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I believe it's possible to deduce who upvoted or downvoted on a post using the new First Posts review tool.

For example, here's a review I did on DIY.SE (the site where I'm most active):

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The review history page (note: seeing the full history appears to be a 10k privilege) shows that I reviewed it at 23:36:21 UTC:

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The timeline for the question shows a downvote on the answer on September 13th:

Timeline of the post in question for September 13th shows a single downvote

Clicking through to the user's reputation tab shows the downvote occurred at 23:36:17 UTC:

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So if the only action on the post for the day is a downvote, and there was a review committed just a few seconds after that downvote, it's not terribly hard to deduce who placed it.

This may be less of a problem on SO and the other big sites, but for the smaller sites where there are few people reviewing, I believe this could compromise voting anonymity.

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SO is a pretty busy site. Two different people doing something within a few seconds of each other on the same post is little more than a coincidence. You can't stop people from assuming you were the down-voter if you commit some other audited action, even if they are minutes apart. – Aaron Bertrand Sep 14 '12 at 14:22
@AaronBertrand I agree with your statement, but I draw a slightly different conclusion than I think you are; people already jump to conclusions about who down voted; I don't think we should make it even more easy for them to make such assumptions. – Andrew Barber Sep 14 '12 at 15:06

1 Answer 1

This is true enough. However, in order for this to be used to find the down-voter you have to already suspect someone of voting on a given post and look up either their activity history... Or trawl through the review history looking for the post.

Even then, there's no explicit confirmation that the vote was theirs - all you know is that they did something on that post during the review, and the post was down-voted at around the same time. Maybe they flagged it. Maybe they left a comment (and then deleted it). Heck, maybe they voted and then later retracted their vote!

It's a trade-off between privacy and transparency, and something you should be comfortable with if you plan to spend a lot of time moderating the site - folks will just as soon go after you for voting if you left a comment soon after a down-vote was cast, or even edited.

If you encounter harassment over voting - regardless of the source or accuracy of the allegations - please flag for moderator attention.

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"If you encounter harassment over voting - regardless of the source or accuracy of the allegations - please flag for moderator attention." Does that include "Why the downvote, {insert suspected downvoter name here}" comments? – Al E. Sep 14 '12 at 17:41
Yes. Flag those instantly. – Shog9 Sep 14 '12 at 18:17

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