2013 Moderator Election

On Stack Exchange, we believe the core moderators should come from the community, and be elected by the community itself through popular vote. We hold regular elections to determine who these community moderators will be.

Community moderators are accorded the highest level of privilege on our community, and should themselves be exemplars of positive behavior and leaders within the community.

Our general criteria for moderators is as follows:

  • patient and fair
  • leads by example
  • shows respect for their fellow community members in their actions and words
  • open to some light but firm moderation to keep the community on track and resolve (hopefully) uncommon disputes and exceptions

Every election has three phases:

  1. Nomination
  2. Primary
  3. Election

Please participate in the moderator elections by voting, and perhaps even by nominating yourself to be a community moderator!

This election ended Jul 30 '13 at 20:00.

Anyone may download the election data. Voters have access to pre-built OpenSTV software to audit the results; all others may use this source distribution

506 voters were eligible, 131 visited the site during the election, 170 visited the election page, and 64 voted

Greetings true believers, I wanted to be an austere super awesome user on the site; one who is too cool for moderatorship.

I would treat each post with an objective test for worthiness.

  1. Questions (and answers) must have a firm doctrinal basis
  2. Questions must apply to situations in which two or more persons are affected.
  3. Answers must come from within the doctrinal framework of the question.

I would like to see us require a doctrinal framework to be tagged on every single question. I wouldn't ban but I would like to see it 99% of the time tied to or thereabouts. See, I think I've been the most consistent Catholic on the site (I'm user #4 and the first to get a silver badge) and I've answered broad questions using resources from my Church and not just my opinions, but my answers don't get the recognition of a from-the-heart biblical answer. I want fix that and open the site up to more piercing questions that help us find out what we really want to know.

  • How would you handle questions that aren't asking for a specific doctrine but are more general (open to all perspectives), such as this one? How should that be tagged with a doctrine? – Monica Cellio Jul 18 '13 at 15:55
  • Does point #2 mean that questions involving only one person are out of scope? It seems like many ethics questions would be in that space. (I'm not pushing either way, to be clear -- just trying to understand the scope you've outlined.) – Monica Cellio Jul 18 '13 at 15:56
  • @MonicaCellio yeah, I'd be that jerk mod who unilaterally closes questions like that. Even though they were answered well, they really can't be answered which is why David says "the answers will vary". If there is room for comparative Christianity, the questions should actually be about comparative Christianity and attempting to solve a problem. Even if you don't know the person's doctrinal background for reconciliation, you can at least guess. – Peter Turner Jul 18 '13 at 16:20
  • @MonicaCellio Christianity is communal and loner Christians don't flourish. So in general, very few ethics questions are off topic because it's recognized that everything we do affects each other. – Peter Turner Jul 18 '13 at 16:30
  • Oh, so "are gathered" means "are affected"? I thought you meant something more literal. :-) Ok, that makes sense. – Monica Cellio Jul 18 '13 at 16:44
  • As a Catholic candidate, how can the community reasonably expect you to pay attention to C.SE and all of your kids? (Also, will you be imposing a Galileo tax?) – svidgen Jul 18 '13 at 16:46
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    @svidgen the same way, as they mature, they will be expected to take care of the younger ones! I'll do my best to educate those whose first recourse is to bring him (or the inquisition) up. But as I don't believe in taxation without representation, I would be more apt to impose a Galileo fine, if given the mandate. – Peter Turner Jul 18 '13 at 17:35
  • Peter - You are proof positive that we need 5 (or 6 or 7!) slots. I'm voting the incumbent slate, but I consider you a mod already! I'm hoping that we get a second set of elections soon. – Affable Geek Jul 22 '13 at 12:38

Well, all the cool kids are doing it, so I may as well nominate myself here as well.

