2013 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 Apr 9 '13 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.

1,011 voters were eligible, 343 visited the site during the election, 237 visited the election page, and 137 voted

I'd like to nominate the great Evan Carroll. His reputation stands for itself. Firstly, Evan is very skeptical; this is evidenced by his high level. He has leveled up his skepticism to 1,477. After careful consideration, 37 bronze medals and 8 silver medals were automatically awarded to him by the server farm that runs this site. All of these medals were awarded for outstanding service.

Evan has been a productive and prominent member of many SEs. His charm, wit, fairness, and sheer intellect may leave other ops feeling woefully inadequate to uphold the same duties that Evan will handle with stunning grace. If elected, you should expect out of Evan a fairness and transparency never before seen on StackExchange. Evan stands up for the many, and in doing so he stands up for knowledge -- which is pretty much just what skepticism is all about.

Let's improve SE.Skeptics together. Let's improve skepticism.

Viva la revoluciĆ³n.

  • 5
    Evan has nominated himself on other sites in the past: English, Web Apps, and some more nominations, though some were deleted. In those nominations he made promises that would violate the moderator agreement. Just for anyone not aware that he likes to troll elections. – Mad Scientist Apr 1 '13 at 8:05
  • I never troll, ever. And, I'd appreciate it if you kept personal attacks out of the elections: I expect better from current moderators than ad hominem attacks on my nomination. – Evan Carroll Apr 1 '13 at 9:03
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    It's April 1st. In case you were wondering... – Sklivvz Apr 1 '13 at 12:38

Hi everyone,

Slightly over two years ago, I was nominated as Pro Tempore moderator along with Sklivvz and Fabian. Together, with the aid of Oddthinking, we guided the site to maturity. Once the election date came, I saw that great candidates were running and I decided not to run, so I could use the time for other activities. Among them, I moderated the /r/CanadaPolitics where I applied the skills that I had developed on Skeptics Stack Exchange to foster civil and high level debate.

Now, it's time for me to come back to Skeptics.

I'm not running to offer change. I think the current moderators have done a great job over the past year and wouldn't seek radical change in policy. I'm running to offer my experience and to fix the problems I see on-sight, rather than by flagging.

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    I'm glad to see you nominating yourself! – Beofett Mar 29 '13 at 20:30
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    Welcome back Borror0 and thanks! – Sklivvz Mar 30 '13 at 0:10

I'm nominating myself simply because I believe that the community needs more candidates to choose from, and I'm willing to put in the time and effort to be an active voice for the community.

I'll freely admit: I haven't been terribly active on skeptics, at least compared to the other stackexchange sites I'm active in (mostly the parenting beta and Science Fiction & Fantasy stackexchange). However, I take the position and responsibility of moderator very seriously, and, if elected, I would make sure that I made skeptics my top priority for the SE platform.

My qualifications are that I'm very familiar with both the stackexchange platform in general, the roles of a moderator (I've been a pro tem moderator on Parenting for almost 2 years), and the Skeptics community (while I haven't been that active, I've been here for over a year, and have watched the community grow and develop since beta).

My style of moderation is to push anything that isn't clearly defined to meta discussion, and for any borderline cases I tend to wait and see how the community reacts.

