# Some lessons to learn from the 2017 elections

So, the election are over. Some statistics and factoids of interest.

1. From the election page:

22,919 voters were eligible, 9,261 visited the site during the election, 4,655 visited the election page, and 2,161 voted

This is quite a terrible statistics. Out of almost 10k users that could vote, and were online during this week, only half bothered to look at the election, and only about half of them bothered to even vote.

I am not someone who espouses "everyone should vote". In fact, I would limit voting rights to people who at least passively follow the meta site. And it is definitely the case that a lot of people have little interest in meta-matters, and they should avoid voting as they usually don't read the meta site, and aren't very well aware of the more or less pressing issues that are on the agenda often.

Nonetheless, I'd be happier if a higher percentage of people were more engaged to vote. At least of those who bothered to visit the election page.

2. Looking at the online statistics, one can open the ballots page. The first thing one notices, is that the first ballots have only one vote. In fact, the first ballot to even have a third vote is ballot number 77.

Using grep -c "2</div" and grep -c 3</div on the html page, shows that nearly 300 people didn't choose a third candidate; and out of these only a 100 had cast a second-choice vote (specifically, out of 2161 ballots there are 1985 ballots with at least two votes; and 1865 ballots with all three votes (it might interest someone to know that all ballots had a first choice)).

It is unclear, and probably impossible to know, if those partial ballots are due to lack of understanding the fact that one can vote for three candidates, or just people "gaming the election badges" and casting a vote for the first candidate on their page before moving on.

But it is best to cast three out of three votes. And so, I am not sure what to make out of this whole thing.

3. As I remarked before. The last election was a rage. We had many participants, many third-party-nominations of users nominating other users. There was a lot more debate going on, and a lot more energy poured into the meta site.

While I don't trust my memory to that degree, the election before that (2013) was also pretty active, even if not to the same degree. Or so I remember.

Long story short, I feel that perhaps this election came more as a surprise to many people here, and was somewhat hastily. In my opinion, at least, giving the community another week before starting the official nomination process might have been conducive to a more active election.

I would love to hear some input from the members of the community as to what do they think about the elections we just had, and what lessons can we learn from these—and other—things.