I know I've been less visible than the other mods during the extended beta, but I've definitely been keeping an eye on the community. I've been active since day 1, and since being chosen by the beta community as a pro-tem moderator, I've tried to be a moderate moderator, as it were, preferring to let community members make their own decisions where possible. In particular, I like to avoid unilaterally closing posts just because I don't think they're a good fit for the site.

I have, however, taken part quite actively in what I see as the two main functions of a moderator on a site like this: welcoming newbies and showing them the ropes, and protecting the community, dealing with people who make it clear that they don't feel like following our standards of respectful behavior.

Together, we (the moderators and the entire community in general) have taken what could have been a real mess of a site and turned it into something surprisingly civil and useful. So, if you like what we've done, vote for me and I'll keep on doing it as best I can.

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    I withdrew cause I endorse Mason. – Ryan Jul 18 '13 at 14:00
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    Since you have identified "welcoming newbies and showing them the ropes" as one of the primary functions of a moderator, can I ask you to comment on what activities that function is comprised of with perhaps some examples of them in action? – Caleb Jul 20 '13 at 10:40

First off, I just want to say that it's been a pleasure and a great experience to moderate this site for the past 22 months (and some).

In that time, I've handled hundreds of flags, deleted nearly a thousand comments, closed or deleted many questions, all to keep this site at least reasonably decent. I've also encouraged many users, a few times I've made an effort to help one user or another understand just how this site works, always in the hope that we would have yet one more good quality regular contributor.

Yes, with every passing day, the amount of bad content on this site grows, but so does the good content, and further more, so has the community. I am very pleased to see the community growing larger, more interesting, and more capable of running this site themselves, just as it should be. It's been a pleasure to work with Richard, Mason Wheeler, wax eagle, and Caleb in service of the community.

In fact, that's why I want to continue being a moderator. I love serving others. This site has become a great place, and I'd love to continue to help make it even better. I have gladly served this community for almost two years, and I'd love to serve for several more years.

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    I honestly didn't see it at first but the SE team made a very wise choice in appointing you as a protem. Your consistent positive attitude, ability to empathise and communicate well have been a huge asset and it has been a privilege to serve with you. I believe the community would be well advised to continue trusting your judgment. – Caleb Jul 16 '13 at 6:54
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    I believe that El'endia Starman is an outstanding example of the "general guidelines" for moderators: fair, patient, leads by example, and moderates firmly but with a light touch. He has been an excellent moderator and we should keep him around. – Richard Jul 16 '13 at 15:00
  • How many babies are you prepared to kiss to win our votes? – svidgen Jul 19 '13 at 21:26
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    @svidgen: Fewer than 5216. – El'endia Starman Jul 19 '13 at 21:41

We are all thankful for the hard work that C.SE founders put into building it. I believe that moderator practices can make this not only a better "C" site but also a "SE" site.

Here is my platform:

"[W]e do not ask a man to accept all the creeds, any more than we ask him to accept all the Christians. We ask him to accept Christ, and the facts about Christ and the words of Christ. You will find the battle is half won when you have endorsed the man's objections, and possibly added a great many more to the charges which he has against ourselves." -- Henry Drummond

In the past month, this site bullied-into-quitting a person who had observations about evangelism practice on the ground in the Third World that was no more Trollish against the faith than words by Benedict XVI. My moderation strategy would err against using moderation to enforce orthodoxy.

"draw[] from standard sources of theology ...Scripture, Tradition, or Reason." -- Affable Geek [who does NOT endorse me]

This was his idea of acceptable sources for Answers. As moderator, I wouldn't allow Personal Opinion but I would not demand "Identifiable Group" for Answers, or Questions that can be answered from above list.

