As we mentioned In our Community & Public Platform strategy & roadmap for Q1 2021, we've been working on a project to make it easier for our community managers to run moderator elections for our Stack Exchange sites.
As part of that project, we are releasing new features that will also make it easier for you to vote and participate the next time your community holds an election.
A better way to vote
Prior to this release, our voting mechanism was a bit … uh … limited. You could only vote for a maximum of three candidates, and there were 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice buttons that appeared next to each candidate's statement.
This was problematic for a couple of reasons. It meant:
- we could never have a moderator election where we filled more than three slots.
- many votes became "exhausted" under our Meek STV voting method, which reallocates votes from losing candidates to remaining candidates over multiple rounds. This happened if all the candidates that you voted for were eliminated.
Based on feedback from our community managers and Meta, we've created a more flexible user interface that allows you to vote for as many candidates as you want, without the three-vote limitation. This will ultimately mean fewer exhausted votes.
Here's how to rank your favorite candidates in order of preference:
The voting module is responsive, allows you to vote for as many candidates as you want, and features auto-save. The regular-width module appears in the right sidebar and allows for both click and drag-and-drop voting and reordering. The small/medium module allows for voting through dropdown selection, reordering using up/down arrow buttons, and adds candidate statements below the voting control.
Ability to flag nominations and comments
Prior to this release, you couldn't flag nominations. Comment functionality was also limited.
Now, if you run across a nomination that you find problematic, you can flag the nomination for a community manager's attention. If appropriate, the community manager can respond by withdrawing the nomination.
We also added standard commenting functionality to the Elections page. You can now upvote comments, flag comments and link directly to comments.
More flexibility for withdrawing your nomination
Previously, you could only withdraw your nomination while the election was in the nomination phase. Now you can withdraw your candidacy after the election has moved to the primary phase.
If you withdraw yourself during the nomination phase, we remove the nomination in its entirety.
If the election has reached the primary phase, we grey out withdrawn candidates and pin them to the bottom of the list of nominees. We don't count primary votes for the withdrawn candidates.
Behind-the-scenes functionality for Community Managers
We've implemented features that reduce some of the manual work that community managers were doing:
- Extending the nomination period for sites that initially don't get enough candidates. This previously required CMs to ask developers to manually update the database.
- Canceling elections that didn't get enough candidates. CMs no longer need to ask developers for help, and they can easily appoint pro-tem moderators right from the election page.
- Withdraw a candidate at any time. Previously, CMs could only withdraw candidates during the nomination phase. Now CMs can withdraw a candidate during any phase, including the election phase. When a candidate is withdrawn after voting has begun, OpaVote, our third-party vote tabulator, reallocates election-phase votes for withdrawn candidates.