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I have some questions about about the moderator election process (which should be decided now, before the list of candidates is fixed and bias may start to creep in):

Say the process is as simple as people voting in a CW thread (as was the case with the nominations)...

  • Are upvotes as well as downvotes to be counted?
  • What users are eligible? (does a member have to have had an account for a minimum period of time? what about a minimum rep, question/answer ratio, upvote/downvotes (received) ratio?
  • What is preventing users from creating duplicate accounts so as to cast multiple votes?
  • How are complaints to be resolved? Complaints could come from the candidates, as well as from the voters. Unbiased people must be available to offer assistance.
  • How long will the voting be open for, and will it accomodate users equally in all timezones?
  • How long will nominations be closed before voting begins?
  • How will voters be notified that there is an election?
  • May a user vote for (and/or against) more than one candidate?
  • What process will be used if I wish to retract a vote before the polls close?
  • Are candidates allowed to post a statement regarding their candidacy, are there any restrictions as to what they can use in their statement, will this be in a post or may they send these statements to all users?
  • Are bribes and/or bounties permitted on behalf of the candidates?
  • May users pose questions to the candidates? Will this be a free-form discussion thread, or should questions be submitted in advance to all candidates and answers prepared?

This may be seen as going overboard, as I realize this isn't a true democratic election but rather just a way to reflect the userbase's opinion so that the site management can select "well-liked" people. Still, some of these questions might be valid.

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FORMAT FAIL!!!! –  gnostradamus Jan 14 '10 at 22:35
    
I blame windows! –  Ether Jan 14 '10 at 22:41
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For complaints: there are no unbiased people; expect drama. For voting: there's no mechanism to prevent you from voting for or against as many candidates as you wish, provided you have the votes. If the intention was to disallow it, then MSO was a very poor choice for a poll... For retracting votes: the answers are all CW, so pretty much anyone can just edit an answer and then adjust their vote. –  Shog9 Jan 14 '10 at 22:44
    
For what it's worth, my bribery is a joke, just as I'm sure jinguy won't be able to provide cake. :) (However, if I were to somehow get elected -- not likely based on my current 14/12 score -- and someone was able to prove he/she voted for me, I suppose I'd have to follow through.) –  John Rudy Jan 14 '10 at 22:49
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@John: combining elections with profit is very dangerous, as a few countries have already shown. :) –  Ether Jan 14 '10 at 22:51
    
Also, the only "unbiased" people who could possibly provide assistance, in my opinion, are those moderators from the Trilogy which are also not running. (There are a couple of Meta mods running, I believe.) –  John Rudy Jan 14 '10 at 22:51
    
@Æther: Absolutely true. However, the power in the SO world is fairly limited. This is kind of like running for Class President, only without the wedgies. –  John Rudy Jan 14 '10 at 22:52
    
@Æther: So bribes are better? I see. But my formatting was superior, just for the record. –  Ladybug Killer Jan 14 '10 at 22:53
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I will provide cake...I will...I will. And you can count on that. I promise with every fiber of my being. ;) –  jjnguy Jan 14 '10 at 22:55
    
I'm looking forward to the cupcakes that Mr. Rudy bakes for us all! Will they have a "special surprise" inside? –  Ether Jan 14 '10 at 22:55
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I will be stopping by each voter's house and baking a cake from scratch! –  jjnguy Jan 14 '10 at 22:58
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Well, If I were a mod I would discourage this sort of thing... :) But I'm not. –  jjnguy Jan 14 '10 at 23:14
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You know, Jeff has given us leeway to clean up thread comments that constitute off topic noise. I think I might do that soon. –  Tom Ritter Jan 14 '10 at 23:23
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@Tom Knight: Spoilsport! –  Ladybug Killer Jan 14 '10 at 23:25
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You can't do that! THIS IS META! :) –  Ether Jan 14 '10 at 23:35

3 Answers 3

Hold on... I have to ask... Are we voting for the next president or a community moderator?

The role of a moderator is to manage the exceptions in the community, veto close and delete votes and resolve user conflicts. The first two can already be done without the moderators by the 10K+ users, so it is really the latter in question.

So the answer to all your questions: This is an indicator of who the community believes will be a good moderator. This is not political debate session. This is not becoming the next president.

The role of moderator is voluntary and extreme hard work. I really don't get why this suddenly has to generate so much controversy after it worked successfully in the past.

Seriously. Just go vote for the people you think will be a good moderator. If you want something more, use your democratic right not to vote at all.

I am repeating some things from a previous answer.

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+1 for saying "Just go vote..." –  Troggy Jan 15 '10 at 8:20
    
It's all about the details! :) –  Ether Jan 15 '10 at 16:23
    
Sometimes simple is more effective. The KISS principle applies to more then just programming. –  Diago Jan 15 '10 at 17:55

The "election" is merely a way to help Jeff choose the next moderator(s). He did not publish the results last time, is not likely to this time, and is not bound by the results. At best this process is used to make sure that 1) the candidates want to do the work and 2) the users of SO like them well enough to put up with them (ie, give Jeff less grief)

In the prior election, your questions were answered as follows:

Say the process is as simple as people voting in a CW thread (as was the case with the nominations)...

