2016 Moderator Election

On Stack Exchange, we believe the core moderators should come from the community, and be elected by the community itself through popular vote. We hold regular elections to determine who these community moderators will be.

Community moderators are accorded the highest level of privilege on our community, and should themselves be exemplars of positive behavior and leaders within the community.

Our general criteria for moderators is as follows:

  • patient and fair
  • leads by example
  • shows respect for their fellow community members in their actions and words
  • open to some light but firm moderation to keep the community on track and resolve (hopefully) uncommon disputes and exceptions

Every election has three phases:

  1. Nomination
  2. Primary
  3. Election

Please participate in the moderator elections by voting, and perhaps even by nominating yourself to be a community moderator!

This election ended Apr 5 '16 at 20:00.

The results of this election can be viewed online via OpaVote. Anyone may download the election data. Voters have access to pre-built OpenSTV software to audit the results; all others may use this source distribution.

2,932 voters were eligible, 1,141 visited the site during the election, 1,126 visited the election page, and 512 voted

Hi, I'm PhiNotPi, but who am I?

Right now, I am a student with strong interests in programming and music composition. You can almost always find me hiding in the Nineteenth Byte, where I spend a substantial amount of time. Five years ago, I found PPCG after reading the Wikipedia article about code golfing. Now, I no longer consider golfing my hobby, I consider PPCG my hobby. I have found that this website has one of the most interesting, intelligent, and respectable communities on the internet. It has been an absolute blast to work/play with you all, and I will be honored to serve on your moderation team.

I have several years of moderation experience at Fluther.com, a generic Q&A site. I moderate Fluther, a site where even the owner is inactive, because I care for its community, just as I care for this one.

1638 days a member. I saw the creation and destruction of Sandbox Mk III, the freezing and thawing of the Nineteenth Byte, the rise and fall of code-trolling, the birth and death of the Fortnightly Challenges, and now I am witness to the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that the journey is its own destination.

Hello, I'm El'endia Starman, and I believe I'd be a good moderator.

Disclaimer: I am very happy with the current mod team. I'm nominating myself mostly so that if and when they win election, their victory is meaningful.


  • I have already been elected as moderator on another site. If you ask any of the long-time members there on Christianity.SE, they'll tell you that they like what I do as moderator. (There is this on Christianity's Meta site too.) This demonstrates that I have plenty of moderating experience and that I do the job well.
  • The two Meta posts I have made to policy questions were both very well-received (1, 2).
  • I am very good at mediating (heated) discussions, especially in chat. I am also good at identifying the core of an issue.


  • I haven't weighed in on policy decisions very often. (This could change.)
  • I rarely give feedback to new users. (Other people do that just fine.)
  • My Main site participation is low (but that's temporary until I "finish" Pytek).
  • \$\begingroup\$ Reasons to not vote for El'endia: he teases a certain battleship KotH but never actually posts it :P (I'm kidding, El'endia's cool and would make a great moderator.) \$\endgroup\$ – cat Mar 24 '16 at 15:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree with 2nd downside. \$\endgroup\$ – user51533 Mar 24 '16 at 18:12

Hi, I'm Martin! I would like to keep moderating this community. I've been one of the moderators pro tempore for the past year (in fact, the day after the election ends would exactly mark my first anniversary as a mod). I've always tried to make fair decisions, leave a friendly comment with almost any mod action and try to be welcoming to new users, even if their first encounter with the community is an off-topic question.

