Why shouldn't low-reputation users see close votes?

This question received several answers before it was closed. This behavior seems common, not just for obvious duplicates but also for other bad questions. For instance, I would expect to see a few enthusiastic responses to a question like "what is your favorite function on the integers?" before the close vote went through.

I believe that if low-reputation users were allowed to see the close vote on a question, they would be more reluctant to provide answers to it. With the current system, you have to post a comment like "please don't answer this question; it's a duplicate" with questionable success. But this commenting seems both unnecessary and suboptimal. If people could see the close vote, they'd realize that those trying to close were serious and wouldn't bother answering.

Why aren't users with under 3000 rep allowed the courtesy of seeing that a question is being closed? Ideally people would check for duplicates before answering, but not everyone does and the problem isn't going away.

• Please explain the downvote; this is my first question on meta and I would appreciate the help of knowing what I have done wrong. Thank you.
– 6005
Jun 16 '13 at 19:27
• Unlike on the main site, votes on meta usually correspond to whether or not people agree or disagree with you.
– davidlowryduda Mod
Jun 16 '13 at 19:37
• I believe the "this question is a duplicate" comments you're referring to are automatically posted by the software when the first close-as-duplicate vote is cast. It is (perhaps not obviously) a signal that there is a close-as-duplicate vote in progress. Jun 16 '13 at 20:25
• To springboard off of mixedmath's comment: People may downvote the question if they disagree with the proposal the question could be turned into. For example, people may downvote your question if they don't want people with $< 3\text{k}$ rep to see closevotes. This thew me for a loop the first time I asked a question here, but it's just the way it turned out to be... Jun 17 '13 at 2:22

As Antonio Vargas said in comments, close-as-a-duplicate votes automatically generate a comment possible duplicate of ... which everyone can see. SE once tried to make this automatic comment more prominent by putting it in the form of a banner that was inserted with the first duplicate vote. The decision was heavily criticized (see Automatic insertion of dupe-banner after just one close vote is vulnerable to abuse) and reversed.

The (misleadingly named) privilege view closed votes grants you the ability only to cast and view such votes on your own questions.

But with a simple bookmarklet a low-rep user can see votes to close on every question. (I'm not sure how much rep is required: experimentally, $700$ is enough, while $101$ is not. Maybe $250$ is the required level here.) Create a bookmark in your browser and copy the following code into its URL field:

javascript:(function(){ var id = $("#question").attr("data-questionid");$("#flag-post-" + id).loadPopup({url: "/posts/popup/close/" + id}); })()


For example, I used it to find that My sister absolutely refuses to learn math had 4 votes to close as off-topic as of the time of writing. Personally, I doubt that a visible count of closevotes would deter people from discussing a popular soft question. It is more likely to generate resentment (which may be entirely unnecessary, because a nonzero count does not mean the question will be closed). I can easily imagine countless comments "why are people voting to close this question?" from inexperienced users, on questions that may well remain open upon review.

• "...It is more likely to generate resentment (which may be entirely unnecessary, because a nonzero count does not mean the question will be closed). I can easily imagine countless comments "why are people voting to close this question?" from inexperienced users..." - yeah, that's why I'd prefer that close votes be only shown to people who have already spent a sufficient amount of time on the site to know how things work. I'd rather not hear whining from drive-by users... Jun 17 '13 at 1:06
• I don't know if such a hack should be encouraged. Jun 25 '13 at 0:49
• @AustinMohr The SE site stackapps.com has some such "hacks" too, e.g. “View Vote totals” without 1000 rep. They exist because SE makes more information available through their API than it builds into the site's UI. The absence of a link to access some information does not mean they don't want users to access it; it may be that they don't want to confuse inexperienced users most of whom don't need this information. Jun 25 '13 at 1:50