2011 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 are 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 Mar 1 '11 at 20:00.

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.

Called up after the election to meet additional demand:

654 voters were eligible, 150 visited the election, and 101 voted

After some consideration, I have decided to run for moderatorship here on the English Language & Usage Stack Exchange. My qualifications:

I am a top-rated contributor. I set the standard for high-quality, data-driven answers that reference but don’t defer to prescriptive authorities. For example:

Many question askers don’t know the terminology to describe what they are asking about. My degree in linguistics helps me to identify the grammatical category or issue at the heart of the question and provide guidance and leadership in the tricky task of re-tagging.

I am willing to stand up for the community when the sometimes bumbling powers that be unleash chaos on the site. For example, see here: Is [acceptability] a meta-tag? wherein I resurrected a tag that had been deleted under a new name. See also my stand here: Using asterisks, as in fuck or f*ck?

Furthermore, I have taken a leadership role on meta in helping to fill in the blanks of how our community defines itself and what the area of discussion on this site should and should not be. For example:

Our site continues prosper under a lack of significant personality conflict. For the most part we have a dedicated core of knowledgeable participants who competently answer questions. Until very recently, our meta has been notable for lacking bitter personality conflict. I hope to keep it that way.

As for how I intend to actually carry out the task of moderation, I will continue to use a light touch. I will be transparent about what I do and why. I will respond thoughtfully to any criticism of my use of moderator powers.

I will be honored to continue serving as a leader in the EL&U community should the users elect me. If not, I will keep participating in the community by continuing to write high-quality answers to questions. I’m not interested in electioneering. If you like what I’ve been doing and want me to keep doing it, vote for me. If not, I will be honored to have served and more than pleased to pass on the powers of moderation to my successor.

I'm Jen. I am passionate about language. I love this site and want to help make it great!

As far as my moderation philosophy is concerned, please see this link...

* * * Vote for Jen * * * Fighting Bad Grammar Since 2010 * * *

Disclaimer: Jen does not condone violence towards wizards ... and yes, you may end your sentence with a preposition!

  • And where is here upvote button as it was in SO mod nominations? – Gennady Vanin Геннадий Ванин Feb 19 '11 at 10:42
  • @vgv8, no voting takes place in the nomination, only in the primary phase (which will be skipped here if there aren't more than 10 candidates). – F'x Feb 19 '11 at 14:51
  • Something with my head b/c I clearly remember voties in nomination phase in SO. And why the posts cannot be voted? They are always confused with authors anyway – Gennady Vanin Геннадий Ванин Feb 19 '11 at 18:00

Vote for me and I'll THWACK every damn one of ya!

I'm Martha and I approved this message.

... nope, still too cowardly to leave it at that, so here's some actual content: I'm not an English expert — my degree is in math — but I've been a nitpicker about language as long as I can remember, I read voraciously, I spend way too much time on this site, I'm located on the U.S. east coast, and I respond to puns by thwacking the perpetrator. Oh, and I suck at writing stuff like this, so I asked the folks in the chat for help, and the above is what they came up with.

  • 6
    YES! YES! YES! YES! Vote for @Martha! Others need paragraphs to say what she says in 11 words. 11 words! I mean, I ask you ... – Robusto Feb 17 '11 at 21:29
  • 1
    Oh, BTW, ignore the P.S. Some hack must have thrown that in. One of her aides got cold feet, whatever. The real candidate is the one with the hardwood ruler. – Robusto Feb 17 '11 at 21:35
  • 2
    I believe in Martha {snap} <-- ok, so it's not quite as cool as "I believe in Harvey Dent" but something could be done there. Otherwise, now there starts to be a race :p ~ What took you so long Martha? – jcolebrand Feb 17 '11 at 22:04
  • I have weakness for all whose names end by letter "A". I am write-only but love only read-only persons leaving place-holders for writing!!! – Gennady Vanin Геннадий Ванин Feb 18 '11 at 3:03

my name is Alex. I'm throwing my hat into the ring because I think our site could use a moderator from Europe, so that any pressing issues can be handled in a more timely manner. Right now, we often have to wait for our mods from the States to (literally) wake up, which can be frustrating at times.

