Two weeks ago, we cancelled the Moderator election for this site on the grounds that there were insufficient candidates. I posted this meta post to investigate the source of the problem and determine when, if at all, should the election be rebooted. The responses mostly came in three forms.
There was a lack of awareness that there was an election. This is both folks saying that they weren't actually aware, or that they figured that others who might run were not aware. We will look into things which can help improve awareness if the election is restarted. That said, Meta is an essential part of governance and moderation on a site. With several posts on the topic of the election (the initial announcement, two separate posts on the Q&A, and the extension announcement itself), a separate concern comes up with the lack of overlap in “People who might be interested in moderating” and “People who pay attention to Meta and the status of the election”. Which brings us to...
The people who are standing up now, are only hesitantly doing so on account of the shortage of candidates. While a hesitant candidate is better than no candidate, it doesn't paint a good picture if the only people standing up are those reluctantly doing so because not enough people are motivated to the task.
There's people who actively and frontforwardfacingly are disinterested in the prospect. Two such statements were put forth, and it concerns me more because these are relatively high rep users. One noted that there's too much overlap with Cross Validated, while the other finds the current quality of the site to be too poor for interest in moderation.
Dawny33, one of the candidates who stood up during the initial nomination phase, had this to say in response to one of the posts.
And, this is exactly why it needs more users to be involved in moderation and helping the site, as it grew in volume at a very impressive rate.
But we don't just need users to be merely involved in the moderation of the site - we need users to have a vested interest in being involved. And I can't say that we're particularly seeing that here. By the volume of question traffic here, we certainly have a topic space - that's what helped qualify you folks for graduation in the first place. But that topic space is as needing of moderators as it is of experts to answer questions. Absent that, it may well be better off folded into one of the larger sites.
So this is our call for action here. A site isn't held atop the pillar of a couple individuals - there may only be three moderators to be elected in an initial election, but moderation is a job distributed across the community. I don't want to see people stepping up sheepishly suggesting that they might have enough time to spare. I want to see that there are people who don't just care about this topic but care about this site and making it work. And I want to see more of these people. If that’s you, then now’s your chance to speak up, step up, and start moderating: voting, flagging, editing, identifying and discussing thorny issues when they present themselves. Demonstrate that you have the community that can support the high volume question base that you've accumulated, and stand on your own as a site.