Do you feel that Photography SE should be primarily about photography that is concerned with producing photos with artistic, historical, or documentary value as the end goal of using photographic equipment, or are you open to allowing questions about using cameras as measurement devices or for machine vision where the end goal is not to produce a photograph for the sake of producing a photograph to dominate the discussion?
Yes to the first part — in my opinion Photography SE should remain primarily about the creation, production, history, and appreciation of the types of photography that produces what we commonly think of as "photos". I believe that using cameras as machine vision and measurement devices should remain largely off-topic. However, much like the topicality of video-related questions, I think those questions should be subject to the caveat of being relevant to still photography. That is, there are some questions whose ultimate goal is machine vision or measurement, but whose specific question is about lens fundamentals, sensor size, crop factor, etc. Those questions are possibly on-topic, and if so, they shouldn't be closed as such. Likely, they tend to be duplicates of our already existing questions in those subjects, and we should maintain our best efforts to find relevant and duplicate questions and address them as such.
Having said that, if there is an overwhelming and consistent desire from the Photo-SE community to broaden the boundaries of topicality, as a moderator I would follow the community wishes. My personal opinion and preference might differ, and I would voice my opinion in Meta discussions regarding topicality of such questions, but in the end, it's the voice of the community that matters, not mine, and it's the moderators' jobs to help that voice project as clearly and as unambiguously as possible.
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?
Assuming we're talking about generally non-constructive arguments, I would talk to the user in chat and let them know they are generating a lot of flag complaints or that their method of argument isn't productive. I would go over the Stack Exchange Code of Conduct with them, and point out areas where their behavior is violating the CoC.
In cases of severe disruptive or unconstructive behavior, I would consult with the other mods, and suggest account suspension for an appropriate peiod of time. In these cases, I'm strongly in favor of the moderation team acting in concert.
How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
Again, I'm strongly in favor of the mods work together as a team. If I felt the close/delete reason was arguable but probably had good reason, I would first chat with the mod I disagreed with, present my opinion, and listen to theirs. If neither of our opinions were swayed by the other, I would ask the other mod(s) to weigh in.
It is possible, although I assume very rarely, that a situation would arise when I felt the close/delete reason was completely uncalled for. In that case, assuming I was unable to raise the issue with the mod I disagreed with in a very short time, and assuming I felt the danger of leaving the decision stand would cause more community harm, I would undo the action (if possible), and discuss both the close reason and my contradictory action with the mod in chat as soon as possible. While I doubt this will come up, I have to acknowledge and be prepared for the possibility.
But in general, I believe it is very important for the mods to work together, and present a fair and unified stance as much as possible.
In your opinion, what do moderators do?
Mostly, cleanup, flag handling, converting non-answers to comments, and the like behind the scenes. Of course there are cases where mods have to intervene to bring arguments to a close, move them to chat, etc.
Most importantly, moderators help the community achieve the goal of producing high quality questions and answers about photography with minimal cruft. Anything that gets in the way of that goal needs to be reduced or eliminated. This is primarily not performed by moderators, it's done by the community and the review queues. The moderators are here to handle the cases that fall between the cracks, and to support and help the community guide itself as much as possible.
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 am confident that my past posts and interactions would stand to scrutiny, and not diminish or be diminished by the diamond. I have been in elected positions in other communities, and have always kept focus that by default, my words and actions reflect on the community I was elected to moderate. In cases where I am speaking strictly personal, I have always taken care to make sure that those words were my own only. I would continue to maintain that responsibility and awareness of perception as a moderator here.
In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep?
Equal parts, tools and perception. The tools available, such as moving discussions to chat, converting non-answers to comments, help keep the site from crufting up. It's very much like keeping up with low-effort but frequent cleaning and pickup up clutter at home, a lab at work, your desk, etc. The improved "curb appeal" leads to high property values, a clearer place to perform work, less distraction from the goal you're trying to achieve, etc. So the tools available to mods help them pave the way for the community to better ask and answer great questions about photography.
The perception I mentioned, very much following the previous question, is a tool as well. People tend to be less argumentative towards diamond mods than towards other contributors who are similarly committed to community self-guidance. Thus, even a comment by a mod asking people to keep a comment chain from diverging off topic can be a tool to keep the site workinig smoother, and guide the collective action towards effective Q&A moderation and creation.
Assuming there is a decrease in participation in high-rep/long-term Photo-SE contributors, what is your opinion on the balance between accommodating low-quality or slightly off-topic questions but possibly attracting more users, versus maintaining high standards for quality on-topic questions but possibly driving away those new users?
Anything regarding "balance" is always difficult, subject to edge cases, and is fluid. However, on the balance, I believe we should maintain high standards for quality on-topic questions, without consideration or regards about attracting users. By that, I mean that the issue of attracting users should be separate from the topicality and quality standards of our questions.
Thus the moderator's role here is to help clarify the boundaries of topicality where possible, and gently but consistently help the reviewers maintain those boundaries.
This follow-up question to the last question was asked during the initial question collection phase:
Additionally, what is your tolerance level for endless repetition of new questions that are fairly clearly duplicates of existing questions, sometimes multiples of duplicate questions that cover the same ground?
Fairly low. I think they are a code smell, and produce an opportunity to identify a more generic question (or create one) that can encapsulate the dupes to provide a canonical answer. Sometimes that will be possible, maybe with "How can I connect [specific camera model] to wifi?". In some of those classes of multiple dupes, the original non-dupe is quite old and hasn't seen attention in years. Personally, for most of those I'd prefer a newer question be written and answered, and close the old question as a dupe of the newer generic one. For instance, questions about 10 year-old point-and-shoot cameras and their wifi capabilities shouldn't be the base question to point duplicates to — it doesn't help Photography SE appear to be kept up-to-date or relevant.
It's very much a case-by-case basis. But generally, I'm in favor of actively identifying clear duplicates and closing them as such. If the asker of the new question is engaged enough to edit their question and/or make the case that their question is different enough not to be a duplicate, then that's a win/win for the community: a better question, and an engaged user.