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The 2012 Community Moderator Election is now underway!

Community moderator elections have three phases:

  1. Nomination phase
  2. Primary phase
  3. Election phase

Most elections take between two and three weeks, but this depends on how many candidates there are.

Please visit the official election page at

https://english.stackexchange.com/election

for more detail, and to participate!

If you have general questions about the election process, or questions for moderator candidates, feel free to ask them here on meta -- just make sure your questions are tagged .

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    Ooh, we almost have enough candidates for a primary! Whee! – Marthaª Jul 24 '12 at 20:49
  • @Marthaª, is there a threshhold at which a primary becomes de rigueur? Is it spelled out someplace? – James Waldby - jwpat7 Jul 26 '12 at 15:52
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    C'mon... one more candidate... someone... anyone.... Bueller? Bueller? – Marthaª Jul 27 '12 at 14:58
  • @JasperLoy, I might at that, if nobody else squeaks in before the deadline. I just need to decide whether I have the time to devote to administering this site, because even if my immediate motivation is, uh, non-serious, I believe the election itself ought to be taken seriously. – Marthaª Jul 27 '12 at 19:30
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A note An essay Ramblings from one of your current moderators

Moderators have significant latitude in their duties and abilities, ranging from closing questions to suspending users. But at the very heart of our (and I do realize I have changed person here, thank you very much) actions is the flag queue, in which we deal with posts and comments that other users have flagged. It is then, in my opinion, necessary for a moderator to properly understand what flags are for, and what response is appropriate.

In some cases, where a regular 3k+ user might vote to close, for example, or where a 10k+ user might vote to delete, a moderator may wish to refrain from action if there is no community or SE policy about the post in question. I should note that this is my opinion, and to be fair, there is also compelling reason to advance the opposing opinion that a moderator should act even in borderline cases since moderators are merely elevated users, and should not have their personal opinions about what belongs censored. Naturally, whichever side you wish to take is yours, but I suggest that what a particular candidate thinks about what a moderator should do with borderline cases be in your thoughts when you vote.

But to return to flagging, a good candidate will probably have, in their (and yes, I do realize I have used the singular they) time here, flagged a good many posts and had these flags marked helpful. A user who has historically refrained from flagging (a rough guideline is that below ten flags is too few) is a user who has historically taken little interest in site moderation, and while such a position is perfectly fine for users who only wish to contribute knowledge and have little interest in such things, it is a tenuous position for a potential moderator to take.

Besides a good historic flagging record, what should we look for in a potential moderator? Certainly, temperament is key—a candidate who is prone to name-calling or arguing is not perhaps our first choice as a moderator. Whether justified or not, such behavior can only provoke site users more, since this behavior is coming from a site moderator. Meta participation is important as well, but not crucial. A potential moderator should have taken an interest in guiding the site along the right path, but this can be expressed either on meta or by closing and deletion questions on the main site. And naturally, you should look to their nominations to see what their take on moderation is.

I also want to mention one thing that you may not necessarily want to place too great a weight on—reputation. Certainly, site activity is important, but reputation is more indicative of how much knowledge a particular user has contributed to the community than that user's previous contributions to site moderation, as neither close votes, deletion votes, nor flags have any effect on reputation. Nonetheless, passing the thresholds for close-vote privileges and delete-vote privileges and then using said privileges is something you may wish to take into account.

Naturally, everything I have mentioned here stems from my personal experience, even if I do not personally fit that characteristic (no one is perfect, after all), and does not represent the opinion of the moderators collectively. Any grammatical mistakes that I did not attach a parenthetical comment to were unintentional.

  • Well, that settles it. Obviously nobody can vote for a user who changes person halfway through a sentence :) – Tim Lymington supports Monica Jul 24 '12 at 11:50
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    Oh, I don't know. Perhaps they prefer the person in the second half of the sentence. In that case, changing person can only be a good thing. – Andrew Leach Jul 24 '12 at 12:47
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    I agree with the bulk of what you have written, but did wince a little at this statement: "A user who has historically refrained from flagging is a user who has historically taken little interest in site moderation..." Perhaps so; however, such a record might also indicate an aversion to flagging in all but the most egregious cases, figuring that comments, downvotes, or revisions are other legitimate ways to help the site actively police itself. P.S. On the lighter side, I noticed you dangled a preposition in your closing sentence, but did not make note of it in a parenthetical remark ;^) – J.R. Jul 24 '12 at 20:03
  • @JR What I meant to convey there was that if a candidate's never flagged, or if he/she's only ever flagged once or twice, then that's something that might be of concern. 10–30 helpful flags is already fine in my book (so long as they don't have a bunch of declined flags hidden). Also, in my book, the last sentence is fine. :) – waiwai933 Jul 25 '12 at 1:13
  • For the record, I thought your last sentence was fine, too, but I couldn't resist... – J.R. Jul 25 '12 at 9:34

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