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There really should be a way to include some kind of an endorsement for a candidate for moderator. As it stands right now, users can vote on an election that might not be particularly active. While I can understand that, I also believe there should be the ability for users to recommend a user. I'm not quite sure how this should be limited, perhaps based on reputation, recent activity, or even limited to current (Former?) moderators on the site.

Some time ago, comments were allowed on an election post. These comments could be voted on. The comments were kept throughout the election process. I believe something like that is beneficial.

This would somewhat counter the person who is well known because they answer a lot of questions, but would make a horrible moderator, or perhaps the quiet person who is always in the background, but can't write a compelling vote for me speech, and isn't as well known.

In summary, here's a few quick thoughts on the idea.

  • Should be short (No more than about 2 sentences worth)
  • Should a way for others to indicate their approval/disapproval.
  • Should include both favorable and unfavorable endorsements.
  • The name of the user making the endorsement should be visible.
  • Perhaps a 5 star rating of the candidate? Or at least a thumbs up/ down.
  • These should be limited, perhaps to those with more than 1000 reputation or something? I'm not quite sure where the dividing line should be. Ability to vote on them should be similarly limited. Both should be higher than the normal voting limits.

For reference, I've taken the last 60 users to receive the constituent badge on SFF (Who had an election only 2 weeks ago), and found the following ranges of reputation for the typical voters:

  • 150-300- 20
  • 300-500- 11
  • 500-1000- 9
  • 1000-3000- 10
  • 3000-10K- 7
  • 10K+- 3
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    What does this offer that a vote does not? – Tim B Feb 11 '16 at 15:09
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    I know user A would be a bad moderator, despite having a high reputation. What can I do right now to convince people that he would be a poor choice? There's very little that one can do. It seems like there should be something. – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 11 '16 at 15:11
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    @TimB: Often people nominate themselves to be moderator who, while they are well known, would otherwise be a poor choice. This provides a way to inform users why that would be the case. Right now I only have my vote, and almost no way to influence an election other than through the vote. It seems there should be something more than that. – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 11 '16 at 15:17
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    It seems you're opening up a big can of mud slinging worms. Too many opportunities for personal animosity to be expressed rather than actual constructive discussion of the merits of a candidate. – Tim B Feb 11 '16 at 15:21
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    There is a comment section to each nomination. How is your suggestion better than engaging with a nominee in comments? – Oded Feb 11 '16 at 15:21
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    The comment section is not shown when one is actually voting. That was mentioned in my question. Allowing the comments to still be seen during the election phase, and voted on, would probably be good enough. See worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/election?cb=1 to see what I mean. – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 11 '16 at 15:23
  • That election is in the primaries phase. Comments are around for the nomination phase - and they are still visible if one goes to that tab. – Oded Feb 11 '16 at 15:26
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    Sure, so if I am voting on a site that I might not visit all that often (I am notified of elections, after all), then I will take the time to read the candidates bio, look through the nomination phase tab, read all of the comments (Because none of them are upvoted to make them easier to find), etc... It'd be nice if there was a way easier for the voter, that's all. – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 11 '16 at 15:28
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    Way easier as in "I don't know any of these candidates, but I'll just vote for who my friends are already stumping for, they can't be that bad despite the back-and-forth in comments animosity" – random Feb 11 '16 at 15:50
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    Hence the need to show both positive and negative reviews. If I'm voting, I would take the time to read the most popular argument in favor of a candidate (If short), and against them, but probably wouldn't take the time to look for the information from 5 different pages. – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 11 '16 at 15:56
7

You know what this sounds like to me? User reviews on online stores (e.g. Amazon, Steam, etc). A user posts a short blurb describing the product, a rating of the product, and then other users can provide feedback on that review by saying if it was or was not helpful. This works moderately well to gather crowd-sourced feedback on products on sale, and provides other users valuable tips on how to use the product.

