- How would you delimitate "philosophy" as the subject matter of this site? Is every more or less "deep" thought philosophy or are qualifications in content and/or style necessary in order to make this site work as intended? If so, what would you deem essential?
So far as I understand, it is certainly against the spirit of philosophy to delimit its subject matter in general. I have my reasons regarding this particular assertion, but I don't think that they are going to be much relevant for the specific question at hand, so let's leave it for another day.
Coming back to the specific questions at hand, let me first observe that the question specifically asks about delimiting "philosophy" as the subject matter of this site. It is undoubtedly true that since this site is not a discussion forum, we are forced to make some choices regarding what questions are to be allowed here. It is difficult to give a specific idea of the choices that we are to make because by the very dynamic nature of philosophy, I doubt that that choice can be rigidly maintained.
However, even if for the sake of argument we assume that every more or less "deep" thought is philosophy (keeping the subjectivity of "deep" aside for a moment) if it is not articulated in a clear manner, the "depth" of the thought may be lost. So, if you are here to communicate your "deep" thoughts with your fellow members, communicate them effectively and with the intention of getting an answer. In this case, I don't think I would have any more reservation with the formulation of a question than what is already given in the How to Ask page, unless it is clearly a case which is harmful for the greater good of our site.
The being said, I would like to emphasize one of the most crucial aspects (quoted from How to Ask page) that I would deem essential for an asker,
The answer to your question may not always be the one you wanted, but that doesn’t mean it is wrong. A conclusive answer isn’t always possible. When in doubt, ask people to cite their sources, or to explain how/where they learned something.
If you can't be open to different opinions, in my humble opinion, you are not fit for learning philosophy.
- What problems do you see with the principle mechanisms of a Q&A format like StackExchange aspiring to create a database of knowledge when it comes to philosophy? How would you take them into consideration when moderating?
One problem is that many interesting and really deep philosophical questions doesn't have a clear cut answer and is very much a matter of opinion. But I think that this problem is not such a severe problem because you have chatrooms. So, as a moderator, depending on the question, I may to some extent be flexible even though it is a matter-of-opinion type question but if it generates a very large amount of discussion, I may (and probably will) ask the current and future readers to perform this discussion in chat room.
- How will you go about navigating the fine line between acceptable and unacceptable when it comes to posts reflecting fringe or politically incorrect positions? Please be concrete: what actual steps would you take, if any?
Not being a native speaker of English I don't fully understand here what is meant by fringe. It is also not clear to me whether by "fringe or politically incorrect positions" what among the two is meant (if not anything else). Is it meant to ask "fringe positions or politically incorrect positions" or is it meant to ask "fringe and politically incorrect positions". It is the first then an academic fringe position is perfectly acceptable to me so long as it is backed up by solid logic. Politically incorrect positions are acceptable in an answer so long as they remain a source of academic investigation and so long as they are supported by facts. What is unacceptable to me is to use these opinions to push forward some agenda. To sum up, so long as the situation remains academic interaction, I am fine with it.
Depending on the nature of the situation I will be asking the participants to stop the discussion or to do it in a dedicated chatroom.
- 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?
First tell him/her the situation precisely (i.e., his/her action tends to generate a large number of arguments/flags from comments, which is not good either for him/her as a member of the community and the community itself) and tell him/her to be more careful in future conversation. If he/she doesn't listen then discuss the matter with fellow mods and give him/her a second and final warning. After that suspend him/her.
Admittedly we will miss his/her valuable answers. But writing valuable answers doesn't give you the license to bend the ethical standards of the community.
- How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
I will discuss the reason for the closure/deletetion of the question with him/her privately and if I still feel that the reasons are not justified then I will write a meta post asking for the opinion of the community.
However, if it happens too frequently, the I feel that making a meta post each time will probably not be an optimal option. In that case, I will try to discuss with my fellow site mods regarding this issue and act accordingly.
- How often do you visit the site, and what do you do when you do visit - reviewing, answering questions, asking questions, commenting? Which of these do you think you can contribute the most at?
I visit the site almost every week. When I visit them I usually try to read the posts relevant to my interests. Due to the lack of my formal training in philosophy, I usually refrain from answering questions. I also try to ask questions when I am sure of its quality.
I think I can contribute the most regarding asking questions.
- Consider seeing a question that is too vague, too general or too subjective to answer. Would you flag to close the question immediately, or would you try to help the user revise the question? If you would help the user, how would you go about doing that? Would you edit yourself, would you give advice to the user, etc. Would you act differently if it were a new user/contributer? Please elaborate.
Closing a question immediately due to its being too vague, too general or too subjective is in general not a good idea unless it is from the same user who continue posting this sort of questions despite being repeatedly told earlier.
So, considering that particular case aside for the moment, what I would like to do in the situation is to make the user aware of the problems that I find to be inherent in his/her question and suggest him/her to modify it so that it is answerable (according to our site guidelines). I may also give advice for improvement. I will give the user some time to improve his/her post. If he/she doesn't show any effort to improve the question without any justification, I will be inclined to close the question.
I don't think my action would be much different in case of a new user.
- What do you think is the use of the chat rooms (or, what is your use of the chat), in relation to our Q&A format and our community? Do you use it just to "move discussions to chat" rather than long conversations in comments, or do you see it as a well to expand our way of communication further than Q&A style? Do you visit the chat frequently? Extra - do you think the community's use of the chat rooms could be utilized better than today? Elaborate.
I am largely active in rooms intended for mathematical discussion. Of course, I don't use it just to "move discussions to chat". Currently I am the owner of three chatrooms and I am going to describe their intended purpose so that it will clarify my use of chatrooms,
The room Archive is intended primarily to be a repository of academic materials that I find interesting or important.
The room Philosophy of Mathematics was intended for discussing topics related to Philosophy of Mathematics.
The room General chat with user 170039 is intended for discussing any topics not suitable for the Philosophy of Mathematics room.
I think that the chatrooms play a complementary role to the main site. Under this view I do see its role as expanding our way of communication further than Q&A style.
- Suppose a comment is flagged as "unfriendly or unkind". How would you handle something like that as distinct from a flag for "harassment, bigotry, or abuse"?
It depends on the comment, really. Sometimes I have seen comments which fall under both category, sometimes they fall under none and the user simply overreacts. In any case, if I think that the comment flag is justified then I will simply remove that comment. In case of "harassment, bigotry, or abuse", I would like to remind both the users to be constructive in their discussions. If this continues, stronger steps will be taken.
In any case if any violation of CoC is brought to my notice, I will take action accordingly.
- In your opinion, what do moderators do?
In short, I think that the moderators mainly are responsible for the following things,
To keep the community from falling apart.
To be a place where users can share their concerns about this site easily and act accordingly.
To be a bridge between CM's and non-moderator users.
I think that the above three points nicely summarizes what I need to say and so even though I initially thought about elaborating on them, I am not going to do that now primarily because they will be repetition of essentially same things.