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I've come to question the need for listing the usernames of those who voted to close a question once it has been closed.

When I've been serial downvoted, 99% of the time it has been due to someone getting bent out of shape about their precious question being closed. I've tried in the past to explain to these people that this is a community, the decision was crowd sourced. All it did was make the issue worse.

Is there really a need to distinguish between a management and community accounts?
To me, the reason for closing is all the user(s) need - they want more, they can read the FAQ.

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4  
Another example I recently encountered: The Rook fired all close-voters of a question in "his" tag with offensive comments in other's posts. – BalusC Jun 24 '10 at 18:53
1  
@BalusC: wow, that's... Terrible. – Shog9 Jun 24 '10 at 19:03
2  
"penetration tester"... I wish I was him – juan Jun 24 '10 at 19:16
    
The comments have been removed (thank you, SO moderators) and the user in question opened a topic. But yes, I think anonymizing closers would be nice. – BalusC Jun 24 '10 at 19:18
    
@Balus, I assume that would happen and so I took a screenshot – juan Jun 24 '10 at 19:20
1  
@BalusC: I think the comments simply collected the requisite number of noise flags, as they all disappeared after I flagged them. – gnostradamus Jun 24 '10 at 19:20
1  
@Juan: You might want to be him if you were on the delivery end of "penetration testing", but not on the receiving end. ;) – gnostradamus Jun 24 '10 at 19:24
1  
I agree @gno, although that's just a matter of taste – juan Jun 24 '10 at 19:27

This really, really, needs to be kept transparent, otherwise there will be cases of users voting to close anything they disagree with under the cover of anonymity.

Personally, I think the system should be more transparent. If you're voting to close, you ought to be able to justify your decision, or at least be available to discuss it in case of error. In fact, it's those cases where maybe you made a bad call (and realize it after some discussion) that improves your ability to moderate.

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8  
Sadly, I've found that staying clear of discussion on most closed questions goes a long way toward avoiding revenge-votes... So most of the time I just vote, post my justification only if it's not obvious, and leave. – Shog9 Jun 24 '10 at 18:37
    
@Shog: That hasn't been my experience so far, but you're more actively involved than I am. – Jon Seigel Jun 24 '10 at 19:33
1  
Jon: I disagree. The moderation requiring multiple votes for closing or deleting is effectively stops revenge closing. If no one else votes to close/etc, then obviously others don't agree with my judgement. All the transparency is doing for me, is making me reconsider participating in that aspect of the community. – OMG Ponies Jun 24 '10 at 21:00
    
@Jon - I have a question. How is the requests for showing the names of downvoters declined on the basis of protecting the downvoters from retaliation, while showing the names of those who voted to close (an action that can just as easily be construed as a "slap in the face") is on the basis of transparency? – Shauna May 18 '11 at 18:16
    
@Shauna: Interesting point; however, downvotes and close votes really aren't comparable because they serve completely different purposes. Close voting is a site moderation function, which means those who take action need to be held accountable. The same isn't true for downvotes as they are more subjective and personal. Note also that you can't see who upvotes posts either. For the record, I don't believe I've ever been downvoted in retaliation for a vote to close; it's possible that in those cases, there is simply a clash of personalities in comments, or whatever. – Jon Seigel May 19 '11 at 2:49
    
@Jon: I see where you're coming from, but it still seems odd to me, probably because I see downvoting/upvoting as a moderation mechanism, as well. You can blame/thank my years on such sites as Slashdot and the Consumerist, which have similar voting mechanisms to weed out bad and promote good comments. While the voting up/down isn't as extreme a moderation move as closing a question or (my favorite) disemvoweling, it's still moderation in the sense of controlling the visibility of certain aspects, IMO. As for retaliation on closes, I think it might depend on the reason for the close, as well. – Shauna May 19 '11 at 14:27

I agree with the others that this needs to be kept transparent but I'm wondering if seeing the names should be a privilege that is earned.

