2016 Moderator Election

On Stack Exchange, we believe the core moderators should come from the community, and be elected by the community itself through popular vote. We hold regular elections to determine who these community moderators will be.

Community moderators are accorded the highest level of privilege on our community, and should themselves be exemplars of positive behavior and leaders within the community.

Our general criteria for moderators is as follows:

  • patient and fair
  • leads by example
  • shows respect for their fellow community members in their actions and words
  • open to some light but firm moderation to keep the community on track and resolve (hopefully) uncommon disputes and exceptions

Every election has three phases:

  1. Nomination
  2. Primary
  3. Election

Please participate in the moderator elections by voting, and perhaps even by nominating yourself to be a community moderator!


This election ended Oct 11 '16 at 20:00.

Anyone may download the election data. Voters have access to pre-built OpenSTV software to audit the results; all others may use this source distribution


5,296 voters were eligible, 2,153 visited the site during the election, 1,351 visited the election page, and 651 voted

After hedging on the idea for a while, I've decided to offer my services to the community as a moderator.

I've been active in asking and answering questions for two years now, and I have been more active lately in meta and in chat (though far more as a listener than as a speaker). I feel like I have a good sense of the standards of the community and can make a positive impact as a moderator with a relatively light touch.

  • $\begingroup$ Rob, note the questions and answers on this page. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Oct 3 '16 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ I second John Duffield, please fill out that questionary for moderator candidates as soon as you can, to not give SE representants any legitimate reason to remove your nomination ... You will probably have my second vote on you. $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Oct 3 '16 at 19:55

I am Jim, the One and True King of all Jims. I require you, my loyal subjects, to grant me this additional power, not because I will use it to aid you significantly, but because I so desire it. Will I become more present if rightfully bestowed this power? Maybe. As an omnipotent being, you will have my presence when I deign to give it.

But all you should be concerned about is that Jimius Caesar, leader of the Holy Roman Jimpire, is commanding you to grant him additional powers. You now have two options. Obey him, or face his wrath.

On a more serious note, I should say that public opinion has called for me to turn my joke nomination into a serious one. To that end, you should know that if elected, I will bring the same impartiality and fairness you all have come to expect from me to moderating. I always try to be civil and peaceful and never let the discussion dissolve into insults or jabs. I always try to promote the community agenda, I'm active on meta and chat and try to work through the review queues regularly.

If there are two candidates that would do an equal or better job than me, I urge you to vote for them instead. But if elected, I'll do my best for the community.

  • $\begingroup$ And here's the last of the people I thought would nominate themselves. As much as he claims he's a king, he's not really. He'll be a good moderator, not a dictator (even a benevolent one). $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Sep 27 '16 at 12:41
  • $\begingroup$ Although, I'd definitely still change my name to Jimius Caesar for a month $\endgroup$ – Jim Sep 27 '16 at 12:45
  • $\begingroup$ I'll second Kyle Kanos. Jim is, among other things, personable, and I feel he's easy to approach. It's important that us plebs be able to talk to the supreme dictator-for-life, and His Royal Jimness certainly allows us that honor. Seriously, though, Jim's a good meta contributor who's played a role in many policy discussions in the past. He's also dedicated to the site; Physics Stack Exchange is by far the site he's most active on. Finally, he's calm good when it comes to issues. John Duffield points to "censorship", but Jim is quick to call for things to settle down when chat gets angry. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Sep 27 '16 at 22:53
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnDuffield I looked up Jim's next comment chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/32583001#32583001 he seems to be trying to engage in reasonnable conversation and he thought that the discussion you were having was more suitable to be moved to a new thread. $\endgroup$ – tom Sep 28 '16 at 10:43
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnDuffield I'd like to note that I did say I agreed with you, but just that we were having a disconnect and wound up talking about two different things. While it's true that someone manipulative and dishonest would accuse the other of changing the subject to avoid looking in the wrong, the observation of changing subjects would also occur when there is a misunderstanding that leads one party to unknowingly talk about something off-topic of what the other brought up. It was innocent in our case. I do care what you have to say, it simply wasn't relevant to what I was saying $\endgroup$ – Jim Sep 28 '16 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ I am here to bury Caesar, not to praise him! If you want to take a taste of 2 completely different approaches to moderation, tune in at Sep 29 election chat exchange of views between him and ACM. $\endgroup$ – user104372 Sep 29 '16 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Jim : apologies, I take back what I said. I'm sorry I accused you of accusing me of changing the subject. I was feeling annoyed about something else and was too quick to judge. I've since re-read the exchange, and realise that it was a misunderstanding, and that a previous misunderstanding was with another Jim. Again, apologies, I think you'll make an excellent moderator. $\endgroup$ – John Duffield Sep 29 '16 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ @user104372 all I can say is that at least you think highly enough of the great Jimius Caesar to afford him a burial $\endgroup$ – Jim Sep 29 '16 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ Can someone tell how many positions this election is for? 1, 2,.. $\endgroup$ – kpv Sep 29 '16 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ @kpv I replied telling you there are 2 positions. However, the comments were clearly removed. In the future, please take a look at the meta site to determine this $\endgroup$ – Jim Sep 29 '16 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Jim, Thanks. got it. I support your nomination. $\endgroup$ – kpv Sep 29 '16 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, would you mind reveal more on your academic background? Like the exact field you are working on if applicable? $\endgroup$ – Xiaodong Qi Sep 30 '16 at 6:53
  • $\begingroup$ @XiaodongQi Currently I am not conducting active research. However, my specific field is early-universe cosmology. Particularly perturbation theory under the inflationary regime $\endgroup$ – Jim Oct 3 '16 at 11:56