If you've seen my meta posts, you know that I care deeply about this community, its policies, scope and the overall quality of the content. To that end, I also contribute a lot of both answers and questions on main, and tend to edit posts whenever I see a way to improve them (without conflicting the author's intentions). I don't want to quote a lot of stats about my participation here. I'm sure you can find them on main and meta if you want to.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am also a moderator pro tempore on Computer Graphics. I don't think that this negatively affects the amount of attention I am giving and can give PPCG — if anything, it allows me to learn and grow from the experiences in two very different communities.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Martin has the most reputation and most medals won, by the way. And the most medals on meta as well I believe. That shows extreme dedication. \$\endgroup\$ – Calvin's Hobbies Mar 22 '16 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, he has the current highest mod score, at 37/40. \$\endgroup\$ – Rɪᴋᴇʀ Mar 22 '16 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @EasterlyIrk Candidate score means very little. \$\endgroup\$ – user45941 Mar 22 '16 at 18:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mego I am taking that into account though, idk about other people. \$\endgroup\$ – Rɪᴋᴇʀ Mar 22 '16 at 18:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Martin is an iconic figure in our community both for his contributions to the main site as well as his guidance, vision, and dedication on meta. He's played an integral role in shaping the community as we know it today. In addition to being such a valuable member of the community, he's proved himself an able moderator over the past year, one who knows what to do and when to do it or not do it. The Martin Büttners of the world are few and far between, and we're lucky enough to have the original right here. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex A. Mar 22 '16 at 19:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Only 37/40? \$\endgroup\$ – wizzwizz4 Mar 23 '16 at 18:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mego I take it into account. Candidate score reflects how active a user is on the site, in terms of questions and answers, moderation activities, etc. Someone with a lower score probably has lower rep, less badges, etc. \$\endgroup\$ – mbomb007 Mar 23 '16 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ One more participation badge and two more moderation badges, and you'd be the perfect candidate. As is, you've got a 92.5%, which is still an A- grade. Good enough! =P \$\endgroup\$ – Mwr247 Mar 23 '16 at 21:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Scores can be mildly informative, but I would caution pretty strongly that overlooking an outstanding candidate like Martin for want of 3/40 points on some arbitrary scale would be a grave mistake. This comment is not directed at any of the above commenters; merely an independent observation on the same topic. \$\endgroup\$ – type_outcast Mar 28 '16 at 13:01

My answers to your questions

Howdy everyone! I'm Doorknob, and I'd be delighted to continue serving as moderator for PPCG.

Who am I?

I've been an active user here since mid-2013 (user ID 3808!), and I was appointed as pro-tem in May 2014. Since then, I've been working alongside the rest of the team to keep the site running as smoothly as possible.

Why me?

  • I'm here and on chat daily.
  • During my tenure, I've handled a steadily increasing 1400+ flags—I'm quite familiar already with how the mod tools work by now.
  • I have near 100 answers and 50+ questions on meta, including the post that led the campaign against code-trolling.
  • I'm very active network wide: I'm also a mod on Puzzling, and I have 30k+ rep on mother meta.
  • I try to be as transparent in my moderation as possible, dropping a comment almost every time I take a mod action on a post and explaining the decisions I make.
  • I'm not afraid to admit my mistakes when I do mess up, and I know my limits and readily consult people who are smarter than me for tough decisions.
  • \$\begingroup\$ A lot (if not most) of what I know about moderating I learned from Doorknob. Not only has he been instrumental in guiding the community into graduation over the past few years, but he's consistently shown himself to be a valuable resource to members of the community as well as to other moderators across the entire SE network. His ability to mitigate conflict and use mod tools effectively is unrivaled. I think he's a natural choice for the election. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex A. Mar 22 '16 at 17:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I want to put in a word for Doorknob's tenure as mod in Puzzling, where he handled site upheaval, disruptive users, and personal attacks against him, all with patience and professionalism. Doorknob has been forged in the crucible. \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Mar 22 '16 at 23:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ As a pro-tem mod on Puzzling, you were part of the (failed) attempt to enforce a massive change in site scope against the will of the community. You also frequently abused your moderator powers there in order to harass users you had personal grievances against. Have you displayed this sort of behaviour on PPCG too? Have you learned anything from your mistakes on Puzzling about how to improve and become a better moderator? \$\endgroup\$ – user52442 Mar 25 '16 at 14:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @randal'thor Sorry, I don't answer "when did you stop beating your wife"-type questions. I invite all voters to draw their own conclusions based on what actually happened and my history on PPCG rather than unsubstantiated accusations. \$\endgroup\$ – Doorknob Mar 25 '16 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @randal'thor: I don't participate on Puzzling, but I took a look through chat and the "Great Meta Post", and I have to say, I think you and a few others were really hostile and combative. The mods certainly wanted the site to be one thing, and the community another, no question about that. That said, mods are leaders of the community, and as members, they should get a say too. Besides, I presume that the mods did their job as they should after the community made their will known. In any case, I have not seen any such problems on PPCG itself, so your objection is a bit of a red herring. \$\endgroup\$ – El'endia Starman Mar 28 '16 at 18:48

Hi! I'm SuperJedi224.

I've been a member here for about a year.

I'm an avid programmer and a fairly active user on this site, with about 150 positive-scoring answers at present. Some of the answers people on this site come up with are remarkable.

I have completed nearly 100 reviews in the review queues, which I usually check a few times a day (they are often empty).

