When reviewing Close Votes one can see the number of current close votes for the question together with their distribution among the reasons (exact duplicate, off topic, etc). However, this tends to urge the reviewer to pick the reason where the most mass of close votes is without actually thinking about the question.

Is it possible to hide the distribution of close votes and show only the total number of votes?

  • I think it's useful for the OP to see exactly why people think his/her question should be closed (i.e. what's wrong with it), and perhaps moderators. That said, the main problem is with people going with the flow without thinking, and removing the close vote distribution wouldn't do much about that (imho). Someone with little care to actually read the question would just pick a close reason randomly, if they see 3 or 4 others already voted to closed. – yannis Sep 28 '12 at 9:48
  • It's only shown once you've already clicked the Close button, otherwise you just see the question and a general hint that someone suggested a close reason – Ben Brocka Sep 28 '12 at 11:44

If you don't show how other users voted to close a question, users would find another way to see it: They just go to the question page following the link shown in the review page, and vote to close the question from there.

I hope 3K users have enough reputation to vote to close a question because they think the question doesn't suit the site, or because it duplicates an existing question, and not because they merely vote those questions with the higher number of closing votes. Even if this would be the case, not showing how other users voted would have just the effect of getting a random reason picked up.
If they don't vote to close a question because they think the question should be closed, but simply because other users voted to close it, why do you think they would not pickup a random reason? At the end, nobody will know which reason they picked up (except developers).

  • 2
    You might hope that this is the case but I've seen enough cases where a poor question is asked and attracts four close votes, the question is fixed and people active in the tag don't close it and then it gets closed some hours later by a user that is presumably working their way through the questions with most close votes list. IMO once a question gets 4 close votes on SO it is pretty much guaranteed to be closed like this. – Martin Smith Sep 28 '12 at 10:27
  • Do you have any statistics about the number of questions that are closed in that way? In any case, what proposed by the OP doesn't resolve anything, as users could still close a question from the question page. – kiamlaluno Sep 28 '12 at 11:01
  • No I don't have any statistics on it as I don't have access to the database. In the Close votes tools sorting by number of close votes there are currently only 32 questions with 4 close votes. That is a vanishingly small proportion of the all time questions on stack overflow. I'm not sure if moderators ever go through and clear the flags on any of these manually to prevent them appearing their indefinitely but I'm pretty sure most exit this state through simply getting closed. – Martin Smith Sep 28 '12 at 11:12
  • The only ways a question has not to appear anymore in the "Close Votes" review queue is being close-voted, or deleted from a moderator. There is no other way for "cleaning the flags." The "sorting by number of close votes" is for the questions being closed, not for the totality of the closed questions. – kiamlaluno Sep 28 '12 at 11:25
  • I'm aware of what "sorting by number of close votes" does. I sorted by it to count the number of questions that are currently at four close votes (32). If what you say is correct and moderators cannot clear the flags manually then I would say that pretty much proves my point is correct. As otherwise that number should be much higher because there ought to be more questions there (those not worthy of closing but stuck in limbo with 4 close votes accrued before the question was fixed) – Martin Smith Sep 28 '12 at 11:40
  • It doesn't prove anything. To know how users votes to close, you should ask to who votes to close. Watching the votes casted for the closed questions, you will never know if the vote was for a randomly chosen reason, a reason chosen because already selected by others, or a reason chosen because the user thought it was the right reason for closing the question. – kiamlaluno Sep 28 '12 at 12:05
  • Moderators cannot clear the flags manually, if by flags you mean the counters for the closing reasons. If you mean the flags raised from users who cannot vote to close, moderators can mark those flags as useful without to close a question. Anyway, we are talking of closing votes, not flags for closing a question. – kiamlaluno Sep 28 '12 at 12:06

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