11

In connection with the moderator elections, we are holding a Q&A thread for the candidates. Questions collected from an earlier thread have been compiled into this one, which shall now serve as the space for the candidates to provide their answers. There was a multiway tie for the last few questions, and I liked all of them, so I took all of them, bringing us with the 2 preset questions to a total of 11 questions.

As a candidate, your job is simple - post an answer to this question, citing each of the questions and then post your answer to each question given in that same answer. For your convenience, I will include all of the questions in quote format with a break in between each, suitable for you to insert your answers. Just copy the whole thing after the first set of three dashes.Please consider putting your name at the top of your post so that readers will know who you are before they finish reading everything you have written, and also including a link to your answer on your nomination post.

Once all the answers have been compiled, this will serve as a transcript for voters to view the thoughts of their candidates, and will be appropriately linked in the Election page.

Good luck to all of the candidates!

Oh, and when you've completed your answer, please provide a link to it after this blurb here, before that set of three dashes. Please leave the list of links in the order of submission.

To save scrolling here are links to the submissions from each candidate (in order of submission):


  1. You notice a question that is likely not something that we can constructively deal with. It is also a popular hot button topic and in the first few minutes attracts a few up-votes and answers that are of questionable value. As the day progresses the comment discussion starts piling up under both the question and the answers. What if any action do you take? At what point do you feel it is your duty to step in and stop the spectacle? Do you wait for flags to take action or do you step in preemptively?

  2. How do you deal with flaring tensions between answerers and commenters with widely differing opinions?

  3. Recent discussions on meta and in chat have raised concerns about rudeness and other non-constructive behavior on The Workplace. Do you think we have a problem in this area? If so, what will you as a moderator do to address it?

  4. This site periodically gets high traffic questions (via Hot Network Questions) that straddle the border between controversial and trolling. Both when it's not clear if the poster was intending to troll; and in cases where they were but a legitimate question is tangled in the mess. How do you think they should be handled.

  5. With respect to reopened questions that again attract close votes. What do you feel the moderator's role is in questions where the community are divided whether they are on topic?

  6. What is something new and/or unique that you can bring to the moderator team and/or to the site? (e.g. active at unusual times, familiarity with a certain topic, past applicable work experience, extreme love of waffles, etc.)

  7. What do you think the key traits of a moderator are, and how have you demonstrated them thus far in your activity on the site?

  8. What is one thing about The Workplace "culture" that you want to change or improve? As a moderator, how would you go about doing it?

  9. As a Moderator what would you do differently, that you haven't seen other Moderators do so far?

  10. 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?

  11. How would you handle a situation where another moderator closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

5

Christopher Estep (Nominating Post)

  1. You notice a question that is likely not something that we can constructively deal with. It is also a popular hot button topic and in the first few minutes attracts a few up-votes and answers that are of questionable value. As the day progresses the comment discussion starts piling up under both the question and the answers. What if any action do you take? At what point do you feel it is your duty to step in and stop the spectacle? Do you wait for flags to take action or do you step in preemptively?

I think the key here is the term "piling up". This tells me that the comments aren't likely being used for the purpose for which they were designed and when that happens, it needs to be cleaned up. I believe the preferred way to handle that is to move the comments to a new chat room (linked) and encourage the discussion to continue there.

While I believe in a light touch, I think to always wait for flags negates the mind which have to make decisions. A flag is to bring something to a moderator's attention. If I, as a moderator, already notice something that needs attention then I believe the moderator should then evaluate it as though it were actually flagged. In other words, would I flag it myself and how does this weigh against the guidelines?

If the "spectacle" has a lot of "bad" answers by no/low reputation users, I'd protect it as appropriate. This does tend to happen in questions with a high amount of comment activity since new users aren't able to comment everywhere just yet.

As I've said (and will likely repeat throughout this questionnaire) moderation is something that needs a light touch where possible.