I realize that I'm probably not the best candidate in this election, but I do believe that I would still make a suitable moderator for this site.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You haven't been very active in the last couple of months. Will this increase if you are elected? \$\endgroup\$ – lirtosiast Mar 26 '16 at 3:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @lirtosiast Probably \$\endgroup\$ – SuperJedi224 Mar 26 '16 at 3:29

Hi, I'm quartata (sometimes known as Aqua Tart).

I've only been here for about 6 months, but I've become very well established here during that time, being an active user both on main (14 well received challenges including Implement a Truth Machine, which tied for Best of PPCG 2015 Rookie of the Year for challenges, as well as almost 100 answers), meta (having contributed to discussions about site health and popularity contests) and chat (with almost 27k messages in the Nineteenth Byte).

Why me

  • I'm very dedicated to the site. I've contributed quite a bit to the (critical) user-end of the moderation of PPCG, with 34 flags and 100 edits. I also always spend at least an hour a day every day on the main site, watching new questions and answers.

  • I try my best to help out new users, commenting on posts and helping out people in chat. The site could not possibly survive without new users like these.

  • I'm capable of being very level headed during tense situations.

However this election goes, I look forward to working with the community in whatever way I can. Thanks for reading!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Not to be insulting, but it you don't seem to have the same amount of participation as the some of the other candidates. What can you bring to the table that they can't? \$\endgroup\$ – Quill Mar 21 '16 at 23:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Quill Glad you asked. PPCG is about to enter a critical stage of growth, and I feel that one of the key questions to how our growth will proceed is "how do we fit into the SE Q&A model?" That is why one of my major goals as moderator will be to help lead PPCG through this "self-discovery" time. \$\endgroup\$ – a spaghetto Mar 21 '16 at 23:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Additionally, while six months might seem like a small amount of time, I would not underestimate my participation. I feel as if I've become a very familiar face on PPCG. \$\endgroup\$ – a spaghetto Mar 21 '16 at 23:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Some more clarification about my goal: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/37289/conversation/quartatas-goal \$\endgroup\$ – a spaghetto Mar 22 '16 at 0:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wow. You've only been here 6 months? I thought for sure it was longer than that \$\endgroup\$ – Justin Mar 22 '16 at 1:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Justin You're not the only one... :P \$\endgroup\$ – Rɪᴋᴇʀ Mar 22 '16 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HelkaHomba In reply to chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/28423814#28423814: I feel like I've already discussed a bit of what I bring to table, but I'd also like to bring up that I also think I bring a (semi) unique moderating style when it comes to the janitorial aspects of modship in that I not only focus on handling issues on new answers and new questions but also on new/old answers to old questions. A lot of our old questions like 2 + 2 = 5 and the 2014 challenge are likely to be some of the first challenges new users see, and these challenges often have (continued...) \$\endgroup\$ – a spaghetto Mar 22 '16 at 15:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ unchecked quality issues and low-quality answers from back when rule enforcement was more slack. I think it's critical that these issues are corrected, lest they give new users the wrong impression. A good half of my flags and edits are on such old questions and answers. \$\endgroup\$ – a spaghetto Mar 22 '16 at 16:00

I believe most users are here basically for fun - specifically fun derived from the intellectual pursuit of programming challenges.

With that in mind, it is a prerequisite that members of this community (old and new alike) feel safe and respected before they can claim to enjoy using this site. Ever since I joined this site, I have attempted to be respectful in all transactions. This includes but is not limited to:

  • In disagreements and disputes, listening carefully to other parties to really understand their point of view, with the end goal of reaching a mutually agreeable consensus.
  • Welcoming new users, congratulating existing users on milestones. If this site is going to continue to thrive, both new and old users should be given positive encouragement.
  • I love the thrill of the golf, but I also find it very rewarding to help others.
  • Not being afraid to appropriately use votes, flags, etc when things aren't quite right. Respect for individual users is highly important, but just as important is respect for the community. Without the community, this site would be much less. Respect for the community is given by honouring its democratic consensus both in meta and main.
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HelkaHomba "Why specifically should you be a mod more than the current mods?". I think the current mods are doing a great job and I would have no problem if they all get re-elected. I personally have got a tremendous amount out of this community and intend to continue actively contributing and looking for other ways to give back. I see modding as a civic duty - an obvious next step for taking giving back to the next level. .SE is set up for mods to rotate, I suspect all the current mods want to continue, but it may be some are ready to step down to let others have a go - they shouldn't ... \$\endgroup\$ – Digital Trauma Mar 22 '16 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ ... feel an obligation if there are other qualified candidates ready to step up. Lastly, honesty is something I value greatly, so I feel obliged to mention that part of my candidacy is driven by ambition. I've hoped to mod for this community for quite a while now, and was disappointed when I missed out on the pre-beta election (I was on vacation, camping). So as soon as I heard the good news about graduation (and planned elections) I knew I shouldn't let this opportunity pass again. \$\endgroup\$ – Digital Trauma Mar 22 '16 at 15:52

Hi, I'm Zach.

