Dan Hulme's answers
- How often, on average, would you be able to attend to moderator duties?
I already moderate Android Enthusiasts and Computer Graphics more than once most days, so Aviation would fit into that schedule. I'm almost always logged into chat as well, so I'm very reachable for urgent matters.
- There are "mod-only" flags, and all the others. Will you let the community have their say on the latter, or will you handle all the flags you possibly can? For example, there are "Very Low Quality" or "Not an Answer" flags that would go in the "Low quality" review queue. Will you let the queue review process complete before intervening, or will you handle the flag before that? I am specifically speaking of those situations where a mod is not required, since the community review process can handle them.
Yes, on my other sites I try to ignore as many NAA and VLQ flags as possible so they can be dealt with by the review mechanism. That said, I've been surprised by how often the possible review actions just aren't applicable to those kinds of posts. Sometimes the best action is to convert the "answer" to a comment, or to leave a comment that isn't one of the ones from the list. In those cases, I'll handle the flag myself to avoid presenting reviewers with an impossible decision; and I encourage reviewers to mod-flag in those cases, explaining what they think should be done to the 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?
Reputation on SE sites grants privileges, but not immunity from our standards of behaviour. If a user is just challenging bad answers in comments, then that's fine - and to be expected from our most knowledgeable people - but they need to Be Nice while they're doing it. If the flags are because this person is being rude or unconstructive, I'd handle it the same way regardless of the user's reputation or knowledge: first send a private message to ask them to deal with people better, and if they refuse, follow the usual escalation path.
Fortunately, on the two sites I moderate, all the high-rep users are friendly, so I've never had to deal with this situation. Knowing the Aviation community as I do, I'm sure the situation won't come up here either.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
In the past I've dealt with this situation by talking in the mod-only chat to understand their reasoning. Some questions just are borderline, and different people will respond in different ways - if it's that kind of case, I might suggest that the moderator should have left the question in the close vote queue, to let the community decide. Sometimes, this kind of disagreement might point to an ambiguity in the on-topic rules, or a new field of questions we haven't seen before, and I'd encourage the moderator to write a meta post to ask the community what we should be doing about similar questions. In that case, I might even answer the meta question with my own proposal, to ensure both options are available to choose from.
- One of the duties of moderators is sending private messages to problem users. Can you think of a situation specific to this site when you might need to message a user?
We've had a few situations with "armchair engineers" asking a series of "what if" questions that weren't well received by the community, so that's the most obvious example to me. Although there are now automated quality bans, to help stem the flow of bad questions (or bad answers), a moderator message can be a lot more helpful in explaining what the site is about and how we want this person to change the kind of questions they ask - in some cases it can even avoid a question ban in the first place.
As KorvinStormast has pointed out, some kinds of bad answers are not only bad for the site but potentially dangerous. Although we don't see dangerous misinformation very often, that's another case where a moderator message asking the person not to guess might be the best action.
- What moderator experience do you have? (Both on SE and other sites and offline)
I've been an elected moderator on Android Enthusiasts for the last 18 months, and a pro tempore moderator on Computer Graphics for about 6 months. They're very different sites.
Android is busy but has a lot of "drive-by" visitors: users who post once and never come back. That generates a lot of low-quality content, which occasionally requires moderator intervention. The core of regular users is very close-knit though, and we don't have high-profile trolls or personality clashes. It's been a pleasure to moderate that site.
Computer Graphics is still in beta, and I joined it after it had already been running for a while. The question rate and community is much smaller.
Through this period, I've been a regular in the cross-network moderation chat, so I'm well aware that moderators on some other sites have much bigger problems to deal with than I've had. Even so, I don't think Aviation is one of those sites. We may be controversial sometimes, and have a few posers who pretend to know more than they do, but we're not the comments section of the Aviation Herald. I'm confident this site will not be a different moderating experience from what I'm used to.
- Whether you are an aviation professional or not, what skills/experiences/qualifications/etc. acquired in your job do you think might help you in your role as a moderator on this site?
I've found that in some ways it has gone the other way. My work involves a lot of leadership activities, and I've found that moderating has helped me to improve at the aspects of my work that are similar: helping a team to reach a consensus; establishing a shared understanding of the rules we agree; de-escalating conflict situations; and especially sending hard messages through writing when you'd rather do it in person.
- You find a question in the review queue which you're sure you've seen before, but you can't find the original to close it. What do you do?
This happened to me just last week and I popped into site chat to ask the regulars if they'd seen it before. Every site's regular reviewers have a good knowledge of what questions are common duplicate targets, and even a decent memory of all questions asked in the last couple of weeks. It turned out in that case I'd completely imagined it.
- Should the on-topic guidance in the help centre be expanded beyond its current scope? The target audience is now defined as pilots, mechanics and controllers, but not for instance aeronautical engineers or aircraft design professionals. Aerodynamics is a field of physics that is applicable to aircraft, but so are a variety of others. Other non-pilot activities such as airport logistics etc. may be considered on-topic as well. Guidance about being on-topic if not specifically specified as off-topic might also be considered.
I don't think this is a question for moderators as moderators, but a question for the community. Even so, I'm happy to give my answer. It's my understanding that we've always welcomed aeronautical engineering as a topic, and there are many existing questions that focus on aircraft design, and this seems like an oversight in the help centre page. If elected, I'd seek to establish that this is the community's view, and if so, I'd make the appropriate change to the on-topic page myself.
Thanks for reading a long set of answers! I just want to add that we have some great people on the site who would make great moderators, especially Federico, who has been very active in the review queues while we've had inactive moderators. There are a couple of other people lurking in chat who I would like to see running. They know who they are, so if you're reading this, it's not too late to nominate!