  • I've asked a question in chat. – Ryan Frame Jul 17 '13 at 13:44
  • For reference, I have asked some questions in chat in regards to how being a moderator affects the four points listed here. – Caleb Jul 17 '13 at 22:59
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    As a moderator I do not think you get to set rules, only enforce them perhaps you should start a meta post? – user4060 Jul 18 '13 at 4:06
  • As I understand it, closing a question because it does not state which "Identifiable Group" it wants answers from is a discretionary (and poor) choice by a mod, not a necessary consequence of obeying site rules against "Personal Opinion". – pterandon Jul 19 '13 at 11:41
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    Can I ask you to comment on your meta participation stats above? Having an average answer score of < 1 seems to suggest that, at least thus far, either your ideas haven't been well received or you haven't been very successful at communicating them to a broader audience. Do you think this is an issue the community should be concerned about in voting for you as a moderator? – Caleb Jul 20 '13 at 10:37
  • pterandon I really like your platform I will vote for you as well – user4060 Jul 21 '13 at 0:06
  • @Caleb I appreciate all kinds of feedback. I would not that my "PO" piece got tons of negative votes for the philosophy it advanced, which was later in a comment articulated even better by AffableGeek (who does not endorse me). I will have limited (or unpredictable) online availability this upcoming week. Thanks all. – pterandon Jul 21 '13 at 11:50
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    @pterandon To be clear, I don't endorse or not endorse anyone. I appreciate that you have clarified the attribution :) In fairness, I have no problem disclosing my intended vote: Mason, Elendia, Wax, and Caleb. You may find a pattern in there :) I believe with time you could become a good mod - but please understand I'm voting for the incumbents first. No disrespect to you. – Affable Geek Jul 22 '13 at 12:36


First I'd like to humbly thank both this community and the SE community team for the privilege of serving this community and helping it grow over the past two years.

The first moments of this community's life made me question whether this site would succeed at all. As time went on, and as the community began to form it became obvious that this would indeed work.

This site is by no means perfect, it has major flaws in both scope and quality. However, the thing that has been most encouraging to me is that through the leadership of both the members of this community and the moderators that were appointed to steward it, things have continued to improve, almost every day.

My vision for the future, whether you choose to elect me to continue my post as moderator or not is to continue assisting that improvement. I don't post much on the main site (though I've been better about that lately), but I am very active on meta and in chat helping users learn how to use the site in the best way possible. I'd also like to get our blog back up and running, that it's fallen off is at least partly my fault and I'd like to rectify this.

I'd love to continue to serve you as moderator.

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    If it's not clear, my platform here is: "We're on the right track and improving at a solid pace, no drastic changes are necessary, let's stay the course" – wax eagle Jul 16 '13 at 2:31
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    I truly think this community owes you a debt off gratitude for your steady hand at the tiller so far. While not all your contributions are that visible they are hugely influential in a constructive way and the smartest thing this community could do is vote to keep you onboard. Thanks for even keeping us moderators in line and exemplifying good behavior. – Caleb Jul 16 '13 at 8:19
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    During my time as Mod pro-tem, Wax eagle was a an incredible contributor to the formation of the community of C.SE. His ideas have built some of the core understanding of how to moderate this disparate community. I fully support his nomination here. – Richard Jul 16 '13 at 14:54
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    Wax was also instrumental in getting the blog rolling last year and not in any way responsible for it kind of fading away so +2 for him! – Peter Turner Jul 18 '13 at 15:08

I have 4 kids. One of them is about a month old. I'm underslept and notably loony as of late. I have no time. I only occasionally enjoy poking around C.SE. And I really don't want to be responsible for the big questions like, Is this a real question? Or, Is this answer just spammy nonsense? Or, What is the maximum number of slices a single toaster can toast simultaneously before things get ridiculous?

But, I'm also Catholic. So, I don't want to artificially contracept God's plan for me to moderate if He so chooses :)

Also, I wouldn't mind having a little diamond by my name.

If elected, I will not step on your house ... Probably.

