This is an idea I just had and I would like to know what you guys think about it. How about showing votes and order the answers ONLY after a vote has been casted. Sometimes answers that come late are not voted up, because they are simply not as visible or people just bother to read the really highly upvoted or downvoted question, which leads to excessive up and down voting. So I would only be able to see what other people think when I left my opinion unbiased or maybe give up my right to vote on the thread. Please give me the pro and cons on an approach like that!

EDIT: Maybe add a feature that says that I give up my right to vote on a question and then immediately see how everybody voted.


Hide votes until after a vote has been cast on either the question or answer.

  • 1
    I guess you guys don't like my idea too much ...
    – Lucas
    Sep 20, 2009 at 23:06
  • 5
    Alright,I am going to cry a little bit and then go to bed. Seems like this is not going to happen.
    – Lucas
    Sep 20, 2009 at 23:47
  • I actually liked this idea, but @Shog9 answer beats it up. "Displaying the current score helps us" for that alone I don't think the score should be hidden.
    – cregox
    Mar 11, 2010 at 23:12

3 Answers 3


If you don't know the answer, and are unable to recognize a given answer as either correct or incorrect, then don't vote.

  • Don't up-vote an answer just because it "sounds good" or has previous up-votes. Especially avoid up-voting an answer just because it has been down-voted; it may well deserve it.
  • Don't down-vote an answer just because it has previous down-votes.

This strategy is fairly natural; i suspect most users follow it to some degree just as a matter of course, the exceptions being users who feel that they have to "fix" the system somehow. Note that i'm perfectly fine with users up-voting answers they feel are underrated, and down-voting answers they feel are overrated: over the long run, this helps to correct the ranking of good but late answers.

Remember: the primary use for voting is to help other users, old and new, to find the questions and answers we need. Displaying the current score helps us.

  • 2
    This answer sounds good. Unvoted.
    – random
    Sep 20, 2009 at 22:51

I don't see hiding the votes until after someone has cast a vote valuable. What if I don't want to vote on the question, but would like to see what the highest voted response was? Or I reach my vote cap for the day and now I can't see what the highest voted answer?

From a development aspect I can see a lot going wrong changes the site to support this, since one of the major features of the site is the voting, and it determines a lot of aspects of the display. For example, a question with more then 5 downvotes no longer shows in the active list, yet people will have no idea why it is not there until they vote on it.

Someone may be learning a technology, have no idea what is the right answer, but uses the highest voted answer or question to determine what the right approach is to do something. I will admit, I don't always upvote an answer if I find it via Google for example, since it may answer my question, but may not be the solution I needed.

Based on Edit

Honestly, as much as all these suggestions are promising, it really is making the system overly complex. The ideal is simple, ask a question, provide an answer, vote on either if you like them or not. As much as all the other bells and whistles sound good, the overall usability of the site should be the first consideration. I can't imagine using the site with all these additional rules around voting. It just makes the whole concept to cumbersome. The way it works right now is why it has been so successful.

I sometimes do drive by voting. I read the question, read the answers, vote for the one's I like and move on. If I happen to see a particularly bad answer, I downvote. If I see that someone has a good answer, and getting an opvote might earn him or her a badge, or even up their reputation enough to give them additional functionality on the site, I might even look at their profile and vote on a correct answer that will gain them the required reputation. Hiding the votes defeats that objective completely.

  • Maybe I haven't been clear. I mean that votes are not shown until I cast my vote. So I am unbiased to what other people think about the post.
    – Lucas
    Sep 20, 2009 at 21:50
  • I think you have a good point. I just feel that good answers get lost and don't get the rep they deserve, because they weren't posted in the first 10s after the questions was asked.
    – Lucas
    Sep 20, 2009 at 22:34
  • @Lulu: be aware, that this discrepancy tends to smooth out after a while as more people actively seeking solutions find the question and its answers.
    – Shog9
    Sep 20, 2009 at 23:08

I think you mean making the voting invisible until you yourself have either voted or answered, so that you or others are not swayed by what has gone before. A big con is that this would not be helpful to those who are just learning and don't want to vote or answer. They would not know what was the best option unless an answer was accepted (and not necessarily even then, as that depends on the asker).

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