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The purpose of this thread was to collect questions for the questionnaire. The questionnaire is now live, and you may find it here.


Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is scheduled for an election next week, 2021-10-11, to bring in one additional moderator to the team. In connection with that, we will be holding a Q&A with the candidates. This will be an opportunity for members of the community to pose questions to the candidates on the topic of moderation. Participation is completely voluntary.

Here’s how it’ll work:

  • Until the nomination phase, (so, until 2021-10-11 at 20:00:00Z UTC, or 4:00 pm EDT on the same day, give or take time to arrive for closure), this question will be open to collect potential questions from the users of the site. Post answers to this question containing any questions you would like to ask the candidates. Please only post one question per answer.

  • If your question contains a link, please use the syntax of [text](link), as that will make it easier for transcribing for the finished questionnaire.

  • This is a perfect opportunity to voice questions that are specific to your community and issues that you are running into currently.

  • We, the Community Team, will be providing a small selection of generic questions. The following two questions are guaranteed to be included:

    • 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 would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc. a question that you feel shouldn’t have been?
  • The community team may also include the following three questions if the community doesn’t supply enough questions.

    • In your opinion, what do moderators do?
    • A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?
    • In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
  • At the start of the nomination phase, the Community Team will select up to 8 of the top voted questions submitted by the community provided in this thread, to use in addition to the aforementioned 2 guaranteed questions. We reserve some editorial control in the selection of the questions and may opt not to select a question that is tangential or irrelevant to moderation or the election. We exclude any suggested questions that are negatively scored.

    • We will post the final questionnaire on the Election page. Candidates will have the option to fill out the questionnaire, and their answers will appear beneath their intro statements.
    • This is not the only option that users have for gathering information on candidates. As a community, you are still free to, for example, hold a live chat session with your candidates to ask further questions, or perhaps clarifications from what is provided in the Q&A.

If you have any questions or feedback about this process, feel free to post as a comment here.

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How do you distinguish questions that are about systematic theology (even ones that cite the Bible) from exegetical questions that touch on theological matters?

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How does the purpose and scope (allowed questions) of this site differ from Christianity.SE?

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    We could equally ask how the site differs from Judaism.SE, but in practice most questions that get wrongly posted here belong on Christianity.SE.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Oct 4 '21 at 23:28
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How would you deal with a poorly written or worded question from a first-time poster to this site?

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    I have seen multiple first-timers express that they would not be returning after the cold reception they received here.
    – Polyhat
    Oct 5 '21 at 14:05
  • Thanks @Polyhat, that's a fantastic question! The new user experience is so important. I think a lot of it relates to the number of users looking through the review queues - before I joined the moderation team my favourite queue was actually First Posts, but these days most of my effort gets sucked into the Close, Reopen and Edit queues as these rarely accumulate sufficient votes to trigger without moderator intervention.
    – Steve Taylor Mod
    Oct 5 '21 at 14:49
  • I received that comment on my first poorly worded question which was like the FB comment, as almost all new comers do. I then studied the site and realized the purpose and function is not same as social media. There is a strong need to have a feature that shows the diclaimer to the new comers on their first answers very clearly about the format and style this site demands. I dont think the welcome correction needs to be more polite. The first ctime answers are the biggest issue coz users are not informed well.
    – Michael16
    Oct 12 '21 at 12:52
  • @Michael16 - as I recall, StackOverflow did rather a lot of testing around automated guidance/disclaimers and things like that, but found that pretty much every new user ignored it. The community approach has had more success - passionate, welcoming users like yourself reviewing the First Answer queue and helping new users in a more individual, personal way is usually the best start.
    – Steve Taylor Mod
    Oct 12 '21 at 17:14
  • @steveTaylor stack doesn't have the disclaimer on the screen of posting first few answers as I have seen in some other sites, I forgot which perhaps Quora. When you show the msg on the page when we are writing an answer, we can't ignore it. If this is applied here, the biggest problem will be solved. The disclaimer must include the info that most first answers get deleted or edited due to lack of the guidelines etc.
    – Michael16
    Oct 13 '21 at 2:57
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What are comments for, and what are the signs that comments have turned into a debate that needs to be handled by a moderator?

