- In your opinion, what is the biggest problem/challenge Software Engineering is currently facing? How would you propose to solve it?
We need to improve questions.
To solve that problem is hard.
- Otherwise good questions can have fatal flaws that can be solved with easy edits. Answerers should feel freer to fix these issues.
- The Ask a Question page could certainly do more to help people be more conscientious about their questions as well.
- More moderators that can (appropriately) one-shot close flawed questions before answerers waste time on them should improve operation and effectiveness of the close-fix-reopen model.
- In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
As a moderator on Stack Overflow, I try to be a moderating influence and encourage compliance with behavioral strategy via direct conversation. I find that when I have discussions with problematic users, the diamond goes a long ways towards getting their attention.
I also find that when I work the moderator queue there are no-brainers that a single person can solve - and when I see one like that, I tend to pull the trigger, saving the time of up to four other members of the community.
Another problem is comments that clutter up the page. These sites are about questions and answers. When comments are obsolete, I can clean them up. I do tend to do this more on questions where I'm a subject matter expert, because it's lower hanging fruit.
Finally, community wiki used to be automatically triggered after so many edits. Posts where this has happened are problematic, because the users never intended this. We have stopped the automatic conversion, but we didn't automatically revert the change. I have, from time to time, found community wikis where the posts haven't been treated as community owned and the users would prefer non-wiki status. As a moderator, I'm able to switch the community wiki off, and I prefer to. As the owner of many posts, I get notified when people vote on my material, which can cause me to revisit and curate it. On the posts that are wiki, I get no such notifications. Successful community wikis seem to be the exceptions that prove the rule. So on request and passing my standards for removing wiki status, I do so.
- 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?
No problem, as a moderator on Stack Overflow, I'm used to it.
- 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?
I will have a conversation, explain that they are on a bad path that can lead to suspension, which neither of us want, and perhaps suggest that they stop participating in comments, where the majority of these kinds of flags arise.
There is a general rule that moderators shouldn't make specific threats because problematic users are used to testing boundaries, but I think fair generic warnings may lead to better relationships and a more immediate change in behavior than surprise suspensions after a conversation where the user feels they have successfully gotten away with whatever behavior was under question.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
I would bring it up to them in front of the other moderators. In very few cases has this happened, but when it does, we wind up seeing eye to eye, or at least agreeing to disagree. It's important to have some perspective.
- In your opinion, what do moderators do?
Moderators are human exception handlers. The theory is that they should do as little as possible - however, when it comes to low-hanging fruit, they can certainly create more value than the average user.
Moderators are also an important medium between Stack Exchange Inc. and users. We represent users to the organization, and vice-versa. We don't have a lot of influence, but we seem to have more than regular users. Where we can create value in that communication, I think we should.
I think analogies are only helpful when people agree and as such, they don't communicate much. I think moderators of question and answer sites are "moderators of question and answer sites". Their job is to "moderate", and do so with perspective. Not too much. Not too little. Just the right amount.
Also, moderators are all different, and create value in different ways. I tend to look at what isn't being done that will create value, and I try to do that.