What do you love about the moderator job on TWP?
I love most that I get to play a part in the issues that help make the community great. Since that's a pretty generic answer, I'll give a couple specific examples:
I like dealing with flags that get me involved in community interaction. Some things are flagged because a drive-by-user posted junk and will never be back. It's nice to keep things clean, but it's more rewarding when I get to help solve someone's problem, such as where a new user needs help understanding the community in order to form their question to get the best answers. Or, when a dispute over content reveals a new issue we've never considered before.
I love being a part of the deep consideration that goes into handling complex issues. The other moderators on this site really care about the community, too, and I love working with others to solve problems with an attitude of "how do we make this a win for everyone?"
How do you spend your moderation time? Which tasks take the largest amounts of time? And roughly speaking, how much time do you spend on moderation tasks (not counting your "just plain user" time like asking and answering questions)?
By far, reading takes the most time. I feel like I can't appropriately serve the community unless I'm aware of the content (Qs and As), and the interactions that have taken place (comments and meta). I haven't been too active lately primarily for this reason.
I will handle a few flags here and there, but my approach is meticulous and detailed. I know that an inappropriate moderator action can have a lasting impact, so I want to make sure I know what's going on before I make conclusions.
Any prospective moderator should be prepared to spend a large amount of their time digesting what's going on in the community. I'm convinced that you can't be successful without that.
What have been your biggest challenges as a moderator? Without revealing privileged information, can you talk about how you (personally and collectively) have addressed them?
In some cases I've been needed not just to moderate content or fiddle with admin bits, but to moderate human issues. In this case, the biggest challenge is removing my own bias so that I don't introduce yet another set of variables to already-complicated issues. Whenever you are a third party to these situations, you certainly risk making things worse than before.
To handle this, I've tried to look to other shining examples and emulate them. We have a fantastic community team that really get people, and set a great example for how to lead with perspective and calm, fair, firm, and objective reasoning. There are a lot of Workplace users who are great examples to look at, too.
(Sidebar: That's one of the things that I love about the Workplace, especially as a moderator. The very topic of the site helps me be a better member and moderator. So many good and thoughtful answers to help give me perspective.)
I've also tried to remember that at the end of the day, each individual user has something they want to get out of this site. How can I help them achieve it? I'm an optimist in this sense -- I think in most cases we can achieve a majority of our users' goals, even if they may seem in conflict at first. I always try to remember: without users we have nothing!
Is there anything you're hoping the new moderators will do or change that you never quite got around to? What's on your "moderator wish list", and why is it important?
What advice do you have for somebody considering this job? What are the questions people should be asking but aren't?
I'll answer both of these questions together.
First of all there's a great deal of validation and trust that comes with an elected moderator position, so I'm quite excited for those that earn it. The community respects you, so make sure you value that!
Second, this site needs well-formed but flexible principles. "Strong opinions, loosely held." There is a lot of ground left to define, but we've come a long way. Moderators are a key part of defining the principles this site is run on. But everyone needs to be prepared for new issues to arise and to discard old ideas that aren't working anymore.
Third, a moderator is really a servant. I hope the new moderators will really buy into that.
People. There's nothing more important than the users of this site. All members of the community, starting from the moderators, will need to be aware of how to cultivate positive interactions and relationships with new users and make them feel welcome, while upholding the high standards of quality that we all hope for the site.
Culture. And because the site is made up of people, it will have a culture whether it is intentional or not, so it's best that it be guided based on civility and principles that we want. And it needs to be protected as new users come on board. These new users will come from anywhere, so there will be a period of time where some don't "get" how things work here. Moderators especially must be careful to teach without pushing away.
What questions should people be asking?
Probably many, but there are others better to think about this than I. However, one important question is related to the idea of principles above. "What guidelines are working and which aren't?" In particular, we have a back it up rule that I think is owed a ton of credit for the high quality answers we see. However, I still see with frequency that this is confusing to new users. "Well of course, my 'experience' is backing it up! How do I cite that!?" I think we can do a better job of easing this tension. But it's a tough problem, and I don't know what the answer is!
Wow, great questions! Really made me think. I want to thank you and the rest of the community for being a great example of human interaction and leadership for me to look up to, and for making the site what it is so far.