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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. Not every question was compiled - as noted, we only selected the top 8 questions as submitted by the community, plus 2 pre-set questions from us.

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. Lino Frank Ciaralli
  2. Doppelgreener
  3. Korvin Starmast
  4. nitsua60
  5. Erik
  6. Marshall Tigerus
  7. The Dark Wanderer
  8. Michael
  9. Joshua Aslan Smith
  10. Bryant Jackson

  1. In terms of working relationship, the current moderation team has a good level of alignment — and a lack of diversity. In what ways do you see your skills and philosophy complementing the skills and philosophy of the existing (and future) moderators? In what ways do you see your moderatorship aligning? In other words, what about yourself do you expect to bring in terms of diversity of modding approach, and what in terms of similarity?

  2. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

  3. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator you? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

  4. What is your view on current moderation policy on this site? Is there anything in particular you disagree with? If so, why? How would you reconcile this with needing to work with existing moderators?

  5. How will you, as a moderator, react to community consensus that you disagree with? How will you, as a moderator, handle issues on which the community has failed to reach consensus, particularly when you personally favor one particular side in the debate?

  6. Becoming a new moderator can be daunting, but is also a big opportunity. What are you worried or fearful about in your transition to becoming a moderator, and is there anything you're looking forward to? Is there anything we can do to help support you in those areas should you be elected as a new moderator?

  7. Sometimes, we end up with multiple mid-to-high rep users arguing over a question, or a meta policy, or something else that happened on the site. These arguments can often range all over the site: from meta posts, to chat, to the main site. As a mod, what would you do to defuse arguments among users in good standing?

  8. Being a moderator is a customer service/public relations job for which there is little to no extrinsic motivation. You will invest hours of your free time dealing with the worst the internet has to offer, and we expect you to do it with a patient demeanor and a smile. What is your motivation for candidacy, or in short - why do you want this job?

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

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    \$\begingroup\$ As has been brought up before during a former election, should the answers here be upvoted/downvoted? They have no effect on the true elections and may influence how people vote artificially. \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 Apr 18 '17 at 7:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Given that same-vote answers are randomly sorted on each page-load, I think it'd be much better to have all answers at the same score. I've got to agree with @markovchain that it's an undesirable result to have votes serving to bias visibility of these answers. Let's be real: with a half-dozen long and thoughtful answers here, readers may feel some fatigue, which would be a poor signal to capture in the election process. I'm for leveling the scores, and will use some votes to try to get there. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Apr 18 '17 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Good idea. I am also using my votes to help bring the answers to parity. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Apr 18 '17 at 14:59

10 Answers 10

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nitsua60 nomination link

  1. In terms of working relationship, the current moderation team has a good level of alignment — and a lack of diversity. In what ways do you see your skills and philosophy complementing the skills and philosophy of the existing (and future) moderators? In what ways do you see your moderatorship aligning? In other words, what about yourself do you expect to bring in terms of diversity of modding approach, and what in terms of similarity?

First off, I'd be coming to this as a student: the current team has experience I don't, and I'm hoping to learn. But this will also force them to articulate their experiences, their practices, their beliefs in ways they may not have for years.

Second, I'm coming to this as a relatively new user. (~21 mo. as of this writing.) I've been fairly active in that time, particularly in the last year, but I still remember asking my first question and getting slammed. (It wasn't a good question.) I remember discovering meta, and the red-faced embarassment I felt the first time a mod corrected me by name. ("nitsua, you really shouldn't be grazing over there...") I'd hope that this "new-user" perspective can help us as we think about how the community's growing and evolving.

As for similarity, the most-obvious point is that I really appreciate the site as-is. It's got some blemishes, but it's full of people willing to volunteer their time to help others, willing to take a breather and consider a different point of view, willing to argue heatedly in one moment and recognie common purpose the next. To the extent that the current team's philosophy/skills have contributed to that I hope mine align.

And I'm going to take a moment while I've got the soapbox and say a big thank-you to the elected moderators, community moderators, and users who've created this culture over the years. I'm only standing for election because I've seen how a bit of grunt-work, openness to discussion, and liberal helping of civility can create a bastion of calm in the broader culture. If I can help, I'm glad to devote some time to it. See also these similar sentiments: 1, 2, 3.... If you've thrown flags, left a supportive and helpful comment, contributed to a meta discussion, or even just taken the time to write an explanatory edit-summary, you deserve some thanks. Thanks.

  1. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?
  1. Encourage them to take a breath, then take it to meta. Asking them sincerely to compose their experiences is invaluable: to them, to the mod in question, to posterity. It gives everyone a little space to breathe. It invites the user to take a moment to user their words in a way they know will be (re)viewed by their peers. It (hopefully) gives the mod in question some reasoned concerns to ruminate on. And most importantly, it gives every user to later come upon this a sense of what the site's like.
  2. Listen. Assuming good faith, assuming that all involved are sincere and well-intentioned. Not to put too fine a point on it, but there's no way a team of moderators will ever act in a way that every user thinks is "right." But we can act in a way that every user is respected and heard.
  3. Talk to the other mod, privately. (I assume the team's got some good communication tools.) My intention here is not to convince them of their rightness or wrongness in actions, nor to adjudicate the facts of the case. It's to make sure the mod sees the effect they've had. But it's also to be a voice for users: it can be intimidating as hell to stand up and tell a person who has the power to ban you what you think of them and their (volunteer) work. So it's incumbent on me to tell them my honest opinion of the affair. Point them to where I think they can learn something.
  4. (a) watch for circling: if the user is starting to retread old ground, it's time to take a breather. I often have to look in the rear-view and say "you can argue all you want, but there's no bickering!" (b) Ask a CM for a fresh set of eyes. I assume they're there as a support/backstop for the moderation team: they've got some separation, much great experience, and they've a whole team around them for when they've got questions.
  1. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator you? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

This is one I face occasionally IRL, as a teacher, and it can get pretty tough. Some keys takeaways I've got:

  1. They may be right. I have tacked up on my office wall a handwritten note to myself: "what am I going to learn today?" Before trying to deconstruct each little bit, run a blow-by-blow analysis, take a step back and look at the whole picture. "They might have a point" can save a lot of trouble.
  2. I'm going to want help on this one. I'm going to sincerely want to understand the miscommunication, the misinformation, the misstep that led to a user feeling unfairly treated. But I know that there are times it will be impossible for a user to feel that I'm sincerely engaging. "Nitsua's giving me the runaround, they're just going to talk me to death, they're just nit-picking...." Given the frustration that likely presages a user speaking up against a mod, this may be intractable. That's why there's a team. "I don't think I can help this user, I need your help here" is a proper response sometimes.
  3. As above, engage sincerely, explain the my reasoning, don't retread old ground. Above all, this site's taught me how unimportant it is to get the last word. Saying my peace and stepping back... it's growing on me.
  1. What is your view on current moderation policy on this site? Is there anything in particular you disagree with? If so, why? How would you reconcile this with needing to work with existing moderators?

As mentioned above, I really like the result in most ways: we've got a good site. A few places where I've previously expressed some concern, and probably still will:

  1. I don't like seeing the "well, this site isn't for everyone" attitude as much as I do. While it's true that not every question is a nail for RPGSE's hammer, I don't much care for the writing off of users. My dad always said "the wise man believes each notion he holds to be true, while knowing some of them are false." I take the same approach to users: I assume each is the next valuable contributor who will help make this site an ever-more healthy and caring community, while know that some will be uninterested in our model.
  2. I also cringe when I hear the argument "things are really good the way they are, so we shouldn't change anything." IIRC the numbers are something like 1% of users ever engage on meta, and 1% of page-views are from users. That's a huge blind-spot we've got! I don't know what we can do about our myopia, but I think "we're doing a great job" is an inferior attitude to "we're doing a great job and we have a lot to learn."
  3. I'd also like to see a little bit more proactive moderator engagement. The "community check-in" meta has been great, and I hope those'd continue at some regular intervals. I'd like to see topical metas on a regular basis, rather than just when things flare up: "how are new users being treated," "do we have a good consensus around 'too broad,'" "how's our system-coverage," &c. Perhaps even chat-events? (I agree that we don't want to make chat a parallel track to meta, but I also recognize that it's a lower barrier to entry for some folks and can achieve different goals than a meta "discussion." I'd love to try something announced in meta, moderated by a volunteer other than an elected mod, with a topical focus, transcript of the event linked back in that announcing-meta.)
  1. How will you, as a moderator, react to community consensus that you disagree with? How will you, as a moderator, handle issues on which the community has failed to reach consensus, particularly when you personally favor one particular side in the debate?

I believe mods have to balance a dual-mandate: exercising the will of the community while exercising their own best judgment. When there's not clear consensus but I see a path I believe in, I'm not going to be afraid to take that--and explain my thinking.

When there is consensus with which I disagree, it's a little trickier-seeming. First step is a deep breath, a little separation, then re-reading the consensus position with a "what can I learn today?" attitude. As long as it doesn't violate some SE-wide principles, then there're a few possibilities: (a) voice disagreement with reasoning and enforce consensus; (b) voice disagreement with reasoning and announce that I'll not be enforcing this madness; (c) voice disagreement and step down. Obviously I think either of (b) or (c) are pretty-extreme cases, and I'd only undertake them after discussion both with the other mods and the CMs.

  1. Becoming a new moderator can be daunting, but is also a big opportunity. What are you worried or fearful about in your transition to becoming a moderator, and is there anything you're looking forward to? Is there anything we can do to help support you in those areas should you be elected as a new moderator?

Obviously, I'm worried that I won't do a good job. I'm relying on your voting judgment, your sincere feedback, the other mods' support, and the instruction of the wider SE community.

I'm looking forward to learning a lot more about Stackizenry--I casually browse meta.SE now, but it'll be part of my responsibility! I think the best thing you can do is what you already do: give honest and well-intentioned feedback, and trust that I'm doing the same.

And I do anticipate one little milestone, which I'll confess to even though it'll probably cost me lots of votes: the first "obsolete" or "too chatty" comment-flag I see and agree with, and click whatever magic button it is that deletes it... that'll be a memory =)

  1. Sometimes, we end up with multiple mid-to-high rep users arguing over a question, or a meta policy, or something else that happened on the site. These arguments can often range all over the site: from meta posts, to chat, to the main site. As a mod, what would you do to defuse arguments among users in good standing?

