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The "damaging comments" referred to in this post made me wonder if we're dealing with the wrong issue. Right now, the argument seems to be "is it okay for people to put their geographical locations in their election platform posts?"

By itself, a user's geographical location really is irrelevant. People are only interested in locations because they want to know when the user will be available for moderation duties. But what if someone, say, works the night shift? Isn't allowed to use SO at work? Has lots of family or other commitments after work?

Seems to me it'd be better to have candidates leave off location information altogether, and instead just say (roughly) what hours they plan to make themselves available for moderation duties. Thoughts?

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Do the moderators hold office hours? Do they plan times to ensure coverage? –  chrisaycock Jan 20 '11 at 19:30
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@Popular Fair question, but those comments you refer to should not be made a basis to change anything. That guy is either taking some really bad drugs, or simply misread something in the nominee's text and refused to re-read it –  Pëkka Jan 20 '11 at 19:31
    
@Pekka, true, but people were having that conversation long before that guy sensationalized it. I only mention the other question because I was thinking about it when I came up with the idea for this post. –  Pops Jan 20 '11 at 19:35
    
@chris, I don't know of a place where that's definitively answered. That said, the heavy implication from past debates on this issue is that they do try to spread out their coverage times. –  Pops Jan 20 '11 at 19:37
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Storm in a teacup :) I would modify my entry, but it would make the comments that a follow a little nonsensical. Let it play - there's lots of good nominees, we'll get good mods regardless. –  Paul Dixon Jan 20 '11 at 22:03
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@Paul - It's just too bad that one nonsensical comment significantly reduced the signal to noise ratio within the comments on your entry. Also, I find it concerning that over 50 people agreed with him. I feel your indication of being from a non-U.S. time zone is an advantage, as did some of the people discussing this question: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/20998/… , so I wouldn't change that part of your entry. –  Brad Larson Jan 20 '11 at 23:04
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@Paul - If you do want to change it, make the modification, then flag the post for moderator attention and request the comments be cleaned up to reflect only that which is currently in the post. Not that I'm suggesting you change anything, but don't assume that you only have one option. –  Adam Davis Jan 21 '11 at 13:56
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2 Answers

If someone has atypical hours they may want to mention it, but timezone is probably a "good enough" indicator. If I can get a general idea of when a moderator will be active (basically just "earlier or later than me" is all I care about), then that's good enough.

It's silly that people were put off by mention of the UK on the Stack Overflow nomination page, particularly given the nationality of our top two users. Saying you're from one part of the world doesn't mean you'll discriminate against people from other parts of the world. However, it probably is a good idea to try and stay as neutral as possible and just mention your timezone. Apparently you just can't tell what people are going to read in to even the most innocuous remarks.

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I believe those that chose to nominate themselves should be allowed to post whatever they desire (within existing limits of the site).

While the particular phrasing, to some, has a patriotic or nationalistic wording, the reality is that the UK has only one timezone, so saying "GMT+1" is exactly the same as saying "UK" only the latter is easier to write and understand. Further, it gives the additional information that the individual is likely to know English fluently, living in an English (as she is spoke) country.

If people are offended by some imagined undertones of the phrasing or wording, leave them alone.

The candidate, upon seeing their rancor, can choose to respond in any number of ways, including changing the phrasing or removing it altogether if they deem it confusing for those who will eventually vote for them.

Forcing uniformity of speech and presentation, while perhaps making it easier for programmers to parse, ultimately removes a lot of the flavor of the candidate, and if it weren't that particular phrase it would be something else on some other candidate.

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