While I generally haven’t participated in awards nominations or votes in the Podcast community, I must admit that, at first, I thought that the idea behind the Podcast Peer Awards was great. The initiative appeared to be set up in a way that would allow the community to identify those that stand out among us — in a positive way.

In practice, the Podcast Peer Awards are becoming divisive. The voting is set up in a way that requires each nomination to be accompanied by a nomination poll. While voters can vote in favour of those shows that they feel deserve the vote, they can just as easily vote NO, anonymously, against a peer — no constructive comments are required. Each NO vote cancels a YES vote which means that voters can take away the props that have already been given to them by their peers. In theory, NO votes can outnumber YES votes. Further, those who vote YES for one peer and NO for another in the same category have managed more than a single vote for the favourite peer in that category.

To prevent the potential of insult, some people set up nomination polls with two YES options. Those polls have been locked by the administrator of the Podcast Peer Awards, without warning, which essentially voids the nomination and disqualifies votes to that point. In at least some cases, this was due to a complaint, apparently by someone who wanted to vote against a peer.

I’m not sure what motivates people to vote against a peer in this community — perhaps a personal dislike of a Podcaster or a fear of competition. It’s sad to think that while we all work hard to share our passions through our hobby/craft, there are some among us who have such little respect for their peers — and themselves.

In most elections, the dislike of one candidate is expressed by voting for another candidate, or abstaining from the vote. When the Podcast Peer Awards have a similar structure — or a more positive one — they will be a great contribution to the community.