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Have there been no moderator elections since December 2014?

Are moderators elected to serve for some specified period of time?

The tag wiki for the tag says

Moderator elections are held periodically....

"Periodically" means the amount of time from one election to the next is always the same. But the list of moderator elections contradicts that. They cannot both be true.

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As of today (22 June 2017) the last election was held in December 2014. A list of all moderator elections can be seen here.

On all Stack Exchange sites, elected moderators serve until

  1. they resign, or
  2. Stack Exchange decides that they are not worthy of the position (e.g., by violating the moderator agreement), or
  3. their inactivity level reaches some critical point (on most sites I believe simply logging in once every several months is enough, though Stack Overflow has much more stringent minimal required activity levels for moderators), or
  4. (and I am uncertain if this has ever come about on any Stack Exchange site) a moderator action review process results in a decision to remove them.

So why has there been such a gap in elections (which I imagine is the real question)? Quite simply, there hasn't been a need for new moderators. There have been no resignations or moderator removals since the last election (and that election was held, in large part, because of these then-imminent changes). Also, the work-load on the moderators has not noticeably increased in the intervening 2.5 years. Were either of these things to change, I am certain that an election would be scheduled fairly quickly. Judging by the last three months, the four really active moderators (who have collectively handled more than 99.5% of all moderator flags in this period) seem to be able to handle most issues in a timely fashion. As one point of reference, the average flag handling time during this period is about 90mins, which, if I recall correctly, is substantially less than prior to the last election.

(So, if you want another election you can try to substantially increase our workload by raising flags — or causing flags to be raised, but I wouldn't recommend doing things to attract flags.)

I will mention that Stack Exchange is planning to implement a system which I believe would lead to more "soft resignations" of moderators, and hence more frequent elections. I'm not willing to divulge any details I've been told, since (1) the system has not been finalised and is still subject to change before implementation, and (2) the info I do have comes from the Teachers' Lounge, and copying stuff out of the Teachers' Lounge is a very good way to have Shog remove the still-beating diamond from a mod's username.

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  • $\begingroup$ What is the "Teachers' Lounge"? And who or what is "Shog"? $\endgroup$ – Michael Hardy Jun 22 '17 at 7:09
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    $\begingroup$ The "Teachers' Lounge" is a special, moderator-only chat room where moderators and SE staff discuss moderating issues. Shog (really Shog9, and really really Josh Heyer) is the lead of the Community Management team. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Jun 22 '17 at 7:21
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The two main reasons an election is held are that either the site has grown so much that the workload is too large for the existing moderators, or one or more moderators stepped down or became inactive.

The original idea was that roughly once a year SE takes a look at the site and considers whether an election should be held. This hasn't really worked out with the increasing number of sites, but SE is looking at asking the moderators each year if they think that more moderators are needed.

In addition, all moderators can just ask SE to hold an election if they notice that the workload is getting too large, or too many moderators are not active anymore.

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I think the reason is in this query. It is the site activity history (number of open, closed, deleted questions per month).

Site activity history

So, new election will happen, if

  • One of the mods commits some unforgivable (in the eyes of SE). It is unlikely.
  • One of the mods slows down to not moderate. It is possible, but unlikely.
  • The site grows. It is possible, but also not very probable.
  • The site changes. Change can be everything, in the user base, in the SE policies & behavior, anything. Also this is unlikely, but possible.

A rough view of the mods of different sites shows that roughly 10-20% of the once elected mods isn't a mod already. On this reason I estimate their "half life" to roughly a decade.

Btw, I don't see that a change in the site behavior would be needed (maybe LQ content filtering could be more strict, but a change in this direction is more dangerous to worth its price). Thus, I think it would be better to let the system running as it does now. It doesn't need a fix.

The "mod elections are held periodically" statement was written obviously in the exponentially growing era of the SE. Having too many mods is also dangerous, as induvidual power should be minimized in a self-governing system.

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    $\begingroup$ I like graphs, therefore +1 $\endgroup$ – mrnovice Jun 26 '17 at 2:45

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