8

In connection with your inaugural pro tempore moderator election, a community-curated Q&A thread for the candidates is being held. 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.

Not every question was compiled - CM-curated questionnaires are usually comprised of up to 10 questions, so we tried to keep it around that same target for a total of 10 questions (the ones with a score greater than 1).

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):

Daniil

Neil/ifconfig

Jacob B

Kenn Sebesta

Kralc

gparyani


  1. As a fairly new site, the scope is still quite fluid. As a moderator, how would you treat questions where there is a borderline consensus (for instance, 3 up 2 down on the meta post) on whether it is on-topic or not? What would be your threshold for mod-hammering it closed?

  2. Occasionally we may see individuals who are experts, and who leave very highly upvoted posts, but who are very argumentative or intolerant and upset other members of the community. How would you approach the challenge of moderating them - high value on the one hand, but potential damage to the community and site on the other?

  3. How much time will you be able to devote to moderating Drones.SE each day? What is your timezone?

  4. Deleting comments is somewhat "permanent" in that no one can "vote" to un-delete them. What would be your policy on deleting comments? Do you think funny comments should be deleted? Do you think that any unrelated comment should be deleted?

  5. How do you feel about downvoting or closing questions by brand new users with a reputation of only 1 (and no experience on any Stack Exchange community), when the question is not spam or ill-intentioned, but of extremely low quality by Stack Exchange standards? Should their question be downvoted or closed immediately, or should comments be used to make suggestions to them for how to improve their question?

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

  7. Do you use the Drone chat room? If not, why not? If so, how would you deal with negative attitudes or disagreements/fights between users?

  8. As a moderator, part of your job involves dealing with the worst behaved and most stubborn people on the site. How well do you take and respond to any abuse that is directed your way (such as personal attacks and insults)? Are you able to stay composed, or step away, and not react badly?

  9. 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?

  10. What is your view on editing a question to correct grammar and style issues? Do you think we should edit answers differently from the way we edit questions?

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4

Here are my (Daniil's) answers to the questionnaire:

  1. As a fairly new site, the scope is still quite fluid. As a moderator, how would you treat questions where there is a borderline consensus (for instance, 3 up 2 down on the meta post) on whether it is on-topic or not? What would be your threshold for mod-hammering it closed?

I would leave it to the community to decide the scope and what questions are acceptable. I would only mod-hammer it closed if it was clearly off-topic and the community thinks the same. Say there are 3 close reviews and 0 leave open reviews and I can see the question is off-topic, I would close it as the community agrees it is off-topic as well. I'm not going to start closing every question I think is off-topic. I think it's important to let the community decide what they think is on-topic and let them do some closing as well.

  1. Occasionally we may see individuals who are experts, and who leave very highly upvoted posts, but who are very argumentative or intolerant and upset other members of the community. How would you approach the challenge of moderating them - high value on the one hand, but potential damage to the community and site on the other?

First of all, respect for other members come first, no matter an expert/a beginner, a high rep user/a low rep user. When I see them being disrespectful, I would ask them to be polite but at the same time thank them for their good contributions and that their work is appreciated. If this continues, they can be talked to privately in chat and other mods can be brought in to help. If after this, the rude behaviour continues they will have to be suspended. Everyone should feel welcome here and we should treat all users fairly no matter their knowledge or experience.

  1. How much time will you be able to devote to moderating Drones.SE each day? What is your timezone?

I will be able to devote quite a bit of time moderating the site each day. I am a student, so I have limited internet access during the day. I can check the site when I get up, a few times while at school (serious mod issues only) but then have more time in the evening, weekends and on holidays. I live in the UK so my timezone is GMT/BST (UTC/UTC+1).

  1. Deleting comments is somewhat "permanent" in that no one can "vote" to un-delete them. What would be your policy on deleting comments? Do you think funny comments should be deleted? Do you think that any unrelated comment should be deleted?

I don't think all funny comments should be deleted but they should be non-offensive. It's ok to have a laugh here and there but if it becomes too much they will have to be deleted as they can distract from the content on the site. I will consult with the other mods to see their opinion on the funny comments and when it gets too much.

  1. How do you feel about downvoting or closing questions by brand new users with a reputation of only 1 (and no experience on any Stack Exchange community), when the question is not spam or ill-intentioned, but of extremely low quality by Stack Exchange standards? Should their question be downvoted or closed immediately, or should comments be used to make suggestions to them for how to improve their question?

We don't want to turn new users away. First of all, I would welcome them to the site and ask them to read the tour and How to Ask. Then (in the same comment) I would ask them to add a bit more detail to the question to make it answerable and wait for their response (without closing it). If the user is a long-time SE user, the situation would be different and the question would probably need to be closed as they should know the amount of detail expected.

