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When a question is closed (or deleted, reopened), a list of the users who closed the question is shown:

enter image description here

This list is sorted by the time of the vote. Therefore, the first person to vote is always shown first.

Now, I recently thought, "Why isn't that list randomized?".

The point is: In its current way, everybody can see who threw the first stone. This can eventually lead to confrontation ("Why did you close my question?", you pointing at first person to vote). A randomized list would probably stop this from happening, and users with close privileges could cast their initial vote without fearing repercussion.

My discussion points:

  • Is this really an issue?

  • What are the reasons for currently not randomizing this list?

  • Would it ever make sense to change this?

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Do you have any examples at all of this leading to confrontation? Also, as a side note: I suggest that any mod continue be listed last if they cast a binding close vote. They had the last word. –  Kevin Vermeer Oct 25 '11 at 18:41
I don't have a particular one (it's been a while), but I always feel a bit more responsible than others when listed first. Maybe it's just me.. –  slhck Oct 25 '11 at 18:46
Alphabetizing the list would be better than randomizing it; it would be more obvious that the order isn't chronological. (I have no opinion on whether this is a good idea in the first place.) –  Keith Thompson Oct 25 '11 at 19:03
Casting close votes does not confer any sort of reward. Everyone who voted to close a question did so for the same reason: They wanted the question closed. Specifically confronting the first voter (instead of, say, the fourth one) makes no sense, and will certainly not get your question reopened. Can't say I've ever seen it happen, either. –  lunboks Oct 25 '11 at 19:03
this will not inhibit the confrontation in any way - but just my opinion –  Carlos Heuberger Oct 25 '11 at 19:21
@Carlos Well, I though being the first one always makes it a bit different, but could be that it's a non-issue when looking at the global opinion –  slhck Oct 25 '11 at 19:30

2 Answers 2

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Is this really an issue?

No, it isn't. All the users who voted to close the question closed it. The first user who voted to close doesn't have more responsibility in closing the question, since four other users need to agree with closing the question (with the exception of when a moderator is involved in closing it).

What are the reasons for currently not randomizing this list?

Randomizing the list doesn't have any purpose, since knowing the user who first voted to close a question doesn't disclose any sensitive information.

Would it ever make sense to change this?

I think it would make sense to change it if the user who first voted to close a question were visible before all the required users voted to close. In that case, you could argue users voted to close the question seeing the name of the user who first voted to close. As nobody sees who voted to close before the question is closed, there is no risk that the vote has been influenced by that user.
Actually, other users could have been influenced the users who successively voted to close.

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All very fair points – I guess my views are a bit off :P –  slhck Oct 25 '11 at 21:07

I speak for me, but I realized the order was cronological from the moment I got enough rep to cast a close/reopen vote. So, I could have thought this was random from the beginning, or I could still think a random order is in reality a chronological one.

If someone wants to retaliate on people closing his answer, also, he could do it without taking the order into consideration. Ok, casting the first stone means you might have influenced others' decisions, but still there are four more people casting their stones too..so if someone wants to blame the first, he could as well blame the other with equal guilt, and surely doesn't need the chronological order as excuse for his behavior.

Also, there should be a "greater good" to take into account while casting close/reopen vote, and this implies a person casting it is not to be seen as a culprit of something, or a judge, but as an executor of laws. You don't blame the first policemen that arrests you, while thinking his partner is just being led by the first one. You get to know you broke the rules, and the system is taking its action. By whose hands is irrelevant here, being they the first or the last.

I know you could feel a greater burden when casting the first vote, but think that if you do it wrong, others won't follow you (and noone will see your name!), and if you do it right..well, you were right from the beginning and could brag about it :D. And if other people follow you just because they saw you doing something..well, the burden is on their shoulders, not on yours. You did your job, and thought you were doing something good, then the community will do the rest, dealing with its conscience.

As for why this is the chosen order I leave to more competent people to tell.

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