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Update: With the election complete, thanks to all who participated in the chat rooms, with comments, questions, answers*, votes, and also naturally thanks to the candidates.

Best wishes to the freshly minted mods, and encouragement to those who might retain an interest in moderation to keep an eye open for future elections. These have been regular of late. Future announcements of current mods stepping down typically indicate that an election will follow soon and that you should start thinking more about the world of moding and your views on the current state and future of the site.

And thanks also to all of the regular contributors on chem SE.


* including to this post, originally titled "what does it take to get people around here to nominate themselves?" The original post follows for future reference:

This is a cheeky but serious message to the community.

Without another candidate before the nominations phase of the current election ends, the election will be cancelled, and current nominees will lose an(other) opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream.

So if you are feeling heroic, or generous, please throw in your hat in the race.

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    $\begingroup$ I've been thinking of posting something similar. However, I was tempted to do a completely opposite by [falsely] claiming that people shouldn't nominate themselves because there are already two candidates for two positions (i.e. why bother, duh…), hoping to play with psychological reactance. So thank you for taking the direct approach and dismissing my Buridan's ass role. $\endgroup$
    – andselisk Mod
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 18:51
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    $\begingroup$ Up to around five years ago I occasionally considered volunteering to be a Chem.SE mod, but nowadays I'm just too busy and too tired. No point in volunteering if I know I won't do a good job of it. I suspect this is true for a fair chunk of the higher rep/long time users. Careers in chemistry are just very demanding. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ @NicolauSakerNeto Your contributions to this site are awesome, and I am amazed by the depth of answers you have shared over the past nine years (some with many years less experience in chemistry than you have now). $\endgroup$
    – Karsten Mod
    Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 1:07
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    $\begingroup$ I have a major personal problem with the SE mod self-nomination concept. I would prefer nomination by others. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 7:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Poutnik I would counter that it saves some effort to self-nominate. You would be best judge as to whether you have the time to do the task. I suppose someone could approach you on chat and ask you beforehand. That might be a civilized way of doing what you propose, but it does add another layer to the process. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 7:48
  • $\begingroup$ @BuckThorn I do not say it does not work. I speak for myself. I will probably never nominate myself. If few users I respect were sure I should nominate myself, I could reconsider. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 7:51
  • $\begingroup$ I understand. Well, I think you already possess what's required and spend plenty of time on the site. It would be up to you to decide whether this is something that interests you. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 7:59
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    $\begingroup$ I think in context of the idea "The best leaders are seldom among those who wanted to be leaders in the first place." $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 8:02

2 Answers 2

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"What does it take to get people around here to nominate themselves?"

  • An announcement about the election made reasonably well in advance of the question collection period. 0 days is not reasonable for that.

  • Dropping the rule that people suspended on one SE site can't run for an election on any other SE site for 365 days (you won't necessarily agree with decisions made by un-elected people on other sites, and I can tell you of a case where a suspension was made in error but the decision was kept and you'd probably agree that it was because admitting the error would have been too embarrassing for the person that made the decision).

But I agree that it would be nice for one more person to put their hat in the ring, even if only to help the election move forward. I had been encouraging Tyberius to do that a few times over the last couple weeks and it worked. If there's someone that you think would be good for the job, explicitly encouraging them might be necessary (and you might have to try several times to nudge them towards nominating themselves!).

  • While typing the part in parentheses in my last sentence above, a third thing came to my mind in terms of "what it would take to get people to nominated themselves" and that is, an easier process to nominate one's self. Answering a tonne of election-related questions can be a lot of work for perfectionists or near-perfectionists or people who only like to nominate themselves for things if they're going to go "all out" and try to win, and this is a huge barrier for a lot of people who think about nominating themselves.
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    $\begingroup$ Re: announcement: A couple of times round we did an 'interest check'. In hindsight that would probably have been a good idea, and whenever the next election comes round it would probably be a good thing for the remaining mod team to do that too. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 0:12
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    $\begingroup$ For the nomination, all that is strictly required is a short statement. Answering the questions is supposedly voluntary - but of course it is helpful to get to know candidates a bit better, especially since there are no term limits. The latter is probably scarier for the candidates than for the community. $\endgroup$
    – Karsten Mod
    Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 1:10
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    $\begingroup$ A heads up some days in advance of the beginning of the election cycle would not hurt, but given that the cycle begins with the rather painless task of collecting questions, I don't see what the big deal is. As for answering the questions, well, consider it an annoyance at worst and a test of endurance, a minimum effort to show your willingness to address the concerns of the community, and a spot check of your degree of participation on the site. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 7:52
  • $\begingroup$ @BuckThorn 1 week for question collection isn't enough. This was almost a "failed election". If it weren't for a candidate putting themselves forward at the very last minute (just to have the election proceed), it would have been a failed election. You asked what it takes. This is the best answer. I wish people took elections more seriously. You cant just announce one spontaneously and expect everyone to be ready. You can't expect such an election to be considered a fair one either. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 11:47
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    $\begingroup$ @user1271772 I don't get it. You seem to be against the whole idea of having a lengthy questionnaire, but simultaneously feel like there should be more time to put together the questionnaire. What kind of questions are we talking about that you couldn't come up with in less than a week? $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 6:55
  • $\begingroup$ @BuckThorn I agree, you do not seem to get it. I will say it one last time here: elections need to be announced well in advance in order to work properly and in order to be fair. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 19:31
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Maybe new moderators should get T-shirts. I printed some, so I could follow through if the community is interested in that angle.

I have not considered running for moderator in the past because I was trying to spend less time on StackExchange rather than more. In the meantime, I have succeeded in incorporating the time spent into my work time budget; also, some of the initial excitement about reputation points has worn off, so I find the site less addicting, which helps with the work/SE.chemistry/life balance.

What encouraged me was @orthocresol's comment (https://chemistry.meta.stackexchange.com/a/4403) that it is a 90/10 split between time spent as participant and as moderator. I am sure there will be blips of crisis where that ratio will be different, but also times where moderators can merely observe.

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    $\begingroup$ Moderators used to get hats. $\endgroup$
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Aug 9, 2022 at 13:35
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    $\begingroup$ Thet got tshirts on Quantum Computing SE because it was a sponsored site. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 11:54
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    $\begingroup$ I'll do pretty much anything for a T-shirt. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ Did StackOverflow not send everyone a StackExchange-themed goodie box last winter? Or are you talking about something specific to chemistry.SE? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 6:48
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    $\begingroup$ @MelanieShebel Everyone might have been every moderator. $\endgroup$
    – Karsten Mod
    Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 13:58

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