First, I'll reiterate the distinction between arguing and bickering that I drew earlier: arguing is good for the site, I believe. Bickering's bad. When arguments start circling the drain, it's time to step back and take a breather.

Secondly, it's got to stay focused on actions rather than people. I think spirited, productive argument can only thrive in an environment where users are able to engage without fear of personal attack.

Third, argument on mainsite needs to quickly move to meta. Two reasons: it keeps mainsite high-quality for the 99.99% of people who use it, those who have no dog in the fight, and it teaches those who are interested that there is a space for those arguments.

Lastly, in chat it's largely a matter of staying on top of Be Nice. If users want to hash out an argument in real-time, we can do that. It's got to stay Nice, it might have to move to the NAB or a dedicated room, but that's a venue we've got, too. (Excepting, of course, that we don't want to be building nearly-invisible consensus there.)

  1. Being a moderator is a customer service/public relations job for which there is little to no extrinsic motivation. You will invest hours of your free time dealing with the worst the internet has to offer, and we expect you to do it with a patient demeanor and a smile. What is your motivation for candidacy, or in short - why do you want this job?

I care for this site, and the site needs mods to do the janitorial work, and I think I can do a good job of it. I think there are other people who would do a good job of it, too--I already know I'll not have any trouble casting votes for people who I think would make good moderators. I'm just raising my hand to say "I can take a turn helping out."

As for my personal gain, patience with poor treatment is a life skill I know I need: I'm a parent and a (partial) school administrator. I think I'm already pretty good at it, and I know I have lots to learn about it.

  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?

Tell them exactly that. "You're contributing good stuff, and you're also contributing chaos. We want good stuff, we don't want chaos. Please, let's figure out a way to keep you contributing good stuff but eliminate the chaos. (We will eliminate the chaos.)"

Remind them that the purpose of the site is not only to give the "right" answer, but the useful one. Flags/arguments are a sign that things are causing trouble.

Share my philosophy of learning from every interaction, no matter how wrong you think the other party is.

Lastly, if it can't/won't stop, the user might have to take a break. Again, while I hope each user will be an amazing contributor, I know that not every one will be, at every time, on every question.

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

The same way I have already: talk to them, listen, and almost certainly learn something. I know I've always felt in the past that the current team has listened to my questions/objections, even if they didn't agree. If we-all are doing so, we're going to get a great site out of the process, we'll have a working mod-relationship, we'll have an engaged user-base. No one question is worth sacrificing any of that over, especially when one adopts (as I do) the default assumption "I could be wrong, of course."


Sorry it's so long. If nothing else, perhaps I've convinced you that I won't be holding anything back =)

Thanks for your time, both in the election and on the site each day.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I am so glad you tossed your hat into the ring. When I logged on last night your answer/post had not yet arrived. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 18 '17 at 14:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah--you lapped me! While I was working on this you both nominated (which I'm glad to see) and completed your questionnaire =) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Apr 18 '17 at 14:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ chat has a higher barrier to entry for some people as well. I interact with meta daily-ish but I almost never visit chat except when I have to to resolve an issue and have no other options. There's no clear etiquette for chat. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Apr 18 '17 at 17:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer I'm curious: when you say there's no clear etiquette for chat, are you saying that you're not sure when it'd be good to head to chat with a quesstion, that when in chat you're not sure how it's proper to participate, or something else? Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Apr 19 '17 at 1:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 1) what is it okay to talk about in chat? 2) When is it okay to enter a conversation? 3) How do you do that? 4) What if you want to talk about something else? Mostly the second of your things, I think \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Apr 19 '17 at 2:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 For my personal experience the main barrier to chat is its volatility. Not being able to easily step back from a discussion, overthink it, and come back. It's very here-and-now and you're constantly on the spot. \$\endgroup\$ – Weckar E. Apr 24 '17 at 22:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer thanks for the response, btw. This (and Weckar's response) have me ruminating a bit on what we chat-regulars might do to make it more accessible. (I mean, almost anyone can get there, but what do you do when you're there....) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Apr 25 '17 at 1:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Usually what I do is pop into the room, see that a conversation on a topic I'm not interested in is going on, see no way to get a word in edgewise, pop out. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Apr 25 '17 at 9:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer so this has been on the back of my mind for a while--would you want to workshop a Meta Q&A with me, along the lines of "How do I [chat], anyway?" where the answers cover things like etiquette, topics, norms, room-creation and ownership...? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 3 '17 at 1:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Sure! You're a mod now so you can go ahead and mod-summon me whenever ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil May 3 '17 at 2:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer okay, I finally got around to at least starting something regarding chat. It's almost nothing, but it's not actually nothing, which is infinitely-better than the progress I hadn't made for a week. Here's a link--I'd like to collaborate a bit with you on it, then maybe bring it to the chatizenry with an RfC? (But design-by-ever-fluctuating-committee is insanity, so I'd like it if you and I get it 80% of the way there before opening it up wide.) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 12 '17 at 12:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 sounds good, may be a couple days though, this weekend is insane. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil May 12 '17 at 21:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ No worries--I don't think there's any huge rush, just I know in my life "someday" --> "maybe" --> "well, that never happened" is too-common a development! \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 12 '17 at 21:52
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DoppelgreenerNomination link

  1. In terms of working relationship, the current moderation team has a good level of alignment — and a lack of diversity. In what ways do you see your skills and philosophy complementing the skills and philosophy of the existing (and future) moderators? In what ways do you see your moderatorship aligning? In other words, what about yourself do you expect to bring in terms of diversity of modding approach, and what in terms of similarity?

I know the moderator team and I don't see eye to eye on everything. During the issues surrounding the game recommendations ban, I gave enough of my 2 cents of disagreement that it could've been exchanged for bank notes. The diamond mod team's original rules as written proposal wasn't received well, and I was able to make multiple responses with a counter-proposal which people supported pretty strongly. (SSD later proposed a way of handling the tag which I think is working well for us — that's not on the back of what I did, but I feel I'd be doing SSD a disfavour not acknowledging that success in this context.)

It seems I'm pretty good at understanding where people are coming from, even if they are having trouble expressing it themselves. (It's part of what got me editing so much on here.) I think that contributed to my successful responses to the RAW proposal, and will benefit me working with the moderator team.

I have professional training in handling difficult interpersonal situations. I work as a consultant, and that involves an awful lot of careful negotiation, managing a professional appearance, and knowing what to say and how to say it. That means at a basic level I don't put my foot in my mouth and make everyone look like an idiot, but I've also been able to navigate and resolve some very strenuous situations with people acting very poorly toward each other.

Mxyzplk's very good at dealing with people who're stirring up trouble. He's very good at calling people out who need to be called out. I think I can be equally firm on people. Mxyzplk's copped flak for poor behaviour in the past, and in the recent few months has become far more civil — I can work with that.

I also come from different cultural backgrounds probably (I'm British/Australian, currently residing in London), and I'm LGBT. I don't say those because it could potentially make me the Token Diversity Pick, but because I genuinely believe these factors mean I can offer different perspectives, as BESW described.

I've been a relatively ordinary member of the site for a long time, without the diamond attached. That fresh perspective will help for a while, but that applies to all of us nominating.

  1. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

I'd want to find out more from the people who know more. That might be other users (if it comes up in chat or comments, for example), another moderator, or the very specific moderator in question. I'd want to see what actually happened in our public records, if it happened on this site.

There's lots of ways this can happen:

  • Moderators winding up treating people unfairly is real and can happen; moderators are not perfect. Sometimes it's accidental, sometimes they're genuinely out of line.
  • Fair treatment that feels unfair is also a thing — this happens sometimes when someone gets their questions closed or unconstructive comments deleted.
  • Sometimes it's a troll who's trying to take us for a ride.
  • Sometimes they might mean well but don't understand how we work, and that misunderstanding is causing a lot of strife.

Different scenarios have different solutions. If valid, I have options of reaching out to the victimised individual to explain things or make amends, speaking to the moderator about it, and/or reaching out to the community team if it's quite serious. It may be appropriate for the moderator themselves to speak to the individual and clear things up or make amends.

I think it's important the moderation team avoid conflicts of interest, or even appearing to be in a conflict of interest. If it's a sufficiently big thing and involves a significantly large group, we might address things on meta, and talk about what happened and what we've done to remedy the situation. That's for extreme scenarios though.

  1. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator you? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

That'd suck! I'd do my best to avoid this, but it's a good question to consider since it might actually happen.

Similar to the last question I'd want to verify what we're dealing with. If I've genuinely behaved poorly or improperly, I'd want to know about it — I do have flaws, but learning about them has helped me address and overcome them and grow as a person. Getting to where I am today has involved a lot of that already.

Likewise on the conflict of interest front, depending on what it is, it may be best I not get involved directly in investigating and resolving the situation. I'd forward it on to another moderator, or consult with the community team if necessary. (I'm not sure if there's an established policy for how moderators must handle this kind of scenario, but I'd find out.) Sometimes it will be appropriate for me to resolve it myself by speaking with people, but I'd be cautious doing that & avoid doing it if I'm uncertain. Moderators can be scary and intimidating, and a person who feels wronged or abused may be best not being confronted by the person they feel wronged or abused them.

  1. What is your view on current moderation policy on this site? Is there anything in particular you disagree with? If so, why? How would you reconcile this with needing to work with existing moderators?

Moderation on mainsite is 95% good. The relationship between the community & diamond moderators is a major obstacle and impedes our ability to moderate mainsite better and massively impedes our ability to work together on meta. I've written at length about that here: Feedback on healing our community

If I were on the diamond moderator team I'd be working to support the existing diamond moderators in taking the necessary actions to improve that relationship. I can't take the actions for them, but I can act as both a community member and diamond moderator to work with them and help things turn out OK. Mxyzplk and SevenSidedDie have already shown intention to improve & resolve issues with the community, and had started on identifying and resolving the issues even before I wrote that post.

I'd work to make sure the bugbear (described in the question I just linked) doesn't latch on to me as well, and will check in with the community from time to time to make sure it stays that way.

I think that as a new moderator, I'd sometimes be seen in the light of the worst parts of that community/diamond relationship, and sometimes not, with no particular rhyme or reason, so I'd work carefully with that in mind and do what I can to help improve that relationship directly and bridge the community/diamond gap.

