Zhaph - Ben Duguid
Having followed Bricks during its proposal, and being an active member of during the private beta, I was invited to become one of the first pro-tem moderators of the site. Helping to run this community is something I've been passionate about for nearly 10 years now, from guiding our initial direction, encouraging openness to compatible brands, to working on a prototype JS library to embed bricks on the site, as well as stepping in when required to ensure a friendly and welcoming site for all - by our very nature we attract a wide range of visitors, and so we need to be welcoming and encouraging, and that starts with those of us that are the most established.
Points against me
I tend mostly to lurk on the edges of the Moderators Team site - while I have raised issues for the site on Meta.SE, I could certainly be more involved in the Moderators team.
- 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?
Thankfully, this is fairly rare here on Bricks, but there have been a couple of occasions. Usually it has been due to a misunderstanding or difference of starting assumptions, and can be cleared up with a couple of comments or a slight edit. However if there's a persistent issue, then I would start with inviting the user to a private chat room and remind them that we're trying to be a friendly, welcoming place, and if that's not something they want to participate in recommend that they take some time out.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc. a question that you feel shouldn’t have been?
In general, the community has been fairly consistent about what makes a good, on-topic question, and most moderation has been when either the question is obviously unsalvageable, or has already collected a couple of close votes. If I were to see a question that had been closed by one of the other mods without any comment to the OP explaining why, and I felt this wasn't right, I'd start by reaching out in chat to the mod, and finding out what prompted the action. From there, we could agree that this was the correct action, or I'd propose an edit and see if that was acceptable to the OP.
- We get a large number of "What is this element?" questions, which we are great at answering, and provides a good service to the askers, but doesn't really provide much "long term value to the internet". What is your approach to improving these questions to avoid a wall of identical questions?
Assuming there's a good description of the element, along with some pictures, then where possible, I tend to try and at least edit the question title to describe the core element being sort - that way we can provide a bit more value to others if they are searching the web for "LEGO Mudguard" or similar, and it also helps me remember which posts I've already seen ;)
- How would you weigh the importance of factual knowledge versus interpersonal skills in moderators?
Interpersonal skills are what really define any community leader, whether they have a diamond or not. The role of the mods is really to help the community function well, providing a fix when things go wrong (spam, etc.) or liaising with the Stack Exchange Community Team rather than being able to answer every single question. Factual knowledge can usually be found with a good knowledge of search engines.
- What would you do about complaints when a user submits many trivial edits?
There can be a number of reasons for this - ranging from someone going through and finding all the posts with external images hosted on non-secure sites and moving them to a secure host, to just ensuring all mentions of the word "LEGO" are in caps. If the edits are not adding any value at all (i.e. they're not correcting spelling, making the post clearer, etc.), and are happening repeatedly, and they are in the review queue then my first course of action would be to reject the edits. If however they're being performed by someone with enough rep to skip the review queue, then a comment or quick chat is usually enough to solve the problem.
- How would you handle situations with unwelcoming behaviour towards new users? Be it a blatantly unresearched question, a demonstrably false answer, or even a proper contribution.
Generally, I'd remove the unwelcoming content. I also try and leave an encouraging welcome where suitable - for example on an unresearched question if there were rude comments, I'd likely remove those, and add one welcoming the user, and asking them to edit the question to provide more details around what they had tried, what happened, etc.. For answers, again, a welcoming comment explaining what they could do to improve the answer would be left. In both cases if after a couple of days nothing had happened, I'd likely close the question or delete the answer/convert it to a comment.
- In your opinion, what do moderators do?
I see the role of the mods to be both an example to the community of how we'd like to behave, as well as using the tools and features we have to help keep our site running smoothly and looking nice. We deal with the things that the rest of the site can't always, such as removing spam, and helping clear unrecoverable questions.
- 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?
I have always tried to act in a way that will help build the site, welcome new users and ensure we don't leave existing users behind. I'm happy for those actions to stand, and carry forward. If anything, having a diamond has made more cautious of using my binding votes (close/delete/etc.) where I like to ensure I've Ieft an explanation before I act.
- 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 like to being able to support the communities self-help, clearing flags that have come in over night, getting nudged automatically about new posts on meta, and working with the other mods on making the site better.