Well, we're a day into the nomination phase of Physics Stack Exchange's third election. We already have 8 candidates for the two positions available, and no doubt we'll get plenty more.
A pattern has begun to emerge, and it's not hard to see where it's leading. In both nominations and comments, a lot of fairly negative remarks have been made about some of the candidates and other users. Here are some that caught my attention:
In my experience, [user X] is most rude and arrogant user
Not only you should not be a moderator, you should be deprived of privilege of casting close votes. People like you are a scourge of this site.
Asking you about your vision on the site, you produced only arrogant reaction, and initiated the now quite common "ignore culture" on the chat.
There are others, as well as quite a few more implicit insults aimed at moderators and other users, but these are some of the main ones, coming from all sides (additionally, some others have been deleted, thankfully). Are they all over-the-top? Not really. But they build up to something that doesn't really give me confidence in this site. If I walked in without any prior knowledge about the candidates, I'd think that most were incompetent, mean, power-hungry wanna-be Scourges of Stack Exchange. I wouldn't want to vote.
Ad hominem attacks are, in general, not a good way to start any discussion about the way a site will evolve over time. The way things are going, I'm not convinced that this election will end well, and it certainly won't if people continue with name-calling.
So, can we try to be a little bit nicer during this election? It's not impossible; I've seen it done before on Stack Exchange. I'm not saying we need to talk only about sunshine and daisies; constructive criticism is fine. We just need to tone things down a little. Or a lot.
To make this an explicit question, do people think this is an issue, and can we avoid it in the future?