The voting was done on a custom page on stackoverflow which allowed each user with 200 or more rep to vote once. It was not done in a typical question/answer format.

What users are eligible? (does a member have to have had an account for a minimum period of time? what about a minimum rep, question/answer ratio, upvote/downvotes (received) ratio?

Users with 7k+ rep are eligible to be candidates, assuming they are nominated, Users with 200+ rep are eligible to vote.

What is preventing users from creating duplicate accounts so as to cast multiple votes?

Nothing that was visible during the voting period last time.

How are complaints to be resolved? Complaints could come from the candidates, as well as from the voters. Unbiased people must be available to offer assistance.

Candidates were free to refuse their nomination during the voting process by emailing team@stackoverflow.com. Users that had voted for them were given their vote back, and notified next time they visited SO that they still had a vote.

Given that this was not a democratic process, no other measures were in place, but right now you can either email the team, or bring issues up on meta.

How long will the voting be open for, and will it accomodate users equally in all timezones?

Voting lasted a week.

How long will nominations be closed before voting begins?

It was more than a week between nominations and voting last time. A lot more.

I'm guessing it'll be 6-8 weeks.

How will voters be notified that there is an election?

The notification bar (ie, "You received 2 answers and three comments") that appears sometimes when you visit SO will show up for every eligible voter when they visit SO during the voting period. It will continue to appear until they vote, badgering them, day in, and day out. It will appear in their dreams, and haunt them at their workstation. There will be no escape, no respite.

No doubt some will go mad.

But it's for the good of the community, so sacrifice must be made.

May a user vote for (and/or against) more than one candidate?

No. One vote per user.

What process will be used if I wish to retract a vote before the polls close?

You may not. Once submitted your vote cannot be recalled, except in the case of your chosen candidate leaving the race, or if you make a mistake you may attempt emailing the team and pleading your case.

Are candidates allowed to post a statement regarding their candidacy, are there any restrictions as to what they can use in their statement, will this be in a post or may they send these statements to all users?

IIRC, in the voting page candidate names linked to their user page. They were encouraged to change their user page message to whatever they felt would represent their candidacy.

Are bribes and/or bounties permitted on behalf of the candidates?

Nothing that I saw was done to encourage or discourage any activities that occurred outside SO.

May users pose questions to the candidates? Will this be a free-form discussion thread, or should questions be submitted in advance to all candidates and answers prepared?

I think there was a question with an answer for each candidate, and they did respond to comments there. I don't recall exactly though.

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The results were published last time: blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/05/welcome-new-community-moderators –  John Topley Jan 15 '10 at 8:53
    
The outcome of the election was published, but not the results. The results were only hinted at last time: "they accounted for almost a third of all the 2,880 votes cast" is the only statement that indicates anything about the results. Unless the full vote counts for each candidate are reported, then the "results of the election" have not been published. –  Adam Davis Jan 15 '10 at 15:47

I could be wrong, but I expect you've put way, way more thought into this than Jeff has, and therefore, most of your questions will be answered by "who knows?" I'm doing educated guesses from last election to hopefully give some information, even though these are all hypotheses.

What is preventing users from creating duplicate accounts so as to cast multiple votes?

You will almost certainly need a min reputation amount, last time it was 200.

How are complaints to be resolved? Complaints could come from the candidates, as well as from the voters. Unbiased people must be available to offer assistance.

What type of complaints are you expecting to make?

How long will the voting be open for, and will it accomodate users equally in all timezones?

Likely a week or 2, so yes. Last time it was 2 weeks.

How will voters be notified that there is an election?

An announcement on the blog, and the global announcement bar on the pages.

May a user vote for (and/or against) more than one candidate?

Most likely you only get 1 positive vote.

What process will be used if I wish to retract a vote before the polls close?

Vote more carefully next time.

Are candidates allowed to post a statement regarding their candidacy, are there any restrictions as to what they can use in their statement, will this be in a post or may they send these statements to all users?

They pretty much already have. Maybe they'll refine it after nominations.

May users pose questions to the candidates? Will this be a free-form discussion thread, or should questions be submitted in advance to all candidates and answers prepared?

Yea, you can always post comments on their posts.

Are bribes and/or bounties permitted on behalf of the candidates?

Seriously? Come on, you're just spending ASCII now. You got stock in it or something?

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Aw, you beat me to it. sigh –  Adam Davis Jan 14 '10 at 23:37
    
Bribery has already come up! Maybe not seriously, but who am I to judge? :) –  Ether Jan 14 '10 at 23:52

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