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From the moderator election results page: 251 voters were eligible, 124 visited the election, and 96 voted

I'm opening this question to meta users to discuss why this low voting percentage (which is less than 50%)? Is it due to members not being interested in moderators/election or election not marketed or advertised properly within the members? Give your thoughts for active discussion.

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    What concerns me more is the fact that only 251 users were eligible. I guess the solution is just to recruit, interact and vote. – jvangeld May 10 '11 at 18:55
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    Maybe a more appropriate question would be "How can we provide incentives to community members to participate in voting?" SE has incentives for almost every other activity, there should be one for voting too. (If there is one I don't see it). Do members earn rep for voting? – Kirk Kuykendall May 10 '11 at 19:13
  • @Kirk It is really good idea, Giving some badge or reputation for members who voted would be some way take users to invlove..Thanks for your idea. – Senthil May 10 '11 at 21:01
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    @Kirk Historically people have had terrible experiences with economic voting incentives: it just brings out worthless votes from people who haven't paid attention. Please recognize that not all people with enough reputation to vote are active at all, so our 38% turnout might well represent a huge proportion of the actual community. Think about it: if the community were much larger than 100 people visiting in any given week, wouldn't most of our questions get dozens of upvotes rather than just a handful? They should, anyway! – whuber May 10 '11 at 21:15
  • @jvang You are right on. There are tens of thousands of people out there who could benefit from regular participation here. How do we identify them and get them sufficiently interested to earn some real reputation? – whuber May 10 '11 at 21:19
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    @whuber By "economic incentives" perhaps you mean extrinsic motivation? The polling places in my area used to give out "I Voted" stickers that many people chose to wear. These seem more like an intrinsic motivator, or maybe a way to advertise "look, I'm intrinsically motivated!". Anyway, perhaps badge instead of rep would be appropriate. Look at how many times "voting" appears on the badges page. No badge for "voted in moderator election" though. – Kirk Kuykendall May 10 '11 at 21:56
  • @whuber i start to worry on future of this GISSe after reading your comments for your thinking pattern and not accepting truth or any active discussion... Will see.. – Senthil May 10 '11 at 21:59
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    @senthil Please stop your negative and disparaging comments. There is nothing in anything I have written about not accepting "truth" or "discussion" and I object to your attempt to characterize it as such. I have complained only about the negative and false way in which you have phrased your question. Let's be constructive and fair. – whuber May 10 '11 at 22:38
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    @Kirk Point taken. I am still concerned that providing any reward, even a badge (and you would be amazed at what people will do for a single bronze badge), could subvert the voting process. If you motivate people with a public discussion, that is constructive and good, but if you supply an external incentive, how does that improve the outcome? – whuber May 10 '11 at 22:43
  • @whuber I'd spend more time answering a question asked by someone with the "voted in moderator election" badge, than for someone without, all other things being equal. – Kirk Kuykendall May 10 '11 at 23:14
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For what it is worth, these stats are not that far out of line with elections on other sites, or even elections in the USA. 40% is typical.

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781453.html

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I think that the election was marketed well for those that visit the Meta site. I do also suspect that a large number of users of the Main site don't bother to visit the Meta site, even though the banner on the Main site indicated an election was in progress. The moderators may have cross-tabulation numbers on this, but I will have to leave that sort of analysis to those with the stats access.

  • I'll admit that I visit the page almost every day and I nearly missed the election. The advertising on the main page was pretty inconspicuous, all told, and once the banner disappeared after viewing it once and closing it, I suffered from a profound case of "out of sight, out of mind." But I daresay that all the people who cared to vote more than likely did. – Nathanus May 13 '11 at 16:59
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The mods don't have any relevant statistics about page views that you don't have. The election tag shows that even to date none of the meta threads about the election accumulated more than 103 views. Actually, 96 voters out of 251 eligible is a relatively large proportion for elections on SE. Look at some of the statistics available by links through Yi Jiang's beautiful page:

GIS: 251 voters were eligible, 124 visited the election, and 96 voted (38%)
Math: 394 voters were eligible, 174 voted (44%)
Super User: 4,566 voters were eligible, 505 visited the election, and 213 voted (5%)
Programmers: 1,930 voters were eligible, 413 visited the election, and 229 voted (12%)
TCS: 261 voters were eligible, 129 visited the election, and 104 voted (40%)
Gaming: 809 voters were eligible, 177 visited the election, and 129 voted (16%)
Pro Webmasters: 331 voters were eligible, 48 visited the election, and 36 voted (11%)
Photography: 429 voters were eligible, 97 visited the election, and 63 voted (15%)

Those are just the most recent ones--check the others if you wish. Given the numbers voting, the highest rates--44%, 40%, and 38% (ours)--are statistically indistinguishable and hugely greater than the other voting rates quoted here. We also have a high rate of voting among those who visited the election page.

There won't ever be a definitive interpretation of any election statistics, but my take was that members of this GIS community are fairly well engaged, we had a good number of moderator candidates offering a spectrum of experiences and views, we have some important but not critical issues to deal with, and we're collaborating in a friendly environment that was established and ably cultivated by our pro tem mods, especially @Matt Wilkie and @SCW. I believe all these factors contributed to our high voting turnout. It is humbling to be among those chosen. I hope that all of you will be quick to let us (the new mods) know how we can keep the site working well for you and how to improve it, but please let's not create issues where none exist.

  • i raised the question not to create any issues... Mainly wanted more user participation and community involvement...It should not stay with small circle... hope you understand... – Senthil May 10 '11 at 10:48
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    cartographic and gis communities are small and well established - you will get users that only want an answer to a question and that is it. But a small few take on and maintain the GISse site for all to learn and use for Free. Time and access to the site might only be restricted to out of work for some users as well. – Mapperz May 10 '11 at 14:17
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    @Senthil Asking into user participation is fine. However, by asserting--even in the title!--that the voting rate was not "good" (which is false) you have phrased the question in a highly negative way that is potentially inflammatory and argumentative. If you honestly wanted to widen the circle of involvement, you could have asked the same question in a much more positive and engaging way. For instance, "I notice that less than half the eligible people actually voted. Should we be concerned? Should we be doing things to engage more of our members in community-building activities?" – whuber May 10 '11 at 14:29
  • All depend on person mindset and way they think..I didn't expect this low voting rate and when i seen voting rate in site, i thought to raise as concern and discuss within community to make more interactive next time.. Just keeping things behind and says all good won't improve or make any growth in community... We need to open up mind to wider community and think abt possible way to promote... – Senthil May 10 '11 at 21:03

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