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

I wouldn't revert the action the other mod took, after all, they may have a different perspective. I would ask them in the mod chat room why they did what they did and then tell them my view. If we both disagree, the third mod can be brought in and see what they think. If necessary, other mods from other sites could be asked in the Teacher's Lounge.

  1. Do you use the Drone chat room? If not, why not? If so, how would you deal with negative attitudes or disagreements/fights between users?

Yes, I do use the Drone chat room regularly and am the Room Owner there. If there is a disagreement between users, I would suspend them from chatting for a few minutes and tell them to calm down a bit. If this behaviour continues, a longer ban from chat may need to be issued.

  1. As a moderator, part of your job involves dealing with the worst behaved and most stubborn people on the site. How well do you take and respond to any abuse that is directed your way (such as personal attacks and insults)? Are you able to stay composed, or step away, and not react badly?

Yes, I am, if someone really annoys me with their insults, I will tell them to be polite. If they continue, I can just leave and then the necessary action against them can be taken in order not to offend other users.

  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 first of all thank for the answers they produce, then remind them to be nice and polite to other users and give them a warning that if this behaviour continues, they may have to be suspended. Good quality answers should not compromise being nice.

  1. What is your view on editing a question to correct grammar and style issues? Do you think we should edit answers differently from the way we edit questions?

Questions need to be understandable to all future readers, so if there are formatting or grammar issues they need to be fixed. Answers are the same. This does not mean users should go on a mass editing spree and fixing every little grammar issue they can find as this can clog up the main page.

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  • Best of luck !!! – Shree May 26 at 2:51
  • Don't agree with your 4'th answer. Site is dedicated for question and answer. Comment's are further clarification for question and answer, not for fun. – Shree May 26 at 3:03
  • @Shree Thanks :) – Xnero May 26 at 9:16
4

Neil/ifconfig answers here:

  1. As a fairly new site, the scope is still quite fluid. As a moderator, how would you treat questions where there is a borderline consensus (for instance, 3 up 2 down on the meta post) on whether it is on-topic or not? What would be your threshold for mod-hammering it closed?

In cases like this where there is a heated debate over the relevance of a question to our site, I would most likely keep the post on the site. If there is sufficient support to achieve ~50% approval on Drones.Meta.SE, then I believe there is a high likelihood that the post has a place on our site. (maybe just needs an edit to clarify the question's intent)

However, I would help delete the post in the case where I agree with the arguments in opposition to the question and believe it would somehow damage our site's reputation or hurt the community.

I realize this answer is quite broad, and I wish there were a more concrete example I could draw upon to explain myself, but we luckily haven't had a situation like that yet on the site.

  1. Occasionally we may see individuals who are experts, and who leave very highly upvoted posts, but who are very argumentative or intolerant and upset other members of the community. How would you approach the challenge of moderating them - high value on the one hand, but potential damage to the community and site on the other?

My reaction would likely depend greatly on the exact circumstances, but I think at this point in time that I would try to communicate to the offending user that what they are doing isn't okay. (through SE chat or post commments)

If they don't correctly respond and continue disrespecting the community, I would try and edit their offending posts/remove blatantly instigating comments. Their contributions have significant measurable value to the community and removing them entirely would be an enormous disservice to the community because of the lost information, but their behavior towards others is untenable.

  1. How much time will you be able to devote to moderating Drones.SE each day? What is your timezone?

No matter whether or not I am in school/work, I always have at least the Drones.SE new questions feed and primary chat Droning On open in my web browser. In addition, I have the SE mobile app on my phone, although it only works intermittently at this point.

There are times during the day from 08:00-16:00 Pacific when I might be completely unable to moderate due to a school lecture and from 23:30-07:30 Pacific for sleep, (I need my zzzzzzs) but I vow to monitor the site at all other times whenever I can.

  1. Deleting comments is somewhat "permanent" in that no one can "vote" to un-delete them. What would be your policy on deleting comments? Do you think funny comments should be deleted? Do you think that any unrelated comment should be deleted?

In accordance with the intent behind making comment deletion an irreversible process, I think that comment deletion by a moderator should be only reserved for situations that are in gross opposition to our code of conduct and rules. e.g. spam and offensive messages are fair-game for deletion (with an accompanying chat message to the user about why) and funny comments that aren't offensive aren't.

Funny and/or unrelated comments that don't contribute to the discourse should be discouraged but not outright deleted in my book.

