- 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 done it before, and I believe I'm good at it... But more than that, I want to help ensure that RPG.SE remains a high-quality resource for asking and answering questions, and serve as a valuable resource to those in the hobby, whether they've spent years (even decades!) playing RPGs or are just starting out.
I've participated in many communities for D&D and other RPGs, but RPG.SE keeps me coming back. The community, including the diamond mod team, does an excellent job of "moderating itself" - the users are able to work with the mods to make the site both an excellent resource and a friendly community. I'd like to help it continue to improve.
- 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?
In general, I have no major problems with current moderation policy. By and large, the diamond mods handle things with a light touch, specially intervening only where necessary. Any major changes to existing policy are usually discussed in meta, and only implemented after such discussion.
If I have an issue, it is merely one of communication. Occasionally, there have been instances where I have thought a diamond mod has come off somewhat brusquely - presumably due to repeat interactions with or complaints about a particular user. Such conversations might fare better with a gentler tone, even if it is not always reciprocated. I've found in my time as moderator elsewhere that occasionally even disruptive users will apologize and behave constructively once they have cooled off, as long as you continue to treat them fairly.
That said, I've only rarely seen such disagreements on RPG.SE, so those cases are really more of an exception rather than the rule.
- 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, validate them, and what would you do with them if you felt they were valid or invalid, respectively?
As mentioned in my answer to the previous question, communication is key. In this case, it's important to discuss the issue both with the user, and with the moderator in question. I would try to first elicit the relevant details from the user (or group of users), as they are the one(s) making the complaint.
How I validated the complaint is largely dependent on what the complaint is. If it's about a specific comment or chain of comments, it would be fairly simple to just look at the comment(s) myself. If it's something broader or more nebulous, such as a general perception of bias against a playstyle or point of view, this becomes much more tricky; as such, it'd help if the user were able to point out specific instances of this perceived unfairness.
Once this information is solicited or gathered, it would help to discuss the issue with the other moderators as well. Ultimately, the moderation team is a team, after all. If the complaint of unfairness is about an individual moderator's actions, we can discuss it as a group and consider whether the complaint is justified, and how to proceed.
If the complaint is about the mod team as a whole, we'd still need to discuss it, of course - but in such cases, we might need to do a little more introspection on whether there is any subconscious bias - and perhaps more importantly, we need to consider how we can communicate to the user(s) that we are handling (or will handle) the situation fairly.
A perception of unfairness or bias is still a problem; the more widespread the perception, the bigger the problem. It's all about facing that issue head-on, and making sure everyone's on the same page - both the diamond mod team and the community.
- 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?
Consensus, by nature, requires widespread agreement. As the diamond mods are members of the community as well, most of the time, the diamond mods are likely to agree with that consensus. Of course, there will be cases where I or another diamond mod disagree with the majority. In such cases, I will endeavor to understand their point of view - and I will try to explain my own. Hopefully, if we understand each other better, we will be able to find a solution that addresses most people's concerns.
If the community fails to reach consensus on an issue, it means there's no clear conclusion that can be drawn on the matter, for whatever reason. Often, this signifies that each side is not understanding the other's perspective; if that's the case, there needs to be better good-faith discussion to reconcile differing perspectives. Being a diamond mod won't eliminate the need for conversation here.
Of course, lack of consensus can also just mean that the community recognizes a problem, but isn't sure how to solve it. (Consider long-running debates over the use or intended use of certain tags, or over the appropriateness of certain types of questions on the site.) In these cases, it's worth trying out different solutions in order to allow a diversity of opinion on the site - but sometimes nothing works. Not every type of question is a good fit for the site's format, and that's okay.
- In your opinion, how does the role of moderator differ from the role of a 10k or 20k rep user on the site? What changes to the way that you interact on this site do you expect to have to make when filling this new role?
As discussed in earlier responses, the RPG.SE community does a great job of moderating itself - so mods rarely have to intervene directly, especially in ways that high-rep users can't. I think the key difference is that diamond moderators can act single-handedly, e.g. opening or closing questions with their 1 vote alone instead of needing to wait for 4 others.
In this way, I suspect I would be more careful in casting such votes (than I already am), essentially needing to meet a higher threshold of confidence before I take such an action. On the other hand, it would also mean I could more quickly close overly broad or unclear questions before they attract low-quality answers, and help guide the asker to improve their question so it can be reopened.
The other important distinction between diamond mods and other high-rep users is that the diamond icon accompanies their username on every action they take on the site. To an extent, they represent the mod team no matter what they do. Obviously, this means that diamond mods should ensure that they always uphold the principles of the stack, and watch how they communicate with other users - but I believe I already do this, so it wouldn't be much of a change.
- In your opinion, how active should moderators be on meta sites? Should moderators take a pro-active approach to meta issues or be guided by the community?
By and large, moderators are both caretakers of and curators of the community. As a result, I think mods serve an important role in guiding discussions and addressing important issues. That said, I don't think their opinion is necessarily more important than anyone else's. They should participate in discussions on policy and other matters, feeling free to make their own thoughts known, just as any other user does.
- How important do you think it is for moderators to be aware of and keep in touch with the feelings of the community with respect to moderation issues?
If you view it as important, what kinds of ways do you intend to use to try to keep in touch with how the community is feeling?
I think the word "communication" might have started to lose meaning at this point for readers of this answer, given how many times I've said it, but I think that answers the first question pretty clearly. It's very important! Users won't always agree with mods (and vice versa), but I think a healthy community must have a good working relationship between mods and other users.
I don't think diamond mods get any special tools for communicating with the community at large, but it is definitely more important, once they become mods, for them to have a finger on the pulse of the community. This includes all the standard methods of communication on the site - primarily meta and chat. It's not just about talking, but about listening. You need to consider what users have to say, whether it's justified, and what you can do to alleviate any concerns.
- 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've done this sort of thing often enough that I'm not exactly worried - but I don't want to let the community down. Mostly, I'm not exactly familiar with any diamond-mod-only tools I haven't used before (though, for the most part, they seem like extensions of existing high-rep privileges) - but that's not really something non-mods can help with.
I suppose the main thing non-mods can do to help new mods is to assume good faith, communicate honestly but politely, and be willing to work with them rather than against them. (I considered writing "us" instead of "them", but it felt a little presumptuous...)
- How would you deal with a user who produced a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?
I think it's important to help the user understand the site's rules/policies, so that they can continue to provide great answers without adding toxicity or cluttering comments. Extended on-topic discussions can be moved to chat; we can also remind users that comments are for asking for clarification and suggesting improvements to the answer, not for simply disagreeing.
That said, sometimes there may be conduct that is simply unacceptable. No matter how many valuable contributions someone provides to the community, it doesn't make them exempt from the rules - and making exceptions for toxic behavior will only lead to more of it. In these cases, it's important to put a stop to such things, and clearly explain to the user why that conduct is not allowed here.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
I would talk to them and the other mods. It's important to first understand why they did what they did (this may or may not be obvious from their comment on the question, but it's always good to get more details and hear their explanation in their own words). I might end up agreeing with their logic, in which case the problem solves itself and the mod action stands as-is.
Otherwise, I would then present my perspective to them and explain my own point of view. If they agreed with me, then the mod team could act as a united front; if possible, the initial mod could reverse their own action and explain that the change in decision was made after discussing it with the mod team, or another mod could do it on their behalf.
Ultimately, whatever action ends up being taken needs to be agreed upon as a team. It's generally more valuable to come to a consensus on an issue than repeatedly and publicly disagree with one another.