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Why do we need this feature?

It has been many times asked users to vote a post for its content, not anything else. However, for example, when a post is heavily downvoted, users usually treat the post in either of the following ways:

  • They ignore it because they think that it is worthless.

  • They intend to vote it; however, something in their minds repeatedly tells them "it is likely a worthless post because many users have downvoted it. Don't waste your time for reading this post, and downvote it".

I want to conclude that many users, even experienced ones, are highly affected by vote results on posts, so they may not cast their votes based on content of posts.

What is this feature?

I think it should not be a bad idea that vote results are not shown in a short while (for example, one hour, 12 hours, one day, ...) after posting a question. So users tend to read each post carefully before casting their votes.

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  • 8
    This was actually tried as an experiment on Stack Overflow, but was removed. Apr 20 at 5:57
  • Oh dear, here we go again... Also I disagree because, well let's say a typical baddd post appears. It gets a lot of downvotes. However the votes are "hidden" and those who don't quite understand the problem will tend to upvote the question. And I just have a gut feeling that it's worse than you think. Apr 20 at 6:02
  • I think I should have requested a feature leading users to express reasons of their votes before writing this post.
    – Later
    Apr 20 at 6:13
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    @Later Please don't. That also has been requested many, many, many, many times before.
    – 41686d6564
    Apr 20 at 6:20
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    Partial duplicate of How about hiding answer score for first few hours?
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Apr 20 at 6:35
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    @Later I'm not sure how that's relevant here. If you wish to post the same request again, you're free to do so but it's almost guaranteed to be closed as a duplicate within minutes for the same reasons explained in the posts linked in my comment and in sonic's.
    – 41686d6564
    Apr 20 at 6:37
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    Well you immediately know this post is unpopular, and you're reacting to that by making other suggestions. Why would you not want to know that for 1-12 hours? Wouldn't suddenly seeing that this question is -20 or so, 12 hours after it was posted and you had no prior notice of that be something you'd be even more upset about? Apr 20 at 6:40
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    @Later "So users tend to read each post carefully before casting their votes." What about claiming that OPs (new or not) should tend to put more efforts in their posts in 1st place? Apr 20 at 6:56
  • @πάνταῥεῖ I agree. All people should do their best in all places such as writing posts, voting, flagging, and etc.
    – Later
    Apr 20 at 7:00
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    Does this answer your question? What you think it would happen if it was a "time delay" between an "up-vote or down-vote" and it's sum in the answer? - Later, consider that a rhetorical question.
    – Rob
    Apr 20 at 8:12
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    timely display of score for questions is even more important than for answers for reasons explained e.g. here: "when I go to a Stack Exchange home page, I see a list of questions. If most of those are terrible questions with little to no indication that I’d be wasting my time by reading them, the value proposition of visiting and participating is diminished..."
    – gnat
    Apr 20 at 8:47
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    ...also consider that hiding score may have an effect which is probably opposite to what you expect: at meta I saw many users saying that when they see post with a negative score they abstain of voting down because they feel that its score is low enough already; if system starts showing them 0 instead of negative score they naturally may be inclined to downvote it, so it ends up with even more downvotes than now
    – gnat
    Apr 20 at 8:48
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    @gnat Thanks. You are right. That post and mine are almost the same.
    – Later
    Apr 20 at 9:06
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    @Later, before you reply to automatically generated comments (which, in general, you shouldn't do) you could read the section of the FAQ titled: Do duplicate closures work differently on meta sites? - Your previous replies to auto-comments have no purpose, and only speed the closure of your question.
    – Rob
    Apr 20 at 9:22
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They intend to vote it; however, something in their minds repeatedly tells them "it is likely a worthless post because many users have downvoted it. Don't waste your time for reading this post, and downvote it".

This is telling: most of the requests on this topic assume that people voting down are just following the herd. But what about those posts that have hundreds of upvotes? You never hear people complaining about those.

Requests to hide the score almost always focus on the fact that it will hide downvotes, and how that is supposedly a benefit to everyone. What these requests seem to forget is that even downvoted posts get upvotes. And even upvoted posts get downvotes. So voting on SE is not as simple as users just following the rest of the herd. A lot more people are reading a post before voting than people seem to think.

I want to conclude that many users, even experienced ones, are highly affected by vote results on posts, so they may not cast their votes based on content of posts.

Are they really? To make such a statement, you will need data. Luckily, an experiment was done! The results, although not conclusive, are discussed in this post. The most important conclusion seems to be that "there did not appear to be a clear win for hiding post scores in any scenario tested."

I can tell you two ways in which vote results affect me:

  • If I am looking for an answer to a specific question, a question with good votes and an accepted answer gets my attention before one with lower or negative votes. Because I know the chances of this question having a useful answer are just a bit higher.
  • If I'm just browsing any site, I look at the recently posted questions. And while some scores jump out and pique my curiosity, I don't think they influence my behavior: I usually just open everything.

In the end, when it comes to voting, all that counts is that in order for me to make the right decision on what to do with a post, I need to read the entire post. A post that is highly upvoted or downvoted in a short time may spark my curiosity, but I still need to read the entire post to satisfy that curiosity and determine whether I will downvote, vote to close, edit, comment, upvote existing comments, or write an answer.

Putting the post score at 0 for an undetermined amount of time would change nothing to how I, and probably countless others, vote. It would, like the preliminary results of the experiment on SO state, only create problems for me as a user and as a moderator. For example, it makes it less clear that deletion is an option for certain low quality posts. So, instead of taking the 'correct' action of deleting a low quality post, I might make the mistake of adding yet another downvote, yet more frustration.

So no, don't hide the score.

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    I think this answer is more suitable for a utopia; it reminds me of many written SE guidelines which are followed only in theory. I cannot forget a high-rep user put their comment under one of my posts, stating that he/she did not read my post and downvoted for its author; that comment was heavily upvoted. In practice, things work more differently than what you imagine.
    – Later
    Apr 20 at 9:00
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    I find this a very wild claim @Later, please support it by linking to said comment.
    – Luuklag
    Apr 20 at 9:04
  • It was removed because it was sensitive.
    – Later
    Apr 20 at 9:05
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    So the system worked: Such comments shouldn't be posted, but if people do, they are deleted, with possible consequences for the person that posted them. For the rest: You say you don't want people to judge your posts by your bad reputation, but you do judge all other people by this one person's bad reputation... you reap what you sow, so perhaps don't do this.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Apr 20 at 9:12
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    I only wanted to say that there are many users vote for posters, not posts.
    – Later
    Apr 20 at 9:14
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    Getting one such comment, and that comment getting a few upvotes, isn't an indication of 'many', on a network this size.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Apr 20 at 9:16
  • @Later 'many users vote for posters, not posts'. Neglecting socks and ring-voters for now, I don't believe you. You could prove me wrong with evidence and numbers..... Apr 20 at 15:33

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