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  • The sense of this question is unclear to me. Is it intended to convey that each and every debate warrants moderators' intervention? or does it refer to a subset of debates that are repetitive or deteriorate in fanaticism and/or vexation? Notwithstanding the SE general direction to "avoid extended discussions in comments", sometimes it takes a prolonged chain of comments to (1) establish that a post (whether it is a question or an answer) is robust/flawed, and/or (2) unearth thoughtful ramifications of the post. Oct 9 '21 at 15:31
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    @IñakiViggers Yes all comment debates don't belong here - that's the case on every SE site. But what constitutes a comment debate compared to a productive comment exchange is subjective, which is what this question is intended to draw out from our candidates.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Oct 9 '21 at 22:18
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    Note that comments shouldn't be used to argue against posts. If you disagree with the interpretation presented in a post, the primary tool should be the downvote. And write an answer that presents an alternative interpretation. Comments should really just be used to ask for clarification or to point out factual errors.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Oct 10 '21 at 2:12
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How have you contributed to the community moderation of this site?

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    As a tangent to this question, for anybody reading (yes, you!) - please do participate in the review queues as much as you can, especially with Voting to Close and flagging any off-topic content! As Moderators our dream is to intervene as little as possible - the more the community participates, the easier it is to be sure that content decisions are happening in a fair and impartial way. :)
    – Steve Taylor Mod
    Oct 5 '21 at 7:57
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Sometimes comments are written on this site complaining that a question does not come from a place of genuine inquiry, but instead is a "stump the chump" or "gotcha" question for people of some other theological camp. Do you think questions like these are a legitimate problem, and if so, how do you identify these questions?

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My biggest concern is the issue of fairness. I saw how many genuine questions on the gender issue of the Holy Spirit in English translations get unfairly closed; and when I asked that Q on the English:SE, they closed it too, and to me this demonstrates the bias of some users who are influencing post closure. There is a strong need for impartiality and professional approach in the moderators who not only take the fair decisions in allowing Qs that challenges mainstream religion, but also warn, and take action against certain members who may be vote bombing - I have substantial concerns in this area. This is of course too much to ask and impossible to achieve, but I like to be optimistic. Maybe there is a need for a quota for a couple of non-religious moderators among the “Christian” Sanhedrin here.

Question: How would you ensure that you have no bias and do not behave insecure about your own views, and that you won't be too sensitive when your religion is challenged by the users? Kindly tell whether you even believe there is a disproportionate bias against the critical questions here (any Q that is critical of mainstream religion: atheistic or Unitarian) to begin with.

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  • In case you're not aware, the questionnaire was compiled yesterday so your question will not have a chance to make its way to it.
    – JNat StaffMod
    Oct 12 '21 at 14:54
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    Hi Michael, thanks very much for your thoughts here - as a Moderation team we share a high degree of concern around impartiality and professionalism on the site, and we've been working hard over the past year to encourage this among the community. We do keep an eye out for duplicate profiles too. As an ex-atheist I am personally passionate about fair representation of minority views, and as a moderation team we work hard to avoid partisanship between us. Please do raise any concerns you have on Meta so we can understand them and talk them through.
    – Steve Taylor Mod
    Oct 12 '21 at 15:05
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    I've also redacted your post to conform to the Code of Conduct in place for the site - please do your utmost to demonstrate impartiality and a professional approach for users as well.
    – Steve Taylor Mod
    Oct 12 '21 at 15:08
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    We've now also opened up a specific Moderator election chat which is an open space for talking about anything related to the moderator election. Hope that's helpful
    – Steve Taylor Mod
    Oct 13 '21 at 19:08

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