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8:14 AM
The wording of this might be tweaked a little. On this site, we have a strong prejudice against binding votes, except for clear cases of vandalism, spam, etc. So the real question, I think, is to ensure the candidate is aware of this practice and the reasons for it. The wording of this question suggests we have a bunch of current moderators casting binding votes on questions they've edited. — Carl Mummert Dec 14 '14 at 12:48
Is there a post on meta stating that this community is against binding votes, except for clear cases of vandalism, spam, ...?
I did not find one. Perhaps this should be discussed in meta (so that the position of users and position of modes is clarified).
 
@MartinSleziak Probably more accurately, there is a not-insubstantial group of substantial users that are against any users taking any action (alone, or in groups) that prevents them from doing whatever the heck they want. Mod actions are an easy target, but they are by no means the only target.
 
8:32 AM
I take it asking on meta is the best way.
@ArthurFischer I thought that most of the mods agreed that the binding votes should be avoided for common things. (Not sure how to call them.)
 
 
1 hour later…
9:42 AM
@MartinSleziak Yes, a fair number of mods have fallen into the math.SE trap and feel that "math.SE is a special place" where SE norms do not apply. At the same time there is tendency among most active regular users to abdicate their own responsibility to keep the site clean. If regular users won't, and moderator's "aren't supposed to", what's left?
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Take this recent question. Calling it a question stretches the definition, and at least one 3K user saw it, but decided against casting any close votes. So either I stand by and let this stand, or I cast an "evil binding vote". (I guess I could have posted something here, but that would also wastes the time/votes of other users in a clear case.)
I'll probably get told off by Bill Dubuque for unilaterally closing the question (he has in the past), and he may cast a re-open vote in spite. But moderators should not be afraid to take actions they deem necessary because certain users may disagree with them. This coercion (I cannot think of a better word) is pretty harmful, IMHO.
 
10:14 AM
@ArthurFischer ok, I see I was completely mistaken, but the quote from Carl Mummert seem to indicate that there are other users who think the same thing.
In fact, long time ago mods used to write comments instead of voting.
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A: Requests for Reopen & Undeletion Votes, etc. (volume 10/2012 - 12/2014)

Willie Wong[REOPENED. I cast the binding fourth vote on behalf of myself and Bill Dubuque] This question: Prove $f(S \cap T) \subseteq f(S) \cap f(T)$ was voted to be closed as a duplicate of Is this a valid proof of $f(S \cap T) \subseteq f(S) \cap f(T)$? However, the question asked actually was differe...

Willie Wong wrote there: I cast the binding fourth vote on behalf of myself and Bill Dubuque.
If there are more users (like me and Carl Mummert) who think that this site policy is "binding votes only for special cases", maybe a discussion on meta to clarify this could be useful.
Although it is quite probable that the only thing obtained from discussion would be that different parts of MSE community will state their position and the only conclusion will be "let's agree to disagree", at least we will know where everybody stands on this.
For example, until now I was under the impression that we have kind of semi-official policy (supported by mods) that binding votes should be avoided.
Re: If regular users won't, and moderator's "aren't supposed to", what's left? I understand this argument. (And I am glad I am not a moderator and I don't have to deal with things like this.)
The only suggestions I can give is writing: I would like to close this post, but I don't want to cast the binding vote. Either in this room or in comments.
Or I cast the binding fourth vote on behalf of myself and ... as in the above example.
I know that this is not a very good solution, but I cannot offer something better.
The way out would be:
a) Leaving the site cleaning for regular users. "This is not moderators team responsibility. Do that yourself".
b) Abandon the policy not to cast binding votes. (Which was never clearly stated anyway.)
Re: I'll probably get told off by Bill Dubuque for unilaterally closing the question (he has in the past).
I think you can could me to him. IIRC we have a few arguments about this. (Perhaps argument is strong word, but I suppose that it can be quite annoying when I ask you in chat about casting binding votes and you have other things to do.)
Although I am not sure whether I talked about this in chat with you or with robjohn. (Probably with both.)
 
10:45 AM
So I think that I will make a post on meta about this when I have time. (Basically asking what is the position of mods and users on casting binding votes and what our policy on this should be.) I think it could be useful to have this clearly explained somewhere.
Feel free to let me know @ArthurFischer (or anybody else) if you think that this will not bring anything useful and it will only lead to unproductive quarrel. In such case, I will not make a post on meta (I do not have much time at the moment anyway) and I will let this issue be.
 
 
2 hours later…
1:13 PM
@MartinSleziak I'm uncertain about the utility of this. There will undoubtedly be many users making the point that moderator's shouldn't use their binding votes ever (except when it would benefit them).
But even if 99.9999% of the community is against the use of binding votes... what then? Moderators still have these abilities, and while one can contact SE about "abuses of moderator powers," I highly doubt that "X did something I don't like!!!" is sufficient cause for de-modding.
But it is your call. If you think there's a chance for a discussion that is not polarised, go ahead.
 
I agree that posting such a question would not bring some kind of consensus. What I expected from that was seeing somewhere clearly stated what the moderators think about this. And from voting on the answers we would see what most users think about this.
Perhaps it would cure some users from their misconceptions. (Like me. As I said, I thought this was more-or-less generally accepted here.)
But you are probably right that the discussion might get confrontational. So it's probably better not to make that post on meta. (Not to draw attention to something which is problematic.)
Re: But even if 99.9999% of the community is against the use of binding votes... what then? I understand that SE is not a democracy. But if there is consensus about something in the community, I don't think it is too much to expect from the mods to follow it.
I very much doubt that outcome of the voting there would be that clear in favor of either side.
@ArthurFischer In any case, thanks a lot for taking your time to respond. And I apologize if this was too annoying.
In any case, I have decided that it is better if I don't take any action.
 
@MartinSleziak No problem. Thank you for keeping me away from work that I should be doing. ;-)
 
And I am glad that I have heard your standpoint on this.
So I am only going to bookmark this conversation (so that I might reread it later) and move along.
@ArthurFischer I don't think that this is something to be thanked for. I don't now whether you meant your work here as a mod or your work in your job. But in either case, I wish you productive and nice rest of the day.
If it makes you feel any better, I managed to do some (administrative) work inbetween these short chats. I hope you managed to do something, too.
If the main thing I take from our conversation is the following, and if I at least try to act according to that, then this time was not completely wasted: At the same time there is tendency among most active regular users to abdicate their own responsibility to keep the site clean.
 

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