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I think it's time for a change.

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    $\begingroup$ To be fair to @978, the moderator selection was meant to be temporary and there is nothing wrong in asking if we need a new election for mods (given that we are out of beta). He could have phrased it more nicely, I suppose. I have deleted my earlier comment. $\endgroup$ – Aryabhata Oct 26 '10 at 15:03
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    $\begingroup$ Related: [ Is there a time when we elect non-temporary moderators on an SE 2.0 site ? ](meta.stackexchange.com/questions/64592/…) (no official answer yet.) $\endgroup$ – kennytm Oct 26 '10 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ Could you be a little more clear on what it is you want to discuss? $\endgroup$ – Ryan Budney Oct 26 '10 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ 978: Moderate the existence of moderation. Moderating the moderators is a quick fix. SE has a good platform for algorithmizing almost everything. Lack of open source will be a bottleneck in making the necessary improvements. $\endgroup$ – T.. Oct 26 '10 at 17:26
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    $\begingroup$ @Ryan: We were promised real moderator elections when the current moderators pro tempore were appointed (forced upon us) by the stackexchange staff. Combine that with the fact that I have issues with the current moderators (not personal issues, just that I object to the whole idea that you can have non-mathematicians moderating a site about mathematics) and you get this post. $\endgroup$ – 97832123 Oct 26 '10 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ @978: What exactly was forced by the stackexchange staff? There was a meta thread where you were allowed to nominate (and you seemed to have nominated Isaac) and vote here: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/150/…. Did they ignore that thread completely? $\endgroup$ – Aryabhata Oct 26 '10 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Moron: Yes, they absoutely did. I also don't have a problem with Isaac as moderator. I'm sure you can fill in the rest of the details. Notice first of all that Akhil was never offered a moderator position, even though he had the second highest score. $\endgroup$ – 97832123 Oct 26 '10 at 19:44
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    $\begingroup$ @97832123: I will point out to you again that some of us are, by your definition, mathematicians, so stop implying that we are not. Do you know for a fact that Akhil was not offered a position? $\endgroup$ – Isaac Oct 26 '10 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Isaac: If Akhil was offered it and declined it, Robert Cartaino had every chance to tell me when I asked him about it on the moderators pro temp thread. In fact, it looked more like he was just ignoring my question... $\endgroup$ – 97832123 Oct 26 '10 at 22:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Isaac: Also, I keep telling you that I want to get rid of Kaestur mainly (and I don't really see why we should keep KennyTM on here as a moderator either). $\endgroup$ – 97832123 Oct 26 '10 at 22:29
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    $\begingroup$ @97832123: Why would you expect Robert to tell you if Akhil had been offered the position and declined it? Generally, such an offer is made directly to the person because it is not public information. $\endgroup$ – Isaac Oct 27 '10 at 1:08
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    $\begingroup$ Dear @978, @Isaac, I was not offered a position, but I do not think the issue is important now. In any case, there is no shortage of people who would be more qualified than I for moderator duties, especially now that the site has grown. $\endgroup$ – Akhil Mathew Oct 27 '10 at 2:06
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    $\begingroup$ @Isaac: Hmm, isn't it quite surprising that I was totally right all along? If the SE team had any interest in choosing community-approved moderators, there was nothing stopping them from looking at our election thread. $\endgroup$ – 97832123 Oct 27 '10 at 7:36
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    $\begingroup$ @97832123: I didn't have any particular opinion as to whether you were right or wrong. I was only noting that you were asserting things as fact without having actual knowledge of them. $\endgroup$ – Isaac Oct 27 '10 at 7:41
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    $\begingroup$ Is it possible to do the right thing at least now? Better late than never. If Akhil Mathew got the second highest votes in a democratic community election, it stands to reason that he also should be offered the moderator position. This should be done regardless of whether he is going to accept or not. This is a matter of fairness. $\endgroup$ – user1119 Nov 14 '10 at 0:54
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There will be an official moderator nomination and election 30 days* after the beta ends. For math.SE, this means around end of Novermber.

Ref: Is there a time when we elect non-temporary moderators on an SE 2.0 site?

The nominations for moderator elections will start about 30 days after a site graduates from beta.

