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It seems to me the actual election already started. I find this quite surprsing as (at least) some official Q&A was planned and I assumed this (obviously?) will happen before not during the election period.

Is this the way it is planned that election starts right away (when there is no need for primary)? Or is this an error. Also if it is planned like this in principle could/should it perhaps be done differently?

(It is no major issue for me personally I think I know everybody well enough, and asked already the few things that I wanted to ask and surely one could wait with casting ones votes; still it seems weird to me that it seems the election starts a minute after nomination is over.)

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    $\begingroup$ I agree with your notion. On MSE we had a few meta threads on that before the previous election, and a lot of people voiced an opinion that the candidacy and the election phases should have some few days between them. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 7 '13 at 20:27
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila good to know (thanks for correcting the typo, btw) I am not alone. Mainly I do not understand why anybody would even consider not having some delay. It is not so much that I think it is a big problem, but it is completely surprising and feels strange. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Oct 7 '13 at 20:34
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    $\begingroup$ Well -- the time of the start of the election has been announced in the top right corner of the election page since the beginning of the nomination phase. Also, in the grey box on the right there was all the time the sentence "However, if there are 10 candidates or less, we skip directly to the election phase.". $\endgroup$ – Stefan Kohl Oct 7 '13 at 20:44
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    $\begingroup$ @StefanKohl I read the latter, but "directly" does not necessarily mean "instantly." I have to admit I did not pay attention to the time given in that box. Still it is a somewhat funny way to organize things in my opinion. Say, had 4 people signed up last minute, the actual election would have started a lot latter and that time given there had changed or not? $\endgroup$ – user9072 Oct 7 '13 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ @quid: I only said what was written on the election page. -- Being a candidate myself, I feel it is not up to me to comment on the way the election is organized. $\endgroup$ – Stefan Kohl Oct 7 '13 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ @StefanKohl Hmmm, I cannot resist now. You explained Mark Meckes in a comment just 5 hours before that comment that the time frame for the election was alright, which seems like a comment on how the election is organized. So you do not seem to be very consistent regarding this. But personally I anyway see nothing wrong with candidates commenting on the election procedure-wise; this is rather common in real life too I think. By contrast, that a candidate suggest a question for the interview of candidates this is IMO a bit more unusual. ;-) (Please read this in the playful way it is intended.) $\endgroup$ – user9072 Oct 8 '13 at 11:07
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    $\begingroup$ I just voted and thus learned that (it seems) one can change ones votes until the end of the election. This makes the situation somewhat better regarding the points I raised above but still I do not consider this as optimal. (Details likely past election.) $\endgroup$ – user9072 Oct 8 '13 at 12:22
  • $\begingroup$ @quid: I felt briefly saying that I find the time frame for the election is alright is o.k., while starting to discuss details of the process is somewhat awkward. Of course this is subjective, and you might well have a different opinion. -- As to the questionnaire -- maybe! -- But if you wanted, you could well have supplied a handful of questions which the community likes more than mine! $\endgroup$ – Stefan Kohl Oct 8 '13 at 14:02
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It is intentional that the election starts directly if there are 10 or fewer candidates, as there is no need for a primary phase. The duration of the election phase is adjusted somewhat, if I remember correctly, so the election phase is now longer than it would be if there had been a primary.

I've personally also doubted the way this works, as I'd like to give everyone the chance to read the answers by the candidates to the questions posed in the meta thread (or the chat townhall, which is no longer done in this way). But any delay in the election has disadvantages, and if you drag it on for too long you might lose more voters. I'm not entirely happy with the current way, but I'm also not convinced by any alternative that I've come up with or that has been proposed so far.

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    $\begingroup$ That been said, had we ask for in advance, there is an option for a "vacuous" primary phase to be set. Or so I gathered from the last MSE elections (where a primary phase was actually needed with the excess of one candidate). $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 7 '13 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the information. Still I find this way to proceed very surprising. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Oct 7 '13 at 20:27
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Well, that was pretty much SE saying that you could have that, if you really wanted. But I don't think that made much sense anyway, an useless primary would be worse than no primary in my opinion. $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Oct 7 '13 at 20:28
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    $\begingroup$ I agree it doesn't make too much sense, and it may end up reducing the actual number of voting users; but I do feel that it is very important to have a few days between the candidacy and the elections themselves (in the case there is no primary phase). $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 7 '13 at 20:30
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    $\begingroup$ To drive my point home, I prefer less people voting, than people voting to candidates they don't really know and we end up with a "rogue moderator" which actively sabotages the moderation of the site, and it takes six months to remove him from his position. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 7 '13 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila I generally would also prefer to have some time between nomination and voting, but I'd hesitate to draw out the election even further. Personally I'd probably eliminate the primary phase entirely, and add a phase where comments on nominations and the official questions were handled, but no further nominations. And with regard to the MSE situation, I don't think the election was the most problematic point, but how to deal with this afterwards. The only effective review for mods was neutered, as SE was hesitating to even intervene due to the history between MSE and SE. $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Oct 7 '13 at 20:34
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    $\begingroup$ Is there anything preventing ( meaning "how bad an idea is it" ) a chat room being set up where the nominees respond to the questions that were solicited? I imagine that would provide some data that the community might desire. At the very least, one would get a sample of answers that could guide the elected moderators. (I imagine the first-time moderators might welcome it.) Gerhard "Maybe It's A Good Idea" Paseman, 2013.10.07 $\endgroup$ – Gerhard Paseman Oct 7 '13 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ @GerhardPaseman There used to be an official chat event for elections, but now this is done via meta posts. The questions collected in an earlier meta post will be posed to the candidates, and they'll answer on meta. There is also an official election chat room. $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Oct 7 '13 at 21:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Gerhard We have no objection to whatever other events you'd like to setup. I had some delay to setting up the Q&A thread proper but for both clarification to questions posed in the thread and to answer those yet unasked, I see no harm in a chat room at all. $\endgroup$ – Grace Note Oct 7 '13 at 21:09
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    $\begingroup$ @GraceNote I will come back to how things are organised after the election, now is likely not the best time. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Oct 7 '13 at 21:22

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