If you don't have the 150 reputation by nomination/primary stage, you shouldn't be allowed to participate. It's that simple. Some cases

  • you are a new user starting from 1 rep. There is no way (okay maybe a really slight chance) you know the system and principles well enough within the two weeks to vote

  • you have the 100 rep by site association. That means you only need 49 reputation. If you have been on the site less than a month or just associated... then the coincidence that you joined just to vote is too noticeable.

  • you have the 100 rep by site association and you were a member of the site since X months ago. Even if you got new found love in http://interest.stackexchange.com you aren't ready to vote. You are technically a member but you never participated.

All these are assumptions though they are based on real scenarios that happens in many elections, especially when there is a favorite user or the exact opposite from another SE site.

To put it bluntly, if you were never an active participator on the site before, why start now only when elections start? That's like, a politician doing roadwork in my hometown only when election comes around, but when the election finished, they are nowhere to be seen @_@

I almost want to say this is close to padding votes specifically on smaller sites when the total votes are around 100-200

Take the last three sites:

  • Mathematica: 79 votes
  • Web Applications: 167 votes
  • IT Security: 132 votes

There needs to be some time barrier on this, I'm a little tired every election seeing users flood a site with answers, questions and suggested edits so they can get their vote in. You are skewing the real active community.

  • 1
    Would it be fair to say that you believe that folks should not be motivated by an election to increase their participation, that they should be motivated by other, more relevant/pragmatic/altruistic concerns? Aren't such folks already weeded out by the Primary?
    – user102937
    Nov 28, 2012 at 19:29
  • 1
    @RobertHarvey I don't see it being any better than offering an incentive like a contest with prizes. The motivation is short-lived.
    – phwd
    Nov 28, 2012 at 19:31
  • 4
    "Take the last three sites" - And do what with them? Are you suggesting this was a problem in each of those elections? Some data supporting that there was a spike in reputation gain for new users at the time of the election would be helpful in that case.
    – Tim Stone
    Nov 28, 2012 at 19:41
  • 1
    @TimStone The problem lies in how few the number of votes are and how easily it would be sway the votes with just 5-10 people. This isn't to state there are these scenarios in those 3 sites but if the possibility was there you could change the outcome of an election
    – phwd
    Nov 28, 2012 at 19:52
  • 1
    @phwd but is there any data to support the idea that voters with low rep vote for different candidates than voters with high rep? or that those candidates are objectively worse than candidates preferred by high rep voters?
    – Jeff
    Nov 28, 2012 at 19:56
  • 2
    @Jeff if there is little to no indication that one's participation shows one is actually interested in the site beyond the election, then why should one's vote count? After a point (which I don't know) reputation shouldn't matter because there are many other items in the site to indicate your participation.
    – phwd
    Nov 28, 2012 at 20:13
  • why should someone's vote count? because they're a registered user, and democracy works. here in the US, very few people know enough about economics and foreign policy to make an educated vote for president, but we vote anyway. yes, every vote influences the election, but there's no indication that we influence it for the worse.
    – Jeff
    Nov 28, 2012 at 20:17
  • i also haven't seen data of how many users vote in election then abandon the site shortly after. my guess is, any user who understands that there is an election on SE knows enough about the principles of SE to vote.
    – Jeff
    Nov 28, 2012 at 20:18
  • 1
    we believe the core moderators should come from the community, and be elected by the community itself through popular vote. We hold regular elections to determine who these community moderators will be. Not registered users... community : the users within the site that actually care, not the passer-by looking for action. very few people know enough about economics and foreign policy to make an educated vote for president, but we vote anyway <-- are you implying that we remove the 150 rep altogether then? @_@
    – phwd
    Nov 28, 2012 at 20:30
  • -1 The problem lies elsewhere: not enough people are participating in elections. All this would accomplish is exclude even more people from the election process. Terrible idea. Nov 28, 2012 at 20:50
  • 2
    @NullUserExceptionอ_อ so placing the blame on the site because it doesn't have a large community instead of those who pad the votes. Uh huh... sure, sounds like a great idea! @_@
    – phwd
    Nov 28, 2012 at 20:56
  • @phwd How is that "padding votes"? If someone has the required rep by voting starts, why does it matter when they got it? Nov 28, 2012 at 21:52
  • 2
    @NullUserExceptionอ_อ Looking at the case of rep by site association, this is 49 points you need. This meta preaches to newcomers how easily 50 points can be gained for commenting. So if it's so easy for them, then it's ridiculously easy for someone familiar with SE to gain 49. Which means the level of participation is bare minimum. If the point of the 150 rep requirement is to show participation as an active member of a community, then the requirement is failing. If you think that someone who joins the site the same day has the same voting power as someone who was active for longer then @_@
    – phwd
    Nov 28, 2012 at 22:26
  • 1
    @phwd So your issue should be with reputation requirement itself, not when or where the user got that reputation. But if the hard limit is 150 rep, it shouldn't matter if they got 150 rep years before the election started or on the day of the election, which seems to be a central issue in your post (one that I don't think is a problem at all). Nov 28, 2012 at 22:57
  • 1
    @JeffAtwood I'm stating that the possibility is there, nothing more than that. The paragraph that follows the bullet points isn't related to those three sites, it just states something I have seen occur, pretty much not intentionally, by the users who did it.
    – phwd
    Nov 29, 2012 at 11:20

2 Answers 2


Hm, this all sounds a bit conspiratorial but I do agree 49 rep doesn't sound like you are familiar enough with the site to vote in moderator elections.

