2018 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.

See a theory of moderation for the typical roles and abilities of a moderator. Once elected, moderators may hold the position as long as they wish, unless they become inactive or exhibit gross misbehavior.

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

Depending on the number of nominees that enter, and the number of moderator positions to be filled, in some circumstances the election may skip the Primary phase and proceed directly to the Election phase.

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

This election ended Aug 14 '18 at 20:00.

The results of this election can be viewed online via OpaVote.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

25,960 voters were eligible, 9,069 visited the site during the election, 4,559 visited the election page, and 2,106 voted

Asaf's answers to your questions

Against my better judgement, I am begrudgingly joining this race.

For the better part of the afternoon I've been staring at an old comment from December 2012, where I claimed that I will never run for moderator. My feelings are not that different from back then. I am still hesitant and far from being surefooted about this step. I've seen it tire my friends, and drain my colleagues from energy to browse and answer and help. And I don't know if I want that.

But I feel that things, and I, have changed. Enough for me to give it a try and tread carefully.

I've been a very active user on meta for years now, with strong opinions about some topics, and not-as-strong opinions about other topics. I am aware of the current problems of the site (PSQs, proof critiques, the fact that a lot of people feel disenfranchised). I don't pretend to have solutions, though. But I am willing to hear ideas.

You might know me from the comments as someone prone to jokes, off topic, or snide sarcasm. But if you look more closely on the serious discussions, you can see that I am also capable of being serious. And if nothing else, being a moderator would be a good exercise in self-restraint.

  • $\begingroup$ Wow! When your country needs you etc... Thank you so much! $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Aug 3 '18 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ Ditto!! ${}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}{}$ $\endgroup$ – amWhy Aug 3 '18 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ I feel much better about this election now! $\endgroup$ – user99914 Aug 3 '18 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ Asaf, you mention "snide sarcasm", and I have been on the receiving end of that, quite recently. Why should I trust you as a moderator, after seeing you take such umbrage over a downvote that you, according to your own words, went out of your way to berate me and try to waste my time? Furthermore, you were so annoyed over a point of pride, that you declined to improve your answer despite the valid critique, placing your ego ahead of site quality. I expect a moderator to be in the habit of "rising above" the mud, especially when feeling offended, never descending into it. Is that you? $\endgroup$ – G Tony Jacobs Aug 3 '18 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ @GTonyJacobs And have you considered your own role, and pride, and ego involved in the circumstance? $\endgroup$ – amWhy Aug 3 '18 at 18:41
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy: In fairness, he's not the one running for moderator. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Aug 3 '18 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ @GTonyJacobs: You are correct to feel suspicious, sure. I still feel that your criticism could have been delivered better, for better or worse. However, I feel that moderating and writing answers are two different tasks that I approach from different mindsets. Whether or not you are willing to take my word for it is your own business, though. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Aug 3 '18 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila, my criticism could have been delivered better? Why, didn't I agree with that statement at the time, and apologize to you at the time? I appreciate your reply, that you'll wear a different hat when moderating than you have worn as an answerer, although I'm more inclined to trust someone for whom moderateness is less a matter of what hat they're wearing, and more a matter of their character. I will consider the possibility that becoming a moderator might actually improve this aspect of your behavior, by forcing you to wear a more diplomatic hat more often. Thanks again. $\endgroup$ – G Tony Jacobs Aug 3 '18 at 19:19
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy, thanks for asking! Of course I have, and although Asaf is right that it is he, and not myself, under scrutiny here, I'll reiterate that I swallowed said pride at the time, and acknowledged my shortcomings at the time. I was wrong, and I constantly endeavor to improve. More to the point though, how I acted shouldn't matter. If I had been perfect, we would have seen nothing, and since I was initially kind of a jerk, we got to see how Asaf responds to a jerk: by being a jerk back. That's the problem. [cont] $\endgroup$ – G Tony Jacobs Aug 3 '18 at 19:23
  • $\begingroup$ A moderate response would have looked like, "thanks for the feedback, I'll edit my question, in the future, could you please do this differently, in this way:.....". Such a response would have humbled and embarrassed me, appropriately, and shown how much bigger and more temperate Asaf is than I am. I would have respected the hell out that response, and been inspired by it to be a better person myself. I wish that I could always respond that way, but like many of us, I am susceptible to the follies of pride. Defending that pride, however, and saying "he started it", is that last thing I'll do $\endgroup$ – G Tony Jacobs Aug 3 '18 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ I think that past and current moderators were/are person serious. $\endgroup$ – user243301 Aug 3 '18 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ @GTonyJacobs As much as I can understand your point of view, I think that one needs to consider the fact that a responsible adult, when in charge of some duties with high responsibilities, can behave much differently than under more casual circumstances. Just like you don't necessarily clean your kitchen the same way when you're a father of two as when you were a lone student. I personally believe that Asaf is a responsible adult, of the kind that can only improve and listen. Now anyone is of course free to believe otherwise. $\endgroup$ – Arnaud Mortier Aug 3 '18 at 21:52
  • $\begingroup$ @ArnaudMortier: Thanks for reminding me that I have to do the dishes... (Let me take the side of G Tony Jacobs again, and point out that we've seen in the past a moderator who claimed that he will wear different hats, but clearly didn't. But I truly hope that I am nothing like that person.) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Aug 3 '18 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ One thing I haven't seen mentioned but which I think is important: this site caters to a very broad spectrum of mathematics questions. Anyone who would be moderator will encounter many situations where a mathematical judgment is required; it's not enough to have a few broad precepts of SE moderation in hand. I feel almost certain that anyone who lacks the perspective to form such judgments will be in over their heads. Thus any candidate should be at least at or beyond the mathematics PhD student level. Asaf meets this criterion, for sure. As best as I can tell, there may be one other. $\endgroup$ – user43208 Aug 4 '18 at 0:59
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila How (if at all) did the withdrawal of the candidate you nominated weigh on your decision to run yourself? $\endgroup$ – dxiv Aug 4 '18 at 4:36