  1. How do you feel about downvoting or closing questions by brand new users with a reputation of only 1 (and no experience on any Stack Exchange community), when the question is not spam or ill-intentioned, but of extremely low quality by Stack Exchange standards? Should their question be downvoted or closed immediately, or should comments be used to make suggestions to them for how to improve their question?

New users are almost certainly not going to be familiar with Drones.SE post guidelines, so we need to treat them with respect. I believe that they deserve the right to revise their post to make more sense, so I believe a comment explaining why their post is low-quality is beneficial, along with a ~-1 post score to serve as a gentle reminder.

If they revise the post to make it better, then we've accomplished our goal, but if they don't I believe it's time to downvote further and close.

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

I would make a post on Drones.Meta.SE stating my position and asking for input, along with a quick ping to the closer/deleter in Chat. This case wasn't one with a mod, but I envision it would go something like this.

  1. Do you use the Drone chat room? If not, why not? If so, how would you deal with negative attitudes or disagreements/fights between users?

Yes, I'm a firm believer in use of SE chat. I believe this should be handled in a similar fashion to disrespectful user behavior on the main site. Explain to the user what they did was wrong and why, then take appropriate measures to delete new offenses if the user doesn't learn their lesson.

Only in extreme situations do I believe I would try to delete confrontational posts in char like this.

  1. As a moderator, part of your job involves dealing with the worst behaved and most stubborn people on the site. How well do you take and respond to any abuse that is directed your way (such as personal attacks and insults)? Are you able to stay composed, or step away, and not react badly?

I haven't ever held a moderator role online before, so I don't have any prior experience, but I do pledge to do my best to keep my composure and respond to abuse with respect or ignore it completely.

Continuing the cycle is a vicious negative feedback loop, and I don't wish to ever become caught up in one as a Drones.SE mod.

  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 respond to this in a similar manner to question #2 about users with disrespectful but useful posts. I believe that the value they contribute to the community should be preserved, while the negativity is edited out if necessary.

They deserve the chance to correct their behavior once informed that they are out of line, whether it be through post comments or SE Chat. As @Daniil said, "Good quality answers should not compromise being nice.", and if push comes to shove I might consider user suspension.

  1. What is your view on editing a question to correct grammar and style issues? Do you think we should edit answers differently from the way we edit questions?

This question has come up before on Drones.Meta.SE. In accordance with the most upvoted answer, I believe that edits to grammar and style/appearance are generally okay as long as they improve post readability.

Conversion between British English and American English spellings, however, isn't okay in my book. As long as it is acceptable grammar in either language dialect, it is acceptable here.

I don't think that we should treat question edits to different criteria than answer edits. Any edit that serves to improve the grammar/readability of a post without dramatically changing it or altering its intention is okay.

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  • I have a follow up to question #2 - you say: If they don't correctly respond and continue disrespecting the community, I would try and edit their offending posts/remove blatantly instigating comments. Are you going to let them continue disrespecting the community and just remove their rude comments? Will it ever come to a point where you need to suspend them despite their high quality contributions? – Xnero May 19 at 17:26
  • @Daniil Ah, yes sorry. Somehow forgot to put that part in. Yes, I would. I think my answers to questions #2 and #9 are roughly the same in that I'd like to give the offending party time to learn their lesson and correct their mistakes before censoring and suspending. – ifconfig May 19 at 17:30
3

My (gparyani) answers:

  1. As a fairly new site, the scope is still quite fluid. As a moderator, how would you treat questions where there is a borderline consensus (for instance, 3 up 2 down on the meta post) on whether it is on-topic or not? What would be your threshold for mod-hammering it closed?

Personally, when it comes to questions that have a borderline consensus, I'd defer those to the community at large. As the discussion rolls on over on meta, I'd let the author know of the discussion and where it seems to be headed, in order to give them an opportunity to chime in on the discussion and provide an explanation as to why they believe it to be within the site's scope. It's important that they have a chance to explain their side before a decision is implemented.

I'd only use my mod-hammer at the time of the discussion if there's a clear consensus and the author has had a chance to explain their side (if they like), or if the debate ends up devolving, and I'd likely consult with the other moderators in the team before doing so.

Also, if a later discussion decided that questions about topic X were off-topic, and an older question is about topic X, I'd not initially use a mod-hammer on it and simply leave a comment on it saying that it's off-topic as per modern standards, and only close it if it had recent activity or were being used as "evidence" by new users that questions about topic X are on-topic ("there's this question just like mine, so why was that allowed while mine wasn't?").

  1. Occasionally we may see individuals who are experts, and who leave very highly upvoted posts, but who are very argumentative or intolerant and upset other members of the community. How would you approach the challenge of moderating them - high value on the one hand, but potential damage to the community and site on the other?

