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During the nomination phase, members of the community can comment on the nomination statements for each candidate. This can provide valuable information about how the community regards these candidates, as well as specific positive and negative points that go beyond the metrics displayed. There is some noise, but I think the useful information significantly outweighs that.

However, these comments are only displayed during the nomination phase. Many voters only participate in the primaries or final election voting, and thus don't see the comments that were left. I had to explain to someone earlier how to go back to the nomination stage to see these comments, and they seemed confused by this.

Most voters aren't going to bother to click to another page or hunt for additional information about the candidates. They are going to look at the information that's right there in the nomination statement and its general vicinity. Even if they did read the comments from days before, they might have forgotten about them by the time actual voting comes around.

I therefore think that it would be very helpful for voters to have comments on the nomination statements during both voting stages. I know that we're concerned about making these pages too long (as they had been in the past), so we could more aggressively collapse the comments (show only the top X comments by default) with the ability to expand the comment thread like normal. I don't think this would make the voting page significantly less readable.

I know it's too late to do anything about the current Stack Overflow election, but I think this could be of help for future SE elections.

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    worst case: I'll write a script to grep the nomination page – John Dvorak Feb 19 '14 at 19:11
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    It would also be interesting, IMHO, to highlight meta questions asked by candidates during this phase, as that, too, can provide valuable information to voters. :-) – Aaron Bertrand Feb 19 '14 at 19:14
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    Perhaps hide all comments and have a "show comments" link, or limit the number of shown comments to something like 3-5, rather than the...lot...that it limits on the nomination page. Or just link to the nomination page from the primary/election phase. – Servy Feb 19 '14 at 19:15
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    @AaronBertrand - It would be useful to somehow link to each candidate's answers to this question: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/221594/… right underneath their nomination statement. A comment could even be used for that. – Brad Larson Feb 19 '14 at 19:15
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    @BradLarson If you do that you should also make it glaringly obvious when a candidate hasn't bothered to post an answer there, rather than just omit the link. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 19 '14 at 19:16
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    @BradLarson Candidates that don't answer the questionnaire should also be auto-dropped from the nomination. – Kermit Feb 19 '14 at 19:38
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    Yes, I think answering the questionnaire should be mandatory before the next phase (and not at 23:59:59 on the last day before the next phase, either). – Aaron Bertrand Feb 19 '14 at 19:40
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    As far as I'm concerned, instead of a nomination summary, the candidate's nomination should be strictly based on the responses to a questionnaire. – Kermit Feb 19 '14 at 19:41
  • @FreshPrinceOfSO I think that might be taking it too far. How would a candidate express anything about themselves that is not specifically covered by a question? – Aaron Bertrand Feb 19 '14 at 19:43
  • @AaronBertrand If there's anything that needs to be expressed, it could be brought up in a chat room during the election period where the candidates are expected to commit time to answer any concerns. Some candidates have been absent during this period. – Kermit Feb 19 '14 at 19:48
  • @FreshPrinceOfSO True, but at the same time, not all voters are going to be in the chat in real time, never mind review all of the transcripts. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 19 '14 at 19:49
  • @AaronBertrand A nice feature of the chat is that you're notified when you've been tagged in a comment. A user can just leave a comment for a candidate and it can be addressed later. Some candidate has not been addressing their notifications. – Kermit Feb 19 '14 at 19:53
  • @FreshPrinceOfSO You're talking about something else now, though. I'm talking about things the candidate wants to express about themselves, without being asked by a voter or by the questionnaire. I completely agree that not answering the questionnaire or pings from the chat could possibly be an indicative preview of future effort / commitment, but I think that's different altogether from removing the nomination summary. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 19 '14 at 19:54
  • @AaronBertrand I don't know if there's really much to express about themselves. I can't see what's valuable in the nomination summary that isn't covered in the questionnaire. – Kermit Feb 19 '14 at 19:59
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    Yes, please. It's not impossible to switch back and forth between the phase tabs and read the discussions, but it's prohibitively difficult. The comment discussions should remain visible (although locked) after the nomination phase. The comments add a lot to the nomination; not displaying them somewhat invalidates the discussions. – Jason C Apr 13 '15 at 20:14
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You can switch back and forth between the phases, but it's hard to keep track of where you are because candidates are randomized during the primary and election phases, so working your way down the page is a hassle unless you put each view in a different tab. And even if you do, the candidate orders won't be the same on the two pages, so that's still a lot of scrolling or in-page searching.

On the other hand, the page is already long (for a larger election) and comments can be quite voluminous. We don't really want voters to bail halfway through the page because of all the extra bloat.

A reasonable compromise would be to hide all comments behind a "show N comments" link under each nomination. That way you can go through the page from top to bottom, poking into comments when you want to but not having them be in the way otherwise. You might decide to look if something in the nomination pitch gets your attention, or you might decide to look and gawk if you see "show 79 comments", but at least you'll have a clue what's ahead.

I suggest collapsing all comments, rather than leaving some visible, because the people who got there first shouldn't be able to stake out the prime real estate once the election starts. (It used to be possible to vote on election comments, but it no longer is.)

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