I've been thinking, since the questionnaires are open for the candidates as primary begins but people are already voting, shouldn't there be buffer time for them to fill out the thing first? Source

While it's true that a portion of the voters don't really care about the questionnaire responses, good responses draws a decent crowd who uses it to "get to know" the candidates. Having a buffer time would make it fair because, even if for example a day is scheduled in advance for writing the answers, the candidates can prepare better than the current system. It would also make it fair for candidates in a distinct time zone, so that they can put responses up in advance and not lose time if they so desire.

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    We all had the questions for over a week. You can see them here meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/289449/… Apr 14, 2015 at 10:39
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    There's a very fair point that I keep seeing made in conversations like this: If a candidate is in a situation where voters are required to read a lot about them to get to know them, then there are other candidates who are likely better choices. That is, the best candidates for the job will already be recognizable as such. So I'm not sure if it matters, although I don't disagree with you. Martijn, for example, has not filled out a questionnaire at all yet, but has dominated the voting the entire time. Those are the types of candidates this phase selects for.
    – Jason C
    Apr 14, 2015 at 10:43
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    @SecondRikudo That's not the questionnaire, that's just a discussion of what should be on the questionnaire. The actual one was posted earlier today: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/290096/…
    – Jason C
    Apr 14, 2015 at 10:44
  • @JasonC the question on the questionnaire are taken, (almost) word-to-word, from the top 12 answers on that question. Apr 14, 2015 at 10:45
  • @SecondRikudo Oh, yes there is plenty of time to prepare, that addresses the first part of Unihedro's post. But the candidates can't post official answers there, which doesn't address the time zone part (whether or not that matters is a different topic).
    – Jason C
    Apr 14, 2015 at 10:49

1 Answer 1


As someone who has nominated in the last few elections, I would suggest there is no need for a buffer.

Having a buffer time would make it fair

If you squint really hard then it can appear unfair - but a lot of things appear that way if you look hard enough. Personally I was commuting to work and was then straight into a 3 hour meeting when the current phase (and the questionnaire) went live, but whatever.

I don't think there would be any real advantage to having some lead time - the amount of text in the answers is enough to turn anyone's brain to mush, which means that only the truly dedicated are going to read most of the answers and all the rest will be people checking out a specific candidate that they're curious about.

I also think that over the last couple of elections there has been enough of a gap between the leaders and the rest that the questionnaire has zero impact on the final result. Your answers could lose you a few spots, but they're not going to propel you to the top - as at this moment Martijn hasn't posted his answers but that's had no effect on his popularity at all.

It would also make it fair for candidates in a distinct time zone

I don't think this is much of a problem either. Every candidate knows the exact time in UTC that the next phase starts so they can alter their schedule if they need to. Usually there is also one or two town hall chats - these are guaranteed to be at an odd time for at least a few candidates, but once again you can schedule it. Somewhere in the process most if not all of the candidates will be "disadvantaged" by a timezone difference. If a candidate truly wants to be a moderator they will make it work.

Flipping it around, I think that there's no real way to fix it so that no-one is disadvantaged at any stage, so best to mix it up so everyone is equally disadvantaged at some stage.

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