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I noticed they are running for StackOverflow.

I also noticed that the previous occured in january this year, does this mean that the next P.SE elections are due in january 2012?

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Moderators are elected for indefinite terms and serve at the pleasure of Stack Exchange. Elections are held when there is a need for more moderators, either due to increased workload or moderators taking extended or permanent leaves of absence. From Grace Note on Gaming.SE:

Normally, we hold elections once shortly after graduation, then roughly look into it once a year afterwards. However, this is further refined based on the needs of the site. For example, if the current set of moderators (after this election) is more than sufficient, then we could probably skip a year of elections. Times change and the important thing is to have people who have the available time to spend on the site and cover it well. As such, a lot of elections is about when the site needs it, more than it is any periodic effect. Periodic checks are more as a good habit to investigate whether there is an unspoken need.

For example, the elections on Stack Overflow are to elect four more moderators to supplement the 10 man team they have currently. The last supplemental election was held on Gaming.SE, where they elected two moderators to replace Grace Note (who became a Stack Exchange, Inc. employee) and offset the increased traffic on the site.

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  • Elected for infinite terms, seriously? – user2567 Nov 9 '11 at 10:14
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    @Pierre303 Indefinite, not infinite. Terms last until moderators quit or Stack Exchange removes them. – user8 Nov 9 '11 at 10:16
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    If you are a moderator, Stack Exchange will eventually hire you, or have you killed. You just know too much. @Pierre303 – Tim Post Nov 9 '11 at 13:09
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    @TimPost: do you think it's healthy for a community to not being able to choose their moderators periodically? – user2567 Nov 9 '11 at 13:32
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    @Pierre303 Moderators just enforce the rules of the site, not their own agendas. If a moderator isn't enforcing the rules of the site (either by not moderating, or making up rules as they go), they can and should be removed. And the community does chose their moderators, at each election. In short, if ever a moderator upset the community to the point that they would be 'voted out', they'd probably be removed, and a new moderator brought up. – Tim Post Nov 9 '11 at 14:07
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    @TimPost: you did not answer my question. If the community is not satisfied by what a moderator do, there is no way for it (unless leaving it with noise) to express its opinion and change the situation. I was asking you personally if you feel this is healthy for a community like this one. – user2567 Nov 9 '11 at 14:17
  • @Pierre303 A quick glance through meta.stackoverflow.com shows plenty of opinions being expressed with regard to the site moderators :) Healthy? I think it's healthy enough, given the size and strength of the various communities. Would I support needing to be re-elected every few years? Sure, I think I do my job well enough that people would want me to keep doing it. And periodic re-elections would prune those who just didn't realize what they were getting into. But, I'm not sure if that's worth the disruption to the mod staff, tbh. I guess my opinion on that is split. – Tim Post Nov 9 '11 at 14:23
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    @Pierre303 Even in an election, existing moderators are not replaced. They are added to unless someone quit or got removed and prompted the election that way. Expressing that a moderator isn't fulfilling his or her duties is still done the same way as always -- on meta (where you can gather community support) or by email to Stack Exchange at "contact us" address at the bottom of every page on the site (where you can talk to SE employees directly). – Adam Lear Nov 9 '11 at 14:23
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    I'm disappointed – user2567 Nov 9 '11 at 15:12
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    @Pierre303: Moderators are like members of the Supreme Court; they are elected for "lifetime" terms. There is a good reason for this; moderators sometimes need to make unpopular, but essential decisions, and being constantly subject to "recall" based on the community's "mood" would negatively influence those decisions. When you cast your votes in the moderator elections, cast them carefully, keeping this in mind. – Robert Harvey Nov 9 '11 at 18:48

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