How about we just take the association bonus out of the way? The requirement could be 150 rep earned on the site, similarly to how the association bonus doesn't count when it comes to answering protected questions. The same could apply to the 300 rep requirement for nominees.

  • Didn't think of that. Pretty clever. I like it
    – phwd
    Nov 28, 2012 at 19:38
  • Could you do this very fast, I mean taking out the reputation bonus? I observe exactly the thing phwd describes happening at Physics SE :-/ as we will have a moderator election very soon. The scenario is not conspiratorial but on the contrary, very real unfortunately.
    – Dilaton
    Nov 28, 2012 at 23:11
  • 1
    @Dilaton Having read your comment on Physics before it was deleted (by accident, your comment appeared as I was reading the question), I must say I strongly disagree with you that there's an actual issue. You very quickly jumped to conclusions, with extremely little (if any) actual evidence for your theory.
    – yannis
    Nov 28, 2012 at 23:14
  • As phwd nicely explaines I am obviously not the first one to note a possible issue of this kind and it seems to happen on many sites. In the real world it can not happen that foreigners that easily get the citizenship of a country who's election results they want to influence because they have a certain interest in it. Independent of how big the issue actually is, such a thing should be prevented by design (higher rep needed, no reputation bonus, testricted time period, ...) and by default in the SE network too. I therefore still strongly agree with phwd.
    – Dilaton
    Nov 28, 2012 at 23:24
  • 1
    @Dilaton I'm proposing a larger rep requirement here, so we aren't in total disagreement. That said, I find the conspiratorial parts of the discussion completely irrelevant and inconsequential, my reason for proposing a slightly higher rep requirement has nothing to do with what you're describing. I just thing that earning 49 rep is extremely easy to do, and I think the association bonus doesn't say anything at all about one's familiarity with the community.
    – yannis
    Nov 28, 2012 at 23:30
  • Ok, with the comment I +1ed I can be satisfied and agree :-). And everybody likes new users coming to ask good questions etc. What you felt as a negative vibe was just to illustrate what phwd said and just means that people who are not familiar enough with I site should not yet vote in an election of mods. That I thought was the part about which we agree. Cheers
    – Dilaton
    Nov 28, 2012 at 23:39
  • 1
    @Dilaton That comment came out way harsher than I meant it to be, which is why I deleted it seconds after I posted it, apologies.
    – yannis
    Nov 28, 2012 at 23:51

I personally don't see a need to make it harder to vote in an election.

The process is way out in the open - the current moderators can always look for vote patterns if anyone feels that a certain person shows up and throws their hat in the ring for puzzling reasons. If the community has already nominated a slate of moderator candidates, then if more people show up to vote and to try the site out, how is that not in the site's long time interest? There is a vetting process, live chat to challenge any moderator candidates, open commenting and dialog to clear up misunderstandings about any candidate.

Every site here I have seen wants more participation to grow, thinks of contests and badges and voting to let people shape the site and here you are telling newcomers to go away and not contribute?

Is anyone worried about an election being "stolen" an actual moderator and aware of how much work moderating a site actually is? Moderator actions are all recorded and available and the rest of the moderator team is there to ensure that all the moderators are working for the good of the site. Plus, the stack exchange developers are an additional layer of checking the checkers and can validate that moderators are living the theory of moderation as well as the moderator agreement.

One of the strengths of the Stack Exchange model is how open to newcomers it is and how short and gradual the participation curve is. Earning 150 points on one site or 200 elsewhere and 50 on that site seems like a good enough bar to have someone understand the mechanics of what makes a good moderator. Keep in mind that moderators are not subject matter experts - they are there to slow down bad things and clean them up afterwards. It is a huge bonus when moderators are actively involved in the site or have deep knowledge in some aspect of the site's scope of expertise - but that isn't the core skill set for hiring a moderator IMO.

Also, let's say the worst happens and a new/outside/rigged moderator gets elected, if you don't really love the community, that moderator will quickly hand back the reins and let someone else handle the load of spam links, people posting BOOBIES and other juvenile humor since there is a web form that lets them post something on the internet. I just don't buy the case where someone would step up to be a moderator to prank some community that they don't actually care about. I also don't buy that people will come and try to vote in the wrong candidate or otherwise spoil an election.

Has anything like this happened on any SE site or is this a hypothetical / corrective situation?

  • You are missing the point in so many ways I don't even know where to begin @_@
    – phwd
    Dec 6, 2012 at 0:23
  • It's clear I don't hold a popular view, but I don't see raising the limit helping anything. Why not let someone with 49 points on a site vote?
    – bmike
    Dec 6, 2012 at 0:58

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