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In a prior meta Q&A, it was suggested that moderators would benefit from clarifications from the community. Certainly, our moderators currently are even-handed, but there seems to me to be a myth that there is some sort of consensus in voice and practice resting in a series of dichotomies that are inadequate for building consensus.

I would like to move from discussion to action-item on improving the site. Is it merely the consensus of the moderators that determines how this forum functions. Is this site no more than a benevolent, democratically oligarchy in practice?

How do we implement a polling mechanism to empirically determine the political will of contributors?

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To be honest, we do have such a mechanism: Open a Meta discussion, offer several (diametrical or at least competing) views in answers, and count the votes.

The art of using meta that way is to have a particular proposal in the OP (answers basically being "Yes", "No", or "Yes, but with this change/addition") or in answers, where the OP poses a specific problem which the answers address by specific proposals. In the former case the yes/no posts can be made by the one who wrote the proposal, in the latter case they can add as may individual proposals as they like.

The only constraint is that we can only decide upon one proposal at a time.

Before the vote, one can use discussion threads to develop individual proposals, collecting specific formulations contributed by other users. One only has to give a particular problem/suggestion/base. As the discussions so far highlight, they are too general/fuzzy to solicit particular proposals.

After the vote, if necessary, we can open a feature-request thread, or simply enact the proposal if SE Inc. is not needed.

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  • To clarify, there's no dedicated technological mechanism like a radio-button format that can be used to automatically collate data and comments? Has the approach you listed above been used? Is there a special tag? – J D Dec 31 '20 at 14:05
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    @JD As far as I am aware, there is no special mechanism nor tag available. An example of what I wrote can be seen here: philosophy.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4981/… – Philip Klöcking Dec 31 '20 at 15:35
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    @JD Thinking about it, pre-election threads (where the candidates introduce themselves and are chosen from) are probably a paradigmatic case of using meta for the evaluation of political will. – Philip Klöcking Jan 1 at 10:23

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