Here's my thinking on this:

  • Stack Exchange sites have a Code of Conduct.
  • Such users create an unwelcoming environment on the site and turn away many users (not only new users, but established ones too).
  • A lot of people have a "harsh" or "unwelcoming" impression of the Stack Exchange sites, which we're trying to change.

As moderators, we are required to enforce the Code of Conduct, in order to ensure that there is a harassment-free, inclusive environment for all users. Having such a user in our community impedes our ability to have that.

That's not to say that such a user isn't competent with drones, or that their knowledge about drones isn't valuable, but simply that this site isn't the right community for them.

When it comes to such users, they may either be simply unaware that their actions are upsetting people, or they may not. As outlined in the Code of Conduct page:

For most first-time misconduct, moderators will remove offending content and send a warning. Most issues are resolved here.

If I saw such behavior for the first time, I'd pull the user aside into a private chat room and explain to them the Code of Conduct and the specific cases of their conduct falling short or complaints coming from users, let them know that it's not compliant and will be deleted, and give them a chance to explain their side.

If it continued, or for more egregious cases, I'd send them a moderator message, which is considered a sort of "final warning" before suspension. If it still continued from there, I'd consult with other members of the moderator team, and possibly hand out a suspension.

  1. How much time will you be able to devote to moderating Drones.SE each day? What is your timezone?

I'm posting my answers to this questionnaire a bit late since I had exams the past week. However, as those are now over, I expect that the time I have available for this site will increase substantially, especially as I start working on my drone project, and I'll have at least 1-2 hours a day to spend on moderation activities. (I also expect to spend less time on other sites.)

My time zone is Pacific Time (UTC-7/8, depending on time of the year).

  1. Deleting comments is somewhat "permanent" in that no one can "vote" to un-delete them. What would be your policy on deleting comments? Do you think funny comments should be deleted? Do you think that any unrelated comment should be deleted?

First of all, before I provide more details, I should mention that any comment that is not in line with the Code of Conduct should be deleted as soon as possible, and the procedure I listed in my answer to question 2 applied.

Besides that case, this is an interesting question. I actually participate in another site on the network that has a strict policy when it comes to deleting comments: any comment that doesn't specifically suggest an improvement to the post will be immediately deleted. While this policy is network-wide, the enforcement of that policy on that site is vastly different from other sites, on which such comments are only deleted if they are specifically flagged.

Personally, I don't like this blanket policy, because it ends up shutting out a lot of the site's users. The site also has a high quality threshold for answers, and the effect of both of these policies is that users who don't have the time to write a full, high-quality answer but still have something valuable to say are shut out. I wouldn't delete a comment if it had something valuable to contribute to the post, even if it didn't meet the network's commenting guidelines.

All that said, I'd delete comments that don't have anything valuable to contribute to the post. As others have already said, such comments distract from the site's content, and could potentially provide an unwelcoming feeling to users new to drones or new to the site. I'd evaluate such comments and consider deleting them if I felt that way about them, and in other cases, consult with the other moderators in the team. If many users were posting such comments on a given post, I'd point their attention to our chat site and consider moving those comments to chat.

  1. How do you feel about downvoting or closing questions by brand new users with a reputation of only 1 (and no experience on any Stack Exchange community), when the question is not spam or ill-intentioned, but of extremely low quality by Stack Exchange standards? Should their question be downvoted or closed immediately, or should comments be used to make suggestions to them for how to improve their question?

I'd like to point attention toward this excellent post by a fellow Meta Stack Exchange contributor.

At the moment, Stack Exchange sites don't have as much built-in guidance for new users as it should. Oftentimes, users encounter a sudden culture shock when they post something that would be acceptable on another forum site (e.g. Reddit), only for their question to be suddenly marked "unsuitable" or their non-answer "reply" to be suddenly deleted for no apparent reason, and so are quick to leave the site rather than joining as a potential great contributor.

Essentially, downvotes and closures can feel unfriendly even though they're an essential part of a site, and the procedures for getting such marks removed take lots of time and are plagued by flaws.

As this is a small, budding site, I'd rather not immediately downvote and close a question or delete an answer that was asked in good faith but doesn't meet SE guidelines. Instead, I'd comment on the post telling the author that it doesn't meet the guidelines as is and is subject to closure or deletion as per site policy, and give them a chance to edit their post. If the post can easily be edited to conform to site guidelines, I'll edit it myself and comment with links to the relevant guidelines. This would also give the community appropriate time to moderate the post (vote to close, or review to delete in Low Quality Posts).

