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It seems that several of the currently $17$ candidates are not in the race seriously. Their statement reads "Don't vote for me" in one way or another.

Can we perhaps make sure that this behavior is stopped and that this will not repeat itself? Some people bring up issues which are better brought to the meta site, rather than the election page itself. Others seem to be just trolling.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes please, it's getting more than a little silly. $\endgroup$ – mrf Dec 9 '14 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ I think this is not unusual, and getting rid of those, is what primaries are for. $\endgroup$ – quid Dec 9 '14 at 15:41
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    $\begingroup$ @quid it is unusual because it did not occur in the past. $\endgroup$ – apnorton Dec 9 '14 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ A side note: Are you candidating? I was able to find one viable candidate in the mess at the primaries page. $\endgroup$ – AlexR Dec 9 '14 at 15:42
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexR meta.math.stackexchange.com/a/17600/23353 $\endgroup$ – apnorton Dec 9 '14 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ @anorton Thanks. Sad to read this :( $\endgroup$ – AlexR Dec 9 '14 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ @anorton it did occur in plenty of elections in the network. $\endgroup$ – quid Dec 9 '14 at 15:44
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    $\begingroup$ @quid: In the previous elections we asked for an enforced primaries, even in the case there are not enough candidates (so everyone would pass on to the final round), to allow time and make the candidates answer questions and interact with the users on meta and chat. One suggestion was to inflate the number of candidates with "Don't vote for me" style user, to which the reply was that these are not encouraged and will be removed. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 9 '14 at 15:44
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Can I take that as a yes for 2015? I'd be glad to have you diamond-ed ;) $\endgroup$ – AlexR Dec 9 '14 at 15:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Malachi No, it's not needed to get support yet. If the situation doesn't improve by mid-december we may rediscuss. $\endgroup$ – AlexR Dec 9 '14 at 15:52
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    $\begingroup$ @quid: I frankly dislike the idea of election now. I'm not sure who can be a good addition to the remaining team, and I hate changes anyway. But if I'm forced through this process, at least let it be a bit more dignified. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 9 '14 at 15:54
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    $\begingroup$ SE does reserve the right to remove any nominations deemed to have been made in bad faith. Though they are quite hesitant to go this route, they have done it before. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Dec 9 '14 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Asaf So, basically, you just wanted to rant? :-) It is not so much that I disagree with you, it is just that I do not see how there can be done much in the running process now without the potential of creating impression of undue influence or multiplying the problem. $\endgroup$ – quid Dec 9 '14 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ @quid: No, I honestly think that there is only benefit to be gained from reminding people, from time to time that this is not reddit, or /b/, or whatever usual online community. That we, in essence, are serious folks. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 9 '14 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ It's worth noting, this is one of the reasons why there's a primary phase and then an election phase: nobody would justifiably let these nominations through primary. Still, I agree, this is a little ridiculous. $\endgroup$ – user66698 Dec 10 '14 at 9:45
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This is my fault; I'm sorry it took so long to respond. I'll try to keep a closer eye on nominations going forward, and quickly remove those that are clearly posted in bad faith.

In the future, if you see a nomination that is explicitly not serious and it remains in place for more than an hour or so, don't hesitate to use the "contact us" link at the bottom of the page and ask that it be removed.

Elections are a serious matter; y'all devote an incredible amount of time and effort to building this place. Folks nominating should respect that.

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If it is possible for us to decide, as a community, on some minimum qualifications for nominations, I think that would be a good idea. The nominations page is indeed somewhat farcical at the moment.

Of course, the standards should not be too high just for a nomination. The primary can sort out some things. But the current situation seems to speak for itself about the effect of having a shiny "nominate yourself here" button available for everyone with an interest in clicking shiny buttons.

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    $\begingroup$ I like your "shiny button" example: simple but deep. $\endgroup$ – Przemysław Scherwentke Dec 12 '14 at 3:24
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I would suggest implementing both a "soft" and a "hard" wall to entering an election - analogously how the site both implements ("soft") text which warns new users about the quality standards of the community and ("hard") automatic question/answer bans.

To start with "soft", I think having a "pre-nomination" or "standard-setting" stage to each election would help - this would probably take form similar to a meta post. This ought to include both the tangible and intangible qualities that the community is hoping to find in a moderator. What sort of badges the community likes to see, how active they expect moderators to be (and doing what), etc. would likely fall into this category. The resultant page of this discussion would be displayed to anyone who wishes to nominate themselves. (And perhaps some soft-checks on reputation can occur too - e.g. additional warnings for anyone with particularly low rep)

Personally, I would not have nominated myself (and later withdrew) if the meta discussions that occurred after the nomination page opened had instead occurred before - though at least, for next election, any conscientious but naive person might find the posts resulting from the current election by searching meta - and might, at least, eliminate however much of the current nominations are in good faith but poor judgement.

To supplement this, it would be good to have some hard requirements. The bar, I think, for these should be set to the level of:

The community trusts you to consider your own merits carefully before nominating yourself and has no objective reason to disqualify you from moderation.

rather than the higher level of

The community believes you may posses the qualities to moderate.

Now, take this with a grain of salt (because I can't hope to have much idea of what you all want here), but I would suggest this hard check run on the magnitude of:

  • User should have 3,000+ reputation (for experience with close votes, at least)
  • User should have 100+ reviews in some queue.
  • User should have posted & voted on meta (with positive score).
  • User should have raised several helpful flags.

and perhaps "User has at least $n$ of the badges: " - exactly what these requirements would be a separate discussion.

I think that, in conjunction with the soft wall, this would be very effective at not disqualifying plausible candidates, but cutting down on extraneous nominations - since there would be more than a big shiny "nominate yourself" button between a user and nominating, and since anyone with access to that button would (hopefully) have integrated enough into the community to think critically about whether they ought to press it.

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