The elected Moderators on Skeptics have been accused on many occasions of over moderation, what steps would you take to increase the level of community moderation?
To increase community moderation I will avoid using mod tools unilaterally as much as possible. Five close votes is not a hard bar to reach in most cases, so I will strive to treat my own moderator close vote as worth 2-3 regular votes, rather than all 5. For example, if I believe a question is just a troll or otherwise made in bad faith, I will wait to use any moderator tools until the community indicates that they feel the same via at least some downvotes, close votes, or flags.
However, I believe accusations of over-moderation are completely unavoidable due to the strong opinions that a site like Skeptics tends to attract, and the best a mod can do is avoid the perception of over-moderation by staying by-the-book in regards to moderator guidelines.
There are a raft of policies on Skeptics.SE that often prove a challenge for new users. Are there any of these rules you would like to see the community change? Are there any of these rules that you feel you would not be able to enforce as a moderator?
When you boil it down, the core rules for Skeptics can be written in one sentence: Have a claim that is notable and can be answered without speculation. For new users, rule explanations should start this simple, and build up as needed. These rules are fairly easy to enforce, and there is no particular rule I'd like to see changed.
However the written rules/explanations/citations in the help center and meta could probably be consolidated and simplified to be a bit clearer. Simple rules create a situation where enforcement is easy and rule breakers are obvious, complex rules create a situation where you're trying to fix a leaking dam one finger at a time.
Skeptics has a high ratio of post deletion when compared to other SE sites. Is this a natural result of the site topic, or can/should certain things be done differently?
To put it nicely: Skeptics attracts a lot passionately opinionated people.
Flame wars in the comments, political rants thinly veiled as questions, one-sentence answers insulting the questioner... all of this is unavoidable, and the best a moderator can do is try to curtail bad faith posts before tensions get too hot.
Community participation on skeptics meta is quite light, what would you do to improve community participation in meta discussions?
Low activity on Meta may mean that users don't need to ask questions there to learn how the site works. However, it's more likely that a lot of users simply don't know that's what Meta is for.
Whenever a user has a question about the site, a rule, is confused by something, etc., in addition to providing them with a link to a relevant question on Meta, I will also simply explain what Meta is.
What is the most important issue facing the site's future success today? What do you plan to do about it as a moderator?
The most important issues for Skeptics is the same as for many of the sites on Stack Exchange: attracting more users, attracting more questions, providing high quality questions and answers, ...
However, moderators cannot really affect most of that. The best a moderator can do is encourage a healthy community by identifying bad actors before they cause too much disruption.
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?
Comments have a specific purpose: to discuss how to make a question or answer better.
If a user is making provocative, off-topic, or otherwise disruptive comments, I will either move them to a chat or delete them. If they continually make comments in a way that breaks specific rules and show no sign of changing their behavior, I will apply bans according to moderator guidelines.
How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
If another mod uses their tools in a way I disagree with, I'll ask them directly to understand their reasoning behind it, and ideally we can come to an agreement about what to do going forward.
However, all mods have equal power and responsibility, so if we can't come to an agreement I will leave things as-is. If I disagree with a unilateral action, it would be hypocritical to do a unilateral reversal that they disagree with.
How do you feel about the Hot Network Questions effect?
On the one hand, it's a good way to bring new users to Skeptics who otherwise wouldn't know such a site exists (for example, it's how I found it), helping the site in the long-term.
One the other hand, it attracts a large number of people who don't know the rules of Skeptics/Stack Exchange, bad actors, and opinionated people who want to discuss a topic, all of which hurts the site in the short-term.
Overall, with active moderators the benefits outweigh the costs.
When should comments be deleted and when should they remain?
As I said in question 6, comments have a specific purpose: to discuss how to make a question or answer better.
If comments are suggesting edits to a post, offer sources or information to improve quality, or otherwise are attempting to adjust the post itself, they should remain.
If comments are discussing the merits of a topic, veer off into topics unrelated to the post, or otherwise aren't dealing with the post itself, they should be moved to chat or deleted.
How do you balance a skeptic's need to reveal the truth with the simple fact-checking nature of this Q&A site?
It's unavoidable that some topics need paragraphs of background, either to provide necessary context or prevent it from being twisted way from what the author meant. It's also unavoidable that even if such context is provided, many will not read past the first 'yes/no' they see.
The best we can do is try to provide clear answers to clear questions for the users who only care about a 'yes or no', and give required context as succinctly as possible to users who want or need to know more.
Questions can be closed (and opened) either by moderators, or by the community. Under what circumstances is it beneficial to let the closure process be done by the community, and when is it better for moderators to do it?
As I said in question 1, I will tend to treat my open/close vote as 2-3 votes rather than all 5 needed to open or close a question, and will avoid taking unilateral action as much as possible.
However, if a question is generating a lot of controversy, edit wars, breaking some rule despite warnings, or is very clearly being made in bad faith, I will err on the side of caution and reign things in before they get out of hand.