In this question, we've established that this Q&A site has grown to the point where adding more moderator coverage will help maintain the standards of a Q&A site.

Would the results of the last election still represent the current, active body of users? Should we pull moderator #4, 5, and 6 based on the last election when the perceived quality of questions and answers was better?

Would the results be different if an election was done today for #4, 5, and 6?Would the users of today elect moderators who may not have the best interests of the site in mind? For instance, some of the 3000+ users with close and reopen privileges may close/reopen questions that shouldn't be opened/closed, and if there are enough of these types of users voting in the election, could their votes affect the quality of the moderators who are selected?

Is it possible that elections in some cases may not actually result in what's best for the community, or would modifying the elections destroy the very foundation and design of the StackExchange network? Which option is least-destructive to the community?

4 Answers 4


To provide a little bit of context behind the last election, there were several candidates who ran on a platform of "less moderation" due to a vocal portion of the community who believed the moderators pro tempore were too hands on. If you look at the platforms people ran on, you can see that definitely influenced the other candidates (myself included) to address that issue.

But the election was incredibly close: it took 17 rounds of runoffs before a third person crossed the threshold needed to be elected. The next three people were:

I was most certainly considered a "stern" candidate, Ryan Hayes seemed to run on a mostly middle-to-lax moderation platform, and ammoQ ran on a "as little moderation as possible" platform.

Based on the top 6, it's hard to make any generalizations about whether the election process failed the community, or whether the choices would be significantly different. Obviously I disagree with some of the candidates, as I'm sure they disagree with me. I think if anything, it shows the community is deeply divided about what constitutes a "good" site. But you don't need the election to see that: it's evident in the questions on meta and comments on controversial questions.

  • 5
    is this something you would be open to? I always prefer more moderation to less when given the choice. Commented Apr 14, 2011 at 5:49
  • 1
    @Jeff - Do you mean more moderation as in holding back, like in Theory of Moderation, or do you mean more moderation as in taking more action?
    – jmort253
    Commented Apr 14, 2011 at 6:24
  • @jmort - I think Jeff is asking Mark (as the 4th placed candidate) whether he'd be willing to take the job.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Apr 14, 2011 at 11:50
  • 3
    @Jeff I should be putting my money where my mouth is, so yeah, I'd be open to it.
    – user8
    Commented Apr 14, 2011 at 15:45
  • @ChrisF - Now I follow. Thanks.
    – jmort253
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 6:03
  • @Mark - This is a great explanation and really helps put things in perspective in terms of moderator selection. Thank you!
    – jmort253
    Commented Apr 23, 2011 at 2:44

As Jeff mentioned in his answer, if another moderator is needed for whatever reason, we generally promote the 4th place election finisher to full moderator status.

As a result, Mark Trapp has been promoted to moderator status.

  • 4
    Awesome! Congrats Mark!
    – jmort253
    Commented Apr 22, 2011 at 6:56
  • 1
    I've been hypnotized by that green thing above Mark's head since he made it his friendfeed pic years ago, even so I think I am speaking of my own free will when I say nice choice and Congrats to Mark!
    – DKnight
    Commented Apr 22, 2011 at 19:47
  • 1
    Congrats Mark!! Commented Apr 22, 2011 at 20:51
  • @Mark Trapp: kudos Commented Apr 23, 2011 at 4:29
  • @Mark Trapp: Congrats, Mark! We may disagree on some things, but there's no denying you work hard at making this site better. Thanks!
    – Ryan Hayes
    Commented Apr 23, 2011 at 18:23

In general we favor bringing the 4th place moderator online in these cases.

Same thing is happening on Super User, and we did it on Math as well when one of the moderators was a no-show (literally).


I'm still relatively new to this site, so I don't know the people as well as the older folk. But it seems that the current moderating team are active; between them, it's evident there's a great deal of expertise and role-model traits. There are a number of people who would be great as a moderator, so I'm not worried about selecting someone unfit for the job because that simply won't happen.

However, I urge anyone involved in the selection process to keep in mind that consistent moderation is ideal. While the 3k users can vote to close at any time, I've always been baffled each day because at around +1 UTC when ChrisF becomes active, a notable number of questions get closed within the period of minutes - every day. I suspect that this is due to Anna and Josh going to sleep around the same time, leaving a lengthy period of this site only being moderated by the 3k users. While some might say it's not an issue, from a user's point of view, it seems disjoint as I watch the incoming questions, vote to close some of them and then wait for ChrisF to jump online and place his vote alongside (some of) mine.

  • There don't seem to be a lot of 3k+ users active when I'm around, so if a question needs closing (but not enough to be closed outright), I end up leaving it till there's some indication from users that they think it should be closed as well. The moderator coming later would likely see actual votes and complete the close.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Apr 13, 2011 at 14:13
  • Heck, on the sites I've got 10K and tools privileges (SO and here), I sometimes check close votes and pile on if a question needs closing. It isn't limited to just moderators. Commented Apr 13, 2011 at 14:25
  • @Anna: I think that's the inherent issue - there aren't enough 3k users active for three moderators to cover everything on a daily basis (Dory and CRT don't count). Our signal-to-noise ratio is diminishing with the influx of newer members due to, presumably, the site's increasing awareness.
    – J.K.
    Commented Apr 13, 2011 at 14:27
  • @David: Thanks for that. As a < 10k user, I have no idea what a 10K user receives.
    – J.K.
    Commented Apr 13, 2011 at 14:29
  • 2
    the main thing that a 10K user gets that's relevant to this discussion is access to a page that shows the posts with close votes. This means that you can quite quickly and easily go though them adding your vote where you think it's appropriate. With more users having access to this page we should find posts being closed more quickly.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Apr 14, 2011 at 11:46

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