Thanks for participating in this test! I'll look at the info and see how it went.

In the interim, if you have any feedback you'd like to give, there's a place for that here:

Feedback request - What are your thoughts on three-vote closure?

We regret to inform that due to insufficient nominating candidates, we are currently terminating the ongoing election here on Web Applications. Thank you to Rubén for having stood up as a candidate in this session. However, as explained previously, in order for an election to proceed to voting phases it is required that there is at least one more candidate than there are spaces remaining in the election.

This is important for a variety of reasons. The first is that it allows the election process to proceed in a way that allows candidates to be evaluated before being elected. It also serves to indicate that there are enough people in the community who are willing to handle the responsibilities of overseeing moderation.

When this election went into overtime and then failed, I started thinking about why we were hosting an election here at all. There's already five great mods of varying activity levels and, to be quite honest, not a huge burden of flags for them to handle. This is a great community with not a lot of drama going on - congrats for that!

So, you might ask, why were we hosting an election? For help with closing questions.

If you're thinking "But, mods aren't really here to close questions, they're supposed to be handling flags..." you'd be right! We don't generally expect our mods to put in large amounts of time clearing the close queue - and yet they are on this site.

This site has a reasonable number of people eligible to vote to close - ~25 active in the last 30 days - but many people aren't choosing to do so. This isn't unexpected. Reviewing is hard work and can be drudgery, particularly when queues are long and the effectiveness of any one vote to close seems questionable.

Of the 177 questions closed in July, 169 were closed with the help of a moderator and only eight were closed by users alone. The median number of votes needed to close a question is four.

So, on the tails of the successful Hardware Recommendations test of single-vote closure and the current three-vote closure on Stack Overflow, I'm going to propose that, rather than a new moderator, we test lowering the number of votes needed to close and reopen a question to three.

Here's what I'm hoping to see:

  1. more questions are closed by users (no diamond moderators involved)
  2. more questions are reopened by users (no diamond moderators involved)
  3. fewer than 1% of closed questions go through more than two close/reopen cycles

So, starting today, we'll be dropping the number of votes required to close a question to three. In 30 days we'll set it back to the default and assess the impact. If this is a success, we can return to the three votes needed after the assessment is complete and some discussion about it happens.

As to the election, if this test is a success and the moderators feel like they're able to manage their workload, we'll cancel the election for the time being.

  • I just checked my Inbox going back two months, I was never notified that there was an election (except for the one at OR.SE). Lack of notifications might account for lack of candidates.
    – Rob
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 5:12
  • 6
    You don't have enough reputation to nominate here (300) so you weren't notified about nominations being open. You would have been notified of being able to vote because you have the 150 rep necessary for that but we never got that far. I checked and there was definitely a notification sent out to users when the nomination period opened on the 5th (i.sstatic.net/4r4xH.png).
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 5:20
  • 1
    It's not difficult to pickup the points necessary to run, but if 300 is the cutoff for a 'nomination openings' notification (as opposed to an 'election is coming' notification) then fair enough. You probably missed a couple of worthy candidates (out of our 10M users) whom could have not only ran (with a chance to win) but would have fulfilled the requirement of having one more person (permitting Rubin to win, if that was the way the wind was blowing). On OR.SE, where I ran, I worked hard to improve my sufficient score to one where I was ahead and equal to two others. But choosers we be ...
    – Rob
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 5:34
  • We're trying to not overwhelm people with notifications - and we never really expect elections to fail - I didn't expect this one to fail because there seemed to be a good handful of active and engaged users that would have made likely candidates. I'm also guessing there's some element of "we want people running who are already putting in effort on a site" If a user has under 300 rep, and isn't on the site for the two weeks of question collection and nominations... are they really engaged enough to be a mod?
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 5:38
  • I count 692 people with reputation from 150 to 299. Kyle Brandt has a reputation of 154 as does Mad Scientist, Mr. Alien has only 158 but over 130K of Flair, Jon Skeet with 176 rep might be too busy, Andy White has 178 rep but is 60K on SO, etc. -- The first two could have won, ...
    – Rob
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 6:12
  • ... I didn't have time to look further but I suspect that there's more than half a dozen whom could have won over Rubin, with only one needed for him to win. On a related point, I would get flags for this site's chat room (Google-Fu) if anyone ever flags something; since I have enough Flair on the chat's server to see the blue dot. In effect I am a partial moderator (chat flag moderator) for this site already. --- In any event, I like the "3 vote closure" idea (single vote for hardware recs seems too few). It will likely be sufficient.
    – Rob
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 6:57
  • Will this be symmetric - if now only three votes are needed to close, will the question be reopened after three votes?
    – Martin
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 8:01
  • 2
    @Martin Yes it is!
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 12:44
  • 2
    Success! webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/132972/tool-to-extract-data
    – jonsca
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 21:52
  • 2
    @Rob Rep, while being a formal requirement, is the barest of the bare minimum to be qualified. One of those users that you named has 2 deleted questions that were posted in 2010. Not my idea of participation.
    – jonsca
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 21:58
  • @jonsca I only mentioned a few of the people on the first page of 150+. There's lots more to go (18+ pages for the rest). Kyle was "Last seen Jun 27 at 13:56" and Mad Scientist was here 15 hours ago. Each of those two (with another 690 to consider) are popular people whom could have won on personal reputation, one has rep of a related site the other on Meta - thus "qualified". But, don't vote for them, vote for Rubin - that way he's in, this way he's out. Ironic to talk of participation and both not send the notification to the larger group and come up short with the current list.
    – Rob
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 22:25
  • 5
    @Rob "Popular" doesn't qualify anyone either. I'd like someone who cares about the site and is an active participant with the time, energy, and willingness to do so. Finding that cross section proved difficult.
    – jonsca
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 22:31
  • @jonsca Here's a worthy volunteer but his offer wasn't accepted.
    – Rob
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 23:54
  • 1
    30 days has expired today; will it be flipped back?
    – gparyani
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 2:04


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