My pros and cons, in no particular order:

  • I am not a native speaker of English. I do not hold a degree in linguistics. 60.6% of my answers get marked as accepted. In hindsight, I'm not happy with many of them. But I'm here to help and to learn.
  • I was among the first 300 users to register on this site. I did not participate in the private beta, but I did help seed the site with questions during the public one.
  • I'm actively promoting EL&U on other sites of the network, on Reddit, and offline. I won't be touching Twitter or Facebook with a ten-foot pole any time soon.
  • I have visited the site for 193 consecutive days now. I'm a Fanatic, a Populist, a Copy Editor, and just a dozen questions away from becoming, um, a Sportsmanship.
  • I have helped close 100+ questions (50+ dupes, 30+ off-topic).
  • I have approved 19 edit suggestions and rejected 8.
  • I'm always happy to lend a helping hand in editing tag wikis, creating tags, re-tagging questions and suggesting tag synonyms.
  • I'm quite active on meta (8 questions, 39 answers, 70+ comments, visited on 177 days) and on Meta.StackOverflow (14 questions, 38 answers, 170+ comments, 2700 rep, visited on 344 days). I have two Yearling badges on StackOverflow. I'm familiar with the DataExplorer.
  • I like to chat (~1000 posts per week).
  • I'm registered on 44 other sites of the network, including Area51. But I spend most of my time on EL&U.

Here is an activity chart for your convenience:

Hour | Current US mods (avg)   | Myself                                |
0    | 30  |**********         | 9  |***                               |
1    | 29  |**********         | 13 |****                              |
2    | 17  |******             | 14 |*****                             |
3    | 19  |******             | 2  |*                                 |
4    | 17  |******             | 5  |**                                |
5    | 11  |****               | 3  |*                                 |
6    | 5   |**                 | 2  |*                                 |
7    | 2   |*                  | 6  |**                                |
8    | 1   |*                  | 23 |********                          |
9    | 1   |*                  | 77 |**************************        |
10   | 1   |*                  | 81 |***************************       |
11   | 9   |***                | 62 |*********************             |
12   | 10  |***                | 74 |*************************         |
13   | 21  |*******            | 74 |*************************         |
14   | 38  |*************      | 99 |********************************* |
15   | 50  |*****************  | 88 |*****************************     |
16   | 38  |*************      | 80 |***************************       |
17   | 44  |***************    | 68 |***********************           |
18   | 54  |****************** | 71 |************************          |
19   | 41  |**************     | 50 |*****************                 |
20   | 45  |***************    | 37 |************                      |
21   | 39  |*************      | 27 |*********                         |
22   | 31  |**********         | 41 |**************                    |
23   | 31  |**********         | 32 |***********                       |

As you can see, the graphs complement each other rather nicely and I would also have enough overlap with mods from the US and other time zones if I got elected.

Regulars will know that I wasn't keen to run in the election up until very recently. I still maintain that our site needs more 10k and 3k users rather than mods. Ever since we went out of beta and a whole bunch of users lost a whole bunch of privileges, I've been voting to close more aggressively, to compensate for the loss. At times I've been overcompensating. There were a number of occasions when I regretted my close vote after reading other users' comments or talking to them in chat; thankfully, those questions ended up being left open, so no harm done.

Should I get elected and my vote become binding, I will get back to being less trigger-happy on gray-area questions, leaving the decision to the community. Many subpar questions can be saved by providing great answers; quite a few have been saved by great answers in the past; and there must be some room for people to get the Reversal badge.

On the other hand, recently we've been seeing lots of extremely poor, blatantly off-topic questions, worthy of not just being closed, but completely deleted. (Eight did get deleted just yesterday.) Quoting Kosmonaut, "Someone could ask for a recipe for a really tasty egg salad sandwich and probably get at least one answer before it could be closed." As the site continues to grow, it's only natural for it to attract more and more such questions, and it's a pity that all I can currently do is close-vote, ping the mods by flagging, ping regular users in chat, and then still wait for 6+ hours for the questions to get closed.

Should I get elected, I will get more trigger-happy on broken windows. At the same time, in my capacity as the most active voter (1800+ votes), I will continue to help regular users reach 3k, 5k, 10k, 15k, and 20k, gradually making my job obsolete.