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

My first instinct would be to talk it over with the moderator in question. Perhaps I missed a critical detail, and so it'd be nice of them to explain what it was so that we can be on the same page.

If I disagree with what they said, I'd involve the rest of the moderator team, and if that doesn't result in an outcome, I'd put up a meta question and allow the community to discuss it.

  1. Do you use the Drone chat room? If not, why not? If so, how would you deal with negative attitudes or disagreements/fights between users?

At the moment, I don't use the Drones chat room simply because I'm involved in other things, but I believe I can answer the "if so" part of the question since I'm involved in many other chat rooms across the network.

I know how the chat moderation tools work. If there's a debate going on between a set of users and it's impeding the ability of others to chat, I'd issue a timeout of the room and explain the reason why I'm timing out. This is the intended use of the feature, per the link:

Sometimes, everyone is being disruptive or inappropriate, or a disagreement among a subset of users threatens to polarize others and lead to non-constructive behavior. In these situations, it's helpful to put the room into a "timeout" and give everyone a chance to calm down and reflect on what they're doing.

I would then move the messages part of the extended conversation to another room, and give them a chance to talk there, while letting them know that if they continue to use the main room for it, they may be kick-muted. I'd still keep watch in that other room to make sure that the Code of Conduct is not being broken.

If any messages being posted are violating the Code of Conduct, I'd flag-delete the messages, which imposes an automatic 30-minute suspension.

All of that said, I'll consult with room owners and other moderators before making any major chat moderation decisions. They're the ones primarily responsible for chat; our main responsibility is the main site.

  1. As a moderator, part of your job involves dealing with the worst behaved and most stubborn people on the site. How well do you take and respond to any abuse that is directed your way (such as personal attacks and insults)? Are you able to stay composed, or step away, and not react badly?

This was something I was aware of when I nominated as a candidate. I've had teaching experience and have learned to deal with such things. I'm not very much affected by personal attacks, and I know how to apply the relevant rules impartially (e.g. the Code of Conduct). In cases where I catch myself acting in a biased way, I will defer to another moderator to take action.

  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?

See my answer to question 2. It's also worth noting that language in comments is held to the same as that for posts, and also the same post from the fellow Meta.SE contributor I linked earlier: while rude comments are often removed quickly, they are often noticed even more quickly by content authors.

As I said above, we have to enforce the Code of Conduct in order to ensure there is a harassment-free, welcoming place for all users, and such users impede our ability to make that, irrespective of their knowledge of drones.

  1. What is your view on editing a question to correct grammar and style issues? Do you think we should edit answers differently from the way we edit questions?

As others have already said, both questions and answers have to be readable, and both should be edited so they show a high standard of quality.

My usual reference for this: the Meta Stack Exchange FAQ Why can any user edit any other user's question or answer?. Essentially, posts should be edited to either fix obvious grammar, spelling, and formatting mistakes, to make posts easier to understand, to add valuable info found in comments. Third-party edits shouldn't change the meaning of the post or change "subtleties" such as British to American English.

We should also space the edits out. By default, the site home page shows questions in order of recent activity, and having a whole bunch of edits can flood the front page and push questions off of it. As such, when making a grammar or formatting edit, I'd evaluate the front page to make sure there haven't been too many recent posts bumped by such edits.

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1

Kenn Sebesta

Self-nomination: https://drones.stackexchange.com/election/1#post-1208

Questionnaire responses:

  1. As a fairly new site, the scope is still quite fluid. As a moderator, how would you treat questions where there is a borderline consensus (for instance, 3 up 2 down on the meta post) on whether it is on-topic or not? What would be your threshold for mod-hammering it closed?

If this falls into a field of my expertise, then I feel comfortable making the judgment myself.

Failing an obvious indication one way or the other, I think it is appropriate to consult with other mods before closing.

Timeliness is also important. As the community is new and still attracting members, it is important to give close-calls time to breath. Depending on the question's activity, it's fair to give the original author some time to polish the question and improve its relevance. Perhaps as much as a week if it's a new author and there was a clear attempt to write a good question.

Ultimately the goal is quality, and a high signal-to-noise ratio. Experimentation to achieve this goal is appropriate.

  1. Occasionally we may see individuals who are experts, and who leave very highly upvoted posts, but who are very argumentative or intolerant and upset other members of the community. How would you approach the challenge of moderating them - high value on the one hand, but potential damage to the community and site on the other?

Having worked with such 10xers, I have become less convinced of the long-term value. "Go as fast as you can, go as slow as you must" is the recipe for a winning team. Abusing and being intolerant of others because they are not as quick or experienced is a recipe for hemorrhaging talent.

