We're having an election on Worldbuilding, and this week, nominations opened up. A user nominated themselves, but they've been suspended elsewhere on the network and are currently suspended on a different site; as per Let's disallow nominations from people who've been suspended in the past year, a Community Manager went through the nomination removal process. For various reasons, the user is now suspended on Worldbuilding, too - the site having the election. As of yesterday, their nomination was gone, after it had been reposted, and they were (and still are) suspended. The thing is, their nomination is back . . . again (link).

The user normally has enough rep to run, but when they're suspended, their rep is reduced to 1 . . . which is obviously not enough meet the minimum requirements to run in an election. I would think the system would automatically see that they have only 1 reputation point if they tried to nominate - let alone re-nominate - and prevent them from nominating . . . which didn't happen.

I'm reporting this as a bug; if it's not a bug, I'd like to make a feature request that users be automatically prevented from running for moderator if they're currently suspended on the site. I can't trust someone as a moderator if in the middle of the election, they're suspended.

  • 4
    Wait, a suspended user running for mod elections? Hmmm .... Jul 7, 2018 at 15:19
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    Looks like they undeleted, not reposted. I'm guessing the rep check only runs on the initial posting and I don't think there's anything preventing users from undeleting deleted nominations.
    – Catija
    Jul 7, 2018 at 16:25
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    @Catija I wondered if that's what happened, given that it shows all the old comments, as well as the complete history. It had happened after the nomination was deleted the first time, too, when they renominated they first time.
    – HDE 226868
    Jul 7, 2018 at 16:47
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    @πάνταῥεῖ well, if they win they can unsuspend themselves.... Jul 10, 2018 at 19:34
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    @Catija I'm surprised that a user could undelete a nomination deleted by a CM, given that users can't undelete other posts deleted by moderators. Weird! May 3, 2019 at 18:46
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    @MonicaCellio There's a lot of oddness when it comes to election pages... they're ... different and special little flowers. :D
    – Catija
    May 3, 2019 at 19:25
  • There's no record of a deletion in the post history, so I assume that the deletion is silent (which would let the author undelete it); this is how it used to work for Roomba deletions and review deletions (which both used to be silent). (cc @MonicaCellio) May 3, 2019 at 21:58
  • @Catija What's even weirder is that suspended users are also able to exploit this loophole and undelete and edit their nomination even while suspended. So it's a clear bug. May 3, 2019 at 22:02
  • @ArtOfCode Why the rollback? The exact bug is known, but another question for it would effectively be a duplicate. May 3, 2019 at 23:10
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    @Sonic because, as we've talked about before, the edit bumped a post that was fine as it was and had been dead for some time, just to put words in the author's mouth. This isn't a CW, don't treat it as one. Clarification is okay, rewriting the thing is not.
    – ArtOfCode
    May 3, 2019 at 23:13
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    Know this has taken some time to respond, but we're revisiting this. We're looking into several parts of the election process now.
    – Jon Chan
    Aug 5, 2020 at 20:14

3 Answers 3


I found a few issues when digging through this. Most notably,

  1. We didn't have server-side validation for some of the requirements when creating nominations. If one were to manually construct the URL for new nominations, they'd be able to nominate regardless of their reputation.
  2. Reinstating a withdrawn nomination works by allowing candidates to edit and save their existing nomination.

We aren't automatically withdrawing suspended candidates at the moment, leaving that up to the CM team to communicate and enforce, but going forward, we have new checks in place: new nominations from users who don't meet the minimum reputation requirements will be rejected, and attempts by suspended (or recently suspended) users to edit their withdrawn nominations will be blocked as well.

  • Does the server-side validation and blocking also apply to Stack Overflow users who have the required rep but don't have all the required badges? Mar 1, 2021 at 22:33
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    @SonictheCuriouserHedgehog Yes. The badge checks were already in place server-side.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Mar 1, 2021 at 22:38

This seems like a pretty blatant bug to me.

