For over ten years I have been a member of this community, and for all but a month of that, I have been a moderator. While I'm not professionally active in Software Quality anymore (or even IT!) I still love the small community we've built and hope to continue to support it. I am the most active meta user, with as many answers (and answer upvotes) on meta as the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th combined. I do my best to encourage the community to self moderate effectively, by providing personal (not boilerplate) feedback on nearly every declined flag - I want people to know their efforts are appreciated, and that time was taken to consider what they had to say. (By the way, to the review queue heroes, thank you!)
I've got another ten years or more in the tank, if you'll have me.
- 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?
Let's assume the person is acting in good faith. The first step is to let the system try to work. Moving discussions to chat, accepting the flags, clearing long comment threads is quite effective and often leads to self correcting behavior. The next step is to invite a user to a private chat (not openly calling them out) and let them know their behavior is causing problems, even if well intentioned. Specifically, that comments are for feedback and clarifications, not discussions. If problems persist, we have the ability to suspend a user. It's not something to be done lightly or quickly, but people deserve a safe space to express their ideas, and it's the moderators' responsibility to make sure they have it.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc. a question that you feel shouldn’t have been?
In the past when this has happened, I opened a meta question. This way the community can decide the policy. Moderators are implementers of policy, we do not create the policy. For example, I did not agree with the surprise decision to merge the Selenium proposal into the SQA proposal on Area 51, but because the decision was made I continue to uphold the policy that all Selenium questions are on topic, no matter how tangentially related they are, because that was part of the deal to get the site off the ground in the first place.
- In your opinion, what do moderators do?
We make sure the site runs smoothly. Whether that is through guiding policy choices, reviewing flags raised by the community to resolve conflicts, or removing spam and problem users, it all boils down to making sure the site continues to be an open, inviting place for people to get their problems solved.
- 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?
I was elevated to moderator six months after my first child was born, so if sleep deprived me didn't say anything bad enough to get me kicked off back then, I have hope for my future.
- In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
Reputation is what you get for solving people's problems. Moderators solve the site's problems. It's a different set of tools for a different set of problems.