I don't see why users (even those with high rep) should be able to see the number of close-votes for any questions they did not post. I've observed that the mere presence of a close vote can trigger more, and -- quite often -- this biases things in favor of the person who cast the first vote, which makes all the difference in edge cases.

Mind you, it affects me just as much as anybody -- there have definitely been some cases where I would not have voted had I not seen that others were closing a question. I try my best, of course, but we're all human...

The only exception, in my opinion, is when closing as a duplicate. But even then, it doesn't matter how many votes there are -- instead, the site can simply put the top-suggested votes at the top of the list, without mentioning which ones were chosen by people and which ones weren't.

So really, I don't see why the number of close votes should be visible to anyone other than the OP -- and so I'm proposing we remove the display of pending close votes for anyone who doesn't need to see it.

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    I'd personally be more in favour of displaying the close votes on the main page than removing them from the question to clear out the dross quicker. – ben is uǝq backwards Jul 7 '12 at 10:48
  • @Ben: To clear out the dross, sure, that makes your comment self-fulfilling... but not all close-voted questions are "dross"! If it's really that bad, then people will vote anyway, regardless of if they know if they're going with the crowd. I'm talking about the cases where it isn't obvious, e.g. someone says "too localized", but other people are doubting if it's too localized, but once they see confirmation, they vote... even though they never intended to otherwise. – Mehrdad Jul 7 '12 at 17:05

I disagree with your proposition. I think that the ability to see how many (and what types of) close votes have already been cast is important especially for people who have just obtained the privilege.
It is instructive in the sense that newcomers to close-voting can get a better feel about how it is done, and get a better understanding of the various close reasons.

We want to keep the sites clean, the questions on topic and of the appropriate quality standards. Closing (and reopening) are important tools for the community, and the information gotten from existing votes is relevant and useful.

Sometimes you happen across a question with a bunch of close votes, but you don't see why people did that/are wondering why those happened - look at the close reasons, re-check the question, and you will probably be able to help the asker to put his/her question back on track (by adding a helpful comment or a judicious edit for example).
If you don't know the question is being close-voted on, you are less likely to do the above (not knowing it might be necessary), and you won't notice the closure unless you track the recently-closed/reopen tools.

Close votes tend to pile on when the question is "obviously" in need of closing, which is good. Some questions stay with only one or two votes (forever or until they expire), which is ok too – if there's no hard consensus, benefit of the doubt goes to the asker.

No-one gets hurt by showing the vote count unless people use their close-votes blindly; but in that case, I'd say the blind closers need to be "fixed", not the site.

  • "I think that the ability to see how many (and what types of) close votes have already been cast is important especially for people who have just obtained the privilege."... sure, I agree. But that doesn't mean you have to show pending close votes, right? "If you don't know the question is being close-voted on, you are less likely to do the above" If the OP is actually worried about the closure, wouldn't there be comments about it on the post, making it pretty obvious? – Mehrdad Jul 7 '12 at 16:51
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    It needs to be visible in some way before the Q is closed. Whether the exact number of votes is displayed or not isn't that critical (but I don't want to see it gone), but the fact that there are pending close votes & what type they are is. Before the Q is closed. For the second part of your comment, I'm not talking about the OP. I'm talking about you as a member of the community that wants to keep it good. – Mat Jul 7 '12 at 16:57
  • Regarding the first part: Yes, I already understood you mentioned that it "needs" to happen several times... but I'm asking why is there a "need" to show pending votes? Don't new users learn from actually-closed questions? Aside from "dupe", I don't see what "information" you could gain from seeing existing votes... (Regarding the second part: yes, I understood; that's precisely what I'm saying. If the OP hasn't commented, then he probably doesn't care -- so why make people waste their time fixing a close-voted post? OTOH, if he has commented, then it's plainly obvious.) – Mehrdad Jul 7 '12 at 16:58
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    Seeing other votes there can help when they're not sure about closing. I don't care about the OP. If the question should be closed as it is, and there's no way to fix the question without the OP's participation, question should be closed. If you see a way of fixing the question, and don't think it should be closed, comment/edit/whatever regardless of whether the OP has realized anything (or, for that matter, noticed & understood the close thingy in the first place). When OP is already engaged in fixing things up, close votes stop in most cases (assuming question is fixable.) – Mat Jul 7 '12 at 17:21
  • I see. So for your reason, knowing the mere existence of "one or more" close votes would suffice? Do you need to know how many/what kinds are there (aside from the mark as dupe ones, which I agree is necessary to know)? – Mehrdad Jul 7 '12 at 17:26
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    Yes, I like to see that count. Especially for not-so-recent Qs (but not old, say 2-6h old questions). Sometimes (esp. on week-ends non-US timezones, when there aren't as many eyes), things "slip by". Knowing whether something needs just one more vote or four others changes whether I'll add a flag on top or not (for egregious cases). – Mat Jul 7 '12 at 17:35
  • Why does it make a difference if something needs 1 vote or 4? – Mehrdad Jul 7 '12 at 17:39
  • If it needs just one, it's likely to be dealt with promptly by the community, without bothering mods. – Mat Jul 7 '12 at 17:40
  • Oh lol. So you mean if it's 4, you flag instead? – Mehrdad Jul 7 '12 at 17:41
  • If I feel strongly enough about the question, and it's not "hot" anymore, yes. – Mat Jul 7 '12 at 17:42
  • Hmmm... interesting use case, I didn't see that one coming. Thanks for explaining your answer! – Mehrdad Jul 7 '12 at 17:43

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