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At 1000 rep, people can see the detailed vote counts (+ / -). However, we can to do the same using the reputation graph, without having the privilege.

Example, Jeff Atwood's reputation graph shows that (at the time of writing) he had got 14 upvotes and 3 downvotes for answer to this question

I think this is unintentional and makes the "View vote count" privilege superfluous.

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3  
The reputation graph only shows total reputation; that certainly provides certain insight but ignores some key concepts like reputation caps. –  Aarobot Jan 20 '11 at 18:06
    
Hmmm.. So going by the answers, the privilege does provide more convinience pluse advanced functionality. However I was glad to discover that for noobs, the reputation graph is good enough to view which of their questions/answers got downvoted. –  JP19 Jan 20 '11 at 18:11
    
Tip: if you want to see activity on your own posts rather than on someone else's, you can always use the reputation report at /reputation, or by checking your envelope report. They're typically much easier to use than the graph since they differentiate things like bounties and capped votes. –  Grace Note Jan 20 '11 at 18:13

2 Answers 2

This utility, like the similar method of using the timeline view, has limitted functionality. Its downfalls in comparison to the 1k privilege are:

  1. It only works if you catch every single vote instance for that question. It's much more difficult to measure the votes on a question that has spanned for months.
  2. It won't help if the post was turned Community Wiki at any point before any votes were accrued.
  3. You need to find the post within the span of every other post during the given time period that has had reputation change.
  4. It doesn't differentiate penalties and gains from bounties versus votes.
  5. It is affected by the reputation cap and thus isn't necessarily accurate (Thanks, Aaronaught ♪)
  6. It takes the score out of context from all of the other posts in the question by being in the profile.

In the end, the 1k privilege is indeed more of a convenience factor than a super new ability. But it's certainly not superfluous, as the accuracy is much greater than the graph can provide.

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Jeff argues that displaying both values would increase server load by unnecessary queries.

However, everyone, if they want to, can use rep graph, a legitimate SE tool, to get some result (although, not very accurate, as @Grace noticed).
By wasting more time and submitting further queries on SE servers, more accurate metrics can be obtained.

There are also other legitimate tools serving same purpose.

One more consideration. Rep graph can even reveal who has downvoted your Q or A. It does not apply users with 1000+ rep who are familiar with SE culture. Instead, for the new users who are most sensitive about downvotes, it can open a way for "revenge serial downvoting".

So I agree with OP: this limitation, in a current implementation, seems to be redundant. It does not protect SE servers from extra queries in any way.
If it is required due to whatever considerations, the SE developers should think on how to block any workarounds.

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