  1. How will you, as a moderator, react to community consensus that you disagree with? How will you, as a moderator, handle issues on which the community has failed to reach consensus, particularly when you personally favor one particular side in the debate?

As a moderator, I'm also just a community member. I'd engage in those community discussions and contribute where I can. Sometimes we'll go with what I think or what I want to do, sometimes we won't, and that's that. Once the community's decided on a sensible course of action, I'd help implement it as a community member. If that requires doing Mod Stuff, I'd do whatever Mod Stuff is needed.

The exception is if the decision's contrary to stack principles, or totally unworkable. However we're a pretty smart community, and that's always come up in the discussion itself. Maybe I'd be the one to bring it up.

That means...

  • Consensus I disagree with: I go with it and help it work. I've already done this lots of times, and I'll continue to do that. (I disagreed with tool recs being banned, but once the discussions around it were settled I went with it.) If I seriously think it has problems and is unlikely to work out, the best thing I can do is support it as best I can in its implementation. Then, if there's actually problems with it, they'll show up, if there aren't problems, hooray!

  • Unsettled consensus: This has happened a lot too. If I feel I can offer a stance, I'll do that and maybe it'll help resolve things. If I can't, well, we'll get there in due time. It's not important, nor my job as a moderator, to ensure all community disucssions are settled.

  1. Becoming a new moderator can be daunting, but is also a big opportunity. What are you worried or fearful about in your transition to becoming a moderator, and is there anything you're looking forward to? Is there anything we can do to help support you in those areas should you be elected as a new moderator?

Honestly probably the scariest part is I don't want to somehow wind up as everybody's enemy. I'd still like to have good friendships with the people on here and in chat, and allow people to feel relaxed around me. I think that's quite possible though, Brian Ballsun-Stanton showed as much while he was a mnoderator. (That said, I don't think I can ever take my "mod hat" off on this site. Mod-hats get fixed on with glue.)

I'll be editing less. I don't want us to become a half-literate wasteland of junk posts like Stack Overflow, so I'm keen on people picking up where I'm not editing stuff. Thankfully I've already been deliberately lowering the amount of editing I've been doing to make sure other people get an opportunity to become good editors, and that already seems to be happening!

I'm mostly looking forward to this as a way to help take care of the site, as a well-behaved functional place full of good knowledgeable people. Like Nitsua60's said, we're an amazingly helpful place, and I want that to keep going. I want to help take care of troublemakers and flags and spam and other nonsense so y'all can keep doing what you're doing so well.

  1. Sometimes, we end up with multiple mid-to-high rep users arguing over a question, or a meta policy, or something else that happened on the site. These arguments can often range all over the site: from meta posts, to chat, to the main site. As a mod, what would you do to defuse arguments among users in good standing?

If it's an ongoing debate or discussion, and it's civil and constructive, I think that's helpful and I wouldn't do anything about it, just so long as it's happening in the right places.

If it's uncivil argument, and people are being jerks to each other, I'd need to step in and get things to simmer down. I'd remind people of our community standards, and realistically sometimes people would need a few minutes away from the site to calm down. (I'll have to learn more about how suspensions get handled in these scenarios.)

If it's neither, and it's just an unsettled sort of frustration that's roving everywhere, well, there's times I've been able to defuse arguments by helping people understand each other and guide the discussion to someplace more civil. I can't resolve every discussion though. Nobody was able to just hit all the [rules-as-written] tag discussions with a magic stick to fix them all for years, and nobody, least of all the moderators, was expected to do so.

If the discussion's happening in inappropriate places where it's causing disruption, I might have to forbid it from those places or forbid those users from bringing it up there; if there's one place it should be discussed (its own chat room, or one specific meta thread) I'd point them there, potentially creating that place for them in the process.

  1. Being a moderator is a customer service/public relations job for which there is little to no extrinsic motivation. You will invest hours of your free time dealing with the worst the internet has to offer, and we expect you to do it with a patient demeanor and a smile. What is your motivation for candidacy, or in short - why do you want this job?

I care about this place, I like it and the people who use it, and I like what it can provide for others. I want to help keep things maintained. I think I'm one of the few people who can do it (moderator positions aren't for everybody), so I want to do it. To quote Aperture Science: "We do what we must because we can."

It doesn't have to be me though. If one of the other candidates I believe will do a job also gets picked, I'll be happy.

  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?

We've got a good community full of people who behave well. We need to keep up that standard.

Someone who's abusive or a genuine problem for the site needs to improve themselves to meet our behaviour expectations, or they need to go, and escalating suspensions (accompanied by explanatory mod notes as necessary) will see to it one of these two things happens — all of that needs to happen regardless of the quality material they're bringing to the site. Good answers can't offset problem behaviour, and we have a broad userbase able to handle one expert leaving.

Someone who's just regularly causing a lot of low-key trouble would probably need some speaking to, and we'd see if they can adjust. Most people here are capable of behaving reasonably.

Edge cases between these will be edge cases. Naturally we'd need to handle things case by case.

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

I'd try to find out what was going on from their comments or from asking them directly. Our other mods know what they're doing, but we're also human and make oversights and mistakes.

If there's time pressure to reversing the action, I'll make a judgement call if I can't find out from them in time. Sometimes I'll reverse the action and sometimes I'll leave it be.

If I see absolutely nothing wrong and absolutely no cost to undoing the action I'll reverse the action and ask questions later. It's very unlikely this scenario will occur.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I kind of hate to bring this up here, but as the foremost champion of “the other side” on the RAW discussion, I could not more strongly disagree with your characterization of d7’s success. From my perspective, genuine overtures of compromise and discussion on my part were met by d7 unilaterally deciding he’d had a great idea and was just going to push that through. That is, in fact, the straw that broke the camel’s back, and why I left meta. And so now I’m wondering how you would address me in the context of #2—I think the mod team mistreated me severely during that episode. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 19 '17 at 18:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I'd be happy to talk about that, though I'd like to complete the post I mention for question #4 beforehand so I can speak in context of it. I think I can finalise that around this time tomorrow or the day after. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Apr 19 '17 at 18:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Totally fair, thank you. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 19 '17 at 18:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan That post has been made. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Apr 21 '17 at 15:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan (and has been moved to a separate question on request) \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Apr 21 '17 at 19:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan To answer your question: I think the policy itself seems to be working well, but how it arrived & how you were treated were problems. I figure you've already recognised that the the "push" you're talking about is part of the whole bugbear & poisoned mod voice thing, and I intend to work to make sure the bugbear doesn't latch on to me as well. I agree you've been mistreated in multiple ways, and I'd listen to you seriously like I would now and have done in the past. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Apr 21 '17 at 23:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Appreciated, but not entirely agreed. It seems to me that more often, the mods just remove the tag with little, if any, explanation. And it’s removed from a lot more questions than I think is warranted. I don’t like the by-default-we’re-going-to-assume-you-misused-your-tags stance this policy has enacted, and I don’t think the moderation team is judging the tag’s use or misuse particularly well or fairly. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 21 '17 at 23:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan That sounds concerning (and isn't something I've had visibility on). I'd like to be able to have a community discussion about that and work something out. Maybe I could ask a check-in question on how the new RAW tag policy is working out to invite commentary like that. 🤔 Could even do that without a diamond, since every member should have a say in how the site is working. I'll pin that possibly for a few days & let the meta post shake out first and see where it goes. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Apr 21 '17 at 23:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ultimately, I don’t have great visibility on it either—just casual notice of some times I disagreed, even disagreed enough that I would have fought it, except that I’d firmly set myself a “don’t fight it, it’s not worth it” with respect to the mod team here. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 22 '17 at 0:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener, you're probably the most qualified candidate here, so I hesitate to say this because I don't want to discourage you. But I think it's important to go into this with eyes wide open, so... Expect to lose friends. Or at least, expect some distance in interactions that may formerly have been cordial. One of the most common needs for moderation is two passionate members of the site disagreeing over some matter that they both care deeply about; when that disagreement becomes acrimonious, a mod is required and there's a good chance you're gonna be resented by both of them for it. \$\endgroup\$ – Shog9 Apr 22 '17 at 18:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Shog9 Thank you for levelling with me. I figured it might be a bit like that; I'll have to cross that bridge when I come to it. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Apr 22 '17 at 18:58
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Joshua Aslan Smith - Moderation Nomination

  1. In terms of working relationship, the current moderation team has a good level of alignment — and a lack of diversity. In what ways do you see your skills and philosophy complementing the skills and philosophy of the existing (and future) moderators? In what ways do you see your moderatorship aligning? In other words, what about yourself do you expect to bring in terms of diversity of modding approach, and what in terms of similarity?

I've certainly had differences of opinion with Mxyzplk during his moderatorship and with SevenSidedDie as a user in the past. I disagreed strongly with the handling of rules-as-written by the mod team at the time and over game-rec questions being moved off topic. On a philosophical point I believe that once that Diamond goes next to your name all of your actions reflect on the mod team. Users can and will attribute actions a mod take as a user as a moderator action because the diamond can signal in a lot of the same ways a uniform or a badge does. My professional background working in Information Systems gives me a lot of experience at working towards solutions with stakeholders and sourcing direction from the ground up where this has not always been the strong suite of the moderator team in the past and I could help improve that with my experience.

That said I do believe that I can really work with Mxyzplk and SevenSidedDie in the moderation of the site. Both are very quick and effective at handling comments, spam, junk/troll answers and questions and doing a lot of the manual labor of moderation. I believe that they both have the best interests of the site at heart and that together we can work to improve and maintain RPG.SE.

  1. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

I would ask those who feel this way to talk to me and describe what happened, how they feel the moderator acted incorrectly and just generally listen to everything they have to say. I would then seek out the moderator in question and ask them what happened from their perspective. I would bring up the issues raised by the users and discuss among the mod team how we could address their concerns and make changes to prevent similar issues from occurring again in the future. Once we had a plan of action I would initiate contact with the users and try to resolve the difference of opinion, if needed I would create a meta question to find community consensus on the resolution.

  1. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator you? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

My first step would be to invite those who felt mistreated to explain their side of the issue, going into detail of where they believe I acted wrongly and what their preferred outcome would have been. I would also talk to to the other moderators about this issue because they may also be able to see the any mistakes made where my virtue of my personal perspective I might not.