What if this was a privilege earned at the remove new user restriction level or available when a user hits rep level of 10? Then the user has invested a bit into the site before seeing the names of those who voted to close. There is still transparency, but you have to earn the privilege once you've got some skin in the game.

My reasoning for revisiting this is because we've had new users contact close voters off-site because they were upset about their question being closed. But before moving forward, I pulled some stats on how many users / posts would be impacted if we made this a privilege.

Across the network, I looked at questions closed in the past 90 days. In order to get a better overall picture of users impacted, I calculated the rep of the OP at the time question was posted and I checked to see how many OPs commented directly to a user who voted to close.

# Posts # Users # Users Commenting To Close Voters OP's Rep Range % Comments to Close Voters Site Name 
------- ------- ---------------------------------- -------------- -------------------------- --------- 
3435    3062    512                                < 5            14.91                      Stack Overflow
4046    3670    575                                5 - 10         14.21                      Stack Overflow
2724    2487    400                                10 - 15        14.68                      Stack Overflow
43      39      5                                  < 5            11.63                      Super User
53      49      8                                  5 - 10         15.09                      Super User
21      18      4                                  10 - 15        19.05                      Super User
44      42      6                                  < 5            13.64                      Server Fault
41      37      8                                  5 - 10         19.51                      Server Fault
29      25      5                                  10 - 15        17.24                      Server Fault
1       1       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Cooking   
3       3       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Cooking   
1       1       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Home Improvement
5       5       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Home Improvement
6       6       2                                  < 5            33.33                      Game Developers
17      12      2                                  5 - 10         11.76                      Game Developers
13      10      2                                  10 - 15        15.38                      Game Developers
11      11      3                                  < 5            27.27                      Gaming    
25      25      3                                  5 - 10         12.00                      Gaming    
9       9       1                                  10 - 15        11.11                      Gaming    
185     173     16                                 < 5            8.65                       Mathematics
377     323     45                                 5 - 10         11.94                      Mathematics
243     222     14                                 10 - 15        5.76                       Mathematics
3       2       1                                  < 5            33.33                      Photography
2       2       1                                  5 - 10         50.00                      Photography
1       1       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Photography
22      17      6                                  < 5            27.27                      Statistical Analysis
45      36      6                                  5 - 10         13.33                      Statistical Analysis
13      10      2                                  10 - 15        15.38                      Statistical Analysis
3       3       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Web Apps  
3       3       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Web Apps  
1       1       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Webmasters
13      12      4                                  5 - 10         30.77                      Webmasters
9       8       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Webmasters
3       2       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Personal Finance and Money
1       1       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Personal Finance and Money
1       1       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Personal Finance and Money
2       2       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Role-playing Games
6       5       1                                  5 - 10         16.67                      Role-playing Games
6       5       1                                  < 5            16.67                      TeX - LaTeX
23      20      7                                  5 - 10         30.43                      TeX - LaTeX
22      20      3                                  10 - 15        13.64                      TeX - LaTeX
61      53      17                                 < 5            27.87                      Ubuntu    
82      76      22                                 5 - 10         26.83                      Ubuntu    
40      37      7                                  10 - 15        17.50                      Ubuntu    
26      20      2                                  < 5            7.69                       WordPress 
22      19      3                                  5 - 10         13.64                      WordPress 
8       7       2                                  10 - 15        25.00                      WordPress 
1       1       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Bicycles  
21      21      7                                  < 5            33.33                      Programmers
6       5       2                                  5 - 10         33.33                      Programmers
12      11      3                                  10 - 15        25.00                      Programmers
13      11      1                                  < 5            7.69                       IT Security
25      22      4                                  5 - 10         16.00                      IT Security
9       8       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       IT Security
33      29      4                                  < 5            12.12                      Electronics and Robotics
44      42      8                                  5 - 10         18.18                      Electronics and Robotics