In these circumstances, we have learned the value of having an intervention. We sit down and explain to these people that their contributions are worthwhile, but their approach and attitude is diminishing their contributions' value.

We typically see results from this, as IMHO people want to do well by their peers. Just, sometimes they struggle to connect the dots between their intent and their impact.

However, we have to see progress or else we have to show the person the door. Alienating a community is a surefire way to have a wasteland, and no person, no matter how 10x, is an expert in all domains. Since IMO the goal of an SE site is to serve as the definitive resource on all things in scope, ultimately if allowed to proceed unchecked the overall quality will suffer even if specific questions increase.

  1. How much time will you be able to devote to moderating Drones.SE each day? What is your timezone?

I am in GMT+5.

I have professional responsibilities and will be able to devote 30-60 minutes per day to SE.Drones.

  1. Deleting comments is somewhat "permanent" in that no one can "vote" to un-delete them. What would be your policy on deleting comments? Do you think funny comments should be deleted? Do you think that any unrelated comment should be deleted?

Unilateral deleting should only be done if there is clear violation. Otherwise it's good to get other mods' feedback.

Funny comments add spice to life, but they also increase the signal to noise and oftentimes are inside jokes of some kind. I would encourage the author to remove their own comment after a brief period, but if they insist that the comment stay I would trust their sincerity.

  1. How do you feel about downvoting or closing questions by brand new users with a reputation of only 1 (and no experience on any Stack Exchange community), when the question is not spam or ill-intentioned, but of extremely low quality by Stack Exchange standards? Should their question be downvoted or closed immediately, or should comments be used to make suggestions to them for how to improve their question?

I don't feel great about it! But I think it's necessary.

I think with the meta and chat tools available, these users should be guided to an out-of-band conversation so that we can help curate in them the approach we'd like to see. They should be given the opportunity to adjust their question so it can be reopened, or otherwise understand why it is inappropriate and will stay closed.

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

You have to trust your fellow mods. I am a big proponent of "It's not what I would have done, but I respect that this is your initiative and so I must accept it."

I think it's normal to let them know that you didn't agree, and to offer an alternative you would prefer in the future, but ultimately if nitpicking other mods leads to them abandoning the site, then the last remaining mod becomes an Atlas, with the SE.Drones world on his/her shoulders. That can't be good.

  1. Do you use the Drone chat room? If not, why not? If so, how would you deal with negative attitudes or disagreements/fights between users?

On occasion. It is useful for IRL discussion, but oftentimes fills a social need which doesn't require constant monitoring. I do prefer chat for resolving situations, though so this is a great tool for timely intervention and rapid progress.

  1. As a moderator, part of your job involves dealing with the worst behaved and most stubborn people on the site. How well do you take and respond to any abuse that is directed your way (such as personal attacks and insults)? Are you able to stay composed, or step away, and not react badly?

Through years of being a board member in a several-hundred person community, I have developed a thick skin about the things said about me and in my direction.

However, decorum must be kept. Abuse is never acceptable, and caustic community members do more harm than good. It's fair to think that if they have a repeated pattern of abusing mods publicly that the private abuse of contributors is worse.

  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 suppose I see this as similar to #2. Intervention and helping them understand the impact of their statements and seeing it from the eyes of the reader. Oftentimes, it's just an abruptness which can be resolved by practicing a different style.

This is easiest if you can get a community to gently nudge a person, and so in these cases it's best to enlist the help of fellow mods to have a calm, non-confrontational sit down.

  1. What is your view on editing a question to correct grammar and style issues? Do you think we should edit answers differently from the way we edit questions?

Grammar, always.

Style, only if it stands in the way of comprehension. SE.Drones is not an extension of my writing style, and so I shouldn't try to enforce it on others. My job as a moderator is only to curate SE.Drones so that its questions and answers become the reference Google answer.

I would have the same standard for both questions and answers.

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1) As a fairly new site, the scope is still quite fluid. As a moderator, how would you treat questions where there is a borderline consensus (for instance, 3 up 2 down on the meta post) on whether it is on-topic or not? What would be your threshold for mod-hammering it closed?

Where there is a clear consensus from the community I would follow this, but my view in such close-call cases would be to allow the post. The community should be welcoming, and like most hobbies the interest areas are broad – it would be detrimental to exclude people on small technicalities. However, if we can direct a user somewhere that they may get a better response (such as Electronics.SE or Aviation.SE) then this may be appropriate.

2) Occasionally we may see individuals who are experts, and who leave very highly upvoted posts, but who are very argumentative or intolerant and upset other members of the community. How would you approach the challenge of moderating them - high value on the one hand, but potential damage to the community and site on the other?