I would try to smooth over any problems that occurred if I was able to see how I was wronged, but if I could not see what happened, and they still felt aggrieved I would ask a respected 3rd party (a high rep user not involved) to look at the issue and help myself and those affected find the right solution and modify my own behavior if it is causing problems.

  1. What is your view on current moderation policy on this site? Is there anything in particular you disagree with? If so, why? How would you reconcile this with needing to work with existing moderators?

Generally the site runs pretty smoothly: users handle a lot of the review and flagging. The current mods do a good job of handling flags and handling the activities only a diamond mod can. That said there are reputation issues that the Mod team faces over past actions.

I myself as a user have felt spurned my the Mod team's previous Judge Dredd-esque "I Am the Law" attitude on the meta site and while I get along with Mxyzplk now I was party to some of the less then stellar comments he used to leave during the RAW disputes on D&D 4e questions. I believe the site moderation is moving in the right direction, Mxyzplk's more recent activity is a kinder, gentler version of his moderation. The "How are we doing" meta question displayed an openness and willingness for critique that has at times been lacking in the past.

I believe that myself, Mxyzplk and SevenSidedDie could "do business" and work together in the moderation of the site. My interactions with SevenSidedDie have always gone well and after 4e and rules-as-written dispute died down I've also maintained a good relationship with Mxyzplk. I believe that working together we could continue to improve the Moderator and community interactions and make sure that Moderators act purely as stewards and mechanics letting the community drive the decisions whenever possible.

  1. How will you, as a moderator, react to community consensus that you disagree with? How will you, as a moderator, handle issues on which the community has failed to reach consensus, particularly when you personally favor one particular side in the debate?

For the first, If I disagree with the community, but the community has consensus and there is nothing against site policies then my job is to get out of the way and support the community consensus regardless of my personal opinions.

For the second situation the best action would be to do nothing and revisit the issue at a later time to see if the community is then able to form a consensus on the right course of action. As moderator I would contribute my own answer to a meta question that is seeking to find consensus on the issue and try to prompt more discussions to help reach consensus.

  1. Becoming a new moderator can be daunting, but is also a big opportunity. What are you worried or fearful about in your transition to becoming a moderator, and is there anything you're looking forward to? Is there anything we can do to help support you in those areas should you be elected as a new moderator?

I am worried that a casual comment or a simple misunderstanding based on how I wrote a statement may lead a new user to feel disgruntled or rebuffed by our site. As a moderator I feel I will need to be extra judicious about my wording to prevent this. I think this is something I can achieve but if there was a fear about moderation it would be negatively affecting new users by accident.

I believe that working with Mxyzplk and SevenSidedDie in addition to regular interaction with the community in chat I can help avoid that and I will always be ready to seek the advice of some of the long standing members of the community like BESW as I interact with users in the community.

I am excited at the prospect of helping facilitate community events and growth like those that occurred around D&D 5e's release. I know we can't have a contest to give a away books for every major RPG release, but I believe we can have more community events and interaction to boost site membership and help grow the content in RPG.SE. I'm also looking forward to helping the site run doing whatever I can to keep the engine that is RPG.SE functioning without errors and overall continuing to work with the users in the community.

  1. Sometimes, we end up with multiple mid-to-high rep users arguing over a question, or a meta policy, or something else that happened on the site. These arguments can often range all over the site: from meta posts, to chat, to the main site. As a mod, what would you do to defuse arguments among users in good standing?

Earlier in my RPG.SE life I definitely was a participant in some lengthy chat arguments that were ultimately not beneficial to anyone and I've personally seen the disruptions that can occur in answers, comments and questions when high rep users feud over philosophical and site policy issues. The Rules-As-Written tag controversies exemplified these type of issue.

As moderator I would encourage civility and respect between all users on the site regardless of their reputation. I would specifically remind high rep users causing disruptions of the Site policies and our goals towards creating high quality questions and answers and frame the issues against that. How does a rambling comments argument across multiple questions help the questions and answers and the site itself?

Comments would be moved to a specific chatroom if they wished to continue the discussion or deleted if the comments themselves were against site policy. I would encourage discussion be limited to a Meta question(s) on the issue and create a chatroom as an appropriate place for the discussion/argument to continue so long as those involved remained civil.

  1. Being a moderator is a customer service/public relations job for which there is little to no extrinsic motivation. You will invest hours of your free time dealing with the worst the internet has to offer, and we expect you to do it with a patient demeanor and a smile. What is your motivation for candidacy, or in short - why do you want this job?

I've gotten a ridiculous amount of value out of being a member of the community at RPG.SE and while I feel I certainly contribute as a regular member I want to do more and help moderate the site as a diamond mod. I take intrinsic value from helping people and solving problems, and doing my very best to help maintain a standard of service and quality in my work and personal life. This includes doing behind the scenes support tasks (most of my professional work).

  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?

First if there were any offensive comments or serious behavior issues (flame wars, attacking other users directly, etc.) I would take action immediately and any appropriate responses (deleting content, chat suspensions, etc.) would be levied.

However if it was a more well-meaning, but poorly executed communication issue I would observe if any regular community members had or were already taking steps to address the issue. There is a lot of great self-regulation within the RPG.SE community.

If non-mod users had or were approaching the issue I would wait and see if they could affect change by their actions. However if it did not work or no one else had talked to the user yet I would invite them to a private chat on SE to discuss the issue. I would reiterate the site policy on comments and their use and explain how they were a valuable member with their contributions but that their comments were causing issues and a distraction. I would ask them if they had any questions from me or any of the other mods for how to improve and avoid flags.

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

I would privately discuss it with the other mods first to find the reasoning and hear their justification for their actions. In the case of a closed question if I still disagreed I would let the community handle deciding to reopen the question as there are a large number of users capable of casting reopen votes. In terms of deletion if I found I something truly egregious and after their explanation still could not support it I would bring it to the attention of the Stack Exchange community team to review. I should not that since I've gain accessed via Rep privilege to view deleted items I have never seen something deleted that I thought should not be. In the end I believe its import to communicate and generally try to reach consensus on moderation application.

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In terms of working relationship, the current moderation team has a good level of alignment — and a lack of diversity. In what ways do you see your skills and philosophy complementing the skills and philosophy of the existing (and future) moderators? In what ways do you see your moderatorship aligning? In other words, what about yourself do you expect to bring in terms of diversity of modding approach, and what in terms of similarity?

As far as alignment, I'm as aligned as they come. Lawful Neutral to be exact. I don't see that clashing too much with the current moderation team. Unless one of them's a halfling. Can't stand those chaotic neutral jerks.


As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

After a thorough (and convoluted) investigation, I will point my index finger Layton-style and banish the offending party. Should I find the moderator innocent, then my finger of banishment shall turn unto the stone-slingers.


As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator you? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

If the issue was with me? I would apologize. And give you donuts. Sugar heals all wounds.


What is your view on current moderation policy on this site? Is there anything in particular you disagree with? If so, why? How would you reconcile this with needing to work with existing moderators?

I like the policies as stand. I shall uphold them and vehemently oppose any party who shall try to amend them without approval from 2/3rds of... oops, that would be wrong document I'm thinking of.


How will you, as a moderator, react to community consensus that you disagree with? How will you, as a moderator, handle issues on which the community has failed to reach consensus, particularly when you personally favor one particular side in the debate?

I can't reiterate this enough. I'm a Modron. I am law and order. No consensus? I will make one.


Becoming a new moderator can be daunting, but is also a big opportunity. What are you worried or fearful about in your transition to becoming a moderator, and is there anything you're looking forward to? Is there anything we can do to help support you in those areas should you be elected as a new moderator?

What do I look forward to? The power. What do I fear? The power corrupting. What can you do to help? More power.


Sometimes, we end up with multiple mid-to-high rep users arguing over a question, or a meta policy, or something else that happened on the site. These arguments can often range all over the site: from meta posts, to chat, to the main site. As a mod, what would you do to defuse arguments among users in good standing?

As a Lawful Modron, the only answer to this would be to choose a winning party with my (correct and just) intuition and banish the losing party.


Being a moderator is a customer service/public relations job for which there is little to no extrinsic motivation. You will invest hours of your free time dealing with the worst the internet has to offer, and we expect you to do it with a patient demeanor and a smile. What is your motivation for candidacy, or in short - why do you want this job?

I live on the internet. It's only right that I become unto the internet.


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?

Well, from the phrasing of the issue, it sounds like the issue is with the commentators. No action needed on the part of the answering party, but swift justice will be netted out to the offending commentators. With a net. I own a net. Definitely not a Pokemon bedspread.


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

Per the Gentleman's Bylaws, Article 7 I would issue a challenge of duel. I may be a loose cannon, but I stand by tradition!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't trust a modron that doesn't reveal how many sides it has. This reeks of giant frog. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 21 '17 at 22:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Justice is traditionally meted out. I'm not sure how I feel about this new-age netting alternative. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 22 '17 at 1:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, its considerably more efficient. None of this trial nonsense. None of this 'evidence'. Just justice. And nets. \$\endgroup\$ – Bryant Jackson Apr 22 '17 at 15:26
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Erik - Nomination

  1. In terms of working relationship, the current moderation team has a good level of alignment — and a lack of diversity. In what ways do you see your skills and philosophy complementing the skills and philosophy of the existing (and future) moderators? In what ways do you see your moderatorship aligning? In other words, what about yourself do you expect to bring in terms of diversity of modding approach, and what in terms of similarity?

What I'm bringing in terms of diversity is at least in sort part that I'm from a different part of the world. Being in Western Europe puts me in a different timezone. I'm also not a native English speaker, although I'm not sure if that's a plus or not.

In terms of philosophy, I believe strongly in letting people make decisions. If you make people feel valued and respected, the vast majority of them will handle that responsibly. As such, I much prefer communicating our vision over telling people how to act. I'm also more likely to ask questions about things than I am to give answers. In the end; it's not my job to decide how to run things (or to run things at all), only to let the users think about it and remind them of their choices.

As for the currently active way of working and moderating, I agree with it as it stands. So I think for the end-result I'd agree with the current team, although perhaps my path to it involves (even) more talking with people.