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    Thanks for stepping up and good luck! – Sklivvz Mar 28 '13 at 20:26
  • Hi Beofett. What is your view on genuine, yet controversial questions, such as "Are men smarter than women?" – Kenshin Mar 28 '13 at 23:52
  • @Chris Hi, and thanks for asking. I am, of course, supportive of "genuine" questions. However, the criteria for what constitutes a genuine question for our community is the consensus of the users, and not one person's arbitrary declaration that a question is valid. – Beofett Mar 29 '13 at 1:14
  • What do you mean by consensus of the users? 5 close votes, 1 close vote and a mod close, a high negative net score, a neutral score with many up/down votes? – user1873 Mar 29 '13 at 1:45
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    @user1873 Consensus of the users takes several forms. The most fundamental are the rules established through meta discussion. In the case of Chris' loaded example, I would be concerned that the question meets the community's standards for notability of a claim. "Are men smarter than women?" by itself is not a valid question. If citations were provided that claimed a legitimate basis for the assertion (and which provided a specific criteria by which the question could be answered), then, by community standards, it would be more likely to be "genuine". – Beofett Mar 29 '13 at 2:09
  • Beofett, check out my question with 18 up votes. Would you support it's closure? I'd there is a claim that men are smarter than women, I shouldn't have to define the criteria since I myself did not make the claim. I'm concerned since your last statement implies a notable claim is not enough to make the question valid but a criteria is required as well. This is not reflected in the FAQ. Warning do not vote for This user. – Kenshin Mar 29 '13 at 13:10
  • Chris, your question cites a source, and the source details specific criteria which are addressed in the answer. It's fine if you warn people not to vote for me, but I wonder if it will have the effect you hope for... Who is the better candidate? One who makes general responses in response to a ambiguous and deliberately loaded question, or one who not only makes decisions based off of questions not yet answered, but also makes vague inferences, and then feels they should dictate how other users are allowed to vote? ;) – Beofett Mar 29 '13 at 13:30
  • Warning users is far from dictating my friend. Users watch out for the moderator who makes false assumptions – Kenshin Mar 30 '13 at 0:05


I am fairly new to the site, I have only answered a few questions, but I am active on the page. I am not the one which constantly cleans the page though.

My belief is though that there needs to be a counter-pole to the more conservative thinking mods. I am quite liberal, and want a less alienating and open community. The power of mods is great, and I think it would be bad if only the ones with a conservative unaccepting mindset held all that power. Liberal in the sense that I am more for a bit looser way, not as strict.

My goal would be to be the political counter part of the mods, to have diversity. I am young and new, with all which that brings.

My mindset to modding is to clean up complete trash, but try to salvage everything possible. Main target group of skeptics is experts within their specific areas, and skeptics is VERY wide, you can make pretty much anything under the sun fit with the right wording.

That said not all experts are well-versed in scientific methods, instead of chasing them away with pitchforks, I believe they should be welcomed, and helped out with that part. They have the expertise, someone else can provide the writing, editing and referencing.

