I apologize in advance for the length of my responses. In my mission to eliminate ambiguity, I am something of a (some say overly) verbose author!
Our answer rate is currently at 78%. Do you think moderators can and should do more than average users to improve that? If, so: how? If not: why not?
Rather than an obligation that moderators should do more than average users to improve our answer rate, I am inclined to think that moderators desire to improve our answer rate more than average users as a result of their relationship with, and investment in our community. I believe that of their own accord and internal drive (as opposed to external expectations or guidelines), moderators can and will use the full range of their privileges more thoroughly and more frequently than the average user to this end. Efficiently moderating our questions and answers is after all just as important to our answer rate as the answers themselves. What a moderator should do is lead by example, and encourage "average users" to do the same.
In case you already have more than 10k rep and thus access to moderator tools, why do you strive to be an elected moderator? What do you expect from being elected compared to just being able to do what moderators do?
Not applicable. But if I were, I would seek to open a Catvertising Agency on the merit of my newfound status in the interest of keeping kaiser's stress levels down. Also I would simply like to be surrounded with felines - some of my favorite people are cats.
How many hours a week do you plan to devote to moderation if elected? How does that compare to how many hours a week you currently spend active on this site? Please explain any differences in those numbers.
Currently I spend a great deal of time on the site (in excess of 30 hours/week), if only in the chatroom. While I am not terribly active in other regards to our community at present, I have recently begun forming trends in my behaviors achieving a greater level of organization than I have ever before (we're talking color-coded budgets and auto-sorting inboxes, here!).
With our without acquiring the position of an elected moderator I will be aiming to devote a bare minimum of 10 hours a week to answering and meta-tasks. If elected, in understanding the gravity and import of my new position, I will be striving more towards 15-20 hours per week (something akin to a part-time job, as I mentioned in my omnomnomination) at the sacrifice of side-projects. In a year I will be returning to college to finish my Computer Science degree, but even then I will guarantee ten devoted hours per week.
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 I would attempt to resolve the disputes in the comments themselves - hopefully after a few instances the user would learn the err of their wicked ways and repent. Failing that, I would take the user aside in a private chatroom or email conversation and do my best to convey how and why their commenting behavior was inappropriate without attacking the user or criticizing them for it - in seeking to sympathize with the user I would hope that we may more effectively find common ground and an acceptable resolution. Failing that I would turn towards our other moderator staff seeking advice on the situation, as I am not presently aware of what additional courses of action exist, nor their appropriateness.
How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
First and foremost I would open a private chat and seek to comprehend their stance on the matter before debating or arguing about it. I think it best that the moderation staff appear decently unified in their approach (though a variety of viewpoints within the mod staff is definitely desirable for the sake of a broader collective perspective), and as such would refrain from broaching the matter within the comments unless a healthy, unheated conversation on the matter was already being conducted there. Either between the two of us or the mod team as a whole, I would hope that we could come to common consensus on the appropriate course of action to take with the question.
What is your view about the relevance of questions about the implementation of specific plugins, such as WooCommerce?
I am not overly fond of such questions, but I mean, Woo you gonna call? GhostToastBusters?
By and far I believe that plugin developers should be responsible for their own support - this goes doubly or even triply for commercial developers like Woo. We're a community dedicated to an open-source project - it's one thing to provide support for open-source plugins, but to provide support for commercial code very nearly seems to counter our mission, and serves as a great threat to our answer rate.
If an open-source plugin developer would like to use WPSE as the official avenue of support and they themselves commit to answering the questions that arise on our site regarding their plugins, I could get behind that.
But providing a location for a free alternative to Woo's commercial support is not something that I believe to be our responsibility. We're meant to cater to the WordPress-project community, not Woo's limited customer-base. In the words of Hunter S. Thompson, "Buy the ticket, take the ride" - if you purchase a Woo product you should be prepared to pay for Woo support.
In any scenario, regardless of my personal feelings on the topic, if the community decides otherwise I will maintain and stand behind their decision. It is not my place to dictate our position on such matters - I will be a part of the decision process, but as a moderator my first responsibility is to uphold and enforce the decisions made by our collective community.
What is your frustration avoidance process.
I approach situations slowly and try not to dive in to any issue without first understanding any opposing viewpoints. Failing that, I turn to the reactive and run off of a mountain (with a paragliding wing), or rain fire down on my enemies (as a helicopter pilot in Battlefield 4).
In your opinion, what do moderators do?
Moderators are the people responsible for facilitating smooth communication within the site and steering straying community members towards adhering to our site's guidelines and rules of conduct. They are our community's shepherds (or sheep-dogs when things get frantic).
Moderators lead the community's conduct by example. They additionally fill the roles of various ambassadors - ambassadors between our community and the world, and our community and the StackExchange network (and network staff).
As a blanket summary, moderators are here to improve upon the quality of our community however possible. As well as their routine meta-tasks, they must adapt to emerging situations in a manner that best benefits our community, in whatever scope those situations arise (on the site, on the meta-site, within the meta-meta-site [I think that would the SE network]).
A diamond will be attached to everything you say and have said in the past, including questions, answers and comments. Everything you will do will be seen under a different light. How do you feel about that?
I believe it drives home the gravity of the position - the diamond serves as a badge recognizing our invested ambassadors. Acquiring it should see that a user acts less in the interests of personal opinion and more in striving to reflect the collective opinion of our community.
As a moderator, I do not believe I should be worried about accurateness or cleanliness of my previous questions and answers (though I would nonetheless seek to ensure that they were all high-quality and on-topic in striving to lead by example) - it is not a moderator's job to be the most knowledgeable about or subject - moderators are just as prone to error or ignorance as any other user.
More importantly would be the reflection of my conduct. I do not believe that I have ever acted in great discord with the guidelines for our community, and as such do not fear my previous actions reflecting poorly on our community or the greater StackExchange network. But as ambassadors, a moderator's conduct holds added weight, and should be regarded carefully before committing to action. As I implied in previous answers, I would strive to reflect our community rather than myself wherever possible and practical.