  1. How do you deal with flaring tensions between answerers and commenters with widely differing opinions?

First and foremost I'd encourage the commenters to put their differing opinion in an answer of their own. Comments have a narrow purpose and debate isn't one of them. I'd encourage them to take it to chat and if it got out of hand, migrate the comments into chat. Ideally, I'd rather have the commenter make his own answer there and let the community decide (via votes) which has more merit.

  1. Recent discussions on meta and in chat have raised concerns about rudeness and other non-constructive behavior on The Workplace. Do you think we have a problem in this area? If so, what will you as a moderator do to address it?

I don't think we really have a problem, at least an ongoing one. My biggest concern is when a criticism stops being about an idea and is directed at the person making the statement. I think I lot of times, a reminder helps. If it gets way out of hand (and I mean way out) then I could lock the question or chat room for a short period of time and in severe cases, the "difficult" individual(s) could be given a "time-out". While that's not a very last resort, restricting a person's access is not something to be taken lightly and should be done when other means have seemed to fail. We don't see a ton of suspensions here and that's a good thing, I think.

  1. This site periodically gets high traffic questions (via Hot Network Questions) that straddle the border between controversial and trolling. Both when it's not clear if the poster was intending to troll; and in cases where they were but a legitimate question is tangled in the mess. How do you think they should be handled.

Without knowing the mind of the OP, who can say if it's a troll? But controversial isn't much better I'll admin. Regardless, I can't judge intent. I can only evaluate what is written and in nearly all cases have to take it at face value.

I think editing is very underused. Many questions could be salvaged by some careful editing that preserves the perceived intent while avoiding the potentially controversial aspects of a question. I think the responsibility would be to pull the good question out of the potential troll and hopefully avoid the conflict that such questions seem to bring with them.

  1. With respect to reopened questions that again attract close votes. What do you feel the moderator's role is in questions where the community are divided whether they are on topic?

I think the role is as a resource. I should point out where to decide what constitutes on-topic and off-topic but not cheerlead for either position when I do. If it's to be a community, then the community should be allowed to determine these things. I think there may be exceptions at times, but these are quite rare and need to be very, very obvious and justified in so doing.

  1. What is something new and/or unique that you can bring to the moderator team and/or to the site? (e.g. active at unusual times, familiarity with a certain topic, past applicable work experience, extreme love of waffles, etc.)

Having over 30 years in the workforce I've got an extremely broad range of experience in work environments and situations. I've seen the evolution of policies and practices that now seem commonplace. I have experience on the management and labor side of working and a number of other workplace related topics as well. How this lends itself to moderation is that there's very little I haven't seen in one form or another. I'm not easily shocked or surprised. It means that I'm more apt to be understanding of a question that someone else find ridiculous simply because they haven't encountered that type of situation.

  1. What do you think the key traits of a moderator are, and how have you demonstrated them thus far in your activity on the site?

I think to be a moderator you have to have a sense of fairness that can be applied beyond your own personal bias. The person who annoys you with veiled snark must be treated the same as the person with whom you've bantered playfully for the last 6 months.

I've tried to treat people as fairly as I can. I'll admit that I've had a bit of snark now and then but that's been few and far between (and is also no longer here). I am, after all, only human. But what I've said as "joe user" takes a different import with that diamond next to your name because whether you believe it or not, that little diamond means that (to a degree) you're speaking for the community leadership. Having said that, I do believe that I've kept my nose clean and I am not ashamed of anything I've said here.

  1. What is one thing about The Workplace "culture" that you want to change or improve? As a moderator, how would you go about doing it?

There is a "close culture" here. People seems like would rather close a question rather than to find a way to keep it open, possibly through editing. I believe for some, closing questions may be a meta game in itself, which would be unfortunate.

I'll be honest, I don't have a solution for it. I think we need to take a hand in editing questions that are borderline and make them more on topic. I think we need to keep reminding people what does and does not constitute a "legal question" that can't be answered versus something that any HR pro could answer, which actually is on topic.

I'd like to see more questions reopened when closed for no other reason that they have a passing similarity to a previous question.

But ultimately, I do genuinely believe in a light hand.