• Great question(s), @Asaf! I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the whole process, but this election is indeed different from the2014 election, in terms of the factors you mention: participation levels, 3rd party nominations, notice given that an election is coming up... etc. I tried to rally on a number of fronts, but to some extent, it seemed to fall on a lot of "dead/uninterested" ears. (That could of course be attributed to my failure as a rally-er!). I'll be considering this beyond my first impressions. Just know that this is a good question, and very relevant to this site. – Namaste Oct 17 '17 at 23:36
• Its not evident to see there was an election going on...I had the chance to see it on meta and could participate..I voted for three candidates... – Isham Oct 17 '17 at 23:36
• @Isham users are supposed to get a notification (like a comment notification) about the election. Maybe it did not work in your case (or you overlooked it). – quid Oct 17 '17 at 23:57
• I do agree with some of your points - the election was a complete surprise to me, and the participation rate was pretty terrible. As far as your point (2), I am one of the 300 who only cast two votes, since I only felt that two of the candidates were really supportable for me. I wonder how many people felt the same. – user296602 Oct 18 '17 at 0:03
• @Isham there was a message in the community bulletin (the box on the top right). – quid Oct 18 '17 at 0:12
• re 2, the ballots appear to be sorted by what is voted for. The first, or any segment, are thus an extremely biased sample. I would assume there were not few that just had a quick look and voted for somebody they recognized and found good. Which is maybe not optimal, but understandable. I doubt many voted just to get a batch. Anecdotally, it seems Jack has relatively many unique votes, which is compatible with the "recognized and find good" hypothesis, him being by far the most active answerer. – quid Oct 18 '17 at 0:20
• @quid If you are a user who primarily reads Math.SE on the app (as I am when school is in session...) an indication of a notification came through but there was no notification there when you clicked on it. Luckily I read the meta site so I was aware and went on my computer to vote - but it is still a potential issue. – emma Oct 18 '17 at 0:49
• Perhaps too many voted. As of now the candidate Q&A meta page has only 1153 views, I'm sure not all by unique users. math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/27045/… I don't really think too many voted, but I don't second guess anyone who decides not to vote. I don't vote in elections when I'm not informed on the candidates or issues (except when someone is running unopposed, because I like to thank them for stepping up). – Jonas Meyer Oct 18 '17 at 2:02
• @Jonas: Yeah, that's probably right. See my repeated remarks that voting should be a privilege one earns by participating on meta. – Asaf Karagila Oct 18 '17 at 8:08
• @emma that's an interesting point. I do not use the app, and only rarely the mobile version. If there are issues with visibility in these it could make sense to record this as an answer. This is something that could be addressed. – quid Oct 18 '17 at 8:54
• In comparison, our stats aren't so terrible. – Daniel Fischer Oct 18 '17 at 12:56
• There was an awful lot of text on that survey page. I'm a fast reader. It was an overwhelming amount of text. And, it seemed extremely likely that the position would go to quid. I was quite surprised to see now that there are two new moderators; that wasn't clear to me at all. I did use at least two votes; I remember having trouble choosing a third and don't recall if I finally did or not. Thinking there was only one opening and seeing quid's excellent responses, it seemed silly even to use two votes. – Wildcard Oct 20 '17 at 16:01
• @Wildcard: Frankly, though, that's on you. It states very clearly on the side-bar that there will be two elected moderators. :) – Asaf Karagila Oct 20 '17 at 16:37
• I am one of the people who visited the election page but did not vote. And I don't follow meta (we're lucky that I even read this post), so in your opinion, I'm probably not informed enough to vote. So you should be happy that, when I looked at the election page, I came to that same conclusion! – Toby Bartels Oct 22 '17 at 7:27
• @Wildcard Just had to make sure. Thanks for the quick reply! – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 23 '17 at 20:52

1. Most people are here just for the mathematics and choosing moderators is a meta issue. Moderators are people who promise to help keep the site running, and even their very existence is somewhat irrelevant to many users. Perhaps the local soccer club needs to choose someone to take responsibility over finance, but most members of the club might have their sole interest in playing ball. And that's fine, the club exists for the purpose of facilitating the game, just like this site exists for facilitating certain mathematical exchanges.

Some people have interests in the inner workings of the site, but they are a minority. There are way more mathematicians than metamathicians. The percentage of people who chose to vote is actually higher than I expected.

2. I knowingly voted for exactly one candidate and left two blanks. I did not care much about the answers to the questionnaire. I required two things of a person I would vote for:

• Sufficient activity on meta, in review, and similar managerial aspects of the site.
• My personal experience of how the particular user approaches other users and problematic situations.

My votes are solely based on my personal experience with the candidates. I was mostly uninterested in their words in election discussions, but very interested in my memories of their past actions regarding my second point above. One could say that I will only vote for someone to become a moderator if I already think they are a good moderator and effectively act in that capacity. The line between moderators and some high reputation users is thin by design. Only one user passed my tests, so I only voted for them. I did not want to vote for anyone I don't have genuine support for.

3. Let me just point out that no matter how long the preparation stage is, most voters will presumably get to the election page when they get an announcement in their inbox and choose some candidates on a gut feeling. I don't think the amount of preparation or discussion has much effect on the majority's voting behavior. Granted, there are very active meta users and almost-moderators, but their weight in the overall voting is relatively small.

To me it seems that the key effect of sufficient discussion and visibility is getting good candidates to run for the job. Many will need some time to consider whether they want the burden on themselves with the moderator work. I'm not very enthusiastic about voting for someone who is willing to commit to moderatorship after two seconds of thought — I assume some of the best candidates (from my point of view) will need some time to consider their commitments. Perhaps some more time would have produced more candidates for me to vote on.

I don't see anything to be alarmed of about the election.

