The first thing I would like to say is that, I'm super open to discussion about this, so if you want to talk about my answers, please don't hesitate to ping me in chat. I should respond if I'm not sleeping.
1. A new-ish user posts a well-posed challenge that quickly gets many answers. An hour later, they edit in a restriction that invalidates most of the existing answers. An experienced user whose answer was invalidated comments that doing this is bad, and rolls back the edit. The poster insists on the change and re-adds it, and the two get into an edit war. Someone flags for moderator attention. What would you do in this situation as a moderator?
This... is actually a really good question. As in, shout-out to @xnor for suggesting this.
There's two big cases that come to mind in which this situation might arise. The most realistic case is probably that some math trick / shortcut / builtin made the challenge much easier than the OP anticipated. A second realistic example would be the OP being surprised by golfing languages and deciding he didn't want them (a rule change that's potentially contrary to site policy).
The first thing I should probably do is lock the post due to the edit war, using the special-purpose locking reason. This is probably the most "time-critical" step.
The next thing I would want to do is ask the other mod's opinions, since this is something that I would really want to discuss with the other mods before acting on. Of course, if another mod comes up with a better course of action, then I will go with that and learn from him.
The next step is to find precedent. The meta.CG.SE question When should rule changes count is probably the best, and then other sources like mother-meta's appropriate action when a high-rep user makes a poor edit or what is the etiquette for modifying posts (although I do find those two to be less relevant to CG.SE). The importance of precedent is something I mention more in my next answer.
Okay, so let's say that the mods are discussing a solution (or everyone else is on vacation / not at hand), and it's my turn to come up with an answer. I would try to foster communication between the editor and the OP. It's probably a good idea to move their comments to a chat room, and try to have a discussion with them there.
One thing I would point out to both users was that an edit war was not a proper course of action, and that the proper (as far as I am aware) course of action was to flag for moderator attention as soon as they felt an edit dispute arising. I would attempt to prevent "pinning all the blame" on either person.
I would also explain to the OP the reasoning against changing their spec in a way that invalidates answers (like devaluing the current answerer's time/effort), but also say that they are free to change the spec if they believe it's a beneficial change. If the OP's rule change actually goes contrary to a community consensus (like these), then I will explain why the OP shouldn't change the rules, and that this might lead to their question being put on hold.
In regards to the editor, I would also explain the the editor how the OP is allowed to change the spec, even though I recognize that the edit can make it feel like the editor wasted his time on the answer.
Then, I'll try to ask the pair of users to come to a reasonable conclusion, which I hope will be one which minimizes the amount of invalidation, but which also satisfies the desire of the OP to improve his challenge. I might also offer some other suggestions of my own, like making a second challenge (if the rule changes were substantial enough).
In the end, I think the OP should usually have the final say. If the OP and editor fail to come to a peaceful agreement, and the OP's new spec is within site rules, then I believe the OP's edit should stick (even if it attracts downvotes).
If the OP's new spec clearly violates a site rule (it is obviously close-worthy), then I'm not sure whether we should let the OP change the spec and get closed, or ignore the OP's intentions to keep it open. I would have to consult with the other mods/the community about this.
2. What is the threshold for using your mod-hammer vs. letting the community take care of issues? In other words, will you be mostly laissez-faire with posts and let the close/delete vote system sort out the good posts from the bad? Or will you personally decide that a post doesn't meet quality standards and mod-hammer it (note that this does not apply to obvious spam and the like).
Maybe here is a good place to state my belief in "the rule of law" with respect to moderation. Close/delete-votes are generally a way to achieve community consensus about which posts are good/bad and which posts we want/don't want on the site. The important part being the community consensus. I believe it would be my job as a moderator to use my hammer in accordance to the consensus, and that alone, since a unilateral decision will prevent democracy. I would be willing to cast one of the last close votes, I would be willing to close a question in clear violation of a meta consensus or official SE policy, I would be willing to close a question in consensus with other mods, but I believe that closing a question without any of those things is a violation of the rule of law.
3. One of the biggest difficulties for moderators and high-rep users is to distinguish certain posts from being in-scope or not. There are three critical elements of the PPCG.SE scope, namely the three close reasons: Too broad, opinion-based, and unclear what you're asking. What distinguishes a challenge as too broad or opinion-based? How clear does a challenge need to be to be in-scope? Can you specify your limits on these types of close reasons and your definition of each?
This is a case where I think existing precedent/meta-consensus would be most important factor in a mod's decision. Here's my personal rough estimates for what the three reasons mean:
Unclear what you're asking - This is probably the most common and appropriate of the three options. I would say this applies to questions in which there is uncertainty as to what counts as a valid answer (such as unclear restrictions, or unclear task, or unclear winning criterion). This is generally used either when the author's intent exists but is unclear, or if his intent isn't complete (it fails to address some detail, like special-cases). I think the difference between
unclear and the other two is pretty simple:
unclear is when the challenge is bad because we don't know what you mean, the other two are when we know exactly what you mean, but the challenge is still bad.
Too broad - I think this would generally be used when we know what the challenge author intends, but the challenge leaves room for too much variety/"freedom" in answering. If two programs are both valid, but do two totally separate things, then it's probably too broad. If the objective winning criterion can't distinguish answers, then it is probably too broad.
