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Here's a proposal that emerged from this post:

People seem to love to vote to close, and the fact is that existing close votes tend to encourage more.

To avoid systematic bias toward closing questions, I would like to propose that the number of pending close votes not be displayed unless the user has clicked close (or taken a similar action).

There is really no reason to make the number of close votes on a question so obvious.

All it does is encourage users to close the question, which is:

  • Useless for poor questions (because they would've been closed anyway)

  • Counterpoductive for good questions
    ...since a user who would not have otherwise thought of closing the question is now explicitly encouraged to vote to close: it's basically saying, "others think this question sucks; do you agree?"

The same should probably be done for delete.

However, I think reopen should still display the number of required votes, because it will encourage users to read questions that may have been improved and vote to re-open them.
We're not really having problems with too many undeserving questions getting re-opened, so it should stay as-is.


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@ShaWizDowArd: Uh, no, this isn't a duplicate of the one you posted. Actually read my post, carefully. I'm not asking it to be hidden completely; I'm asking it to be visible, but hidden behind a click of some sort. –  Mehrdad Jul 8 '13 at 6:41
In fact, this question itself is an excellent example of people jumping to close a question without actually reading it. –  Mehrdad Jul 8 '13 at 6:44
Visible close votes perform a function similar to down votes. They act as markers for future readers about the quality of the post. Also, if a question is similar to another question to such an extent that a reading is not enough to differentiate between the two, then it also means that there are problems with the post and that differences need to be highlighted. If you read the close message, in case of duplicates, it says exactly this. And If the question is borderline off-topic, then it is the responsibility of the OP (to an extent) to show how the question is fit for the site. –  AsheeshR Jul 8 '13 at 6:52
"Visible close votes perform a function similar to down votes." -- I have two comments to that: (1) Downvotes are already there, we don't need something to simulate them. (2) Users don't see the number of downvotes either, unless they actually click the number. Same thing I'm asking for here. –  Mehrdad Jul 8 '13 at 6:54
@Shog9: Thanks. –  Mehrdad Jul 8 '13 at 6:54
@Mehrdad the answer given in your other question fits perfectly for this one as well, in my opinion. –  Shadow Wizard Jul 8 '13 at 6:56
@ShaWizDowArd: It doesn't. That one says "the ability to see how many (and what types of) close votes have already been cast is important", and my proposal here completely agrees with that. Nothing about that answer goes against the proposal here. Again, take a look at downvoting: it's the same kind of scenario; it's important, but we don't show the number of downvotes by default. –  Mehrdad Jul 8 '13 at 6:57
@Mehrdad sometimes the question is not bad, just offtopic. A downvote may not be warranted in such a case. I don't want to start answering something just to find out later I can't post the answer because I misjudged the community of closers. –  Jan Dvorak Jul 8 '13 at 6:58
@JanDvorak: If you don't want to start answering it and suspect it has close votes then can't you just click close and see how many votes it has? Alternatively, maybe the site could give you a notification automatically if the question is closed, so you don't keep typing. –  Mehrdad Jul 8 '13 at 7:00
@JanDvorak: Then again, if the question is off-topic, it might be better to answer it on the site it's migrated to, not here. Heck, if it's migrated, StackOverflow could just post the answer that you were in the middle of typing on the other site! Even better. –  Mehrdad Jul 8 '13 at 7:01
@JanDvorak: So you're saying if the question is off-topic and it doesn't get migrated somewhere else and no one is commenting and making it obvious that the question is getting closed and you think the question is good enough to answer and you haven't clicked close to check and others suddenly close the question while you're writing your answer, then the time you've spent on your answer would be wasted? Do you really think the time wasted there is more of a problem than the time OPs spend on writing legitimate questions that get closed with a couple of clicks? –  Mehrdad Jul 8 '13 at 7:19
Close votes attract other close votes because of close review queue, not because of people randomly browsing the questions in search for those with close votes on. –  Łukasz 웃 L ツ Jul 8 '13 at 7:27
Why was this closed as a duplicate?? Sigh. –  Mehrdad Jul 8 '13 at 14:07
@ShaWizDowArd I agree with Mehrdad - this is not a duplicate of the supposed duplicate question. It's very similar, but the arguments presented in the answers are invalid in many cases because this feature request intends to make the close-vote information available (albeit slightly hidden). –  Duncan Jul 9 '13 at 9:51
@Mehrdad no, I said that if Duncan think it's not a dupe he's free to flag for reopening (or cast a reopen vote if having enough rep). Never said I'm going to post any answer. –  Shadow Wizard Jul 9 '13 at 11:22
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3 Answers

Agreed completely (a year later). I've noticed that if a question has three or four close votes already, people (including myself) readily supply the last couple of votes because of the following mentality: "Well, if a bunch of other people think this question should be closed, I guess it should be."

This is the same logic for bandwagon upvoting and downvoting. "Well this question has 42 upvotes, so it must be awesome. I'll upvote it, too." Or, "this question has a score of -7, it must suck. Let's downvote it into the dirt. Death to the OP!"

Removing the close vote count encourages people to only cast a close vote because they actually think the question should be closed rather than following any kind of bandwagon.

As a side note, this question is an example of the "related questions" feature working. I was typing up a new question to address this exact concern and found this year-old post. Well played!

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I agree that this might stop the landslide effect, but for informational purposes you still need to keep the mouseover that tells how many votes are left to close or delete.

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Why would you need to keep it? –  Jan Dvorak May 8 at 17:12
@JanDvorak, I use it to determine how close a question is getting (usually for deletion) in case it is being deleted inappropriately and needs some help. –  Lance Roberts May 8 at 17:25
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Having your question closed is frustrating. Having it closed erroneously and then trying to get it reopened is also frustrating. As a result, when I see "close (N)" on a question that I don't think is close-worthy, I tend to comment -- asking "why does this have close votes?" if there are no comments about it, or responding to those comments if no one else has. As a 3k user I see preventing bad closures as as much part of my job as closing bad questions.

But that'll never happen if I have to ask about pending votes on every question. This works at all because it's passive information.

I don't know how many other users behave that way, but I've seen it from others (I learned this somewhere; I didn't make it up) and it's a pattern I try to spread. Preventing a bad closure is better than cleaning up after it, and this proposal breaks prevention.

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Disagree completely. This entire idea is to do exactly what you say: prevent bad closures by people bandwagoning just because they see other people voted for it. Your answer makes sense given an idealistic view of human nature, but I think the people who behave as you describe are much more rare than the ones who just hop on the close train. –  Jeff Gohlke May 8 at 20:25
Do you have evidence, or is that just your impression? This would require an A/B test to really know, but interesting cases include "wrongly closed due to bandwagon" and "wrongly left open because prompting close votes turns out to matter". I've seen a lot of close votes age away on questions that should have been closed. This probably depends a lot on the size and culture of individual sites. We don't know how rare inappropriate bandwagoning or intervention (like what I described) is. –  Monica Cellio May 8 at 20:31
True. I'll give you that. No definitive data either way. Both are impressions. –  Jeff Gohlke May 8 at 20:33
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