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Summary: Interpersonal Skills Stack Exchange will begin the nomination stage for a special election on June 10 to bring in one more moderator.

For full details of the process, see the announcement on Meta Stack Exchange. The timeline:

  • Starting on June 10, users can nominate themselves. Users can also ask questions on meta for potential moderators to answer. (Use the and tags.)

  • On June 17, if there are two or more candidates, we'll run an election. If not, I'll simply appoint the candidate. (There's a small chance we'll need to remove a nomination, but I doubt that will come up.)

  • If there is an election, I'll announce the results on meta on June 25.

(Note for current moderators: there's no need to nominate yourself even though you'll likely get an email saying you should. The system assumes the first election is a graduation election, which would mean moderators would need to be re-elected. This isn't that sort of election.)

If you have any questions about the process, please stick them in an answer here.

  • Is this an election, or a community recommendation? – apaul Apr 11 at 5:34
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    @apaul: It's an election if there are enough candidates. If there aren't enough candidates, it'll be a way to find volunteers. (My guess is there will be plenty of candidates to run the vote.) – Jon Ericson Apr 11 at 5:37
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    Awesome, that's certainly progress. – apaul Apr 11 at 5:38
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Do only candidates have the ability to nominate themselves or can the community submit a user's name?

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    Since being a moderator is a responsibility that must be entered into willingly, we do require users to nominate themselves. But nothing says you can't suggest they do so in chat or somesuch. – Jon Ericson Apr 11 at 7:14
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Why wait so long before starting the election? What is the point?

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    We have a serious backlog at the moment. Since we started making elections rather than appointments the norm, we've had a lot more communities needing elections. CMs are monitoring elections, so we can't run too many concurrently. – Jon Ericson Apr 10 at 19:20
  • For context: this site started with three mods, then two more were brought in. Later, one resigned and another was hired by SE as an employee. This is to fill in the backlog caused by those. – gparyani Apr 13 at 10:01
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    @gparyani no. That's not true at all, there is no backlog caused by the events you described. – Tinkeringbell Apr 13 at 10:03
  • @Tinkeringbell If that's so, why did Jon Ericson say that there is a "serious backlog"? – gparyani Apr 13 at 10:10
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    @gparyani To answer the question from Ælis as to why our election is only going to happen in June. – Tinkeringbell Apr 13 at 10:15
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    @gparyani Serious backlog of sites waiting for elections. There's a new election starting every week until mid-June. The date in the announcement was the first available. – Catija Apr 14 at 16:57
  • @Catija How many sites are backlogged and waiting for pro-tem elections, and approximately when will it all finish? – gparyani May 9 at 10:10
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My apologies if this is off-topic here, but I can't figure out any better place.

Without a much different moderation style, I don't think this stack will fit in with the StackExchange question-and-answer format. I don't see this beta as successful.

(This is a throwaway account that I created specifically to raise this issue. My real account pretty much stopped participating after getting a few too many nasty comments from the moderators.)

The types of questions being asked here mostly seem to be soliciting advice rather than answers to tangible questions. Questions that do seem to be open to answers are closed as duplicates even when there are comments pointing out reasons why the proposed duplicate is different. Answers that are based on personal experience handling similar issues are downvoted because the poster doesn't go into enough detail as to how the solution was worded and handled in specific.

In other stacks questions where the answers will necessarily be opinion-based and not rooted in facts are summarily closed, but here people are being asked to flesh out their answers with their subjective opinions on how successful their approach to a similar issue worked.

Maybe a new moderator with a different style can balance out the current moderation team so that the overall tone is more supportive for both encouraging good questions and good answers, but it doesn't seem likely.

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    I'm sorry you had a bad experience of this site. If you have concerns or improvement suggestions that you'd like to raise, I'd invite you to create a meta question instead, I believe it'd be easier for people to discuss this in a dedicated place. – avazula Jun 12 at 7:54
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    Do you have any data or stats, whatsoever, to support the claims of "Without a much different moderation style, I don't think this stack will fit in with the StackExchange question-and-answer format." and "I don't see this beta as successful."? Or are they simply means to be provocative? – M.A.R. Jun 12 at 10:44
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    Hey, I'm sorry that you've had a rough time with the site. The site definitely isn't perfect, but we have several users who would love to make it better. You've mentioned that you don't see this as a successful beta. In your opinion, what makes for a successful beta, and how is IPS currently falling short of that? As Avazula mentioned, a separate meta post might be a better place to have this discussion. You could also join us in chat. There are usually at least a few people there who would be happy to discuss the site with you. – Rainbacon Jun 12 at 14:56
  • I don't have enough reputation to post a separate question. I suspect I am seeing two different issues: (1) this topic attracts questions and responses that don't really fit a strict question/answer format, and (2) I've seen a fair number of actions by the moderators that seem far more brusque than one would expect from a stack designed to help people with interpersonal relations. (Sorry, no examples, I don't want to tie this conversation back to the account where I've been contributing questions and answers for years.) – Cory Hunter Jun 12 at 23:35
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    You can post on meta, in fact you already have. – AGirlNamedAndara Jun 13 at 1:31
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    To your first point, yes, our stack is a bit different than the more technical ones, but it is not unprecedented. The Workplace and Parenting both came before IPS and have been fairly successful. In fact, the Parenting site led to this blog post which serves as the basis for our question and answer guidelines. In the time that I've been here, I've found that there is a solid Q/A in many of the questions that get posted, even if the initial forms don't indicate that. – Rainbacon Jun 13 at 13:17
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    We have some dedicated members here who are quite good at distilling these into the format that they need to be to fit the guidelines. We also are quite judicious at closing things, and questions that just can't fit don't stay open very long here. As for your second point, if you think a moderator has crossed the line, then you should raise that concern with specific examples. Just saying "the moderators are too brusque" without providing examples doesn't help them be better. I've gotten to know the mods decently well in chat. If you have a problem with something they've done, tell them. – Rainbacon Jun 13 at 13:23
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    I've gone to chat and pinged them by name to question things they've done. I've given them feedback that I thought they were too harsh with someone. Every single time that I've done this, they have responded with humility and a promise to work on being better. The mods here are only human, just like you and I. Nobody has perfect interpersonal skills, but we're all on this site because we realize that our skills aren't perfect and we want to do better. That can't happen unless our mistakes are pointed out and corrected. – Rainbacon Jun 13 at 13:27

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