  1. As a Moderator what would you do differently, that you haven't seen other Moderators do so far?

I think I would try to be more careful about deleting comments. I guess the interface makes it time consuming to parse through and weed out the bad from the good, but I still think it's in amiable goal. Maybe having another moderator will help that.

I think it's a good goal to have regardless because users really, really hate having the comments deleted. If it's possible to move them to chat, every effort should be made. If there's abuse involve, obviously that can't be done. But I'd like a goal to leave the applicable comments in place wherever possible. I think it would also help in how moderation is perceived.

  1. 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?

I would endeavor to treat him like someone who's been here a week. Unless the user becomes a problem (unruly behavior, abuse, etc.) I would deal with the comments on their own, largely as I suggested above.

Let me clarify however. That doesn't mean they would get a free pass. Just because you have tons of good work doesn't mean you're held to a different standard. But that works both ways too. It doesn't mean that come down on him because "he should know better". Heck maybe he's having a bad day, I don't know. I'll judge his comments independently of his reputation.

If the individual is genuinely becoming a problem, I'd discuss that with the other mods and seek their guidance.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

I'd discuss it with the mod behind the scenes to try to convince them to change their mind. If they don't, I'll defer. If they do, great. None of this means that I would reverse what the other mod did.

  • 2
    Hi Christopher, finding a way to put the focus more on editing to improve is an awesome goal. Closing (or putting "On Hold" as it's now called) is a tool used to help with this goal. Oftentimes, if a question gets too many answers in its original form, it can make it more difficult to edit and make changes. Therefore, putting a question on hold helps editors make the changes, without having to worry about invalidating answers. I do agree people voting to close should definitely work towards finding ways to make the question re-openable, as that helps the op, our community, and future readers. – jmort253 Jan 31 '17 at 5:54
  • 3
    Right. Make the question more reopenable but what is also a great "goal" (but an impossible one) would be if there were some way to get people to actually read the question before hitting close and in particular, read the duplicate they're about to mark and genuinely weigh it. As for 'on hold" being the term, I believe the review buttons still say "Close" :) – Chris E Jan 31 '17 at 15:16
  • 1
    @jmort253 With all due respect, that is a pretty lame reason to justify closing of questions. If a question gets edited so much that it invalidates the existing answers and the new version is accepted by the community, then it is the answerer's own fault for answering a poor question. By the way, why can I not vote to on hold a question? "Voting to on hold as off topic ..." has a nice ring to it. – Masked Man Jan 31 '17 at 16:51
  • Well that's where editing becomes somewhat of a talent. You have to attempt to infer what the OP is TRYING to say and include that in a manner that makes it on topic. I think the problem with closing and then editing is that there appears to be a reticence to reopen questions by vote. Reminds me of what my dad, a retired cop, used to say. "If they weren't guilty, I would't have arrested them." There's a tendency to believe that they're closed for a reason and keep them that way. The OP would then be better off just cut & paste the edited Q and making a new one. Not the best method. – Chris E Jan 31 '17 at 17:21
  • I liked your answer to 8 but am disappointed with your answer to 11. I would point out that on hold is not close. The idea is that we should put questions that are not ready on hold so they can be fixed rather than get answers that make it hard to change the qustion with out invalidating the answers. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Feb 1 '17 at 16:03
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings I realize that the intention is that it be "on hold" and it actually says that once it's done but with the exception of putting the words on the post, the term "close" is what's used in the process throughout. Even questions 5 and 11 use the term "close". It's a close queue in review and at the bottom of every question is a "close" link. And unfortunately, once closed they tend to stay that way. That's a problem in my opinion. What disappointed you about 11? Mods shouldn't be undoing what other mods do (in my opinion) over a disagreement. That's divisive. – Chris E Feb 1 '17 at 16:28
  • 1
    I like your answer to 9 - many times I've seen mods unilaterally delete or move all comments, even ones that are useful (and which get repeated later because people don't look at the chat..). I recently saw a mod say they had simply moved all comments, because it was too much effort on mobile to only move the chatty ones.. very frustrating from a user standpoint. So I appreciate your take on it, and I agree it would make moderation seem less heavy-handed :) – user812786 Feb 7 '17 at 17:00
  • re: "People seems like would rather close a question rather than to find a way to keep it open" do you feel this way about duplicates as well? Seems like linking users to a previous discussion on the same/similar-enough topic is better than trying to rehash the same subject (or worse, getting no good answers). The high traffic on The Workplace specifically seems to lend itself to needing more closures than other SE sites. – user30031 Feb 8 '17 at 21:13
  • Do you have any threshold in mind for when a user becomes a problem? I feel like your sentiment is correct that one instance probably isn't enough, but I think it's too easy to say "let's wait and see what happens next time". Would you be able to propose guidelines to your fellow mods about what is "too much" and what might they be? – user30031 Feb 8 '17 at 21:17
  • about dupes. I do feel that way. I believe that too many questions are called duplicates that aren't. The one asking the question is told This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question. when many, many times it's just similar. It's almost like some don't want questions, even when people are willing to answer them. My personal feeling is that unless it is truly an exact duplicate (with actual answers) than most dupe closures are premature. – Chris E Feb 8 '17 at 21:35
  • about users. That's obviously a case-by-case basis. Someone being a pain in the butt and abrasive. Rules have to be violated. Then you go through the steps of discouraging that behavior. But even if a person is abrasive and sarcastic, unless he's violating "Be Nice" or other rules, he shouldn't be censured. Enforce the rules where they're broken. If it's repeated then you address it every time. I don't know what the threshold is because I'm not privy to those discussions but at some point the person is harming the community and not willing to be a good citizen. Does that help? – Chris E Feb 8 '17 at 21:41
5