Moderator nominations will not be conducted as a meta thread, as they were done with the original sites. We are in the process of creating a custom software module for holding the Moderator nominations. It was the only way to conduct a fair and impartial nomination process, without the quirks of trying to force it into a meta-voting thread.

We just passed 30 days on our first sites. The development is underway so we will start the first round of nominations as soon as the module is ready.

(The voting software is still not completed so it may be later than that.)

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the info! $\endgroup$ – BBischof Nov 3 '10 at 23:07
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    $\begingroup$ I think before the next election the anomalies in the last election should be fixed. Akhil Mathew should be offered a moderator position. $\endgroup$ – user1119 Nov 14 '10 at 0:57
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Since Big-mods are reading this thread, can we get an answer to the OP's question? Or is this secret knowledge which we must wait to hear about? I do not strongly hold either opinion, I just want to know if things will change and when.

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    $\begingroup$ sigh... still nothing... $\endgroup$ – BBischof Nov 3 '10 at 4:59
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There are two reasons why we should be taking the idea of a "change of guard" seriously.

One is that quality of expertise does matter with SX sites, and we might not be making good use of the talent available. By my count, six of the top ten MO users have been active here, and half are 2k+ rep. contributors here, meaning they know this site well, are active, and are fairly likely to accept a moderatorship if it is offered.

The other is that I have reservations about the moderators we do have. Kaestur has not performed badly, but he has been a little bit accident prone, which is really not something we want in a moderator. Katie has generally been solid, but not all that active. Isaac has been good, and KennyTM has been very good. (FWIW, I voted for Katie and KennyTM in the Pro Tempore elections, didn't vote for Isaac, and voted against Kaestur).

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    $\begingroup$ Actually, not that it matters so much, but six can be improved to at least seven. $\endgroup$ – Matt E Oct 27 '10 at 15:15
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Exactly what functions do the moderators perform?

I assume there are automated mechanisms to detect spam and other deletable material that might endanger the operation of the site, and some of this, as well as manually flagged examples that pass the filter, requires human attention.

How much more than that is necessary, given a rating and tagging system and algorithms that can operate on that data? The "crowdsourcing"/wiki model with editing by users also removes much of the need for unique individual powers.

The lack of (1) discussion (2) crossposting (3) threading capabilities -- i.e., the conceptual regression from USENET to the current Stackexchange model -- leads to much of the migration and other work the moderators currently perform. Adding more capabilities seems better than creating a dependence on moderation.

Note: sci.math.research withered in part due to over-moderation, a problem that MO has solved, or rather, solved in the context of a high-end user base. sci.math (unmoderated) would have survived and prospered had it handled the volume growth. SE is vague about how to address these matters.

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    $\begingroup$ On MO, the moderators are responsible for addressing problem users. I also think they can merge tags, which to me is very important. $\endgroup$ – Qiaochu Yuan Oct 26 '10 at 20:32
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    $\begingroup$ The methods of "addressing problem users" have been a problem of their own. Less human-dependent methods would remove some of the conflicts. $\endgroup$ – T.. Oct 26 '10 at 20:36
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    $\begingroup$ Moderators can also make a question community-wiki, whereas no non-moderator other than the OP could do this. Now that even the OP cannot make a question community-wiki, this ability seems even more important. $\endgroup$ – Pete L. Clark Oct 26 '10 at 21:37
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    $\begingroup$ we favor moderation over algorithms, but use both. The problem with algorithms is that they can't detect rudeness, hatred, hostility, and overt evil. But human beings can, and will. Expect more human moderation to protect our community from that kind of corrosive poison, not less. $\endgroup$ – Jeff Atwood Oct 30 '10 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Jeff: thanks. In any system, the number of moderators is expected to increase with the growth of the user population, but the likelihood that a given discussion thread requires human action is very much a matter of algorithms and site philosophy. The better the software, the smaller the probability that macroscopic human intervention is required (rather than down-rating the material by various metrics that can be used to prevent visibility or promulgation of hostile comments etc. This is done, for example, in search engine "safety" filters: metrics that give users additional control.) $\endgroup$ – T.. Oct 30 '10 at 23:35

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