Simply Beautiful Art's answers to your questions

Hello world! I'm back again after a break that has lasted quite a few months. Heading to college soon and simply wanted a break from things and relax a bit more for my summer break. But now that I'm back, I'm certain I can put in the time necessary to be a moderator, that being perhaps a few hours a day (assuming I don't get addicted to this site again) once school starts.

After being gone for so long, you may be wondering

Why am I running for moderator?

and I ask myself the same question. I'm not entirely sure, but I felt like a calling I had to fulfill. This site means a lot to me, and as they say, you should never forget your roots.

Can I promise I can fulfill the duties of being a moderator?

I believe I have the necessary time and experience to undertake the task, but I may be unable to perform my duties to the fullest once school starts.

My platform is that I will stand for a more moderate position. I suppose what I wish to say is that my "time off" has distanced me from the strong opinions on meta so that I may respect all sides more than before. I still stand against PSQs and have my own opinions, but I do not believe I fall on many extreme ends.

  • $\begingroup$ Best of luck! After high school, I think you're in a better position than last year, and I appreciate your daily committment to this site! $\endgroup$ – Toby Mak Aug 3 '18 at 10:19
  • $\begingroup$ I hope your badge score of 6-6-6 isn't a bad omen :0 $\endgroup$ – samerivertwice Aug 3 '18 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ Could you expand on your statement that you "may be unable to perform [your] duties to the fullest once school starts"? Do you mean you will be unable to put in the time necessary to be an effect moderator (I've heard 30/min per day cited), or merely that you will have less time to spend on MSE (which is understandable)? $\endgroup$ – user88319 Aug 3 '18 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Strants No, just in the event that I might have a time consuming project or something, I may not be able to fully do my duties for a bit, as an example. $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Aug 3 '18 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ In college, your time is much less. "May be unable to perform [your] duties to the fullest once school starts" screams inability to truly dedicate the time and energy that this website deserves. I am a math major, and would have little to no time for moderating activities. My freshman year, I directed my leadership abilities, which would be welcome here, toward real life opportunities. Running for class president, organizing groups of people and working in D.C. Internships. Working with professors. I encourage you to do the same. $\endgroup$ – Prime Aug 6 '18 at 4:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Prime While I understand your concerns, they are subjects I've considered before putting my application in for the moderating position. I'm not exactly the type that goes for leadership positions and I've taken college courses before, but there are definitely other things that will come with college. But I believe I know what I'm getting myself into, and that this is something I wish to do. Thank you for your concerns. $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Aug 6 '18 at 14:14

TheSimpliFire's answers to your questions

Dear MSE Community,

Although I have only been here for just less than a year, this site provides me with the opportunity to both share and take in a great deal of mathematical knowledge in a relatively short time. It has led me to think of creative ideas and ways to solve problems, which I would never have done without it.

I treat all MSE users with respect, no matter how high their reputation is, or how long they have had their account for. This, I believe, is crucial to forming a welcoming community and giving users a positive experience at this site.

I am in the top 800 of all time and have completed a total of 3027 review tasks. I have not been suspended so far. My activity in meta is increasing as I am now much more familiar with the workings of MSE. I hope to maintain this in future.

Thank you for your time.


