My (gparyani) answers:
- 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?").
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.