As you probably know, moderator elections on SE are held "periodically", where this confusing word is used in the sense of "from time to time", and not "at regular intervals".

Just for information: this time, who decided to hold the present moderator elections on academia.se? Is it a decision of our current moderators, because they feel they need more help, or is it a decision that came from the Stack Exchange staff? If so, were our mods consulted? Do they agree?

Reason behind the question: given that there are few candidates, and people have suggested that we may not fill all open positions, it would be interesting to know if our mods expressed the desire to get more workforce.

1 Answer 1


As I said in this comment

because we need more help. We had a private conversation amongst ourselves about our availability going forward and the amount of work/time moderating requires and decided that having two more people would make things better.

From there we talked to the SE staff and they agreed and scheduled an election.

In general, SE staff tries to keep an eye on what is happening and if they think more mods would be helpful, they suggest it to the current moderators. I am not sure if they ever force an election against the will of the existing moderators.

Also, elections are only run if there is at least one more candidate than positions, so the outcome of our election (and all elections) will result in all the positions being filed.

  • 1
    Thanks! I missed that comment. (I wasn't suggesting that the alternative was forcing elections against your will, by the way.) Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 17:52
  • Seems like a good call. Especially in a relatively mature community like this, it'd seem like we'd have a lot of good candidates who could be trusted to use mod powers appropriately, ideally mitigating some of the tedium from a smaller set of moderators.
    – Nat
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 18:16
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    @Nat speaking for myself the issue is that when we have to make a hard call and want to reach a consensus we need another moderator, and hopefully two, to be able to talk it through. The routine stuff is not a big deal and we handle it alone most of the time.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 18:26
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    What probably puzzled some users (it certainly puzzled me) is the relatively short distance of this election from the previous one. I think that from this there are two lessons to be learned: i) Upcoming elections should be announced in advance by the moderators to all the community with an informal meta post (hey guys, we're going to need n more moderators for reason whatever); ii) elections, which are generally burdensome, should take into account a longer time span for the number of requested moderators. Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 18:39
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    @MassimoOrtolano we are academics, we don't judge our future availability all that well and when we get behind we tend to hope that we will catch up next week. I am not sure if longer time frames would help, but that is probably something worth asking about on the main meta. The SE team can probably pull data about when election questions come in, when people nominate themselves, and when users vote.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 18:57

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