Moderating is a very common and popular word coming from making things moderate, humble.
I prefer to think of it as, not making things moderate but as keeping things moderate.
Also it isn't keeping other things moderate, it's a form of self-moderation.
This site was (the people on this site were) moderate to begin with, before I came along. I don't make them (I don't cause them to be) moderate. Because most users are already moderate, this site is moderate by default: moderation is its natural state.
Having experience of this site, I've formed an impression of how moderate people's posts usually are.
If, then, someone posts something that's beyond those norms, i.e. norms of:
- Being on-topic
- Answering the question
- Being a straight-forward answer, not a discussion or an argument
... then I inspect it closely to see whether I should intervene to correct it.
I'm grateful to moderators who intervene, and who don't intervene, who show restraint, who help to prevent or avoid useless argument on this site.
I'm especially grateful to the users who post helpful content. Keeping the site available for them is why I want the site to exist. A theory of what moderators do is described here.
I assume that the purpose of this site is approximately as stated in this post, i.e. ...
I haven't the time for or interest in debating Buddhism on the Internet - forums abound where one may do so elsewhere
What I was looking for here was a place where I could answer specific questions about topics on which I was somewhat of an expert, under the assumption that I (or anyone) could provide the single right answer to the question as a resource for Buddhists searching for answers online, without having to deal with (much) controversy or opinion.
... although with modifications (e.g. that most types of question with a few exceptions are acceptable, and anyone can answer). The Q&A format of the site helps to minimize controversy (i.e. people write their own answers without trying to criticize each other or each other's answers).
Yet moderating in action is mostly the opposite and often does not dear to act very unwholesome.
The moderators moderate every day.
By far the most frequent moderator action is ... nothing, nothing at all: read a new post and do nothing to intervene because (in their opinion, according to their judgement) it's already moderate.
Actions of a typical moderator include:
- Do nothing
- Upvote or downvote
- Comment or edit
- Edit the tags
- Welcome a first-time poster
Other forms of moderator intervention ...
- Closing a question
- Deleting comments
- Migrating a question
- Deleting an answer
- Banning a user
... are rare, even very rare. That's because almost all users already understand that they can and should post questions and answers which are on-topic, inoffensive, and answerable; and that this site is meant to be used as a Q&A site, and not as a forum for discussion.
The review tools, if you're interested, show how much (or how little) intervention there has been, in the last 30 days:
The only 'moderated' content which users can't see are deleted comments (but comments aren't supposed to matter anyway, it's the Questions and Answers which are supposed to matter).
What are the unwholesome purposes of moderating?
Are there some hints found in what is called mediation which is a alternative to judge?
I think we all have both (mediation and judgement in moderation):
- Mediation includes editing for clarity, posting comments, discussing in chat, using Meta to discuss and vote on general policies and any specific questions and answers
- Judgement mostly includes showing good judgement, being moderate, and so on -- all users are expected to (and do) show good judgement
What is required for a person to be able to moderate? Opinionlessness?
I assume you mean, "to be a moderator" or "to moderate this site".
In my opinion some of the desirable characteristics are:
- Is willing to do it (some people are asked but decline)
- Long experience of the site, including what's been posted on Meta (knows what's expected)
- A prolific user (visits the site frequently, knows the subject matter's essentials and/or in detail)
- Tolerant (allow other users to ask about various forms of Buddhism, and give their own answers)
- Cooperative and/or flexible (it may be better to avoid someone whose views are so fixed, so adamant, that they can't reach agreement with other moderators and users, i.e. the community)
- Some history of posting on Meta (demonstrates an interest in the governance of the site)
Also, as Gottfried mentioned, I suppose "trust" comes into it somehow. I'm not trying to say that only moderators are trusted (that would be untrue) but I suspect that if you didn't trust a user then you wouldn't ask them whether they're willing to be one of the (temporary) moderators.