- 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 try to find out why the comments are so controversial and try to engage him in the ideal of keeping the site friendly. We don't have enough awesome answerers for the number of questions we have, so I wouldn't want to lose one, but we're fortunate at present that all of our good answerers work together well, even when we disagree. I think having that culture here makes it less likely that we'll have to face this kind of tricky situation.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
It depends. If it were a simple mistake (say, closing as duplicate against another question with a similar title but completely different content), I'd just talk to them (in mod chat) and establish the facts. It's just as likely to be my mistake or misunderstanding as theirs. Once we've reached a shared understanding, then we could decide together what corrective action to take.
If it were a matter of policy disagreement instead, such as closing a question that's borderline, I'd just accept the decision. We don't have to all agree about every question. If it becomes a recurring theme then I'd open a question on meta, in general terms rather than about the specific posts, to establish the community's consensus on the issue, and then try to get all the mods to abide by that.
- We have a significant problem where a question lacks some critical details [...] What stance do you have on this issue? What do you propose or have proposed to deal with this issue?
In the short-term, we need to keep up our campaign of commenting to ask for more details and closing when necessary. I think it's important to show the OP that we're not just complaining about their post: we ask for more details because that's how we will solve their problem.
Going forward, we need to find a way to improve this situation. We need to start by getting data on how many questions are like this, so that we can evaluate whatever solutions we try. My first idea would be to add some text to the "ask question" page to show users what information we expect: like you get on a bug reporting system. But that's something we need to go cap-in-hand to SE to ask for. Regardless of what we choose, if we can keep track of how many poor questions we're getting, we can try different ideas and find out which ones are effective.
I'd include app development questions in this category too. At least they're easier to spot and deal with when they do come up, but despite everything we've done so far to discourage them, we still get a handful per day. I think it's time to consider what the next step could be.
- Moderators are given the power to unilaterally delete posts. Given this ability, how would you approach answers that are objectively low-quality (vague, short, etc) but are an attempt to provide an answer?
I'm going to take this question together with:
- Like every other site, we also suffer from lazy answers. [...] What are you going to do with answers similar in nature to the examples listed in that question? What clear suggestion for dealing with those posts do you propose for ordinary users of this site?
I'd approach them the same way I do now. On the whole, I don't believe in deleting good-faith attempts to answer, even if they're unhelpful or lazy. Downvoting is an appropriate action for low-quality answers, but sometimes it's possible to edit and improve them to the point where they're high-quality. I believe that ending up with a high-quality answer on the site is a good outcome, regardless of who gets the rep. Editing to improve also helps the lazy answerer to see what we expect from answers on the site.
I'd like to take this opportunity to encourage users to do that more often, whether they're moderators or not. I know it sometimes feels like too much effort, but even if you only improve one extra answer, if we all do that we'll have a lot more good answers on the site.
- Are there any existing policies or rules that you think should be amended or removed? Are there any new policies you would like to see added?
I would like to see the app recommendation close reason removed. To my mind, the reason to disallow app recommendations is for questions like "What email app should I use?" which are opinion-based. We should keep closing questions like that. But I see a lot of questions closed which are of the form "I want to [automatically feed my cats with my smartphone]. Is there an app for this?" To my mind, that isn't a recommendation question, it's about solving a problem. Obviously the questioner would assume that the answer is an app, but more often than not they would be just as happy with a non-app answer (most commonly, some Tasker profile). I don't like to see those questions closed just because the questioner used the magic word "app".
When people ask actual recommendation questions, we'd close them as opinion-based, or too broad. If a question asks for an app but isn't opinion-based or too broad, why would we want to close it?
- You close a question that's clearly off-topic and the user comes to Meta, not to ask what they did wrong, say you're a [mean word here]. How do you react?
I'd let somebody else handle it. If the user has taken it personally, then any attempt by me to explain will make it about me vs. them, making the situation worse. If another moderator, or even better, a respected member of the community who isn't a moderator, can make a reassuring post, then it shows that a moderator is someone who acts out the will of the community, not just some kind of dictator. Of course, if it were a mistake on my part, or if the community consensus is to reverse my decision, I would answer the meta post myself. You can't delegate apologizing.
- Even though we've a clear consensus on Should users (non-Moderators) approve an edit made by a user posing as the author of the post? you can still find two or three regular reviewers who do not go by that consensus and wrongly approve such edits. Other problem is with reviewing where careless or superfluous edits gets approved, most likely to increase review count. How do you deal with such reviewers or with their reviewing? If you don't see a problem, please tell us why do you not find such reviews a problem at all.
History suggests that when I see reviews like that, I deal with them by getting annoyed for a while. But when I've cooled down, I think the best we can do is make a new meta post to draw the attention of the reviewers to our policy (without naming and shaming), or talk in chat if they're active chat users.
- If you're a regular here, you would have soon realized that we have
a huge quite an issue of crappy migration from one of the larger SE sites. That site deals with questions posted by enthusiasts and power users of computers. What is your stance on crappy migration? Do you have a preemptive solution? If yes, what is it? What do you suggest to regular flag raisers and close voters to do with such crap?
This has two parts. First, to flaggers and voters: deal with migrated questions the way you would deal with any question. If it's off-topic, close it. If it's a valid question but shows no research effort or is not useful, downvote it. It looks bad to the questioner if their question gets migrated and then closed afterwards, but that's not on us, it's the fault of the people at the other site who migrated it.
Second, I think it's important to deal with this more generally by talking to moderators on other sites and encouraging them to get familiar with our on-topic criteria. SE sets a standard for moderators that you should only migrate to another site if you're an active user of that site (or if you've asked them first). I've gone out to SO before (as I'm a close-voter on that site too) and reminded them of their obligations, but this is going to be an ongoing process as people come and go on all those other sites. We just have to keep trying to get other sites' moderators to support the idea of not migrating crap.
- How do you define Android independent questions? The only available answer to the linked question doesn't seem to solve the original problem stated in the question. Some extra thinking material can be found in the original question.
Most of the candidates have discussed this issue in chat many times, as well as on meta, so I know that I take a relatively broad view of what's on-topic for us. To my mind, the main purpose of having on-topic criteria for questions is so that the questions on the front page look attractive to visitors, in the sense that the people we want on the site see the front page and think, "this site is for people like me". With that in mind, I'm inclined to be somewhat accepting of questions about battery charging, touch screens, SIM cards, USB-OTG when they are interesting to Android users. Often it's hard for a new user to know if their problem is specific to Android or a more general problem, and I don't think it's fair to apply on-topic criteria that questioners have no way to judge. I think it's reasonable to continue to reject questions about carriers, phone shops, or websites, because they're not relevant to our community.
I've noticed a recent trend to push the "Android-independent questions" close reason to cover questions that are about apps rather than about Android itself, or about apps that have an iPhone version as well as an Android version. I think if we followed this suggestion in the terms that are proposed, we'd be closing most questions on the site, as well as applying a close criterion that almost nobody can judge fairly. It seems to me that this drive is simply a pretext for closing certain low-quality (but valid) questions, but I think that abusing close-votes for low-quality questions would hurt the site in the longer term.
When I see each case and I consider whether to vote-to-close, I ask myself: if I saw this on the front page, would I think the site is for me? Can we help this person without hurting the site? That's something I apply not just for Android-independent questions, but also for other hard-to-judge borders like the line between automation (on-topic) and app development (off-topic). Often close-voters get into the mindset of rules-lawyering the on-topic reasons, considering whether the question matches a particular form of words, and trying to close questions to keep the site neat or improve our "unanswered questions" stats; but to me, those are all secondary to our main goals of helping out our fellow Android users and making the site welcoming to them.