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  Moderator elections (2015) - nomination and discussion

+ 3 like - 0 dislike

PhysicsOverflow is holding its second moderator election (2015).

The nomination phase is between 2015-04-04 and 2015-04-10. During this phase, any user may nominate any other user for the moderator position. The precise moderator permissions are detailed in the FAQ. Mind that for the candidate to pass to the voting phase (beginning 2015-04-11 and ending 2015-04-17), they must have at least 500 reputation points (no other requirement).

Please note that:

  • Votes here are inconsequential. This is the nomination phase, the voting phase will begin 2015-04-11.
  • Even upon the closure of this thread and the commencement of the voting phase, discussion about candidates is to be done here.
  • Any discussion about candidates on the site will be moved here.

Please remember that the nomination phase begins on 2015-04-04 1230 (GMT). Nominations before this time will be temporarily hidden until the commencement of the nomination phase. Until then, please comment on the text of this post, to improve it if necessary.

Closed by author request
asked Apr 4, 2015 in Public Official Posts by dimension10 (1,985 points) [ revision history ]
closed Apr 10, 2015 by author request

How many moderators are to be elected?

[see How many "full-time" moderators will be elected 2015?]

@ArnoldNeumaier as we have only Dimension10 as a moderator at present, I personally think we should elect 2-3 addtional moderators at least. The number of moderators to be elected in these elections has until now not been officially settled, as far as I know (?)...

Is acceptance for the nomination a precondition for being eligible in the voting phase, or only for the result of the election taking effect? 

@ArnoldNeumaier Acceptance is after the voting.

11 Answers

+ 6 like - 1 dislike

Dilaton - was a great moderator, and was the main driving force behind the setup of the site. There was some controversy surrounding some editing of comments before the release of a revision history for comments, but that was resolved all well. He stopped doing moderative work completely (besides spam deletion) upon realising this mistake, and stepped down without protest, which I think is a great gesture.

answered Apr 4, 2015 by dimension10 (1,985 points) [ revision history ]
edited Apr 5, 2015 by dimension10

@downvoters I hope that you aren't downvoting due to the comment editing issue. It's resolved, almost nobody's against him for that any longer. Dilaton stepped down as promised, voluntarily without protest, and did it absolutely silently without attracting attention yesterday. This is a good gesture, don't you think?

I would vote for Dilaton, if I could. I think he is a good moderator. Those who are eligible for voting, please, support Dilaton's candidature.

I think dilaton's behavior in the last 10 days was exemplary. The responses to his resignation message show that the problem has been been fully resolved to everybody's satisfaction.

Thanks Dimension10.

I like and appreciate your work for PO a lot.
You always did a very good and nifty job as a moderator too, much better than me. I would happily be part of a moderation team that involves you, Arnold, and maybe somebody else who gets elected. Such a moderation team would in my opinion be a good thing and signal reliability and trustworthiness to the community of professional physicists.

I will vote for Dilaton as well.

Thanks @conformal_gk ;-). BTW you can vote for as many candidates as you like, also in the upcoming voting thread.

+ 4 like - 0 dislike

Arnold Neumaier

Apart from his outstanding physics contributions, Arnold would be a fair, just, and patient moderator. He has already proven his moderation qualities during the last few weeks by mediating consensus concerning difficult topics, and bringing peace and more professionality to the site. Getting Arnold as a moderator would certainly be helpful for  PO to find better acceptance and get trusted and used by the international community of professional physicists.

answered Apr 4, 2015 by Dilaton (6,240 points) [ revision history ]
edited Apr 5, 2015 by Dilaton
Most voted comments show all comments

@physicsnewbie Moderatorship votes should not depend on what Arnold says or does on other sites. Wanting to be friendly with SE does not mean being obliged to participate there.

Personally, I'm actually alright with Stack Exchange does, I just recognise that its objectives are absolutely different from that of PhysicsOverflow (PhysicsOverflow is about maintaining a free and open academic community for physics that includes a forum and a community peer review platform, while PSE is a Q&A library for physics, mostly high-school level physics).

@physicsnewbie: Can you point out a single rude or hostile statement I made on Physics SE? What I state on my profile there is a simple fact, expressed in neutral langauge:

I am active on Physics Overflow rather than here, where I usually only respond to comments on my old postings.

