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I know this is long, but it's part of an important topic (electing moderators) and I feel it needs serious discussion and I've taken a little extra time to make sure my points are clear and there are no leaps in reasoning.

I can understand why and agree that if someone leaves comments on candidate nominations that are name calling or something similar, they should be deleted. But with a situation as important as picking a moderator, more leeway in deciding what to delete should be required of the moderators.

The case I'm talking about is someone who has nominated himself to run for moderator on SF&F. Here's his nomination. My first comment is, I feel, a legitimate and necessary question. If he's been on SF&F for a year and has hardly any activity, how do we know if, after a year of ignoring the board, he'll devote the time and effort to the job of moderator?

A question like this, to a candidate, is an opportunity. It's a chance to step up and face a challenge and say, "I know I haven't been here much, but here's what I will do..." It's a sales technique: Objections are opportunities to sell one's product. (And in an election the product is one's self.)

Now, if you've checked the link, note his reply. It essentially amounts to a personal attack against me, accusing me of ambushing him and negatively attacking him with a sardonic comment. I could have flagged this and complained that it's a personal attack and is name calling, but I did not because I feel it should be on the record.

There's another exchange, and after that second exchange, I made a comment that was deleted, a terse sentence that was pretty close to, "But you still have not answered the question."

I know that may be considered being chatty, but in the case of elections, such a comment should not be deleted. He has sidestepped the issue, has attacked me personally, and has even gone off on a tangent about the good thing he did in his nomination, all to avoid the question.

I didn't complain about a personal attack and that's still there (and it should be - a candidate should be allowed to define himself publicly however he wants). But a simple, short comment calling him on his evasiveness has been cut. If one is going to start deleting comments, which is more appropriate to a discussion with a candidate - a personal attack, or someone drawing the line and saying, "You're being evasive and that's not appropriate?"

Yet the one that was deleted was not an attack, was not rude, and simply took him to task for not dealing with the issue at hand -- but it also gives him the opportunity to return to the topic and address it. (It's up to him whether he does that or tries to avoid the issue again or ignores it.) He's running for moderator, and I can't imagine a single moderator out there not knowing that having a thick skin when being called on a mistake is a requirement of the job. It also should be a requirement of someone who wants that job.

If this were an election for a government office, the media would be expected to call a candidate on evasiveness like this. It's not that kind of election, and there is no media, but it's still a responsibility of the members of the community to call a candidate when they're being evasive.

And it's the responsibility of the current moderators to not get in the way of that.

  • I would note that you posting this here pretty much negates any benefit the candidate might have had by the comments being deleted. – Robert Harvey Jan 27 '12 at 0:14
  • @RobertHarvey: I'm aware of that, but that wasn't the intent. (Just a nice side effect.) – Tango Jan 27 '12 at 0:21
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    How do you know you're dealing with a politician? Because missing a shoe means this economy will get back on its feet and rally behind the editorial department is wrong on releasing nutrients into your bloodstream where the lights are much brighter – Eight Days of Malaise Jan 27 '12 at 1:46
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    @EightDaysofMalaise: Uh, what? – Tango Jan 27 '12 at 1:52
  • Still not getting it... – HNL Jan 29 '12 at 6:59
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I remember seeing that now-deleted comment. I'm very curious what the reasoning was for its deletion, as it's an entirely on-topic line of discussion for moderator nominations. Who is capable of deleting those comments? Just diamond mods?

This is all assuming of course, that this is the correct juncture to grill the candidates. This is the first moderator election here that I've taken part in, so maybe we're missing something.

  • The only other chance to grill them is during the online chat, and we can't be sure that all the candidates will be available for that. – Tango Jan 27 '12 at 4:35
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I don't know... Politician's conversations don't always get recorded, nor do their outbursts always get permanently emblazoned on YouTube. Even if they did, YouTube still owns the media channel, and has the right to remove any material they see fit to remove.

Comments on elections should have to abide by the same rules as comments anywhere else on the SE system. Pages on the SE sites are available to the public at large, or at least to registered participants on the network. Basic decency would still seem to apply.

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    Basic decency, yes, but, still, considering the importance of electing a moderator, if it's not off topic or ugly, the record shouldn't be edited. (Just because not all politicians' conversations aren't recorded doesn't mean we shouldn't record what we can.) – Tango Jan 27 '12 at 0:32
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Looking at the pitch, this comment appears by you:

I'll also add that even with turning your answer into an accusation against me, you still did not answer the question. That tells me, and everyone else reading up on the candidates, just how you're going to treat us when faced with a tough question.

This reads like the one you're talking about that's been deleted.

If that's the comment, you'll need to state your browser at least and any extensions which might have covered this up on viewing from your end.

  • No, not like the one that's been deleted. But as far as the point, I'm directly addressing the behavior of avoiding the question and I'm making the point that most people would realize: If a candidate is attacking the questioner, it lets us know how he'll behave when confronted or asking a question he doesn't want to answer. It's focusing on what was said without using subjective terms like "sardonic" or emotionally loaded words like "ambush." – Tango Jan 27 '12 at 1:43

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