- How would you answer this question regarding the negative actions of a high reputation user, which was posted to raspberrypi.meta earlier this year? Complete answers should address not only the concerns of the OP, but the behavior in question and the concerns raised in the comments.
Its certainly very unfortunate this occurred, especially since active high rep users are a rarity on the site so are an invaluable resource.
That being said any negative action towards any member of the community is always completely unacceptable. As a community we should be welcoming (as well as firm but fair), in our approach to users, especially new users. Yes they may not being using certain aspects of the site correctly, but that's not an excuse to give them a hard time.
The correct action is to always gently point them in the right direction. Whether that's encouraging them to take the Tour or look through the FAQ. If someone new to the site gets a really bad experience, its fairly unlikely they will return. This is a problem because it will stifle the growth of the site.
As to how to deal with the offending user in question, opening up a private chat with the other mods and the user to discuss their poor behavior would be the starting point. From there I think it would be necessary to keep an eye on their posts to make sure they are not slipping into bad habits again.
I have also heard of mods sending emails to users for serious matters and that along with a temporary ban from the site would also be an option to consider.
The concerns raised in the comments are well founded, I think some examples of the sorts of posts this high rep user where posting could have been useful to include in the discussion. It would make it easier for the community to catch such posts in the future if they knew the sort of things they should be looking out for. But I'm against publicly naming and shaming the user, that's something I feel is unnecessary.
I also disagree with the idea that flagging the inappropriate comments would not be effective. I regularly flag posts and my flags are dealt with in a timely manner 9 times out of 10. I've also raised lots of concerns in the past on the Meta site and I've always got exceptional answers, which is a testament to our community.
- Our community is struggling to maintain higher level users over time. Why do you think this is? Do you have any ideas on how that might be fixed?
I'm not sure if I'm going to be popular for saying this, but its my gut feeling on the matter. I think the biggest issue with maintaining high level users is people on this site can be a little bit stingy when it comes to voting. I've personally also found from answering new user's questions that once they've got an answer they won't stick around long enough to mark it as correct. This is a problem because each accept is worth 15 rep, so losing out on lots of accepts on answers starts to hurt in the long run.
Based on my experience of being heavily active on the site over the summer I can see why high level users get bored of the site and become less active. It can become a real chore sometimes to work through posts in review queues, In fact its an issue I raised on Meta.
I've also noticed that we seem to get fewer really interesting questions that end up being a hot question on the network. I think the last question to achieve that was about a soil moisture sensor. If we don't get enough questions that are fun to answer then people will lose interest.
As to how to fix that problem, that's tough. Since it can be really difficult to earn rep on the site we need to be encouraging users to vote more and also accept answers to their questions, (where appropriate). Getting the high rep users to stick around is an even harder task. Ideas I have include introducing new badges so they've always got something to work towards. I think occasionally dropping them an email with some questions they might find interesting could work as well.
- Over time there have been a few meta questions related to including other-fruited-pis, such as this one that mentioned banana pi: Can we ask questions related to banana pi here? With some quick search you can also find similar questions about orange pi. The historical answer has been that these are and should be off-topic here. Do you support continuing that position? Why or why not?
Having a site exclusively about Raspberry Pi's is fairly niche, especially given the scope of some of the sites on SE. Now imagine how niche a site about the banana pi or orange pi would be. I think it seems somewhat ridiculous that those should exist as separate sites. The problem is the user base for those devices is so small that they would have a hard time keeping an SE site going.
On the other hand if we widened the scope to include those devices do we actually have any active users with the required knowledge? The demographic of our site is lots of fairly low rep users asking questions which are answered by a very small number of users. I'm not sure we have enough knowledgeable people to make that work if we widen the scope of the site.
Furthermore, it then brings into question where we draw the line, at what point is the scope of the site to wide? If orange pi's and banana pi's become on-topic, does that mean every single one of those types of devices also becomes on-topic?
