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I believe that showing the post score for nomination posts during primaries is a bad idea.

When I loaded the primaries page during the election, the first thing I saw was a post voted -1. This immediately colored my impression of the post. Reading his post didn't indeed make me wish he was a moderator, but at the same point I couldn't bring myself to click on the down arrow. He wasn't an awesome candidate, but he wasn't a -2 score candidate either. Actually, I kinda wanted to sympathy upvote instead.

I want to judge by myself whether a candidate is worth or not my +1. For some of those people I don't have an opinion already, and I want to form one on my own. I don't want game theory to kick in, I don't want to be tricked into sympathy upvotes.

Having those numbers in large print as the first thing I see about them honestly prevents me from doing so. I'd rather have their avatar there.

Some people on chat do not agree with me; others want those scores to be completely public. I imagine they'll post explaining why I want to be aware of their opinion while forming my own.

Regardless of the discussion here, if you do prefer to hide the scores as you vote, here's the jQuery oneliner that does just that:

$(".vote-count-post").hide()
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Might as well remove the rep too. And since people might recognize names, we should encode everyone's username. Also, posting styles for some are pretty recognizable, let's get rid of the nomination post, or pass it through a translation service twice. –  Adam Davis Jan 25 '11 at 22:48
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@badp +1 for the jQuery. ;) –  Jacob Relkin Jan 25 '11 at 22:48
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Upvoting and downvtoing are key features of the site, and for a primary, it's a great interface for voting - just as you can see whether other users agree with an answer or disagree with it, you can see whether other users agree with a candidate or disagree with them. The final election vote will be secret, but I think this is a good way to weed out the top 10 from the 30 nominations. –  Adam Davis Jan 25 '11 at 22:49
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@Polyanna I'm not really seeing how votes on nominations are in the same category as the nominee's name and rep –  Michael Mrozek Jan 25 '11 at 22:49
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I wholly endorse this post: it does not get a downvote. –  XMLbog Jan 25 '11 at 22:56
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Also, it's very important to point out that this phase is only to cull the group into the leading 10 people. Further, a moderator should be well liked by those who elect them, and so the voting score is actually another important piece of information - relative popularity. Quite frankly there are some people who are great contributors, have high rep, but aren't great with human factors, and being reasonably well liked is an asset. –  Adam Davis Jan 25 '11 at 23:05
    
@Pollyanna - "Reasonably well liked": or at least not disliked! I don't expect that a popular (upvoted) user is necessarily a good moderator; but an unpopular one (downvoted) might well be bad/unsuitable. For one of the candidates, I thought, "I don't know this guy myself but I hear he's been making himself unpopular, which I doubt is necessary/useful: so partly for that reason I'll agree with the consensus, and downvote." –  ChrisW Jan 26 '11 at 1:19

4 Answers 4

Sorry, I can't agree here. I suppose in a way it influences herd mentality, but, it's just like the way the rest of the site is done! You can see up/down vote totals on questions and answers, why should candidates be different? Besides, you said so yourself:

Reading his post didn't indeed make me wish he was a moderator

If you think he's be good, then +1. If you don't, then -1. Not voting means "I don't care"

EDIT: Ok. I'll try to clarify a bit more on this, because my quick answer didn't fully convey what I was thinking. I'm not saying that the voting information is useful to me in making my decision, although it could be!

He wasn't an awesome candidate, but he wasn't a -2 score candidate either. Actually, I kinda wanted to sympathy upvote instead.

This is a perfectly good reason to upvote this person! Unlike the "sympathy vote" issue, in this case the candidate is falling behind in the community's view and if you want this candidate to win, you need to start actively campaigning!

In other words, this is not an indication of if the user is "right" or not, or even if they'd make a good candidate. It's more like the up/down votes on meta' It's showing you how popular this candidate is. It's the pulse of the people. It happens in real elections too, the news media is always a buzz with what the latest polls say.

It's not the only indication of a candidate's worth, by any means! It's hardly the most important. But it is valuable and should not be removed.

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Here's the problem, when I see a -1 score I don't think "Is this a good or a bad mod", I think "Is this moderator better or worse than -1? A negative post has incorrect information and is clearly wrong, this guy problably doesn't deserve a negative score! +1" –  badp Jan 25 '11 at 22:54
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Don't think about it like that... I don't know, not a very good answer, I know, but... that's not what the number means :-) –  The Unhandled Exception Jan 25 '11 at 22:56
    
People are right that it's equivalent to post voting -- the difference between the groups is whether or not they think people vote independently of the vote score. badp (and I, for what it's worth) are apparently in the "people change their vote based on the current score" camp –  Michael Mrozek Jan 25 '11 at 22:56
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@badp "Is this moderator better or worse than -1?" Is actually a very good way to approach voting. –  Adam Davis Jan 25 '11 at 23:01
    
RE: edit. If I want a person to win, I'd +1 them regardless of their score. I've been doing campaigning for Oak, Grace Note and Juan Manuel on the bridge for a month now and I have no clue of when the elections will start... Also, you agree it's hardly important, yet it's the first, single biggest element on the user's application, shown right next to the vote buttons! –  badp Jan 25 '11 at 23:23
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"I suppose in a way it influences herd mentality" oh, please. This is a well-established psychological law, I don't give a crap whether you can be bothered to see it. It's true and it's more or less what our primaries are based on right now. –  AAA Feb 19 at 23:38
    
Please ask that question on cogsci.se :) –  The Unhandled Exception Feb 20 at 0:06
    
