Killua (Eric) answers your questions
- What is your stance about identification request questions? What should be done to improve our guidelines and requirements from identification requests?
Currently, identification-request questions seem to be seen as a problem for our community. However, they are not as big of a deal as they are made out to be; currently, thanks to diligent voting and closing, our front page has less ID-requests than non-ID-requests, and those that are there are generally voted up, not down.
ID-requests are an excellent way for users who are not experts in anime to be able to ask questions, and they allow people who are not experts in any particular anime to be able to answer questions. They have brought in a handful of new users, and I believe that they do not actively harm our site in any way. Thus, I see no reason to get rid of them as long as we encourage active voting, commenting, and close-voting (when necessary) to deal with the low-quality questions.
Right now, I'd rate our guidelines as a 7/10, but I believe that at this time, changing them is not necessary. What we have now is sufficient, and should let us close off the majority of poorly written ID-request questions. Instead of laboring over this, we should be focusing on improving other areas of our site and user experience.
Should they become an issue in the future, policy changes may be required to ensure that we are voting and closing for the benefit of the community. To this end, I do have some ideas about how to improve them, including determining helpful versus unhelpful details given. However, as stated above, I do not believe changes like this are currently required.
- While you don't have to know the subject matter to be a mod, it often helps. Are there any major tags with which you have little to no experience? What will you do in the event that a questionable flag was made in an area where you have little expertise? (This is particularly important to our site since a large fraction of our questions comes from long-running shounen series like naruto, one-piece, fairy-tail, dragon-ball, etc. Since all these series inhabit the same genre/demographic, it is very possible that prospective mods who don't like that particular genre/demographic may have no knowledge of these series whatsoever.)
Yes, I admittedly have little experience with one-piece and fairy-tail. However, I do not anticipate any flags that will require a detailed understanding of the series to respond to. Flags should be used when moderator attention (or intervention) is required, and generally deals with spam, non-answers, poor quality, or abuse. Two of these four has some element of knowledge required about the series, but generally quality can be determined without knowing the correctness of the material (simply how it is written, if it's poorly cited, and so on).
Being quite active in our site chatrooms, I am more than happy to talk with members of our community about the applicable question. So, in such an edge case where canon-specific material is required to make a judgment on a flag or issue, I will without hesitation contact someone who has a higher level of knowledge about the specific canon than I do.
- You have been elected moderator of A&M SE, with two other nominees. The other moderators are heavily pushing a new change to the site policy, such as to id requests, but the community itself is split on the issue. You personally don't think the policy should be changed, but the other moderators are insistent it must be altered and repeatedly bring up discussion of change. How do you deal with this situation?
I communicate. It is frequently the case that one or more people will push an issue because they strongly believe that it is necessary (or at least beneficial). I want to hear about why they think such changes are beneficial, and why the current changes are not beneficial enough. It will obviously vary by case, but simply being able to sit down with the other two moderators and talk out the various issues will work wonders for finding a solution that as many people as possible are happy with.
To be clear, it is rarely if ever possible to please everyone. But getting multiple points of view on a situation is the best way to ensure that the most informed, beneficial decision is made in the end.
- With A&M, there has occasionally been a tendency for some posts on Meta to fade into obscurity and be forgotten / never dealt with. Also, our meta policies are scattered among many Meta posts from various dates, making it hard for users to know what is current. Do you feel this is an issue? How would you deal with this?
This is absolutely an issue. Even as an experienced member, I've had a hard time finding current policy information on meta before. Imagine being a new user.
Elected or not, I plan to personally go through meta with this in mind, and invite anyone else who would like to join, to help. (Being a moderator here would of course be helpful, but not necessary.) We need to go through every thread, close old policies as duplicates of new policies (and edit if necessary, to show that they are obsolete), and make our current guidelines clearer. We need to format our posts to be easy to read, because not everyone has the time or motivation to sift through walls of text.
If we want meta to make sense, something this drastic has to be done.
- In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
Tasks like the above are greatly aided by moderator abilities, such as being able to close a question without further votes. Any time a policy change is made (tag changes, closing mass amounts of questions, reopening newly accepted question types), it is much easier for a moderator to make a broad sweep instead of requiring five close votes (or tag synonyms, etc.).
As someone who has raised flags, I also feel like these are cases in which I can make a difference; instead of having to wait for moderator or community intervention, I can take immediate action.
