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On Freelancing.SE, we are holding our first election. We had three Pro-Tempore mods, one of which is myself. The other two mods are stepping down after the election, and we have two spots open.

It's been a few days, and with only 5 days left for nominations, there are currently no users nominating themselves.

What happens if there is no nomination? Will I need to be the only mod and rule with an iron fist on the site? Do high-rep users get auto-nominated?

I find it hard to believe an election would continue if there are no nominations, but I can't expect people to be mods if they don't want to be. So what happens?

  • 2
    Iron fists sound like fun. Until you get tired of putting down the umpteenth rebellion, anyways. – fbueckert Feb 13 at 18:07
  • Unfortunately, I don't see iron-fisting being a decent way of running it :P – Canadian Luke Feb 13 at 18:12
  • From a purely technical perspective, the election will simply proceed on to the election phase, with no candidates, thereby rendering it impossible to vote. – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Feb 19 at 17:57
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There have been a couple of sites that didn't get enough candidates. The first thing SE did was to extend nominations for another week. I assume this was accompanied by current mods and others trying to generate more interest among prospective candidates.

One site had an election cancelled after this failed, but I don't know what happened with remaining mods -- whether mods who wanted to step down stayed longer or the site ran with fewer mods or what.

Because yours is a pro-tempure election, not a graduation election, SE can still appoint mods if they want to. That's how pro-tem mods have historically gotten the job; pro-tem elections are a new thing. However, if your election is extended and still fails, I strongly suspect that y'all will be having a conversation with community managers about paths forward before any decisions are made about new mods. If your users are too shy to put themselves forward, that's a different problem from if they're just not interested. Y'all will need to figure out what's going on there.

One of my sites (Workplace) is currently having an election, so far with one candidate. We were concerned about candidate turnout because our last election was kind of rocky, so mods put together some meta posts about what the job entails, trying to be clear that it's not scary and there's a support team (the other mods). It's too soon to say whether it helped and I don't know how active your meta is, but if you have a community there, you might try "selling" the job. (Update: four candidates nominated.)

  • SE has stated many times that sites should have at least three active moderators. One site (don't remember if it was Startups' second incarnation or Personal Productivity) failed and was closed partially because there was only one active moderator who was intending to resign, and no one had stepped up in a call for candidates. – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Feb 13 at 18:16
  • @SonictheIntrovertedHedgehog sites should have three active mods, but I've seen sites go for a while with just two (presumably while background conversations happened). If one of the retiring mods agrees to hang around for a bit longer while they sort out what's going on and how to encourage others to step up, that could work out. I don't know the site so I'm speaking generally. – Monica Cellio Feb 13 at 18:20
  • True, and I've noticed a site with 3 mods where one became an SE employee; it seems to be managing with two mods now. – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Feb 14 at 17:54
  • Well, I made the Meta post on the site-Meta, but still have no candidates. I'm waiting to see if an automated system steps in for now – Canadian Luke Feb 19 at 5:45

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