WARNING: Long Post.
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?
This is fortunately not something we've had to deal with on this site yet, but it's something that came up on Server Fault pretty frequently as sysadmins are known to be a rather cantankerous bunch.
Most of the time these issues can be solved by a simple moderator message (or if the problem user is a regular in the site chatroom a little gentle public shaming / peer pressure) reminding them to be nice. Some judicious editing of comment content or outright deletion of comments may also be needed.
In cases where a Be Nice reminder doesn't do the job temporary suspensions may be necessary to allow the user in question to "cool off", and in the rare case where even that doesn't work I have been known to employ longer-period suspensions in the interest of sitewide harmony - that's generally something that I would try to get consensus on from the rest of the moderators though as it's a last resort when everything else has failed to reign in uncivil behavior.
For the worst problem users the longer suspensions may devolve into being effectively a ban: The user is suspended for some extended period, the suspension expires, the user commits the same infraction and is suspended again, etc…
This is a situation I hope we won't actually have to deal with, but human nature being what it is I suspect the issue will arise at some point as the site grows.
How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
If there's nothing obviously "bad" or "wrong" about the question my first course of action would be to ask about it in the site moderator chat room in case there's something non-obvious going on, or to see if we can agree on an interpretation and action: Either leaving it closed or editing and reopening.
If it's a hotly contested question or one where the moderators are internally divided I would fall back to the recourse for appealing moderator actions: Opening a discussion here on Meta to get a sense of the community's feelings on the question & the action taken.
Meta discussions are also applicable if all the moderators agree but the community thinks we screwed up: Moderators are an extension of the community's will, and nearly everything we do can be overridden by community votes. Meta serves as a place for the community to discuss decisions (by the moderators or by community votes) and decide if the right call was made.
If elected as a moderator you will receive a Diamond of Technically Some Manner of Limited Power: Many of the actions you used to vote on (requiring 4 others to agree with you) can now be taken unilaterally. Under what circumstances would you unilaterally close or delete a question? Under what circumstances would you wait for community consensus before taking action?
One of the things I realized when I became a moderator on Server Fault was that unilateral power to act tends to make me less proactive in closing questions: Being one vote out of five in a community-driven process to close or delete something means that my vote to close a question starts a discussion: "Do we want to close this?"
The unilateral close/delete power of being a moderator means that my vote ends the discussion: The action has been taken, and now needs to be overturned.
Because of that I only close the most obvious duplicates or blatantly off-topic/unintelligible questions with the Mod Hammer. I generally prefer to let things sit until a community consensus develops before taking any action (and ideally once such a consensus has developed I won't need to take action, because the community will do it for me).
Particularly on a smaller site like this I'm mindful of the fact that overuse of the Mod Hammer can lead to an authoritarian moderation style where cries of "The mean moderators close all the questions!" actually have some validity. Allowing the community to self-moderate avoids that issue and gives the actions a legitimacy when contested ("5 people felt there was something wrong" versus "One moderator felt there was something wrong"), and also prevents my views as a moderator from being over-weighted in deciding community policy.
What is your background in aviation, both in and out of the cockpit? As a pilot, if you are one, what aircraft have you flown, what ratings do you hold, and how many hours, and years, of experience do you have? Do you fly currently? Do you have GA, corporate, Part 135 or Part 121 experience? Military experience? Single seat? Crew aircraft? Flight instruction? Other experience (gliders, seaplanes, rotary wing, etc)? Outside of flying the aircraft itself, what other experience do you have in aviation, such as work in aircraft design or production, dispatching, airport operations, and so on?
I fly entirely for fun: I am a private pilot with around 250 hours of experience, I am half-assed working on my instrument rating (and really need to get serious about it), and I will probably pursue my commercial and CFI, time and cash flow permitting.
I also own an airplane that is older than I am, and take a fairly involved role in its maintenance: I am logging hours toward being eligible to take the FAA A&P exam, though at the rate that's going I will likely have the required hours some time after I'm dead.
The current climate that I have experienced in this community is one of hostility. I am concerned about where stack exchange is moving in general. The moderators, I feel, are very quick in shutting down questions. My two cents.
I'm not sure how to answer this one. I was really hoping for more specific examples so we could discuss the rationale for closing questions in general.
I don't believe the Aviation.SE community is particularly "hostile" - many times members of the community go out of their way to offer comments on how to fix questions or reframe them in a way that's likely to get better answers.
If this is done in a way that's not consistent with our Be Nice policy it should be brought up (either as a meta discussion or a moderator flag), and folks who are being genuinely rude or inhospitable will probably get a stern talking-to in the form of a moderator message, but simply being told "Your question isn't a great fit for this site, can you clarify what you're asking or try one of these other sites?" is not hostility or rudeness.
There will always be some amount of hurt feelings and people who take question closure as a personal affront to their self-worth. There isn't much I can do there but assure them that this is not the case, and we don't think anyone is a bad human being for asking a question that's not quite within our scope or one that has to be placed on-hold and clarified before we can re-open it and provide good answers.
In your opinion, what do moderators do?
We sit around all day playing poker, drinking whisky, and wondering how come we never get pie on Pi Day. I thought everyone knew that?
Seriously though, moderators do as little as possible: we are the janitors of the site, mopping up unsightly messes so that when visitors come by to read questions and answers they aren't assaulted by spam and the like.
On Aviation this often involves the use of the Destroy User button to eliminate blatant spambot accounts, comment cleanups, and attending to the occasional moderator flag.
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? Compared to the earlier question - this question is about perception rather than tool usage itself.
This is a somewhat unfair question for the Moderators Pro Tempore to answer as we've had a diamond attached to everything we say for most of the site's life: For us the difference would be speaking without the diamond, which could conceivably give us more freedom to voice our opinions without them having the weight of a moderator's pronouncements.
I could tell you that having the diamond attached to everything I say or do doesn't change anything, but I think it's obvious from my earlier statements that it does: Actions taken as a moderator are as much a reflection of the community as they are of myself, and that requires a certain amount of temperance (particularly for someone like me who has rather strong feelings about site governance).
In particular there are times where I will specifically separate my views on an issue as a moderator from my views as an individual or user (Moderator Hat On/Off), but even when I'm not wearing my "Moderator Hat" I am cognizant of the fact that having a diamond lends some extra weight to my opinions (whether that's a positive or negative weight largely depends on the context).
I view this as a natural extension of the community's trust: If I am elected to a moderator position it means some portion of the community agrees with my style of moderation and the site vision I've espoused here on Meta, and presumably expects me to continue holding to that vision.
In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
Particularly with the new 20K tools (site analytics) almost everything a moderator can do is available to high-reputation users on the site. The major moderator functions I use today are the ability to edit/delete comments, perform unilateral tag merges, and use the Destroy User button on blatant spam accounts which have no meaningful participation on the site.
Because our site is still relatively small being able to take these actions unilaterally allows me to take care of problems more quickly than waiting for a 5-user consensus or flagging spammers, but for most practical purposes I'm no more or less "effective" for having a diamond.
That is in fact a Good Thing, since it's the way the system is supposed to work: The community self-moderates, and the moderators only step in to take action when it's absolutely necessary.