15      15      3                                  10 - 15        20.00                      Electronics and Robotics
3       3       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Graphic Design
9       8       2                                  5 - 10         22.22                      Graphic Design
2       2       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Graphic Design
5       5       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Database Administrators
15      15      5                                  5 - 10         33.33                      Database Administrators
15      14      4                                  10 - 15        26.67                      Database Administrators
4       4       1                                  < 5            25.00                      Science Fiction
4       4       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Science Fiction
6       6       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Science Fiction
6       6       1                                  < 5            16.67                      Code Review
8       8       1                                  5 - 10         12.50                      Code Review
10      10      3                                  10 - 15        30.00                      Code Review
4       4       1                                  10 - 15        25.00                      Code Golf 
1       1       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Quantitative Finance
1       1       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Quantitative Finance
2       2       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Quantitative Finance
1       1       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Project Management
1       1       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Skeptics  
19      14      2                                  < 5            10.53                      Drupal Answers
32      23      5                                  5 - 10         15.63                      Drupal Answers
32      22      4                                  10 - 15        12.50                      Drupal Answers
1       1       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Fitness and Nutrition
1       1       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair
5       4       0                                  < 5            0.00                       SharePoint
10      10      0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       SharePoint
10      10      0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       SharePoint
4       4       1                                  < 5            25.00                      Musical Practice and Performance
2       2       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Musical Practice and Performance
1       1       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Musical Practice and Performance
1       1       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Software Quality Assurance and Testing
3       3       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Software Quality Assurance and Testing
7       5       1                                  < 5            14.29                      Jewish Life and Learning
7       5       1                                  5 - 10         14.29                      Jewish Life and Learning
4       3       1                                  10 - 15        25.00                      Jewish Life and Learning
5       4       1                                  5 - 10         20.00                      Astronomy 
2       2       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Astronomy 
3       3       0                                  < 5            0.00                       German Language and Usage
2       2       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       German Language and Usage
1       1       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       German Language and Usage
1       1       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Gardening and Landscaping
1       1       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Travel    
3       3       2                                  5 - 10         66.67                      Travel    
5       5       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Travel    
4       3       2                                  < 5            50.00                      Cryptography
12      11      0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Cryptography
9       7       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Cryptography
2       2       1                                  < 5            50.00                      Signal Processing
6       5       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Signal Processing
1       1       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Signal Processing
4       4       1                                  < 5            25.00                      Christianity
5       5       1                                  5 - 10         20.00                      Christianity
4       4       3                                  10 - 15        75.00                      Christianity
2       1       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Economics 
4       4       1                                  10 - 15        25.00                      Economics 
1       1       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       LEGO®     
1       1       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Movies    
5       5       1                                  5 - 10         20.00                      Movies    
2       1       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Chinese Language and Usage
1       1       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Chinese Language and Usage
8       6       3                                  < 5            37.50                      Biology   
12      11      3                                  5 - 10         25.00                      Biology   
8       7       3                                  10 - 15        37.50                      Biology   
1       1       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       The Great Outdoors
1       1       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Martial Arts
2       1       1                                  5 - 10         50.00                      Sports    
3       3       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Academia  
3       3       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Academia  
4       4       1                                  10 - 15        25.00                      Academia  
