16

We're looking for a few good mods!

Bitcoin Stack Exchange has been growing at an exponential rate. You've done a fantastic job of positioning this site as an authoritative Q&A for not just Bitcoin, but crypto currencies in general. Depending on what's in the news, which lately has been quite a bit, this site sees huge spikes in traffic and participation.

Your ever faithful moderation team has been hard at work to stay on top of this, but I fear that if we work them any harder we might start violating some kind of regulations, and possibly the Geneva convention.

To that, I'd like to recruit three additional moderators from this community. Yes, three is a bit, but the spikes this site sees takes it to huge scales, albeit temporary.

A bit about the job, and what we're looking for:

Ideal candidates should:

  • Want the responsibility, and have at least a few hours each week to give on average
  • Be consistently patient and fair in their dealings with the community
  • Be knowledgeable enough about the topic to be able to judge the quality of posts, and identify cleverly crafted spam
  • Be ready to lead the community to help you do your jobs. Teach people how to flag properly, encourage a culture of editors and strong reviewers
  • Work directly with me and the rest of the SE community team to make sure this community is getting its needs met from us
  • Understand and embrace our theory of moderation

Are you interested? Great! Leave an answer to this question to indicate your desire to be considered, and feel free to expand on what you think is a priority for the site right now. While I will consider third-party nominations, I'd rather see nominations from folks enthused enough to step in and write something down.

I hope to have three people appointed by the end of the coming week, so don't hesitate to jump in if you're interested.

Update 2/19/2014

I'll be reaching out to folks over the next two days, and hopefully have the additional mods appointed by the end of this week. Stay tuned!

Update 3/4/2014

Murch has graciously accepted his nomination, and has been appointed. I'm waiting to hear back from a few more folks to finalize the rest of the additions to the team, once I have, I'll be adjusting their access and making a formal meta post introducing everyone.

Update 3/13/2014

Jacob Torba has also graciously accepted his nomination, and has been appointed. There's one more I'm waiting to hear back from (do you people even check your email?), but I'll have a formal announcement up tomorrow either way.

Thanks to everyone who has expressed interest so far, it won't be long and please - check your email :)

  • Hi Tim, I was hoping that you could update us on the status of this endeavor. – I was considering to promote this topic some more, as it didn't get too much attention. However, promoting would only make sense if this issue remained an item beyond the time plan you outlined. On the other hand, I would be fairly excited to move forward. ;) – Murch Feb 18 '14 at 9:15
  • Oh, also, do all Bitcoin.SE moderators have to change their first name to David when they take the job? ;) – Murch Feb 18 '14 at 9:16
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    @Murch You don't have to change your name, but you should get some sticker name tags, write "David" on them, and wear them while moderating (for safety reasons, of course!) – Tim Post Feb 18 '14 at 18:21
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I would like to express my interest in becoming a moderator.

Introduction

My name is Mark, I am working on my M.Sc. in Computer Science with a focus on Automatic Speech Recognition and working as a part-time programmer. While I am neither a die-hard Bitcoin expert, nor a financial expert, I believe that I have achieved a solid understanding of Bitcoin.

There still regularly are some questions that are just beyond me, but I think I don't have to be able to answer every question to help with moderation.

In the past six months, I have

  • answered 128 questions
  • raised 380 flags (8 declined), reviewed 1,015 flags
  • cast 1,684 votes, left 535 comments
  • edited 310 posts

Also, I was probably the most active user on meta this year. (Which unfortunately, is less of an achievement than I would like it to be.)

While I am from Germany, I have a solid command of English. Except commas – they tend to crop up in weird places sometimes! ;)

I am currently the room-owner of the chat room Bitcoin Lounge associated with our SE. (Drop by for some coffee!)

Most pressing topics

  • Waning community

Looking through the user roster and old meta discussions, it seems to me that the Bitcoin.SE used to be a lot more lively. People used to know about other users "getting married".

I have met one other Bitcoin.SE user at a Bitcoin meet-up, and a few people have dropped into the Bitcoin chat, but it feels like the community had dispersed before I started coming here. We've dropped down to mechanically doing our parts on the exchange, but the discussion about it, and the social experience has waned mostly. I would support efforts to get more life into meta, and again would like to invite you to drop by the chat any time. I am considering to commence a weekly "Bitcoin hour" in chat to get together.

  • Flood of low-quality questions getting answered

There are dozens of questions closed as duplicates that have new answers. This dilutes the quality of our database: The best answer might be on any of a set of duplicates. Duplicates should be closed as such more quickly and should perhaps also be consolidated in some cases. There are also some chains of duplicates i.e. Question A ---dup---> Question B ---dup---> Question C.

