Answers by Yves (M’vy)
Do you have any pre-existing conflicts or points of tension with community managers or other moderators? This question draws rationale from this Meta Server Fault thread: Abrupt change in moderation staff
I personally don’t have any grudge against any current moderator (on security or other stacks). Our moderators are doing a very good job. To my knowledge, no moderator raised any concerns about me either.
What do you think Sec.SE's biggest challenge is? (E.g. question/answer quality/quantity, too many/few closures, too many/few questions of a certain type, bad tools/guidance, …) What do you think should be done about this (whether as a moderator, or by other users, or by Stack Exchange staff or anyone relevant)?
To my opinion, the biggest challenge would be consolidation of our knowledge. There are now a lot of questions, lot of good ones with as good answers. I think effort should be made to improve the searchability of these questions. Most notably, bring back some kind of FAQ like we used to have, where we gather the most common questions (maybe a different format). Then a lot of tags need cleaning, because they yield improper results, or some questions are missing tags.
The second main thing would be providing better guidance to newcomers. Lot of questions got closed, usually with good reasons, but users are left without any comments. Most of the closed questions (even duplicates sometimes) are opportunities to make better questions, new users are not usually motivated to do it when they see their question downvoted and closed fast.
As a matter of fact, I would be happy to work and help on other projects/propositions the community (or even current moderators) would want to.
There are several proposals for new Stack Exchange sites that would overlap to a debatable extent with this one, in particular: HackOverflow, HackExchange (clearly a duplicate of HackOverflow), and in a different vein Privacy. What do you think of these proposals? Do they reflect different topics that merely overlap? Does their existence betray a lack from Sec.SE's part?
I don’t think of area51 as any threat nor a lack of our community. If our scope was to evolve, it’s up to the community here. We have done it in the past. And if the proposals finds their way into private or even public beta, well good for them. The procedure of growing and graduating are working really well. If these proposals comes as new fully fledged site, it would be because they have their own community and a good scope as well. And topic overlap has been a fact for many already existing stacks, which are still very healthy. Users define their communities.
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?
Well, the usual trick question of the user that provide good and bad thing to the community. We do want to keep them of course, so if they are also producing bad results this is when moderation is needed. Most of the time, theses cases shall be solved with a discussion with the user. If they already contribute to the community by generating quality content, they would surely be open to improve themselves. If the problem still persists despite all attempts and they have an overall negative contribution, we need to be firm about the bad things and act accordingly.
How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
Well, first I find that our moderators rarely act out of haste here. So the question would probably be closed first. And that case is still eligible for a reopen vote by the community. Bringing a bit of highlight on the question, for example in the chat room, would be the first thing to do. Rory also regularly asks for community review on these questions he thinks has not been given enough credit to and can be improved/reopened. As I said above, closed questions can be opportunities to improve.
Should it happen that the question/answer gets deleted while I don’t agree, well we do have chat rooms (and there are rumours of hidden moderators chat rooms, where they all share these dark secrets). Maybe I will agree to their point, or they will agree to mine. If it's still a point a conflict between mods, a meta post might be appropriate to let the community decide what they think is best.
Do you have prior experience as a moderator, either on Stack Exchange or on an IT Security site?
I had the opportunity to use some of the moderators tools while I was on the private beta of French Language and Usage back in the days. I also had the opportunity to moderate some community like university forum, private forums. I also do moderate a non-profit organisation forum along with our team.
Some have complained that people make close votes too easily. Do you intend to do anything about that?
I did not take a close look to it. But if it’s a point people really complain about, it’s worth exploring. Nothing is set in stone. I can’t tell for sure I would do more, until I know what’s really the problem and the consequences. If I had to guess, what could be done, I am pretty sure that bringing awareness or guiding people (like with a meta post) would be the way to go. After, all closing questions is the right of the community. They can be closed, but they also can be reopened. The self moderation is a keystone of any stacks and it’s not good to impose rules on it. However, warning the community to be cautious and relevant in their votes, reminding them of its role is perfectly fine to me. And again, closed questions are opportunities to improve.
As a moderator on Information Security you will also become a moderator on all of chat.stackexchange.com - which has rooms for most sites (all except Stack Overflow and Meta.StackExchange). A heated discussion is flagged in "The Suspension" chat room which is associated with BridgeBuilding.stackexchange.com - there is swearing and name calling. What do you do?
First thing first: these rooms have dedicated moderators who probably know better than me what is going on. So the thing to do would be to get in touch with them asap. If it becomes obvious they are not here to deal with the situation, I see no problem in stepping in to deal with it myself. Most of the conflict should disappear by asking nicely to behave. If this is not enough, moderators tools are here for these other cases.
One challenge that Sec.SE experiences is that of repetitive questions for which there could be a canonical answer, but for which there often is no single canonical answer posted. Can you suggest a way for us to improve canonical reference handling of FAQs? The primary example might be new users posting obfuscated PHP code that they found in their Wordpress - there are a handful of good answers in the past, all narrowly focused on the code presented within the question that they answered, but rarely describing the principles and tools of de-obfuscation that would make for a useful canonical answer. New questions rarely receive solid canonical efforts because posters know that there are already many answers out there; old excellent answers get lost in the shuffle among so many of the same type of questions. People are going to keep coming with this question, and others like it - we can't pre-educate newcomers all that well. How can we handle it to both meet their needs and lower the repetitive investment of "good enough here and now" answers?
As I said on a previous answer, there is indeed a work to do for these “most common” questions. I don’t have the exact format in mind yet, but the first thing that comes to my mind would be a meta post to reference them. There has been some example of FAQs on some stacks meta that have work correctly.
Another idea would be to start project. We had our blog, for which many provided real good articles, but it’s not been updated since 2014. Maybe having community project could gather our authors to work on this goal and help in having question compiled together to form the canonical posts we are lacking.
A question is flagged: Please delete this question – my boss has seen it and says it contains confidential code – he's freaking out and wants me to remove it, but I can't delete it. The question was asked 3 days before, it has 2 answers, one is accepted. How do you respond? I could imagine this might be particularly pertinent on this Stack, where somebody might post security-sensitive information (e.g. passwords hints/policies, crypto details) and land themselves in hot water.
To start, any author can delete his own question or answer. Even anonymous ones in the right conditions. This leave the question only visible to 10k+ users, meaning 29 persons and 2 bears. So I would say this would rather limit the damage in the first place. Should the user really be incapable of deleting said question, it’s a bit trickier. First, we have no way to be sure the content belongs to the entity. Second, we might not even be able to confirm the identity of the user asking us. So unless it’s seems pretty evident that some law has been broken (like if someone publishes personal information, or credit card number), I would leave that way. In all the case, I think it is wise to refer to higher authority. I am pretty confident that StackExchange has a legal advisers on board that could be contacted by the moderator team for these kind of cases and I think they would prefer to be notified of potential problems that might not be, rather to find a complain at their door.
A good tool to have would be to be able to edit without history, this could be used to “anonymise” the data properly, but I don’t think such tool exists at this time. And maybe our current moderators know of a good way to proceed already.
Thanks for reading me.
Good luck to all candidates.