There is an election going on to choose our community moderators, replacing the current moderators who were appointed by Stack Exchange by moderators chosen by the community. (The current moderators can run in the election, just like any other user, if they wish to continue.)

It's now 5½ days in the 7-day nomination period, and… nobody is putting themselves forward. Most sites get multiple nominations in the first few hours after they open; in a few hours we'll break the record for slowest nomination). This is a bit worrying — as a participant here, I am sure that Emacs Stack Exchange is a healthy community, but lack of interest in moderatorship is generally considered a sign a community that lacks motivated participants.

Moderators are accorded the highest level of privileges. They handle those situations that cannot be handled by the broad community. For more information, see A Theory of Moderation.

On a site like this, I expect a moderator's job to take a few minutes per day, mostly handling flags (about 1 per day on average), responding to support requests on meta, settling the occasional dispute. Moderatorship is a responsibility, because moderators have access to some extra tools and have a moral status as behavior models and leaders of sorts, but on this site, it isn't a very time-intensive job.

So why aren't you volunteering?

Uncle Sam with a GNU hat

An extra message from Grace Note, a Community Manager:

I was originally going to post an announcement this morning when I logged in, but with Gilles's post here, that seems unnecessary. I do want to stress the importance of running, though! We need leadership to come from within this community, the election can't move forward unless people want to take on the responsibility.

The nomination phase is scheduled to end in a bit under 6 hours - however, if there are not at least 4 candidates available by then, which is one more than the number of seats to be filled, the nomination phase will be extended by another 7 days to allow for more candidates.

  • I can think of one good reason I haven't volunteered for this: neovim is off topic here.
    – Caleb
    Feb 14, 2016 at 7:20
  • Thank you for posting the rallying call -- I was also watching the lack of nominations with some dismay.
    – Dan Mod
    Feb 14, 2016 at 16:07

3 Answers 3


If nobody wants to step forward, I'm willing. I'm not participating as intensively as I did during the early beta, but I still spend hours per day in front of Emacs and at least a few minutes per day in front of Emacs.SE. But, like I said before, I'm a already moderator on two sites and former moderator on two others. Let there be new blood!


I am currently one of the appointed moderators, and spend a fair amount of time on the site each day (some of it moderating, some of it learning from the posts). I would like to see this community thrive, so I am willing to continue in the role if no one else steps forward.

Like Gilles, however, I would like to encourage new people to take on the job. So: fence-sitters, nominate yourselves!


This is a great question. My own answer is basically ignorance of the process and responsibilities of the role. I'm on Emacs SE pretty much every day and was aware of the election, but I'm not active on other SE sites and had never spent any time understanding the process. My interaction with the site is pretty simple: when I have a chance I check for interesting questions that I might be able to help with or that might teach me something new. I haven't had much reason to learn more about how things work "behind the scenes", or even to pay much attention to the meta discussions. (For the record, this question provided more information about what moderation entails, the voting process, etc then I had gleaned so far in my daily interaction with the site.)

Based on my experience with other open source projects and on-line communities I assumed this was a role for someone with more experience, and potentially a significant time commitment. Now that I see otherwise, I'd consider getting involved in the future as someone who thinks Emacs SE is a great resource and who wants to see it thrive.

  • Thanks, this is interesting. The election announcements are indeed pretty generic. Your expectation of moderation would be closer to what Stack Overflow moderators face (I think active SO moderators handle an average of over 100 flags per day). Moderating a smaller site is radically different. I wonder how we could convey this as part of the standard election announcement process. Maybe ask current mods to give their impressions? Feb 18, 2016 at 17:49
  • 1
    I quite like the idea of current moderators providing a brief write-up of what they feel the experience and challenges of moderation on that specific site are.
    – user818
    Feb 18, 2016 at 18:03
  • We once thought about pursuing something related to more specifics, like "Why is this election happening to you" and probably some site-specific stuff from the mods as well. But it got lost; Would be a good idea to think on that again.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Feb 18, 2016 at 18:33
  • I launched a discussion on the main meta, having your take on this would be interesting. Feb 18, 2016 at 20:43

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