  1. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

Depending on the severity, either open a chat with that user and ask them about what is happening and how it's bothering them. If necessary, same thing with the moderator. I feel that many minor grievances can be solved by an open talk with those involved, and maybe a conclusion that they can figure out themselves.

For more serious issues, I would most likely discuss with the non-involved moderator(s) first to make sure we're on the same page, then try and gather data on the situation as it's been. Then, talk to the involved parties together with the other moderator(s). For a serious situation, it helps to have more people listening in.

In general; such a chat would consist primarily of listening to both sides and trying to understand what is causing the feelings of unfair treatment. I would trust both moderators and users to not be actively malicious towards one another, so feelings of unfairness are likely to be an issue in communication (quite common between people of different cultures and languages) or a case of ignorance or unawareness, which can likely be discussed rationally.

Assume good intentions in all. The rarest of cases that involve active malice between members and/or moderators aren't something I'd want to have a fixed plan for. Those cases are too situational.

  1. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator you? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

If I learn from that user directly, because they tell me, then I would engage with them directly. That takes a certain level of courage and openness that I feel deserves a reaction in kind, and I would take that very seriously. Talk about the issues, why they perceive they are being treated unfairly, apologize and mend my ways if needed.

If I learn indirectly, then that means direct communication might be a bit overwhelming, so I would request intervention from another moderator. I would be open to talk it through with the user, but I also understand that they might not want to speak with someone whom they do not trust to be fair. So I would ask someone else to investigate; I trust the judgement of the moderation team and the community also when it comes to my own conduct.

  1. What is your view on current moderation policy on this site? Is there anything in particular you disagree with? If so, why? How would you reconcile this with needing to work with existing moderators?

There isn't anything I particularly disagree with at this time. That said, there are a lot of things I disagree with overall and you just learn to live with it. As long as I am fully behind the goal and vision of a project, I can deal with disagreeing over the details. We're all in it for the same reason, so I see no point in letting my personal opinion get in the way of moving towards it.

  1. How will you, as a moderator, react to community consensus that you disagree with? How will you, as a moderator, handle issues on which the community has failed to reach consensus, particularly when you personally favor one particular side in the debate?

As I've pointed out already; the community is in charge. Unless their consensus grossly violates the Stack vision, they have the final say in how we work here. I would expect to be able to agree with them most of the time. If it does go against the vision, I would rather re-iterate that vision instead of weighing in with my opinion. It's very easy for people to agree with a moderator just because they're a moderator, so I feel my opinion should take a backseat most of the time.

As for when no consensus can be reached, even after continued discussion, I would rather flip a coin than decide. Both because it's not the moderators job to decide on policy and because I don't want users in the other camp to feel like they're being overruled by the "people in charge". That would only cause more friction.

  1. Becoming a new moderator can be daunting, but is also a big opportunity. What are you worried or fearful about in your transition to becoming a moderator, and is there anything you're looking forward to? Is there anything we can do to help support you in those areas should you be elected as a new moderator?

I'm not fearful quickly as I have trust in my abilities and my previous experiences with coaching and moderating. That said, I do think it's a responsible position and I don't know exactly what I'm getting myself into. The key thing that (in my opinion) do to support others is to let them know how they are doing. I'd rather hear that I'm screwing it up than get only silence and being left guessing. So should I be elected, and you have an opinion on what I do, let me know. Even if it's negative. I'll thank anyone for constructive feedback, no matter how much it stings. You can't grow without that fuel.

  1. Sometimes, we end up with multiple mid-to-high rep users arguing over a question, or a meta policy, or something else that happened on the site. These arguments can often range all over the site: from meta posts, to chat, to the main site. As a mod, what would you do to defuse arguments among users in good standing?

Remind them that "everywhere" is not a good place to have a discussion. Offer to open a chat-room for them. Offer to listen in and/or help them get over their differences if required. If they keep posting about it in unrelated places, remind them again in private, that they have a private room to talk it out and their behavior is not helping us be the best Q&A site.

  1. Being a moderator is a customer service/public relations job for which there is little to no extrinsic motivation. You will invest hours of your free time dealing with the worst the internet has to offer, and we expect you to do it with a patient demeanor and a smile. What is your motivation for candidacy, or in short - why do you want this job?

It's mixed between really liking this place and wanting to help it grow even better, and feeling I can learn something in this position.

For the first, I think this is a wonderful resource for learning more about RPG rules, but even more so, it's a wonderful resource for becoming a better player. I've been running games for over 10 years, but the DM and player advice here has still taught me a lot. We should strive to keep that quality here, and if that means shoveling junk; I'll gladly donate some of my time to do it.

The second is more personal; I think it's important for me to be able to handle difficult, social situations. Both for my day-job and for myself. As such, I tend to seek them out in a productive way, so that I may learn from them.

  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 be interested in knowing why they feel the need to argue with people. I'm also quite capable of arguing over (possibly irrelevant) details, so I know the feeling of wanting to do it. It reduces the quality of the stack, but fortunately comments are easily purged and sometimes a comment chain does lead to something useful.

Once it becomes clear that a discussion isn't going anywhere, then I'd move it to chat with a reminder that comments are not the place for discussion; only to give suggestions to improve the question/answer.

The only thing that could really stop a user from commenting too much, is realizing that it doesn't help anyone. Whether that's achievable depends on the user, but only understanding why they do it in the first place will help us find out.

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

Ask that moderator about it. This doesn't seem to come up very much on this site, and I doubt that any situation would arise that couldn't be solved by a short chat session.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your "not a native speaker" is hardly an, given what you just wrote here (and your contributions in general). As to whether or not that's a plus, you may be able to sense/intuit when one of our non native participants is tripping over the crossover from one language to another. Your ability to be clear is well established. While I am not fluent in other languages, I know a bit of German, Spanish, and Italian, and have worked a lot with non native speakers ... one can sometimes tell and assist when there is a problem with idiomatic terms and slang. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 18 '17 at 11:14
4
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Marshall-Tigerus

  1. In terms of working relationship, the current moderation team has a good level of alignment — and a lack of diversity. In what ways do you see your skills and philosophy complementing the skills and philosophy of the existing (and future) moderators? In what ways do you see your moderatorship aligning? In other words, what about yourself do you expect to bring in terms of diversity of modding approach, and what in terms of similarity?

I feel that in most of the SE community, moderators are very quick to take action. The beauty of this format is that through votes and scores, much of the actual moderation is handled by the community as a group. This helps preserve the integrity of the community as a whole. Moderators should only be acting when it is absolutely necessary.

As a team member, I regularly ask the question of "Why" something is being done. Action should only be taken if there is a clear reason to, not just because something is done that an individual moderator doesn't like. This is one of the many reasons we have a Meta, and why issues and rules can be discussed and decided upon in that forum.

  1. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

The moderation team as a whole would need to be made aware of the situation as a first step. Then the team as a whole would need to decide how to handle the issue. It is not the duty or within the scope of power of one moderator to control another (particularly the newest moderator in the group). The team as a whole would need to decide whether there is any issue present and any action to be taken. This can be a little difficult if there are only three moderators.

In either case, there must be a conclusion brought to the issue. Whether that is the original moderator explaining themselves to the effected parties, or a general policy brought forward to remind those users why things have happened the way they have. It is important to reassure everyone that the moderators are here to support the medium of the RPG-SE, not rule over it.

  1. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator you? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

As in answer 2, I feel that this issue should be known to all members of the moderation team before any action is taken. It is possible one of the other moderators has information on who is feeling this way. In any case, if I could figure out who feels this way, I would try to have a conversation with them, and ask for their side of the story and how they feel. I would try to explain my actions as best as I could, and bring the entire thing into a discussion with the other moderators to see if some part of my behavior needs to change (as I cannot be an objective judge of my own character).

If it became a persistent problem, I would step down as a moderator.

  1. What is your view on current moderation policy on this site? Is there anything in particular you disagree with? If so, why? How would you reconcile this with needing to work with existing moderators?

I have not had many moderation issues on this SE. I feel that it is important that the RPG-SE continue evolving through the use of meta discussions and regular conversations about the policies of the site.

  1. How will you, as a moderator, react to community consensus that you disagree with? How will you, as a moderator, handle issues on which the community has failed to reach consensus, particularly when you personally favor one particular side in the debate?

A moderator who is unable to follow the rules the group has decided upon should step down. I believe I will be able to enforce rules I do not agree with, but I will certainly lend my voice to the discussion while the rule is being discussed.

However, if there is no consensus about a rule change, I think that the existing policy before the discussion should be followed. If there was no clear policy before the discussion, then the moderation team should decide on a consistent policy until such a time as the community can clearly decide. All moderators should follow that policy.

  1. Becoming a new moderator can be daunting, but is also a big opportunity. What are you worried or fearful about in your transition to becoming a moderator, and is there anything you're looking forward to? Is there anything we can do to help support you in those areas should you be elected as a new moderator?

As a participant in several SE communities, I am not very up to date on particular policies for this SE community. Patience while I learn the ropes would be appreciated, and a recognition that I will make some mistakes.

I, admittedly, do not know the current mods, so that's an area I will need to spend some time on if elected.

  1. Sometimes, we end up with multiple mid-to-high rep users arguing over a question, or a meta policy, or something else that happened on the site. These arguments can often range all over the site: from meta posts, to chat, to the main site. As a mod, what would you do to defuse arguments among users in good standing?

Such users should know the appropriate forum for their discussion (which by this question sounds like it should be in chat or in a meta post). Such things are a reason why the moderator position exists, to move those conversations to the appropriate venue. Anyone who participates sufficiently should recognize that there is an appropriate area for these discussions.

  1. Being a moderator is a customer service/public relations job for which there is little to no extrinsic motivation. You will invest hours of your free time dealing with the worst the internet has to offer, and we expect you to do it with a patient demeanor and a smile. What is your motivation for candidacy, or in short - why do you want this job?

I enjoy RPGs and game design. Being a moderator here will give me a good reason to interact with areas outside my current gaming expertise, and spread my knowledge of gaming systems (for example, reading through posts I would not otherwise look at). Having been a retail Customer Service Manager, I understand that the "customer relations" aspect of this position is not glamorous, but necessary.

  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?