Lilienthal (Nominating Post)

  1. You notice a question that is likely not something that we can constructively deal with. It is also a popular hot button topic and in the first few minutes attracts a few up-votes and answers that are of questionable value. As the day progresses the comment discussion starts piling up under both the question and the answers. What if any action do you take? At what point do you feel it is your duty to step in and stop the spectacle? Do you wait for flags to take action or do you step in preemptively?

Pre-emptive action is problematic because it goes against SE's policy of light moderation. Community users need to be given the opportunity to manage a question and the fact a moderator's vote is binding means that you need to be very careful when using it. I currently very quickly vote to close questions that need work or are just plain off-topic and I feel comfortable doing so as I know that 4 other people need to agree with me that something needs improvement to be suitable on the site. Unilaterally closing a question is not something I'd be comfortable doing unless the question is obviously unanswerable. Typically that's limited to unintelligible writing or a vitriolic rant disguised as a question.

Comment discussions are somewhat different in that regard. Popular questions, particularly HNQ ones, almost invariable end up starting discussion that no longer add value to the question or answers. Comments are ephemeral and those that go off-topic or aren't constructive should in most cases simply be cleaned up. Discussions that started off useful but have grown beyond the scope of what comments are for should be moved to chat with the usual disclaimer. After that it's open season for removing overly chatty or nonconstructive comments. If comments or posts are attracting flags over this that's a sign to step in sooner than I might otherwise.

And it should hopefully be obvious but comments that actually relate to the question don't fall under this. Our site is very comment-heavy compared to others in the network and that kind of goes with the territory. It's low-quality or low-effort comments that should be remove to prevent them from reaching critical mass which tends to happen quickly on HNQ questions.

  1. How do you deal with flaring tensions between answerers and commenters with widely differing opinions?

I suppose it depends on the situation but stepping in as a moderator to try to calm things down rarely works. A moderator comment with some judicious use of bold formatting on the question works well for that but inserting yourself in an argument that's getting out of hand between an answerer and a commenter who took issue with the answer and Had To Let You Know is a recipe for disaster. I've had a few such exchanges in my team here and I've found that the best way to resolve them as the author is to simply stop replying and flag your answer for a mod to take a look. In most cases the best mod action to take then is to nuke the entire comment thread as very often the initial exchange is simply "I disagree". Sometimes the original comment(s) can be kept up provided they're civil and actually raise a valid counterpoint.