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    Could you clarify what you mean by liberal and conservative? I know for a fact that Larian is very liberal when it comes to politics, I take it that is not what you mean. As far as facts and science, there is no such thing as liberal or conservative. Facts are facts. – JasonR Mar 26 '13 at 13:00
  • Can you give us a bit more information about your motivation to change the site moderation philosophy, particularly given you've only been on the StackExchange network for a couple of months, and you've barely participated on meta? – 410 gone Mar 26 '13 at 14:31
  • Great question, just because I understand what I mean doesn't mean everyone else does. What I mean with liberal and conservative is that within the scientific community, there is many things which you just DO. You HAVE to talk a certain way, write a certain way, do references in a certain way. When things isn't perfectly on that, it's shunned upon, and it's creating sort of an elite group, that looks down upon the rest of people. Part of this is related to the way references is handled. It's the part that alienates people the most, even if it's one of the most crucial things for the site. – Wertilq Mar 26 '13 at 14:34
  • Yea I guess I am quite green, and there is people more experienced than me, and that I wasn't introduced to the meta until today. I wouldn't say my idea of moderation is like unique or new though, it's just about utilizing the tools that is given and actually getting out as much as possible from everything. I think the ways some mods have handled things have been a bit too strict, and that it's not for the best of the site. Okay I think I am gonna edit my answer instead of commenting, since it's easier to read. – Wertilq Mar 26 '13 at 14:41
  • Being conservative means that things have to be done a certain way, since it have always been done that way. With liberal it means to question what is to see for something better, and it's in that sense I use the words. It seems to be the dividing force between the community. Parts of the community wants it completely strict and closed up, preferably all plebs can go off to yahoo answer or something. Skeptics should be a place for the true elite, and nothing that is not written in a scientific paper is true. – Wertilq Mar 26 '13 at 14:51
  • The liberal extreme to that is the ones that want it to be okay to say pretty much anything you want, no scientific references, uses weak claims, 'heard-by-a-friend' questions etc. I am for neither extreme, but leans more towards the liberal side of things than the conservative. I know the value of references and I know that the survival of the site depends on it, and that the sites credibility rides on that. That said, I also believe things are TOO strict, which limits the amount of answers. – Wertilq Mar 26 '13 at 14:54
  • I endorse this candidate, and I would enjoy working alongside Wertilq. – Kenshin Mar 27 '13 at 0:19
  • Yes the issues that have been cited by Wertliq are definitely true. Moderators have been too rigid and some questions have become accepted even if the main answer is biased. There are many issues with the references given for many questions. – Joze Mar 27 '13 at 10:09
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    "someone else can provide the writing, editing and referencing" are you willing to be this someone else? Why hasn't this happened before? Close due to lack of reference -> edit by someone else -> reopen question. Why do you need to be a moderator for this, anyone can edit questions? – Baarn Mar 28 '13 at 9:42
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    @Joze to be clear, moderators will not act based on whether a post is right or wrong. If a post is biased or wrong and accepted, it's up to the community to vote. Moderators only act on objective criteria: lack of references, non-answers, spam, etc. – Sklivvz Mar 28 '13 at 20:28
  • I will vote on this nominate too as seems more liberal and surely wiser! Also I have to add showing references according to scientific papers needs its special method according to the case not trying to prove why back is not white by it! It is not science! It is philosophy! Science is not showing references all from wiki without checking for their value or date or the other important factors related with a scientific method of expressing ideas. Since yesterday night to now I am reviewing answers and found there are some trivial answers have high votes without any meddling or reaction by mods! – Persian Cat Apr 1 '13 at 9:32
  • In some cases seemed mods are only strict about a traditional kind of sending answers an do not try to be more creative in finding correctness too by focusing in answers and checking references. I understand they are not specialties and experts in many cases and are not qualified to be able find trivial false answers which are exposing by "good looking wording" but they can accept experts helps in these cases in comments! Another matter out of etiquette reaction of high score users and their egos in insulting new expert users who has joined the site recently decreases the site's values. – Persian Cat Apr 1 '13 at 9:39
  • For example imagine an undergraduate programmer who doesn't have any knowledge about genetics or wildlife tries to correct an environmentalist specialist who has spent 8 years of her/his life in learning and insulted him/her by harsh and call him/her a random user who should prove his/her qualifying to him! So there is a question that how it can be possible to find qualifying an specialties in a special field study when you are not educated enough and all your votes are because of answering low quality/ordinary questions and providing an answer in 5 sentences from wiki?! :) – Persian Cat Apr 1 '13 at 9:46
  • All above were to say please consider these points to have a better site. I appreciate this nominate as I think he can help a lot in these cases. Thanks! – Persian Cat Apr 1 '13 at 9:47


My name is Jamie, and I would very much like to help moderate and organise Skeptics.

Some very interesting* bullet points about me

  • I am active every day on Skeptics. I don't answer all that many questions, but I enjoy reading and learning about all kinds subjects often seen on skeptics such as popular science, conspiracies, "old wives tale"-like beliefs to name but a few.
  • I attempt to help new users in as polite way as possible regarding the usage and requirements specific to skeptics.
  • I raise as many moderator flags as I can, all have been deemed helpful.
  • I am a programmer and am very active on SO, and therefore used to many of the moderator tools available on SE sites.
  • From the number of s's instead of z's in this post, you'll deduce I'm from the UK.

I am of the very strong opinion that Skeptics should remain very strict with its need for proper referencing of questions and answers, and a strong notable claim for questions. I think that this is what distinguishes Skeptics from other QA sites covering similar subjects.

I believe that I can make a positive contribution to this site.

* Bullet points not guaranteed to be interesting.

A year ago, I stood down as one of the Pro Tem (beta) moderators, and did not run in the first election.

I thought:

  • I wanted to focus on answering questions.
  • I trusted the other mod candidates to do a good job.
  • My interest in Skeptics.SE was likely to wane over the next 6 months.

What happened:

  • More time on answers gave me the rep to rise from fourth to first position in the rankings.
  • The existing mods have been doing an excellent job. I endorse them over me.
  • My interest in Skeptics.SE hasn't waned. Although, I tend to spend more periods of short time on the site, which is slowing my ability to answer, but better suits editing.

Two right out of three ain't bad.

Now, I'd like to stand for election - not to bring change to the site, but just to bring back my ability to immediately deal with spam and non-answers. The ability to clean up the inevitable messes caused by naive users efficiently is motivation enough.

