2020 Moderator Election

On Stack Exchange, we believe the core moderators should come from the community, and be elected by the community itself through popular vote. We hold regular elections to determine who these community moderators will be.

Community moderators are accorded the highest level of privilege on our community, and should themselves be exemplars of positive behavior and leaders within the community.

Our general criteria for moderators is as follows:

  • patient and fair
  • leads by example
  • shows respect for their fellow community members in their actions and words
  • open to some light but firm moderation to keep the community on track and resolve (hopefully) uncommon disputes and exceptions

Every election has three phases:

  1. Nomination
  2. Primary
  3. Election

Please participate in the moderator elections by voting, and perhaps even by nominating yourself to be a community moderator!

This election ended Oct 6 '20 at 20:00.
The results of this election can be viewed online via OpaVote. Anyone may download the election data. Voters have access to pre-built OpenSTV software to audit the results; all others may use this source distribution.

2,938 voters were eligible, 1,126 visited the site during the election, 653 visited the election page, and 276 voted

Hello, you can call me SupriseDog and I'm running for pro-tempore moderator. I'm not much for lengthy prose with self promotion, but I think my record here speaks for itself. I've only been on Stack Exchange for a year or so now, but I've rapidly taken to the layout of the site which encourages fact based Question and Answers without devolving into the unproductive political rants, personal opinions and personal attacks that seem to plague the rest of the Internet. Since I already spend so much time here going through review queues, I am well positioned to take on additional mod duties.

Policy Views:

  • Too many questions on this site are being closed or deleted for biased reasons. I support keeping questions open if they ask an interesting question that can be answered with reputable sources.
  • I favor allowing discussions to continue as long as they are productive and don't devolve into insults or worthless back and forth.
  • Answers should at least attempt to answer the question, otherwise the NotAnAnswer flag should actually be enforced.
  • If an answer is nothing more than opinion or a political rant against [insert political group], it should be deleted.

I've been reflecting on this, and I've decided to nominate myself (Ted Wrigley) for pro tem moderator. I'm not usually a 'joiner', and I dislike self-promotion, but... I see the need, and I have the skills. No sense shirking.

I'm a 'no nonsense' kind of person, and that's the attitude I'd bring to moderation. I'm fair and reasonable, but I have an eye for questions, comments, and answers that stray from sincere expression into propaganda, badgering, trolling, or just plain argumentative circles. I solve issues through communication instead of action where possible — teaching good expression is better than nipping off bad expression — but I have no problem taking action when needed. I'm also quite willing to be convinced I'm wrong, if one makes a convincing argument. That's the other irreducible side of communication.

I'd like to think I'd bring a philosophical flair that the site is currently lacking. I'm well versed in political philosophy and communication theory, so I often see angles to things that aren't obvious to others. That extra perspective can be valuable in problematic cases, where cut-and-dried rules don't necessarily fit well.

So... Open for comments!

  • Given your statements on your profile about not wanting to cite sources even when asked, I have serious doubts about your ability to be a good Stack Exchange moderator. Stack Exchange is about creating a repository of information, not personal insight and analysis. – user29681 Sep 26 '20 at 19:38
  • @Chipster: That is your right. But I think you ought to know that I reject the classic division between rationalist and empiricist philosophies of science (I apply both methods as applicable). I add sourcing to my answers where it is useful or necessary, not because it is expected. That notification was intended to stave off belligerently tendentious people who demand specious sourcing for material that is easily accessible, common-sensical, or nose-on-your-face obvious, merely because they are aggrieved and annoyed. As I said, I'm no-nonsense. – Ted Wrigley Sep 26 '20 at 20:10
  • @Chipster SE sites are based around experts answering questions. Ted has posted many great answers, which is reflected in his rep. Experts do not have citations for everything handy, because so much is stuff they learned long ago. Neither is politics physics, where you can trace back the discovery of something to one paper. If we demanded every answer cite things meticulously, no one would answer for that burden. In the case of Politics.SE, expert insight and analysis is the information we seek to record, or else the site would be nothing but "Who was on the Supreme Court in 1990?" – Azor Ahai -him- Sep 28 '20 at 2:15
  • learned long ago or learned only through synthesis. – Azor Ahai -him- Sep 28 '20 at 2:16

I'm JJJ and I'm nominating myself for moderator. The reason for my nomination is that I think the community should have a real choice come October. I'm not overly eager to become your moderator, but I'm motivated to put in the time to help this community flourish. I'd like to be the safe pair of hands that follows the course set by the existing moderator team.

Policy views

  • I support the way suspensions are done currently. I think they should start small and, if needed, grow bigger as disruptive behavior continues. While I'm not familiar with the entire decision-making process behind the suspensions, I do believe longer suspensions should be considered by the moderator team as a whole.
  • I'm in favor of moving discussions in comments to chat if they don't violate other rules.
  • I’m aware that moderator actions carry more weight. I’ve always gone through the review queues choosing what I thought was the best action. As a moderator, I think the added weight comes with a higher standard. Therefore, as a mod I would take action when I am convinced it’s the right one. When in doubt, I’ll try to reach out to the other mods to get another look at the situation.