You put words into my mouth that I neither said nor that are true regarding my actual behavior. Everyone but you can see in my profile there that since PO went in public beta on April 4, 2014, I answered 7 physics questions on Physics SE - one of them having 11 upvotes, and the last one being from less than a week ago. 

In contrast, looking at the scientific questions posed or answers given by you on PO I can find only this and this, neither of which was found useful by the community. And what you post on SE nobody here can tell since you are anonymous, and - if you post there at all - have a different name there.

So who among the two of us is doing more for mutual friendship?

@physicsnewbie in the long run, the relationship between Physics SE and PO would optimally be of the same kind as the relationship between Mathematics SE and MO.

There are MathOverflow users who are (almost) exclusively active on MO but not on Math SE, and there is in my personal opinion nothing wrong with people being active on both sites or on only one of them; it is their free and legitimate choice. The same should hold for Physics SE and PO.

In addition, as I see it exclusively from a physics point of view, there should be nothing wrong with linking below a question to external places that contain valuable, appropriate, and on-topic to the question information that might even provide a full or partial answer to the question at hand. At least on PO, links to all sources of such information are welcome, as long as the material is on-topic to the question and at the appropriate level.

Also, in my personal opinion the OP of a question has the moral right to learn about answers he has obtained, even if the question has been migrated to and answered at another place.

BTW I have just successfully updated my Physics SE profile. Even though I personally disagree with certain practices of moderation on Physics SE because I personally consider them to be not appropriate for a high-level academic community, I have learned to respect that (as Dimension10 says too) Physics SE has a different mission compared to PO. They are free and have the right to do what is needed to best achieve their goals.


1. Do you really think it is rude if someone who lived with your family for two years (hence spent a lot of time with you) and then moved somewhere else (and hence spends most of the time there) still comes back from time to time (but is present much less than before) to discuss things with you, and when he has no time for this at least writes frequently an sms to inform about things happening at the new place that answer the family's questions? No, it is the opposite of being rude.

2. If you can understand a meaningful fraction of the scientific questions and answers here you are competent enough to ask at least sensible scientific questions in the areas of your understanding. While if not, you shouldn't make politics on meta now, but wait with contributing to meta till your scientific maturity allows you to contribute to the substance of PO, too.

@physicsnewbie: My words are nothing but advice. As you can see, nobody stops you from participating on meta, but you leave a bad impression - making politics without contributing substance. 

What were the reasons behind your contributions on PSE plummeting significantly after December 6th '12 ?

You were there at the time, why do you ask? See here, one of the comments after manishearth's answer. We parted in peace, as you can find out when looking up the h-bar from Dec 6. 

Most recent comments show all comments

@dilaton the relationship between PO and PSE can never be the same as with MO and MSE while PO heavily relies on PSE for its content via importing. Although legal it's done in a way that I consider to be mainly... parasitic. I don't see how PSE benefits from useful content over there being imported here one-way, together with a cold one-line link in the comments.

Personally, I find this embarrassing and irritating as I explained right at the beginning of the setting up of the site, and argued for PO resurrecting  the model of TP.SE entirely by creating unique content with a complete disregard for visitors/day quotas. If this had been done, then yes PO would be on friendly terms with PSE today, attracting the users that used to post exclusively on TP.SE.

I'm not criticizing PO overall, but simply trying to help people here be a little more realistic about what can be achieved diplomatically while things are the way they are.

@Arnold Neumaier someone may leave a family because of an argument, or to find a job elsewhere etc while still remaining in contact. What were the reasons behind your contributions on PSE plummeting significantly after December 6th '12 ?

My understanding of Meta is that questions can be technical or political, and are open to anyone regardless of technical ability here. This was discussed before, where your answer received +1 vote, Ron's +4.

Please, let's be honest about ourselves and admit our mistakes if any, as Ron has done many times here.

+ 4 like - 0 dislike
answered Apr 8, 2015 by physicsnewbie (-20 points) [ no revision ]
@Dimension10 40227 is an immensely good contributer of physics to PO, so he is a legitimate candidate.

@Dilaton I'm not questioning the validity of the candidature - it's my own comments on the candidate.