There is no right answer to this question. Arguments and flags may not be the result of the user themselves but from someone who disagrees with them vehemently (I had an issue in the SO-SE where a user that disagreed with me went through and flagged and downvoted everything I had ever posted going back years). If the issue is with the user themselves, a brief conversation should suffice to help them along the right path to cleaner answers, reminding them that while they are contributing in good ways, they should look to improve X, Y, or Z.

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

One moderator should not unilaterally override another. The Moderator team should discuss this issue, and a consensus reached.

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Hi, I'm Korvin Starmast - Nomination Link

(Full Disclosure: not the name on my birth certificate):

Vote for me and I'll set you free. ( 8^D )

(Two points for guessing the song reference without using Google).

  1. In what ways do you see your skills and philosophy complementing the skills and philosophy of the existing (and future) moderators?
  2. In what ways do you see your moderatorship aligning?
  3. In other words, what about yourself do you expect to bring in terms of diversity of modding approach, and what in terms of similarity?

I am disappointed that in question one we ask more than one question in a single question, which is a habit that we generally frown on at SE's. While nested questions can work on this site, this is a poor example of one.

SE's model works (when it works) with a concise, well researched and well asked question that attracts a concise, or very detailed, well formed and well supported answer. The inability of the hive mind on this site to craft a clear and concise question as question number one is an example of a place where my experience can be of value. I earned IRL a reputation as the guy who speaks up and asks the question that prevents the group from deciding to go to Abilene. Over time, I learned how to be less abrasive in doing so. If I think we are setting a bad example, I will speak up.

The bottom line of this question is element 3. Element 2 is speculative, at best. Element one asks about future moderators as well as current, which is also speculative.

My skills with people have been honed over about four decades of being (in chronological order) Naval officer, spouse, parent, manager, and a Catechist in our church. In each of these arenas one is immersed in the environment where you deal with people as they are, not as you'd wish them to be. I've learned -- here is the philosophy bit -- that if you want to engage with someone, it takes a bit of back-and-forth until you each find your comfortable spot to communicate sincerely and effectively with each other (see also marriage ... big time).
As a casual user, who uses this site as an outgrowth of a hobby, I don't have to draw on the depth of such RL experience. As a diamond mod, I'd pull up that skill set and use it here. I can, and will.

Insofar as getting along with SSD, mxy, and whomever else: as we have a common mission, I'll get along. I adapt, as needed since I see no basis for a problem. We're all adults here, and this is a site about something we all enjoy.

As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

This is two separate questions, each requiring its own answer. (I noted the strike-through on the question; bad example of how to write a questionnaire question).

Point 1: If I am the one being perceived as treating someone unfairly, and I learn of this, the answer for me is simple; recuse myself immediately, contact another mod, and ask them to handle it. Once the issue is resolved, try to find a way to discuss, in a neutral setting, how we (the user and me) can get back on the same page, talking to each other again. We do this for fun. I don't want me being the source of stress.

Point 2: If it's another mod ...

  • Discuss off line, with user(s), to make sure I understand.

  • Discuss, off line, with mod, and see if we both see what's going on.

    • Note: I've had to investigate multiple Sexual Harassment complaints IRL. To do that right takes effort, listening, and patience.
  • Use my experience to inform efforts in resolving such a potential conflict, with the objective of building a bridge so the two parties can meet each other half way.

    What is your view on current moderation policy on this site?
    Is there anything in particular you disagree with?
    If so, why?
    How would you reconcile this with needing to work with existing moderators?

    Four questions in one.

    My view.

  • Moderation works somewhere between well enough and very well, as compared to most of the sites where I participate in (SE sites and other sorts). I am a mod at another site, not RPG related. The community there needs very little 'hands on' intervention so 'a light touch' there is easy.

  • Both diamond mods have received input from me on what I like and don't like. Taken as a whole, while it works, I feel that we may be putting too much burden on too few people. My comment on that has grown into a meta question about "three or four mods" -- maybe more than three is a better idea, but still an odd number. I thought 5 may be the better choice, based on what I have seen at Christianity.SE. Maybe three is fine. We can workshop this, and if this is a case of "if it ain't broke don't fix it" I think we will (collectively) figure that out as well.

  • I see no obstacles to working with either of the current mods, and for that matter, with any of the folks who volunteer. There are some great people who participate here who come from a delightful mix of backgrounds and experiences-to include those who have already answered up. (Lino, doppel, nitsua60, Michael, Erik, Marshall as of this writing).

    Note: on SE sites in general, I don't care for the perceived latent hostility to new users, but as best as I can figure out it's a Feature of the SE model. I had my share of frustrations with this community as I first encountered it, but as above: I adapt, and I also learn. All I can do, all any of us can do, is to try to provide a warm welcome to new users, and to encourage them to adapt to our norms.

How will you, as a moderator, react to community consensus that you disagree with? How will you, as a moderator, handle issues on which the community has failed to reach consensus, particularly when you personally favor one particular side in the debate?

Point 1. In me you are voting for mod as an exception handler not as a dictator.
Point 2. If the community fails to reach a consensus, if there is some pressing need to make a decision on something, that's still a consensus issue at the decision point. Discuss. Most stuff is not time critical, so Don't Rush is my mantra.

  • Tool Kit: Communicate. Listen. As appropriate, discuss with the mods, and engage with the community. Check for potential "what about that third path?" options.

    Bottom Line: Deal with issues on their own merits. Unless there is a significant breach of SE/SO guidelines, then listen, encourage input, kick ideas around, explore the edges of the art of the possible, and Don't Rush to a decision. None of what we do here is critical to flight safety.

Becoming a new moderator can be daunting, but is also a big opportunity. What are you worried or fearful about in your transition to becoming a moderator, and is there anything you're looking forward to? Is there anything we can do to help support you in those areas should you be elected as a new moderator?

Not in the least bit worried. If I didn't think it would be worth my while, I'd not answer the call. The major concern is time, and sharing the "who is on watch" responsibilities with the other diamond mods. Teamwork.

Sometimes, we end up with multiple mid-to-high rep users arguing over a question, or a meta policy, or something else that happened on the site. These arguments can often range all over the site: from meta posts, to chat, to the main site. As a mod, what would you do to defuse arguments among users in good standing?

  1. Move arguments to a chat room. Keep them off the main site.
  2. Direct some disagreements to a meta Q/A where getting the voice of other smart folks (this site attracts those) may help resolve a disagreement.
  3. Point out (where needed) the need to remember to "be nice!" and if that guidance is ignored take action to remind the user in an unambiguous manner. Regardless of how deeply we disagree, this site is NOT a place for flame wars. Beyond that, I can offer myself as a sounding board to any two parties who find themselves at odds. Done that IRL as well.

Being a moderator is a customer service/public relations job for which there is little to no extrinsic motivation. You will invest hours of your free time dealing with the worst the internet has to offer, and we expect you to do it with a patient demeanor and a smile. What is your motivation for candidacy, or in short - why do you want this job?

I like the people here. I like the hobby. I like the site. You're all worth it.

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?

Each problem on its own merits. If I deem "a quiet word" necessary, contact via email with my suggestions/guidance in terms of "are you aware that this is working against RPG.SE goodness?" as an opening move. I do not have such d-mod tools in my hands now, so I am not sure what all of my tools are. Communicate.

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

Either open a Meta or an off-line discussion with that mod. Depends on the topic and the environment at the time. Communicate.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "None of what we do here is critical to flight safety." +100 and bounty worthy -- far too often, RPG folk in the online wilderness regress to a sternly argumentative tone that, while sensible when lives are at stake, is inappropriate for the subject matter at hand here, and especially inappropriate in the context of this Stack. That tonal issue is probably the greatest source of impedance mismatch new users coming from other fora face that is specific to this community (atop the perceived latent new-user hostility common to all Stacks)... \$\endgroup\$ – Shalvenay Apr 18 '17 at 3:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ ...and we here on this Stack need to do our best to lead the rest of the online-RPG world by example in order to make a dent in what probably is the biggest barrier to new players in the hobby. \$\endgroup\$ – Shalvenay Apr 18 '17 at 3:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener We're in this together; help with an answer is generally appreciated. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 18 '17 at 12:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ This answer was edited thanks to doppelgreener asking some questions about my critiquing the questionnaire itself in my answer. I should probably not have tried to write this extended answer after a long drive home at the end of a day, so thanks to dopplegreener's help, I edited to do a better job of just answering the questions. I still toss in a critique since I do not care for how some of these questions were asked -- I think they set a bad example. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 18 '17 at 14:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the problem here is that you are conflating stack questions with good questions. Good questions are not necessarily stack questions (and vice versa). It makes sense that the questions we want to actually use to accomplish stuff (i.e. the questionnaire) are not the kinds of questions we allow on the site, because the goal is different. Complaining that we packed lots of questions into each entry is like complaining that a particular combination of options is 'cheesy' on a TO forum: the critique may be valid in a different context, but here it's missing the point. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Apr 21 '17 at 2:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Actually, as I looked back at the questionnaire questions, I like them even less in a generic sense. Just Badly Written. If it were turned in to me for a grade, the best hope is a C- or a D ... SSD and I visited about this in Chat. Nothing further to add. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 21 '17 at 3:54
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Nomination Link

I'm Lino and I want to be a moderator for this community. Find out why below!

  1. In terms of working relationship, the current moderation team has a good level of alignment — and a lack of diversity. In what ways do you see your skills and philosophy complementing the skills and philosophy of the existing (and future) moderators? In what ways do you see your moderatorship aligning? In other words, what about yourself do you expect to bring in terms of diversity of modding approach, and what in terms of similarity?

Well, and Seven can attest to this, I am certainly not aligned with the moderation team. We've butted heads a few times in the past and don't actually tend to see eye to eye on many issues initially. Frankly, I think this is a good thing. Because while we don't agree initially, we're also very good at discussing the situation like mature adults and coming to a consensus. This is a skill a moderator who finds themselves frequently at odds with the moderators should have, the ability to compromise or acknowledge error. Because of this, I would bring a fresh perspective to the moderating team, but one that is tempered by the ability to cooperatively discuss an issue and come to a conclusion which appeals to everybody.

As for similarity, the reason we are able to come to a conclusion when we have conlficting viewpoints is that we're all logical and rational people. Despite any differences, we are able to communicate using firm logic and change our position accordingly. It's this very similarity that makes the differences a strength rather than a weakness.