  • $\begingroup$ You "are in the top 800 of all time" in terms of reputation earned. You haven't discussed the overall quality of the questions you've answered. E.g., how many of the questions you've answered are currently closed? Besides, I'd rather here how active you've been on meta, how able you are to show restraint when encountering a question you can answer, but, by community standards, is very low in quality; are you able to restrain yourself from answering such a question? $\endgroup$ – amWhy Aug 2 '18 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy Those are good questions. Is there are quick way to check how many closed questions I've answered? $\endgroup$ – TheSimpliFire Aug 3 '18 at 8:09
  • $\begingroup$ There are poor questions that have not yet been closed, too, but were answered, nonetheless. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Aug 3 '18 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy Apologies that I missed your final question. For very low-quality questions, I would usually ask for their attempts and subsequently close if they don't provide an adequate response. I am mostly able to restrain myself from those, but I admit that sometimes when I see a rather interesting problem I would post a set of hints, not a full answer. $\endgroup$ – TheSimpliFire Aug 4 '18 at 8:00
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy: Such as this one? I came across it by accident; wasn't even looking for it. TheSimpliFire: this isn't even an interesting question, but you posted a full answer. Would you agree that it is not at all good to encourage such poor questions, and that you shouldn't have answered it in its current state? $\endgroup$ – user21820 Aug 4 '18 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ @user21820 That's why I said 'mostly'. I agree; I should not have answered the question. $\endgroup$ – TheSimpliFire Aug 4 '18 at 19:09
  • $\begingroup$ Okay thank you for your confirmation. $\endgroup$ – user21820 Aug 5 '18 at 3:15

Nick's answers to your questions

< Nick />


I'm a final year computer engineering student hailing from South India.

I've been on Math.SE for a very long time (this is my second or third account) and I've seen this site grow in many ways. The managing of this community has not been a simple endevaour, I can understand.

My Nomination

With moderatorship, comes great responsibility here on SE. Responsibility is a thing I take very seriously. So, I would like to take on the role of moderator here. It would be an immense privilege to join the ranks of the moderation team and contribute to the health of M.SE.

"..Shall not go quietly into the night..", as they say.

I'm ready to become a human exception handler. Hopefully, an exceptional one at that :)

Do consider my candidature.

Plans for Math.SE

  • More welcoming to new users, lesser conflicts, more transparency and uping the niceness by a few billion gajillion degrees.

  • Lessen suprise closed/on-hold qns with generic close reasons.

  • Ensure M.SE is in alignment with its stated goals.


Yipee kay yay, tetris.

  • $\begingroup$ Your account has been registered for five years, yes. But have you been here? With relatively low participation and practically no meta participation. Are you really part of this community? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 31 '18 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Andres: I don't think that it's that harsh. Someone with no meta involvement and just over a 1000 public actions on the main site? I think it's a legitimate concern. Why should I consider someone who just sits in the shadow to get my vote? What do I know about that person's ideals, behavior, personality, or anything else that would indicate to me that they are able to be good moderators? All I know is that they are referred to as "Nick". $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 31 '18 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Andres: But you see your neighbor. You interact with your neighbor. Someone visiting New York once a year is not a part of the New York community. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 31 '18 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ I think that we would all very much like to see your answers to the moderator election questionnaire, when you get the chance. $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Jul 31 '18 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ Your reputation not being as high as other candidates does not bother me at all. Why only someone with 19484k rep would make a great mod? I'd vote for you, but your nomination is all quotes and cliche, anything interesting you could add to make you a good mod? Any special plans? $\endgroup$ – Gigili Jul 31 '18 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ rep does not matter, @Gigili . It's the participation that matters. It is not shown (on paper) that Nick follows meta and active in moderation. $\endgroup$ – user99914 Jul 31 '18 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Gigili: You're the first person to mention reputation here. It's about actions. Reviews, comments, interactions with the rest of the users. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 31 '18 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ Please, be serious ! How can we consider a candidature of a person who participate so little ? Are you kidding us ? $\endgroup$ – Surb Jul 31 '18 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson I really appreciate your input and feedback to this community. Have you considered nomination? $\endgroup$ – Prime Aug 1 '18 at 12:40
  • $\begingroup$ Would you be able to handle the load of being a moderator ? and i think user @AsafKaragila raises a good point here, your presence in the site for the past 5 years has been limited to MSE and little to no MSE meta participation . If one is to be a mod and help manage this site then one has to be familar in all of the workings of the site and have a strong foothold in the community. You would get my vote but we need to know what good you could do to the community , not cliched lines. $\endgroup$ – The Integrator Aug 1 '18 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ I'm curious, Nick, why you felt it necessary to ask generic others, "should I run for moderator?" in the 2018 moderator election chatroom. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Aug 2 '18 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ Nick, you have my vote! Besides, I think that after robjohn you might be the best moderator for MSE. $\endgroup$ – user 1591719 Aug 3 '18 at 11:23
  • $\begingroup$ @ArnaudD. Oh thanks for pointing that out. I guess it's because I was here since the start of StackOverflow. Even then, I did overestimate the time. Corrected. $\endgroup$ – Nick Aug 6 '18 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy For the same reason a student with low attendance seeks permission to sit in higher classes. That is all. $\endgroup$ – Nick Aug 6 '18 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ I understand, @Nick. I like your reply. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Aug 6 '18 at 15:21

