First of all, allow me to be clear - Richard is an active and well-respected member of the community. His contributions and participation as a user are not in question. However, over the course of the last few weeks we have become convinced that he is not as well suited to being a moderator. I will do my best to explain how and why, although out of respect for Richard, I will refrain from going into specifics.
What was the problem that needed to be solved?
As explained in A Theory of Moderation, we expect moderators to be ambassadors who are held to a higher standard of behavior. They should be exemplary of the community at its best.
As much as he is an excellent contributor, and a beloved community member, Richard has not always been able to embody this sort of behavior when faced with trying circumstances, both in chat, as well as on the main site. This is not a reflection on Richard as a person, or a user, but it does present a problem for him as a moderator. Moderators are trusted to rein in not only their own words and actions, but those of others as well, and in Richard's case, we eventually lost the ability to expect that.
Why was the solution to ask Richard to step down?
Everybody makes errors, but if the same issues keep occurring, then we're responsible for acknowledging and acting on them.
In the past we had communicated with Richard regarding the kind of behavior we were looking to see, with specific examples as well as general guidance. However, when it became apparent that his behavior was not changing, the Community Team and the remaining SciFi moderation team came to a consensus that it was best for Richard not to continue as a mod, but for him to maintain his status as a respected contributor within the community.
What happens now? Doesn't this go against the concept of moderator elections?
This site is built collaboratively by the community and the Stack Exchange system is designed to allow everyone to participate in site moderation. However, the responsibilities of diamond-moderators are unique, and not everyone is well-suited to the role.
The Community Team is here to support moderators and communities. We take great care not to interfere with the day-to-day operations. We aim to take such a dramatic action as asking a moderator to step down rarely if ever, only after ample feedback has been provided, and when other options have been exhausted.
There will be another moderator election in the coming weeks to ensure a full moderator team is here to serve the community going forward.