  1. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

This is actually something I have to deal with in real life all the time, and thankfully, I'm actually qualified for this. Moderating on forums isn't much different from real life, except thanks to the internet shield, people are much more willing to answer questions bluntly, cutting through a lot of time in resolving the issue. The format I use is called an interests based approach. Rather than focussing on the negatives, you start with what both parties want, and discuss the overlaps in the positives. After that, the negatives don't have everybody on the defense, and compromise is much easier.

So in the event a moderator made a decision a person or group of people don't agree with, I would learn their side, use my own judgement to formulate a response, and rather than give that response to the person, I would address the other moderator and ask why they responded the way they did. If there seems to be a personal conflict there, I'm not hesitant to point it out to try to rectify it in the future. Second to this, you can register your complain in the meta, which has occurred in the past. People are happy to patiently explain why a question was closed, why your comment was deleted, or why you received a message from a moderator (or two in my case early on.) Then you have chat rooms, where you can take a complaint to an actual discussion instead of a fight in the comments of a Q or A. Failing all else, you can always complain up the chain of command if necessary, giving a 4th potential option. Basically what I'm saying is, there's an abundance of tools at my disposal to assist a person who thinks they have been wronged, and the moderator position would expand this more fully.

  1. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator you? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

I would cease taking action. If a person or persons feels I personally wronged them and is angry with me, odds are they are not going to listen to me explain myself. Instead, I would much rather ask one of the other mods to address the person(s) complaints so that from the complainants end, it's a 3rd party who is unbiased addressing the problem, and to them, the source of the problem is no longer involved. I think this would be fair to them, and would be in their own best interest. I'm not infallible, and if I make a mistake and somebody is angry about it, having fresh eyes on it would help alleviate the situation. That way it can be rectified if necessary, and I could learn from it. And if I was in the right, the other mod will confirm it anyways, at which point the complainant will have a harder time convincing a 3rd mod that the other two are ganging up on them.

  1. What is your view on current moderation policy on this site? Is there anything in particular you disagree with? If so, why? How would you reconcile this with needing to work with existing moderators?

I think the moderation is excellent. I don't have anything in particular that I disagree with that's still outstanding. Anything I did have an issue with I addressed in the meta question about too much moderation, which has long since been resolved.

  1. How will you, as a moderator, react to community consensus that you disagree with? How will you, as a moderator, handle issues on which the community has failed to reach consensus, particularly when you personally favor one particular side in the debate?

My job as a moderator isn't to arbitrate. Otherwise the job would be called arbiter. Because of this, if the community reaches a consensus, my personal opinion on the outcome is irrelevant.

As for issues that fail to reach a consensus, that's a little vague. Since these are going to be exceptionally rare, they're also going to be unique issues. They could be resolved a matter of different ways, but without an actual example, the best I can offer is: Analysis, Evaluation, Deliberation and Conclusion. Whether these steps will involve anybody outside the moderation team is going to be highly situation dependent.

  1. Becoming a new moderator can be daunting, but is also a big opportunity. What are you worried or fearful about in your transition to becoming a moderator, and is there anything you're looking forward to? Is there anything we can do to help support you in those areas should you be elected as a new moderator?

I don't know much about the code used to format here. I just haven't sat down and tinkered with it enough to be fully fluent in it. However I'm also a very fast learner. When I don't know how to do something, I go to a post where it's already been done, click Edit, and see how to do what I want. Then I lock that information away in my brain and move on to the next issue. That's about all I'm worried about, and I'd be happy to have somebody help me out with that when I'm constructing an involved Question or Answer that requires multiple links, quotes, and images.

As for what I'm looking forward to: To be blunt, nothing. I'm volunteering to spend extra time doing work for which I'm not paid. I don't think anybody gets up and says, "YES! I have a bunch of unappreciated and unpaid work to do today!" No, to me it's my way of giving back to a community that I love.

  1. Sometimes, we end up with multiple mid-to-high rep users arguing over a question, or a meta policy, or something else that happened on the site. These arguments can often range all over the site: from meta posts, to chat, to the main site. As a mod, what would you do to defuse arguments among users in good standing?

The same thing I would do to defuse arguments with users of any standing. Your rep number means less than nothing to me. The users will be addressed systematically. First with a reminder in comments. Then with a second reminder, asking them to take it to chat. Then an email. Then a discussion in a chat room with me and the other mods. And then, if they just won't stop, temporary suspensions. Should it require more than that, I would be extremely shocked. They're members in good standing, as the question stated, so for this to persist doesn't seem realistic to me.

  1. Being a moderator is a customer service/public relations job for which there is little to no extrinsic motivation. You will invest hours of your free time dealing with the worst the internet has to offer, and we expect you to do it with a patient demeanor and a smile. What is your motivation for candidacy, or in short - why do you want this job?

LOL. My answer to number 6 already addressed this. I want to do this job to help a community which I love. Somebody has to do it, and I know I would do it well, so I am volunteering. I am very patient, and very friendly. As for dealing with the worst the net has to offer, I've dealt with flat-Earthers who can accept we have cameras and electronics, but won't believe a live video feed from the space station. Do your worst internet, I've already dealt with the Balrog.

  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?

How DID you deal with me Seven? :)

I would discuss the format of the site more in depth with the user, pointing them at good questions and good answers, and illustrating why they're good and what the comments are for. If the user still isn't understanding, I'll explain a different way. Ultimately, the end goal is to have quality Q and A, with as little moderation as possible. If absolutely necessary, I'll start instructing the user to self moderate. Every flag I get, they'll get a message from me telling them to fix it. I don't mind passing the buck to the responsible party to get a point across.

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

This question seems like a legendary rare level of occurrence. The community handles open and close votes, so for a moderator to step in and do it themselves seems to be a little extreme. I've only seen it a handful of times over a year, and those closures were usually because the user had been banned prior and had just made a new account to start another fight.

But let's say the hypothetical above happened, the answer, as always, is that I would discuss it with them. If we can't agree as a moderation team, that's grounds alone for the community to be deciding vote (in my opinion). Let's say there's four moderators and 2 of us say Open, and the other 2 say Close. I would motion that we let the community have the invisible 5th vote, and leave it to the community to decide.

For the record, I don't think this would ever happen. It just doesn't seem like a plausible premise in this particular format. It would be like asking, "What would you do if another moderator deleted the answer to a question which had 400 upvotes just because they didn't like it?" Sure it's POSSIBLE somebody might do something like that, but then the question should be: What would you do if another moderator decided to actively abuse their power?

In that case the answer is simple: I'd discuss it with the other moderator, including evidence, and staff it up the chain for review and action.

That's it for me folks. Vote as you will, and thank you for taking the time to read this through.

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Michael - Click here to read my short nomination speech!

  1. what do you expect to bring in terms of diversity of modding approach, and what in terms of similarity?

Well, I've been on a. lot. of. forums. I know what moderation is. I'm happy just to get the job done, and learn from the existing mods what their "flavor" is, but as I'm relatively new to this SE and I don't have too much previous XP invested in it, I'm happy to ask why and be pretty honest if I have other ideas.

  1. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

I would just go straight to the relevant post, take a look myself and bring it up with the mod in question. I think we all want to help each other here. I don't see any need for drama and I wouldn't be interested in getting involved in any.

  1. As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator you? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

I would take time out to chill, read the relevant post again, and then go ask another mod what I should have done different. Then go apologize. Please see above :-)

  1. What is your view on current moderation policy on this site? Is there anything in particular you disagree with? If so, why? How would you reconcile this with needing to work with existing moderators?

It seems fine. As noted, I just like RPGs and learning more, and want to help others do the same as a fun aspect of that. I've actually spent my whole career doing some form of "helpdesk" / "knowledge management" / whatever buzzword and it's kind of a habit forming thing.

I don't really know what "policy" is in place but I'm a quick study and I'm happy to give feedback (I mean give feedback, not telling anyone what's wrong and then trying to make 'em fix it :-D )

  1. How will you, as a moderator, react to community consensus that you disagree with? How will you, as a moderator, handle issues on which the community has failed to reach consensus, particularly when you personally favor one particular side in the debate?

Pretty much as above, give my 5c worth and then read any feedback with interest. And. that's. it.

  1. Becoming a new moderator can be daunting, but is also a big opportunity. What are you worried or fearful about in your transition to becoming a moderator, and is there anything you're looking forward to? Is there anything we can do to help support you in those areas should you be elected as a new moderator?

I'm not sure why it should be so bad, can you provide horror stories as examples? ;-)

Seems like a super fun way to give something back. If there's something I don't get, I'm happy to ask for help.

  1. Sometimes, we end up with multiple mid-to-high rep users arguing over a question, or a meta policy, or something else that happened on the site. These arguments can often range all over the site: from meta posts, to chat, to the main site. As a mod, what would you do to defuse arguments among users in good standing?

That's a good question. I don't have a ready-made answer and I'd look to the existing mods for advice on this. I would say though that my instinct is usually to ask questions before giving info/suggestions/directions.

  1. Being a moderator is a customer service/public relations job for which there is little to no extrinsic motivation. You will invest hours of your free time dealing with the worst the internet has to offer, and we expect you to do it with a patient demeanor and a smile. What is your motivation for candidacy, or in short - why do you want this job?

XD

As above. Fun topic, cool people, already in the habit so whatever, it's a great excuse to check in more than once a month...

  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 above; I really never experienced this issue before on any net forum... ask for help?!

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

Just directly politely ask the mod in question why. Then get burritos.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm confused. There are no answers here. What happened? \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Apr 18 '17 at 22:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DanB I figure this is a placeholder and he'll come back to edit it later. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Apr 18 '17 at 22:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener your surmise is accurate \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Apr 19 '17 at 7:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DanB updated! ! \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Apr 19 '17 at 8:01
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The Dark Wanderer

(Nomination)

In terms of working relationship, the current moderation team has a good level of alignment — and a lack of diversity. In what ways do you see your skills and philosophy complementing the skills and philosophy of the existing (and future) moderators? In what ways do you see your moderatorship aligning? In other words, what about yourself do you expect to bring in terms of diversity of modding approach, and what in terms of similarity?