I'll continue to contribute to this site, which I think has grown to be a tremendous resource for the Internet and the Skeptical Community, but with a black diamond next to my name, I hope to contribute more effectively.

  • Personally I think the mods focus too much on the borderline things, and handling it way too harsh. I think the goal of the site is to produce great answers, but that it have been handled in a way a bit too strict, which flushes out some of the good and useful answers. How is your stance on references? What do you think is required of an answer to be accepted to be on the site? – Wertilq Mar 26 '13 at 7:55
  • @Wertilq, I understand your concerns, and I have those concerns myself. My wish is to make the site more liberal, less strict, especially in regards to closing questions too early. – Kenshin Mar 26 '13 at 8:07
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    @Wertilq, <mod hat on> The mods' job is to enforce community (and to a small extent, SE Inc.) standards, not their own. I try to comment each decision with a link back to the relevant meta-answer that addresses/justifies it. <mod hat off> I endorse the need for references here. I think it is the special defining characteristic that distinguishes Skeptics.SE from 99.9% of the web. I don't think the Internet needs another Q&A site where anything goes. – Oddthinking Mar 26 '13 at 8:19
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    I agree that references is a requirement that SHOULD be endorsed. It's what make the site credible. What IS an acceptable reference though? How I have gotten references explained to me at uni, is that they are your friends, but not something required(well they kinda are, since you usually work at a too high level, but theoretically they are not). They help you since they are there so you don't have to prove everything yourself. Theoretically IF you prove everything yourself that should be fine as well. What is your standing to original research? – Wertilq Mar 26 '13 at 9:09
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    I was waiting for you to nominate, +1. While I hadn't discovered this site during your reign, I've seen some of your great meta posts. Good luck! – Manishearth Mar 26 '13 at 10:30
  • @Wertilq: As an aside, I'm finding the comment system here to be a bit of a clumsy way to have this discussion, because there is no room for nuance. I'd recommend chat, but it is effectively too private. I can't post more in the nomination itself due to character limits. Meta-posts on the particular issues is another way. Any thoughts? – Oddthinking Mar 26 '13 at 10:36
  • The definition of a good reference is a tough call, and not one that I think we will ever be able to (or maybe even want to) strictly define. Partly it depends on topic: medical research on serious diseases deserves randomised, controlled, double-blinded studies. Legends about ostriches pulling their own heads off are never going to be important enough to get such analysis, and we have to rely on poorer sources. There is a spectrum (Cochrane meta-analysis through to documented anecdotes), and we rely on comments calling out poor sources plus voting to judge them. – Oddthinking Mar 26 '13 at 10:42
  • I've had mods instantly delete things. Your approach seems fairly sane though. This is a bit too big discussion to have in clumsy comments(no formating :S), and is a too big discussion to have in a private place, since everyone should see it. What is this meta? Is it a part of the site I have missed? – Wertilq Mar 26 '13 at 10:50
  • I've been predicting for a while that we would have a debate on Original Research because I don't think it is clear what it is that is off-limits. I am on the fence, waiting to see what the community wants. The fact that the predicted stoush hasn't happened suggests others are happier with the status quo than I thought. – Oddthinking Mar 26 '13 at 10:56
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    Yea I see the point. References is always good, to provide a base. How it's handled though have been pretty bad in some cases. I am quite unhappy with Sklivvz tbh, he have gone too far more than once. And while of course not all answers is 100% true, the same happens even if you do a reference. This is the main problem I think, if someone gives a references that doesn't make that 100% sure either. The focus is too much on references and not enough on truth. – Wertilq Mar 26 '13 at 11:29
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    I see meta now, how is that better way of having discussions? A proper forum would be best way to handle discussions it feels like, instead of the fairly clumsy comments, and Q&A is not made for discussion either. – Wertilq Mar 26 '13 at 11:31
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    I absolutely endorse Oddthinking. He was an excellent pro-tem and he's our most reputable user. Couldn't ask for a better candidate! – Sklivvz Mar 26 '13 at 16:59
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    I endorse this nomination! :) – Larian LeQuella Mar 26 '13 at 21:59
  • 1
    Thank you thank you thank you thank you... over and over and over Thank you – Chad Mar 29 '13 at 19:37
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    Oddthinking was a great moderator when he was a pro-tem, and I'm happy to welcome him back to the moderator team when he is elected. For all voters I'd specifically point to his edit record, he puts a lot of effort into saving questions and cleaning them up. – Mad Scientist Mar 29 '13 at 20:39

Greetings Peasants.

