2020 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 Jul 7 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.


3,546 voters were eligible, 896 visited the site during the election, 614 visited the election page, and 280 voted

I've been an active user here for a while now, and I'd like to do my part in keeping the community great.

I thought pretty long on whether I would be a good fit as moderator and if I really want to take on the extra responsibility. As you can see, I think I would & I do :)

I filled out the Election Questionnaire which hopefully gives you an impression of me. Feel free to ask me questions in the comments!

Hello, I'm fredsbend

I have been a frequent reader, commenter, and questioner on Skeptics SE since 2013. I'm familiar with the site policies and history. I believe I would be a positive contributor to the moderation team and promise the following points of focus:

  1. Political topics need to be scoped. I and other regulars are tired of "politician said stupid thing" questions and other types that do not add lasting value. This was a known issue for years, but it's been much larger lately and may get worse.
  2. The Hot Network Questions overall I believe harm site quality more than help it. Many have opined this, but no one has made suggestions. As a moderator, I would use the data, tools, and direct line to SE staff to evaluate the issue and share that with the community to make solutions.
  3. Meta participation is abysmal. I strongly value community run policy-making and view meta participation as an existential issue. As a moderator, I would explain most actions, which naturally should be followed up with links to meta, thereby inviting meta participation. I would also use the mod tools to seek other ways to advance this point. I would be a curator of meta policy.
  • There wasn't enough characters allowed for the following: Regarding "political scope", I don't have concrete solutions, but I have a few ideas. Whether that's strict scoping for questions and/or answers, I'm hoping we can hash that out on meta and make things better. I do not want to disallow all political questions, as some have suggested. – fredsbend Jun 25 at 22:58
  • I'm happy to see that you're coming into this with ideas and points of focus to improve Skeptics. Particularly #1 and #3! – RToyo Jun 26 at 18:22
  • You have my vote! – Ken Graham Jun 27 at 1:07
  • I agree with the overall sentiment of this post, however why don't you share the data and tools (or the resulting insights) in point 2 so the community can suggest possible solutions (thereby reconciling point 2 and 3)? – Jordy Jun 27 at 9:03
  • @Jordy Yes, I'll share what I'm allowed to share. I'll edit, since the current wording sounds like I'm excluding the community. – fredsbend Jun 27 at 15:15

Being a software developer, I've often visited Stack Overflow looking for an answer to some oddly specific question, but for years I was oblivious to the larger Stack Exchange network.

While bored at work in early 2018, something in the Hot Network Questions list on the side of a post caught my eye, and that led me down a rabbit hole of reading question after question after question. One day after a few weeks of casual lurking, a new question on Worldbuilding piqued my interest, and I wrote my first answer.

Two and and half years later, I'm still answering questions on here. Why? Partly because I enjoy helping people. Partly because I like researching things I've never thought about. Partly because some questions are a puzzle I want to solve.

But most of all, I answer questions because I think it's fun, and I believe that's what makes a good moderator on a site like this. Not a strong sense of duty, or pride, or virtue, but a simple desire to help others enjoy being here as much as I do.

I believe Skeptics should be an interesting, enjoyable, and casual place, and since we seem short on mods, this year I'm happy to make the commitment to help out.

  • I'm suggesting an edit for you. You talk about being short on mods this year and you go on to say you're happy to keep it that way. – Cotton Headed Ninnymuggins Jun 25 at 15:18
  • @CottonHeadedNinnymuggins: Thanks, that's a good catch. The 'keep it that' way was meant to be about keeping the site good, though now I wonder if anyone has ever Ron Swanson'ed their way into becoming a mod. – Giter Jun 25 at 15:30
  • I knew what you meant, that’s the way it came to mind the first time I read it. – Cotton Headed Ninnymuggins Jun 25 at 15:33

I nominate myself because I am skeptical that I can be appointed moderator. :)

But considering that it is the way that comes closest to another meaning of democracy: by turns (everyone should exercise as a public official at some time in their country by obligation, and without pay; under penalty of jail: exercising as governors, mayors, presidents, senators, etc. .)

So vote.

  • I'm skeptical too, but hey you have a full integer score point more than the last applicant so... – Caleb Jun 23 at 18:31
  • about-infinite relative superiority on an objective score. Wow. – Pac0 Jun 24 at 8:42

Reporter: Why are you running for election? Me: Because I can, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

Reporter: What makes you think you're qualified for election? Me: When did I say I'm qualified? I don't even know what the qualifications are, but hey, here I am.

Reporter: What do you think of your election opponents? Me: I think they're way more likely to be voted for since they have way more experience and reputation. They've probably had more impact on this site than I have at this point. Most of them are probably more devoted.

Here: https://skeptics.meta.stackexchange.com/a/4586/56132 is the link to my answers on the moderator questionnaire.

Why vote for me you ask? -Because... just because

  • FGITW meets elections. Candidate core 0/40 but hey, you posted first. – Caleb Jun 22 at 23:46
  • @Caleb In the nomination phase, the last nominated is listed first. Might be fast, but so what? I've been clicking refresh all day waiting for the first shot. – fredsbend Jun 23 at 0:43
  • I mean, if only one other person is nominated, this person will automatically win. So there's that. – corsiKa Jun 23 at 2:19
  • I am going to have a hard time not voting for someone with the name Cotton Headed Ninnymuggins. – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Jun 23 at 10:26
  • Since you've only been a member of Skeptics for 2 weeks, do you feel as though you have a strong understanding of what separates skeptics.SE from many other sites on SE? For example, do you have an idea of why we require questions be about "notable claims", or why answers are strongly encouraged to cite sources? – RToyo Jun 23 at 21:46
  • @RToyo I feel like I have some understanding of why skeptics is different from other sites. Why questions about notable claims? Because notable people usually have some credibility already, if people are asking about claims their brother said, there’s probably going to be all kinds of confusion or all kinds of claims (maybe even too many). Answers are strongly encouraged to cite sources because not all answers involve common knowledge or common sense. What good is a claim without reasons or evidence? – Cotton Headed Ninnymuggins Jun 23 at 22:26
  • @RockPaperLizard Elf is one of my favorite movies ;) – Cotton Headed Ninnymuggins Jun 23 at 22:31
  • @rjzii I think you actually need to get the votes. It's not like a few high rep users can just decide in a dark room. – JJJ Jun 24 at 8:30
  • @CottonHeadedNinnymuggins I actually had no idea of the reference. I received that movie for free through some online promotion years ago, and I still haven't had a chance to watch it. I'll think of you when I finally see it! :) – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Jun 24 at 9:22
  • Tempted to write a nomination with text "Just here to make Cotton Headed Ninnymuggins look good." (Not strongly enough to make it happen, though.) – WBT Jun 24 at 15:11
  • @RockPaperLizard it’s a very funny movie, I’ve probably seen it at least 15 times. – Cotton Headed Ninnymuggins Jun 24 at 16:27

This election is complete.