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I'm participating in my first election on SE right now (specifically, the 2016 Moderator Election for Science Fiction & Fantasy), and I've noticed that a couple of suspensions that are at least partially related to the election have occurred recently.

Without getting into specifics, which, I realize, is off limits:

Is this normal? Do elections frequently lead to escalated emotions and suspensions, or is this case unusual for the network?

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    I don't have good numbers on suspensions for the elections I've followed (two SO, one RPG, one ELL, a couple miscellaneous sites), but I wasn't aware of any suspensions around any of them. (We did have a pseudonymous user try to cause trouble under the names of various mod candidates during ELL's, but as far as I know that wasn't traced back to any given user. That's about the closest.) SF&F seems to be the most drama-prone site of the several dozen I pay some attention to, even though I only hop in every now and then. Jan 28, 2016 at 6:14
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    Could the election itself be a case of cause-and-effect? If there are more suspensions happening then that suggests the site is being interacted with more, hence the need for more moderators? Therefore it may be the other way around - suspensions aren't caused by the election; the election is caused by the increase in suspensions.
    – JonW
    Jan 28, 2016 at 9:22
  • The value of being a moderator somewhat eludes me. Same for participating in elections to become one. I mean, it's the Internet, not the real life (TM). Jan 28, 2016 at 10:48
  • New mods playing with new toys? Jan 28, 2016 at 13:08
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    @Uniqueke: That would only be an explanation for suspensions after the election.
    – chirlu
    Jan 28, 2016 at 14:16

2 Answers 2

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There was at least one case where a user flipped out about a particular candidate in an election and got himself suspended. In that case the suspension was handled by SE, and only after everything else they tried failed to calm down the user.

Usually we focus on the posts, not the user. This helps to keep things calm and avoids personal attacks. But in an election a certain amount of criticism of persons is allowed and welcome. It should of course be constructive, but it still happens that it doesn't stay that way, or some people just don't take that criticism well. So I'm not surprised that elections lead to occasional incidents that require suspensions.

But my impression is still that this is not a very common occurrance, it just tends to be more visible and everyone is paying closer attention at elections.

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Elections definitely led to increased flags on Stack Overflow, which might have the side effect of increased suspensions. A lot of people who are either trying to become a moderator or who are reading the requirements for the first time are encouraged to flag more during elections, so you end up with a (temporary) higher flag volume.

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