8       8       4                                  < 5            50.00                      Computer Science
5       5       2                                  5 - 10         40.00                      Computer Science
8       8       1                                  10 - 15        12.50                      Computer Science
2       2       1                                  < 5            50.00                      The Workplace
5       4       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       The Workplace
4       4       1                                  10 - 15        25.00                      The Workplace
1       1       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Windows Phone
17      17      2                                  < 5            11.76                      Chemistry 
31      25      8                                  5 - 10         25.81                      Chemistry 
10      9       2                                  10 - 15        20.00                      Chemistry 
3       3       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Raspberry Pi
9       9       1                                  5 - 10         11.11                      Raspberry Pi
4       4       1                                  10 - 15        25.00                      Raspberry Pi
1       1       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Russian Language and Usage
5       3       1                                  < 5            20.00                      Islam     
7       5       1                                  5 - 10         14.29                      Islam     
3       3       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Islam     
2       2       1                                  5 - 10         50.00                      User Experience
3       2       1                                  10 - 15        33.33                      User Experience
4       1       1                                  < 5            25.00                      Robotics  
2       2       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Robotics  
1       1       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Robotics  
4       3       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Politics  
1       1       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Politics  
11      8       1                                  < 5            9.09                       Anime and Manga
8       7       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Anime and Manga
5       4       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Anime and Manga
14      13      4                                  < 5            28.57                      Magento   
43      35      5                                  5 - 10         11.63                      Magento   
22      21      4                                  10 - 15        18.18                      Magento   
2       1       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Sustainable Living
3       3       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Blender Stack Exchange
3       3       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Blender Stack Exchange
11      10      3                                  10 - 15        27.27                      Blender Stack Exchange
13      11      1                                  < 5            7.69                       MathOverflow
17      14      4                                  5 - 10         23.53                      MathOverflow
11      9       3                                  10 - 15        27.27                      MathOverflow
2       2       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Space Exploration Stack Exchange
2       2       1                                  5 - 10         50.00                      Space Exploration Stack Exchange
2       2       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Space Exploration Stack Exchange
1       1       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Tor Stack Exchange
4       3       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Tor Stack Exchange
5       3       1                                  5 - 10         20.00                      Software Recommendations Stack Exchange
1       1       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Software Recommendations Stack Exchange
1       1       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Expatriates Stack Exchange
1       1       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Mathematics Educators Stack Exchange
1       1       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Data Science Stack Exchange
3       3       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Data Science Stack Exchange
4       3       2                                  < 5            50.00                      Puzzling Stack Exchange
4       4       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Puzzling Stack Exchange
3       3       2                                  10 - 15        66.67                      Puzzling Stack Exchange
2       2       1                                  10 - 15        50.00                      Craft CMS Stack Exchange
1       1       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Hinduism Stack Exchange
7       5       1                                  5 - 10         14.29                      Hinduism Stack Exchange
3       2       0                                  10 - 15        0.00                       Hinduism Stack Exchange
2       2       0                                  < 5            0.00                       Worldbuilding Stack Exchange
8       7       1                                  5 - 10         12.50                      Worldbuilding Stack Exchange
5       4       1                                  10 - 15        20.00                      Worldbuilding Stack Exchange
2       2       1                                  < 5            50.00                      Engineering Stack Exchange
2       2       0                                  5 - 10         0.00                       Engineering Stack Exchange
5       4       1                                  10 - 15        20.00                      Engineering Stack Exchange
5       5       1                                  5 - 10         20.00                      elementary OS Stack Exchange
2       2       1                                  10 - 15        50.00                      elementary OS Stack Exchange
2       2       1                                  < 5            50.00                      Hardware Recommendations Stack Exchange
2       2       1                                  10 - 15        50.00                      Hardware Recommendations Stack Exchange