I absolutely do value 40227 as a great contributor! However, I'm just a bit hesitant before voting on someone who's political opinions regarding moderation are not known to me. But I think that he did comment once on meta regarding some moderation issue, and on hindsight, it would make him a good mod, so +1 here.

Could the downvoter on 40227's nomination please explain?

+ 3 like - 0 dislike

Urs Schreiber - perhaps he'd accept to be a symbolic moderator, relieved from duties, as a sign of professionality towards the world of physicists. 

answered Apr 5, 2015 by Arnold Neumaier (15,787 points) [ revision history ]
edited Apr 5, 2015 by Arnold Neumaier
Most voted comments show all comments

That would be great - if he has time to moderate.

... though he might be too busy to accept. But perhaps he'd accept to be a symbolic moderator, relieved from duties, as a sign of professionality towards the world of physicists. 

@ArnoldNeumaier Indeed, I absolutely agree.

@physicsnewbie I think it's defunct now (archived on Google Groups though). That was on USENET. Anyway, Urs was among them.

@physicsnewbie: sci.physics.research is still active in 2015, but with very little traffic compared to its prime days over 10 years ago. Urs helped moderate it for a long time. You could ask in the newsgroup who is moderating now.

Most recent comments show all comments

@ArnoldNeumaier The page says it's "vaon" and not "van".

 @dimension10: but this is an obvious typo.

+ 5 like - 2 dislike
answered Apr 8, 2015 by physicsnewbie (-20 points) [ no revision ]
Most voted comments show all comments
@Dimension10 conformal_gk is a great contributor of physics to PO, so he is a legitimate candidate. In addition he did help keeping the site clean by flagging inappropriate posts for example ...

@ArnoldNeumaier only > 500 rep users can do community moderation (which includes to vote in moderator elections). The whole community moderation category, which containse also the close/reopen/etc queues is therefore visible only for >500 rep users.

While nominating candidates was open to everybody, the voting thread is posted in the community moderation category too.

Update: I just see that the privilege of voting in moderator elections is not (yet?) listed in FAQ/Permissions under the >500 rep privileges. But voting in moderator elections has always been a >500 rep privilege since the start of public beta, it was the same for the 2014 elections for example.

@dimension10, Thanks for the info. While it's nice to see Arnold and  Urs up there at the top, I'm disappointed at the negative votes received by the younger PhD students; MO was initially founded and moderated by math PhD students.

To me the most important is to have Dilaton re-elected.

My congratulations to Dilaton and to all who have made the site revival possible!

Most recent comments show all comments

@dimension10 I thought Ron and Jia wanted to be removed from the elections?


+ 2 like - 0 dislike

Jia Yiyang - I would say he's been the best moderator we've had, because he has done administrative work when needed, and was also cool-headed, sensible and unbiased. He resigned for petty reasons, would be great to have him back.

answered Apr 4, 2015 by dimension10 (1,985 points) [ revision history ]
edited Apr 5, 2015 by dimension10
Most voted comments show all comments

Could the downvoter of Yiyang's nomination on the voting thread please explain? Yiyang is the only completely uncontroversial moderator, who hasn't done anything controversial. I hope the reason is not personal vengeance for his stance regarding the Dilaton moderator review (especially given that he has now voted in favour of Dilaton's nomination).

@dimension10, I'd agree with Dilaton on this. 

@Dilaton I didn't say the downvote is yours. What I meant is that the downvoter probably downvoted it in relation to his participation in the moderator review against you. I was (and am) pretty sure it isn't you.

"Freedom to vote silently" does not mean "Freedom to vote without getting called out". You can get called out for voting (which is why we have commands like @ upvoters and @ downvoters). It's important to call out voters in the case of elections, because it's important to let people introspect into their own votes and reconsider them if they don't find any good reason for their downvote.

"My vote, my choice" is a very bad argument, unless someone's questioning the legitimacy ("legality") of your vote, just like how "My mouth, my choice" (citing freedom of expression) is a bad argument unless someone's questioning the legality of saying something.

@dimension10 If you want to know I down voted Jia because I know he is not interested. That is all.

And what Dilaton says is true.

@Dimension10 yes, we do have the nice feature of advanced pinging to ask for explanations of votes and it should be used of course as needed. Howevver, the voters are by no means obliged to respond to such pings if they dont want to.