‘High value’ members are of limited use if people do not want to engage with our community. My initial assumption would be that the user is not trying to cause trouble; some meaning is easily lost when communicating online. In many cases, suggesting rephrasing problematic sections and moving or removing unconstructive discussions would be the best way to deal with these problems; making these edits myself where appropriate. Messaging the user privately would be a first port of call, however if problems continue then more timely edits and intervention may be necessary, potentially including user suspension in the worst case.

3) How much time will you be able to devote to moderating Drones.SE each day? What is your timezone?

I’m generally UK based so live on UTC or UTC+1, and my work arrangements can often allow me to keep a tab on the page for monitoring what is happening. However, I also have real-life interests and events so there will naturally be periods I am unavailable.

4) Deleting comments is somewhat "permanent" in that no one can "vote" to un-delete them. What would be your policy on deleting comments? Do you think funny comments should be deleted? Do you think that any unrelated comment should be deleted?

StackExchange is clear that comments are not permanent, so if a comment is particularly useful the user should be encouraged to create an answer or it should be edited in to and answer (appropriately attributed, of course!) – however, I would not seek to remove any such comments. Discussions should be moved to chat, which is fairly standard across the Network and preserves the contents. A comment only needs to be deleted if it is detrimental to the site – which should be rare, but when it needs doing should be done.

Humour can be a difficult thing to regulate but I think in general it should be allowed, as building a community is also important. However, what constitutes funny is a very subjective area and we definitely want to keep the site inclusive and family friendly. Where there are complaints, then I think removing such humour would be appropriate.  

5) How do you feel about downvoting or closing questions by brand new users with a reputation of only 1 (and no experience on any Stack Exchange community), when the question is not spam or ill-intentioned, but of extremely low quality by Stack Exchange standards? Should their question be downvoted or closed immediately, or should comments be used to make suggestions to them for how to improve their question?

If the intention of the question is clear but poorly presented, then I think fixing the question and posting a comment explaining and welcoming the user is the most helpful action. Just telling a new user to “fix your post” is unhelpful – if they are new to the Network they might not know how, and this can seem confrontational.

If, however, the post is difficult to recover then a friendly comment asking for more details (being as specific and guiding as possible – such as “could you include your country”) would be the best course, perhaps helping with edits later. Another option may to direct a user to another Network site if they would get a better answer there.

I realise that everyone has to start somewhere – but if a post is unsuitable for the site due to quality or content reasons then it may just need removing; again, a constructive comment to accompany this can go a long way to not alienating the user from future interaction (with any StackExchange site.)

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

The best course of action would be to contact the other mod directly, via chat, to hear their views and lay out mine – asking other moderators for their views too at this point.

However, these scenarios don’t only involve the moderators – if other users are voting to reopen, then this would suggest that this was a desired action. Starting a discussion on Meta – with or without specifics – could be another suitable course of action. After all, this site does not belong to the moderators, we just help keep it running smoothly.

7) Do you use the Drone chat room? If not, why not? If so, how would you deal with negative attitudes or disagreements/fights between users?

I keep an eye on the chat, dropping in when appropriate. As with the rest of the site, if a user is causing problems then giving them a private warning is the best approach – but if they are deliberately angling for trouble, this is something that is not needed and removing problematic posts or banning users would be a necessary course of action.

8) As a moderator, part of your job involves dealing with the worst behaved and most stubborn people on the site. How well do you take and respond to any abuse that is directed your way (such as personal attacks and insults)? Are you able to stay composed, or step away, and not react badly?

It is understandable that there will be occasions that users disagree with a moderation decision – everyone has (and is entitled to) their own views. From time to time a user will lash out; either as this is their nature, or often because they have had a long or bad day and aren’t thinking their posts through. For occasional instances this is not too difficult to overlook; a private message to the user might be appropriate, but continuing an argument on the site would not be appropriate.

Where patterns of abusive behaviour emerge, it may be necessary to intervene further, such as suspension; this is not a decision to be made lightly but is important to maintaining a healthy community of users.

9) 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 think my answer to 2) applies here:

‘High value’ members are of limited use if people do not want to engage with our community. My initial assumption would be that the user is not trying to cause trouble; some meaning is easily lost when communicating online. In many cases, suggesting rephrasing problematic sections and moving or removing unconstructive discussions would be the best way to deal with these problems; making these edits myself where appropriate. Messaging the user privately would be a first port of call, however if problems continue then more timely edits and intervention may be necessary, potentially including user suspension in the worst case.

10) What is your view on editing a question to correct grammar and style issues? Do you think we should edit answers differently from the way we edit questions?