• I used to have a gut feeling that DC was to hold in a symmetric extension if and only if the forcing was sigma closed and the filter of subgroups was sigma complete. And I used to have the gut feeling that countable unions of countable sets are countable. And I used to have the gut feeling that maybe geometry is interesting (to me). All these things changed with experience. Interacting with, or passively observing interactions of, potential moderators will change your gut feeling about them. – Asaf Karagila Oct 20 '17 at 19:51
• If you're willing to spend the time, I have found going to a user's profile and looking through their activity, particularly comments, to be most edifying in choosing candidates to vote for. That gives you a sense of a user even when you don't have personal experience with them. – Todd Wilcox Oct 28 '17 at 20:14

re 2, as a non-regular occasional visitor, I struggled in choosing my 3rd vote, I think people who are not actively checking meta or other posts in the main site might have had similarly hard time in deciding who to vote for. Questionnaire is a useful thing but it is mostly the claims of users about themselves. If I haven't seen enough of their interactions with others on the site and their involvement on the meta discussions and how they approach policies I don't feel comfortable voting for them, I see the alternative as casting my vote randomly which is not a good thing in my opinion.

re 1, I personally don't think it is a really bad thing that only those who are actively involved in the site vote. In principle, moderator role should be an extension of what a user is already doing, right? Even if someone doesn't get elected as a moderator they should be actively involved in cleaning up junk, closing bad questions, editing to improving questions and answers, helping in building consensus on good policies and norms on meta, helping resolve disagreement and building a good environment for others to participate and feel good about the site, and do so by leading by example. Most of these do not require moderator privileges, a healthy established site like MSE should have enough active users with high enough rep that most of these are dealt with even without moderators.

As I see it moderator privileges are to deal with infrequent exceptions that normal users cannot deal with, e.g. users trying to game the voting system, dealing with problematic users that create toxic environment for others, users persistently and consciously violating agreed upon policies, quickly deleting occasional spam posts, calming down and resolving heated discussions that lead to "requires moderator attention" flags, and a bit more authority in explaining what the policies and norms of the site are to new users. And as far as I understand these are the reason why moderators exists, the things in the previous paragraph do not need moderator privileges really. To perform these duties requires giving moderators access to non-public information and unilateral actions and requires establishment of some level of trust over time. Can I really cast a meaningful vote if I have not interacted with a candidate directly nor observed their interactions with others? I don't feel so. My vote would be either a random one or based on how others think (in which case I am just amplifying their vote).

By the way, for future elections, I think it would be rather helpful (at least to me) to ask candidates to provide some examples of how they have behaved in those exceptional situations on the site and also their contributions to meta discussions.

• Admittedly, as one of the more active users, I was struggling with finding all three suitable candidates. – Asaf Karagila Oct 18 '17 at 8:01
• Tbh, I also struggled a bit with choosing all 3 candidates. But it wasn't due to lack of knowledge, I just thought there were more than 3 good candidates this year. – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 18 '17 at 14:23
• I was sorely tempted for quite a while to leave my vote at just two candidates. – J. M. is a poor mathematician Oct 20 '17 at 2:43
• Me too, wrt to really only endorsing two candidates. I did include a third vote, but it was more a "lesser of evils" vote, not an endorsement. – Namaste Jul 10 '18 at 18:42

Thanks for collecting these pieces of data. Digesting it all, and its relation with the outcome of the election, will take a while. As I spent one bike ride to work thinking about this I share my impressions with you all.

