I voted in another StackExchange election and was horrified by the answers to question 1 all but one candidate gave. I voted for that candidate (he was one of two winners). I'm not seeing such a candidate in this election, so I nominate myself.
- 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?
Is that user breaking the rules? Flags are meant to alert a human to look at something. Generating alerts is not a crime. Getting annoyed with a user on the basis of that user generating more work for a mod is bad, you might as well be annoyed with whoever flagged the posts.
If the user is in fact breaking the rules, action needs to be taken against that user. If s/he does not, perhaps action needs to be taken against repeat offender flaggers, probably starting with a post in Writing Meta.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc. a question that you feel shouldn’t have been?
SE needs content, and content starts with a question. I'll make a Meta post and invite that mod to discuss from a position of deference: can I do something to improve the post and posts like these so s/he would agree to keep it?
If there is something I can do, I'll be prepared to do it (and will not be angry at the mod if I fail and the question stays closed). Perhaps a piece of advice can be added to the question form to help such questions get approved in the future. If not, I'll accept the verdict.
- In your opinion, what do moderators do?
Moderators keep the community healthy. There's a feedback loop: good questions inspire good answers, which in turn invite more good questions; all of this attracts readers, who give upvotes and ask questions and give answers.
This loop breaks if the site is flooded with outright spam, if good new questions are lost among pointless and irrelevant ones, and if users are discouraged from contributing because it will paint a target on them and allow degrading insults to stick to their name until a rogue solar flare wipes the Internet clean - better lurk, or go elsewhere. Mods take actions to prevent these trends from developing and destroying the community.
Ideally, people should feel safe to contribute even under their real names, ifyouknowwhatimean.
- 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?
There's really one thing that worries me: if I give an answer, and someone else with a better answer will be reluctant to submit theirs because "the mod is probably right" or "the mod will probably win on points anyway". I can't think of anything else a diamond would change about my posts.
- In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
I don't know what stratospheric rep does. I want to be a moderator to help with janitorial tasks. I am not a power user and do not aspire to be one. I don't think mods need to be power users; I read a popular forum where mods seldom post other than to moderate, and it works OK. The user - now mod - who inspired me to run isn't a power user either.
- On our site it can take a month or more for a question that deserves closure (e.g. for asking what to write, or for being primarily opinion-based) to receive the required five votes on the review queue. Some sites have a reduced three-vote closure, in particular to limit the opportunity for answers being posted on an off-topic question. What's your view on faster closure?
If it comes up for a community vote, I'll vote yes. (But I'm not committed to the answer, and whichever way the vote may go would be fine by me.) Letting bad questions stay on sets a bad community standard for new questions, and closing the question with a good effortpost answer depreciates the work of the answerer and discourages further participation by the asker, the answerer, and the audience ("those people were having a good discussion and the mods just had to barge in and ruin it").
- Stack Exchange is designed as a Q&A site rather than as a forum for personal opinion. On most sites, answers are expected to be both definitive and authoritative, typically supported by appropriate references. Our site is demonstrably different, with many questions seeking to tease out different approaches to a particular writing issue – which inevitably lends itself to a plethora of opinion-based answers. Should we try to limit this (and if so, how?), or do we accept it as part and parcel of a site devoted to the creative process?
Accept it as part and parcel of the creative process. Deferring to "professional writing advice" would be catastrophic.
Who are the professionals, anyway? I was signed up for a "writing advice" newsletter which mostly hocked workshops and editing services ("get published or your money back") and copywriting jobs ("earn money while waiting for your big break").
Pretty much every site on the SE network accepts questions from hobbyists. It is very likely that most users of Writing aren't professionally published and do not seriously aspire to be, they just have an idea for a book they would like to read and want to write one - maybe someone else wants to read it, too. Limiting answers to essentially publishing advice would be an unprecedented narrowing of the scope as well as a grave insult to the craft.
I feel calling Writing answers opinion-based is a bit unfair. I am a Python programmer. Consider some of the top, highly upvoted Python questions on StackOverflow:
What does ** (double star/asterisk) and * (star/asterisk) do for parameters?
How do I get the number of elements in a list?
How to get the last element of a list
How do I get a substring of a string in Python?
These are elementary questions. It is much easier to find answers for them in the documentation. And yet they've been taking up valuable real estate in the sidebar for 12 years, edging out questions which really need the time and attention of a human expert. Now this -
Correct way to validate GET parameters in django
\- is a quality question worthy of a human answer. The asker wrote "correct way", but s/he might as well have written "best way". Writing questions are like this, it only feels they're more "opinion-based" because the subject matter is "softer". Most good problem-solving questions are "opinion-based" to a degree. If Writing were to take after the first set of questions, perfectly definitive-and-authoritative, it would be reduced to spellchecking.
That said, answers to technical questions ("how to make a template for a visual novel in Scrivener"), questions about publishing (market data, how to submit), facts about writing advice ("what advice did Mark Twain give about ending a novel") should be well-sourced*.*