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Some context:

This thread provide some insights as to why vote counts are not displayed by default.

It is, for me, a rather unsatisfying reason. Not because it is not valid, but because it really is a shame that something that helpful has a restrained access for a very technical down-to-earth reason...

Now, I'm not sure showing the vote counts publicly for every post is the solution either. But first, why I think getting some information as to how much debate there is over a post is important.

Why I think such info might be useful:

I believe a 0-average or even a negative-average vote count may still have merit if 10 people voted up and say 10 people voted down (or even 11).

I feel negative votes put a lot of pressure on the poster (and that's good that it makes you re-think your answer), but sometimes, things are not that black and white.

Not to mention that there is quite a trend factor, I could sometimes witness some mimetism, to a mild extent of course. I think it is good for a user to see what the community thinks as a whole. Average votes are one thing, but is it significant all by itself? I am unsure.

Talking about peer pressure, when your post is down-voted, you (should) consider removing it, but if people are divided about it, then it might have some merit if only to show that, that people are divided about it.

Hence my feature request:

I think it would be interesting to have a way to measure how debatable (and debated) a question/answer is. If you can't show the votes explicitly, then I suggest something like an attribute saying that people are debating over it.

For instance, if a post has received more than n votes we might provide attributes like:

  • "unanimous", if most post go in one direction
  • "debatable"/"debated"/"discussed"/"subject to discussion" or even "to be considered carefuly" (although this one seems biased), if there are many votes on either side

Of course, n, most and many are yet to be defined.

Not to mention that doing this instead of showing vote counts has two good points on top of provided that information:

  • only posts with more than n votes would be featuring this, so overall, the overhead is reduced,
  • the accusation that less-experienced users might use vote counts to balance out questions/answers doesn't hold anymore since the vote count is unkown and since it requires many votes, adding one isn't that significant.

Discussion:

I think there is much to debate on this one.

What do you think? Why do you think it is a good/bad idea? Do you see the merit of such a feature? Do you even agree that such a feature would help the users evaluate their answers and those of others?

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    Users with 1000 rep can see vote counts. – jscs Mar 20 '14 at 8:41
  • My point exaclty. An established user can probably guess whether it is debatable or not... What about normal users? What about public vote view – Tonio Mar 20 '14 at 8:42
  • It looks to me as if those who have the priviledge are the ones who need it least. I'm talking about using this info to see whether a question/answer is relevent for you as a random user, to make sense of neither-white-nor-black posts – Tonio Mar 20 '14 at 8:43
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  • Thanks. Do you want me to remove my duplicate? – Tonio Mar 20 '14 at 8:46
  • That's entirely up to you. If you want, you can change your question to address the new information. – jscs Mar 20 '14 at 8:48
  • I updated my question in the light of the thread you provided. – Tonio Mar 20 '14 at 9:07
  • I protest against this thread being closed. I updated this thread heavily 47 minutes ago and made it very distinct from the thread it was previously a duplicate of. The revision history is proof of that. I honestly believe those who made the final call did not take the time to review it correclty or at the very least tell me of what this thread is a duplicate in its current state. – Tonio Mar 20 '14 at 9:58
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    For the record, I didn't vote to close as duplicate, but as "problem does not exist" because it didn't seem you were aware of the background. Now, however, I think this is a duplicate of Should we have some sort of indication that an answer is highly disputed – jscs Mar 20 '14 at 19:31
  • Okay, thanks for the explanation – Tonio Mar 20 '14 at 23:00