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There are some sites that I don't yet have 1,000 rep on (including meta), which means I cannot see the upvote/downvote breakdown.

There were some posts that I was curious about, so I pieced together my limited SQL skills to find out. This data can be up to a month old, but if I understand correctly, a similar thing could be done with the Stack Apps API to query real-time data.

What's the point of preventing people from seeing something if they can find it out anyway?

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Related – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Aug 1 '11 at 2:25
possible duplicate of Why do vote-counts require 1,000 reputation to see? – Cody Gray Aug 1 '11 at 23:42
up vote 16 down vote accepted

Showing the vote count is supposedly too expensive to do casually. (See also, Jeff's answer here.)

It's true that you can use custom SQL queries to get the same information (for now), and presumably that would be even more expensive.
But, far fewer people are liable to attempt it.

Hypothetical analogy:

Operation       "Cost"  Typical Attempts  Total Cost
--------------  ------  ----------------  ----------
Click to show     $22       1000            $22,000
Run custom SQL   $333          1               $333

Total, hypothetical savings:  $21,667 !
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Also SEDE doesn't run against the production database, it's completely unconnected. So they don't really care how expensive the queries you run on it are – Michael Mrozek Aug 1 '11 at 3:12
@Michael: What about the API? Seems like that must run against the production DB. This bookmarklet runs on the API and gives vote-counts on questions that are only minutes old. – Awesome Poodles Aug 1 '11 at 3:24
It is; I didn't see the part about the API – Michael Mrozek Aug 1 '11 at 3:26

Why bother with the API?

To quote myself, previously on MSO:

That's just the rep amount you need to be able to see it easily.

IIRC, you can see the up/down-vote breakdown for any question just by going to /posts/question-id/timeline.

For instance, you can see the breakdown for this question itself at

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+1 Nice tip. But requires a bit of arithmetic. – Kelvin Nov 1 '12 at 19:57

It's very convenient to just click on the votes and see them. Convenience is a big perk.

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