The voting system for Stack Overflow isn't well suited to nominations and elections; there are no penalties for voting, and therefore no opportunity costs. You can vote for me, but also vote for every other candidate, and not miss anything.
If we were to list the 'rules' of voting for moderators on Stack Overflow, here's what they'd look like:
- You can cast 30 votes a day.
- You can only cast 1 vote per person.
- You can either vote for or against a particular candidate.
- You can vote in a particular question as many times as there are candidates (+1 for the question)
Constrast that with how primaries work:
- You can only vote for one candidate
- Your vote for that one candidate implies you voting against every other candidate
- You only get one vote
The system for nominations isn't at all conducive to actually finding out who the people want.
The voting block is not constrained, unlike a primary and an election.
If there were going to be an accurate nomination process on Stack Overflow, we'd have to do the following:
- Limit a person to one vote.
- No downvotes can be cast.
- Votes must be cast during a single time period (1 day).
For an election, it'd have to be the same process:
X day lead-time (for advertising the election), and 1 day for an actual election, with the aforementioned rules in place.
Why would you have to do it this way? Well, if you didn't do it this way, there are the following potential holes:
- Voting according to popularity
- The candidates can vote against other candidates
- Individuals that just want to wreak havoc can go through and randomly upvote and downvote candidates
- The comment structure allows people to color judgment without recourse. Saying that I am 'abrasive' without any factual proof, can color someone's vote for or against me. But if I don't respond, then 'silence is consent' takes over and everyone thinks, "Wow, George is an abrasive guy." If I do respond, that creates its own issues.
- Voting up multiple candidates -- for one position, that creates confusion.