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What is Stack Exchange's standing policy on filling vacancies left by retiring moderators? I'm confused by this post on M.SO - instead of 1 retiring moderator, two runners-up from the most recent election were recalled.

  • Are there any fixed rules on when to call a new election?
  • How can the decision to recall runners-up be made transparent (some runners-up may no longer want to be a moderator)?
  • I think users are emailed to be asked whether they want to still be a moderator and if they do, they are chosen. I think I remember reading that somewhere... – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Mar 10 '16 at 20:41
  • @ᔕᖺᘎᕊ - Hmmm... an interesting way to avoid wasting time on elections. – Deer Hunter Mar 10 '16 at 20:46
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    Bluefeet's answer covers it, but just FYI: there's a long history of this. If I have all the math and timing right, on SO alone, 2 new mods were called up after election 1; 1 was called up after election 2; 1 was called up after election 4; 2 were called up after election 6; and 2 were called up after the most recent election. – Ed Cottrell Mar 10 '16 at 20:53
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    It's also happened on other sites -- I was "called up" as an additional moderator to the original pro-tems on Android, before our first elections, and eldarerathis was called up after the first elections due to a mod retiring. – Matthew Read Mar 10 '16 at 20:54
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Since the last SO election was less than 6 months ago, we reached out to some of the runners up to see if they were interested. Typically, if an election is within 6 months we'll ask the runners up. If more than 6 months, then we'll call for a new election. We use the 6 month timeframe as a guideline, it will always depend on the need of the site.

In this case, we had one moderator who let us know they could no longer be active as a moderator. The SO flag queue has been hovering near the 2k mark, so I decided that we should ask two people to step up. Both of the newest mods were contacted to see if they were still interested in stepping up before being diamonded. We'd never just diamond folks who were runners up without asking if they still want to help.

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Bluefeet's answer is the canonical answer as to what happened today on SO. My answer is just an attempt to shed light on past practice and procedure.

There's a long history of this. If I have all the math and timing right, on SO alone,

Basically, as I understand it, a new election is called when there are spots to fill and it has been at least 6 months since the last election. Otherwise, open positions are filled as needed with the runners-up from the most recent election, if those individuals still wish to serve. Elections take a lot of community time and energy, so we generally want to limit them to 1 or at most 2 per year. SO has already had 2 in the last 12 months. As bluefeet said, though, the flag queue has been pretty full, and we need help sooner rather than later.

No doubt, Stack Overflow staff can shed additional light on this.

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