Recently on Physics SE there's been a dramatic election, where the only 40-scored and top nominee was banned from nominating due to their suspension in the last year, which created a dense wave of confusion in the community. (more)

This is not the first time I've learned that the "suspension-free in the past year" rule has caused the feeling of the lost of a great hand among community members. While I appreciate its surprising effectiveness at blocking Nave Llorrac, it's also blocking otherwise good-standing members that are believed to be able to become good moderators by the community.

And the question would be exactly: How feasible would it be, to loosen this requirement / restriction for moderator nominees?

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    +1 for valid discussion, -1 for not agreeing with the idea... suspension isn't something to take lightly. Allowing one to nominate themselves for moderator even after being suspended will open a breach that will be hard to close, and IMO will cause more harm than good in the long run. Maybe the specific case you gave is indeed not fair, but... it's collateral damage that is not fatal. Waiting a year is really not that bad. – Shadow The Princess Wizard May 13 at 11:22
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    Listen to people whom don't listen, dense wave of confusion; I think we need to loosen the CoC ahead of accepting people whom think actions have no consequences on the Internet. – Rob May 13 at 15:12

It's a pretty well known rule. The drama could probably have been avoided a few ways - quite simply by talking to folks first before nominating.

Now, let's say a user had what I call "a bad day". Let's call him Master Nerd. Maybe their cat walks all over their keyboard and they keep posting random gibberish in answers. I suspend them a day to sort things out, and there's an election 6 months later.

Master Nerd is awesome. They have great meta presence. They're a net benefit to the community and everyone loves them and their cat. MN wants to stand for election but is aware of the suspension disqualifying them.

So the proper thing to do is firstly to get in touch with the local mods. "Hey, so... about the cat incident. I've made sure my keyboard won't get cat-gibberished again, and I've been really good since then, can I be a mod?". Now, MN's been awesome and it would be a loss. We'd probably have a word with the CM team and go "Hey, so no foul.". For that matter, they could talk to the CM team (though I'm not sure what's the proper channel for that).

That said, if MN had stood for election without asking, and got kicked out, we'd be less inclined to help cause they had a warning and didn't listen. Better luck the next time. If they did ask, but the mod team wasn't ready to have them potentially on board, we could at least try the next time.

At the end of the day, if you want a rule to be waived, you absolutely should check with someone who could help - either waive it or talk to the people you can.

The key to avoiding drama is prompt, honest communication.

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    Please note Blue's third comment below the earliest answer posted. Don't presume the candidate was not allowed to run didn't try to provide "honest communication" prior to nominating. – Namaste May 13 at 13:45
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    Well, my answer is in general to anyone in the same situation. and I posted this an hour before the comment, so... eh, how'd I know. And even in the situation I'm sure asking first would have saved a lot of the head and heart ache. – Journeyman Geek May 13 at 14:45

Well, said user could have avoided the drama by not ignoring the dialog which was shown to them while submitting their nomination. If they were worried about the election not having any meaning, or leading to 'inept'* moderators being elected, as suggested in the comments, the correct action is not to submit the nomination anyway, but to contact the Community Team and/or existing moderators about this. The (lack of immediate) action by the Community Team was unfortunate, but there's no need to rehash that discussion again.

It's a lifetime on the Internet, I know, but the candidate will be able to run in the next Physics.SE election, which will probably be in 3-4 years.

Meanwhile, I think Shog9's reasoning still applies:

  • They distract everyone from the most important question in any election: who will make a good moderator? Let's face it: a checkered past is entertaining in a way that years of patient service to the community isn't. But turning elections into a circus hurts everyone who cares about the long-term health of the site.

*: I'm not sure what my candidate score was when I nominated, but IIRC it was 15/40 as well. Candidate scores don't tell everything ...

  • In this case, it seems (I'm not active on Physics, but saw some of the discussion) that removing that one nomination caused a lot more drama and more dissatisfaction among the community than simply leaving it alone would have done. If the goal is to avoid drama around specific candidates' histories, to avoid "turning elections into a circus", then they pretty much shot themselves in the foot there. – Rand al'Thor May 13 at 11:49
  • I don't know the details either, but this could indeed be one of the 'extenuating circumstances' the dialog is talking about. (Though that says more about the cause of suspension itself rather than on the potential effect on the election.) – Glorfindel May 13 at 12:00
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    The theory in Shog's quote is that once the previously suspended candidate is removed, "the most important question" will get proper attention. The reality is that whoever showed up got a diamond (except for a token candidate with no qualifications). Looking at the list of candidates from which 2 had to be chosen, it's hard to see what kind of discussion of "the most important question" could happen there. – user302202 May 13 at 12:43
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    I'd argue that the said user nominated themselves in good faith, despite the warning, as the only two members who had nominated themselves before that were not really experienced with the site (one had a candidate score of 3/40 and the other was ~15/40). It would have been terrible for the community if only those inexperienced users got elected. So "could have avoided the drama" doesn't really hold here (even if you're trying to put forward a generalization, this isn't the right place for that). – S.D. May 13 at 13:25
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    @Blue: If you have to explicitly ignore a warning to enter your nomination, a warning that tells you that your nomination will be removed if you proceed, I'm not sure I can call that "good faith". – Nicol Bolas May 13 at 13:34
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    @NicolBolas Wrong. It says (or rather, "said") the nomination may be removed cf. the discussion here: Hide previously suspended nominations unless approved by Community Managers. Even as a moderator, I can assure you that I had followed the Physics election very closely, and the said user's nomination certainly was in good faith. You might want to check the chat transcript. – S.D. May 13 at 13:35
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    @Glorfindel Re: "If they were worried about the election not having any meaning, or leading to 'inept'* moderators being elected, as suggested in the comments, they should have contacted the Community Team and/or existing moderators about this". The point is, they did contact the CM team beforehand, but it was a weekend and they didn't get a timely reply, and went ahead with the nomination anyway (on a Sunday). Which brings us to another feature request: Election schedule: don't end nominations on Mondays. – S.D. May 13 at 13:40
  • OK, I didn't know that (I should probably read the entire chat transcript, but that will take a while ...) – Glorfindel May 13 at 13:44
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    @Glorfindel Just saying that sometimes making generalized assumptions may expedite being the first to answer, without careful consideration of possible exceptions to an over-generalized, with a not-always-applicable, answer, is worth it, unless your main goal is to be the first one to recite the mantras of the SE Bible (rather than answering the particular question asked, and its context.) – Namaste May 13 at 13:58

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