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Hide Names Until an Answer is Accepted

People are people. We have a natural bias towards others we've come to know and trust.
I know that the top reputation holders earned their positions. I'm not trying to suggest otherwise. However, there is definitely a positive feedback effect in play.
Several times now I've encountered the following situation. Two nearly identical answers, one by a high rep user and one by a low rep user, are posted. Regardless of when (relative to one another) these users post their answers the high rep user will almost invariably get a much larger percentage of the total votes for their answer then the low rep user. Sometimes this disparity is small sometimes it's huge.
I know that this change would benefit me personally but I also think it would benefit the community. If we don't continue to encourage new users to be active then diversity will suffer, our community will lose vitality and eventually the quality of answers will go down. Eliminating bias is always positive.

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    waylonflinnwaylonflinn shared this idea  ·   ·  Admin →
    declined  ·  codinghorrorcodinghorror responded  · 

    not really a solution, but a treatment of the symptoms

    7 comments

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      • MEME commented  · 

        Also I like to look at new people's profile,so I wouldn't want to wait til I come back later in time to be viewable

      • MEME commented  · 

        @waylonflinn - I don't believe its the high rep that makes the person trustworthy. Its the past answers that others seen that are very bright that makes a person give more trust to them. Do I think there is bias? Yes, of course. I face it sometimes, especially when my answer is right next to Jon skeet, no offense Jon, but I don't think by hiding the names and rep is a way to solve it. Become a regular with good answers and people will start to trust your answers to.

      • waylonflinnwaylonflinn commented  · 

        @pbysh I agree that people should be accountable for what they say. I don't agree that who a person is should matter more than the content of their post. Here's my point in a nutshell:

        Does having a name and reputation visible make it easier to decide who to vote for? Yes. Is that always a good thing? No.

      • pbyshpbysh commented  · 

        Agree with stienman. Most of the times what might appear like two equal answers are probably not. Someone asking how to, for example, make a string lowercase in php might be met with an answer that says "use strtolower" and an answer that says: "You need the strtolower (http://www.php.net/strtolower) function do this. Example: $test = "hi"; print strtolower($test);" - Yeah, they are both getting at the same thing, but one is usually the better one. I think hiding the names would do a disservice to the website. People need to know "who wrote this crap" (http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001222.html)

      • stienmanstienman commented  · 

        You'll find that the higher votes answers are not often because the person's name or rep is considered, but because the wording and structure of the answer appeal to more people. Either way, please post at minimum 5-10 examples of this problem - otherwise it's going to be considered a corner case as there are 1,000+ new questions a day, and there's no reason to change the whole system if it only affects a few answers a day.

      • waylonflinnwaylonflinn commented  · 

        @chas.owens Yeah, I was thinking that having a reasonable expiration would help in those circumstances where no answer ever gets accepted. That's a good idea.

      • chas.owenschas.owens commented  · 

        I would say until it is accepted or one day (most voting seems to stop after a day), whichever comes first.

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