  • 9
    I heartily endorse @RegDwight. – Robusto Feb 15 '11 at 14:28
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    I am glad to see @RegDwight running and think he would make a most excellent mod. Do vote. – jcolebrand Feb 15 '11 at 14:38
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    I was hoping that RegDwight would run, and I think he would make an excellent mod. I can understand wanting to have more non-mod power users, but I think that will fix itself over time as the site matures. RegDwight's commitment to improving and maintaining the site is too valuable to pass up. – Kosmonaut Feb 15 '11 at 14:50
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    wow, 43 other sites! they are so many? May I know who are the current moderators? I'd like to see multi-national and multi-cultural team of moderators. So, I'd like to see the origin and current country of living of candidates. For example, in elections in SO each candidate had this info in their posts or bio. I also want to escape the situation when all moderators are sleeping at the same period of time – Gennady Vanin Геннадий Ванин Feb 15 '11 at 18:02
  • @vgv8: for a list of all sites (graduated and beta), see Area51. Our pro-tem moderators are listed on the About page. There are also users who have mod powers on all sites of the network, e.g. Jeff, Joel, Robert, Rebecca, and Jin. You can see where they come from on their profile pages. – RegDwigнt Feb 15 '11 at 19:22
  • @RegDwight, thanks this is the most informational answer in one paragraph I've ever read – Gennady Vanin Геннадий Ванин Feb 15 '11 at 23:30
  • @RegDwight: So your name's not Reg then? I was going to register a complaint about the grammar in this lyric: "Don't give us none of your aggravation, / We had it with your discipline." – Orbling Feb 16 '11 at 2:56
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    @Orbling - Isn't the second line "We've had it with your discipline"—or maybe I've just been correcting it in my head all these years? And I believe those sorts of grammar issues should accurately go to Bernie, anyhow… :-D – Dori Feb 16 '11 at 7:28
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    Interestingly enough, all online lyric sites I've checked, including Eltonography, have "We had it with your discipline". But the actual booklet for Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, which I'm holding right now, has "We've had it with yer discipline". @Dori. – RegDwigнt Feb 16 '11 at 8:15
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    @Reg - my recollection of the lyrics came from back when my copy of GYBR didn't have a booklet; instead, it had cardboard sleeves for two big flat black pieces of vinyl. It's been a very long time—I'm amazed I got it right. (Dodger Stadium '75 represent !) – Dori Feb 17 '11 at 2:57
  • @Dori: As Mr Dwight says, everywhere you look for the lyrics it uses the grammatically poorer approach. Yes, you are right, Taupin would get the blame. I think Reg should have refused to sing it though! – Orbling Feb 17 '11 at 18:25
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    @vg8: There's a lot more than one paragraph here. Just sayin' ... – Robusto Feb 18 '11 at 1:12
  • @Robusto, I read one comment as one paragraph and there are studies showing that people read only 2 first words in each paragraph. That one I read out completely. Will this thread be available after election? Can anybody send me notification to back up it for before it will be dumped for further re-reading? – Gennady Vanin Геннадий Ванин Feb 18 '11 at 5:27
  • "Someone could ask for a recipe for a really tasty egg salad sandwich and probably get at least one answer before it could be closed." And on StackOverflow, it could probably get 20 before being closed. – Andy Feb 18 '11 at 16:27
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    @Andy: Personally I think that is a good thing, questions should be answered - and migrated to a sensible SE/category if the OP was in the wrong place initially. Remember, "there are no stupid questions, only stupid people." – Orbling Feb 19 '11 at 14:03

I'm waiwai933, and I'm running for moderator. (OK, that's really cheesy. Here's the good stuff.)

My moderation philosophy is as follows:

  • A moderator is democratically elected. Therefore, xe should always yield to the general consensus of the people, and should be held accountable to their decisions.
  • A moderator is expected to act only when the action should obviously be taken (e.g. spam) or, for borderline actions, when that particular situation has been ruled to be prohibited on meta (e.g. lengthy non-specific grammar checks). Otherwise, the moderator should at most bring the matter to the attention of other community members, who can then come to a decision after a fruitful debate.
  • All members are to be treated on a good-faith basis and given the benefit of the doubt. No questions should be closed just because it seems like the user is trolling—reasonable evidence should be presented before action is taken. (Luckily, English.SE doesn't see much of this). Nevertheless, users should be contacted and appropriate action taken if they have a history of behavior inconsistent with the site.