Very often the only reason that things grow out of control is that people can't help but reply to that Comment Notification. Taking that out and cleaning up the comment thread bleeds tension usually without anything of value being lost. I've had this happen perhaps half a dozen times and it hasn't failed yet so that seems to be a good approach. Monica referred to these as "death spirals" on meta and it's an apt description.

  1. Recent discussions on meta and in chat have raised concerns about rudeness and other non-constructive behavior on The Workplace. Do you think we have a problem in this area? If so, what will you as a moderator do to address it?

Well, it's always going to be a problem. The anonymity that the web brings will always lead to lower barriers to uncivilized conduct and people sometimes forget that SE and particularly this site would like to hold itself to a higher standard when it comes to user interaction. I've seen the meta thread and if the mods themselves have noticed an upward trend then I'm inclined to believe them. I can't say that I've really noticed a marked increase in rudeness so I can only assume that the mods are doing their job of nipping that in the bud. Monica's answer on that meta thread pointed out what the community can do in this regard and this is a community issue. Mods get to clean up the filth, it's up to the community to identify said filth and to create a site where such behaviour is discouraged and frowned upon. As far as I know SE does not offer tools that allow mods to take steps beyond this, all they can really do is keep an eye on hot button / popular questions.

  1. This site periodically gets high traffic questions (via Hot Network Questions) that straddle the border between controversial and trolling. Both when it's not clear if the poster was intending to troll; and in cases where they were but a legitimate question is tangled in the mess. How do you think they should be handled.

I'm fairly sure we've had dozens of fake or troll questions on the HNQ by now. I think it's to this site's credit that for the most part these are actually edited into shape and turn into something useful that explains what is and isn't professional workplace behaviour. HNQ questions, particularly controversial ones, will always result in a lot of work for the mods but them's the breaks. HNQ remains a core SE feature and there is little to be done that wouldn't be considered mod overreach.

The only time mods can really intervene is when a question has attracted a few valid close votes and needs work or is simply unsuitable for the site in its present form. In that case a modclose is warranted and this has the fortunate side effect of preventing a question from going to HNQ when it needs a lot of work. Once they've hit a couple of thousand views it becomes very difficult to do the kind of edit work that some promising but problematic questions need.

  1. With respect to reopened questions that again attract close votes. What do you feel the moderator's role is in questions where the community are divided whether they are on topic?

Take it to meta. Closure wars are rare here but almost always result in a meta thread while the original question goes through a number of open/close cycles. Locking the question could be appropriate in extreme cases but for the most part the community process should just be followed here. Beyond that mods should keep an eye out for boundary-crossing comments but I don't believe additional action is warranted in most cases.

  1. What is something new and/or unique that you can bring to the moderator team and/or to the site? (e.g. active at unusual times, familiarity with a certain topic, past applicable work experience, extreme love of waffles, etc.)

As mentioned in my nomination I'm active in an untapped time zone and I have extensive moderation experience outside SE. And being from Belgium I'm obviously a waffle expert so I've got that going for me.

  1. What do you think the key traits of a moderator are, and how have you demonstrated them thus far in your activity on the site?

Assume good faith. Help (new) users. Lead by example and always remain civil. Calm tensions down when needed.

Over the past two years most of my edit work has been outside the review queues as I'm instead browsing the New Question queue. I enjoy helping new users find their way, whether that means improving their question, answering it, or explaining why we can't offer advice for their situation and instead pointing them in the right direction. Some of the more rewarding moments in my time here have been when the OP leaves a comment to thank me for assuaging their fears or pointing them in the right direction.

  1. What is one thing about The Workplace "culture" that you want to change or improve? As a moderator, how would you go about doing it?

Our reluctance to submit close votes is the only thing that comes to mind. Very often questions slip through that really should have been closed early so they can be edited into shape. And too often established users end up answering questions that need work. Almost all our questions would benefit from additional clarification and getting those edits in early also means that the answers are more useful.