In other categories, this leads to people asking for clarification and/or downvoting a question, but it still getting answered before the ambiguity is addressed. By not closing or even deleting quickly, we are fostering a breeding ground for low-quality questions and answers, wasting our answerers time reading through these questions and wasting our visitors time by keeping them.

Our guidance on which questions are worth keeping should be reviewed and enforced more consistently. This especially relates to the required "previous research", "off-topic", and the general quality of questions we accept as worth an answer. For example, I support the answers of Artem and Chris on Can we remove "based on actual problems that you face." from the FAQ? in this regard: Questions should leave the impression that somebody is seriously thinking about them.

As a relatively new user, I find that better guidance on our quality requirements would help new users a lot to support moderation and allow advanced users to apply it more consistently.

  • Edits only fix part of the problems

This is somewhat of a nuisance: Very often edits only fix part of the problems with a post. For example, a few typos are fixed, when others remain, or just the title of a question is rephrased, while the tags remain completely wrong. We could generally do a better job fixing posts completely instead of partially. This should be especially kept in mind by people accepting suggested edits, that they use the "improve" button more often.

  • Plea for guidance

One thing about the prospect of becoming a moderator I am fairly uncomfortable with: My votes would become binding. From exploring the questions, this seems to have grossly changed other moderators flagging behavior. (Some moderators were lauded for their flagging and voting before they were selected as such, now it seems less hands-on for many of them.) I am a fairly opinionated person, so I actually find it easy to flag things for moderator attention when I think it is worth a look. However, with binding votes, I would be "passing judgment" instead of starting a collective review. I am very divided about this: On one hand, I think that the Bitcoin.SE would benefit a lot from stronger moderation, but on the other hand, this kind of action would perhaps raise dictatorial impressions with users. My first instinct would be to ask guidance from other moderators, however, this seems to dispensed sparsely these days or invisible to regular users. I would hope that there would be more access to the other moderators to discuss ambiguous cases.

Thanks for reading, thanks for your consideration.

  • 5
    Remember that no binding vote that you cast is without oversight of the community or final. If a mistake was made, you can fix it, and you'll have five other moderators you can lean on for their thoughts when you need them. There's also a private chat room for all network moderators where you can go for advice if you're not sure what to do - at least 20 people active there most times of the day. – Tim Post Feb 8 '14 at 16:47
  • That's reassuring. :) – Murch Feb 8 '14 at 21:28
  • dont agree on trigger-finger closing questions without at least marking the duplicate in the comment. also over preoccupation with "question quality" is not really supported by official stackexchange stds. also the official se moderation policy is that it is ideally as minimal as possible – vzn Feb 28 '14 at 17:03
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    Hello vzn, thank you for taking interest in my application. I too, believe that closing questions should be deliberately considered, and cushioned with helpful referrals. However, we are gaining questions daily that are considered off-topic by community decision, many of which have been answered dozens of times before in marginally different variations. Oftentimes, they still get new answers of doubtful quality as more established users tend to close-vote instead. In a perfect world, moderation duty would be unnecessary, yet, our SE could profit by directing answers to more valuable content. – Murch Feb 28 '14 at 19:00
  • so are you in favor of putting the link to the duplicate question in comments or not? (agreed se mechanisms for duplicate questions are awkward... that seems to be the only/best approach). re TP's 1st comment above, it seems to be very rare in general that se mods ever overrule each other, its a benefit of the doubt type situation in general. – vzn Mar 4 '14 at 18:35
  • I am not sure I unterstand what you mean with marking a duplicate in the comments? When you vote to close as duplicate a comment is auto-generated containing the link and when a question is closed a link is placed above it. – Murch Mar 6 '14 at 0:13
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    Too many mod closed questions is not a problem we are suffering from currently as far as I can tell. – Murch Mar 6 '14 at 0:14
  • // , I am in agreement with Murch, here, for what little it's worth. It is easier for questions to get in than it is to get them out. Much of the superiority of the Stack Exchange model comes not from what it adds, but what it takes away. <insert obligatory Saint Exupéry quotation here> – Nathan Basanese Jul 23 '17 at 6:48
7

While I cannot compete with Murch's amazing contribution to this community, I do think we are in need of more moderators and as such I am volunteering as well to be a moderator for this community.