I would like to nominate myself as a candidate for this moderator election. Over the past four years, I feel my role on the site has been one well-suited for transitioning to moderation.

If one goes though my records on Meta and in chat, one will see that my primary interaction with the site is through policy discussions and evaluations, clarifying the role of the site in the ecosystem at large, and offering support and advice to users new and old about the best ways to interact with the site. I am also passionate about how to grow the smaller communities within the site by encouraging participation and helping to delineate what is and is not on-topic in these areas. Don't let my (relatively) low reputation scare you -- my participation is focused on a smaller subset of the site, namely , and ensuring that group has access to high-quality questions and answers.

My approach to moderation is one of taking a light touch according to the desires of the community. I will help to guide the conversations about our collective future and while I may actively participate in formulating policies, I will vigorously defend the result regardless of my personal views.

  • $\begingroup$ A nice blend of positivity and confidence. Good luck. $\endgroup$ – Sir Cumference Sep 27 '16 at 1:58
  • $\begingroup$ There are few people I thought would throw their names in the hat when I saw the message about new mods. I am glad I was right on this one. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Sep 27 '16 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ Moderatorship is a life sentence. Suppose in two years a substantial set of users disagree with policy made now. Would you vigorously defend policy in that case? Are you saying that it's best to be conservative about changing policy? $\endgroup$ – DanielSank Sep 27 '16 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielSank Policy is never static to begin with and it evolves with time as it is interpreted and applied. When it appears that the implementation has shifted from what is formally written down (or when it appears users are unhappy with what is being done), then it would be time to discuss changes with the community. During the discussion and hashing out of what policy changes are needed, the existing policies should still be enforced -- unless there is a massive movement against it for some reason. Perhaps defending is the wrong word -- enforcing and supporting the result is what I meant. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Sep 27 '16 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ this community became small because a small group monopolized it, perhaps hoping to help their career. Election has a chance to be less unfair if all the users are contacted by email to tell them that the time to change has come $\endgroup$ – user46925 Sep 28 '16 at 12:20
  • $\begingroup$ @igael "this community became small" False. $\endgroup$ – Danu Sep 29 '16 at 23:58

Alfred, can you tell us why you think you would be a good community moderator?

I don't think I would be a good community moderator.

Alfred, what qualifications do you have for being a community moderator?

I can't think of any at all.

Alfred, what is your moderation philosophy?

I don't have one.

Alfred, why then should anyone vote for you?

They shouldn't.

Alfred, WTF?

I'm just being honest.

The moderators here, whom I greatly respect, asked for help and so, in the very unlikely event that I'm elected, I'll try to be helpful and nothing more. And that's about all I have to say.

