I've been wondering recently why you guys here do not pay due attention that there are sooo few voters who actually voted albeit that there are so many eligible voters.

This is happening at ELL also, but I refrained from commenting there, since it seems they seem to be thinking they are "untouchable".

So far, I've been not so active at SE, but since the notification for this election came, I voted. But,

1,299 voters were eligible, 368 visited the site during the election, 270 visited the election page, and 128 voted

Think, only 10% out of 1299 eligible voters cast the ballot.

Are you doing the election for the election sake or just don't worry about this problem? As far as I experienced, even at the highly populated ELL the same phenomenon occurred.

This means almost entire participants are not interested in who the moderators are. My personal suggestion is if the voting outcome is lower than 25-40%, the election itself should be doomed to be nullified.

See the history of the popular vote for presidency. Even the honorable G.H.W.Bush garnered 37.4% from Republicans who lost to Clinton in 1992.( Lowest after WW2. )

I am afraid it may be I should not have used the political statistics. But my question even became larger than before after checking/comparing with the last year's election.

According to 2017's election.

1,023 voters were eligible, 297 visited the site during the election, 234 visited the election page, and 107 voted

So on the contrary to one of the answerer's claim, the "eligible" voters increased by the number of 276, while the actual final voters increased only the small margin by the number of 21.

So the increment ratio is 107/1023 = 10.3%, which is even larger than this year's final outcome numbers / eligible numbers, which is 128/1299 = 9.8%. ( Interestingly, last year, the number of people who visited the site is almost close to the number of the people who visited the election site. ( This year, the difference widened. )

One of the answer says these so called "sleepers" are physically dead or left, but the statistics show the contrary. The site has become more active but the people who are interested in the election decreased as I mentioned above.

And as I surveyed about the ELL election, I found out this problem is deeper than I or we thought.

In 2016 election

869 voters were eligible, 274 visited the site during the election, 235 visited the election page, and 120 voted

There were only 869 eligible voters. And the real outcome / eligible ratio is 120/869 = 13.8%

However, in 2018 election,

3,294 voters were eligible, 1,087 visited the site during the election, 749 visited the election page, and 367 voted

Within only 2 years, "eligible" voters increased by the number of 2,425, almost quadrupled!, but the voting outcome / eligible ratio decreased, which is 367/3294 = 11.1%.

So the "sleeping or dead or left" answer is a complete lie, the SE has become more popular, though people who are concerned about who the moderators are decreasing.

I'd like to warn current standing moderators or communities pay serious concern to this issue in order to maintain moderators' credibility.

Thank you.