I would like to nominate myself to be the next moderator of Skeptics.SE.

I believe my superior intellect, and superior emotional quotient will allow me to serve the community as a moderator more effectively than any other possible candidate. Going hand in hand with my superior intellect, I possess superior skills of deduction and wisdom.

I am an expert in identifying questions that are off and on-topic. In saying that, I believe stack exchange should be more liberal orientated, and I will promote a reduction in the number of questions to be closed as off-topic.

Thank you my dear peasants,

I look forward to being your future King!

  • 6
    I find it hard to believe that you are an expert in closing questions.. You don't have the rep to vote to close and your flag count says that you havven't flagged to close much. Any other reason why you should be elected? – Manishearth Mar 26 '13 at 4:13
  • Also, your holier-than-thou attitude here isn't winning you any favors, I suggest you tone it down a little. – Manishearth Mar 26 '13 at 4:14
  • @Manishearth, thankyou for your suggestions. You say you find it hard to believe I am an expert in closing questions. Quite right. I claimed that I am an expert in identifying questions that are off and on-topic, not an expert in actually closing the questions. However as moderator, I will be more liberal than most, and close less questions than most moderators would. This is my philosophy for the site. I don't want to convert anyone to my philosophy, but I want to attract the votes of those who share my philosophy. – Kenshin Mar 26 '13 at 8:08
  • 2
    Is this tongue-in-cheek? If it is, you might want to be more explicit, as it has already confused at least two users. – Benjol Mar 26 '13 at 8:14
  • 3
    You come off as very unserious. – Wertilq Mar 26 '13 at 10:09
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    I'm inclined to agree with @Manishearth in that you aren't making a strong case that you can identify on and off-topic questions. By now you should have accrued some helpful tags if that was the case. – rjzii Mar 26 '13 at 12:24
  • I agree with you Rob Z that there isn't evidence for my claims. That doesn't mean my claims aren't true however. It simply means that I haven't exercised my right to flag questions. I only want to put in such effort if the community gives me moderator status. – Kenshin Mar 26 '13 at 12:38
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    @Chris 1) Are you trolling? 2) What do you mean by more Liberal? Do you mean this in the American Politics sense of the word? The European Economics sense of the word? Or is this just a poor word choice for saying that you are not going to close and delete every other question and answer? – maple_shaft Mar 26 '13 at 12:51
  • Dear maple_shaft, I am not even going to dignify your first question with a response. As to your second question, I am not from America, and I have no idea what you define liberal to be. The dictionary defines liberal however as "Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry." – Kenshin Mar 26 '13 at 23:18
  • I find your superiority claiming very, very charming – Dr. belisarius Mar 28 '13 at 23:48
  • would you abuse your power and wield the ban hammer with out remorse? If so I just my vote for you – Chad Mar 29 '13 at 19:39
  • @Chad What inspiring ideas you have in 21 century! :) – Persian Cat Mar 31 '13 at 12:00
  • 1
    @Chris Hey! see who is here! :)) Are not you the one who most of his comments in Area 51 in etiquette and feminism proposals have been deleted because of being rude,offensive,off topic and spam?! With all my power I appreciate everyone who competes with you! If you try moderating of this site I will predict a hell kind future for this site! Please do not vote him! – Persian Cat Mar 31 '13 at 12:17
  • Obviously Persian cat does not have this sites best interest at heart demonstrated by the smear campaign he is trying to wage against me. Please ignore his false and unprovable accusations that my posts were deleted on feminism.se or ettiquete.se. Even if they were deleted you cannot prove it was because it wad rude you lowly peasant. Vote one me. I will be the best dictator, I mean moderator, this site has known. – Kenshin Mar 31 '13 at 13:27
  • It is a she! I said my ideas about you! I had the right as this page is for this reason. Thanks! :) – Persian Cat Mar 31 '13 at 14:01

This election is complete.