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(This may be a limited, moderator-only option, but... who knows what kind of uses we can find for it.)

When conducting a poll or an election, earlier answers get much more exposure (and many more votes).

For issues where you want to weigh true community opinion...

...consider adding an option to hide the answers until some future date.

Add a notice at the bottom of the question:

This is a poll. Add your entry now. Answers will remain hidden until 3/5/2010.

The answers/submissions will all appear at once with zero votes each. The ordering of the post will start out as random and people can start voting, giving each entry the same exposure.

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3 Answers

How would you handle duplicate answers, product of people not being able to see them?

The purpose of polls (the very limited, official polls) is for people to vote on an answer that already exists.
This suggestion breaks the SO Engine spirit IMO

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The "voting portion" of the poll starts when the answers become visible... all at once. As for duplicates, self-nominations would not be a problem. If it is a problem, I guess you could show the entries but disable voting/comments until the voting opens. I don't like that as much but it's something to consider. –  Robert Cartaino Feb 26 '10 at 18:01
    
Anyway, this kind of polls are very rare –  jmfsg Feb 26 '10 at 18:10
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How about simply hiding the votes on answers (but let the answers themselves stay visible)? That would still achieve your desired effect, I think.

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If voting was disabled until after a certain date, that would work... and that takes care of any concerns about duplicates, etc. –  Robert Cartaino Feb 26 '10 at 21:49
    
I would probably want to see comments disabled, too, until the voting went active. –  Robert Cartaino Feb 26 '10 at 21:49
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I don't think this will be implemented because it would be almost never used.

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Perhaps. On the other hand, banner announcements are almost never used, but when they need them, they are indispensable. –  Robert Cartaino Feb 26 '10 at 19:50
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