- As a community, we have our fair share of divisive issues, often hashed out at length in meta and on chat, usually with strong arguments either way. As a moderator, what do you see as your role during these community disagreements?
In general, our role as moderators would be to mediate these discussions to the best of our ability and stop disruptive behaviour such as close/reopen wars. Redirecting users into meta, diffusing heated tempers, responding to/removing inflammatory remarks and just generally guiding the conversation so that it remains civil and on-topic are just some of the tasks I expect to be taking on in these situations.
Of course, there may be some cases where a moderator answer or direct intervention is requested or required, especially in cases where the discussions are not reaching any conclusions or the direction of the discussion has tangentially spiraled from the original point. After all, moderators have been elected from the community based on their previous experiences, their understanding of the site and history of level-headedness. A moderator's voice is a tool of moderation just like close votes or other tools available to us all: it should be used as needed in order to steer discussions towards a (civil) consensus.
1.1 To add to this: if you don't currently participate in chat, do you see yourself making an effort to do so after becoming moderator as many issues are discussed on chat before meta posts are made?
Whilst this was only a comment on the Election Questionnaire I feel like I should address it as it's probably (mostly) targeted at me due to not being very active in chat.
Yes and no.
Yes, I will be more active due to the nature of being a moderator. I will flick into chat more often and will of course join for important discussions and be available to respond to @ pings as I already do (as covered in the Election chat discussions this week).
No, I don't expect to join in the idle banter too much. The Bridge isn't really for me, plus everyone else is generally asleep when I'm active, due to me being based in Australia thus my active times are about 10 hours out from most Bridge frequents from the US and Europe.
- Meta discussions can often be divisive, with two (and sometimes multiple) sides forming differing stances and viewpoints within the same discussion.
Can you give an example of a meta (or chat conversation) which made you change your stance on a particular issue?
Every 'Identify This Game' (ITG) Discussion There's no one post on ITG that I would call definitive to me, but as someone who was initially kinda supportive of ITG, reading over many of the discussions/stats/answers given made me change my stance completely, and I believe the site is now better off having removed them.
Note that I also agree with our exception of allowing an artifact as covered by LessPop_MoreFizz: "Here is a thing. Look at the thing. Do you see the thing? I would like to know what this Thing is Called." A plea for sanity, and I differentiate between these questions and ITG as I covered here
Can you give an example of a meta/chat in which you were originally barracking for a particular side, but since that time have changed your stance on the issue?
Should "how do I attack this base?" questions be considered off-topic?
I've never played Clash of Clans, and probably never will. Having said that, I originally disagreed with the removal of these particular types of questions (thinking that they were just general strategy questions) and voted on JonK's straw poll answers as such.
It wasn't until I did a bit of research into CoC in general and into our clash-of-clans tag that I agreed that these questions were a bad fit for us, and theBlueFish's answer solidified that stance for me.
- In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
I feel I have more to offer the site than the 10/20k tools provide me. Anyone can reach 20k without ever participating in site moderation, review queues or the 10/20k tools.
Current (and potential!) moderators have already been shown to have an active presence in site moderation tasks, meta, or at least chat. I believe that a moderator's previous experiences, level-headedness and thorough understanding of policy and how the site operates are key to moderation and the success of the site, and I believe that I tick all those boxes.
- As a moderator, you will have access to all sorts of privileged information that is not accessible to regular users. Under what circumstances would you access users' personal information and why?
The only use cases I can think of is either:
- Needing to contact a user for site-specific reasons who is currently in a particularly bad situation and/or can't reply, such as having their account hacked or being on timed suspension.
- In the process of investigating a voting ring/sock puppet situation
I'm sure there are other valid reasons but as of writing I can't think of any other exceptional circumstances where accessing said data would be applicable.
- A new question appears! It's a little weird and unlike anything you've seen. The community starts discussing how to handle it, and it's both been closed and reopened. What do? Some examples.
