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There have been a lot of questions about this. In particular, I read this question regarding the visibility of the voting buttons on your own question, and I understand why they need to be there -- something about consistency of UI design, and about the need to display elements, even if they aren't actionable.

On my OS, normally, if an element cannot be actioned or clicked on, it is either removed, or greyed out and disabled.

Since the community has decided that we're not going to outright remove these elements, and it seems like a good call, then why don't we train users by discouraging them not to click them? Suggestions include:

  • Dimming out unactionable UI elements.
  • Modifying the tooltip text to mention that the action the user is about to do will fail.

Here is an example:

Please note that these elements are unactionable. The question below is your own question. You cannot upvote or downvote your own question.

prototype

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Why is the start grayed out? –  Time Traveling Bobby Sep 5 '12 at 10:53
    
Why would we want to discourage users from clicking them? –  Yannis Sep 5 '12 at 10:55
    
@YannisRizos These are for your own questions. Apologies if I didn't make that clear –  Redandwhite Sep 5 '12 at 10:58
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this could also happen when the post is locked, or when you don't have the rep to downvote, etc –  ajax333221 Sep 5 '12 at 14:33

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