  • Just curious: what is the ELL group? Oct 23, 2018 at 3:19
  • ELL = English Language Learners. I am not criticizing the candidates, but the method. See the same pattern there. link[ell.stackexchange.com/election/3]. 3,294 voters were eligible, 1,087 visited the site during the election, 749 visited the election page, and 367 voted The voting outcome ratio is around 10%, same with here. Sooo, 90% of the eligible "high" members don't show any interest in the election. Are the elections at SE for overzealous people?
    – user13955
    Oct 23, 2018 at 3:25
  • I agree it is a problem. I wanted to see more nominations this time around. If you calculate the ratio at ELL as 367/1087 = 33.8% turnout, it is close to our result here. Oct 23, 2018 at 3:50
  • Related: philosophy.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3507/…
    – user2953
    Oct 23, 2018 at 19:35
  • Thank you for your providing me with a related concern. Though, my concern is not about the lack of the nominees which potentially could happen at this site, but the number of the people who left the election site even though they visited. Did they think "ah, it's an ordinary and familiar event. The most powerful would win. Who cares."? In ELL election, 4 nominees stood up, one of them had only 500+ reputation. I am interested but as I thought the one with the large number of the reputation won. Is this kind of an apathy observed throughout entire SE?
    – user13955
    Oct 23, 2018 at 19:56
  • I mean this in the most sincere way possible: why do you care? This is an election for a moderating position on a question and answer site on the internet, it is not a local or national level political election. Why would any kind of comparison to a presidential election in the united states make any sense? Why is what you're describing a problem at all? I really question your motives due to some of the language you use (saying that ELL feel like they're 'untouchable (???) and that Bush Sr. was 'honorable' (again ????)).
    – Not_Here
    Oct 24, 2018 at 0:29
  • If you want to compare this to political elections then you should realize the obvious fact that it's impossible to make everyone who is eligible to vote go out and vote. I think comparing the importance of voting in a community moderating position on a Q&A site pales in comparison to the importance of voting in a political election. Why are you bothered that so few people voted here? Why draw a comparison to politics? Your title also questions the validity of the election. That is honestly ridiculous.
    – Not_Here
    Oct 24, 2018 at 0:31
  • My stress is, even though 368 people visited the election site why do only 128 voted? And how would you know if these "eligible" "sleepers" are dead or left.
    – user13955
    Oct 24, 2018 at 0:38
  • Just want to let you know that I up-voted your post. Oct 24, 2018 at 0:39
  • 1
    Thank you Frank. All the answers are unfortunately based on the assumption. Even though I upvoted Phiilps', it was because he gave me an analysis. I didn't quite concur with his entire answer.
    – user13955
    Oct 24, 2018 at 0:41
  • I got to go. I shouldn't have quoted the political one. Sorry for that.
    – user13955
    Oct 24, 2018 at 0:42
  • 1
    Again, why do you care? Why does it matter? What significance does the amount of people voting for a moderator position on a question and answer site on the internet have at all? You have not made a single point that illustrates why this is an issue or why it matters. Your title is still questioning the validity of the election. Why? Why does voter turn out for this microcosmic vote on the internet for a community member to become a moderator matter in the absolute slightest? Motivate your actual question without assuming the conclusion.
    – Not_Here
    Oct 24, 2018 at 6:21
  • Eh? This question "naturally" comes to me. So you don't care if the election is screwed or not even to the point to the fraud?
    – user13955
    Oct 24, 2018 at 6:33
  • 1
    And you say, "microscopic". The "eligible" voters quadaprupled at ELL. It's not the same thing. but the number of the eligible voters increased just by one year at here. And the final voting outcome is decreasing. So are you saying you don't care if your election is f::cked whatever the reason is?
    – user13955
    Oct 24, 2018 at 8:19
  • 1
    You literally have not done a single thing to demonstrate why this election is fraudulent, you keep just making that claim or hinting to that claim without any sort of argument as to why it is the case. And yeah, "microscopic" is entirely correct. There are 7,600,000,000 people in the world and we're talking about a vote that had 1,299 eligible voters. That is the definition of 'microscopic'.
    – Not_Here
    Oct 24, 2018 at 18:37

2 Answers 2



If we analyse what the figures would mean in terms of political elections, one can argue that we have a voting outcome of 47.4%, which really is not too bad.

Longer answer

368 visited the site during the election, 270 visited the election page, and 128 voted

This is the crucial part of the information, since the biggest number should not be of much interest, really. Let me rephrase the numbers in terms of "normal" elections to explain why:

1,299 voters were eligible

1,299 is the number of all users that achieved the reputation threshold for voting and are not deleted/suspended. This includes all users who have not visited the site for years. If you like, you could say that for political common elections, it is like including people who emigrated or died (some users counting here literally are dead by now) but were voters once. Nobody does that.

368 visited the site during the election

This is the number of potential voters still around, even if they really just checked a question without visiting the election page - in a way, the potential ballot of people that could vote if they did what formally is demanded from them.

270 visited the election page

The corresponding number in the American voting system would be "registered voters", i.e. those potential voters that did care enough about elections to at least do something and take a look into things. Mind, the election page has been up for longer than the election phase proper and probably many of them were there during the nomination phase.

and 128 voted

This is the number of "registered voters" that actually turned up and cast their vote in the time frame where it counts.

Now, the voting outcome in the American system is calculated as a fraction of registered voters - not what I called "potential voters" - if memory serves, which in this picture would be a respectable 47.4 %.

Number crunching and facts in the face of the edit

Before getting into the numbers, I would like to tell you that you essentially are in a witch hunt here. The internet is a fast-living place and servers are not forgetting anything.

Eligible voters

The number of eligible voters increased by 27.0% between elections

What are "eligible voters"? As stated above, it is every registered user that reached 150 reputation points (and is not suspended). Unsurprisingly, this number increases as inactive users do not stop having 150 reputation when they are not around anymore.

In all seriousness: Most increase (esp. on ELL) will be by people with the 101 rep points association bonus that contributed one or two answers in a HNQ (Hot Network Questions) bar question or users that asked a single or set of very good questions sparked by some current problem in their lives, i.e. users that visited the site a few times due to a single occasion and were never seen again.

Visited the site

The number of distinct accounts visiting increased by 23.9 % between elections (including sockpuppets).

You also seem to have the misunderstanding that "more eligible voters" automatically means "more participation/traffic". This is - in fact - wrong. The weekly visits on this site are fairly constant at about 45k since February with only a slight increase within the last few weeks (no earlier numbers available; this number is from the site analytics). The average number of posts per week is fairly constant for well over a year.

