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I recently had a question closed here and noticed that the usernames of those voting to close was not displayed. Is this (not displaying the usernames) a relatively new practice?

It has occurred to me that some users (by their questions and or answers) appear to have a political agenda. Unfortunately some members appear to use the vote to close privilege to suppress questions that might generate answers that reflect negatively on their political leanings.

The above cited question is probably a good example. The reason for voting to close this question is: off-topic as it is not a good faith attempt to understand a political/governmental process , but no significantly is purported to be an attempt to discredit or support a cause, group or politician. It's is certainly not "clear" to me that any of those elements are present in this question. I would really like to know the users who are making this claim.

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Yes, this is a deliberate change. See New Post Notices rollout on Stack Overflow which quotes from this blog post (emphasis mine):

For people who ask questions today, if your question is closed, feedback that is directed toward you privately is shared publicly with anyone who views your question. Plus, the names of people who voted to close the question are highlighted publicly, too, setting them up for attack when they’re just trying to curate content according to the system.

Here’s what our holistic redesign of all post notices will prioritize:

  • Delivering improved, private feedback to post authors
  • Not putting users who curate content on the spot
  • Giving actionable, understandable information for the vast majority of public viewers

That doesn't mean you can't see the users who voted to close; it's still visible in the question's timeline.

(Since I didn't vote to close that question, I'm not going to answer why those users think that close reason applies.)

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  • fortunately, when I began to notice the same names appearing to VTC in the past, I took note of those names. Now that I can see the names of those who voted to close, I can identify those that are too cowardly to offer constructive comments on the questions. – BobE Aug 17 at 16:50
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    @BobE why would it be cowardly if you vote without commenting? I sometimes visit the queue and vote based on the content. It's often quite clear why a post needs to be closed (or even deleted). With your reputation level you can even audit all reviews by just going through the review queue history. I'm not hiding my votes, but I don't think an explanation is necessary in most cases. Of course if you (or others) have a question about a particular review (or vote) you're welcome to ask about it on meta. ;) – JJJ Aug 17 at 21:55
  • @JJforTransparencyandMonica, I don't mean to avoid you remark here, and I've no real problem with downvoting a question, I just think that it's is disrespectful to VTC without some sort of comment as towhy the Q should be closed. From what I can see of the timeline on the Q, you were not one that VTC, so I have no quarrel with you. – BobE Aug 17 at 22:08
  • @JJforTransparencyandMonica Keep in mind that while the reason why you VTC might be obvious to you, it might not be obvious to a new user. For that reason you should always comment when you VTC, unless there is already a comment which says why the question should be closed which you agree with. – Philipp Aug 20 at 13:14
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    @Philipp I disagree, almost completely. For a long while, in several of the SE's I curate, I made a concerted effort to post a reason every ... single ... time .... about why I was doing it, whether it was obvious or not. And every single time, literally, I got (usually harsh) criticism for my reasoning. I do not comment any longer. Make it a requirement to add a comment and I will. – CGCampbell Aug 21 at 21:08
  • @CGCampbell It's also a great way to attract the serial downvoters who will downvote your old posts out of spite, but stay under the limit to not trip off the serial downvote detection bot. SE desperately needs a system to anonymize critical comments. – SurpriseDog Aug 22 at 15:56
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    @Philipp: There was a proposal on MSE some time ago to require comments when close-voting, and it went down in flames. This is not a thing that we do. If it's unclear why something has been closed, then that's a problem with the close rationale, and should be fixed sitewide. Trying to encourage people to do something which the broader community has explicitly decided is optional will never work. – Kevin Aug 31 at 16:26
  • @Philipp There has never been a requirement to comment when VTC, and there never should be. Users "playing the user, not the question" when VTC is an issue with those users, not the VTC policy, and should be addressed as such. For the rest of us who use VTC as intended - namely, a (mostly impartial) judgement on the quality and topicality of a question - forcing us to comment is an unnecessary and onerous step that will discourage curation. – Ian Kemp Sep 4 at 12:56

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