Some consideration needs to be given to the locale of the user and edits should try to follow the OP's localisation. If the ‘issue’ does not affect readability or understanding of the question then it doesn’t need fixing. Every user will have their own approach to writing and that’s great – it give the site personality.

However, we have had problems with users editing a post to add one comma or swap a word for one with almost identical meaning – these add no value, and can be harmful as it bumps the post to the top front page which can now hide newer questions seeking answers.

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Jacob B

Go vote for your favorite candidates: here

My questionnaire answers:

  1. As a fairly new site, the scope is still quite fluid. As a moderator, how would you treat questions where there is a borderline consensus (for instance, 3 up 2 down on the meta post) on whether it is on-topic or not? What would be your threshold for mod-hammering it closed?

On borderline consensus questions that are not harmful to the community, I would first wait to see what the community does with it. If it is not resolved/edited and continues to be debated I would recommend that the author edit it to meet the scope of the community better. If it is borderline and has lots of close votes, I would likely close it because that is the general consensus. If there is a borderline consensus on a question but the question is clearly off-topic or harmful to the community I would close or remove it.

  1. Occasionally we may see individuals who are experts, and who leave very highly upvoted posts, but who are very argumentative or intolerant and upset other members of the community. How would you approach the challenge of moderating them - high value on the one hand, but potential damage to the community and site on the other?

If they say anything offensive or intolerant of others, I would be sure to ask them to stop that kind of behavior because it is not professional and is not accepted on Stack Exchange. If they were to continuously post rude or argumentative things, I would get other moderators involved so we could consult the best course of action whether that be suspending the account, removing certain posts/comments, etc.

  1. How much time will you be able to devote to moderating Drones.SE each day? What is your timezone?

My time zone is Eastern Daylight Time (GMT-4). I will be able to devote lots of time to moderating. When I have school I will be most active around 4pm-11pm my time and at some times during school when I have time. However, school doesn't start until the fall season, so will be available for most of the day until fall (unless I need to do something else important). So, when I don't have school, I will generally be most present from 10am-12pm my time.

  1. Deleting comments is somewhat "permanent" in that no one can "vote" to un-delete them. What would be your policy on deleting comments? Do you think funny comments should be deleted? Do you think that any unrelated comment should be deleted?

I will only delete comments when it is deemed necessary (offensive, purely argumentative, or not needed). If a comment is funny but has useful information I think it should stay. However, if a comment is made just to be funny, and poses no real value, I think it should be deleted. If they need to say something funny, that's what chat is for.

  1. How do you feel about downvoting or closing questions by brand new users with a reputation of only 1 (and no experience on any Stack Exchange community), when the question is not spam or ill-intentioned, but of extremely low quality by Stack Exchange standards? Should their question be downvoted or closed immediately, or should comments be used to make suggestions to them for how to improve their question?

I don't think questions by new users should be downvoted/closed just because they are low quality (if they are ill-intentioned it's different). I believe that comments should be used to help them improve their question.

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

I will ask the moderator why they though deleting it was necessary and if there was no reason I would look into getting a second opinion from another mod and maybe pursue reopening/undeletion/etc if the question would be valuable to the community.

  1. Do you use the Drone chat room? If not, why not? If so, how would you deal with negative attitudes or disagreements/fights between users?

I do use the chat room. If I see a negativity or conflicts I will ask them to stop. If that does nothing, and they continue I would ask them to go to a separate chat room so that it doesn't fill the main chat room with negativity and then either try to help them settle it or if needed, contact other mods or suspend accounts if absolutely necessary.

  1. As a moderator, part of your job involves dealing with the worst behaved and most stubborn people on the site. How well do you take and respond to any abuse that is directed your way (such as personal attacks and insults)? Are you able to stay composed, or step away, and not react badly?

I remain calm and stay composed. People directing insults or attacks at me won't really affect me. If necessary, I might suspend the account in order to keep the community safe.

  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?

(very similar to number 2) If they are saying anything offensive or intolerant of others, I would be sure to ask them to stop that kind of behavior. If they were to continue posting comments that cause arguments/flags, I would get other moderators involved so we could consult the best course of action whether that be suspending the account, removing certain comments, etc.

  1. What is your view on editing a question to correct grammar and style issues? Do you think we should edit answers differently from the way we edit questions?

I think that editing a question to correct grammar and other writing issues can only improve the quality of questions. It makes more professional can help readers understand the question better because grammar and writing issues can make questions hard to understand. (don't edit to change things like color and colour though) Questions and answers both should be easy to read, so there is no reason to edit them differently.

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