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Question owners should be able to see the vote breakdowns on answers to their questions only, regardless of reputation.

I understand that this information is restricted because of (a) server load and (b) new-user drama, but can we make an exception for the one person involved in a post who has the most to gain from the knowledge?

When I ask a question on a site where I don't have the rep to see vote breakdowns, I can't tell (unless there's discussion in comments) whether that plausible-looking answer is really +4 or, rather, +10/-6. As someone considering implementation based on the answers I get, that seems like a pretty important difference.

This is not the same as enabling low-rep users to easily breakout up and down votes on their own questions.

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Also related, but not a dup:… – psubsee2003 Sep 16 '13 at 18:23
One of those feature requests that's so smart you wonder how it's not a duplicate. – Adam Rackis Sep 16 '13 at 18:30
I like this in principle, but it would add one more special exception to our UI. Do you have any suggestions about how we could educate users of the voter breakdown feature and why they see it sometimes and not others? – Jon Ericson Sep 16 '13 at 18:37
@JonEricson, I'm not sure -- how do we educate them now about why they can comment on their own posts but not others, or (apparently) see close votes on their questions but not others? How mudh education do we think we need here, and can it be covered by, say, a one-time notice when they ask the question? – Monica Cellio Sep 16 '13 at 18:43
@AdamRackis yeah, I was sure it had to have been raised before and went hunting so I could add my vote, but I couldn't find it. – Monica Cellio Sep 16 '13 at 18:44
@MonicaCellio I think the way we educate users about that is with a pop-up flag box thingy. Sounds reasonable to me to just use that here as well :) I think this is a brilliant idea. (I'm one of the ones who wants to see this information all the time, but I understand why I can't.) Still, would be great to know for answers to your questions (I'd also expand to say you should be able to see this at any time for your own posts.) – WendiKidd Sep 16 '13 at 18:52
@JonEricson my opinion is that the vote breakdown should be always available no matter the rep or even for unregistered users. The only reason is that the values are not denormalised in the database - so denormalise them. – Jan Dvorak Sep 16 '13 at 18:53
If you don't have the reputation, you get a little added blurb: "add comment (requires 50 reputation)". The parenthetical goes away when you get to 50 or on your own posts or answers to your own questions. That's necessary since it's obvious to new users that comments are possible. But new users don't know about the vote breakdown until they earn the privilege. (Well, users new to the network, that is. ;) – Jon Ericson Sep 16 '13 at 18:58
@Jan - I suspect architectural changes to a site like Stack Overflow are a monstrous undertaking. I don't think the SE team is willing to invest that kind of time and money just to let sub-1000 users see vote breakdowns. – Adam Rackis Sep 16 '13 at 18:59
@MonicaCellio Until SE implements it natively, you can use this userscript. – Lorem Ipsum Sep 16 '13 at 19:19
@yoda, thanks! Perfect! – Monica Cellio Sep 16 '13 at 19:31
@Jon, I think your second comment answers the question in your first one: users new to the network won't even know to look for the feature so its presence won't confuse them, so the target audience here is people who've already seen this in action on other sites (or who are specifically told about it). While there's still room for confusion, it might be at the level of "why can't I edit on meta?" or "why can't I edit other people's posts when they can edit mine?" or "close votes, you say?". – Monica Cellio Sep 24 '13 at 17:13
up vote 6 down vote accepted

To be completely honest, I'd rather go whole hog and allow everyone to see all up/down votes. We need fewer weird edge cases not more.

But if that absolutely, positively cannot happen, I could see a reasonable argument being made to allow viewing vote splits when the user has some stake in them. I think that works out to:

  • own posts,
  • answers to own questions,
  • answers to questions they've bountied, and,
  • perhaps, questions and answers where they have a competing answer.

When view the split is not allowed, a popup should appear similar to what is seen when you can't vote:

Vote up fail.

It would be a little jarring to see:

Viewing up/down vote splits requires 1000 reputation ☒

And of course that would be a lie. Viewing splits requires 1000 reputation unless... Worse, it will train users to not click the number even when it would work.

I don't see an elegant way to explain the behaviour (without forcing new users to read and internalize a flowchart) to a non-maven.


If you know about vote splits and don't have them yet on a site you care about, install the appropriate user script. If there is a way to allow viewing the vote splits to scale for everyone, the feature should be available everywhere. Adding more edge cases only exacerbates the problem.

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How about this: instead of changing the behavior of the "show votes" mouseclick based on context, let's automatically display it in the cases where the viewer has an interest. We already know at page-load time if it's my question or bounty; competing answers would be a little harder but I'm not certain we need that one. The auto-expanded count could have a pop-up hint (like your example) that says "You can votes on your own questions/bounties" with a link to a page explaining it in a few more words. – Monica Cellio May 4 '15 at 16:17

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