I am Phillip Jackson
- What is your opinion of the role of the Magento StackExchange in relation to third-party extensions--both free and commercial?
The power of Magento is found it its extendability, and therefore, by the community of extensions and extension providers that have grown up around it.
That being said, the community is way too vast to allow support of all modules. My stance is, and has been, that only the largest of the 3rd party modules and themes could ever have a place here on SE. "How do I" questions that are specific to 3rd party products - whether free or commercial - are too diverse to support, and therefore too difficult for us to create a supportive community around.
- Moderators have a decisive vote when it comes to closing questions, opening questions, validating edits. This means a moderator can close a question without the need for other 4 votes. What's your view on that? Does it change anything, does it make you pay more attention to what you are reviewing? or it doesn't make a difference?
I believe that a moderator should be a proactive vote in two distinct cases:
- When the 4th vote is difficult to get support for
- When there is an obvious violation of the community guidelines
In all other cases the mods should be slow to police. I don't like moderator styles that are heavily involved where they are creating the community THEY want, they should be enforcing the community that the COMMUNITY wants to create.
- Do you think you can/should help keeping the answered question rate high as a moderator? If yes, how would you do that?
Moderators should be knowledgable enough to answer questions on their own, and should have a steady answer rate. Closing old, abandoned, drive-by, or unanswerable questions should be the larger part of the moderator job.
All of those activities have a positive contribution to raising the answer ratio.
- 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?
Divisiveness is not welcome in our community, or in most FLOSS communites (unless your name ends in Torvalds) ... so it should be our goal to try to persuade those people into behaving in a more favorable manner.
Warnings should be issued and user given ample chance to reform. If after repeated offense and ample warning we should ban for some time.
It should be all of our goal - not just a moderator's goal - to create a welcoming community for people of all skill levels.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
We should discuss openly in Meta. There are few things that should be done in closed doors unless there is the opportunity for a potential rift to form. Part of our philosophy in FLOSS communities should be for us to have participation take place in the open so we can be held accountable and others can weigh in.
Moderators may have the final say, but moderators' deliberation does not have to be a secretive process. I prefer openness and transparency to secrecy.
- Moderators frequently have to deal with content from user new to Magento and to StackExchange. What will you regularly do as a moderator with regards to these users?
My initial approach to new users is and always has been to be gracious to them. If something is clearly off topic or likely to be closed, I will oblige them with an answer while warning them of the infraction.
Again, we should treat others how we expect to be treated. We should provide answers while gently pointing toward the desired behavior.
I will continue to provide new users with guidance and give them the help they need while encouraging them to follow our community guidelines and Q&A format.
- How would you react with users who shamelessly posted stupid question/doing this job for me type of question. How would you react with those users?
"Stupid Question" is probably a bad start. By labelling a question as "stupid" we're elevating ourselves above other users. Let's not forget that we were all right back there at that skill level at some point. Blatantly telling someone how "obvious" their answer should be is degrading. This is another form of abuse I cannot easily stomach.
For me, I love to point people to resources that have helped me and to tell them how I thought through the problem rather than what the answer is.
I will not do someone's work for them, rather, give them to the tools to do their own work.
- In phase 2 of the graduation, the "trusted user" privilege will be gained at 20K reputation instead of 4k. This means, the number of users that can vote to delete questions and answers with negative score suddenly drops from 23 to 3 and the responsibility to decide about deletion is shifted more towards the moderators (at least for some time). How do you feel about this responsibility and what's your policy on deleting posts?
I like this policy very much. I often see ganging up on this small SE site where I feel people see someone noteworthy mark for deletion and jump on the bandwagon.
Bandwagoning will inherently be difficult when the bar is set so high.
As time goes on and the site matures we'll have more people grow up into this role. Until then I'm happy to have Mod discussions for close/delete/reopen in the open.
- Moderators have several tools at their disposal to educate users and to ensure the quality of content. How would you rank the various activities of moderators?
Most importantly: encourage participation. That is the main goal. Note that I didn't say curb behavior - this is not the goal of a Mod. The goal of a Mod should be to teach correct behaviors; not just to punish bad ones.
All other goals are secondary.
Another ancillary goal should be to further and promote our platform by celebrating its usefulness. Therefore a Mod on Magento.SE should be someone who is actively helping to build communities. This should not be someone who is overly critical of Magento or eBay or anything else relate to Magento as a business. We should be cheerleaders of the success of this platform and those who use it.
- What do you believe is your most important role as a moderator specifically for this exchange - in your personal opinion and from a community perspective?
My role here to date has been to provide authoritative, long form answers, that help people solve real-world problems.
Along the way I've encountered interpersonal challenges and have strived to make friends and build relationships with those people. I have been very successful in that arena.
I believe that is what it takes to be a good moderator. To be someone who has the ability to deliver authoritative advice (so as to be respected) but who is interested in developing community; not just trying to hit an answer rate goal.
I know most of the people in the running and I personally believe that any one of them would make for excellent moderators.
Cheers to you all - and congratulations for our graduation of the Beta!