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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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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
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@BalusC: wow, that's... Terrible. –  Shog9 Jun 24 '10 at 19:03
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"penetration tester"... I wish I was him –  jmfsg 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 –  jmfsg Jun 24 '10 at 19:20
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@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
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@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
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I agree @gno, although that's just a matter of taste –  jmfsg Jun 24 '10 at 19:27

5 Answers 5

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...

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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

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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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
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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 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.

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

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.

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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

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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