If widening the scope of the site to include such devices is something that enough users are happy with I don't see the issue with having some kind of trial period to see how it works out.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
I would open up a chat with that mod, and possibly the other mods as well and discuss the matter. The aim of the discussion would be to come to some kind of consensus and make sure everyone is happy and understands any final decision we make.
- This site has experimented with "policies" that arguably run counter to the process and experience expected from the larger SE universe. There was some discussion of that, for example, on these two questions: Is converting link-only answers to Community Wiki working? and How related to Raspberry Pi must a question be?. What are your thoughts on how closely this site should follow the norms of other SE sites versus developing its own norms that attempt to respect its size and audience. If you argue for following norms from larger SE sites, how would your respond to the arguments in the meta questions listed that the small size and diverse subject matter encountered on this site require a different approach? If you argue for "customizing" on this site, how would you choose what fits and mitigate any potential learning curve on high-quality users used to other SE sites who might occasionally contribute here?
I don't see any reason why we should have to follow all of the norms of the SE network. We are a fairly unique site and what works for everyone else might not work for us.
With regards to the converting link only answers to Wiki, yes I don't think that was particularly successful. Possibly due to the amount of effort required to properly produce the answer and then not really gaining much from that. Although I'm not sure I particularly like the current approach of simply deleting the answer.
As to how far we diverge from the norms of SE, I don't think going to far is sensible. Having high rep users from other SE sites on here would be great to see. Including extra detail about how we run things a little differently in the FAQ or Tour would hopefully reduce any learning curve. There is of course also the Meta site and the chatrooms to seek clarification on things.
As to how on topic a question about the Raspberry Pi must be? I have found that a difficult thing to gauge when reviewing posts. The problem boils down to; does this fit on Electrical Engineering, StackOverflow or Arduino? If no this is probably the suitable site for it. Of course the rules about no questions about shopping advice, e.t.c... Still apply.
- How would you respond to a user that attacked you personally for actions you take as a moderator (e.g. deleting or closing their posts).
I could understand receiving backlash for taking such actions. Although, I would open up a chat with the user and possibly another mod as a second opinion. I would proceed to outline my reasoning for taking such action and hopefully get them to a point where they understand my decision. I could have course made a mistake and it gives the user an opportunity to explain why they think I made the wrong call. This seems like a fair way of dealing with this.
To give you an example of this sort of approach being used, one user recently posted on Meta asking why their question had been closed. I'm really pleased they did this as its the correct sort of response to a decision you disagree with. You can see the post and my response here.
The question does not specify what sort of action this hypothetical user took in anger but I think its a point worth addressing. As well as discussing why I took the action on their post I did, I would also remind them to behave nicely on the site. Pointing out the correct way to deal with the problem is to open a chat with a mod or posting a question on Meta is something I would suggest they do next time.
- In your opinion, what do moderators do?
In a perfect world we would not need moderators and everyone would just get along without a problem.
This is not the case and occasionally a user with some extra abilities is required to step in and resolve the issue. Mods should ideally do as little as possible on the site.
Their role should be to point users in the right direction, help users understand how the site works and deal with the occasional serious matters.
Given the limited number of high rep users on the site its also important they are active in review queues, (though not too active). As well as other less exciting things like editing posts.
- 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 that?
I feel like I've come a really long way in the past 3 years, and I definitely feel like the quality of my posts has improved. Every now and then I do go back and edit some of my older stuff to improve it, but for the most part I'm fairly happy with my posts.
I think its also useful that users could see that I have transitioned from a newbie on the site up to high ranking member of the community. It shows that progression on the site is possible and everyone has to start somewhere.
- 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 made a calculation during the summer that at the rate I was earning rep it would take up to 2 years to reach such levels of reputation. And that was when I was answering multiple questions a day. I don't have the luxury of lots of spare time now to do that, and I think focusing my efforts on the moderator side of things is more important anyway.
Therefore, being a mod would allow me to gain the extra tools I would get at 10k and 20k rep to continue helping the site along. In addition to this being a mod also gives access to an exclusive extra set of tools. Furthermore, having the diamond attached to all of your posts gives them extra weight and users will take you that little bit more seriously.