The Dark Wanderer
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.