I'm Zizouz212! Here are my answers to your questions. Good luck to all candidates!
- 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?
The first step would be to look at the comments, and ask a few questions. Are they provoking? Are they argumentative? Are they slightly harassing? Of course, this needs to be seen in context. If the comments appear to be louder, it may be because they've received comments that are loud as well. Whatever the case, the decision needs to be made whether the behaviour (in comments) is appropriate.
If it's inappropriate, then it may be worth sending out a mod message (without suspension) reminding the user to abide by our Be Nice Policy. This allows you to communicate respectfully with the user, and through experience, it may allow you to understand the situation better as well. It's important to be constructive, and to make sure that the conversation is constructive, and that there is a sense of understanding among the user, and the moderation team.
If that doesn't work, then we may have to move into temporary timed suspensions, to allow the user to cool off. I should also point out that whether the user produces a number of answers or not isn't really that relevant: just because a user has 100 reputation doesn't mean we move into immediate suspension.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
Communication is key.
Moderators are also humans. Humans will always disagree with each other. If someone closed a question that I feel shouldn't have been closed, than raise it in chat. Have a constructive discussion, and hear viewpoints. From there, we can grow and move on. If we feel that it's a good discussion for the community, we can even take it to Meta. Even if we don't agree in the end, it's nothing to be sour about: life is full of disagreements.
- Many questions asked on LSE seem to actually request personally-applicable legal advice ("can I sue X for Y?", "Is this contract condition okay?", "Can I legally Z?", "Is W fair use?"). Are such questions problematic, and how should they be dealt with?
Currently, such questions are off-topic. We often seen them closed as "asking for specific legal advice." This is what we've so far chosen as a community. We're free to change at any time, but again, this is what we have chosen as a community, and I respect that decision.
In case the question was asking about how I personally feel, I would say that it's more of a case-by-case thing. I like the information Andrew outlined in this meta post, in particular the distinction between "legal advice" and "legal information." For many legal advice questions, we often don't get enough information, especially if they seem very specific.
- It is possible that the voting at this site (especially for Hot Questions) isn't driven by expert review, but rather, popular opinion. Do you think this is happening? If so, is it a problem? Would there be any way for moderators to help in the case where a Hot Question attracts a lot of non-expert votes for an incorrect answer?
I think this is happening, but next we have to see if it's a problem. We see questions about whether catching a Pokemon is theft with 31 votes, which is arguably more of a basic question, that doesn't involve specific legal expertise to answer. Meanwhile, questions such as Subpoena vs Motion to Compel (with two votes) or (fine, I'm biased) Are volunteer organizations considered a social area under the Ontario Human Rights Code? (with one vote) require more legal experience, and awareness with case law that forms.
Many of these questions get traffic due to their placement with the Hot Network Questions, and then displayed on all Stack Exchange sites. The higher attention will lead to more views, and more votes. So yes, it definitely is happening.
But is it a problem? Is there a solution to such a problem?
I think it definitely is a problem. Comprehensive, expert-like questions and answers, in most cases, ultimately get overshadowed by other questions.
As for a solution, there's not much that the moderator role would effectively be able to do. We cannot view votes made by individual users, nor can we invalidate them. Ultimately, there's no way to stop this. However, we can work harder to support questions and answers of great quality by using votes of our own. This is something that we would need to work on as a community - using our votes. And yes, I'm just as guilty of not using my votes too (that's something to improve on!).
- Considering that there is a very large amount of traffic by new users, and all, I think this would be a good fit: A new user is in disagreement with another user (or moderator) that their question has been closed for "seeking legal advice." How would you approach and react to the situation?
In many cases, it may just be people talking past each other, and not completely understanding. Sometimes, just a little bit of clarification with references is needed. If the question is off-topic, collaboration and communication will help get a question reopened (if possible).
However, if there is real disagreement, and potential room for controversy over the question closure (e.g. we've never experienced these questions before), then it's a good opportunity to get full community input on Meta.
- In your opinion, what do moderators do?
In my opinion? We're birds that fly around the site. We keep a watchful eye over everything. We're monkeys that have guns in their hands. Wait what?
But really, our role is to just be another user. While yes, we do lead the community, and recommend options based on experience and knowledge, there isn't much more to it. While handling flags is only one aspect of the job, we take care of meta, chat, as well as the main portion of the site, and ensure that everything is in line.
- What do you believe moderators should do?
This is a surprisingly difficult question (especially when coupled with the question above).
There are numerous resources scattered throughout the network that outline what we should, can, and cannot be doing. The most prominent that come to mind are the Moderator Agreements, and A Theory of Moderation. There's also this help page in the Help Centre: Who are the site moderators, and what is their role here?.
As a person in a position elected by the community, moderators should be taking a leadership role in their community, while also creating a community environment where everyone is welcomed and respected. It should be simple.
- Specialized expertise helps to ferret out what's important, and thus what might be salvageable, in questions that are up for action. What legal jurisdiction/tradition are you most comfortable with?
Being in Canada, I'm most familiar with Canadian law, which follows a common law tradition (We follow a civil law tradition in Quebec), stemming from the United Kingdom, and having many parallels with American and Australian legal systems.
However, I want to make two things known:
I don't have expert experience
I'm still a high school student, and while I have an interest in law, I most definitely do not know everything. I do know a fair bit of copyright and criminal law, and a little bit of constitutional, environmental, and international law. I've also participated in mock trials in the province's (Ontario's) Superior Court, among other students.
How this relates to a moderator role
This will, without a doubt, affect every moderator's role. However, does a moderator need to be very well versed about all law? While it may be helpful in moderating, I certainly don't think it's required. This will play a bigger role in answers, as we need to recognize answers that are of low-quality. The moderator role doesn't bring the responsibility that we judge the validity and accuracy of answers. When in doubt, ask in chat!
- What should be our policy on citing and having sources in answers? What is our current policy? How should such a policy be enforced on the site?
We've got two major meta posts on this: Answers without references and Do answers need to reference written laws or court cases?
So far, answers are encouraged, but are not required, to have references and citations. In general, answers should cite law from a government website, or case judgments from authoritative places (for Canadian cases, an authoritative resource would be CanLII).
If something should be reasoned, or is completely incorrect, then a comment should be left on the answer, with an accompanying down vote if you wish to provide one.
- There are alternative views on law that suggest that one may essentially opt out of the legal system (sometimes known as a common law defence). How do you believe they should be handled on this site?
The answer is incorrect. We even have this question that says so.
But within the moderator role, we don't judge the accuracy of answers. So, in acting within our realm as a user, we can down vote the answer, and leave a comment explaining that this answer is wrong (optionally with the correct answer, or a link to the above question stating that the answer is wrong).
Welcome to the dark side... >:D
Whew! We're done! If you would like to add a comment, or question (such as a request to elaborate), please let me know in the comments, and I'll do my best to help! :)
Once again, good luck to all the candidates! :)