Since I've limited the check to users who directly commented at a close voter, either user @username or left a comment with the username in the text of it, it's possible I'm missing some users who commented. Overall the percentages of users impacted is low so the question is, is this something that is worth it? Should the names of close voters only be shown once you've earned the privilege or should it remain completely transparent no matter what the rep level of the user is?

Additional stats as requested by Jon. I've limited the data to the posts where the OP has attempted to comment to a user who has not edited or commented on the post - basically, they've tried to comment to a close voter who didn't edit or comment - these users would not get a notification. This rarely happens, I've only included stats where there were users who tried to close directly to close voters.

# Posts # Users # Users Commenting To Close Voters OP's Rep Range % Comments to Close Voters Site Name 
------- ------- ---------------------------------- -------------- -------------------------- --------- 
2710    2463    5                                  < 5            0.18                       Stack Overflow
3156    2920    5                                  5 - 10         0.16                       Stack Overflow
2076    1945    1                                  10 - 15        0.05                       Stack Overflow
7       6       1                                  10 - 15        14.29                      WordPress 
6       5       1                                  5 - 10         16.67                      Christianity

I'm still thinking about it but it's definitely something I'm considering adding to the new user restriction privilege. Either way, I'll gather some additional stats before making a decision.

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3  
I'm curious how many of these comments are to people who have not previously edited or commented on the post. Since these comments won't notify the close voter they are futile. Presumably people with more reputation will be less likely to misunderstand how comment notifications work. If so, not showing the close voters might reduce the odds of useless commenting. – Jon Ericson Feb 8 at 20:03
    
@JonEricson IIRC, more times than not, the comment wasn't directed at anyone in particular - no @ or username but I'll try to pull up some specific numbers though. – bluefeet Feb 8 at 20:09
    
@JonEricson That's rare, very very rare. I've finally added some stats. These are only for users who commented to someone who previously hadn't edited or commented on the post - so I'm guessing those are close voters. – bluefeet Feb 17 at 18:44

I think it's important to keep this information public in some fashion, just as a sanity-check. I don't know that it necessarily needs to be displayed under the question itself now that it's also listed in the revision history - after all, the names of the users who re-open aren't displayed front and center.

I understand your frustration though. Ultimately, it's just the price you pay for wanting to see SO improve - whether that's worth it is up to you...

share|improve this answer
    
The "sanity-check" I've experienced has been from those who clearly aren't sane. If no one else votes to close, the community at that time does not share my assessment. – OMG Ponies Jun 24 '10 at 21:10

People who vote to close serve an important function.

The people that vote to re-open incorrectly closed questions also serve an important function.

Both should be as transparent as possible.

I try not to get into disputes about 'why' a question is being closed, but I normally fail miserably.

People hate it when their pet question is closed. They get cranky.

Making it less transparent would incite their anger towards the community, and not towards those select members of the community they should be angry with.

share|improve this answer
    
One instance that occurred to me was where I was picked as the poster person for "the 10+K accounts who vindicitively close questions", so my sentiment is that the anger is directed at the community. Which it should - it takes four other people. But that doesn't stop people from wanting a scapegoat. – OMG Ponies Jun 24 '10 at 21:08

I can't agree with this. One problem with anonymous actions is that people tend to become psychologically more distant from those actions. It's much easier to throw away the junk mail from a homeless charity than it is to refuse a homeless person pleading with you in the street.

Another is that without oversight, arbitrary decisions flourish. There's no culpability, and no protection from abuse. I think this is a serious problem with question deletions, which are technically public, but only to a tiny minority of Stack Overflow.

Requiring multiple votes helps a little, but there is a clear herd effect that works against this. It's much easier to add your vote to a few existing ones, than it is to cast the first vote, or actively oppose a decision.

The request seems to be about dealing with the presumably serious problem of serial downvotes. I don't know much about your closing style, or why you have been attacked, but I do know that

  1. In 11 months, I've never been serial downvoted on SO, where I regularly close questions, argue about reopens, edit other people's stuff, and tell people off for abuse of the system.
  2. Even if I was, it would make a completely negligible difference to my reputation. And on SO, I've got 20,000 less rep than you!
  3. There are already systems in place to handle serial downvoting.
  4. I absolutely want all my actions to be public and accountable.

Ultimately, it boils down to something pretty simple: If you are willing to take an action, then you should take responsibility for that action. If you are going to take the step of actively trying to close someone's question, the least you can do is stand by that action, as you refuse their appeal for help.

share|improve this answer
    
Part of my irritation is that there are ways to circumvent the serial downvoting. – OMG Ponies Jun 24 '10 at 21:03

A solution i see for this problem is raving a rep limit (1000 for example, same as Show total up and down vote counts ) in place from when you can see the close-votes.

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