I do like the system of "Gathering Kudos". However, I think it needs to be made more clear, particularly for new users, and especially for a period of time until the majority of users understand how it works.
I think some additional text and graphic cues could be displayed during the time that a Suggestion is gathering kudos. This might be a tad verbose, but you get the idea...
During the time prior to an idea being approved to gather kudos, a similarly explicit message could be displayed to avoid confusion. Something like: this idea is currently being reviewed. Please come back later to vote when it is opened for kudos. In the meantime feel free to post your comments.
It could also be a good idea to encourage people to subscribe to a Feature Suggestion while it is being reviewed. Currently people may like an idea, but I’ve seen it take several days to get approved for voting sometimes. By then, people may have moved on.
Or better yet, just allow people to vote on ideas immediately. If the Idea gets turned down and archived, voting is closed, and it doesn’t matter anyway. I don’t see any harm in allowing people to vote on an idea the moment it’s posted. The way it’s set up right now is very confusing for new members.
Thank you for this feedback, Eric! We are constantly looking into improving the Ideas Exchange board and appreciate you pointing out our areas of opportunity to communicate things in a clearer fashion.