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After extending the nomination period for another week but still not finding any candidates, we've had to cancel the election this time and consider it a failed election. This is the second time we've found ourselves in this situation.

As with before, the next steps are for the Community to consider here what may have gone wrong. In the meantime, the Community Team will also work with the current moderation team to figure out next steps, and to ensure they feel supported in their position as moderators.

We usually wait a month between elections and trying again. However, being that this is the second failed attempt at an election, we're not likely to be scheduling an election soon until we have clear next steps established.

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  • Site activity seems very low (approx 250 mod actions in the last year, less than one per day). Was there a reason why there was a desire to elect two additional mods instead of just one? – Valorum Apr 27 at 17:19
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I believe the problem may be that "freelancing", in general, is seen as a secondary aspect of any profession. Questions asked here could possibly be asked on StackOverflow if they are related to development, or on GraphicDesign.se if they are related to design, or HomeImprovement.se if they are related to construction, or English.se if related to writing, or Law.se for "threatening to sue" questions, etc.

The scope of what this site is about is really ambiguous. There's no clear definition as to what is or is not acceptable. I mean, most of the questions here relate to legal issues, immigration, filing taxes, or very subjective and specific client interactions. There's not a whole lot related to ongoing freelancing. Mostly because once you have it figured out, it somewhat becomes wash, rinse, repeat to a great degree. So, most of the truly freelancing focused questions were answered 2 or 3 years ago...

I believe most asking new questions are "drive by" users. Many from other stacks, few actually stick around. Either because they get an answer and that's all they are concerned with, or they ask a question which can't really be answered.

I haven't looked at any stats though, this is merely my gut impression. I am generalizing considerably. I know there are some great questions here, but those seem to occur at a rate that is far, far, far too low to sustain this stack.

So... the "regulars" here pretty much amount to myself (who has ZERO interest in moderating), one or two other users, and the current moderators. Other than this small handful of users no one has vested much time here. And if one does not visit a stack regularly, I can certainly understand how moderating may seem like a position they shouldn't even attempt due to an already exiting lack of commitment/interest to the stack.

The only reason I even visit this site is that I pass through on my way to other stacks, just in case there's anything of interest. There almost never is.

To be frank, I'm actually very surprised this site is still active. It's been roughly 4 years. Still in beta and questions trickle in at the same rate, and are generally either an overall duplicate, or so specifically situational all one can do is give subjective advice, not any real answer.

I've invested, what I feel, is a lot into this site. As much as it disappoints me to post this, I think it may be time to call the beta failed. But that is merely my opinion.

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  • I think that the key problem with low-traffic sites is that a feeling of inevitability creeps in to the process, where the mods are basically happy to just let the site die instead of making efforts to engage with new users. Where, for example, are the community adverts? Where are the themed question activities? Why aren't more users being pushed to engage with Meta? Where are the stickied questions? Etc. – Valorum Apr 28 at 8:29
  • And not to point out the obvious, but if you feel that the scope is ambiguous, why not ask some questions on Meta to clarify the scope, since that's one of the primary uses for the [scope] tag? – Valorum Apr 28 at 8:36
  • @Valorum I have attempted to steer things in a direction. Perhaps more so in the past when the site started, but I tried. I've asked why any pricing question is permitted. I've tried to dissuade the tax questions or legal questions from being permitted. I feel I'm often in a position that is an uphill battle. As if ANY questions, even poor, overly subjective, need-an-attorney, questions are at least questions. Traffic has always been fairly abysmal. – Scott Apr 28 at 8:43
  • Unfortunately, I don't have the time to dedicate to promoting or directing this stack. And really, I don't have the inclination to even attempt to. I've been heavily involved in other stacks and ultimately have never swayed the moderator poole into anything, for whatever reason. Hence, my feeling that really the mods should be interested in this stack - seeing it grow, flourish. If they aren't, well, no one else is going to be. I feel like the first year we had vested mods.. I'm not certain how that's held up. I see mods here moderating. Not answering/asking much of anything. – Scott Apr 28 at 8:47
  • That's all fine. And there's no judgement about it. I merely point out, that if the "staff" of the stack seems to be disinterested, then, well, is the stack viable? Who suggested it n Area 51? Are they even still around? All I know is myself, Canadian Luke, and bytebuster are about the only users I see with any regularity. – Scott Apr 28 at 8:55
  • If people aren't willing to step up and actually put in some effort to promote the site, of course it'll lag. It's pretty easy to attract visitors though, through community ads and making sure that the site has a good supply of eye-catching questions that can make it onto the HNQ list. Ensuring that each question gets several answers is a good way to do that... – Valorum Apr 28 at 11:44
  • Feel free @Valorum -- I believe you've got rose colored glasses on though. It's not as easy as it seems without a tremendous amount of time to freely give away to the stack. Most (successful) freelancers don't have a great deal of spare time in my experience. – Scott Apr 29 at 3:36
  • I honestly don't feel that moderating a site that resulted in less than 250 mod actions in a year (roughly one every couple of days) is especially onerous. Add in the hassle of answering the occasional question and posting/responding to the occasional meta and you've still got something that might take five minutes a day or less. – Valorum Apr 30 at 16:08
  • And agreeing to watch someones well trained dog is a fairly easy task.. but ultimately you are still going to be cleaning up shit at some point. – Scott May 4 at 6:22
  • To extend your metaphor, are you willing to see your friend's dog put down because you can't be bothered to use a pooper-scooper a couple of times a year? – Valorum May 4 at 6:32
  • If my friend doesn't care about the dog, and I really don't own it and really don't want the responsibility of it on my shoulders.. and am unable to sell or even GIVE it away.. yes... to the pound it goes. -- to the point.. if in 4 years the stack has failed to garner users... well.. is there a point to putting in extra effort at this time to see it graduate.. if it EVER will? After all, I'll put in effort over the lifespan thus far. – Scott May 7 at 7:59
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"The next steps are for the Community to consider here what may have gone wrong"

While I appreciate that the onus is on the community to provide its own moderation team, can you offer any insight into how other sites that have struggled to fill their elections have come back from the brink?

Are there any strategies that have been successful in attracting potential candidates and how the community/existing moderation team can help with that process?

In this instance, would it be sufficient for a single candidate to step up and say "I'm interested in moderating the site"?

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