- How do you plan to respond to a 'This is not an answer' flag on a post of a topic you are not familiar with?
"This is not an answer" flags are reserved for questions that make no attempt to answer the question, and as such they are usually easy to handle independent of the subject matter. They are frequently used for people misusing the answer space to ask questions, provide commentary on other answers, or make odd statements about other matters. They are also sometimes used on wrong answers, which is incorrect (that's what downvotes are for) and they should be declined in that case.
The only case that might present difficulty is when the post is an answer to a different question. In this case there are a number of things I would do:
- Research the question and answer. If I can learn about the subject matter well enough, I'll be able to tell whether the answer addresses the question.
- If still unclear, I'd leave it for another moderator. So far we've had great coverage of different concepts by the mods, such as Dr Mayhem making up for my lack of knowledge of guitar effects and NReilingh making up for my lack of knowledge of brass instruments.
- If another mod can't handle it, we should consult the community via chat or Meta. We have an incredible user base and I'm confident they could provide insight on virtually any subject.
- Worst case, mark the flag "helpful" but take no action. When something is on the fence, you decide in favor of the user — both that the poster and flaggers were trying to be helpful.
- 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?
We've actually had to deal with this a couple times on this site, with a range of outcomes. Obviously the goal is always to resolve the problematic behavior and allow the user to continue contributing to the site.
Specifically, we've had a few occasions where comments have spiralled out into extended discussions that get off-topic. Usually it's enough to clean up the comments, preserving any that are useful and polite, and to leave a comment indicating the action taken and a mild admonishment of the behavior (rather than the users). If that doesn't work and a particular user continues to engage in the same way, we escalate to a direct message (private mod messages provided through the site) and attempt to explain to the user directly what is wrong.
If the behavior still continues we have to make a judgment call about its severity. If they're just misusing comments to get into deep discussion about something, it probably makes sense to continue cleanup and the gentle reminders. But things like attacking/insulting other people are not acceptable on Stack Exchange, so in those cases we proceed to suspensions (accompanied by mod messages re-explaining the issue). Suspensions to continue to increase in length if they are issued multiple times. It's extremely rare for someone to need to be suspended permanently, but it's important that we don't allow them to drive away others that are or might be extremely valuable contributors themselves.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
Once or twice there has been a clear and simple misunderstanding where the other mod misread what was being asked. In that case it suffices to revert the action and explain with a comment (and possibly alert the other mod to the action).
Otherwise, we bring it up in our private moderator chatroom. It's important to trust the other moderators and their judgment (and all my fellow mods thus far have definitely earned it). So you want to establish their motivation and thinking. Usually we can reach a consensus and proceed from there. In borderline cases we, again, decide in favor of the user. If we continue to disagree, but recognize that the other mod acted reasonably, we allow their action to stand. Depending on the situation, it might be good to propose alternative actions to the user (rephrasing the question, posting on another site, etc.).
In a case of mod abuse I would contact the Community team at SE, but so far I've never had reason to so much as consider that.
- How do you plan to handle a situation where a (normal-avid) user of the site is dissatisfied with your moderation?
There's often a lesson to be taken when this happens. Users here and on Android have made me aware of the fact that my moderation from mobile was often a bit hasty and I ought to leave a bit more explanation in comments regarding my actions, which was absolutely on-point. In response, I've taken greater care when accessing the site on my phone and moved most of my moderation time to the desktop.
Frequently there's also a misunderstanding of site scope or the fundamentals of the SE platform. Here I need to explain how things work, and that scope is ultimately up to the users — not me or the other mods. I'd direct them to Meta discussions or the Help Center as appropriate.
Otherwise it should be taken on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes I can improve, they can improve, or we can agree to disagree.
- What criteria do or would you use to determine when an analysis question is too basic and/or specific and should be closed? For example, what reasons would you give for leaving this question open and closing this question?
For borderline questions, we should not close them. The community can decide via votes, and a mod should only step in if the community keeps oscilliating or arguing — and generally decide in favor of the poster in that case. As for these specific examples, I think the outcome very clearly matches the wording of the close reason and not much interpretation was required.
It's always a judgment call, and other than what's been outlined in the close reasons and the Meta discussions backing them I do not hold specific criteria. It's always best when regular users come together and decide on a direction, and with the site's increasing size it's becoming less and less often that I need to decide myself about question closures.
- If you do not moderate on another SE site, do you have any experience moderating a community? Otherwise, if you moderate on other SE sites, how can you be sure that you will have time to moderate all of them? This SE site is currently growing and needs more moderation than before.
I've moderated the Literature site (now defunct) and currently moderate the Android site, which is considerably larger than this one. When it comes to moderation time, this site requires about a sixth of it. Currently I have more than enough time to handle them and have zero concerns about that changing (actually I expect to have more time going forward). However, if that changes I will be sure to alert SE and the other moderators so that we can make temporary adjustments or elect additional mods.
- What one thing do you most wish were different about how Stack Exchange sites work (i.e., what feature would you add, remove, change, etc.)? Would it be different if it had to be one feature or capability that would you most like to have for Music: Practice & Theory specifically?
I really want improved search. It's obviously valuable to users, and as a mod it would make my life way easier to be able to find duplicates. I also want a mod message template for low-quality answers so that I don't have to manually do it all the time.
In the past, I've helped champion the removal of the Accept Rate and a number of bug fixes (such as improper rate-limiting).
As for this site, it would be great to have a general notation plugin; this is probably the most-requested feature by users of this site. It would also be nice for the rich text bar to have a short list of musical symbols (sharp/flat etc.) so that people don't need to look up the Unicode characters or HTML codes.
- What times of the day will you be most active?
I typically moderate a bit in the morning and again in the early evening, Eastern Time, with occasional spurts in the afternoon and late evening.
- How much time of your day are you willing to spend on your moderators duties?
Currently, as much as is needed and more — I've often lead tag clean-ups and other activities outside typical moderator duties. See #6 for more on my time constraints (or lack thereof).
- Whilst Music Practice and Music Fans have different points of focus, there is an area of overlap between the two sites. How do you think this overlap should be handled? With regards to questions that fall into this grey area - although may be 'more suited' to one site or the other.
I think the grey area is very small, to be honest. Like English is to the US and Canada, music is a common language between our sites but there is still a clear and well-defined border.
As far as I'm aware, this issue has only had significant opposing opinions once (in this Meta post). Dave's answer is excellent, and easily extended to any kind of question:
The linked question is off topic because it is a question from/about the audience side of the performance.
I can imagine applause related questions that are on topic because they come from the performer side. Performers may have questions with respect to managing their stage presence during applause, and these could be on topic.
It would also be excellent to have Dom on board as a moderator here, since he is also a moderator there. If there really was an issue in determining where a question belongs, I think he'd be best-equipped to handle it.