When I click on “Close” (under a question), I get a “Why should this question be closed?” dialog box. If, in that box, I click on “off-topic because…”, I get a “Closing > Off-Topic” box. If I then click on “Other (add a comment explaining what is wrong)”, a “Comment” box appears. The text that I enter into that box is, in fact, saved to the question as a comment that anybody can see. It seems like this is a custom close reason, and it should be visible only to users with >3000 rep (those who can see and cast close votes), just as “other (needs ♦ moderator attention)” flag explanations are visible only to users with sufficient mojo to see and handle flags.
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The idea behind this is that if you're giving a custom reason, then the user should be aware of why their question is being closed. This is intentional and by-design.
So the author of a question can see close votes on it as they accumulate, even if he has low rep? I’m not sure I knew that. But it doesn’t invalidate my request (which I’ll rephrase ever so slightly): a custom close reason should be visible only to people who can see the close vote associated with it. Dec 6, 2013 at 5:10
@Scott I disagree. The OP should know what's wrong with their question – even if it's not closed yet.– slhckDec 6, 2013 at 5:20
@slhck: OK, I’m confused. If Joe LowRep asks a question, and Alphonse HighRep casts a close vote, can Joe see it immediately? If yes, then what are you disagreeing with? I’m proposing: OK, let Joe see the close reason, along with all the high-rep users who can see the close votes. Just don’t publish it for everybody to see; at least not until the question actually gets closed. It seems like the current policy is: “Everybody should know his blood pressure, cholesterol, etc…, therefore we should print everybody’s medical records in the newspaper.” Dec 6, 2013 at 5:28
Why not show it, @Scott? As a close voter, by publishing the comment, you're made accountable for the vote. The whole idea is to keep the process transparent at all times—just like the "possible duplicate of…" comment is added when you choose a duplicate. It helps everyone understand what's going on, and allows them to respond to that. Community moderation is public to the greatest extent, so a comparison with medical records is moot.– slhckDec 6, 2013 at 6:11
FYI @Scott anybody with 250 rep can see close votes on their own questions.– nhinkleDec 6, 2013 at 6:23
1@Scott - it is also good to give the OP a change to possibly edit a salvageable question, make it better, and keep it from getting closed. Just my opinion.– Carl BDec 6, 2013 at 21:57