1. I am against limiting the right to vote. We have come a long way since that privilege was limited to men owning land worth 40 shillings or more. Even in modern times there have been attempts to limit the right to vote by various political entities, but I don't recall much good having come from such attempts. Ideally we would like the voters to be informed, and educate them about why it is a good idea to be informed, but even many modern societies continue to fail in that task. And continue to disagree about what being informed means. If it cannot be done here in a community of educated people, then...
2. But, I also agree that voters should make a serious effort to learn about the issues and the candidates. Not mentioning the fact that an election is going on. May be most of the voters actually felt that they are not sufficiently informed, and hence abstained from voting? A very disciplined decision, if you ask me. Anyway, I don't have much sympathy for the users who said they didn't notice that an election is coming. I mean, it's not like the notice to demolish your planet was posted only in the Proxima Centauri office. Pay attention to those local affairs (or forfeit your right to complain)!
3. The discussion preceding this election was possibly less heated than what we had prior to couple earlier ones. Or was it? Here our personal perception will necessarily be colored by how high a stake we held in the key issues (if any). The previous election was held shortly after we had discussed the issues with PSQs/homework and "the massive campaign" lead by Normal Human to delete unworthy threads. May be we have since converged towards a more universally accepted policy? I'm not sure, but may be this time such divisive issues were absent simply because no new important ones emerged? I'm not saying that the PSQ problem would now be solved, you all know that it isn't. But, now we collectively understand the matter a lot better (and hopefully also where the other side stands). No surprise changes in site dynamics - just the same old grumble, grumble.
4. You pay particular attention to meta participation. While I largely agree, I have some nagging doubts revolving around the questions 1) Does the meta discussion actually fairly represent the views of our user base? 2) Does it matter if the answer to the preceding question is "No"? Ideally I like to think that meta is a home to all the letters-to-the-editor, but I'm not sure it works that way as well as it should. I'm somewhat worried about the possibility that meta has become not unlike an official newsletter of a single party. A prominent (but recently silenced) dissenting voice may have done a disservice to all opposition by alienating the regulars with their rhetoric, but surely we don't want to shun all differences of opinions. I don't have a huge problem with this, because I apparently support that meta party. OTOH it is my job to take care of the entire user base. Early in my tenure, after yet another meta-quarrel with Bill, a more experienced moderator gave me the piece of advice. Don't feel too good about it (=the support from other meta regulars). Bill's views are more popular than you may think.
5. But, a point still is that unless the opposition (if any) expresses their views in meta we will not know about the existence of those views. So, we should welcome opposing views, and make good faith attempts to see their points. If only to keep the thesis, antithesis, synthesis triad rolling.

The usual caveat is that I don't necessarily know the difference between a moderator being transparent about their views and actions and a moderator indulging in public introspection.

• I disagree with comparing limiting voting to people who follow meta to racist laws limiting voting to people with power and race. Anyone can put in the hour every two weeks to peruse meta and just see what are the hot topic and who are the active users and their ideas. Nobody is required to be grandfathered in on this or own slaves. – Asaf Karagila Oct 19 '17 at 14:34
• May be I phrased that too dramatically. But on Politics.SE I'm also on record as being against the US way of requiring voters to register themselves as opposed to (the Finnish way of) having a central population registry do it automatically for them. No obstacles to voting IMHO. – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 19 '17 at 18:32
• Yeah, well, nevertheless, if you need 1000 points to vote, might as well add a meta participation tag(s) to the mix. I don't see much difference at that. – Asaf Karagila Oct 19 '17 at 19:02
• Ah! I may be seeing the light! We are (re)defining the local equivalent of an adult here rather than trying to limit the right to vote only to certain groups of individuals. – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 19 '17 at 19:42
• @JyrkiLahtonen The states monopoly on violence makes governmental elections an entirely different animal. We are more like a book club. – Michael Greinecker Oct 19 '17 at 20:18
• @AsafKaragila Isn't it 150 points. They should require that your account is at least a month old or something similar. – user222031 Oct 19 '17 at 21:40
• Jyrki: Yes. Exactly right. Being a responsible adult on this site means also following meta. – Asaf Karagila Oct 20 '17 at 6:10
• @user222031: Yes, you're right. I was thinking of candidates. (Which I think should be far less controversial to require them to be active on meta...) – Asaf Karagila Oct 20 '17 at 6:15
• I think that requiring meta-participation is a win-win. People who don't care, won't care. People who care, will come to complain... on meta. – Asaf Karagila Oct 21 '17 at 8:47
• Jyrki, is it possible to ask from the StackOverlords the following statistics, to complement all that was given so far, how many eligible voters visited meta during the election week? – Asaf Karagila Oct 25 '17 at 12:12
• I almost did not vote because I didn't feel sufficiently informed. I browse meta semi-frequently, but only lurk, occasionally vote, rarely comment, and never post. However, it is very hard, IMO, to passively memorize everyone's position on a palate of issues. From my activity here, I recognize many names; I interact with many people and have a decent feel for how "active"/passionate many of the top people are on here. But I simply can't remember, for instance, @JyrkiLahtonen's position on dealing with low-effort questions without actively seeking this information and committing it to memory. – Kaj Hansen Oct 27 '17 at 1:24
• As a result of this, I felt obligated to read through all the provided information about each candidate on both the voting page itself as well as the candidate interview questions thread. Wanting to keep track all the relevant information on each candidate, this proved very time consuming and very boring. I almost quit a little after I started, realizing what I was getting myself into. I wouldn't be surprised if others like me didn't vote from simply not having as much free time or as much motivation to sit down and commit to doing that. – Kaj Hansen Oct 27 '17 at 1:27