  • In your opinion, who's the best candidate for moderator? – svidgen Jul 16 '13 at 1:30
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    @svidgen Probably the one who talks to himself the most. Thanks for your question! – svidgen Jul 16 '13 at 1:31
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    For the record, I think you'd be a top-rate moderator. – David Stratton Jul 21 '13 at 3:51
  • Joke candidate or not, I agree - you already are a very, very valuable contributor, and I look forward to the day you get your diamond :) – Affable Geek Jul 22 '13 at 12:39

I first participated on C.SE in February. However, I believe I only posted a few stinkers before getting the site norms cemented in my mind. Since then, I have become a regular community member had have been praised more than once by some of the mods and high rep users. I now participate daily on main and meta.


  • If the current mods are running I encourage you to give them your vote.
  • If you have decided to not vote for them or they are not running I am a good candidate for the position and I will serve the community wholeheartedly.
  • I participate regularly on the main and meta and will continue to do so as a mod.
  • I fully support the community in all things. If policy is changed by the community I will support and enforce it. Becoming a mod would effectively make me more passive about making changes, but much more aggressive with enforcing current policy.
  • I will do what I can to help the new users; they may become our most valuable asset in the future. They become regular users when their first experiences are fun and fruitful.
  • I will quickly and efficiently solve the problems that arise without hesitation, but I will be fair and patient.
  • In your opinion, what do most folks visit C.SE to find? How does that compare to your ideal C.SE? – svidgen Jul 16 '13 at 1:21
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    @svidgen The unfortunate effect of the name and the site purpose is that most new users are surprised that we are strictly about doctrines and not willing to answer questions that cannot be factually answered. Reactions are mixed. Some leave right away, some stay a while then leave, and others stay and become regular members. I see none of this as good or bad; the site is growing so we can't complain. I have no ideal for C.SE; I only care that it is a productive place where people can learn about Christianity and as the site is now I think that is being fulfilled. – 3961 Jul 16 '13 at 18:50
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    You and I joined at the same time. I have seen your zeal to make C.SE a better place. I think you can do this. Best of luck. – Mawia Jul 18 '13 at 18:43
  • @Mawia Thank you. – 3961 Jul 18 '13 at 19:29
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    I'd like to second what Mawia said. – David Stratton Jul 21 '13 at 4:04
  • @DavidStratton Thank you. It means a lot coming from such a high rep user. – 3961 Jul 21 '13 at 5:20
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    I'd like to third what Mawia said. Looking forward to when you get your diamond too! – Affable Geek Jul 22 '13 at 12:39
  • @AffableGeek Thank you. I appreciate your kind words. – 3961 Jul 22 '13 at 18:24

I am willing to serve as a moderator, if the community agrees.

We have come a long way in the past couple of years, and a critical part of that was developing a firm sense of what this site ought to be like, in terms of tone and content. I feel that I understand that sense pretty well, and I hope that my past contributions and interactions show that. I haven't been the most active in all site tasks, but I have done a bit of everything.

I see moderation as a combination of (1) slog-work, and (2) setting the tone. I would aim to be even-handed and friendly, especially regarding new users whose expectations and background might create some friction. Although I am a lily-livered bleeding-heart liberal egghead communist, like any true liberal I try to be almost sickeningly tolerant of those who disagree with me.

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    I think your ability to understand people of other persuasions add well as communicate your own views would set you up for being a good moderator of you're willing to dig in and get your hands dirty. – Caleb Jul 15 '13 at 23:37
  • Please define slog-work and explain what tone you wish to set! – svidgen Jul 16 '13 at 1:22
  • @svidgen - (1) worthy but unglamorous tasks, like monitoring questions even if I don't care about the topic; (2) an open and mutually supportive atmosphere which fosters sustained high-quality contributions from all users. Or something like that. – James T Jul 16 '13 at 15:30
  • I'm very conservative not ayn rand conservative but conservative all the same. I think I will vote for you because you are running on the platform of friendliness and tolerance. – user4060 Jul 18 '13 at 4:04

I would like to continue the privilege serving beyond pro tempore. My track record speaks for itself — I have been involved through all the ups and downs since private beta and understand the ramifications of moderator actions and various guidelines on site quality. While I have strong personal convictions, I have not and will not make these the basis for moderation or allow content to be censored based on doctrine. My knowledge and interest is broader than just my own tradition and I want to foster a constructive cross-tradition environment — only doing housekeeping based on quality and relevance to question scope.

