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June 2012 Community Moderator Election

I am all for moderators, but also for representation. I would like to start a petition to add an election to elect one or more ombudsmen whose roles are to mediate between the powers that be (earned) and the still to be earning... They should mediate matters including closed questions, unfair down-votes, and more.


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marked as duplicate by Mark Trapp, GEOCHET, Kev Jun 15 '12 at 1:29

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

What's wrong with Meta? – animuson Jun 14 '12 at 21:49
Anyone can be an ombudsman any time they choose thanks to meta. Why go out of the way to limit that? – Flexo Jun 14 '12 at 21:51
That's basically what moderators and Meta are for (though generally not "unfair downvotes" except vote fraud) – Ben Brocka Jun 14 '12 at 21:51
Is there a specific incident which makes you suggest this? – Pëkka Jun 14 '12 at 21:53
Aren't moderators supposed to fill that role? This is starting to turn into Zeno's paradox of moderation. – user149432 Jun 14 '12 at 21:54
@Pekka probably this – Some Helpful Commenter Jun 14 '12 at 23:18
@Some yeah, possibly... for the record, that had only one downvote when I checked. – Pëkka Jun 14 '12 at 23:21
There were some fairly serious cases of name-calling and shouting that I thought could have been mediated well by an ombudsman, but by and large a simple whinge on meta or chat seems to work well. I'd expect less than 0.1% of moderator actions are objectionable to several users, and very few of those reached what I would consider a rolling boil (just a few cases per year). But we certainly don't need to overwhelm an ombudsman with thousands of piddling complaints... – sarnold Jun 14 '12 at 23:27
@snarnold I think its clear that the OP has misunderstood the difference between privileged users (can cast a close or down vote) and a community elected moderator – Some Helpful Commenter Jun 14 '12 at 23:31
Would like to close as dupe of: – Kev Jun 15 '12 at 1:25
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think you'll find that what you're asking for is already in place. Admittedly not through a single ombudsman, but through this very Meta (or the various SE specific Meta's) as well as through moderators.

They should mediate matters including closed questions, unfair down-votes, and more.

If you hang around for a while on this Meta, you will soon realize that exactly those topics are often addressed here. And we're a rather opinionated bunch, though mostly with good intentions. If we agree with an issue raised, this will be expressed. And the same goes for when we disagree.

Now my use of the word "we" might suggest we act as a collective without individual opinion. Nothing is further from the truth. Debates here can get heated from time to time, with a wide variety of different viewpoints brought forward. A consensus is not always reached, but everybody is able to speak their mind and has a platform to be heard.

Moderators are not afraid to put us in line if we need it, or to take corrective action when necessary on exactly those issues you raise. Nor are we as a community hesitant in calling out (possibly moderation related) issues when we see them.

I'm not sure if all your involvement in the various SE's is visible through your profile, but it seems as if you've only ever asked a single question on Server Fault. Perhaps it's a good idea to participate over there (and perhaps other SE's/SO) for a while and see how things are moderated. If you then still think there is a problem, come back and address it. I think however that you'll find what you're proposing is already in place.

In the end we might not always agree with the outcome of a discussion, or with the decisions taken, but adding a ombudsman would not change that.

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Thanks for this response. Funnily enough I have actually been an active member of stackoverflow for almost 2 years, heavily active for 1 year with a point score of about 300 and about 50 questions and several answers under my belt. I found that the more active I have been of late, the greater chance I would find a question of mind closed and down-voted. This haste has really upset me as I pride myself on being a positive member of this community. I just felt like a question of mine would be closed or downvoted and I was given a brick wall to talk to about it. – user124548 Jun 15 '12 at 13:58
Keep in mind that downvotes and closures are nothing personal. Perhaps the specific site has moved on slightly from what used to be on topic. I know SO certainly has. What used to be perfectly fine might now simply be off-topic. Do not fear to bring it up though. There is no harm in a friendly inquiry for some clarification. Even if you don't end up agreeing, at least the motivation behind it might be more clear. And who knows, the comments you receive might even help you in improving your questions so they do remain opened. – Bart Jun 15 '12 at 14:05

Good news, this already exists!

Moderators are elected representatives of the greater community who, among other things:

  • mediate (we say "liaise") between the powers that be (we say "SE, Inc.") and the still-to-be-learning (we say "users")
  • mediate closed questions
  • deal with unfair downvotes (we say "vote fraud")

More information about how moderation works on Stack Exchange can be found on the blog post, "A Theory of Moderation".

In fact, Stack Overflow is going through an election right now to add 3 new moderators, chosen by the people, to do what you talk about here. If you have 150 reputation, go vote!

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