I voted for 3 candidates. I am not a very active member, but here is my perspective.

9,261 visited the site during the election.
4,655 visited the election page.
2,161 voted.


I think this makes sense to me. I did not even know there was a meta site for a very long time. I am sure that would be the case for a lot of users. Of the 9261 users who visited the site during election, many would be new/recent members, whose main interest in this site is the answers to their questions. Even if all of them saw the notification, it is not surprising to me that 50% of those didn't want to go to the election page. Having gone to the election page, there are detailed Q&A for each contender. To meaningfully vote, one needs to read through those, which needs time. Plus it is very likely that a recent members do not know the contestants well enough. That was the case for me at least. I knew 2 of the candidates because they have answered my questions in the past and I have general seen their activity on the main site. I voted for the 3rd candidate purely based on the what the candidate had written. So 45% actual votes makes sense again.

• Note that the 9261 users were all eligible to vote in the election. – Wildcard Oct 20 '17 at 15:53

I saw that an election was happening and that candidates had been nominated, and read some of the Q&A, but I didn't realize it was time to vote. My assumption (from not reading the sprawling election-related pages too closely) was that the discussions would go on for at least another week or two before it was time to cast votes.

• Why the assumption? Had you read the election related pages: question suggestions, questionnaire, nomination statements (shorter than reading a comic book). If not, you're the only one you can blame for assuming what was clearly wrong, and stated on the sidebar on the main page, etc. You must have only glanced, because one almost has to try to not engage with the information, to not know the election start and end. – Namaste Oct 19 '17 at 22:53
• @amWhy I'm not blaming anybody (and incidentally, am perfectly fine with the community's choice of new moderators)---simply explaining, in response to Asaf's questioning of the statistics, why I visited the elections page but did not vote. – user7530 Oct 19 '17 at 23:37
• Do you know that you get a notification in your inbox once it's time to cast your vote? – Glorfindel Oct 21 '17 at 11:40
• Once upon a time there was a (I would hope intentionally) disruptive dropdown banner that showed when an election has started. Maybe SE could stand to be less subtle about such announcements. – J. M. is a poor mathematician Oct 22 '17 at 6:09

Voting in an SE election is not a trivial task, especially if one takes it seriously. I'm not really sure if I'm eligible to vote here because I'm eligible on so many SE sites that I tend to get a deluge of inbox messages about upcoming elections.

For all but one site that I'm eligible to vote on, I just don't spend the time on the main site or meta to have any experience with any of the candidates. So I don't even try to vote. I have limited time to spend on SE in general and I assume there are many more engaged community members who will make far more informed moderator decisions.

I wonder how these election statistics compare to other SE sites. It seems that there's a concern here that a small portion of eligible users voted, but having more than two thousand voting members sounds like a lot compared to many other stacks. Maybe it's better that the casual users like me are not voting.