What I have to offer

I'm mostly a developer with tons of experience with Bitcoin. I mostly work with JavaScript and its Node.js component developing the backend for services, usually dealing with receiving/sending bitcoins, keeping a balance, and having a fast system. I occasionally dabble in C++ and have thorough knowledge of techniques and traits of the Satoshi implementation of the Bitcoin protocol. What I'm trying to get across is I know the technical aspects of what Bitcoin is doing 'under the hood'.

I've been patrolling this SE community eagerly answering technical questions that are within my scope with solid and detailed answers. I've haven't been participating as long as others but I've provided many answers to questions with the knowledge I've built up from my own work and hobby.

Important issues and topics

  • The "Dogecoin" crowd

A lot of newer people have been brought in to Bitcoin after hearing about Dogecoin's success or similar events that relate to Bitcoin. These newer people turn to this particular SE to get answers to common and/or real questions. A side effect of this is that they tend to leave lower quality questions or simply do not understand the Question-Answer mechanic of SE. This creates a problem of duplicate and legitimate questions that are camouflaged by ineptitude. Something we need more people to combat.

  • The general scariness and roughness of Bitcoin ideas

There are some real questions concerning the most hardcore Bitcoin ideas. They often concern rough stuff like Cryptography, the pitfalls of Bitcoin, and merging Bitcoin into a commercial environment. There are users who need legitimate and truthful answers that is technically sound. Due to the nature of SE, anyone can answer and suggest particularly dangerous things. An inappropriate answer can mean financial loss to a user, and risky answers are something moderators can prevent. Not to mentioned badly answered questions will show up on Google searches.

  • Questions misinterpreted by the community

Sometimes a user's question will be plainly turned down by the community through inappropriate close votes. This can frustrate the user if a closing is unjust and confuse those who reach the question through searching. An improper closing can create a "dead end" for information and there will always be duplicate posts that look and sound similar but aren't always right. A technically-proficient moderator can quickly rectify these kinds of circumstances.

It'd be great to have a little more ability in this SE community, providing more guidance in a newer community leads to prosperity of the community in whole.

  • 2
    Hi Jacob! I like your note about questions being misinterpreted. Since I've been helping out in the flag queue, I've seen a few instances of this. One thing I'd like to ask, part of being a mod means giving folks a hand here on meta, is that something you plan to work into your time on the site if appointed? – Tim Post Feb 20 '14 at 5:19
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    @TimPost Certainly! I see that Murch is practically running it by himself, and I realize that it's under-appreciated and in need of people. – John T Feb 20 '14 at 7:02
3

I strongly believe in Stack Exchange/Stack Overflow based communities, and I'm especially passionate about distributed technologies such as Bitcoin. I've been a member of Stack Overflow since almost the very beginning, and was always interested in systems structured around measurable reputation.

I must be honest, I do believe in a future where these systems would also become entirely decentralized. Your reputation would then allow you to express votes for actually changing your country, implement policies and improve decision-making.

In any case, I would love to participate in the moderation and improvement of this system. I have time available to dedicate to this because I'm passionate of the Bitcoin community and strongly believe that Bitcoin Stack Exchange could be a leader in generating knowledge for the Bitcoin community.

  • Hey Luca, thanks for your interest. Could you perhaps expand on what you bring to the table as a potential moderator and what you think the most important issues of Bitcoin.SE are? – Murch Feb 11 '14 at 9:54
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    Since you didn't reply to my question, I just had a look at your profile myself. I find commendable that you have provided many good answers in a short time, and also maintained those through further improvements. However, as far as I can tell, so far you have contributed little to moderation: You just raised your first flag on February 11th (two days after this post), performed 0 reviews, suggested 0 edits, and all your 31 revisions were on your own answers. (cont.) – Murch Feb 16 '14 at 11:30
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    I see that you have the badges for first upvote and first downvote, but no other voting badges. As you already have access to quite a few moderation tools, I am afraid I don't see "I would love to participate in the moderation" reflected in your profile. I certainly see that you are knowledgeable about the topic, but I don't see that you are very interested in performing the plumbing here - which essentially is what the moderators do. – Murch Feb 16 '14 at 11:35
  • I don't think the amount of upvotes/downvotes have anything to do with being an appropriate moderator. – Luca Matteis Feb 16 '14 at 11:42
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    It's true, upvoting and downvoting are two of the less important activities of a moderator, however, they are one of the first moderation tools available to any user: They allow one to help improve the site's content by highlighting good posts and dimming less useful posts. However, what I am asking is, what do you think does "being an appropriate moderator" mean? – Murch Feb 16 '14 at 13:43

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