Aloizio's answers to your questions

Hello, I am Aloizio Macedo. I am a Brazilian PhD student who owes much of his knowledge to MSE. This is behind one of my main motivations to run for moderation: to help nourish balance in the community which helped me grow. I think I have the right inclinations for that, as I hope to convey in the answers to the questionnaire and this short introduction.

Part of the problem around moderating communities is that they are often (roughly) polarized in terms of opinions. That term is a pretty good one, since I believe that polarized communities are very much like magnets, in the sense that if you attempt to separate the poles you end up with two new polarized magnets, and the problem only iterates. It is part of the job of a moderator to ensure that this polarization can be healthy and constructive, with communication and discussion happening in a reasonable way, instead of culminating in separation. I think this may be the best aspect in which I can be a good addition to the site.

There are several other tasks which come along with the job, and it goes without saying that I will strive to fulfill my role in all of those tasks with the utmost care and dedication.

  • $\begingroup$ Glad to see your name here. $\endgroup$ – Paramanand Singh Jul 31 '18 at 1:25
  • $\begingroup$ Really glad! Wish you luck! $\endgroup$ – fonini Jul 31 '18 at 7:28
  • $\begingroup$ Glad to see you here. Best of luck!! $\endgroup$ – Failed Scientist Jul 31 '18 at 8:06
  • $\begingroup$ All the very best!! $\endgroup$ – user356774 Jul 31 '18 at 10:15
  • $\begingroup$ Is there any particular polarisation you have in mind on MSE and in what ways might you be seen as partial to any given side? $\endgroup$ – samerivertwice Jul 31 '18 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ I'm convinced that your nomination is a good news for the whole community! Good luck Aloizio! $\endgroup$ – user Jul 31 '18 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertFrost Yes. The prime example is the whole situation around PSQ's, which also has a lot of related discussions (what is the purpose of the website, what is context etc) that can actually be quite independent and even analyzed individually. To answer your second question, I think it may be best to point you to my answer to question 6 of the questionnaire (question 3 is also related to this). $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Jul 31 '18 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ Have you had a chat with prior moderators about this task? It might spoil the joy of participating in this site. $\endgroup$ – mvw Jul 31 '18 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ Thumbs up. Good luck. Hope this doesn't take too much away from your PhDing time. $\endgroup$ – MNKY Aug 1 '18 at 9:09
  • $\begingroup$ What is your stance on PSQs and also what would your response be to common moderator criticism such as being too biased , easily triggered or as you put it "polarized"? Also would you be able to devote time to being a mod, which is no easy task in itself , but along with you PhD( which is quite important) , do you think you can handle the responsibility? $\endgroup$ – The Integrator Aug 1 '18 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ @TheIntegrator "What is your stance on PSQs?" is basically question 6 in the Questionnaire. Did you look at Aloizio's answers? $\endgroup$ – Arnaud D. Aug 1 '18 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ @mvw No, I have not. However, I have seen moderators expressing themselves about their jobs before (some pessimistic and arguably frustrated, due to different reasons) and I understand how this can change the experience of using MSE. That my experience using the website can change is something I have taken into account, but I think the net value will be positive. $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Aug 1 '18 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ @TheIntegrator As Arnaud says, the answer to the first question is in question 6 in the questionnaire. About the time required to be a mod, there was a question about that in the question collection and I ended up writing an answer, so I'll just copy that in the next comment. $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Aug 1 '18 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ QUESTION: "Can you provide any assurance that you now have, or you'll make, the time, as needed, to moderate on MSE? This may only amount to an hour each day, consistently (perhaps more on some days, and less on others)." ANSWER: "Yes. I have the privilege of being able to live with my PhD alone, and in a very stable situation. I also have finished most of the "bureaucratic" obligations required of my PhD, so I have more control over my time management. " $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Aug 1 '18 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ @AloizioMacedo I very much appreciate your prompt announcement of candidacy (officially!) and your preparation to post both your announcement and answers to the official questionnaire, virtually concurrently. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Aug 1 '18 at 20:00

This election is complete.