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I was wondering what the purpose was for listing the user or users involved when a question is closed.

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Is the person who asked the question expected to use that information in some way? Since there's no personal messaging feature in the SO network, I'm not sure why the users involved in closing are a) displayed and b) linked to their profile.

Is the user asking the closed question expected to take some sort of action with those users? If a question is then edited and/or re-opened, the user isn't expected (or encouraged) to go around and contact those involved in closing the question. However, displaying and linking this information would seem to imply that further action should be taken.

To me it seems like the biggest downside in listing the users that voted to close a question is that the user asking the now closed question gets their feelings hurt (usually new users), and goes off on a downvoting spree in some sort of retaliatory move.

I'd think that simply stating that the question is closed would be just as effective without listing the users, and prevent any malicious revenge downvoting. Or, only show those involved in closing the question to mods, or those with a certain amount of reputation. enter image description here

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What would not listing them add? What's the big added value? Closing a question is a value judgment on the question not the asker. Listing them allows users to see who closed their questions, allows them to judge whether these are people who are part of the community and that are people who know something about the site and subject and therefore their judgment is valid (or not, as the case may be). –  Oded Mar 29 '13 at 16:48
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The goal is accountability. Having your name explicitly listed in questions you voted to close helps you think twice about voting to close. –  Frédéric Hamidi Mar 29 '13 at 16:50
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@FrédéricHamidi - Personally I never hesitate to close a question that needs to be closed. –  j08691 Mar 29 '13 at 16:52
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@j08691, neither do I, and we're publicly accountable for that, which is a Good Thing. –  Frédéric Hamidi Mar 29 '13 at 16:53
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@Oded - removing, or hiding the names from users below a threshold, could help reduce the serial downvoting that occurs. –  j08691 Mar 29 '13 at 16:53
    
@FrédéricHamidi exactly , but closed question gets their feelings hurt is also true –  NullPoiиteя Mar 29 '13 at 16:53
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You seem to assume a serial downvoting epidemic. There isn't one and there is a system in place to catch these. –  Oded Mar 29 '13 at 16:58
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@Oded - I wouldn't call it an epidemic, but the issue obviously does exist. I'm just failing to see the upside of displaying that information which seems to contribute to that problem. –  j08691 Mar 29 '13 at 17:02
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I've voted to close a lot of questions and I don't think I've ever been approached about any of them. I've seen some posts on meta about "why was this question closed" but was never asked in any official capacity to explain my vote or was told my vote was under scrutiny. So if its for accountability - I haven't seen it personally. –  Mike B Mar 29 '13 at 17:11
    
Users can't downvote until they get 125 rep anyway... And if they are going to be childish enough to go serial downvote someone I don't see how we're supposed to care... If they don't do enough to activate the script that reverses this it shouldn't be bad enough to really hurt someone. Also, they lose 1 rep for each answer downvote, so they would soon lose the privilege. –  ɥʇǝS Mar 29 '13 at 17:17
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I've been contacted after voting to close a question, and in some cases had the opportunity to defend and explain why we closed a question; in other cases I had the opportunity to learn that I had made a mistake and help reverse it. Both kinds of opportunities are positive. –  Eliah Kagan Mar 29 '13 at 17:23
    
@EliahKagan Contacted by whom? A mod or user? –  Mike B Mar 29 '13 at 17:28
    
@MikeB No, by other users / community members who disagreed with the closure. Sometimes OP's of the closed questions, sometimes other users. Usually I've been contacted through chat. This has only happened a very small fraction of the times I've voted to close a question. But on Ask Ubuntu (where I am most active), I have voted to close many questions. It's happened several times. –  Eliah Kagan Mar 29 '13 at 17:29
    
@EliahKagan But if you ignored those user(s) nothing would happen to you.. so where's the accountability? I get that it's helpful to explain to users but my point was I've never been chided for an improper close vote by anyone with the power to do so. So what's to stop others from abusing that privilege? –  Mike B Mar 29 '13 at 17:34
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@MikeB I was contacted publicly, so there was some accountability. But I wasn't saying anything about accountability being part of the benefit. –  Eliah Kagan Mar 29 '13 at 17:36

2 Answers 2

As noted in comments, a big reason is accountability: you should be willing to stand behind your close (and delete) votes. Close/delete votes are "morally" equivalent to edits (modifications of the content), not to your private post votes.

A second reason is to demonstrate community support of a close/deletion, since otherwise you would not be able to tell whether one moderator acted alone or several people agreed. As a moderator I always do a little happy dance when I see the community come together on a decision like this without me or my fellow mods having to wield the big mod-hammer; if it's obvious to all that an action was taken by a group of community members without unilateral privileges, that sends a clear message. (Of course, if five other people immediately band together to re-open, that too sends a message...) On some sites (like mine, fortunately) this isn't a major factor, but on others, where mods get flack for doing their jobs, this is important to communicate.

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Not knowing what the stats say about serial downvoters and whether new users commit this mistake more than seasoned users, would you think that displaying the closing users only for more experienced members would help reduce the incidents of serial downvoting? I have no qualms with accountability, I'd just like to see new users not get hung up when they feel like someone stepped on their toes. –  j08691 Mar 29 '13 at 17:11
    
@j08691 I haven't seen that problem on Mi Yodeya and Writers, where I'm a mod, but neither of those communities AFAIK has problems with serial downvoting or other revenge activities. You might want to ask mods of larger or more-contentious communities. –  Monica Cellio Mar 29 '13 at 17:14
    
@j08691 You're worried about voting to close because of people serial downvoting you? Like Oded said, there is a system in place to reverse this. Besides, its just a little rep. Does this really happen enough to be a concern? –  ɥʇǝS Mar 29 '13 at 17:14
    
@Seth - no, I'm not worried about closing a question. I'm wondering what the benefit of showing that information is when it seems to have a greater potential for abuse. –  j08691 Mar 29 '13 at 17:15
    
@j08691 If someone has the rep to close a question, they aren't exactly wet behind the ears. –  Asad Mar 29 '13 at 17:17
    
@Asad- I have no idea what your point is. –  j08691 Mar 29 '13 at 17:17
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@j08691, most things on Stack Exchange are public, by design. We don't allow anonymous comments or edits either; the style of the network is to do (almost) everything out in the open. If you're worried about revenge, consider the effects of anonymous close if somebody, say, doesn't like a comment you made. A revenge-close has to be worse than revenge-downvoting that will anyway be reversed when detected, no? –  Monica Cellio Mar 29 '13 at 17:18
    
@j08691 "I'd just like to see new users not get hung up when they feel like someone stepped on their toes." <- By the time a user gets to a level where they're regularly closing questions, it is very likely they've already encountered serial voting. They're not exactly new to the site either, since there's a rep threshold for casting close votes. –  Asad Mar 29 '13 at 17:19
    
@Asad: You have it the wrong way round. The person whose toes are being stepped on in j08691's original comment is the new user whose question is closed, not the close voter/recipient of downvotes. –  Josh Caswell Mar 29 '13 at 20:21

All moderating actions are logged and visible in some form; this allows the community to police itself and notice if someone is misusing his privileges. Showing the close voters fits with this principle.

A user revenge down voting close-voters is easily caught; that is no reason for me to hide this information.

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