Fomite, formerly EpiGrad:
A user posts something you find (off-topic/wrong/offensive) and you
(close/delete/migrate) the (question/comment). The user posts about it
in Meta and the post gets a lot of upvotes. Answers are posted both in
favor of you action and and criticising your action; both get upvotes.
How do you decide what to do next?
If the comments and discussion on meta genuinely point out a mistake that's been made, like me closing something that has a clear case for being on topic? I'll return the question/answer/comment to the wild, and wish it all the best.
However, generally speaking, doing something that drastic (rather than making an edit or a leading comment) suggests I had a clear reason for doing something, and "Some people like it" isn't enough reason to keep something on it's own. That kind of popular support means it's possible we need to revisit what the site views as its scope and culture, but if sheer voting was enough, we wouldn't need mods at all.
A quite specific question: what is your position with respect to
undergraduate questions? A significant part of my moderator actions
have been to arbitrate if a question was on-topic or not, because it
was somehow related to undergraduate studies. It can often be argued
that some questions can however easily generalise to graduate studies,
which would make them on topic. So, what is your position? Some
I don't think anything posted by an undergraduate is inherently off topic, but those that are specifically geared toward undergraduates are. I think the best way to describe how I think about these questions is "Is this question about an undergraduate as part of the university culture overall?" Which means questions about authorship, or research, or the like as an undergraduate are on topic - its possible to do research as an undergrad, or be a TA - I was both.
But SAT prep and choosing one's major, which are strictly about undergraduates as undergraduates are off topic.
How will you use your "binding vote" moderator privileges? Let the
community weigh in first on most close, reopen, delete, undelete, etc.
operations? Let the community decide on things that could conceivably
be subjective, but take action on non-controversial matters
immediately? Act to deliberately to keep the direction of the site on
track? Vote as if you were a normal user, disregarding your role and
the binding nature?
I always treat a close vote as if it's binding, so in that respect my behavior won't change. It's less "Vote as if I were a normal user" and more "As a normal user, I vote as if I'm a mod". It's always been my feeling that a close vote means you think something should be closed.
What change would you like to make in how the site is currently
moderated, and how would you go about implementing that change?
I'm relatively happy with the moderation of the site as it stands. Most of the ways I'd like to improve the site are things that, honestly, can be accomplished as a user - I'd like to see the site get "stickier", with more users and less one-off crisis questions, and hopefully get more questions and answers going on junior faculty level issues.
That does however speak to something that does effect my moderation: I generally heavily favor leading comments and suggestions to downvotes and closing a question, at least at first. I found, when I was getting started on SE sites, that that was far more productive for both improving the question (downvotes easily turn into defensiveness) and convincing me that the community was worthwhile.
Under what conditions will you delete comments?
If they don't add any content - "+1" comments should say what about the question is particularly resonating, abusive comments are right out, and links to other sites, questions etc. should have some justification for why that might be of interest. I'll also freely delete comments that now lack context - for example, editing suggestions that, once taken, no longer make sense with the new post.
What is your position on boat programming questions? See here for
Well, as an academic... ;)
My stance on boat programming questions genuinely depends on the question. There are some questions that are, genuinely, general questions that have an academia specific answer. For example, there are some programming and code related questions that are fairly academia specific, because as a system citations are valued somewhat more highly than say, GitHub pages are.
But if the answer isn't altered by the nature of universities or academic research, then it should be moved or closed as appropriate.
How would you moderate postings where your opinion or the community's
opinion and official SE policy disagree?
I'd divide this into two different questions, about "hard" policy and "soft" policy.
"Hard" policy is official, This-Is-How-The-System-Works stances by SE. There are some of those I disagree with. But for those, the answer is that this is SE's site, and those are the rules.
"Soft" policy is more the unwritten rules of how "the community" of SE sites works. "How things are done around here." In my mind, those should be much more easily influenced by community-level decision making. "That's not how things are done on X site..." doesn't matter, because this isn't X site.
What is your position on the following statement from aeismail: "In
the long run, Stack Exchange sites are not just about answering
people's questions, but providing long-term curating of the answers"?
We have some very active users who look at old questions/answers, and
curate them, for instance by flagging for comment removal (typically
because they are obsolete, too chatty, not constructive, etc). Will
you support them in this task? Or do you rather think that content
should be left unchanged as much as possible?
My general goal is to get questions to the point where they don't need much in the way of long-term curation by encouraging clarity and the like through commenting. But if people want to do some pruning, they're more than welcome to do so, as long as editing and flagging is genuinely curation, and results in a marked improvement in the content without changing it. Going back and improving posts shouldn't be used to massage them into saying something different.
Personally, I've been trying to collect some tags in need of disambiguation, so that they're easier to find for new users, which is essentially a long-term curation task.
What is your time zone? What is the time period you are available for
moderating our site everyday? Please specify the answer in UTC format.
I'm in UTC - 5:00, on the East Coast of the United States. My schedule is however fairly dynamic, so there's not a particular time period that I'm guaranteed to be available, though between 1:00 and 5:00 UTC and 14:00 to 17:00 UTC are fairly reliable slots for me.
What activities on the site suggest that you would be a good
moderator? If you are currently a moderator, do you believe you've
carried out the role effectively?
As mentioned in the nomination section, I rarely downvote, as I find it somewhat more productive to either try and salvage a question/answer or just close it. I tend to only downvote when I think the actual content of the post is both not worthy of being closed and I think its wrong.
I'm fairly high on the list of all-time editors for the site, and have been particularly focused on improving the tagging system for the site, as I think it may prove more important here than searching for finding related content, and because there's some rather ambiguous tags.
Whenever I visit the site, my first stop is the review panel, and I try to clear any items there and then check in on the Tools panel to see if anything seems to be going particularly sideways. While I'm on the site, I'll check it another time or two between posts.
I will admit I don't flag much - there are some other users on this site who are faster draws than I am, so I tend to be in the position to add close votes or approve edits more than flagging.