Elections are one of the backbones of the Stack Exchange network. It gives the community a huge voice in determining the handful of people to who will volunteer to have their role on the site radically altered for the betterment of the entire community.

While very serious, it's also a cavalcade of other things. We see jokes about candidates' pasts and between ourselves, we see passionate displays of enthusiasm in some of the nominees for their community and their desire to take on a greater role in that community.

Granted, there are the joke nominees, but those are recognized universally for what they are, and fall outside the scope of this post.

We've also seen intense scrutiny of nominees, as we should. The transparency of nominees during this process is a given and we should absolutely pose fair, tough questions about their ability to moderate in the face of this, or respectfully express our opinions on why their past actions make them ill-equipped to be a moderator.

On top of all of this, we see passion in the expression of our support for our nominees, and passion is great.

Passion is a key ingredient in what drives the success of the Stack Exchange sites, we love it and we want to encourage the constructive expression of passion in all users of the Stack Exchange sites in all that they do.

However, our passions can overwhelm our actions and in the face of expressing how passionate we are for a candidate we make comparisons against others which paint them in a less-than-flattering (if not downright insulting) light. It can be against other current or past candidates, moderators and users, deriding those people inadvertently while expressing our passion. It can range from subtle to overt, but it still happens.

It's safe to say that the majority of times, this is more than likely unintentional, but it's still very detrimental. It sends a negative message to all those that have contributed in the process with the genuine intention of making things better.

And remember, we're all here of our own volition, we're all volunteers in contributing and maintaining these sites. There's no reason that at any time the actions of someone who has acted to benefit the sites in a positive way should be derided, whether it be intentional or not.

In the end we need to remember one of the fundamental tenets of Stack Exchange:

Be nice.

No matter how positive our words are in support of one, we fail at being nice if it involves the tearing down of another.

So while composing your comments to passionately support a nominee in the elections for your site, please be mindful if you're going to make comparisons to others. More often than not, it's not necessary, as the nominee's achievements are more than enough to stand on their own.

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    I was confused at first, but now that I see the blog has a new post (Y U NO LIGHT UP BLOG IMG?!), this makes sense. – user7116 Jun 6 '12 at 13:37
  • All the sarcastic responses I want to make this would be horribly misconstrued so I'll just be quiet and upvote – Ben Brocka Jun 6 '12 at 13:37
  • @BenBrocka As opposed all the other sarcastic responses that you make which aren't horribly misconstrued? Fire away! =) After all, no one says anything of import in the comments. =P – casperOne Jun 6 '12 at 13:38
  • @casperOne ^_^. – Naftali aka Neal Jun 6 '12 at 14:02
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    I assume this is preemptive, since I've not yet seen anything on the election page that's overtly o_O – user102937 Jun 6 '12 at 14:56
  • @RobertHarvey No, it's not. There was a discussion in the Blue Room (see the transcript there). – casperOne Jun 6 '12 at 15:03
  • @BradLarson Also, the requirement to, y'know, actually put in a minimum of 30 mins a day (combined with the sacking of inactive mods after the last election) might have also resulted in keeping out the flakes (but not all) – Lorem Ipsum Jun 6 '12 at 15:56
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    Be nice? Who do you think you're kidding? – user1228 Jun 6 '12 at 17:08
  • @Won't sigh we should at least try, no? – casperOne Jun 6 '12 at 17:12
  • Hear hear! I would even go as far (some wouldn't and some couldn't) as to say "Be Nice" is a philosophy that should extend beyond election candidates, and be promoted as the philosophy behind the way all Stack Exchange site members treat each other (yes, even those 1 rep newbies who post a 1-line question, the last 3 words of which are "plz help me!"). Ok, I've taken my rose-tinted specs off now... – Raad Feb 28 '13 at 14:16
  • @Raad Well, it's in the FAQ, so it is the philosophy behind all Stack Exchange site member interactions. This is just a reminder that it applies in elections. – casperOne Feb 28 '13 at 14:43

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