I just noticed some nice user options on MO and I think it would be nice to have them on cstheory also:

  1. Hide questions with ignored tags, (Update: already supported, check the checkbox on perfs page of your profile)
  2. Show symbols !, ⋅, ∘, ⊡, ⊟, ⊞ for reputations above 0, 15, 100, 2000, 3000, 10000, respectively, (Update: see below)
  3. Do not show user reputations, (Update: see below)
  4. Hide vote counts, (Update: see below)
  5. Apply ignored-tag styles to closed questions.

I particularly like the idea of using symbols in place of numbers for user reputation.

A similar idea is to use colors in place of numbers for total vote counts and only show exact vote counts if the user clicks on the color. This can reduce the idea that users are sorting the answers but rather are voting based on the sole quality of them and increase voting on answers/questions.


I modified this user script to get 2, 3, and 4. You can find the scripts on the same page.

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  • $\begingroup$ excellent. I'll have to try that out now :) $\endgroup$ – Suresh Venkat Jul 18 '11 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ the scripts still need improvement, they are just proofs of the concepts. :) $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Jul 18 '11 at 18:47

#1 already exists: the “hide ignored tags” checkbox in the right sidebar of the main page and the /questions page, also present in your profile in the “prefs” tab.

#2, #3 and #4 are unlikely to be implemented in the Stack Exchange network in general, given how Stack Overflow users often obsess about reputation. (For example, there's no easy way to see the upvote/downvote breakdown if you have less than 1000 reputation, and that's a common feature request.)

Regarding #5, the idea of closed questions is that they are in one of three states:

  • recently closed questions which might be considered for reopening, so they shouldn't be ignored.
  • old closed questions that no one cares about any more, so they should be deleted.
  • differently-worded duplicates that deserve the same billing as the non-closed duplicate.

I haven't been following CSTheory much, are there a lot of closed (and not migrated) questions? Maybe there should be a policy of deleting closed questions after a while? (Takes 3 votes from users with 10k reputation, which in practice means only moderators can delete questions.) Note that I'm just reminding of the possibility, I don't know if the policy would be good for CSTheory. A point in favor of deleting is that closed questions can give a wrong idea of the site (e.g. if most of the questions in a tag are closed, the tag looks more important than it should — and simply being there, because not everyone, especially visitors reaching the site from Google, pays attention to the closed status). Another point in favor of deleting off-topic questions is that the answers are often suspect because they haven't reached experts — but in CSTheory's case this may not apply so much, if the off-topic questions tend to be too elementary but nonetheless satisfactorily answered. A point against deletion is that closed questions can still have useful answers; an intermediate policy is to delete closed questions when it becomes clear that they haven't been reopened, unless they have answers with useful content.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thnks, I didn't know about that checkbox. I don't understand what you say about 2,3,4 since I am suggesting is reverse of giving more information (down/up votes break up), and what I am suggesting is a checkbox that those who don't want to see these information can check to hide them, and the same information is going to be available if the user prefers to see it. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Jul 18 '11 at 0:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Kaveh Ah, ok, I hadn't understood that you meant them as user options rather than general changes. Then I suspect the answer will be “do it in your browser”, because they don't like interface options much (but I have no connection with the SE team, so my prediction may well be wrong). I recommend posting each request on Meta.SO then, especially in case the answer turns out to be no, because there are people there who might just write the user styles for you. Also look on Stack Apps if something already exists. $\endgroup$ – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jul 18 '11 at 0:24
  • $\begingroup$ Nice. User scripts solve most of the problem since the features I mention are user interface modifications. And I already found one user script that I think I can easily modify to implement the user reputation hiding or using symbols in place of numbers. :) $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Jul 18 '11 at 5:06

I'm all for it: but should this instead be sent to meta.SO ?

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't know, I thought that they said we should post questions on each site's own meta in place of directing users to meta.SO. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Jul 16 '11 at 7:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaveh The idea is that ordinary users shouldn't have to know about Meta.SO, but mods should. Then it depends on whether your request is specific to CSTheory or not. SE staff do read all metas, and might migrate a feature request or bug report from a child meta if it applies network-wide. $\endgroup$ – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jul 18 '11 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilles, thanks, I have already asked them about this and they said it is OK to post feature requests on the child meta. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Jul 18 '11 at 0:12

I did not notice those MO features until you pointed them out (under 'user' and then 'prefs' tab for those that are looking for it; took me a little time). But one comment on the "hide vote count" feature:

On MO the hide vote-count, hides the votes for both questions and answers. It would be nice to hide the vote count just for answers, since I often use the question vote count to select the questions I am going to read.

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  • $\begingroup$ I agree, I am not saying completely hiding the vote counts is good. We need an indicator for the quality of the questions, but I think exact vote counts in the default view has problems. What I am suggesting is to use colors in place of numbers for the quality of question so users don't feel they are ranking questions or answers. And if a user wants to check the exact total vote, they can click and see it, it is just not what is shown in the default view. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Jul 17 '11 at 2:58
  • $\begingroup$ Here is an example of what I am suggesting: questions with total vote count: negative: light gray, 0: dark gray, 1-9: black, 10-24: bronze, 25-99: silver, 100+: gold. Using symbols/colors in place of numbers can express the quality without being too specific. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Jul 17 '11 at 3:04

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