a friendly place that welcomes all.
 
@BrianFegter the idea there being users who treat the site like a normal forum, replying to other answers in a new answer, consistently asking questions that don't fit the format, etc.
 
@RebeccaChernoff Make sure the site is a useful resource: focused and friendly.
 
Do you feel like there is an engaged community on the site or is it more of a drive-by atmosphere? If not, do you have any ideas about improving?
 
@RebeccaChernoff A moderator in a sense is a judge. The most important facet of that for me is to be a good judge of content and people using the site so it's a friendly place, but also a high integrity WP environment.
@RebeccaChernoff If that's the case, then give time for the user to learn the system and help them along the way. I haven't really seen a case where someone doesn't want to do things the right way.
 
7:45 PM
@RebeccaChernoff I believe it is both, but mostly an engaged community. The "experts" in WP tend to stick around while others who are not entirely consumed by WP ( like we are :) ) will most likely visit on occasion to ask questions. I would improve this by trying to make it a fun experience for the user, helping them learn things on their own instead of flat-out giving them code to paste in their functions.php file. Lets face it, coding is fun if you know what you're doing. :)
 
@RebeccaChernoff There is a small group of engaged members and too many drive-by users.
@RebeccaChernoff We should be careful not to send new users away too fast. It is better – but harder too – to improve a question than to migrate or close it.
 
@RebeccaChernoff There seems to be a small community of 'front-page' users who frequent the site and thousands of others who don't care about the community aspect. There's a small CORE, growing number of COMMITTED, and a huge number in the CROWD.
 
@RebeccaChernoff I developed a habit to say welcome to new users when I answer or comment on their questions and answers.
 
@toscho +1
 
@toscho Ditto :) Simple but powerful word to say to a new user.
 
7:51 PM
anyone else have questions? (:
y'all can ask each other too!
 
Oh, I have one.
 
@RebeccaChernoff I think an idea for improvement would be to hold regularly (not necessarily frequent) scheduled town hall chats regarding WP subject matter and even WPSE-related topics.
 
How much time do you expect to need for moderation per day/week?
4
 
@BrianFegter Great idea.
 
@BrianFegter I did organise one when chat wasn't active at all, and it was surprisingly useful. Haven't had chance to look at it again since.
 
7:53 PM
As a followup to @toscho's "how much time do you need" question, how much time do you have available for moderation per day/week?
3
 
How do you feel we fit in with regards to the wider WordPress community?
3
 
@ThomasMcDonald Were you able to convert the transcript to QA style?
 
@toscho I would say as much spare time as we have as long as we can maintain keeping our head on our shoulders. There will never be too much moderation until the site has 0 unanswered questions and no posts that need flagging.
 
@BrianFegter I think it might be bookmarked, I'll have a read through the transcript later.
 
@EAMann I can spend 1-4 hours on the site per day depending on my family's schedule. I typically watch the site most of the day during work as well.
 
7:55 PM
@ThomasMcDonald I think this will soon become a huge part of the WP community, although right now it seems fairly new to the WP community -- but catching on quickly.
 
@EAMann I visit the review tab at least once per day already – I don’t expect to need much more time. Currently I spend between 1 and 3 hours on WPSE.
 
@ThomasMcDonald I think this site will become the go-to place to get answers. I would hope people will view this like they do SO. I personally let out a sign of relief when I see a SO link in my Google results because I know there's a quality answer awaiting.
 
@ThomasMcDonald As a knowledge base, we are already the resource. As a community … we still have a lot to do.
 
@EAMann I literally have all the time in the world, I work at home and don't have a wife or kids to worry about, you could say I'm a WP no-lifer. :)
 
@Jared haha
 
7:58 PM
as we close...
Final thoughts from the candidates?
 
Can I fit a final question in?
 
There are several high reputation users who don't participate in Meta. What do you think we can/should do to encourage their participation in developing and shaping the site as we grow?
2
 
@RebeccaChernoff My participation in WPSE won't change at all if I am not a moderator. I'll keep doing my best to help out within my privilege levels. :)
 
@ThomasMcDonald Make them feel as if it's okay to post in meta. To me it feels like a place for the higher-ups to go and discuss things (even though that is not how it actually is), but I think most would perceive it that way.
 
8:01 PM
@Jared I deem you Rarst-2, you just went up a notch in my projected votes :)
 
@Rarst Thanks! I appreciate it. :)
 
@ThomasMcDonald I agree with Jared. I've been a bit nervous at times posting with the elites.
 
@ThomasMcDonald A first step would be a more prominent visual hint on the main site. Right now the Visit Meta box looks like the most unimportant part of the whole site: low contrast and tiny font.
 
ok, let's close there...thanks everyone for participating and best of luck to the candidates! (:
if you missed a question / couldn't attend, go ahead and respond when you're able
we'll get it into the digest
and that'll be posted on meta tonight / tomorrow morning.
 
@RebeccaChernoff Thank you!
 
8:06 PM
@RebeccaChernoff As for my final thoughts, I think it would be a great honor to moderate this community. I'll do all I can and if I do lose, my participation here won't be reduced in any way. :)
 
Yeah, Brady said he hoped to go over the questions later since he couldn't be about during the event.
 
@RebeccaChernoff Thanks for moderating!
 
@EAMann np! I think these are important to do! (:
 
Damn. Got connection again - and chat is over :/
 

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