I've been a member for nearly a year now, and find myself coming here more and more everyday. With 18 well-received challenges and 75 positive-scoring answers, I've enjoyed every minute with this community; especially after discovering The Nineteenth Byte.

Why me?

Well here are some pros:

  • I have a deep love for this community and its content quality. I participate in the user-moderation process daily, and now have nearly 250 total reviews.

  • I enjoy programming with a passion (perhaps too passionately), and love seeing the incredible answers here.

  • I like seeing the community in control and believe that a moderator's role is one behind the scenes, as a guiding hand to keep the content flowing in the right direction.

And some cons, for balance:

  • I'm not a PPCG celebrity, nor do I have a personal meme.

  • While I do participate in meta, I rarely post there. I prefer reading there instead, to gain further insight into the community.

  • I have a proclivity for corny jokes.

  • I can't out-golf Dennis, nor am I fond of avocados.

If you've read this far, +1. I appreciate it; thank you!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Not to be spiteful, but in comparison to the other candidates, you don't have as much participation. What can you bring to the table that the other candidates can't. \$\endgroup\$ – Quill Mar 21 '16 at 23:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Quill I can say that Zach at least cares about the quality of questions and answers on the site, more than the average user appears to. \$\endgroup\$ – Justin Mar 22 '16 at 1:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Quill: That's a good question. You're right, I haven't been here as long, nor do I have the participation record that the other high-rep candidates have. What I do have is a kind, helpful attitude towards other users, as well as a love for what I do here. I also enjoy helping, and collaborating with other users in the community, as many will attest. I genuinely care about this community, and can't wait to see this next chapter. \$\endgroup\$ – Zach Gates Mar 22 '16 at 2:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why specifically should you be a mod more than the current mods or other more experienced nominees? What would you do differently? Maybe you'd be a fine mod but if you're bringing the same things to the table as more experienced nominees, then it seems certain the 4 chairs will be filled before you get there. Why should the PPCG public change what isn't broken? \$\endgroup\$ – Calvin's Hobbies Mar 22 '16 at 5:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HelkaHomba: As a start, I would like to create definitive criteria for what is and isn't on-topic to the site; stationary benchmarks. We are in a critical stage in our site's existence, and having definite standards of excellence is a must. That said, when we attract new participants to our site, they need to see that we are consistent in our reviews of questions and answers. We also need to properly introduce new users to our site by training them in how to productively take part in our process. You mentioned that what we have isn't broken; you're right, but it isn't at its strongest either. \$\endgroup\$ – Zach Gates Mar 22 '16 at 5:25

Hi, I'm Dennis, and I'd like to keep being your moderator.

In case you don't already know me, here are a few reason why I think you should vote for me.

I've been a temporary moderator for seven months now. I already know what being a moderator means, and it's a task I perform with pleasure. Moderating is a lot like teaching, which is my true vocation. I consider myself fair, patient and level-headed, and I had an opportunity to prove this to all of you. I am always nice, but I can be firm when it is required.

I care deeply about this site and its community, and I do what I can to help them grow. I take time to personally verify every answer I vote on, and oftentimes post feedback, fixes or improvements in the comment section. To make verifying answers in our ever-increasing collection of esoteric languages easier, I've created the nonprofit web service Try it online!.

I am very active on this site. In the 2 years and 2 months I've been a member of PPCG, I have posted over 1,000 answers on the main site, 27 challenge questions, 63 meta posts, and earned over 70,000 reputation. I also spend countless hours in chat.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It's been a pleasure moderating alongside Dennis for the past seven months and I can say with no hesitation that he makes a fantastic moderator. He's fair and compassionate with all users and has contributed an incredible amount both to shaping and to upholding our policies. He handles a lot of flags and manages to be present on main, meta, and chat seemingly at all times. I was the one who nominated Dennis when we had the informal moderator election which led to his appointment. I believed in his abilities then and do even more so now that I've seen him in action. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex A. Mar 21 '16 at 21:30

Hi there! I'm Alex A.

