Hi I'm Midavalo and I'm nominating myself for moderator on Travel Stack Exchange. I am married with 4 kids (3 teens, 1 younger). I grew up in New Zealand, but now live with my family in Mexico where we work as volunteers in the local communities and orphanages, mostly (since Covid hit) in trying to meet food and housing need by raising funds to distribute food into vulnerable communities and orphanages, as well as working with a non-profit organisation to build houses that are gifted to families in need.
I believe I would make a good moderator here as I am fair and patient, willing to pay attention to what is going on and lend an understanding ear to the users. I can be firm and decisive if needed, while also working with the user community to allow the community to self regulate through voting, open/close queues, and flags etc. I am a moderator on GIS Stack Exchange, and have been for 5 years, so am familiar with the moderation needs and the tools available. I do not believe my existing moderator role nor my actual day to day work will interfere with any responsibility I have here at Travel SE.
- 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?
Sometimes users (even regular valuable contributors) need reminding that there are people on the receiving end of their comments, and that while contribution here can seem anonymous there is still a need to be nice and to talk with respect even when they may not agree. Depending on the need and the frequency this could be done through polite comments to the users involved, through moderation tools such as locking comments for a period, or if serious enough the user in question could be contacted directly. In the past I have found that often a polite comment to all is enough for people to take a moment to consider their responses.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc. a question that you feel shouldn’t have been?
As with the wider community and their open and close votes, I am not the be-all and end-all of decision making, and my decisions won't always line up with others. If the wider community agrees with me then perhaps they'll swing enough reopen votes on the close post, or if needed I can contact the other mod through chat to discuss. Maybe there's something they thought of that I hadn't considered, or maybe I have a comment that they didn't think of. Polite discussion is better than a back-and-forth moderation battle.
- What is your opinion on how strict close-voting should be in Travel.SE? As a mod, would you try to carve out a very strict definition of what "Travel" is or be open minded and allow as many travel-tangential questions as possible?
That would depend on the question and how it relates to discussions already had about various topics in Meta. I would often leave it for the community to vote to close (or not), and step in if I feel there needs to be extra moderation. The moderator doesn't own and control the rules to Travel SE, rather they are there to step in when required. Sometimes a rapid response is required to remove things that are not appropriate, and other times it's more appropriate to stand back for a time to see where the community is leaning.
- Could you give up to three examples of your posts on meta which illustrate your moderating style?
Example 1 - I'm happy to give my opinion (but that opinion isn't always right), and I'm happy to enter in a discussion or have my point of view out voted. That's what the community is about.
Example 2 - I'm willing to do a bit of research, or teach others how to use the site if they're unsure about something. Rather than belittling someone for not knowing, instead help them learn for the betterment of the site.
Example 3 - I'm all for letting the community have some fun, and not be all about the rules, and I'll get involved in that fun too! I think the monthly Photos competition is a great way to encourage user involvement even for those that don't feel they are in a position to contribute much to the actual answering of travel questions.
- There have been a number of meta discussions about questions under the tags identify-this and where-on-earth and their suitability for the site. As there's no clear consensus, the fate of such questions (remaining open vs. being closed vs. being closed then reopened ad nauseam) often seems to be almost entirely down to chance. Would you be willing to define a clear policy towards such questions? If so, how would you go about defining the policy?
There would need to be consideration as to whether each post has a Travel benefit or not. Some may only be of interest to the asker, but others may be for a point of interest to many travelers, especially when it comes to historic places. "Where was my friend standing when he took this random photo some place in Europe" is quite different to "Where exactly in Japan is this building where some historic event took place back 100 years ago" - and there are plenty in between the two.
- Unfortunately, at some point people will call you names, accuse you of colluding, being biased or other such insults. It just happens. How would you deal with this?
Most of the time it just needs to be ignored. There's a lot more important things to deal with, and often the user may have some other external issues going on causing them frustration and they just needed to "vent". Tidying up comments (or asking other moderators to if needed), and a polite reminder to play nice, but other than that never take it personal. Nobody actually knows me, and I don't know them nor what's going on behind the scenes.
- What's your view on list questions? Here's a Travel Meta link and a Main Meta link for background. Do you think Travel.SE should be more or less accommodating to these kinds of questions?
Regarding travel, even the most straight-foward of question could end up actually unintentionally being a list question, and these should be allowed. Those questions that straight-out ask for a list of things should be considered on their merit, but I would probably lean towards closing if there's no real travel benefit. With Travel I believe there is the potential for seeing more benefit in these types of questions than on some other SE sites, but each would have to be considered as they are asked.
- In which timezone are you located - or at least located most of the time? Our website receives traffic/flags from all corners of the world so it's important to have timezone coverage.
I am mostly in Mexico Baja timezone (same as US Pacific time), or UTC -7 currently.
- What actions do you plan to take for users performing serial and/or targetted downvoting?
When I spot serial/targeted downvoting (or sock-puppet voting) I would discuss with other moderators, to determine whether there is consensus on the voting, and consider contacting the voter(s) in question to highlight that we believe there is targeted voting and what the SE rules are regarding that, basically asking them to stop. If this continues then a suspension or a ban may be required. The votes may also need to be reversed by SE.
- In your opinion, what do moderators do?
Moderators are here to keep the peace, not to enforce rules. They allow the community to self-moderate, and step in when needed. Mods are for firm or final decisions, but don't need to be heavy-handed in their approach. Mods can be valuable in keeping Q&As tidy, comments respectful and the community happy. Mods are not staff, but are volunteers, much the same as any other regular contributor to the site.