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If an SO, Inc. employee is a participant on a site, and has the required reputation, should he/she be allowed to vote in the current elections?

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Sure... as long as that pesky "binding moderator vote" behavior doesn't carry over. – Pops Feb 1 '11 at 20:24
if he earned enough rep to vote, why not? – systempuntoout Feb 1 '11 at 20:24
@systempuntoout We don't want there to be any semblance of impropriety and we weren't sure what the community thought (hence this question). Maybe some people would think there was a conflict of interest? – Michael Pryor Feb 1 '11 at 20:34
mostly I was asking because I didn't want there to be even the hint of impropriety in an election by SOIS, inc employees. But if the community thinks it's OK (provided we have the required minimum rep to vote on the target site), that's fine by me. – Jeff Atwood Feb 3 '11 at 0:53
Given how few employees of SO there are comparied to other voters, why do we care if employees can vote? – Ian Ringrose Feb 3 '11 at 15:48

Disclaimer: I am a candidate in the elections.


They are also a member of the community if they meet the requirements for the election.

They are equally as interested in the wellbeing of the sites as the rest of your customers. And, they may even be better equipped to know who would be a good moderator on the sites.

I definitely don't think there is any conflict of interest.

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I'm sorely tempted to link "conflict of interest" to your profile on the ballot just for fun... – Adam Davis Feb 1 '11 at 20:33
@Polly, I added a disclaimer – jjnguy Feb 1 '11 at 20:38
conflict of interest is an overrated thing – systempuntoout Feb 1 '11 at 20:39
@Justin if you hadn't already answered this question with this response, I was going to. I agree, members of SOIS should definitively vote. – George Stocker Feb 1 '11 at 20:42
@George, I hope you meant "definitely." Are you paying off someone on staff, hmm? – Pops Feb 1 '11 at 21:00
@Popular Demand I did mean definitely. Although it's kind of funnier the second way. – George Stocker Feb 1 '11 at 21:03

Well, if it's important to disclose this ahead of time, it'd be prudent to note that I have nominated myself for candidacy as well.

The idea behind the required reputation is that it represents someone who is invested in the site, does it not? So if you have the requisite reputation, you're effectively a part of the community.

Sure, you can get a jump start on the minimalist 150 by an association bonus, but so can any user anywhere. The employment doesn't affect your reputation.

Ultimately, the votes themselves are silent, anyway. Because no one can actually tell whether or not any employees vote, your employment status is literally unimportant with respect to how your votes are cast during the voting phase. Any possible impact your employment can carry (such as endorsement) is isolated from your voting due to the anonymity of the process.

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"It's okay because nobody will ever know" doesn't really seem up to your usual standard. I agree with the first two paragraphs, though. – Pops Feb 1 '11 at 20:27
@Popular The point is that it's honestly irrelevant. I'm not saying "Do it because no one will know", I'm saying "Your employment is literally unimportant because it can't even have an impact at all". – Grace Note Feb 1 '11 at 20:28
@Grace: Where are you a moderator candidate? I've been meaning to bug you to work on your SO rep so you can be a candidate there next year. – Bill the Lizard Feb 1 '11 at 20:50
@Bill I'm flattered. I submitted my nomination to Gaming an hour ago. – Grace Note Feb 1 '11 at 20:55
Oh, I didn't notice you were a provisional mod on Gaming already. (The diamond is smaller and green.) I ask because you've been a great contributor here on meta. Good luck! – Bill the Lizard Feb 1 '11 at 20:58
Haha, thank you very much, @Bill. On both accounts. – Grace Note Feb 1 '11 at 21:06

In the same way that employees of a company who hold stock are eligible to vote for stockholder issues, SOIS employees who have earned enough reputation should be allowed to vote for moderators.

The only reason to disallow them from doing so is if there's the possibility of harming the election, site, or company, or to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest.

Since there is no conflict of interest, and no way their votes could significantly sway the election, there is no need to prevent them from participating due to their employment.

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I don't think that the government metaphor always fits when talking about SOIS. – jjnguy Feb 1 '11 at 20:27
@Justin I don't think it's a great analogy, so I've changed it for a better analogy. In some case the gov't is a useful example (of both bad and good practices) – Adam Davis Feb 1 '11 at 20:29
Stockholders works way better for me. – jjnguy Feb 1 '11 at 21:14

Yes, if he earned the rep, he is entitled to an opinion as everybody else on the site.

Besides it will (probably) be an instructed decision, and hopefully fair and unbiassed.

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Should I delete this answer? – Trufa Feb 2 '11 at 2:40
it's up to you. I don't feel it adds any info. But it isn't really a problem at all. – jjnguy Feb 2 '11 at 4:57

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