Maybe it would be good to have an obviously accessible page where the bios of existing moderators are given, and each gives a short account of what being a moderator involves "We are the people who ... " and what is actually done behind the scenes to help users and manage the site. That would humanise the task somewhat, and help people to understand what good moderator behaviour might involve.

Another idea would be to have a prompt for each user once when nominations are open and once during the voting period so that when people take an action like posting a question, answer or comment they are prompted "nominations for new moderators are open" or "you are now able to vote in the moderator election for this site" with an option to dismiss or to go to the election page.

Another prompt in the election section could be "how to explore the candidates profiles on the site" - the tools are there, but not everyone knows how to use them.

I voted for three, though I had two very clear preferences and the third was a close call between two. I considered only two votes, but I always try to use all my options.

This isn't a response directly to the question but to a comment by OP: however, I think it's worth pulling out as a separate discussion point.

People who don't want to participate, don't have to participate. But as Jonas Meyer pointed in the comments, the questionnaire thread on meta has much less views than the number of voters. Even if each person only viewed it once (which is grossly not true), this is still a problematic situation. ...

My experience over many elections on various StackExchange sites is that the questionnaire threads are always long and almost completely uninformative. I'm sure that some people find value in them, but I started ignoring them long ago. I prefer to read the candidates' nomination statements, which are both more succinct and IMO more informative, because a candidate's explanation of why they think they're the person for the job tells me what they think moderation is, which is one of the attributes I weight heavily in deciding whom to vote for.

One thing which might persuade me to revisit this opinion would be to transpose the questionnaires. (I suddenly have a sense of déjà vu: I may have made this same comment on another meta site in the past year). Having one Q&A per question rather than one ten-part question with corresponding 10-part answers would make it easier to ignore the anodyne questions and just look at the ones which seem useful for discrimination, and easier to scan the answers to a given question to see whether all of them are near enough identical. Given the importance of elections within the meta-side of a stack, I don't think it would be disproportionate to have 10 active questions in the meta site, with the question solicitation thread edited to serve as an index.

• You've been here a few years ago, when a clearly unsuitable candidate won the election after joining in the last minute, and for the untrained eye, the things written in both the statement and the questionnaire were probably appealing. However, people with more meta experience knew better who is this candidate. And this is all I'm asking for, that people who vote, are people who are vaguely familiar with the candidates, with their interactions and with their general stance on meta issues. Of course, this implies that candidates themselves have some stance on meta issues... :) – Asaf Karagila Oct 30 '17 at 17:58
• I've reduced that quote to the part which I'm actually discussing, because general interaction with the meta site is orthogonal to it. – Peter Taylor Oct 31 '17 at 10:22

Regarding Point 1

We do not elect moderators for the meta and meta alone. We elect them overwhelmingly based on their capability to manage the regular use purpose, which is the main site.

Excluding otherwise-eligible users from voting because they are only interested in asking and answering mathematics questions while being held to high standards, and not the politics or deep management, is nonsensical. They have every right to be represented in their choice of who arbitrates issues during their time here.