I'm not sure much can be done to change this as it seems to be an innate part of our site culture. I get the impression that people consider close votes to be too aggressive and don't see them as the tools that they are. There's a reason that "on hold" was brought in to replace the "closed" notice. I often find myself breaking the close vote ice and that's something I wouldn't be able to do as a mod. Conversely I would be able to admin close vote questions that have already attracted a few close votes or comments asking for clarification. Since I tend to be actively involved in the comment processes in those cases I can also mod-reopen once the question has been edited.

This is one area where I would definitely need to check in with the other mods first if I were elected. I've seen very few mod votes on this site and that may be for a reason. Short-circuiting the 5-vote process is something I've had at the back of my head for a while now and I can't help but think that it would be moderator overreach. Even as I'm writing this now I'm starting to reconsider whether this is something a mod should be doing.

  1. As a Moderator what would you do differently, that you haven't seen other Moderators do so far?

Be active during European hours? ;). I get where this question is coming from but I can't think of any situations where the mods have dropped the ball at a procedural level, where I've disagreed with their approach, or where I've felt that they should be doing more. Mods are exception handlers and most of their work is invisible. We're electing a new one to increase coverage and reduce the mod team's reaction time, not to fix a broken system. Our moderation works.

  1. 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?

Depends on the severity. Reputation gives some site privileges but SE's philosophy is to treat the 50k rep guy the same as the one with 50. If it rises to the point where his contributions are genuinely disruptive then the usual behind-the-scenes process should start. Mods are unique in being able to community directly with people in private and that's probably what should happen when a long-time contributor is displaying problematic behaviour.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

Talk to them. Mods have their own communication channels and the ones we have right now seem like a reasonable sort. ;) Mod closing/deleting should be a rare event reserved for fairly clear cases so I doubt this would happen often, but the first step is to figure out why the other mod decided to take that action. If those two mods can't come to a consensus then it's time for a third opinion from the rest of the mod team. And if that discussion isn't conclusive then it's probably time for a meta thread.

  • Thanks for taking the time to write out your thoughts here! I have a question about "it's up to the community to identify said filth" regarding rudeness. What happens when/if the community fails in that role? Do we hope to do better next time or should a mod intervene? – user30031 Feb 8 '17 at 19:46
  • @DoritoStyle I'm not entirely sure what you're thinking of. If a situation (hostile discussions, backlash against the OP) has run out of control that tends to be because a mod didn't get to it early enough to shut it down. At that point the typical action I've seen is to remove most or all of the comment chain and put up a comment, usually a reference to the Be Nice policy. So a mod will typically find those eventually. From what I've heard, the users involved will then be contacted directly by the mods if they crossed the line. So that kind of policing is community-guided but the mods are – Lilienthal Feb 8 '17 at 22:07
  • the ones to clean up and follow up as the "evidence" is removed. I can't think of many situations where such a situation developed to the point that a large section of the community noticed it before a mod could get to it. If you're asking more about the type of rudeness that falls short of being removal-worthy and is more about how (new) users are treated, then I believe that's where the meta threads come in as you're then talking about the site culture. And really, anything that fits into that category is typically still removed if it's not constructive and only meant to criticise. – Lilienthal Feb 8 '17 at 22:07
  • 1
    Thanks for the reply; I wasn't really looking for a specific answer and I'm not sure there is much more that could be done besides what you said, but I wanted to hear your thoughts anyway :) – user30031 Feb 8 '17 at 22:44
  • 1
    Good luck @Lilienthal ! You're a perfect mod material for WP SE :) – Dawny33 Feb 10 '17 at 8:38
4

Rory Nomination

  1. You notice a question that is likely not something that we can constructively deal with. It is also a popular hot button topic and in the first few minutes attracts a few up-votes and answers that are of questionable value. As the day progresses the comment discussion starts piling up under both the question and the answers. What if any action do you take? At what point do you feel it is your duty to step in and stop the spectacle? Do you wait for flags to take action or do you step in preemptively?