Looking at the numbers, we have two inferences to make here: Firstly, the increase of users with 150+ reputation points is not met by the increase of distinct accounts visiting the site. Secondly, as the number of "gross visits", i.e. what I take to be "site access with login" is overall fairly constant, the average number of visits per account is decreasing.

In other words: Not only the number of accounts with 150+ reputation points is growing faster than the number of accounts actually accessing the site, i.e. the fraction of active accounts is declining, but there is also an additional trend of each account that is active being less active in the average, i.e. visiting the site and posting less regularly.

Closing remark

These are the facts. It is not a "lie" that "eligible voters" includes every user that ever registered on the site and reached 150 reputation points (including 101 rep association bonus!), it is a fact. Hence, taking this number as a reference point for voting outcome is questionable. What we definitely can see here is that StackExchange sites have a strong tendency of losing members that did actively contribute as active contributors so that we experience a growing number of prolific, but now unused (or less used) accounts, which in itself is problematic.

On the other hand, this is completely normal for every single internet community out there. Lives and interests change, so people move on. Demanding that they should care about an internet community enough to vote - which presupposes they at least visit the page in the first place within the 22 days of the election period and additionally within the last 8 days to cast their vote - is unrealistic and runs against the facts.

  • Thank you very much for analysis. Though I am sorry to say we can not know how long these all users are gone.
    – user13955
    Oct 23, 2018 at 7:04
  • I am sorry I downvoted. I would like to describe the reason by editing the original question.
    – user13955
    Oct 24, 2018 at 2:38
  • 1
    @KentaroTomono: Made an edit to address obvious misconceptions.
    – Philip Klöcking Mod
    Oct 24, 2018 at 8:54
  • Thank you. >**You also seem to have the misunderstanding that "more eligible voters" automatically means "more participation/traffic". This is - in fact - wrong** Then wouldn't be better remove the reputation bar for election? Why does it exist?
    – user13955
    Oct 24, 2018 at 12:10
  • @KentaroTomono: What do you mean with "reputation bar"? The 150 points requirement? This is implemented so that the people that vote have shown a certain level of understanding regarding the rules, principles, and mechanics of StackExchange before they have got their say in the self-governmental aspects of the site, just like with close votes and other privileges.
    – Philip Klöcking Mod
    Oct 24, 2018 at 14:01
  • I understand the reputation matter. I apologize. However, What we definitely can see here is that StackExchange sites have a strong tendency of losing members that did actively contribute as active contributors so that we experience a growing number of prolific, but now unused (or less used) accounts, which in itself is problematic. Then wouldn't it better to delete the non active users, for example, after they have been inactive for 2 years. to make their reputation back to 100 points?
    – user13955
    Oct 25, 2018 at 1:14
  • @KentaroTomono does it matter though? Like, for real, why do you care if there are inactive accounts? (not that it'll matter, or even be relevant, to discuss in this Meta, because it belongs to Meta.SE, but just for the sake of the discussion.) Oct 25, 2018 at 17:13
  • @YechiamWeiss For these who don't care, it would not matter, I think. So you can screw it or be happy with whatever anyway.
    – user13955
    Oct 26, 2018 at 0:21
  • @KentaroTomono not what I meant. At all. I'm genuinely trying to understand why do you think it matters. Oct 26, 2018 at 6:54
  • @YechiamWeiss First of all, when I voted at the ELL, I wanted to make a voice. Though, personally it makes me feeling they are We don't give* about meta issue", and the welcome announcement for Philosophy election came. I just issued the personal concern here. May be I asked at Meta. but I did not wanted ELL mods to watch this, so I posted this question here. Sorry for it. But the pattern is same even though the ratio is a bit different.
    – user13955
    Oct 26, 2018 at 7:17
  • @KentaroTomono Thing is...your biggest problem seems to be about that this number is displayed at all. If it wasn't, effectively only including the latter three ones, would you really have that much of a problem with the numbers? I mean, seriously, it may be better to make only accounts that log in "eligible voters", I totally get that point. I guess it is simply easier to implement the way it is and does not make much of a difference in terms of practical outcome since those who do not log in obviously can't vote. Is it really just about the labels?
    – Philip Klöcking Mod
    Oct 26, 2018 at 7:28
  • @PhilipKlöcking it sounds like better. When I noticed at the ELL, I could not voice a word. personally, The first note might be better who came to the election site, I think. And I hope you can migrate this issue with Meta, with many thank you (m_m).
    – user13955
    Oct 26, 2018 at 7:36
  • @KentaroTomono so basically, your problem is with the people that visit the site, that they don't vote. And that's fine, I personally would love to see more people active on this election, but this isn't something you can logically solve, so as much as I feel you in this, this isn't the place to discuss this issue, but rather on chat. If you feel like you have suggestions to bring more people to vote, that's perfect and reasonable to suggest here on Meta, but otherwise I don't see the point on keep arguing on this topic here. Oct 26, 2018 at 8:53

The rules would determine if the election should be nullified or not. I assume there was no problem with the turnout or we would have heard about it by now.