In General: Delete inflammatory comments, move extended discussions to chat and redirect users to meta.
In the specific examples you've given:
Overwatch Ultimates ('Too broad' vs having many questions)
If the community deemed an overarching "How do all heroes gain ultimate?" as too broad, and then asked, answered and voted on questions about individual heroes' ultimates one at a time, is that not the system working as intended?
I would question why we "don't want to have 16 different questions" in this scenario. If the topic was 'waay too broad man!' to stand in a combined manner, than the 16 heroes would have enough extensive, varied content to require expert answers to all of them.
However, if the community had closed the broad question, and was now closing the individual questions for some reason, then I would create a meta to the above effect and redirect close/reopen voters to share their views there.
Modded Fallout 3 crash (No Dogs Allowed!)
I would explain that - whilst we have a rule against Modded Minecraft crash questions - this does not automatically extend to other games. This quote from SevenSidedDie sums up the situation perfectly, and I would quote parts of it when explaining the situation:
Although that might appeal in a "rules should be rules" sense, it violates the No Elephants Allowed Sign rule-making principle: rules exist because they solve a real problem. Applying rules to non-problems because it's "fair" can cause more problems than they solve, such as unnecessary extra work applying or defending the rule. "Minecraft crash questions caused us problems, so I'm sorry but your simple question about Half-Life 3 crashing is off topic" is a hard stance to defend
- SevenSidedDie: Minecraft crash questions should be made off-topic: yes/no?
Whilst making said point, I would redirect users to open a meta if they felt strongly about banning all modded tech support in general (or for another exception-case game like Minecraft).
Dark Soles 5 (Game availability)
The presedent set by this meta is that: so long as a game is publicly available, even if it is in closed beta or only available to a select few people at the time of writing, you are allowed to ask questions on it. So if this situation came up, I would initially do nothing.
If we get a lot of contention around a particular question/situation however, I would take it to meta. If there is a contentious question that spawned the situation, I would link relevant users (close/reopen-voters, commenters etc) to that new meta, potentially locking the question (if it is in the middle of a close/reopen war or if commenters refuse to move to meta/chat) until the situation is resolved.
Terminology (Is there a term for 'X')
In this situation, I would
- Attempt to make my meta answer clearer what the stance actually is.
- Link relevant users (close/reopen-voters, commenters etc) to the current meta, requesting they voice their dissenting opinions there.
- Again, potentially locking the contentious question until the situation is resolved.
- Not override community consensus until sure that the first decision to close was the right one. If it wasn't, then I accept the situation of being overruled and move on. If it was, then reclose the question (if it hasn't been in the meantime).
- Why do you want to be a mod? It's not an easy job, and is actually quite thankless and unrewarding. You'll have to field criticism and complaints from all corners, no matter what you do. How will you handle that?
I want to be a mod because I feel like I can contribute more to the betterment of the site by doing so.
Regarding fielding criticism/complaints: I feel like I do this already, to an extent. I have constantly and consistently fought for questions (and question types/categories) that I feel are within our expertise to answer, ironically enough most of the time with the user who wrote this question :). It's pretty unrewarding, there's no rep in it and often enough the OP of the particular question either doesn't respond at all, or when they do - gets miffed about the discussions happening around them.
So why do I get myself into these situations? Because at the end of the day it's not about Me, or the OP, or @Frank, or anyone else. It's about the content that we as a site are presenting. I have gone to bat for ungrateful OPs because I believed their questions (or the answers they're garnering) were worth keeping around.
Sometimes I'm wrong, sometimes I'm right, and if I'm elected mod I'll approach every situation exactly the same as I always have: remaining calm but firm, debating against the point not the person making them, and deferring to community decisions/precedents on the subject at hand (if needed in the particular situation).
- 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?
