A new user asked a question that is (slightly) off-topic for this
site. You saw this question and closed it (not necessarily
unilaterally). You leave a helpful comment directing the user to the
place where the question might be answered. The user is responding
harsh and calls you a bully/elitist/...? What would you do?
In general, my comment on the original post should already explain why I have closed it. However, users should always feel free to discuss their line of thinking in case they feel the question has been closed unfairly. In fact, I actively encourage a healthy amount of opposition! Such feedback helps moderators to understand the needs and viewpoints of the larger community. Also, moderators are just like any other human being and they do tend to make mistakes from time to time. It is totally possible that I will close a completely on-topic question by mistake, although that should probably be once in a blue moon.
Now, coming to your question: "The user is responding harsh and calls you a bully/elitist/...? What would you do?". As I always say - disagreeing with a mod is one thing and being outright crude is another. While I will welcome all disagreements, I will not hold back from taking appropriate moderator action if there's any hint of rude or abusive behavior. Oh, and another thing: in case you want to talk to a mod privately about something you may do so by raising the moderator flag - "in need of moderator intervention" along with a custom message. Don't hesitate.
Similiar to 1: A new user asked a question that is (slightly)
off-topic for this site. You saw this question before anybody else and
closed it. You leave a helpful comment directing the user to the place
where the question might be answered. Later a high-rep user posts on
meta complaining about you closing it immediately and says this is a
violation of the CoC. What would you do?
Good question. I will quote Robert Cartaino's excellent points here:
- The Code of Conduct is there to establish a pattern of behavior, not to raise it every time someone disagrees. You might ask how we can improve handling off-topic questions to better help users who are new to the system, but blanket accusations of a mean community gone wrong are not going to be constructive.
- Please try not to extrapolate a down-vote or even a close vote as an affront to the entire Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is about treating each other with patience and respect. While you can argue that further explanation of a down-vote can be constructive, it is not a required part of the process.
- Users are entitled to their opinion — users are even entitled to be wrong when deciding what does or does not belong on this site. That is why moderation is a community-led activity. Conflating the issues of "be nice" with trying to assert that everyone must agree-always creates an uncomfortable environment where everyone is afraid to disagree or express any type of dissenting opinion — whether it's through a down-vote or a close-vote or a comment — until the whole thing ceases to be functional at all.
"Later a high-rep user posts on meta complaining about you closing it immediately and says this is a violation of the CoC. What would you do?" - I'll direct them to this meta post. Let me make this clear: under almost no circumstance is closing or downvoting a question a violation of the CoC. Such pseudo-arguments have no teeth, as far I am concerned. I am much more likely to listen to the high-rep user if they state the reasons why a certain question closure is/was unjustified.
You try to enforce the site-policy against spam (undisclosed links to
own papers). One user had a lot of posts that are in need of
deletion/edition. You contact the user privately and inform them that
they must always disclose the affiliation. The user does not
understand why other people may tell about their own posts and feels
bullied and complains publicly about you (on- or off-site). What would
Let's see: not all users are aware of the site policy regarding spam. So first and foremost I'd request them to read the relevant page in the Help Center. Even then, the user is, of course, free to take their complaints to meta. I have no issues with that. In fact, I think hearing a third-party's opinion on meta would help them better realize the policies. Nevertheless, being a moderator, I'll have to uphold the site's standards. If initial gentle reminders don't help, and there's a large amount of spam generated by the same user, I'll probably delete those posts.
I should, however, clarify my stance on this. It's certainly possible that a user occasionally forgets to disclose when they're citing their or their company's products or papers. Also, new users might take some time to get used to this policy. That's OK. People make mistakes. People have their opinions. We can give them some leeway. Such issues will always be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. I am not going to lay down a precise set of rules to classify what is spam and what is not spam.