I regularly participate on meta: raising awareness of issues and listening for community consensus. I’ve always garnered support before acting. My opinions are generally well received; yet even where I deviate from public opinion my mod-actions support the users not my own whims. I also comment prolifically explaining my actions and educating new users.

In addition to extensive participation across the SE network, my real life roles as pastor, EMT and programmer contribute to my experience in working with others, resolving disputes and listening while leading.

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    Also, as a protem on Biblical Hermeneutics, I understand the scope of both sites and have a vested interest in seeing both sites succeed in their own areas of strength. I think it is in the best interest of both sites to maintain at least one cross-over mod. – Caleb Jul 15 '13 at 22:46
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    I wish to note that Caleb has been extremely influential in this site as it has grown. He is an excellent moderator, but more than that he is an exemplary member of the community - always willing to learn and to share that knowledge with others. – Shog9 Jul 16 '13 at 1:04
  • What privileges do you get as a real mod versus a user with 20k reputation points? (Are you just in this for the little diamond?) ... only half joking. I really don't know. – svidgen Jul 16 '13 at 1:34
  • @svidgen the privileges are fairly close. The big difference is that diamond moderators get binding votes in that when they click "Delete" it gets deleted instead of needing others to help. – wax eagle Jul 16 '13 at 2:32
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    Caleb is the most active mod. He is everywhere. :-) – Mawia Jul 16 '13 at 10:28
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    Caleb has been foundational in the formation, development, and maturation of C.SE. The mod team would be incomplete without him. I can't speak highly enough about his standards and temperament. – Richard Jul 16 '13 at 14:49
  • @Caleb do you know if Mason is also going to run? I think all the mods have been doing a great job, and I would vote for all 4 of you. – Ryan Jul 16 '13 at 17:08
  • @ryan: Unfortunately, while there are four positions, you will only get three votes. – El'endia Starman Jul 16 '13 at 17:50
  • @El'endiaStarman I know, I've participated in elections before. It was just a sentiment that I thought you were all doing a bang up job. – Ryan Jul 16 '13 at 17:51
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    @ryan: Agreed, even if Mason hasn't been all that visible, he's still been quite valuable to have around. – El'endia Starman Jul 16 '13 at 17:52

I have been on C.SE since it was in private beta (even have the Precognitive badge from being involved on Area51).

From both my answers, my questions, and my comments, I've tried to maintain a polite demeanor whenever possible.

I am on the site [nearly] every day, and always do my best to work towards improving questions/answers if they need it via comments, edits, etc.

Before we left beta, I was involved in the day-to-day moderation of the site, as I had a high-rep in the beta site.