Take them into a one-on-one chat and explain that the behavior they are portraying is unacceptable. I would make the point that no number of content contributions (fantastic as they may be) make it acceptable to act the way they are acting. The first instance will be a warning, followed by greater consequences if the behaviour doesn't improve, eventuating in a timed suspension if warranted.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
I would discuss their reasons for doing so privately with the mod (or all the other mods). If no precedent / meta exists to back up either side and the post (or it's openness/closure/deletion) is causing a lot of discussions/controversy with no meta being made, I would make an (impartial) meta q and direct all interested parties for or against to contribute their thoughts there.
Whichever way the consensus is reached I would then support that decision.
- I've noticed some of the candidates have unusual upvote:downvote ratio. Although moderators don't directly affect voting, they do have an active voice in meta discussions that can affect voting patterns, and their user profiles present an example for new users. Can you justify your upvote:downvote ratio? Do you believe downvotes should be used more, or less, than how they are used now? In what cases do you believe a question should get a downvote but not a close vote? Do you expect that being elected a moderator will affect your voting habits?
As of writing my stats are 7,721 up, 350 down, for a ratio of about 22/1.
Can I justify my upvote:downvote ratio? I find this very similar to asking for comments explaining votes on the main site, in that everyone's voting habits are different and in general everyone has a different take on when to vote. However, here's my take:
If another action is a better fit from having to downvote, I will do that first. This includes editing, closing, commenting for clarification and so on. In fact, the only action I pair with a downvote is usually a flag. I am more likely to not vote at all if I believe that the post is contentious enough, saving my up or down response for when we have a clearer consensus.
I vote up when the question/answer is:
- A post that I believe can benefit others
- Shows effort on behalf of the asker/answerer
- Gives insight or experience backed up with facts, references and data.
- Clear and to the point (doesn't waffle)
- I enjoyed reading it
I vote down when the question/answer is:
- Unclear (when editing will not solve this).
- Blatantly off-topic as per our close reasons (unless it's already closed, no point in beating a dead horse)
- An answer makes sweeping claims and does not provide sources/references/data to back them up.
- An answer is link-only, straight up wrong, not useful, commentary or in general should be removed.
In what cases do you believe a question should get a downvote but not a close vote?
It's not often, as I've covered I'll either edit myself or request clarification before downvoting. The only scenario I can think of is if the question shows little to no research effort (and it isn't a language barrier that's preventing them finding the answer themselves)
I also make a point of reversing/removing downvotes if the poster or interested third party makes an effort to fix up the post (and I believe the fixed version now justifies removal of a downvote)
I don't expect becoming a moderator will affect my voting habits much. I might find that I downvote slightly more due to it being a 'safer' action in regards to moderation that doesn't override community consensus like close/reopen votes.
- Moderators' close and re-open votes are binding. If elected, how (if at all) would your close/re-open voting practices change?
Unless the post blatantly fits into one of our core on/off-topic reasons I would delay my voting until 3 or 4 votes in so as not to short circuit the voting process.
Everything else I would expect to do the same: linking to relevant metas, editing posts to be clearer, explaining to the OP/interested parties why such decisions are made, guiding the OP into rewording to fit our site better or to remove contentious points.
B. A major reason for this Arqade election is to deal with moderator load - one moderator has been handling the majority of it, and what we need above all else is activity out of the new moderators. How active do you plan to be in handling the moderation? What times can you reasonably be active, how consistently will you be able to commit time to keeping the site in check?
Having earned both Enthusiast and Fanatic (and consistently re-hitting the requirements) I feel that I can be active on most days.
On average I expect to be available 1.5 - 2 hours a day, at a time when most mods are asleep or working due to my local timezone (GMT+10). I am generally active in small doses throughout my day, with larger peaks of activity in the mornings and evenings. Weekends are more difficult to plan around but I generally still have around the same amount of time to spend per day.
I hope these answers shed some light onto who I am, what I do and why I'm here. If anything requires clarification, please don't hesitate to ask :)