We're having a bit of trouble getting participation on the moderator nominations on the Unix SE. I poked around on the nomination threads on some of the other SE betas, and compared to the others (including some that came after us) we seem to have:

  1. Less nominations
  2. Less votes on the nominations we do have

The most activity we've had on a post is seven votes, but they almost exactly canceled each other out; there's currently a 4-way tie for the lead with +2 (partially due to a mass-downvoting earlier today, but a tie for +3 isn't much better -- it seems like the highest-voted nominations on other threads tends to be around +8). Should we (assuming an SE team member will do it for us, but I wouldn't think that'd be a problem) add a system message to the main site telling people to get involved?

Example of a potential system message

(Actual text subject to change, although there's a good chance threatening kittens would get us somewhere).

I can see it from two different sides, and I have no idea which is correct:

  1. The people that care about moderators probably read meta already and would've voted if they wanted to. The post admittedly has 180+ views, so maybe people just don't have a strong opinion about any of the nominations
  2. Lots more people would be voting if they were aware of it, but have no idea nominations are even in progress

It might be too late for us since we should in theory be next on the list to have moderators selected, so Robert might already be setting things up, but the question is still helpful for future SE betas: Should moderator nominations be announced on the main site?

  • Independent of your general question, let me re-assert that pro tem moderators are selected completely independently from the nomination thread. On Gaming, our moderators included our top two nominees but also Oak, who was not even nominated for over a month. The community doesn't pick them; they are selected by the team looking at the individuals on the site, so it's general participation that helps more than the elections.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Aug 30 '10 at 16:50
  • @Grace I like to hope it's not completely independent -- they look at the nomination thread before making selections, it's not just there to trick the community into thinking they have a say. If you mean "the results of the nominations are completely non-binding when it comes to actually selecting moderators", then yes, but I like to hope it has an effect at least Aug 30 '10 at 16:54
  • The moderator nomination thread is intended for the real moderators; the pro tems are, as the prefix indicates, temporary. Once the beta is over and we step down, it's up to the community to make the real decision. There's no trickery at all. We pro tems are just around to help tide the site over until actual elections are held.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Aug 30 '10 at 16:57
  • I will back this a bit to note that yes, Robert states that the nomination thread does serve as a guidance marker; it is list of users who seem like very good candidates. So it is used in part of the selection process, but I wanted to perchance dispel any confusion (which your suggested banner gives me) that the thread is for the pro tem moderators and that the community actually chooses them.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Aug 30 '10 at 17:09
  • @Grace I think there's quite a bit of confusion then; I was under the impression the nominations were for pro tem moderators. Some of the posts are titled things like Moderator Pro Tempore Nomination Thread, and the ones Robert has posted have titles like Select Your Provisional Moderators and Moderator Pro Tempore Aug 30 '10 at 17:49
  • @Grace And yes, it should probably say something more like "you get to help choose them"; that was poorly worded Aug 30 '10 at 17:52
  • 2
    I use the moderator nomination threads as a starting point to find candidate for the pro tem appointment: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/07/moderator-pro-tempore. How sites nominate their moderators is up to them, but I would think that since you have a lot more time and information at the end of the beta, you should start a new thread. As I wrote it, I phrased it specifically for naming some pro tem moderators: meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/160/… Aug 30 '10 at 20:53

We have four nominations over on RPG, which seems low to me; I think there are probably more than four people who'd make good pro tem (or permanent) moderators, so I share Michael's concerns.

I think that announcing both pro tem and non-pro tem moderator threads on the main boards would thus serve three purposes. First, it'd increase awareness that there's a decision being made. Second, it would increase awareness that hey, there are going to be moderators, which may be handy for newcomers. There's only an off-hand mention of moderators in the beta FAQ. Third, it'd increase awareness of meta, which I think is good for betas -- there's a lot of community-forming that happens there, and there's very little to let newcomers know meta might be important. When/if a site goes public, the FAQ can be customized to contain relevant and important info, but until then meta seems like a key source of knowledge.

  • The third point is already handled, since the default system message on the SE betas is "got a question about the site itself? meta.foo is the place to talk about things like what questions are appropriate, what tags we should use, etc.". The first two seem useful though Aug 30 '10 at 17:51
  • Yeah, it's that subtle difference between "I have a question, so I should go there" and "I should go there to learn more about what this site is for." I'm not entirely sure how important meta is supposed to be, though -- I am, as they say, only a noob.
    – Bryant
    Aug 30 '10 at 18:50

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