Down voting or up voting is very clear on Stack Overflow.

But in some questions on meta it's very confusing (to me).

For example, this question:

OP asks a very interesting question, then gets some up votes, and as what he is asking or attempting is not "good", gets down votes

This kind of voting happens pretty much open as far as I follow on meta.
I say "I follow", because I can not see vote counts as my reputation is under that privilege.

Even if I had Established User privilege, I can learn when I open than click on vote count.

Would it be better vote counts always open, even in listing on meta?

Then I would not miss "hot" questions which are zero score but it is actually i.e. +10/-10.

On listing, this might me something like this:
enter image description here

  • 23
    Personally, I would be in favor of having public vote counts everywhere. Having that be privileged information makes no sense to me, and anyone could look it up in the timeline view anyway.
    – a cat
    Feb 4, 2012 at 21:07
  • 4
    Well, thanks for uploading that mockup because I seem to have misunderstood what you meant by "open" (available to everyone vs. always visible if you have access to it). See this answer by Jeff Atwood for why this likely won't happen (tl;dr: performance).
    – a cat
    Feb 4, 2012 at 23:06
  • 3
    @lunboks - maybe, but the performance cost of doing this for meta is likely much, much less than doing it for SO -- way fewer visitors here than there. Feb 5, 2012 at 0:17
  • 2
    The actual +/- vote counts are not important, what is relevant is whether the question is trending above or below zero. It is so unimportant that even users who have the privilege need to make an extra click to see the info. People vote quite readily on Meta, so if a question has a number of views but zero votes then you can guarantee that it is collecting equal numbers of up and down votes. Earn some more rep and you will have access to it.
    – slugster
    Feb 5, 2012 at 9:35
  • 1
    I find the number of participants in the discussion the most telling figure about a discussion. (People that commented, answered, posed the question, and possibly voted. I'm not too certain about that last one.) Mar 9, 2012 at 17:45
  • 9
    @slugster: There's a difference between a question with no votes and one with 20 upvotes and 20 downvotes. That difference isn't reflected in the number of views. If I saw a question with +20/-20, I'd likely be interested in reading it. Mar 21, 2012 at 19:54

3 Answers 3


I agree with your suggestion. In general I think a number of small changes could be made to address this difference on Meta.

For example, I've often thought that at least the voting tooltips should be changed here. When you hover over the down arrow you get the same message as on the main site:

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful

...when on Meta one would think it should be more like:

I personally disagree with this question or suggestion

  • 1
    It's hard to agree/disagree with someone's support question, for example. A better wording would be something like: This question is interesting to me and/or I agree with its contents.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Feb 4, 2012 at 20:59
  • 1
    See Change upvote/downvote tooltip on meta sites (answered by Jeff Atwood).
    – a cat
    Feb 4, 2012 at 21:12

Fortunately the StackApps API works just fine, and you can get this information from it. I've already made a bookmarklet back then to support querying of this data from the API, available here: VoteCounts: bookmarklet to display up/down votes even for rep less than 1000

I've made some modifications to it recently, and tested on latest Chrome (and it works)

tl;dr: Run this in questions page:

javascript:(function(){w=function(t,q){l='_vote_count';h='up'+l;j='down'+l;k='</div>';s='<div style="color:';$(t).html(s+'green">'+(q[h]?'+':'')+q[h]+k+'<div class="vote-count-separator">'+k+s+'maroon">'+(q[j]==0?'':'-')+q[j]+k)};a='jsonp';c=' .vote-count-post';$.ajax({url:document.location.href.replace(/(http:\/\/)(.*)(\/questions\/.*)\/.*/,'$1api.$2/1.0$3?answers=true'),dataType:a,jsonp:a,success:function(x){b=x.questions[0];w('#question'+c,b);$.each(b.answers,function(z,y){w('#answer-'+y.answer_id+c,y)})}})})()

Run this in the main page:

javascript:(function(){w=function(t,q){l='_vote_count';h='up'+l;j='down'+l;k='</div>';s='<div style="color:';$(t).html('<div class=".mini-counts">'+s+'green">'+(q[h]?'+':'')+q[h]+k+s+'maroon">'+(q[j]==0?'':'-')+q[j]+k+k)};a='jsonp';c=' .votes';$.ajax(  {url:document.location.href.replace(/(http:\/\/)([^\/]*)/,'$1api.$2/1.0/questions'),dataType:a,jsonp:a,success:function(x){$.each(x.questions,function(z,b){w('#question-summary-'+b.question_id+c,b);})}})})()

Result for the second bookmarklet:


More might be added if I get the bounty :P

  • However, this spams a lot of requests... Mar 10, 2012 at 23:19
  • the API has a limit of a few requests/day/IP, so it is controlled. If one uses it too much a day the request will be denied.
    – SztupY
    Mar 11, 2012 at 16:18

If you really want to see this data, use a user script.

We're not going to change the question list view.

I'm not even sure what this would address, votes mean different things on Meta... but changing the display doesn't change the voting behavior (or ultimate conclusions).


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