I took a look at the moderator nominations and I just don't have time to read them all. Therefore, I can't cast a fair vote.
I'd like to participate, but it would take too long. Maybe there could be a character limit on the nominations?
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There already is a 1200 character limit on the nominations.
We don't have plans to shorten nominations even further at this point. The goal of a nomination post is for folks to tell other users a bit about themselves. There's definitely such a thing as too much information *, which is why there's a limit in place now, but it's also not a brevity contest.
Ideally, voters will research the candidates further by looking at their review history, flagging participation, meta involvement, etc. But if they read nothing else, they should at least form some sort of an impression based on nominations alone.
You are correct that if you don't have the time to read then you shouldn't be voting. No different than any election... if you're not informed don't vote. However, when you think about it, it really shouldn't take too much time...
There are 27 candidates and you have 4 days to read the entries. That's only 6 or 7 a day. A candidate is limited to 1200 characters for the description (including punctuation and white space). The descriptions are in English and the average English word is about 5 letters, call it 6 with spaces and that's about 200 words per entry.
The average adult reads at 250 to 300 words per minute, so really you only need 7 minutes a day to make it through all of them.
That aside, I actually found it hard to stick with in the limit of 1200 characters. There's a lot of responsibility in being a moderator and having only 1200 characters to convince strangers to vote for you for that job isn't easy. I'd have to disagree with a stricter character limit.
As already mentioned, there is a strict character limit in place for moderator nominations. Reducing that further would render the nominations pretty much useless.
But I think there would be some benefit to minimizing the nominations once you had seen them. For example, in the election phase I don't really read the nominations anymore, I've seen them already in the primary. The details on how to implement this would be important, I'm not sure what the best way is. But I think the election phase could benefit from a more compact view of the candidates.
I personally don't put a lot of value in the nominations themselves, but I'm aware that this is an issue where the opinions vary a lot. I find that the one major factor for my decisions is the previous behaviour of the nominee, and any interactions I had with them, or that I observed. I personally don't really need the nomination to decide, there are some obvious candidates that disqualify themselves in the nomination, but I usually would not have voted for them in any case.
There already is a character limit. The problem is that char limit also includes properly marked up URLs and other formatting, this means you really have to carefully consider what you want to include.
There are 27 candidates so that is a fair amount of reading. (Regrettably) Only the ten most popular go through to the next phase so maybe you could hold off voting till then.
Shortening the character limit even more would prevent the candidate from presenting relevant facts and/or their sales pitch.
I skim the intros but you generally won't find concise questions and answers there. In particular I take the what-makes-you-wonderful parts with a pinch of salt.
The most useful resource, which I only just found after the election closed, is the Town Hall Chat Digest prepared by @TimStone.
This really should be linked from the election collateral, along with the not-so-easy-to-find Stack Exchange Moderator Candidate Statistics
Really I just want to see a matrix of candidate/position for the self-sorted top-n issues (per the discussion), with concise answers, linked to fuller answers.
Actually, I think the limit is way too short. One or two of the candidates in this and I believe the past election mentioned that they've had to cut down their posts considerably from their draft in order to fit the limit. Many of them have little to no expression of why the candidate wants the position and how he or she intends to carry out the associated duties. Of course, this itself can be a helpful factor in decision-making, but I think allowing another several hundred characters might encourage them to write something past the introductory "I hang out in tag tag and tag and I love SO!" and into how they see themselves actually fulfilling the job.
Even those candiates who do express understanding that a moderator's job has nothing to do with answering still seem to feel compelled to use up characters on that information, which is a lot easier to glean from the overview of their profile than their ideas about custodial duties on the site.
I want more information from the cadidate in the nomination, not less. I've actually abstained from voting on a few in the primary segment because I have no idea who they are and I haven't gotten around to looking through their history yet.