And lastly, I believe that simply having a diamond by one's name can increase the likelihood that people will follow your example. This means that the example I set will be one that people will actively notice, more than simply seeing my reputation count.
- What current policies do you believe are too strictly enforced (either by mods or the community)? Which do you believe are not enforced strictly enough?
Honestly, I feel like our site has hit a nice equilibrium with its enforcement. The only issue which I feel we were not strict enough on is the questions that are essentially questions about real-life, using an anime as an example. However, these questions are not harmful to our site, and still get decent answers, so I'm not too worried about the lax enforcement.
- Site promotion and (new and old) user retention has been an issue we've struggled with since the site's inception. Occasionally, we toss things at the walls to see what sticks, but that's not an effective long-term strategy. As a candidate, do you have any prospective (long-term and/or short term) strategies or ideas the deal with this issue (both within and outside of the Stack Exchange community)?
My first "plan", which is not really a plan at all, is to actively encourage our existing users to participate in normal site activies: voting, commenting, coming to chat, and so on. Having more users participating around the site will encourage newcomers to do the same, and help us establish a trusted user base of people who want to participate in our activities.
Additionally, I was responsible for running the social community pages for a long time, before eventually they became too time-heavy to continue maintaining with our organizers' schedules. While they were effective at getting the word out about our existence, they didn't drive engagement much. People were more likely to upvote or click on our cat pictures than our featured questions.
However, I think these social sites are a gold mine if we do them right. We've previously organized things like gift exchange, anime watching sessions, and so on, and the social sites are a prime way to draw attention to these (as long as they have cat pix).
In the long-run, we still have to "toss things at the walls to see what sticks"; there's no getting around that. Things like an off-site blog might be highly benefical to us. But I think we have to use our existing tools (like social sites and engaging users) to make these ideas work, rather than try them once and discard them.
- A user has an issue with an action you, as moderator, took; calling you out on meta, a chat room, comments, or otherwise. How do you handle this?
Talk to them. I want to hear their opinion about what I did, why they didn't like it, and so on. I would probably try to bring them to chat (Maid Cafe or otherwise) so that we're not filling up comment threads on meta. But one of my prominent statements in my campaign is that I'm not a perfect moderator, and I expect to make mistakes. I want to hear from people when they think I've made a poor judgment so that I can deal with it and come to a better resolution.
While "Be Nice" is an official Stack Exchange policy, sometimes "calling [someone] out" can get quite heated. If necessary, I would bring in other moderators for opinions. While things could escalate and result in an aggressive user, I do not anticipate this happening often; in general, being able to talk through the issue with the user would be sufficient.
- 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?
Again, this is all about talking to the user. This user is obviously capable of producing good content for our site, so they are genuinely interested in helping and sharing with the community. As mentioned above, "Be Nice" is an official policy (<3), and the user needs to be made aware of this. I would advise this user that they must at least be respectful of other users, regardless of their own opinions, and make an active effort to keep their discussions as civil as possible.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
I would ask them why they did. The question clearly is an actionable question; that is, a decision needs to be made about whether the question remains closed or is reopened. Having a collaborative effort with that other moderator is the best way to get both points of view on the question, and then decide how that applies to our specific policies. I will have no qualms about voicing my opinion on the matter, about what should happen to the question and why, and I expect the same of the other moderator.
In the rare case that we are unable to come to a conclusion, there will be at least one additional moderator who can offer perspective on the matter. Through this kind of arbitration, I see no reason why we shouldn't be able to comfortably decide the fate of the applicable question.
- How would you attempt to change policy if you and the fellow moderators agree on an issue but other members are split on the matter? As an elected representative, should your actions strive to reflect the wishes of the community, or were you entrusted by the community to act against the majority consensus at times for the sake of the greater good?
This honestly seems quite a bit like question #3, though from a different angle. My actions strive to reflect the course of action I believe most beneficial to the community and site as a whole. If the community is split on the matter, there is obviously merit to both sides, and under no circumstance would I exercise an "iron fist" to get what "I" wanted. There is no "I" in "community". (Oh, wait... crap baskets.)
Both strategies above are sound: I will do my best to both represent the community, and to make good decisions for the site. In the case where the community simply cannot agree, then (like #3) I will make an effort to find the most beneficial solution for as many members of the community as possible. If necessary and agreed upon, we can run it on a trial basis; experimenting is a common practice for finding the best solution, and I believe that applies here as well.