First of all, when we talk about a need for diversity and a need for improvements in process, we're mostly talking about this:

When I think about what's valuable in "a diversity of perspectives," I don't think about agendas or policy opinions. Instead, I think about how a diversity of experience can help with constructive dialogue by broadening our ability to see where somebody else is coming from and understand a tangential perspective.

Historically some of our biggest dust-ups have boiled down to communication breakdowns like confusion about historical context (tool-rec) or what jargon implies (RAW). This very answer is in response to my recognising that I was probably misunderstanding how others were using terms!

Both Mxy and d7 have taken visible pains to improve the clarity of the site's communication (see above "this is a step in information gathering rather than an Official Vote Thing"), and I don't mean to diminish their ongoing successes in any way when I say:

If a third mod brings a significantly different set of communication skills and play experiences from either d7 or Mxy I think that'd be a great boon to the entire community's culture of constructive dialogue. And if it's a communication monoculture that d7 meant by this comment, then I can see the value in a fourth mod from that perspective--though on its own I don't see that contribution being sufficient to justify opening an entire fourth mod slot.

So what I bring here in terms of diversity is a difference in playstyle, background, values, and culture. Specifically, I don't play games just for fun-- I view RPGs as a literary medium in which to holistically discuss complex issues. This means that I'm on more of the same page as people who use RPGs to teach their kids, explore the nature of religious devotion, or further language and communication skills. It is not necessary that something be fun for it to be worthwhile, and sometimes insistence to the contrary can be frustrating.

I also engage in material within our scope that isn't playing rpgs. I have participated in my fair share of theoretical optimization, both with groups and individually, and also read, write, and discuss RPG theory as published in books, blogs, and our games we run. Questions in these areas often run into problems with our 'must be about a real problem' policy, not because they aren't about a real problem but because the subject material is abstract and certain members of the community don't feel like it's 'real' RPG stuff. Diversity here may help lead to the acceptance of these subdisciplines as authentic (i.e. anthropologically authentic).

My primary game system at present is Mist, a d12-based vaguely FATE 2.0 inspired rule system that I'm maybe hopefully someday gonna publish. I also play, in descending order of frequency, FATE 2.0, an awesome diceless Pokemon-Silver-Inspired solo-campaign-specific-homebrew system, Pathfinder, Fate Core (specifically either 'Nu Scions' by Ms. Megan Carmody (still in playtesting) or 'Secrets of Cats' by Mr. Richard Bellingham), D&D 3.5, and then other stuff. I think this matters in terms of informing you guys how I think about RPGs and what I value in them, but there's significant disagreement as to that, so I'll move on.

In terms of understanding where people come from and listening to them, that's sort of what I aim to do in life nearly all the time. I'm sure the other moderators and candidates feel similarly about themselves, though, so I don't think that's a very good indication of my ability to do so, at least on its own.

As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by another moderator? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

Really this depends too much on the situation. In the broadest terms, I would decide whether or not to try to solve the issue and then stick with that approach until or unless it became clear that a change in approach was needed. Probably, if I decided to do anything, I would both solicit and provide information on meta. Most of the time I suspect the complaint would look something like this, and I would just leave it alone and not get involved at all. I will trust my co-moderator and the community member or members who are upset to work things out without my shoving my nose in it unless there's good reason to think otherwise. But really, everything from the rep of the users involved, to how much I like or dislike them, to whether I think they are right or not, to the subtle class-race-gender-nationality-playstyle-etc biases I have as influenced by how each party writes, to whether or not I'm hungry will influence how I deal with it. I'd like to always deal with such things in a manner appropriate to my religious principles of compassion, charity, and righteousness so that the mediation might be both just and merciful but I rather doubt that will ever be the case :P

As a moderator, how would you respond to learning that a user, or group of users, feels unfairly treated by you? What steps would you take to learn their complaints, verify them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?

I'd talk with them. If the complaints were valid, I'd apologize for that and explain what I'm doing in the future to try and prevent it from happening again, if anything. If they weren't I wouldn't apologize for that, but I might still apologize for making them feel bad. Mostly I'd just listen to what they had to say and ask questions. If time and energy permitted I'd try to do something like this.

What is your view on current moderation policy on this site? Is there anything in particular you disagree with? If so, why? How would you reconcile this with needing to work with existing moderators?

My current view is that there are some problems with our moderation with respect to meta process (and apparently the community overwhelmingly agrees, but I worry that not all of us have the same idea what we mean by that), but also that our community is doing well overall, and thus that moderation is generally running effectively. While I don't like parts of the way things are going, I have confidence that the other moderators are also unhappy with the deterioration of trust between them and the community (not that we don't trust our mods, but I feel like we trust them a lot less) and so aware that a problem exists and willing to work to solve it. I mean, even if I'm not elected mod I think we're all planning on working together to do that anyways.

How will you, as a moderator, react to community consensus that you disagree with? How will you, as a moderator, handle issues on which the community has failed to reach consensus, particularly when you personally favor one particular side in the debate?

I will react to community consensus I disagree with by posting a meta answer explaining why I think I'm right and the community's wrong, just like if I was not a moderator, but with more weight behind what I'm saying and so more pre-post thoroughness.

Assuming that fails to alter community consensus I will either abide by the consensus (most cases) or stubbornly refuse to do so as a matter of principle (where my religion requires me to do so. This shouldn't happen unless y'all transform into magical neo-nazis or Chick Tracts start to match up with reality).

On issues where the community has failed to reach consensus, I would upvote some stuff and downvote others. I might also post things, if I had things to post. I would put a bit higher of a bar on posting answers because the black diamond can summon forth the votes of the dead and the damned, which seems a little unfair. It's okay for the community to not reach consensus, though. Better no answer yet than a bad answer no one likes. Plus we can always propose temporary solutions if there's a need for that sort of thing.

Becoming a new moderator can be daunting, but is also a big opportunity. What are you worried or fearful about in your transition to becoming a moderator, and is there anything you're looking forward to? Is there anything we can do to help support you in those areas should you be elected as a new moderator?

I suck at chat. I'll have to learn that. Y'all could help me out with that; that would be nice.

'Looking forward to' is a little strong, but I think I would like being able to use my mod powers to make the new user experience easier. Also it'd be good to be able to help resolve the rift that's starting to form in our site from the moderator side. Also it'd be good to have another easy busywork task to do (i.e. resolving flags and routine comment cleanup).

Sometimes, we end up with multiple mid-to-high rep users arguing over a question, or a meta policy, or something else that happened on the site. These arguments can often range all over the site: from meta posts, to chat, to the main site. As a mod, what would you do to defuse arguments among users in good standing?

Oh man, I'm, like, the dude ending up in those too much right now. I guess I'd tell me to just give up and stop responding to @ShadowKras and just flag the rediculous multi-question-spanning comment argument for deletion, only I already do that with varying success. Maybe ask another mod what to do about it? Not really sure why that keeps happening, my bad guys.

If it wasn't me, it'd be easier. I'd just nuke the comment discussions with prejudice and tell them to take it to a question I'd post aiming at the underlying cause of dissent. I just think nuking a comment flame war that just realized was a flame war and which I'm a part of might come across as overly heavy handed.

Being a moderator is a customer service/public relations job for which there is little to no extrinsic motivation. You will invest hours of your free time dealing with the worst the internet has to offer, and we expect you to do it with a patient demeanor and a smile. What is your motivation for candidacy, or in short - why do you want this job?

Being a good Catholic is a public relations job for which there is little to no extrinsic motivation. You invest decades of your free time dealing with the worst humanity has to offer, and God expects you to do it with a patient demeanor and a smile. You know that section in DITV about Stewards? They got that bit pretty right, so I'm gonna quote it:

Check this out:

Brother Zachary is the worst thing in Steward Joseph's world. It's not just that he's sinner, it's that he's unteachable, unreformable. Too mean and too proud. Brother Zachary is single-handedly destroying Steward Joseph's branch. But when Steward Joseph goes to the King of Life for guidance, it's all: see to his needs, call him to repentance, cultivate him, serve him, help him, show him compassion. That, after all, is Steward Joseph's job: look after each person in his care. The King of Life tells Steward Joseph what's best for Brother Zachary. Steward Joseph has invested more time and care and worry in Brother Zachary in any other single thing in his life.

I don't really know why we do it, or why I do it. It just seems right, I suppose. People shouldn't just do things because of extrinsic motivations. Hell, people shouldn't just do things because of motivations. Radical freedom, yo. (exercise yours responsibly, please). Motivation is insufficient to describe the fullness of human decision making. There is always an essential element of freedom, and there was always a choice.

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?

Like, bad comments on their good answers, consistently? Or they leave bad comments?

In the first case, I'd try to figure out what was causing people to leave argumentative comments and flag their post. I'd leave a comment explaining what I thought was happening to the poster if I could figure it out, and maybe a meta post like this if I thought the real problem was the community's behavior.

In the second case, I'd try to figure out what was triggering them to leave bad comments. Is there a playstyle they don't like? Do they react particularly badly to people leaving bad highly upvoted answers on questions about whether or not druids can wild shape into swarms that misapply exegetical techniques to present an answer as RAW that is anything but? Maybe the problem is the 'someone is wrong on the internet' thing. Maybe it's something else. Regardless, I would try to figure out what it was and bring it to the poster's attention the next time I saw them make a commentsplosion of hate.

I hear mods get PM powers. This seems like a good time to use those. Anyways, the message, public or private, would be something like "Hey, we've noticed your comments are resulting in a lot of flags and arguments. That means that something about the way you comment in at least some circumstances is problematic. I think it's probably that (X thing) makes it hard for you not to post argumentatively, so maybe watch out for that."

If the problem persisted, other measures would need to be used, up to and including suspension, but I don't know anything about this really-- it's sort of a 'what tools do we have and what are the guidelines for using them' question so I'd definitely take direction from more senior mods there (especially since they've just gotten some advice on this from GraceNote).

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

I might talk to them, I might just leave it and let the community deal with it, I might post a comment and let the community deal with it, I might make some minor edits to it and reopen it. The last one's pretty unlikely. Mostly, I'd just support any community action towards re-opening.

Deleting questions is kinda serious. If the question wasn't spam/offensive and was deleted without being closed/any sort of deletion process allowing for community weigh in, I'd undelete the question and talk with the mod about it to confirm that the deletion was an accident, especially if the mod failed to leave any comment explaining the thought process there. We don't really delete questions off the bat that often.

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