I would be a good moderator because:

  • As a 10k user on Meta Stack Overflow (aka the Master/Meta Meta) I'm familiar with all aspects of Stack Exchange policy and how the system works.
  • Of the 7 badges that Yi Jiang has identified as important that are available on MSO, I have 4. I've been a member of MSO much longer than I've been one here at English.SE, so I hope this still demonstrates my knowledge of SE moderation principles.
  • English Language and Usage is the SE site I spend the most time on, with the singular exception of MSO (see above). On weekdays, I anticipate being actively available for around 10 hours per day, and another 6 hours I can be somewhat intermittently available.
  • I am on the first page of users, and I hope this demonstrates that I am very invested in this community. 2k rep may not be a lot on other sites, but on English.SE where we see less traffic than other sites, it's not insignificant. I also love English, if that helps any. :)
  • Also, as a side note, I'd love to see this community grow larger. I don't personally know if there are any industry conferences we can attend or whatnot (update: I've started a topic on meta), but if I'm elected moderator, I wouldn't hesitate to bring these to the attention of the Team, esp. since they want to know about them.

You should vote for me because:

  • I will not be timid in communicating with or suspending users who knowingly and willingly degrade side quality.
  • I will not be afraid to close questions as exact duplicates.
  • I will act efficiently to obliterate spam and other such nonsense.
  • I will, in borderline cases, allow the community to take the appropriate action, if necessary (this means that questions I would otherwise have voted to close as off-topic will no longer receive that vote from me, as I would be elevated from community member to moderator).
  • If there is community consensus against one of my actions, I will reverse my action and yield to the decision of the community.
  • I will be an efficient moderator because I have intimate knowledge of every aspect of Stack Exchange and I am on for almost half the day.
  • I am dedicated to the site's prosperity.

If you have any questions for me about my nomination or my moderation philosophy, please feel free to ask. I'm happy to address any concerns you might have.

I am not exactly a regular power user of this site, but I've definitely shown that I have both good questions and good answers to contribute to this site, and that I'm interested in its progression and welfare, and I am a dedicated SE user.

A moderator should be good at both teaching and leading, and I've demonstrated that with the following list of examples:

  1. I was a teaching assistant for four semesters in college, leading entire classes for the duration of most of those semesters. This demonstrates my desire and motivation to teach. (consider me on a work-based leave of absence from academia at the moment ;) )
  2. I was instrumental in setting up a regular and permanent mentoring program at the school where I got my AAS. This demonstrates my ability to communicate with even those considered recalcitrant or uncommitted. I realize sometimes it takes a one-on-one approach to reach some people, and am willing to invest the time.
  3. I am currently a pro-tem moderator on http://dba.stackexchange.com (thus demonstrating that I know what it means to be a moderator and I've shown my commitment to the process)

I am on the network daily, and spend as much time on meta.stackoverflow.com as I do anywhere else, so I'm in tune with the workings of the SE2.0 system. Because of these reasons, I think I would make a good moderator for this site. Thanks for your consideration!

  • 2
    Hi @drachenstern, I do understand you stress your qualities as a good moderator in the abstract, but I think a moderator is actually someone who is often present on the site, and is highly reactive. (To say it otherwise, it is that quality which I value most in a moderator.) While you know the tricks of the trade, don't you lack a bit of presence on EL&U? (That being said from a relative newbie, so no offence meant.) – F'x Feb 15 '11 at 10:54
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    @FX_ I wanted to stress that because a) being a mod doesn't necessarily mean being active, b) there are good reasons to have mods that are cross-site, and c) I didn't want to get sympathy votes, I just wanted full disclosure. If people read all that, realize that I'm not the most active of the potential candidates, and they still want to vote for me, then that's great, but I'm willing to bet that I don't stand a chance. ;) ~ Also, with at least six sites that I'm active on and that whole paycheck thing, I'm not really focusing on any one site other than dba. So why don't you run? – jcolebrand Feb 15 '11 at 14:40
  • I don't mean to devalue your qualities as a mod, I do not claim you didn't present your ups and downs frankly, and I value your candidacy (people willing to get involved is good!). I just gave my opinion, and wanted to know what are your thoughts on the important issue to me, which is responsiveness. – F'x Feb 16 '11 at 9:10
  • @FX_ good question! As for the matter of responsiveness, knowing that I have an obligation to a site makes me a tad more compulsive checking it. Cf: I'm getting ready for work, about to grab a shower and I've already checked on my DBA site for any mod actions ;) - becoming a mod would make me more active here. As is I lurk quite a bit. – jcolebrand Feb 16 '11 at 13:09

I'd really like to continue on as a moderator for EL&U.

