- Several tag-related tasks require moderator attention. How well do you feel our community deals with them presently? Would you be able & willing to improve the situation (if it is needed)? How? Related links regarding tag burnination 1 2, tag synonym implementation 1, and tag synonym merging 1
In my opinion, tags are one of the principle ways information is organized on the site. Since building a permanent repository of high-quality statistical information is our mission here, that makes tags vital. Improving the management of our tagging system (e.g., merging or eliminating tags) is one of the primary areas where we can enhance the site. If elected, I will give this more attention than it's gotten.
- What do you see as the biggest problem facing our site and what would you do to help address it?
The biggest problem facing the site is probably that we are getting an increasing number of questions without getting an increasing number of answerers. To some extent this is unsolvable, but consider that a large proportion of the new questions seem to be lower quality (off topic, unclear, etc.). For example, the close vote review queue is clogged with dozens of threads per day. Many of these are unambiguous, and can be closed immediately (a smaller number seem unambiguously able to be left open). I would guess that as many as 2/3 could be addressed immediately, presumably making it easier for the community to focus its attention on the remaining cases where judgment needs to be brought to bear. A related issue is that we should probably be marking more questions as duplicates. I've noticed that some users have been working on that, and I could assist with the process.
- Do you have any Meta posts that you're particularly proud of, or that you feel best demonstrate your moderation style?
(This is cheating somewhat, because it is actually @Silverfish's post, but) I've contributed a lot to How best to use the review queue?, and I think it will illustrate my potential moderating style to voters. Another germane meta.CV thread might be: How should questions be answered on Cross Validated?, in that it expresses a vision of how I think the site should function.
- One of the issues which crops up frequently on this site is the dividing line between a statistical question and a computing question. At the moment custom and practice is that requests for code or package suggestions are seen as off-topic. Do you think we have the boundary in the right place? If you do not what is your suggestion for the new boundary?
I think the line is largely in the right place, but that it may be ambiguous in practice to determine which side of the line a given question is on. In general, I think the criterion is straightforward: what does the OP need explained? If the required information is statistical in nature (or about machine learning, data mining, or data visualization), then the question should be considered on topic here, even if it is asked in terms of some software. If what is needed is about implementation in some software, it should be considered off topic here. The potential source of ambiguity is that a user of one software may not be able to recognize the statistical content that exists in a question that is asked in terms of different software. I don't see any perfect solution to that problem. Lastly, I think that if a question has multiple aspects, some of which are about code, and some of which are statistical, it can remain open so that the latter can be addressed. It may be helpful to leave a comment informing the OP that they may not get answers to the former aspects.
- 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?
This would be a difficult situation; it would need to be addressed with patience and professionalism. First, it is always important to recognize that it is easy to misconstrue comments or actions on the internet, because we don't have access to any of the paralanguage / non-verbal cues that we normally use to interpret statements when face to face. Thus, the principle of charity should be applied. I do think the existing moderator team has done a good job, so I could discuss the situation with senior moderators and defer to their judgment when necessary.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed / deleted / etc. a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
It seems to me there are two different types of situations. If another moderator has acted unilaterally, I can find a private way to discuss the issue with them to see if a resolution could be found. At the other extreme, if the moderator had been the fifth close vote, there is nothing special about the moderator status with respect to the vote. That would be the same as any other case where the community had made a decision using the mechanisms that exist for the community to manage the site. I believe moderators should be cautious about reversing community actions, although they can if it seems appropriate. This is mostly a judgment call, but it could also be discussed on meta.CV.
- There is some controversy surrounding our use of Community Wiki status, see What is and what should be our policy on making questions community wiki?. Our current policy is not sufficiently clear, is not being consistently implemented, and is arguably suboptimal (though opinions might differ). What is your opinion on all that? Do you see any of that as a problem? What is your preferred policy? Would you be willing to work towards formulation of some consensus policy and enforcing its consistent implementation?
It seems to me this has been discussed, and the nature of the situation has not changed. In sum, the SE system has fairly strict criteria for the kind of questions that can be asked here. Questions that don't meet those criteria are supposed to be closed and deleted (even if they are popular old threads with many answers and upvotes—such threads have been deleted on SO). Our use of CW constitutes a kind of fudge that attempts to save those threads we believe have a lot of value. The options are to continue this policy, or to close and delete all such threads. My personal preference is to maintain the status quo. On the other hand, inconsistent implementation is clearly suboptimal. When I notice a thread that should be either made CW or deleted, I could make it CW, and could do that when someone else notices such a thread and flags it.
- What do you propose to do about the host of unanswered questions?
(N.b., this is largely another take on #2 above.) I'm hardly going to be able to answer them all myself, and I have little ability to recruit large numbers of new members to the site to answer them, so to a first approximation, there isn't anything I can do. However, part of the problem is that there are a large number of unclear, low-quality questions that aren't well answerable, which contributes to the problem. Those could be closed.
- Do we close questions (for any reason) too much, or too little? Why?
There was a period not too long ago, when I thought we were getting a little too quick on the draw (cf., Are we closing questions too fast?). Certainly, there will always be cases where I disagree with other's judgments one way or the other, but I think the balance is somewhat better now.
- 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'm already past 20k rep.