I thought that in particular the voting election thread is meant to stay "clean", such that votings there are silent naturally.

Also, many of the returning users might legitimately want to just silently vote in this election, without getting drawn in meta discussions otherwise. There is nothig wrong with this.

Most recent comments show all comments

@Dimension10 first of all that downvote is not mine. Second, as I understand it, a downvote on the voting thread just means something like "I would rather not like this specific user to be a moderator"; not more and not less. It does not necessarily have to say anything about how the downvoter appreciates the specific user and his contributions generally otherwise ...

So even though I see some downvotes on the voting thread that rather surprise me too, I see no point in calling people out for casting them or in demanding an explanation by all means. As I understand it, votes can happen silently without explanation on the voting thread too, as everywhere on PO.

@Prathyush That's a bad reason to downvote - please don't vote that way. If Yiyang doesn't want to be a moderator, he'll reject the nomination, there is a platform for that. Otherwise, not wanting to be a moderator would become a self-fulfiling prophecy. Also, it would be great for PO if Yiyang rethinks his decision, but by downvoting him because of his decision, you remove this possibility.

@Dilaton I did not say that they are obliged to reply, please re-read my comment.

+ 1 like - 0 dislike

Ron Maimon - he is excellent at keeping other moderators in check : ) because of his staunch disagreement with the idea of unanimity.

answered Apr 4, 2015 by dimension10 (1,985 points) [ revision history ]
edited Apr 9, 2015 by dimension10

I promised to keep my nose out of moderation for a full year, I have a ton of physics to do, and I trust everyone fully in every respect, please don't nominate me, as I would like to keep all my promises.

@ron maimon Disappointed you won't be moderating, but it's cool that you're doing physics. You should set up a blog like Terence Tao to keep you motivated. Having read Birth of a Mathematical Theorem, quality work needs to be catalyzed by our interaction with others.

@physicsnewbie: I have been having a ton of interactions with various people "behind the scenes" at various places, and I read a bunch of papers I could easily review. But unfortunately, all of them (save one) would be negative reviews, and I want to do a good positive review, because I have overdone the hostile language before on negative reviews, and I don't want to have this site to turn into a home for venomous anonymous substance-less criticism, rather to encourage insightful constructive criticism, which is more difficult to come up with than "this paper is wrongheaded nonsense", which is what I would knee-jerk say if left to my own devices.

@RonMaimon OK, but I hope you'll not stop yourself from writing negative reviews (which is often more important) after you write the positive one : )

+ 1 like - 0 dislike
answered Apr 8, 2015 by physicsnewbie (-20 points) [ no revision ]
Ryan Thorngren is very knowledgeable about physics which makes him a valid candidate.

@dimension10 I feel we should be pushing for more active, academically qualified mods so their peers are more likely to post here.

@Dilaton I wasn't questioning the validity of the nomination - just my own comments on the candidate. My comment wasn't actually intended on this post - I posted it by accident, deleted - sorry.

+ 0 like - 0 dislike
answered Apr 5, 2015 by Kai Li (980 points) [ no revision ]

Hi Kai Li, thanks : ) but there is no need to re-nominate me, as I am already currently a moderator (my resignation will be at the end of the year, not yet).

Dilaton's already nominated at the top

+ 0 like - 0 dislike

Matt Reece

It's a long shot since he doesn't appear to contribute here, but if asked by email he might accept out of interest.

As well as being an outstanding academic, he's also active on PSE even though very few of the questions are at his level of interest. On the other hand, PO not raising the bar for standards to that for MO might put him off too much.

answered Apr 6, 2015 by physicsnewbie (-20 points) [ revision history ]

I think it's better, if in this election, we only choose candidates who are actually active on PhysicsOverflow, rather than those who've never participated.

@dimension10 I can imagine Matt visits the site out of curiosity, even if he hasn't answered any questions on it.

@Physicsnewbie I would of course like it a lot to see Matt Reece becoming active on PO, but so far he has not even regained his account as you can see from his profile. It would be great if somebody could successfully invite him ... ;-).

@Dilaton, why not just email him out of curiosity? He might be flattered and try it out for a while if it's made clear that the site is intended to be a physics equivalent of MO. There again, standards not being quite up there might put him off. There's no harm asking.

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