  • $\begingroup$ You've convinced me and got my vote. A moderator should know his own abilities and not try to glorify himself. $\endgroup$ – Sir Cumference Sep 27 '16 at 0:55
  • $\begingroup$ Alfred, this is one of the most wittily written nomination profile I've ever seen ;) $\endgroup$ – user36790 Sep 27 '16 at 3:36
  • $\begingroup$ I disagree on being modest. I d rather see all your positive traits summarized. Your moderation participation looks very good compared to other candidates, so don't consider your election unlikely. Finally, from your post i get the feeling you ll be following the general policy of the rest of the mods, correct? $\endgroup$ – Fermi paradox Sep 27 '16 at 6:58
  • $\begingroup$ @MAFIA36790: You've managed to close two of my questions as duplicates, AFTER I had posted an explanation how they are not duplicates. Seeing a recommendation from YOU, I know whom NOT to vote. $\endgroup$ – SF. Sep 27 '16 at 8:47
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @SF. . This is not the correct place to air your grievance. If you really think some injustice has been done, please feel free to ask it in Meta or come in our chatroom. As that of closing, let me make it clear to you, my single close vote doesn't make your post get closed; there must be other four users who close-voted your question. So, this is not legitimate and rational to impose solely on me the closing. In fact, after checking I was the last one to vote in both the cases. Hmm. $\endgroup$ – user36790 Sep 27 '16 at 9:10
  • $\begingroup$ @MAFIA36790: Oh, you are not the only one. But you are the one to cast the fifth vote, and you are the one to cast the vote AFTER I had edited the question to clarify - in both cases. And considering you are likely to support a candidate that reflects your values, this is the right place to point out what kind of people the candidate gets a support from. $\endgroup$ – SF. Sep 27 '16 at 9:18
  • $\begingroup$ @MAFIA36790: And regarding Meta or chatroom, I did bring up one of the questions there, and it was reopened - no thanks to you. I got the correct answer to the other one in comments, from a person who actually bothered to read the question. $\endgroup$ – SF. Sep 27 '16 at 9:21
  • $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, I think you'd be a fair moderator. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Sep 27 '16 at 12:26
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not impressed. I would not hire anybody who did not want the job and was not prepared to explain why he/she is the best candidate. I shall at least take your advice and NOT vote for you! $\endgroup$ – sammy gerbil Sep 28 '16 at 18:21
  • $\begingroup$ @AlfredCentauri: I agree with Sammy gerbil. This is opposite extreme from ACuriousMind. You have almost disqualified yourself from this competition. Please re-think if you really want to do it. $\endgroup$ – kpv Sep 29 '16 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for being humble, but I really think it is important to explain why you are a good candidate - explain what you've done on this site, etc. $\endgroup$ – heather Oct 1 '16 at 16:14
  • $\begingroup$ @heather, on this site I've traded value for value and I'm very proud of that. In my post above, I'm not being humble, I'm being honest. I have no desire to be a moderator (or rather, I have no desire for the power of a moderator) but help has been asked for and, given the value I've received from this site, I will volunteer for the position and try to do a good job if I'm elected. $\endgroup$ – Alfred Centauri Oct 2 '16 at 0:59
  • $\begingroup$ @AlfredCentauri, well then, explain your experience. $\endgroup$ – heather Oct 2 '16 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ @heather, no, it doesn't work that way for me. I've said all I have to say about it. You may do whatever research you wish - or not. $\endgroup$ – Alfred Centauri Oct 2 '16 at 1:02
  • $\begingroup$ Just wanting to help the community is exactly the right mindset for being a moderator in my opinion. Moderators are there to serve the community and not the other way round, as it is too often observed. You will most probably have one of my votes and I hope you will keep up this nice reasonable helpful attitude in the long run when being elected $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Oct 2 '16 at 7:37

I nominate myself for a moderator position because someone has got to do it, and that someone should be someone who understands how this site and its community work.

I can claim to have such an understanding because I have long been involved in most aspects of moderation on this site that are carried out by the community: I am an active reviewer in the close, low quality, reopen and suggested edit queues. I have cast close to 1.5k helpful flags and I am the user with the largest total of up- and downvotes cast of the entire site. I have written 71 meta posts, not a single one of which has a negative vote total at the time of this writing.

Therefore, I believe I bring as much experience in "community matters" with me as can reasonably be expected. I love this site and the opportunities it offers, and I want to further contribute to keeping it a great place for good questions and good answers.

I'm also often found in the chat, and am happy to discuss pretty much anything there if I've got time to spare.