As Catija said in a comment, the user in question was undeleting their existing nomination, rather than reposting it. Since they have 1 reputation as a result of the suspension, they wouldn't be able to renominate.

That fact - that a suspended user was able to undelete and edit an election nomination despite not being able to do anything else on the site - seems like a very glaring bug to me, and in my opinion it should be fixed. Users who posted an election nomination and then later got suspended can effectively vent about their suspension on the site by editing the nomination, as what happened here, per the revision history.

It appears this bug is caused by the fact that whenever an election nomination is deleted, the deletion is silent, and leaves no trace in the history; you can see that there are no "post deleted" or "post undeleted" events there. As far as I can tell, silent deletions can be reversed by the author as they please, as Roomba deletions and review deletions used to be silent (and also could be undeleted by their authors). This is still the case with review deletions (the "post deleted from review" event is just a link to the review task, and is not an actual "post deleted" event; the deletion is still attributed to no one).


I can't trust someone as a moderator if in the middle of the election, they're suspended.

Do you have so little trust in community democracy that you think it's feasible that a justifiably suspended user will be elected?

And in the extremely unlikely event that a suspended user does get elected, what is more likely — that a large majority of users are being tricked by a bad user, or that this user's suspension may not have been reflecting the best interests of the community, and the community overwhelmingly and justifiably disagrees with the suspension? Both are very unlikely indeed, in particular since we have the Community Team Overlords guarding over any moderator abuse of power, so we're not exactly at a high risk of community moderators suspending (jailing) any potential challengers (opposition politicians wanting to run for president) preventing them from running for election, either.

I really don't think it's necessary to actively prevent suspended users from running for election. Let's trust the community to do the right thing.

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    The CMs are almost certainly going to remove the user's nomination anyway, in accordance with meta.stackexchange.com/q/274114/274942 - which applies to the site holding the election, too. I think your answer's more about the removal policy as a whole, not the problem I'm talking about. Plus, the user getting elected isn't the issue at all - it's the drama that will inevitably pop up from their candidacy. Again, see the original meta discussion.
    – HDE 226868
    Sep 3, 2018 at 14:12
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    I disagree. If a suspended user is elected, it's a sign for something rotten in the very core of that site, in my opinion, but that's not the point. My point is that blocking suspended user from even trying to be elected is for their own good, and the community's well being: it acts as a "signpost", and prevents drama in the extreme case you describe and such a user does get elected. It's also the same as real life rules preventing active prisoners from running for elections, which I am pretty sure they exist and enforced. Sep 3, 2018 at 14:51
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    @ShadowtheWelcomingWizard I happen to also very strongly disagree with rules preventing active prisoners from running for elections, which really is used a lot to stop political opponents from running (see Lula, Öcalan, or to take an example where someone could run, Bobby Sands). Apart from parts of the USA, I'm only aware of this rule being used in (semi-)autocratic regimes. However, as stated, if a Stack Exchange site became so rotten that this would happen, the community team would step in, so the parallel with autocratic countries ends there.
    – gerrit
    Sep 3, 2018 at 15:01
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    Remember that moderators can't talk publicly about the reasons for a suspension unless the suspended user invites it. This means the community doesn't have, and cannot get, the information they'd need to judge for themselves. Community members who feel a suspension is unjust would need to appeal to the CMs, who have all the information. Sep 3, 2018 at 16:52
  • @MonicaCellio That's a fair point, yet I still think that if a community elects a suspended users there's something deeply rotten going on one way or another.
    – gerrit
    Sep 3, 2018 at 17:04
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    Agreed, but the rottenness might be a community-wide issue, not a moderation issue. Sometimes there are schisms and fights and stuff. When that happens, the last thing we need is even more drama, so if the matter hasn't already been escalated it should be. Electing one faction's candidate who has a problem with rudeness or voting fraud or whatever is not going to make things better. Sep 3, 2018 at 17:07

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