I have been a user for over 8 years now. I must admit that my involvement in here since last two years have been questionable, but I had my reasons and looking at the position I am at now, I think I look forward to spend a good amount of time at The Great Outdoors.
I have seen this community grow and have been a tiny-little part of the development with 151 questions, 138 answers, 5618 votes (3rd highest overall) and 377 badges (Yeah, including Peer Pressure badge).
I must admit that my nomination might come as a surprise since I haven't had any stints as a moderator on any of the SE communities/sites.
- 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?
As the term indicates, valuable answers and questions are what we look forward to. It is good to have a user who contributes with valuable answers, helping the community grow. However, if the user tends to engage in controversial/unnecessary arguments and is being flagged repeatedly by community, I'd first try to communicate the situation by soft/polite comments. In my opinion, arguments happen because of some misconception and miscommunication. If these comments invites further backlash then I'd suggest that the user pops up in a private chat and have a discussion over there of course with involvement of all concerned people. That said, if the situation aggregates further, I am afraid the user would likely to be handed with temporary suspension.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc. a question that you feel shouldn’t have been?
This might be happening on SE as we speak. So, the only tool to have a common-agreeable result is from a proper discussion/communication. As mods, I'd prefer discussing this with the concerned mod to understand why it was acted upon that way. This might open-up a perspective which as a mod I may have missed.
If somehow the difference of opinion continues to linger in mod's minds, the other amicable solution would be to open it and let the community vote in favor of it or against it.
- If you make a ruling (e.g., closure) and a cogent argument is presented against your ruling by one or a very few users, will you tend to reverse your ruling, or will you (a) insist on many users making the argument, and/or (b) think you know best anyway? I specify one or a few, because traditionally not many users jump on a bandwagon. For example, Sue and I alone argued for the inclusion of birds as a valid topic on TGO, and convinced Rory to allow a bird question. Charlie Brumbaugh and I argued alone against the closure of a question about identifying a litterer, and prevailed. In both cases Rory's opposition caused us to make a solid case, and then Rory's open-mindedness reversed his earlier stance. So, force us to make a good case and be open to a good case when it is made. Do you agree?
The short answer would be, 'it depends'. I know we at The Great Outdoors discourage answers that are just opinions, but in reality, it does depend on the topic and my own opinion towards it. Siting your examples literally, if it was about allowing inclusion of birds as a valid topic, and whether you and Sue had argued or not, I still would have advocated allowing them with other moderators because I do have an opinion with valid reasoning why it is on topic. That said, if it comes to a topic which I can't have a solid reasoning but have just an opinion upon, I would make sure that my vote would still be counted as a single vote rather than a mod's action. I believe that these situations will arise as we grow, but that's how adaptation in a continuously developing situation should be.
- In your opinion, what do moderators do?
I haven't moderated any of the SE sites so far, but I think moderator help maintain the discipline, and to a greater extent keep the Q&A clean by maintaining the quality of the posts by acting upon the content which shouldn’t be there.
Apart from that, I have seen moderators working tirelessly towards constant improvement of the community and site by engaging whenever required.
- 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?
To be honest, the content I have posted on The Great Outdoors is purely as a user with no difference privileges. Looking from a different perspective towards past and future Q&A's, I still believe that eventually, a moderator is still a vital part of the community. It is just that, I'd tend to be more careful with questions that touches the boundaries of what's acceptable and what's not, but that's the whole point about understanding how this site works.
- 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 don't see how that changes things to a greater extent. I had been doing the clean-up of unnecessary comments, with a total of 382 out of 3,534 reviews of the site, I think nothing would change a lot. Its just that as a moderator, I'd have to a little more reasonable with my actions.