I'm nominating myself as moderator for 3 reasons:

(a) This election needs more candidates
(b) I have a lot of experience on the S.E. network as a whole, though 
     less on this community than on some others like Stack Overflow
(c) I believe strongly in the value of S.E. as the single most high-quality interactive 
      knowledge store, thus I believe that the cultivation of communities 
      like Politics is vital

If elected, I would:

  • Ease the on-boarding of new community members in the spirit of the Welcome Wagon and help make sure their posts meet our guidelines
  • Play the role of janitor (marking duplicates, out of scope questions, etc)
  • Be fully transparent for the reasons of each action taken, and work patiently and interactively with users
  • Ensure that the community is a non-biased, non-partisan place to seek and obtain knowledge and that it does not devolve into a "forum"
  • Commit to being online regularly and frequently

I wouldn't:

  • Be impatient
  • Be overbearing
  • Allow anyone with a controversial topic to be silenced
  • Be too quick to close any well-written legitimate question

Thank you.

  • Hack-R has answered the candidate survey here: politics.meta.stackexchange.com/a/4580 – divibisan Sep 25 '20 at 22:00
  • Please don't use codeblock for things that aren't actually code, it makes the content less accessible for users. You are making a simple list, this does not require anything beyond the bullet points. – Nij Sep 25 '20 at 22:19
  • @Nij I appreciate your opinion! I learned from a Mod years ago that it can provide useful contrast, especially on sites that don't involve any code. Not sure how it could make the content less accessible. It's used here to emphasize a conceptual difference between the first list and the latter 2. – Hack-R Sep 26 '20 at 2:49
  • @Hack-R Screen readers read letters in code blocks one by one instead of as words. Plus, if your screen is small, you have to scroll around to read anything – Azor Ahai -him- Sep 26 '20 at 17:47
  • "Useful contrast" is very subjective, for me it makes reading functionally difficult and for many users systematically non-functional. Technologically, it doesn't matter if a site doesn't involve code, the backtick markup is still a codeblock. – Nij Sep 27 '20 at 4:20


I'm new to this community and would like to nominate myself simply to participate in the process.

I have no illusions that my whopping total of two posts will convince anyone that I am trustworthy enough or dedicated enough to fill this role. Rather, I see only two candidates for two positions with only three days left for nominations, and I think that's a shame. I believe that elected officials are more legitimate when seriously challenged.

If elected I will:

  • Encourage editing bad faith questions into their strongest forms
  • Treat every question in good faith
  • Eat my hat
  • Visit the meta

Please don't vote for me as a joke it legitimately won't be funny.

My answers to the 2020 Moderator Candidate Questionnaire

  • "Please don't vote for me as a joke" - Do you actually want to be a moderator? Apologies if I'm just being dim, but I'm not sure if this is just a joke about how unlikely you think it would be to get elected, or if you really don't think people should vote for you. If you're seriously running, you should clarify that point. I should say, I'm a fan of your first 2 answers, so even if you don't win, I hope you'll stick around! – divibisan Sep 25 '20 at 17:23
  • @divibisan Hey thanks, I'm running seriously with the firm belief that no rational person should vote for me over far more qualified candidates. The only reason I would picture someone voting for me over any of the more experienced, trustworthy nomiations is if they're doing it to spite a system or because it's the internet and people find it funny to subvert expectations. I realize this isn't much clearer. If I don't believe I should be elected (over others), why participate at all? I wanted to make sure there are more than two choices (and am happy more people started running since!) – Thymine Sep 28 '20 at 8:23

Hi, I hereby nominate me, agc. Yay.

As a mod, I would:

  • Prune irrelevant or discourteous stuff.
  • When there is doubt, provide tediously clear reasons why things were or were not done.
  • Keep useful portions of comments. That is, if a comment is useful and cogent, but is marred by a user's occasional fit of Tourette's, keep the useful part, and edit out the fit. (As opposed to: prophylactic nuking of entire comment thread.)
  • Respect and tolerate opposing viewpoints.
  • Admit mistakes.

I wouldn't:

  • Define fellow community members narrowly, and abandon controversial, outspoken, and minority voices in favor of a mainstream status quo spectrum.

    (e.g. I wouldn't condone a several year suspension to outspoken anti-racist user guest271314.)