Primarily opinion-based - This isn't used very often, as far as I can tell (I don't know the statistics). If we were to use this reason, it would probably be in the case of "art-contests," which are typically pop-cons without an appropriate amount of direction for the voters to know what they should be voting for. Art-contests, though, are also off topic or too broad, so they would constitute an unnecessarily niche purpose for this close reason.
4. In what way do you feel that being a moderator will make you more effective as opposed to simply reaching 10k or 20k rep? This has different implications for different candidates, as some have already reached the permissions thresholds. As a high rep, what do you look to gain with a diamond? As a low rep, why should you earn the tools this way rather than by earning reputation?
As a moderator, I will be able do a couple extra things, like moving/removing comments, having increase communication with the SE team, resolving disputes between users, sometimes even suspending people. It's really a testament to the SE system how little mods do as a percentage of overall moderation, but there are some things that simply require a moderator to perform. As a moderator, I believe I will perform these jobs in a rational, level-headed manner, that I will be willing to contemplate alternative viewpoints, and that I will maintain high standard of excellence in everything that I do. So, what do I want out of a diamond? The same thing every voter wants in this election: a website with a great moderation team.
5. 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?
If the user's tendency to create arguments is severe enough to warrant a suspension or other disciplinary action (I'm not completely certain where this threshold is), then we should judge the user irrespective of his answer quality. It's about holding everyone to the same basic expectations, and not letting people have free-passes on detrimental behavior because of their experience/rep/popularity. Relevant story: at Fluther.com, a site where I also do some moderation, we once banned the highest-scoring user on the whole site because of sock-puppeting/voting-fraud.
6. How would you handle a situation where another mod closed/deleted/etc a question that you feel shouldn't have been?
I think the answer is pretty straight-forward: discuss it with the mod in question, and preferably other mods at the same time as well. This discussion will preferably occur in private. From my previous modding experience, I think it's important that the mod team attempt to maintain a "uniform appearance" when it comes to actions, which also means trying not to unilaterally undercut another mod's activity. To look at this objectively, 1 mod wants it closed, and 1 mod (me) wants it open. The best way to resolve this is a discussion (preferably with additional voices) before taking additional actions. I think this question is heavily tied to #2.
7. How will you help the site fit in with the SE network better? We are not a Q&A site! However, a most of the features built in to the site are designed for Q&A sites. Will you effectively be an ambassador for our site, and help us get site-specific to fit our mission better? Or would you help the site narrow it's scope to fit that of a Q&A site better? Something else?
I've always been a fan of site-specific customizations, and I believe that they can have a pretty big effect on the site (not just in the areas of convenience/usability, but also to improve "new user experience" and moderation). I personally do want to push for some of the changes in the linked meta question, and feel that a moderation position will really enable me to work towards those goals.
I certainly don't think we need to make any efforts to "narrow scope" to comply with the existing technology. We are humans, the SE platform is a machine, we must bend it to our will! (To clarify, I'm not against the inclusion of Q&A-style questions, just that narrowing scope is unnecessary).
8. What would your average moderation schedule be like? When will you be active? What day(s)/time(s) would it be best for people to contact you in case of a need of a moderator? (This is of course an estimated schedule, and nobody will hold you accountable to it)
I'm in Eastern Time. If you want to get a good idea of what hours I'd typically be available, check out the graph on my chat profile. I have CG.SE notifications routed to my phone's unlock screen, so I'm "contactable" anytime I'm not literally sleeping.
9. What's your opinion on letting experienced users essentially re-write a challenge that has potential but is badly worded or specified? I've done this once or twice because rewriting is far easier for me than explaining what is wrong (possibly multiple times).
My opinion on this can vary depending on what exactly the edits are, so this answer is somewhat "general." If I ever make a substantial edit, I would leave a comment explaining why I made my edit. Mentioning the sandbox is also a good idea.
Let's say that the edit improves the clarity/organisation of the challenge, but doesn't change the underlying intentions of the spec, then I think that's okay. Examples might include fixing grammar/English. A second good example could be, if a user comments asking what the winning criterion is, and the OP answers in a comment, then its acceptable to edit the challenge to reflect the OP's response. A third example could be fixing one of the things to avoid when writing challenges.
I would generally avoid making edits that affect the underlying meaning/spec of the challenges. In cases like these, I think, if a user decides to make an edit, then they should generally change as little of the spec as possible to bring it within the scope of the site. They should also leave a comment explaining their reasoning for the edit. If the OP is (possibly retroactively) okay with the edit, then that's also great. If the OP isn't okay with the edit, then this question could start to turn into something like question #1. I think the OP's desire generally wins.
If an edit clearly goes against the OP's intentions for the spec (as opposed to clarifying / changing the spec), then that would be an edit I would advise against making without prior discussion/approval with the OP.
Finally, perhaps one guiding principle is that, if it's an edit the OP should try to avoid making (like invalidating existing answers), then it's an edit another user shouldn't do.
10. 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?
Ultimately, I will feel the same. There are two types of regret: the regret you feel when something doesn't work out the way you had thought, and the regret you feel the instant after having done something you knew was wrong. The second kind, of course, is the kind to be avoided. I don't believe I've ever done anything on PPCG that has caused the second kind of regret, and don't intend on ever doing anything like that. Long story short: Everything I ever do reflects upon my person, and a diamond doesn't change that.