• Moderating, by definition, is a meta issue. You don't choose a moderator for their reputation, mathematical or otherwise pedagogical abilities. We had a disastrous experience with that sort of approach before. When I say that voting rights should be earned by meta participation, I don't mean that we vote on moderators for the meta site, but that moderation is a meta activity. – Asaf Karagila Oct 19 '17 at 7:07
• It still doesn't require involvement in the meta area, beyond looking at who a voter wants to have handling the issues they face on main. – Nij Oct 19 '17 at 7:28
• I completely disagree with your last comment, Nij. There's hardly any moderation issues that you see on main. Sure, there's reviewing, and there's comment discussions from time to time, but those are sparse, scarce, and far from representative of a moderator's work. Most of meta is issues related to moderation, to policy, to normative behavior, meta includes heated arguments by well-established users, and meta includes much more. – Asaf Karagila Oct 19 '17 at 8:56
• And yet, you made no objection whatsoever to all of these non-meta moderator actions being named: "... to deal with infrequent exceptions that normal users cannot deal with, e.g. users trying to game the voting system, dealing with problematic users that create toxic environment for others, users persistently and consciously violating agreed upon policies, quickly deleting occasional spam posts, calming down and resolving heated discussions that lead to "requires moderator attention" flags, and a bit more authority in explaining what the policies and norms of the site are to new users. ". – Nij Oct 19 '17 at 9:26
• All of those things are issues that are discussed on meta, and meta is the place one really learns the norms that are relevant in dealing with them. – Tobias Kildetoft Oct 19 '17 at 10:12
• Nij, people who don't want to participate, don't have to participate. But as Jonas Meyer pointed in the comments, the questionnaire thread on meta has much less views than the number of voters. Even if each person only viewed it once (which is grossly not true), this is still a problematic situation. I don't want people who have little interest in how this site is run to have a say in how the site is run. And as far as I am concerned, people who don't at least passively follow meta at least on occasion have absolutely no interest in how the site is run. – Asaf Karagila Oct 19 '17 at 10:15
• Nij, I totally agree with you in that you should have a say in who is arbitrating the decisions affecting your use of the site (this is why I won't downvote your post). I just admire your ability to determine how a person arbitrates based on how they answer/explain math in the main site. Can you share the secret :-) It is IMHO better if the voters would know about the candidates views on how they want to arbitrate before making voting decisions. – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 19 '17 at 12:26
• I disagree with deleting this answer. Deleting meta content should be reserved to extreme cases. – Asaf Karagila Oct 19 '17 at 13:58
• @Asaf, I think there are trade off. Say we only allow people who are active on meta to vote, what are the cons and pros? One major con is that normal users will feel less invested in the site. Say we have users who are very active in answering questions on the main site, they are the people who actually make the site a valuable place, does it make sense to not allow them to have a say on how the site is run? imho that would do more harm than good. So before taking strong positions on the issue I think we should step back and reflect holistically at what would the consequences be of that. – Kaveh Oct 19 '17 at 21:04
• Also I think if user who is actively participating on the main site and spending say half an hour reading and answering questions and answers would have over time see the interactions of other users and can be informed enough to vote. I think active participation on meta is needed for moderator candidates but not for those who are voting to elect them. Finally, I think rather than discussing the issue abstractly it might be more useful to think about how can we improve the election process (and come to terms with the fact that it will never be perfect :). – Kaveh Oct 19 '17 at 21:08
• @Kaveh: I think that the key issue here is "active on meta". What does it mean? Does it mean posting or commenting on every other question? Does it mean having a bronze badge in one of the core tags? Does it mean that you just know what are the issues that are currently "trending on meta"? When you write "active on meta", someone who is against this position would likely interpret this as "actively posting a lot"; whereas my intended use is "at least voted on some recent issues". And I disagree with you completely about the main site activity. – Asaf Karagila Oct 20 '17 at 9:57
• @Kaveh: I think that the fact people think that main participation is enough is one of the reasons we had candidates this, and in previous elections, who thought that being a moderator with zero meta participation is a good idea, or that moderators are in charge of correcting answers; and worse, it was one of the reasons that in the first few elections the users with the most reputation always won, which then led to some problems when some of these users were... hrm... not very well fitting with the rest of the moderators. No. Main participation is not enough. – Asaf Karagila Oct 20 '17 at 10:00
• @Nij, I do apologize. I conflated your post with an another critical post. Sorry about that. – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 20 '17 at 17:12
• I undeleted this post as I cannot understand why it would be justified to delete it, and judging from @Asaf's comment this seems not an isolated opinion. If somebody really wants it deleted, could you please, explain it to me. – quid Oct 21 '17 at 21:26
• People are almost deliberately missing the point, disagree with their misunderstanding, then overreact and cast delete votes. Whether it is liked or , this is a valid position to hold, should not and cannot be stifled merely for not agreeing with the original post. Especially when it is not the only answer doing so. – Nij Oct 21 '17 at 22:20