  • Close useful questions merely for being:

    1. difficult to answer,
    2. abstract, (abstraction is confused with vagueness)
    3. contentious, (thus forbidding questions about an Emperor's New Clothes)
    4. or having several possible answers.
  • Re guest271314's suspension: The max suspension time for moderators is a year. Longer suspensions are applied by SE staff to accounts that have been disruptive across several sites. – yannis Sep 25 '20 at 7:21
  • I always worry when I see a candidate who wants to e.g. "prune irrelevant stuff". Who decides what is irrelevant ? – StephenG Sep 27 '20 at 21:20
  • @StephenG, Good question. Think pruning, but not uprooting. Example: let's say there's a comment with three sentences, #1,#2,#3. Sentences #1 & #3 are pertinent and raise good points. But #2 is insulting. The comment gets flagged by users. Some mods would zap the whole comment, whereas if possible I'd much prefer to zap only sentence #2, or even just one word or phrase, while keeping what's useful. Similarly, I don't believe in nuking a whole comment thread if there are useful things in it, whereas some of our mods fear that the first bad apple spoils the barrel. – agc Sep 27 '20 at 22:53
  • If you deleted a remark from a comment (I was not aware mods could do that), what action do you take in the way of "disciplining the offender" or do you consider pruning the remark enough ? – StephenG Sep 28 '20 at 0:40
  • @StephenG, Any actions taken would depend on what the moderator tools permit at the time. But assuming the example of sentence #2 comprises a rude opinion, and not a crime or threat of one, pruning might be enough. – agc Sep 28 '20 at 6:56

Hi, I'm CDJB, and I'm nominating myself for moderator.


Although the quality of contributions on this site is generally very high, I sometimes come across issues - repeated bad-faith questions/answers, long arguments in comments, & attempts to treat this place as a campaigning platform as opposed to a Q&A site. Tools granted to high-rep users allow some issues to be dealt with, however often all I can do is raise a flag.

What would I do?

As your moderator, I would uphold our contribution quality standards, engage with CMs to progress our overdue graduation and promote the site's interests, & help balance the workload of the existing moderator team. I believe in a light-touch approach to moderation, but would not shy away from taking action against abuse, unethical sock-puppetry, & vote-manipulation.

Why me?

Since joining, I have tried to provide high-quality, impartial contributions, & to improve the site where I can. Although I'm a fairly new face, I believe this would allow me to approach the task of moderation from a fresh perspective. In my opinion, a moderator team with a mix of backgrounds is important, and I hope I can contribute to that.

  • I had a hunch you'd run. You've been the #1 user for several months. Glad to see your hat in the ring – Machavity Sep 21 '20 at 20:11
  • "Long arguments in comments" While these are generally frowned upon on SE, some of them may be useful in weeding out fine detail. Do you differentiate between long comment discussions that may be potentially useful to someone and ones that just go past so-many comments ? – StephenG Sep 21 '20 at 22:09
  • @divibisan Thanks for the reminder - dumb of me to forget that. – StephenG Sep 21 '20 at 22:50
  • Is there ethical sock-puppetry? :-) – uhoh Sep 21 '20 at 23:11
  • At last a moderator nominee who doesn't treat this site as a political propaganda platform, selectively closing questions for the slightest issues if they would prove their side wrong, and improving questions which prove the opposite side wrong, like I've seen so many moderators doing before. So, +1 ! – vsz Sep 22 '20 at 4:12
  • I just want to say that I find the answers you have made well researched and neutral. Questions that have been horrible have been turned to something enlightening based on the good answers. Kudos. – Thomas Koelle Sep 22 '20 at 7:03
  • @Machavity thanks - I was equally glad to see you in the SO election; if slightly worried that it'd mean seeing fewer of your contributions on this site! – CDJB Sep 22 '20 at 8:01
  • @StephenG I see you've posted a similar question in the mod questionnaire thread, so I'll save answering this fully until then, but briefly - I would distinguish between discussions and arguments - comments which seek to clarify a point or provide constructive criticism are generally fine imo, although if they snowball into a discussion of significant length to detract from other comments then it makes more sense to move the discussion to chat. I'm mainly concerned about arguments unrelated to the q/a, or partial answer attempts which undermine our contribution quality guidelines. – CDJB Sep 22 '20 at 8:06
  • @uhoh I see what you mean! I added that qualifier because I think there are valid reasons to use separate accounts - I didn't want to give the impression that I would try to crack down on this practice. – CDJB Sep 22 '20 at 8:08
  • @vsz Thank you for your support, however, I generally believe that the current moderator team does a great job under difficult circumstances - emotions are likely to run higher on this site than most others on the network, and often moderation decisions have to be made which have the potential to be seen as politically motivated. – CDJB Sep 22 '20 at 8:11
  • Two days in and one nominee. It would be rather ironic for the politics SE to have a moderator election with only one candidate elected by acclamation. Apart from that potential for amusement, I have appreciated CDJB's contributions in the last year and think she (or he, not to assume based on an avatar) would make a good site moderator. – user4556274 Sep 23 '20 at 20:03
  • @ThomasKoelle thank you for your kind words :) – CDJB Sep 24 '20 at 8:42
  • @user4556274 - being a moderator is a difficult and annoying job (mostly you are a janitor). Being a moderator on politics adds in that almost everyone hates you. Plus this site isn't terribly active, with many formerly active and invested users stepping away - a LOT of activity is various jumped-in-people from HNQ. So, the dearth of volunteers is not exactly surprising. – user4012 Sep 25 '20 at 12:05
  • My answers to the candidate questionnaire can be found here. – CDJB Sep 25 '20 at 22:21
  • @uhoh Yes, there is ethical sock puppetry. – corsiKa Sep 26 '20 at 23:14

This election is over.