  • $\begingroup$ You have casted also 10000 downvotes, you alone voted down around 10% of the questions of the site. You have also take part in around 8300 close votes, you voted nearly always to close, while one of the main problems of the site is the high proportion of unfair close votes. You are the only reviewer who voted mainly to reject suggestions even in the edit review queue, including the latex improvements. Asking you about your vision on the site, you produced only arrogant reaction, and initiated the now quite common "ignore culture" on the chat. $\endgroup$ – peterh Sep 26 '16 at 22:03
  • $\begingroup$ Asking you about this, for example, why you have to reject even the latex improvements, your answer was: "I have absolutely no desire to debate either my voting patterns or my vision for the site with someone who just will not listen but instead continue to slander me." (chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/31688066#31688066) Now I ask you again about the explanation of your vision and voting patterns. Maybe you have an explanation in our current context. Might you consider going into more detail? $\endgroup$ – peterh Sep 26 '16 at 22:19
  • $\begingroup$ I am for ACuriousMind - you put a lot of work into this site and I do not think you are hostile at all. Further, you have a decent amount of experience moderating. Good luck! $\endgroup$ – heather Sep 26 '16 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ Diligence about downvoting and voting-to-close when warranted is a feature, not a bug. $\endgroup$ – WillO Sep 26 '16 at 22:58
  • $\begingroup$ ACuriousMind is one of the nicest and most knowledgeable members on this site. He is always helpful and friendly and, even when members will go on holy wars against him, does not lose his temper. His stances on moderation are rough, yes, but that's not a bug, it's a feature. Few people seem to be as proactive in answering questions, posting on meta and being on the chat as he is. To those who find him hostile, he was one of the few reasons I came back to this site after my first encounter with it, and has continued to help me ever since. You've got my vote. $\endgroup$ – Bernardo Meurer Sep 26 '16 at 23:05
  • $\begingroup$ You've got my vote, few are as willing to answer questions as ACM. $\endgroup$ – Sir Cumference Sep 26 '16 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ In my experience, ACuriousMind is most rude and arrogant user, but he also seems to be a work horse of this site. Therefore I would not down vote him, but he needs to mallow his attitude, otherwise, he can hurt the site more in the long run than he would help it. Heather and Willow are probably learning the trade from him, So, I would take their comments with a pinch of salt. $\endgroup$ – kpv Sep 27 '16 at 0:01
  • $\begingroup$ I'm just a random stranger that posted a single question and thus ended my participation 'till today. Yet, I saw this same discussion before. What I see here is a division between people that want to make the site more professional vs. a more student/amateur one. It is not the first time it happens on SE. That is the exact same reason why math.SE and mathOverflow did split. The problem is that physics.SE is about 10 times smaller than math.SE, so it does not have the critical mass to split. Cannot we really have both worlds in such a still small community? $\endgroup$ – grochmal Sep 27 '16 at 0:29
  • $\begingroup$ Note 1) his high proportion of rejected latex improvements. Latexifying a post is clearly positive, no reviewer would reject this, except him. Although his these - mainly over-voted - rejections were harmless, they serve as a very clear signature about his mainly destructive behavior as a reviewer. Note 2) he considers questions about his voting patterns as an attack or ignores them, it doesn't matter how peacefully or cooperatively were they asked. $\endgroup$ – peterh Sep 27 '16 at 0:35
  • $\begingroup$ My first choice was you, ACM from the very beginning. However, taking that you become the new mod, would you spend the same time in the chat like the typical usual days and spend the same time at the main site? I really want you to become a mod as well as you doing the other usual time-spending in chat. Or who else would help when I get confused with Lanczos ;) $\endgroup$ – user36790 Sep 27 '16 at 3:42
  • $\begingroup$ ACuriousMind has helped me convey my own thoughts on site policy several times in chat. He communicates clearly and thoughtfully. ACuriousMind's reviews reflect an interest in keeping the quality of site content as high as possible, which is good. However, if ACuriousMind is elected, I would suggest that he consider more often given positively helpful advice to those who's posts he votes to close (this will be particularly important given that moderator close votes are unilateral). I think focusing constructive criticism this would complete ACuriousMind's profile of good moderatorship. $\endgroup$ – DanielSank Sep 27 '16 at 5:44
  • $\begingroup$ To those that want a casual forum to chill out, there's always Hubpages and answers.yahoo.com. Downvoting and closing bad content is a good thing, unlike what some "they tried their best, who cares about quality"-users might think. It's true that applying the rules (deleting/closing terrible content) will annoy users, but SE sites aren't created to please the users; their goal is to educate millions of visitors. So keep up the good work ACuriousMind. $\endgroup$ – Fermi paradox Sep 27 '16 at 6:36
  • $\begingroup$ The only accusation against you so far under this post (which might have a small merit), is declining Latex edits. If this is true, it would be a minor minus, but given your other traits it seems negligible. Also, if it truly is a problem, it's not hard to change it. Anyway, could you disproof those claims or, alternatively, explain your attitude towards small edits? $\endgroup$ – Fermi paradox Sep 27 '16 at 6:50
  • $\begingroup$ I think PSE owns a great deal to ACM, both in quality and quantity. His many answers are always very clear, his knowledge of difficult physics topics and math is vast, he is one of the most active reviewers, and he's always willing to provide help in chat. He definitely has my vote, but I hope that the duties as a moderator won't diminish his other contributions to the site. It would be a shame if we lost one of the best contributors because we elected him into a higher position (cf. Peter principle). $\endgroup$ – Bass Sep 27 '16 at 8:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Fermiparadox Regarding the edits I'm not sure what exactly peterh means. There's this one which I rejected because it really didn't do much to make the post more readable, and this and this where I genuinely can't tell you anymore why I rejected them, as they seem now I would approve them. Those are all potentially controversial edit reviews I can find going back to May. $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Sep 27 '16 at 12:25

This election is complete.