The Stack Exchange 2015 Year in Review blog post claims:

After five years of democratically electing moderators, it’s mind blowing that Stack Exchange is still the only major network that embraces this form self-governance. It’s a strategic advantage we wish more internet communities would adopt. We simply cannot thank our 476 volunteer moderators enough for their patience and dedication.

Is Stack Exchange the only major network where moderators are democratically elected?

  • 13
    I approved your comment, which obviously is not spam. ;-) This is an interesting question I probably should have asked before I posted. Jan 13, 2016 at 1:11
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    Define: "major network". Because it certainly seems like SO is a major network amongst the IT community!
    – Möoz
    Jan 13, 2016 at 2:37
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    It's not entirely true that all moderation is done by designated elected moderators. Standard users can gain some moderator power over time from building up a good reputation. There's therefore also an element of meritocracy in SE moderation.
    – GordonM
    Jan 13, 2016 at 11:37
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    What's a "network"?
    – mattdm
    Jan 13, 2016 at 17:23
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    Not enough for an answer, but I think this all hinges on the definition of "major network". In my experience, democratic moderator elections in online communities are fairly commonplace. A search for "moderator election" -"Stack Exchange" returns plenty, and that's just people who use that exact terminology. Some sites may even have more self-governance, since AFAIK Stack Exchange reserves powers for appointed employees, e.g. in legal matters.
    – IMSoP
    Jan 14, 2016 at 18:07

2 Answers 2


Wikimedia holds democratic elections for its board member positions.

Wikipedia's nomination and selection process for administrators and bureaucrats is roughly democratic, with requests for adminship almost always being accepted if they receive at least 75% support and request for bureaucratship almost always being accepted if they receive at least 85% support.

Physics Overflow holds democratic moderator elections.

Young socialists united subreddit holds democratic moderator elections.

Rational wiki uses democratic moderator nominations.

Which, if any, of these is "major" is a subjective judgement call, but beware falling into a no true Scotsman fallacy.

  • 49
    I suspect that Wikipedia is the only of these anywhere near in size of the SE network, the last three are tiny compared to SE.
    – Mad Scientist
    Jan 12, 2016 at 19:33
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    @MadScientist Agreed, but I think both Wikis easily satisfy the 'major network' criteria. Jan 12, 2016 at 20:45
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    For what it's worth, if I had been aware of Wikipedia's process for selecting administrators, I would have phrased the sentence differently. In fact, I might very well change it tomorrow. Jan 13, 2016 at 1:50
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    Wikipedia seems relevant, the rest is by no means a major network -- e.g. physics overflow's top voted mod had exactly 10 votes.
    – Sklivvz
    Jan 13, 2016 at 16:43
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    Speaking as both a mod at SE and and admin at Wikpedia, the roles are equivalent regardless of the name difference. Jan 13, 2016 at 19:52

Ubuntu Community Council is democratically elected.


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