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We are scheduled for a moderator election on Sep 14, 2020. A Community Interest Check by SE last November gauged interest in holding and running for January elections for the spots of the two (now three) moderators who resigned. The reaction was quite negative, coupled with the ongoing Monica situation and moderator protests. No elections were held then, and SE did not follow up at the time.

James (formerly DJMcMayhem), who had not yet stepped down as moderator, revealed that they had requested for JNat♦ to post the interest check due to feeling that the site needs more moderators. At present, Doorknob is the sole moderator. It's not clear how active at moderating they are.

On the new call for moderator questions, JNat said that an election would take place. In response to caird suggesting a new interest check to gauge current opinions, JNat said:

Admittedly, checking in before scheduling the election would've been ideal. This year, however, has been particularly weird for everyone, and it proved a bit hard to coordinate with the one moderator on the site on how to proceed since then. That (the inability to coordinate and the fact that there's a single mod), in addition to the fact that the site currently has around 100 unhandled flags, and the rollout plan for the new mod agreement just all coalesced now, though, and made this election something we can't postpone any more.

JNat further explained that the election would definitely go through, as long as there are enough candidates after "clearly troll-ish or joke" nominations are withdrawn, regardless of whether any "reasonable candidates" (as I phrased it) do decide to run.


What is our reaction to all this? This is a question. Please discuss the election situation in general, rather than specific nominees and their merits which should be saved for the nomination phase.

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I think this is needed

Since the last poll the site seems to have experienced a die off and the start of a rebound. (I believe that)1 we have had moderation issues that are to be expected with one active moderator.

In retrospect I think that perhaps it was unwise to go without new moderators even until now. I don't think it has proved any sort of point to SE. I don't see any direct line in which this is making any situation any better. As far as I can see it has just hurt our ability to exercise the communities desires and rules. I think that especially with the seeming growth we have experienced in the last couple months it is imperative that we have some new people controlling the quality and answering user flags.

I think we are in a hard place, where many distrust SE, but I'm not sure if this is really an opportunity to tackle those issues on the long term. If we push much farther we may just end up cutting our nose to spite our face.


1: I cannot personally see moderation statistics so this is based on the response rate to my own flags and the anecdotes of others.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is going to seem somewhat harsh... As CMs, we absolutely care and want our sites to flourish and it's been hard that we haven't been able to be as hands-on recently but if a site fails to keep flags handled and two consecutive elections fail, the next step would be to start looking at shutting down the site. The onus of site upkeep is on the community on each site. Your community here is the heart of whether your site continues to exist or not. If that community goes away or stops managing the site's needs, keeping around a husk of a former site that slowly fills with junk is bad. \$\endgroup\$ – Catija Sep 16 at 5:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ If y'all are still enjoying the use of the space and having fun doing Code Golfing and other Programming Puzzles, please, take up the torch and help keep the site alive. It looks like the support for this answer says there's a community that wants to keep going and stick around - and that's great! I love seeing things like people's custom languages for Golfing and I was really excited to help get your site theme out - finally! It'd be a shame to give up now. \$\endgroup\$ – Catija Sep 16 at 5:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ I know that not everything is fixed and there's still a lot of hurt. And that's likely to remain. We're taking steps to address many of the concerns, we've put in processes to prevent what happened last fall from happening in the future and we're working towards expanding the CM Team and the Public Platform development/design team so that we can actually make the platform better for everyone using it - and our focus now is on improving moderator and curator tools, which we know are sorely out of date and in need of improvement. \$\endgroup\$ – Catija Sep 16 at 5:54
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I have recently run in an election despite the fact that I share many of the very same concerns that others have expressed in the election interest check thread (and the questionnaire). My meta/Meta posting history of similar opinions back that up. But for me, these sites have an interest that is completely independent of Stack Exchange Inc's actions. That company just happens to own the platform. This site still provides a lot of great opportunities to fulfill its core charter and be a great resource to the world in general. That is not a reflection of Stack Exchange and their behavior. That is a reflection of us here.

I hope that the many potentially great candidates can keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to throw their hat in the ring. It is possible to be a moderator on a Stack Exchange sponsored site and hold true your principles. I believe I am doing so now, and I encourage those qualified here to atleast consider separating SE from PPGC (and the other sites) when making their decision.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm less optimistic about mods' ability to act on the site separate from SE's control of the platform. Certainly many of the mods who resigned last year did not feel like they could hold true to their principles while continuing to be mods. Surely many of them signed up just because they like, say, Bicycles and the community around it, and not to get involved in larger SE issues. Since mods are contractually bound to do what SE says if push comes to shove, it's really up to SE's decision whether leave us alone and let our mods to do their own thing. \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Sep 15 at 20:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @xnor We're generally pretty hands-off unless something gets brought to our attention or we stumble across it so the likelihood of that even happening is pretty low. We're only four CMs for now with 170+ sites to look after plus other projects to work on. We simply don't have time to micromanage things in that way. Even when someone reaches out to get help with a situation, our first instinct is to get the full story from the mods and support them as best we can. For day-to-day site management, we really don't do much. That this site has so many unhandled flags, though - is a concern. \$\endgroup\$ – Catija Sep 16 at 5:39

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