It's been my honor to have served this most wonderful community as a moderator pro tempore since August of 2015. I would love to continue to serve the community as an elected moderator.

Why I want to continue as your moderator

I love Programming Puzzles & Code Golf. I spend a lot of time here, both moderating and participating on the main site, on meta (where I'm one of the most active users), and in chat. I've consistently been at or near the top of the flag handling queue, which means that I've handled a lot of moderator flags, and I really enjoy doing it.

I pride myself on being kind and respectful to all members of the community, especially those new to it. I moderate with a level head and I try to maintain patience in all situations. I genuinely care about all of the users and about making sure that they have the best experience possible. The community is what drives the site.

I think I've done a pretty good job so far and I hope you agree. Even if you don't vote for me, thanks so much for reading this and for being part of the community!

My answers to the moderator questionnaire

  • \$\begingroup\$ For this election: Alex is a right choice, not a wrong one. :P \$\endgroup\$ – Rɪᴋᴇʀ Mar 21 '16 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Deletes high-voted answers from popularity contest questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Mar 21 '16 at 20:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Joshua Can you give a specific example? I never delete on a whim; I always do it per the rules and guidelines we've laid out to govern submissions, which were decided by community consensus. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex A. Mar 21 '16 at 20:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I cannot because the rep required to view deleted answers is too high; nevertheless a diligent review will reveal that mine was singled out, else half the answers would have to go away. Besides, it's a popularity contest. if one is voted very high then the rules have been changed locally because the consensus has changed locally. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Mar 21 '16 at 20:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Joshua Oh, I see which one you mean. I deleted the answer in response to a specific moderator flag on that answer raised by a non-mod member of the community. The flag claimed it invalid, noting a comment which also said so, which was the case since it wasn't in full compliance with the challenge specification. So I deleted it per our policy on such answers. I'm sorry that you feel that your post was singled out. But as I said, it was a response to a flag, not a subjective choice to delete your answer in particular. Does that make sense? \$\endgroup\$ – Alex A. Mar 21 '16 at 21:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, if you can't see deleted answers, how do you know that more weren't deleted that you never saw? \$\endgroup\$ – Rɪᴋᴇʀ Mar 21 '16 at 21:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlexA. It totally does make sense \$\endgroup\$ – Luis Mendo Mar 21 '16 at 21:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @EasterlyIrk: Because I tracked the question and would notice. Also, the number that would fall for the same reason is staggering. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Mar 21 '16 at 22:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @EasterlyIrk, during the beta, the limit was lower. \$\endgroup\$ – Qwertiy Mar 21 '16 at 22:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Qwertiy Our privilege reputation thresholds haven't increased yet. They'll increase at the same time we get a custom site design. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex A. Mar 21 '16 at 23:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alex plainly has more experience now, but my opinion still stands from the last election: "I can't speak to Alex's experience, but I can say that Alex A. has shown himself to be consistently friendly and welcoming - even to new users that many of us would find annoying." \$\endgroup\$ – Calvin's Hobbies Mar 22 '16 at 0:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ You'll have my vote if you continue to put up with me bothering you with math questions. :P But seriously, you are one of the most friendly and welcoming people that I know on the internet. \$\endgroup\$ – Maltysen Mar 22 '16 at 4:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alex has also consistently shown to be effective at communication with the rest of the network. \$\endgroup\$ – ArtOfCode Mar 22 '16 at 8:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ I want to bring up this question. Alex deleted a comment I made there without any explanation. He then closed the question for a valid reason. I fixed the problem with it by writing an interpreter for the language specified in the question and asked for it to be reopened, but Alex never responded. \$\endgroup\$ – KSFT Mar 22 '16 at 21:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KSFT I mentioned in the comments of that post why I deleted the comment. I avoided unilaterally reopening because I still had doubts about the clarity of the spec; I avoid acting unilaterally in any situation in which I'm unsure. I also noted Neil's comment regarding an issue with the interpreter, so I was waiting for more discussion/resolution on that before chiming in again. Editing bumps a question to the top of the active list, so I assumed that if the community deemed it ready to reopen after you edited then it would accumulate reopen votes and moderator action would be unnecessary. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex A. Mar 23 '16 at 1:29

This election is complete.