@djechlin you missed the point of my first sentence: it's just like the way the rest of the site is done! Keeping the votes for candidates is sticking with the way votes work for questions and answers and I feel that's a good thing. And while I am sure that herd mentality influences the voting to a point, it has to start somewhere... if people are voting for others because they have lots of upvotes they had to have first gained some upvotes through other means. And, take away the vote count and people will just start depending on some other incomplete criteria, like reputation. –  The Unhandled Exception Feb 20 at 14:22
    
We don't elect questions and answers for office. –  AAA Feb 20 at 14:45
    
"And while I am sure that herd mentality influences the voting to a point" you sound extremely unsure, to the point that you seem to be neglecting or ignoring this fact entirely. "if people are voting for others because they have lots of upvotes they had to have first gained some upvotes through other means" so make the elections just take 3 hours or close them after 1000 votes, we don't need the other 3 days' worth of herd votes. –  AAA Feb 20 at 14:47
    
"And, take away the vote count and people will just start depending on some other incomplete criteria" now you just contradicted your previous sentence." now you just contradicted your previous sentence. Are those incomplete criteria the same criteria that the first votes were based upon by any chance? This is the herd effect, which you are actually arguing for. Whatever criteria the first few dozen votes use, the rest should just be a rehashing and reechoing of that, less we rely on "incomplete information." –  AAA Feb 20 at 14:49
    
Further re. " it's just like the way the rest of the site is done!", I think you should have to sign up and log in to view questions and answers, on the grounds that "it's just like the way the rest of the site is done." But the moment you say "that's clearly different," I'm just going to say that a Q&A forum and an election are completely and as self-evidently different, much like religions and coffees are. –  AAA Feb 20 at 14:50
    
I believe we disagree here and that's find @djechlin :) –  The Unhandled Exception Feb 20 at 18:12

As long as you can spend up/-down votes on every candidate, I see no need to hide voting scores. If, on the other hand, any eligible voter was to be forced to actually think and read before spending her/his only vote, I shall agree to hiding results.

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That would be the difference between the primary and the election. One you can, one you can't. –  jcolebrand Jan 25 '11 at 23:18

Let me quote my all-knowing fellow mod @random:

We're not handing out awards for participation. We're condemning the excellence of these human exception handlers and spreading the load gently. If you can't spot a top tier from those running, they're not standing out as best as they could.

Seriously, if you have to base your own vote in an election on what somebody else has voted, either that person doesn't deserve an upvote or you don't deserve to vote.

Sadly for some candidates nearly everyone may vote, so apparently you didn't do a great job at convincing your fellow users of voting otherwise.

Also note that while these are just the primaries, there are only three available slots. Which means we have to cut some of the weed anyway, else we would never get to a smaller sample to choose from. Those who are most suited will almost certainly float to the top, which is what an election is all about. Whoever drowns should see it as a sign to work harder, so he might win at the next elections

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You could've just given me a list of avatars and I would've clicked on the ones I recognized. –  badp Jan 25 '11 at 23:15
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That's what most of them do anyway, in the end it won't matter –  Ivo Flipse Jan 25 '11 at 23:17
    
Wasn't there a strong correlation between avatar and voting in the first election? I can't remember, but a few of the avatars stood out in some way, and got a measurably greater number of votes... –  Adam Davis Jan 25 '11 at 23:51
    
Which is why I was picked so quickly @Pollyanna ;-) –  Ivo Flipse Jan 25 '11 at 23:56
    
@Ivo you've been suffering ever since. Fortunately we've kept you believing that you're happy and this is enjoyable work... –  Adam Davis Jan 26 '11 at 0:03
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Who says I don't like punishing users and deleting their crappy content whenever I can @Pollyanna? –  Ivo Flipse Jan 26 '11 at 0:04
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@Ivo Pollyanna starts swinging watch back and forth on long chain, speaking slowly and in soft tones says That's right Ivo, you enjoy moderating stackoverflow. –  Adam Davis Jan 26 '11 at 0:08
    
Someone might not deserve to vote, but that isn't going to stop them from voting anyways. –  crush Feb 27 at 20:14

This immediately colored my impression of the post.

It colors mine too but I'm not overly inclined to vote with the 'herd'. The first thing I see is a candidate's score: and then I read what the candidate wrote, to see whether I agree (agree with the candidate, and agree with other people's consensus as reflected in the current score).

FYI:

  • High-scoring candidates, who I up-voted too: 9
  • Low-scoring candidates, who I down-voted too: 8
  • Low-scoring candidates, who I up-voted: 4
  • Candidates for whom I didn't cast either vote: 5 (2 high-scoring and 3 medium-scoring)

I want to judge by myself whether a candidate is worth or not my +1. I don't want game theory to kick in, I don't want to be tricked into sympathy upvotes.

Consider this: the winner will have some influence, that may affect the site (and your perception of the site) slightly.

Incidentally, political votes may be secret (secret ballot when voting) ... but I think that juries (in trial by jury) are allowed/expected to know how each other are voting: so, having a secret ballot isn't always/necessarily/automatically better/normal.

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In some companies, when the board votes on a new CEO, all the board members know how each of them voted. I'd say that's a pretty fair comparison to community and moderator relations. –  Adam Davis Jan 26 '11 at 1:09
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@Polly A board will have a dozen members, SO has more than 15k eligible voters. –  badp Jan 26 '11 at 9:22
    
@badp - I'm not sure how the size of the voting body affects whether the vote should be secret or not. Further, the reason polls are secret in political elections is so that it becomes hard to force someone to vote in a particular way. That is simply not a problem here. They are not secret so that people are forced to vote in a vacuum of information. Numerous polls are available before and during the election which may color future voter's votes. –  Adam Davis Jan 26 '11 at 13:26
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@Pollyanna If the group of people is small enough, you know them already and can make educated guesses on what they're going to vote for, hence secrecy is not that useful. –  badp Jan 26 '11 at 13:52

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