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I took a look at the moderator nominations and I just don't have time to read them all. Therefore, I can't cast a fair vote.

I'd like to participate, but it would take too long. Maybe there could be a character limit on the nominations?

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What do you think the character limit should be? Note that there is a final stage of the elections which is just between the 10 finalists, so you could wait until then in which you have 17 less entries to read. –  Servy Mar 6 '13 at 20:26
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Informed decisions. If you can't be bothered to read them, we don't want the vote. –  mikeTheLiar Mar 6 '13 at 20:27
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We already cut the character limit. It's pretty short IMO; I had to edit my nomination several times (partly because I had no idea when I was under the limit) –  Ben Brocka Mar 6 '13 at 20:27
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Try reading this one. –  animuson Mar 6 '13 at 20:31
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Man, you should have said so sooner. Then we wouldn't have pushed Neal into extending his. –  Bart Mar 6 '13 at 20:31
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I am cool. I am the best. Vote for me. I am Andrew Barber, and I approve this message. –  Andrew Barber Mar 6 '13 at 20:42
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Vote for me because I am wicked cool. Paid for by the campaign to elect Bluefeet. –  bluefeet Mar 6 '13 at 20:43
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Don't vote for me. Everyone else isn't. –  amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Mar 6 '13 at 20:44
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@amanaP That's a rather dismissive view of your 631 supporters. ;) –  Bart Mar 6 '13 at 20:46
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@animuson Problem? –  casperOne Mar 6 '13 at 20:55
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@AndrewBarber I already did, and furthermore I think you've got enough votes without scrounging around meta for a few more! –  mikeTheLiar Mar 6 '13 at 20:56
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@Bart I can't break the comment limit, so I'm not even going to try. And I got the position already. Why waste words now? –  casperOne Mar 6 '13 at 20:59
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Due to casperOne's overly terse comments, I'm calling for a special election to replace his position. –  Servy Mar 6 '13 at 21:01
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@Servy Ever wonder what happens when a user is burninated? Let's find out! –  casperOne Mar 6 '13 at 21:05
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@Servy Don't waste your time. Any removal of casperOne will only lead to his place being taken over by casperTwo....it's too late now. –  Bart Mar 6 '13 at 21:07

6 Answers 6

up vote 11 down vote accepted

There already is a 1200 character limit on the nominations.

We don't have plans to shorten nominations even further at this point. The goal of a nomination post is for folks to tell other users a bit about themselves. There's definitely such a thing as too much information *, which is why there's a limit in place now, but it's also not a brevity contest.

Ideally, voters will research the candidates further by looking at their review history, flagging participation, meta involvement, etc. But if they read nothing else, they should at least form some sort of an impression based on nominations alone.

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I think Casper's nomination post is great, personally. That information was apparently important to the decision-making process, or why did SE host the town hall in the first place? It's great to have it right there, attached to the candidate's name, rather than buried in the spaghetti threads of a chat session. –  Josh Caswell Mar 6 '13 at 20:53
    
I challenge you on the "such a thing as too much information". Look at all the good it's done you, and the network. GO AHEAD, I DARE YOU TO SAY OTHERWISE, MUHAHAHAHAH! –  casperOne Mar 6 '13 at 20:57
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I tease @casperOne because I care. –  Anna Lear Mar 6 '13 at 20:59
    
I'm welling up here. –  casperOne Mar 6 '13 at 21:00
    
@casperOne Well, if you include so much that everyone tl;dr's it, then you have conveyed less information than had you written a shorter post that people read. –  Servy Mar 6 '13 at 21:00
    
@Mike Thanks! Updated. –  Anna Lear Mar 6 '13 at 21:03
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@Servy Perhaps, perhaps not, but something shot me from seventh in the primaries to tied for second in overall votes. Either it was the nomination, or stellar town hall performances. –  casperOne Mar 6 '13 at 21:03
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@Servy Mind you, I'm not saying I agree or disagree with the limits now (I don't know how I feel). I don't care for them as much as if say, I was running. I simply utilized everything available to me at the time. –  casperOne Mar 6 '13 at 21:04

You are correct that if you don't have the time to read then you shouldn't be voting. No different than any election... if you're not informed don't vote. However, when you think about it, it really shouldn't take too much time...