However, that's for providing feedback on an inanimate object. You're proposing reviewing human beings, which is a controversial idea. That opens a huge can of worms that would make this a likely nightmare for moderators and Community Manager to ensure these posts wouldn't be a vector for people to violate the 'be nice' rule. Note that I'm not just referring to the obvious reviews that contain personal attacks here, the way others vote/comment on these posts would provide another angle for attacking fellow users.

I think the current, more limited feedback mechanisms work well enough as-is. If this idea was implemented, it would need heavy restrictions. Only a small subset of users could post them (e.g. moderators, CMs, high-rep users), and they would have to come with heavier scrutiny than the existing comments on nominations. Perhaps a moderator or CM would have to manually approve them before they are posted.

I see the benefits in an official endorsement mechanism, but it would need a great deal of limitations placed on them to prevent them from being abused.

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    It's reviewing people who are putting themselves out for review. I'm not quite sure what the right solution is, but I don't think the current systems are adequate, based on certain users I've seen become moderators over the last few years. – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 11 '16 at 20:03
4

Comments can be posted during the nomination phase, which lasts a whole week -- plenty of time to be seen, unless somebody nominates at the last minute. You can also see those comments during the other phases by going to the nomination tab.

Other ways you can ask questions or raise concerns about candidates include:

  • Propose questions for the questionnaire (during the nomination phase). These questions will be asked of all candidates, so this isn't the place for candidate-specific questions -- but if you have a concern about, say, someone's flagging activity, you probably think that's important -- so ask about it for everyone.

  • Use the election chat room, which is created when nominations open. You can ask candidates individual questions there or raise topics for discussion.

  • If your concern is related to something in the questionnaire, leave comments on the candidate's questionnaire answers.

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    Users with 150 reputation, while they can vote, will not see the nomination phase at all. Yes, a person could get the information through existing means, but it takes considerable effort to do so, which I doubt most users are willing to do. – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 11 '16 at 15:43
  • @PearsonArtPhoto Everybody sees the nomination comments during the first seven days of the elections (and can see them after with one click). I don't understand what you are trying to achieve that isn't already possible through the several channels I (and commenters) have outlined. People who want information can easily see it; people who don't aren't going to look at it no matter where you put it. What's wrong with nomination comments, chat, and the meta questionnaire? If your request is really just to persist the comments through all phases, you should say so. – Monica Cellio Feb 11 '16 at 15:46
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    You can see the comments, just won't be alerted during the nomination phase. I'm pretty sure a significant part of the users who vote are lower reputation. – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 11 '16 at 15:48
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    So, as I said, it sounds like your request is just to enable comments in all phases. You don't need "endorsements" or up/down voting or five-star ratings to achieve that. – Monica Cellio Feb 11 '16 at 17:30
  • That would be one thing that would work (And allow voting on them), I'm just opening up the idea a bit further. – PearsonArtPhoto Feb 11 '16 at 20:02
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    The problem with comments is that you can ONLY upvote them and not downvote. This means 5 people opposing a person while 100 people supporting a person would result in a critical comment gathering 5 upvotes (have observed that first hand, though not during elections, quite recently). Thus, the comments are a very poor indicator of the true balance of opinions. – DVK Feb 11 '16 at 21:30
  • @DVK election comments, unlike comments elsewhere, can't be upvoted (any more). If you want to provide input on a candidate you have to say something yourself. – Monica Cellio Feb 11 '16 at 21:41
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    @MonicaCellio - ah, good point, assuming that property persists. That definitely negates the problem I mentioned! However, your comment brings up another possible issue. Not everyone is brave enough to publicly contradict a heavy-hitter like a site mod, CM or even a high-rep user. When a site moderator can make your life miserable, you'll think twice about posting a comment challenging their opinion. Especially if you know they are likely to just delete that comment (as HAS happened - comment deletions - on recent elections). – DVK Feb 11 '16 at 23:53

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