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    In your opinion, what category of "unfit" questions plagues C.SE the most? If made a mod, would you crack down on any particular sort(s) of questions? – svidgen Jul 15 '13 at 21:23
  • ha precog schmeecog, you weren't out there pounding the refresh button like me and ace were! J/K good for you, I didn't join this one on area 51 for the discussion phase because I was hoping for Catholicism.SE – Peter Turner Jul 15 '13 at 21:38
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    @PeterTurner Maybe instead of asking for Catholicism.SE you should ask for Cathodoxy.SE (Catholicism and Orthodoxy) – svidgen Jul 15 '13 at 21:43
  • @PeterTurner - I'm pretty sure I was just out grocery shopping or something when it went into beta :) – warren Jul 15 '13 at 21:48
  • @svidgen - I think it's a mix of "truth" questions and pastoral/personal advice ... neither of which (except when asking, perhaps, for where "it is written" was written) are good fit for what is supposed to be an objective site – warren Jul 17 '13 at 20:01
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    You clearly have massively more experience with flags than most of the other candidates here and my experience as a beta mod handling some of your flags is that they are usually spot on. Your other contributions during beta also lead me to believe you have a good grasp on what is and isn't constructive on the site. My main question for you as a candidate is about your meta (non) participation. Why haven't you been active there to date and would you expect your participation there change if you are elected? – Caleb Jul 20 '13 at 10:25
  • @Caleb - my overall experience with the meta.<site>.SE has been that they tend towards less than helpful. I got burned-out on meta.SO, and haven't seen a lot of good on the other metas, so I mostly stopped visiting (except for some voting here and there). Therefore, my focus has typically been on the Q&A aspect of any given site. Realizing the different expectation of a mod, on at least a site where I was one, I'd be reviewing / attempting-to-answer on that specific meta :) – warren Jul 20 '13 at 13:47
  • @Caleb, I also appreciate the positive feedback re:flags - I do try to only flag for extreme cases – warren Jul 20 '13 at 13:48

I will make a good moderator because I have a passion for helping people, even when I don't agree with them.

I've been a StackExchange user for a couple of years now and understand how to help people ask and answer questions in a way that is useful today and relevant for users to come. I understand that being patient and respectful while supporting a position is far more important than "being right".

Topics on Christianity have potential to elicit strong emotions that can distract from the substantive support of the arguments being made. These distractions make it more difficult for people to use and enjoy the site. As a moderator, I will help people to ask and answer in a way that reduces these distractions and keeps this a pleasant place to seek and learn.

Please take a look at my SE profile.

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    In your understanding, whats the purpose of C.SE? Does your history on C.SE show that you're sensitive to that purpose? – svidgen Jul 15 '13 at 20:43
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    How do you respond to the elephant in the room: your low rep? Obviously, you still think you would make a good mod, so you therefore think that high rep and mod do not have to go together. Why? – 3961 Jul 15 '13 at 22:06
  • To enjoy the site is the most important aim of it? – user unknown Jul 15 '13 at 22:14
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    @svidgen In my understanding, the purpose of C.SE. is for people to to ask specific questions that pertain to contemporary and historical Christianity. It's about about seeking answers that should be supported by scripture and other religious or historical documents. It's not about flame wars or seeking pastoral care. – Jeff Wolski Jul 16 '13 at 2:10
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    @fredsbend I do have low rep here. I have low rep on a few other SE sites as well. On Stack Overflow my rep is above 3k. I read most of the questions and answers here and try to answer the ones that I think I can add value to. If I can't add value (even if I have an opinion) I keep quiet. Moderating is not about asking and answering, it's about helping to keep questions and answers in line with the guidelines. I've demonstrated my ability to help with that on stack overflow. – Jeff Wolski Jul 16 '13 at 2:14
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    @userunknown "To enjoy the site" is not the primary purpose this site. However, there are many site where you can ask questions and give answers. Outside of SE, the answers and comments often digress into poorly supported opinions and vitriolic flame wars. That kind of behavior makes those sites less enjoyable and less useful for the purposes of finding real answers to real questions. In my experience, people avoid sites that they don't enjoy and don't find useful. – Jeff Wolski Jul 16 '13 at 2:21
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    I can't help but notice that you've not been a member for long and have not participated much. How familiar are you with this site's meta history and current policies? – wax eagle Jul 20 '13 at 1:36
  • This is similar to @fredsbend's question above. I participate A LOT on S.E. I've answered over 150 questions, raised over 120 helpful flags, voted on over 900 questions and answers, completed many hundreds of review actions. I'm not interested in having an effect on the direction that C.SE goes, that's what meta is for. I am interested in helping people ask and answer questions in a manner that meets the current guidelines, and that will remain relevant to future users. – Jeff Wolski Jul 22 '13 at 19:06

This election is complete.