I've taken over from Josh as pro-tem mod and I am honored to join the mod team.
However, the downside of this is that now I am a mod, I can't participate in the voting process any longer, so you have just lost yourself an active community voter. The number of users that can, or will actively close-vote is rather small and in the past I've noticed that quite frequently relatively poor questions stayed up after having received 3 or 4 close votes. Before joining the mod team I have flagged questions that received 3 or more close-votes and the mod team would review my flag and then decide whether a mod-closure was warranted.
Some background - mods can cast votes, but they are binding. For instance, if a mod 'votes' to close, it's not actually a vote; it's a hammer counting as 5 community-based votes. Therefore, mod-closing posts is, basically, a breach in the democratic design of the SE network. This is why I am hesitant to place any vote as a mod. However, on a small site like this it may be necessary that mods step in to aid in the closure process. I have been doing so already, as you might have noticed, barred 3 or more votes were in already. I don't like it, but I think it is necessary.
- I would urge users to keep a keen eye and if they suspect a poor question should be closed, and has received 3 or 4 close-votes but is left hanging in the air at that point, please flag the question and point out that it has received 3 or 4 votes, and why you think it is a question below this site's standards.
- I'm here for you. If all this is not to your liking and users feel mods should stay out of this, please let me know.
For now I will be actively following the closure process, and step in when 3 or 4 votes are in and when I am of the opinion the post is below standard. But it does take a lot of time to repeatedly follow-up on questions to see what is happening and I would appreciate to see flags.
Why all this fuzz? One goal I have is to get this site out of beta. Our %answered statistic according to the site stats in Area51 is, and has been for a long time below the set goal of 90%. One looming problem is Garbage Valley, but to subdue that takes a lot of effort. I have invested quite some time in hunting down poor, old & dusted, unanswered questions and attempting to get them closed. Personally, I think it would be good if other users would pick up on this, but for now re-vamping the CogSci site is probably more important. Anyway - what we can try to accomplish is not to allow Garbage Valley to gain grounds. Because this site tends to attract many new users, and relatively many poorly researched and opinion-based questions, I think we need to stay vigilant and attempt to:
- Help new users to ask proper questions within this site's conventions by placing comments and guiding them to the help center;
- But also place close votes quickly; questions are put on hold first and can always be re-opened - it's not the end of the world. However, once poor questions remain open, and become dusted and forgotten, they are notoriously hard to get rid off. Unanswered questions reduce the %answered criterion and hence quick voting is important.
Please let me know if you have any thoughts. I just wish to mod in a transparent, open fashion and I am totally open for ideas, suggestions and critiques.