Flags will be an indicator, especially somewhere like Workplace, but I won't necessarily wait for flags. If comments start piling up, I'm happy to move them to chat, or delete ones that are at the more offensive end. Also happy to provide guidance in comments, protect the question, and yes, even to delete answer posts if needed.

  1. How do you deal with flaring tensions between answerers and commenters with widely differing opinions?

Similarly to the above point. Starting with guidance, then moving to chat, locking posts, then timeouts/suspensions as needed. The tools we have as mods are pretty good in this respect.

  1. Recent discussions on meta and in chat have raised concerns about rudeness and other non-constructive behavior on The Workplace. Do you think we have a problem in this area? If so, what will you as a moderator do to address it?

I think there is a small problem, yes, but nowhere near as big as the occasional loud voice would have you believe. A solution I have used elsewhere, and one that I think could work here, is to rapidly clamp down on rudeness, no matter whether it is from a newbie or an old hand - deleting rudeness from comments or posts, or even deleting the entire thing along with a message explaining why, so the poster can resubmit it in a more polite form.

  1. This site periodically gets high traffic questions (via Hot Network Questions) that straddle the border between controversial and trolling. Both when it's not clear if the poster was intending to troll; and in cases where they were but a legitimate question is tangled in the mess. How do you think they should be handled?

In some cases it doesn't matter if the original intent was a troll, as long as the question generates good answers. If it needs editing to improve, then that's but if it gains controversy, see my answer above.

  1. With respect to reopened questions that again attract close votes. What do you feel the moderator's role is in questions where the community are divided whether they are on topic?

There are two aspects of this: if there is solid community guidance (either standard SE guidelines, or specifics that have been hammered out in meta) then it's simple. Take action and refer people to meta for disagreement. If there is no defined line, protecting the question and suggesting meta for discussion is usually my next step.

  1. What is something new and/or unique that you can bring to the moderator team and/or to the site? (e.g. active at unusual times, familiarity with a certain topic, past applicable work experience, extreme love of waffles, etc.)

I moderate more sites than your average bear. This does help me bring an awareness of the different mod approaches and how they apply to different sites - because my sites really do have a wide range!

  1. What do you think the key traits of a moderator are, and how have you demonstrated them thus far in your activity on the site?

Fairness, a level head, mediator skills, insomnia, a combined soft approach with a mod hammer as needed. I have demonstrated this elsewhere for a while, and you can probably see some of these actions here in chat, in answers and comments etc.

  1. What is one thing about The Workplace "culture" that you want to change or improve? As a moderator, how would you go about doing it?

One of the "challenges" here is similar to one I have encountered on a couple of the sites I moderate: there will be people who will not read the guidance and post terrible, unanswerable or duplicate questions. Encouraging positive guidance to new visitors, while rapidly putting bad questions on hold is essential to prevent them attracting answers etc., while also encouraging those new folks.

  1. As a Moderator what would you do differently, that you haven't seen other Moderators do so far?

I don't know of "differently" - the existing mods are excellent. I think all I bring is more, and perhaps a wider experience.

  1. 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?

Have handled this scenario a couple of times. If they cause issues with the community, then that can outweigh the good answers. So guidance first in comments, then privately with stronger messages, then suspension as needed.

  1. How would you handle a situation where another moderator closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?

This is simple. Discussion. In general these can be talked out, and it's happened to all mods at some time. You tak about it to understand why, and act accordingly. If you can't agree, you can take it to an independent moderator, or even a CM. Or alternatively, just leave it and see what the community thinks.

  • 2
    I really like your answers especially 3 and 4 – IDrinkandIKnowThings Feb 3 '17 at 17:43
  • Thank you IDrinkandIKnowThings:-) – Rory Alsop Feb 6 '17 at 23:12
  • 1
    re: 3, 4, 8, 10: Hallelujah! – user30031 Feb 8 '17 at 21:31
  • re: 6, This is an under-rated point. Bringing TWP more inline with other site trends (which have probably already solved similar issues to ours) would prevent 're-inventing the wheel' in some cases. – user30031 Feb 8 '17 at 21:31

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