There are 27 candidates and you have 4 days to read the entries. That's only 6 or 7 a day. A candidate is limited to 1200 characters for the description (including punctuation and white space). The descriptions are in English and the average English word is about 5 letters, call it 6 with spaces and that's about 200 words per entry.

The average adult reads at 250 to 300 words per minute, so really you only need 7 minutes a day to make it through all of them.


That aside, I actually found it hard to stick with in the limit of 1200 characters. There's a lot of responsibility in being a moderator and having only 1200 characters to convince strangers to vote for you for that job isn't easy. I'd have to disagree with a stricter character limit.

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"if you're not informed don't vote" ...well, tell that to all those people who /me goes off on a rant –  Bart Mar 6 '13 at 20:57

As already mentioned, there is a strict character limit in place for moderator nominations. Reducing that further would render the nominations pretty much useless.

But I think there would be some benefit to minimizing the nominations once you had seen them. For example, in the election phase I don't really read the nominations anymore, I've seen them already in the primary. The details on how to implement this would be important, I'm not sure what the best way is. But I think the election phase could benefit from a more compact view of the candidates.

I personally don't put a lot of value in the nominations themselves, but I'm aware that this is an issue where the opinions vary a lot. I find that the one major factor for my decisions is the previous behaviour of the nominee, and any interactions I had with them, or that I observed. I personally don't really need the nomination to decide, there are some obvious candidates that disqualify themselves in the nomination, but I usually would not have voted for them in any case.

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There already is a character limit. The problem is that char limit also includes properly marked up URLs and other formatting, this means you really have to carefully consider what you want to include.

There are 27 candidates so that is a fair amount of reading. (Regrettably) Only the ten most popular go through to the next phase so maybe you could hold off voting till then.

Shortening the character limit even more would prevent the candidate from presenting relevant facts and/or their sales pitch.

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Absolutely.

I skim the intros but you generally won't find concise questions and answers there. In particular I take the what-makes-you-wonderful parts with a pinch of salt.

The most useful resource, which I only just found after the election closed, is the Town Hall Chat Digest prepared by @TimStone.

This really should be linked from the election collateral, along with the not-so-easy-to-find Stack Exchange Moderator Candidate Statistics

Really I just want to see a matrix of candidate/position for the self-sorted top-n issues (per the discussion), with concise answers, linked to fuller answers.

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Actually, I think the limit is way too short. One or two of the candidates in this and I believe the past election mentioned that they've had to cut down their posts considerably from their draft in order to fit the limit. Many of them have little to no expression of why the candidate wants the position and how he or she intends to carry out the associated duties. Of course, this itself can be a helpful factor in decision-making, but I think allowing another several hundred characters might encourage them to write something past the introductory "I hang out in and and I love SO!" and into how they see themselves actually fulfilling the job.

Even those candiates who do express understanding that a moderator's job has nothing to do with answering still seem to feel compelled to use up characters on that information, which is a lot easier to glean from the overview of their profile than their ideas about custodial duties on the site.

I want more information from the cadidate in the nomination, not less. I've actually abstained from voting on a few in the primary segment because I have no idea who they are and I haven't gotten around to looking through their history yet.

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I think the whole "I hang out in these tags and SO is awesome!" thing comes more from misunderstanding what moderators do or what makes someone a really good moderator than from the length limit. This happens on every site. "I posted a lot of answers, vote for me." Well... that's a good reason not to vote for somebody if you want them to keep contributing answers at the same rate. :) –  Anna Lear Mar 6 '13 at 20:49
    
True, but even the candidates who do understand that moderating doesn't involve answering seem to feel it necessary to mention their areas of expertise. Expanding the limit would allow more meat to be included in the nomination. –  Josh Caswell Mar 6 '13 at 20:50
    
I still like the idea of a displayed summary to keep the list short and a "see more" option to slide down the rest of the statement. This mechanism is in place on the FAQ pages, and I think it would work well here. –  Brad Larson Mar 6 '13 at 20:56
    
@BradLarson: I think that would be a swell idea! –  Josh Caswell Mar 6 '13 at 20:57

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