- In your opinion, what do moderators do?
Participate like everyone else, and also tidy up the place.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
Approach them, ask them for the reason, and present my reason why it should be restored/reopened.
I will be fairly argumentative in my discussion, up to the point of creating a meta discussion if necessary. I believe moderators should only unilaterally close/delete questions when they're in clear violation of site rules, or if the decision is clear and non-controversial, or if there's urgency. The threshold for taking moderator action should be much higher than for simply casting a close vote.
However, I will not simply reverse a decision made by another moderator without discussion. My experience as a moderator and a community manager on other sites has taught me it's an extremely bad idea. Even when overruling moderators is in your job description, the negative feelings and potential conflicts that result can have worse consequences than the overruled action itself.
It's unfair that it's the regular users that get the short end of the stick here, as their post stays closed/deleted while the mods debate. But it's more important to ensure that no moderation disagreements play out in the open forum. I hope to find a better solution someday. But so far it's discuss, agree, decide, act.
- 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?
Look in the mirror to make sure it isn't me!
Not me? Good. Guess I've learned enough network etiquette by now not to be the subject of flags. As recently as 12 years ago, I received a talk from a mod on another website that made me ashamed to realize that I had been one of those users, starting discussions where it wasn't called for.
Fortunately, SE is not a debating site at all, so it's not a gray area here. We have a limited comment system for improving, correcting, and clarifying answers and questions. There is a chat for some limited discussion, but that's about it. If the user is seriously interested in debating a subject, I'll try to privately direct them to relevant PPRuNe or Airliners topics.
Otherwise, stopping a discussion is like smothering a fire - remove fuel, oxidizer, heat, or reaction. Talking to the user is the first step, and I've seen it help in some cases.
If that fails, since restricting user access is very rare on SE (and I'd be the last person to make it a tradition), what's left is taking any heat out of the discussion. Delete the comments if they're trivial, move everything to chat otherwise. In my experience, even the most persistent debaters will flame out, if you consistently remove their posts out of the public eye.
- How would you deal with an enthusiastic user that produces mostly chaff, non-answers, or outright wrong answers but occasionally does contribute a good and useful reply?
Well, hopefully that's not me either!
Actually, this is a very normal situation. Unless you know, you're very likely to produce answers that are at least partially wrong. Many questions will never get a perfectly right answer. Users shouldn't be discouraged from posting just because they might get it wrong. If they do, hopefully they'll be told their mistake through comments and (much less importantly) downvotes.
I will keep contributing to the community's effort of teaching them which of their answers are good, and which aren't. Perhaps I'll contact and ask them to avoid specific mistakes. Maybe I'll sometimes delete their non-answers without waiting for 5 votes.
All in all, this isn't a quick-fix scenario, this is a scenario where you have to teach the user to conform to site rules, which doesn't happen overnight. And if you can't, deal with the janitorial work of cleaning up after them, as long as they don't cross any lines.
- In light of the site's growth, are there any long-standing policies you'd like to look at to see if they've outlived their usefulness?
I'm not sure. There isn't a lot of site-specific policies on Aviation.SE; most are just SE-wide policies that also apply here.
I'd be looking more towards building consensus on new policies that simplify the decision-making in common situations. Probably make a clearer delineation between what belongs on Travel.SE and what belongs here, and ensure that questions get migrated promptly.
- Being a moderator means sometimes that for the good of the community you might have to do things with which you disagree. How would you deal with such scenarios?
You don't even have to be a mod to face such choices. When you realize the question should be deleted, but you know the exact answer, do you vote to close, or answer (there are even badges for answering downvoted questions), or both?
We do what our roles dictate us to. In one, I have to teach people to use some gear I wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole - and I tell them as much, but only once they've learned to use it. As a mod, my role would require me to prioritize the community. I do a lot of things I personally disagree with (within reason), when the role is more important than the feelings of the person performing it. Moderation is no different.
- Why is this site (or SE as a whole) important to you? (Preferably in as few lines as possible.)
I like being here. Overall, I like SE for being time-efficient: question-answer, not debates, opinions and musings. Aviation.SE is especially good at maintaining a balance of questions and answers. Oh, and it's a subject very close to my heart.
- What do you think the site needs more of in terms of moderating?
I'm all for community moderation as the primary means of managing the content, and for using elected or appointed moderators only as a backstop.
Where I'll personally add to that backstop is in actively monitoring questions that get on the Hot Network Questions list. These attract attention so fast that the active community can't build up the votes in time. On Aviation.SE, most such questions do fine, but they still call for mod monitoring to ensure quick response when and if required.
I also feel that moderators should be proactive in reviewing, improving, and reopening interesting but poorly-written questions. I haven't done as much of this myself as I should have, largely because of the uncertainty about whether the question will get reopened. I'll get more active about this in any event, and if the community decides to give me the mod tools, that's one of the areas where I'll focus my efforts.
- What moderator action(s) have you witnessed that you appreciate the most, and why? Either on Aviation or any other SE community.
Not many. Mod actions are difficult to spot, as most of them hide the subject of the action.
One of the few that I can recall as positive actually comes from a mod bot that bumped a few unanswered questions from the early days of this SE. They weren't too esoteric, but there was too few people to answer them back in their time, and now they got the answers they deserved.
It's a small action, but otherwise these questions would likely get asked again, then closed for being duplicates, leaving a few new users frustrated. That's how good moderation actions work: you don't notice them, just don't notice the problems that could've occurred if they weren't performed.
- What is your experience, either professionally or otherwise, in the Aviation industry?
Had a hand in designing some bits and pieces that go into flying machines. Not much to brag about, considering the accomplishments of many of this site's contributors.