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Assume that you are (not self-) nominated in moderator elections, the bulk of the votes are cast already, and it looks as if you will be among the winners. But you know that some of the other less upvoted candidates are (much) more knowledgeable about the topic of the site ...

Is such a situation a reason to reject the nomination as a moderator, in order to make the most competent about the site topic candidates win?

Assume that in the community in question it is rather important, that the moderators are knowledgeable (in the real-world respected experts at best) about the site topic too.

What additionally complicates the situation a bit (yes, due to suboptimal organization I know ...) is the fact that it is not yet known for sure, which candidates will finally accept their election in the first place.

  • The one with the most technical knowledge about the subject matter isn't necessarily the best moderator. A basic understanding of the subject and a dedication to the site are prerequisites, the deciding factor is "people skills", attitude, and how one interacts online. – LindaJeanne Apr 15 '15 at 14:04
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Ultimately whether you take the position you won is up to you, but you may want to consider the following:

  • You were nominated by a peer. This means that someone believes you can do the job based on the actions you have already performed within the community
  • You are receiving enough votes to appear to be winning. This means that a substantial portion of the voting community believes you can do the job based on the actions you've already performed.

Another thing to consider: Why did you let it get to this stage if you were not going to accept such a position? Presumably you knew you were nominated, that users were going to vote on your nomination, and who the other nominees are. If you felt unqualified compared to the other nominees, is after users have cast their votes for you really the time to step aside? What happens to their votes if you withdraw this late in the election cycle? Are they simply lost or can they reassign them to those "more qualified" candidates.


Personally, I'd say the answer to "Should I withdraw my candidacy to support less voted, but technically smarter, candidates?" is "No".

You need to remember that moderation takes a different skill set than being able to answer technical questions on a topic. Just because you don't have the knowledge to answer a specific set of on topic questions doesn't mean that you are unqualified for a moderator position.

The community is having an election for a moderator, not for figuring out who is the smartest person in the community. They want someone that can keep the site clean, the quality high, the trolls away and someone they trust.

  • 1
    Thanks for your thoughts and advice Andy. I like our community a lot and naturally always felt inclined to help defend and protect it. But I always considered myself rather to be a substitute for better people, in case there would not be enough moderators otherwise. However, now it seems that even some of the greatest and nicest people we have support and trust me :-) – just_curious Apr 15 '15 at 10:56

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