I suspect the 1,299 eligible voters includes people who are no longer active, but who have been active in the past. I don't think they should all be counted as current users.

So the active users are among the 368 who visited the site during the election. I suspect some of these people accidentally dropped by, the way I did for the Math SE election recently. I voted there, but I am not really active there. We probably need to know more about those 368 people. How many times did they stop by during the election period on average? How many times did they vote on a question or answer on average? How many times did they post on average?

Assuming we count all of them, that would give a 128/368 = 34.8% turnout. The town home association I am a member of requires that only 20% of the homeowners vote at the annual meeting. I have to go around knocking on doors to make sure we get an adequate number of proxy votes to hold the annual meeting, so 34.8% is not all that bad.

On the other hand, I did expect to see more people nominate themselves for this position, but that's the way it is.

  • ??? I am afraid I am not happy with your answer. Sorry. So let's take your example. Let's consider the number of the "homeowners" are the number of the "eligible" voters here. As you can see my comment above, the same pattern seems to be occurring at any site. I just happened to cast this question because I like this site and voted. My personal opinion is the real turnaround would be 10%. And why 244 people, =368-128 people visited the election site but just went away not even casting ( which requires even a random button clicking. )
    – user13955
    Oct 23, 2018 at 3:52
  • @KentaroTomono I am frustrated with it as well. However, I don't think we should count all 1,299 people who are eligible as current unless we know more about them. Many of them have moved on unless they have also been active more recently. But if they stopped by during the election, that seems enough to count them as "current". By my comparison a "homeowner" is someone "current". I would like to have seen a bigger turnout, by either way of counting. Oct 23, 2018 at 3:59
  • You know, to be eligible here to vote for elections requires 500 reputations. Don't you think comparatively it is harder than any other site for anyone to get that amount at Philosophy SE? And the thing is, at highly popular ELL site, same pattern is occurring. Who can truly believe the moderator just elected by smaller number of people? I too would like to know why 244 people, who visited the election site didn't cast their vote and went away.
    – user13955
    Oct 23, 2018 at 5:51
  • @KentaroTomono I would like to know that as well. At 5000 reputation (which I don't quite have) one gets access to site analytics. I don't know if one could get more information about those 244 people, but I agree with you it would be interesting. It may be even useful to promote the site. The more information would include activities like commenting, voting, posting, perhaps number of questions opened for people with 500+ reputation. Oct 23, 2018 at 10:52
  • Frank, I think we get a few philosophy students, some older people with interest in philosophy, and primarily math students and in general those who are mathematically inclined. So I take the approach of trying somehow to link their question to a philosopher or philosophical school. I try to invite them in. However, some people who answer take a (perhaps better) pedagogical approach, and ask that posters define terms, ask more precise questions etc. I always assume that those asking will rarely edit a question.
    – Gordon
    Oct 24, 2018 at 20:24
  • @Gordon From what I have seen of your posts, Gordon, you do seem to provide a warm welcome to newcomers. That may be what is needed to keep people active on this site. They need to feel safer here than I suspect they do at the moment. Oct 24, 2018 at 20:30
  • @Gordon We need to be more welcoming of these people as well. Oct 24, 2018 at 20:31
  • @Gordon I generally edit posts from new users for two reasons (1) it shows them that editing is possible, although I agree with you they are afraid to edit, and (2) having a question (or answer) with better grammar may help the question remain open and the answer not get deleted for low quality. Oct 24, 2018 at 20:36
  • Right. I agree with that.
    – Gordon
    Oct 24, 2018 at 20:40
  • 1
    By the way, and I'm sure you'll probably agree with me, I thought both Geoffrey and you were welcoming. Philosophy is actually pretty active, compared to some of the other rooms I've visited here. And we get a much broader range of philosophy questions than e.g. history SE gets history questions.
    – Gordon
    Oct 24, 2018 at 21:49

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