(1) What is your take on the "software questions on CV" that come up
very frequently and where do you draw the line and decide it should be
migrated to SO or simply closed? Based on the review queue, it seems
there is a lot of heterogeneity among the high-rep users in terms of
what constitutes "off-topic" in this context and, with moderators
having the ability to unilaterally close/migrate questions, this seems
a natural question to ask.
I think some of the heterogeneity comes from my answer - that determining the "SO vs. CV" line for software questions is a bit of a gut feeling, "I know it when I see it", community standards-esq answer. For me, I draw the line at what I'd call "programming skills" vs "statistical skills". If its just getting a function written correctly, which arguments go where, etc. question, it's a programming question and belongs in SO. If it's a question that involves what's happening when the code is invoked, how it actually works or how to take the code and get meaningful results, it belongs in CV. And for the edge cases, I'd try to err on the side of "Where is the user more likely to get useful answers?"
(2) If you are elected moderator, what (specific, concrete!) changes
would you like to see made to the way the site is currently
administered and moderated? How do you view your role in effecting the
This is a tough one - I think CV is by and large a fairly functional community. As a moderator, the two things I would make a really active effort toward improving are encouraging users to accept answers when possible, and making CV welcoming to new users, especially people of intermediate skill but with a lot of subject matter expertise (like myself, a couple years ago) - I think they benefit from the site, and the site benefits from them, but it can sometimes seem like an odd fit.
(3) How would you moderate situations where you find yourself
disagreeing with official SE policy about something?
Tempting as it is to growl "I am the Law" and move forward, CV exists within a large ecosystem, users move back and forth between sites, and I think we all benefit from playing nicely in the same sandbox. If it was a genuine, irreconcilable policy issue, I'd bring it to the other moderators or meta, as appropriate.
(4) 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'd like to think of these users as a learning opportunity - they've clearly got the knowledge, but perhaps lack a little bit of an understanding of CV as a community, rather than as an intellectual exercise. I'd try to emulate some other communities I have been a part of in communicating that there are community rules and standards, and that CV is not the "Wild West" or "Other Sites" and a certain degree of hostility, etc. isn't productive.
(5) How would you handle a situation where another mod
closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
"Why we did what we did" is a question that seems to lend itself well to meta, and clarifying what could be viewed by both users and mods as divergent understandings of what CV "should" be doing.
(6) What are your opinions about casting the deciding "moderator" vote
on closing/opening questions? For example, if five non-moderator users
have closed a question that you think should be left open, would you
consider unilaterally re-opening it? Similarly, if a majority of
reviewers have recommended that a question be left open (say 1 close
vote and 3 "stay open" votes) under what circumstances would you
decide to use your deciding close vote to override the majority?
I vote my conscience. If I think a question should stay open, I'm voting for it to stay open. If I think it should be closed, I'm voting for it to be closed. I view this as a fair way to handle questions - each is evaluated by me, and only me, and so gets as fair a shake as I can give it without considering the mix of whose on "my side", who isn't, etc. When in doubt, I err on the side of whether or not I think the user will get a useful and productive answer.
(7) What is your interpretation of the purpose of Cross Validated and
how does this influence the way you choose to use the site as an
"Surely there is someone who has seen this before". Statistics, and data visualization, are wide open fields, full of people working with varying levels of expertise, perspectives, etc. But when it comes down to it, we're all in the same boat - how do I take my data, and understand what it means? That's also sometimes a lonely endeavor, and a burden best shared. I do my best to answer what I can as helpfully as possible, and ask the questions I have in a way where they're amendable to answering.
(8) What kind of moderatorial experience, if any, have you had before
(online or offline)? Can you give an example of a moderatorial issue
that came up, how you had handled it, and how the community that you
moderated viewed your handling of the situation?
I've served on a number of boards and the like, but most of these have been either peer-review focused or making sure things were working smoothly on the back end. I have however served as an officer in an online gaming guild for some time with a similar feel to CV in some ways - a single purpose, a important set of community standards, and no clear hierarchy between mods. For the most part, the problems that arose from that were from people who didn't really fit with the community. I've tried to help them figure out what about it isn't working, gently nudged them in what I thought was a more productive direction, and made it clear when things were just Not Working. I have no idea what people thought of my moderating, but I know the tone and community of the guild was valued by its members.
(9) 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
I do my best never to post anything on here I'd be embarrassed to have attached to my name. That remains true, diamond or no diamond.
(10) In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more
effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
Honestly, the answer is "I'd be useful sooner and more often". To me, having gained the whole Trusted User status on the Academia beta thanks to its lower threshold, I don't take the tools available any less seriously - but it's a much longer haul to that status here, and in my mind as a "Trusted User" I check in on the site when I'm using it. As a moderator, I view the responsibility as something that demands tending to whether or not I'm on CV for other reasons.
If I've forgotten anything, or you have anything else you'd like me to answer, please do leave a comment.
An answer to @Macro's question:
Hi EpiGrad, I wonder if you can clarify "...I would make a really active effort toward improving are encouraging users to accept answers when possible", which relates to a recent meta thread. What would you do to try to enact this change in the culture? I think many of us have asked an OP to accept an answer under various circumstances but, in that meta thread, there's a bit of variability in what active members consider acceptable (and, as @Gavin mentioned there, it's been outlawed on SO).
Certainly. I think there's not a particular use in the "Please accept an answer" comments - I can't think of one I've ever left that's actually manifested as progress. I do however think that for new users, its both a useful introduction to the community and the system, a helpful little bit of rep, and a chance to make sure we've actually answered their question. I know I have a couple questions with no accepted answer because there wasn't one I thought was an answer.
I do however think its useful to pop in and ask a new user who has several upvoted answers if there exists an answer that satisfies their question, explain the bounty system if there isn't on (or offer to make one for very low rep users), or possibly work on editing and clarifying their question to solve whatever misdirection is causing several answers to go awry. Basically, I see it as a chance for new user engagement, and any new user engagement helps retain those users. If it boosts the number of accepted answers, great. If it doesn't, but one person learns how to use the bounty system, or actually gets there question answered? Also worth it.