In the wake of recent events, I tried to find out how many moderators are left on one of the SE sites I frequent. On the "moderators" page, I found the following text:
We believe moderation starts with the community itself, so in addition to privileges earned through reputation, we periodically hold democratic moderator elections.
If you follow the link, you will find sentences like these:
As we’ve said from the very first days of the Stack Overflow beta:
We don’t run Stack Overflow. You do.
Every site under our banner has the same philosophy. The community is the source of everything useful that happens to exist on our websites. We gladly reciprocate by trusting you to lead and govern your own community. Democratically elected community moderators are the ultimate goal of, and foundation for, every site in our network.
Emphasis is not mine, but Jeff Atwood's, the author.
I have no doubt that the moderator fired last week for reasons not published would immediately be re-elected by their "populace" in the next election, probably in a landslide against whoever is desperate enough to go on the ballot against them, because we as voters have no indication whatsoever of any wrongdoing on their part and we have no problem with their moderation of our community.
So I will take a guess and say SE will find a way to tell us that we missed the part of the policy that tells us we cannot re-elect them. And I get it. They have the power, it's not a democracy, it's a corporation. Removing people does not make sense if they could be reinstated again, just because people like them and voted for them.
So my question is, how is it "democratic" to filter the list of candidates I can vote for with criteria I have no access to? Last time this happened on German soil, it was called the "German Democratic Republic". You can probably guess what it was not. Pick two.
How can I make an informed decision, when I'm not allowed to view the information?
The "party line" (I leave it to the informed reader to figure out if it's SE or SED) is:
This is always done based on what we believe is best for all [...].
Yeah. Well. Problem is, if you want to call it democratic, you'd need to leave that decision to the "all".
So how much of the "democratic" will we see in reality and how much will be PR?