- Recently (a) single user(s) have been on a spree of intensive editing of old posts , often mostly tag edits, which has led to some annoyance with other users in chat & comments. What is your stance on this, do you intend to intervene and if so, how?
I believe in editing to improve quality, be it a content edit, a tag edit, or a title edit.
I also believe that editing old posts to improve them and to render them compatible with our current guidelines and standards makes perfect sense.
The goal of SE is sites is not solely to answer questions but also to build a library of Q&A to serve as a reference.
To that purpose one must perform housekeeping duties every so often.
Going back to improve old posts is a part of such housekeeping duties.
Unfortunately, the way SE sites are designed, edited posts are bumped to the top of the page.
A corollary to this problem is that multiple subsequent edits to different posts can flood the home page and cause the newer questions to "disappear" below the edited ones.
The thing is that this is a classic case of [tag:status-bydesign] and should be accepted as such.
What we can do is maybe try to find ways to work around the problem.
In the past we discussed strategies to avoid flooding the home page, by limiting the number of edits in a short period of time, and/or attempting to edit the posts during the sleepy periods of site activity.
Tricks like these can certainly work, however they can be sometimes limiting and can lead users to forget about editing posts all together.
If one does not wish to miss a new question within edited ones, a trick I just discovered is to use the "Newest" tab on the Questions page as this does not seem to show recently edited questions as new:
Personally, I am perfectly fine with edit sprees flooding the home page, provided these aim at improving the quality of the post.
Retagging a questions is definitely a way to do so.
- Two users are fighting, leaving snipey comments on questions/answers, in chat, etc. How would you deal with this?
Direct contact is IMHO the way to go about this, using private messages to ask both users to calm down, followed by a clean-up of the comments in chat.
The goal of the site is to gather quality questions and answers.
Snipey comments add no quality to the post.
In the chat one could be more lenient, provided that the users remain respectful of one another.
We've had several more or less heated discussions on Travel chat already.
It happened that some people took words too far and were temporarily suspended.
No abusive, offensive, or rude behaviour should be tolerated anywhere on the site.
- 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 have seen this happen on the site as a normal user.
My approach has always been to talk directly to the user.
As a mod I would do the same.
I would contact the user explaining the situation and asking them for a change in behaviour, and telling them that mods will be closely monitoring their activity to ensure this happens.
If this doesn't work then one can always opt for a suspension.
Of course it is always sad to see valuable users get suspended over such attitude problems.
Nevertheless, in my opinion Rule 1 - Be nice is more important than reputation acquired by posting valuable content.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
I believe in open communication.
The first thing to do in this case would be to contact that moderator to discuss the issue.
I don't think that I am always right.
On the contrary, since I'm the one with the issue there's a high chance that I might have misinterpreted something about the question.
Contacting the moderator will allow me to understand their position and maybe even learn something new about the site.
If, after discussing, the two of us can't resolve the problem, I believe that summoning the rest of the moderator team for an open discussion would definitely help to reach consensus.
In addition, on Travel we have several active users which can be consulted to aid in solving disputes like these.
- You see a question / answer that you personally consider naive, stupid, lying, missing info, etc. How do you handle this as a moderator? How do you respond to the user?
In my opinion 'naive' and 'stupid' are both subjective criteria and should have no bearing when making decisions on posts and users on SE sites.
On the other hand if a post is lying or missing information and it is salvageable then it should be salvaged.
The first thing I would do would be to leave a comment asking the OP to improve the post by adding the missing information and/or removing the incorrect one.
If the post is a question I'd vote to close it so as to avoid attracting wrong/misguided answers.
I would then wait a few days to see if the situation changes.
If not then I would opt for the deletion of the post due to its low quality.
- As an elected moderator, how much time will you be able to contribute to Travel SE tasks, at what time of the day and in which time zone? Will you have regular offline periods (we all love travelling) that you can foresee already?
As a regular user I visit Travel every day, be it from a browser or from the mobile app.
I am also always pingable in chat.
I don't really have a fixed time, but I tend to be around when I am not sleeping.
My current time zone is GMT+1.
As of today I cannot really foresee any long offline period in the near future.
- Every so often the Travel Chat Room devolves a bit into mini fights between users, or worse, a group hate of a user on the site who has no knowledge of the chat. How would you engage and prevent the chat from scaring off new people, causing problems and starting disagreements?
As a new user I did not find the chat scary.
I actually found it much easier than the main site, since the chat rules seem to be softer.
For this reason I often invite users to the chat, so that one can discuss with a bit more freedom.
New users should be welcomed and not bit.
This applies to the chat too.
Mini fights or group hates should have no place on the chat.
However, heated yet polite discussions can, and probably even should, happen freely.
- What do you intend to change, improve and keep as it is about how moderation is currently run on Travel SE?
I think the current moderator team has been doing an excellent job.
What the current team needs is an extra set of helping hands.
What I would do to improve moderator work is ensuring that all moderators are available, or at least pingable on chat.
This is currently not the case, with only 2 out of the 4 moderators being pingable.
Having moderators readily available on chat helps in quickly resolving issues.
In addition we often have long discussions in chat on how to run certain aspects of the site (lately the tagging rework comes to mind).
Having a mod participating live in such discussions would obviously help immensely.
As a non-mod I strive to ensure that the site rules are respected by all, including myself, in my day to day activity on the site and in the chat.
This is exactly what I will keep on doing, whether I am elected or not.
- Travel SE has had some competitions in the past (most recently the bounty bonanza, some answering competitions and a double-site hats competition with Expats). As an elected moderator, do you intend to initiate/support/incentivize more such competitions? (Maybe you even have some ideas to share?)
I am the Reigning Travel SE Answerathon Champion Defend it with Your Life.
I participated in most of the competitions we ran. I even co-organised some of them. GayotFow and I concocted The Great 5 Year Anniversary Bounty Bonanza together one lonely day in chat.
Gayot came up with the idea and together we pushed it to unforeseen results.
Although I did not win that competition specifically I still believe that these competitions are what makes Travel travel.
We are a community as well as a Q&A website.
We bring people with common interests together and share experiences.
As an elected moderator, I absolutely intend to initiate/support/incentivise more such competitions.
- I find that there is very little guidance as to how to use tags and what is a good structure for tags. Given that tagging and tag edits have become somewhat controversial recently: What is your personal best practice in terms of tag usage? Do you intend to (interacting with the community and the other mods) create a semi-official guideline for tagging (which tags to use and create, for Travel SE only of course) as a moderator?
The single best practice when in doubt is to ask on Meta.
I have done this countless times, asking about which tags to use, create, rename, delete etc.
Asking a Meta question helps in gathering more than one opinion to make an informed decision.
Very often, other users have their own best practices which can then be uses as site-wide practices.
Personally I believe that the more the tags the easier it is to find a question.
Hence I am in favour of tag editing, and of giving reputation for those tag edits.
I myself earned 548 reputation from suggested edits (ask me how I know and I might teach you something new about SE sites), most of which were tag edits.
Tags should be relevant, well-formed and properly explained using both excerpt and wiki.
There is obviously no single tagging strategy out there.
Nevertheless it makes sense to define one that is unique to Travel and with which we should all comply.
I am absolutely in favour of discussing with everyone on Meta in order to concoct such a strategy.