  • I am among the most active members of EL&U, having 13k reputation, and either contributing or moderating daily.
  • With a background in linguistic theory, I have firm grasp of most EL&U topics — both in terms of contributing to the site, as well as evaluating content that is appropriate for the site.
  • I am a regular participant in meta discussions as well as the chat.
  • As a beta moderator for EL&U, I have not only been active, I have (I hope) shown that I am careful in my moderation decisions and strive to be fair.

  • And (to me) most important of all: I care a great deal about the site and the subject matter.


  • 1
    You will get my vote. Incidentally, what will happen to existing moderators if they do not end up in the top-3 of votes? Surely they wouldn't lose moderator status? I'd have thought that this voting was only for added moderators, but your participation in this seems to indicate otherwise. – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Feb 14 '11 at 22:33
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    @Cerberus: We were appointed as moderators pro tempore, pending elections. This election is to keep our seats, so to speak. But there will be at least one free spot because I will not be running. – mmyers Feb 14 '11 at 22:34
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    And regarding the nomination itself, I think Kosmonaut has already demonstrated that he will make an excellent moderator. – mmyers Feb 14 '11 at 22:35
  • @Mmyers: Okay, so... what will happen to old moderators that do not make it in the top 3? They lose their diamond but are still called Moderator in the reputation system? And what about other people who reach 10K? Will there be only 3 moderators for the coming months, or did I misunderstand? I am still confused—not that it really matters, though... – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Feb 15 '11 at 4:17
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    @Cerberus: Any current moderators that do not make the top 3 will become normal users, with privileges determined only by reputation. For example, I will still be able to edit but will not be able to vote to close questions. For the differences between 10K+ users and diamond moderators, please see the blog post linked up in the election text. – mmyers Feb 15 '11 at 4:53
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    Also heartily endorse @Kosmonaut. He has experience, he's done a good job during his tenure, and he is a linguistics pro. – Robusto Feb 15 '11 at 14:31
  • @Robusto: When are you going to put yourself up? Three positions and only four nominations at time of writing. Need more worthy candidates. – Orbling Feb 16 '11 at 2:40
  • @Orbling: Thanks to @RegDwight, I found where you posted this question. (See? Told you he would make a good moderator.) To answer your question in three parts: 1) I don't really have the time; 2) E&U.SE needs non-mods with high rep; and 3) I'm an anarchist at heart. – Robusto Feb 16 '11 at 10:39
  • @Robusto: All valid points, sadly. As an Englishman, I object to this self-nomination business, it's bad form. RegDwight is great, yes. – Orbling Feb 17 '11 at 20:02
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    Also... someone really needs to implement the notification system for voting comments! – Orbling Feb 17 '11 at 20:04
  • 1
    @Orbling: True dat. – Robusto Feb 18 '11 at 1:15
  • @Robusto: Ah, that statement is nostalgic for me ("true dat"). A late friend of mine, far too geeky, always used to say "true dlt", "you have to move with the times" apparently. ;-) – Orbling Feb 18 '11 at 2:26
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    @Robusto: Completely agreed, I have long been an advocate for the removal of instant close for moderators. Mind you I've always advocated the removal of moderators when there are sufficient community members with rank. – Orbling Feb 19 '11 at 14:01
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    @Robusto: Well, others complain when certain questions are left open. The problem is that we have so few high-rep members at the moment; there are just over 20 who even have the ability to vote to close. Close-votes expire, so in the past some questions just keep getting close votes, but they don't pile up fast enough. This will solve itself as the community evolves. In the meantime, the site needs to stay on track and follow the guidelines the community agreed on in the FAQ. – Kosmonaut Feb 19 '11 at 15:11

This election is complete.