Elements in Space
G'day, I'm Elements in Space.
I've been using the Stack Exchange network for over 10 years, and the Music: Practice & Theory site for 5 (including 1000 days consecutively). Most of my network-wide reputation comes from M:P&T.
I enjoy spending a lot of time here: mostly reading and editing questions & answers, and retagging posts — I've learnt so much about many aspects of music in the process. I frequently make use of the meta sites, (both the local Music: Practice & Theory Meta and the general MSE). I also visit the chat to see what people are talking about (even if I don't have much to say).
- How would you deal with a user who produce[s] a steady stream of valuable answers, but tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments?
The first thing I would do is to try to talk to them. Most people are somewhat reasonable (especially when a moderator with a diamond is involved).
I would suggest that this is not what is expected of them, and point out that this place is not for starting arguments; that their behaviour is becoming a problem and that something needs to change.
Comments that were purely argumentative would be deleted, and if disruptive behaviour continues, I would have to consider warnings and suspensions.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc. a question that you feel shouldn’t have been?
I would discuss the issue with them privately. I'd try to understand their reasoning before putting forth my point of view, and I'd treat it as a learning experience for me.
If we were still in firm disagreement, I'd be prepared to make compromises, or seek the opinion of a third moderator if necessary. As a new moderator, I would also accept if I were overruled by another moderator, but I would expect a proper explanation.
- There is a new user that posts a few answers with the same link that may or may not be their own site or blog. Sometimes it seems like an appropriate resource, on other questions [it's not] very relevant. One of the user's posts has been flagged as spam due to this. How do you approach handling this flag and the new user in general?
I would warn the users that this is not a place for spam, and direct them to the help page explaining How to not be a spammer.
I would perform some investigation as to possible affiliation between the users and the linked content. In the first instance, for places where the link is actually relevant and potentially useful, I'd edit their post to demonstrate proper disclosure of their connection.
When the link is not relevant, I'd delete it (and the entire post if necessary). If the user continued to post links whose relevance is questionable, I'd issue a suspension.
Blatant spam would be removed immediately and accounts would be banned.
- Situation: A user that recently acquired the create tags privilege (300+ rep), creates a new tag for a question of theirs. They then suggest several edits that add this tag to various other existing questions on the same topic. These suggested edits all get approved in the review queue. But, all of this has happened without any discussion on the meta site. As a moderator, what actions (if any) would you take?
The first thing I'd do is to leave a comment asking the user to pause retagging, and I'd direct them to the local meta site to pose a discussion about the merits of the potential tag. Then, I'd wait until several others had their say on the matter and voted accordingly. If the tag was accepted by the community, I'd let the user continue retagging. But if there was significant disagreement, only then would I go back and remove the tag from the affected posts.
- Situation: An especially active user, alongside a collection of great contributions to the site, also consistently posts low-quality answers, asks low-quality questions, and occasionally offers snide and/or rude remarks in the comments. This user is one of the highest-reputation and longest-active users on the site. How do you work with this individual in a way that retains their positive contributions, limits their negative contributions, and is beneficial both to the user and to the community as a whole?
Encouragement would be my initial approach. I'd acknowledge that their posts come from a place of experience, but also point out that their worst posts are just not up to an acceptable standard.
I would prompt them to seriously improve their low-quality posts. Content that cannot be (or is not within a reasonable time) fixed would be removed.
If they flagrantly ignore gentle encouragement, I would be prepared to be more stern with my prompts, and more free to delete their posts.
This in not a place for rude comments, so these would be deleted. Too many rude comments would result in suspension regardless of who the user is.
- In your opinion, what do moderators do?
As I understand it, moderators keep sites running smoothly, and have access to various tools that make this easier.
Moderators handle tricky cases such as users exhibiting problematic behaviours. They resolve disputes, and sometimes need to lock posts to deescalate situations. They also handle flags by removing rude or obsolete comments, blocking spammers, or issuing suspensions to users that are ignoring the rules.
Moderators should check the local meta site regularly, and promote posts such as feature-request's or bug's to status-review when necessary.
I think it's also good practice for moderators to be available in the chat when they can be, if anyone needs to discuss something.
- A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?
Honestly, I don't think it's a great design that moderator diamonds and the like, are applied retroactively to previous activities. For example, there are a number of posts that I have made on the local meta site that wouldn't make sense to anyone that didn't realise I wasn't a moderator when I made them.
Having said that, I'm confident that there aren't any questions, answers, or comments I have made or any other actions I have taken in this space that I regret or would want to change.
- In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching enough reputation to access moderator tools or become a trusted user?
It will probably take several more years for me to otherwise gain the reputation required for the top-tier privileges.
To delete and undelete content is one such privilege that I do not yet have. At the moment, I am able to vote-to-close posts for a variety of reasons. I've done this over 300 times and most have been successful. With moderator privileges, I would be able to close obviously problematic posts without requiring up to 4 other user's votes. I've raised over 600 flags on this site so far. Less than 1% have been declined. Almost all of them have been handled within a day or so.
Having greater privileges would save the time and focus of other users for other posts, thus improving the overall site more efficiently. Becoming a moderator would give me the ability to deal with flaggable content myself. I'd also be able to handle flags raised by other users and issue warnings and suspensions when necessary to help keep the site clean.