Recently I just deleted one of my answer in stackoverflow where there was one comment.

After deleting the answer it also show for sometime that we all know but in the comment it still allow us to up to make it useful but as I clicked it it just showed me the message:

Comment on delete

If we are not allowed to do then what was the meaning? Why don't it just be removed or make it disable if the answer is deleted.

Just don't show UI for actions that can't be actioned

  • 4
    @Bart - I believe the OP is asking why there is a UI for voting on such an item if the action is not allowed. The right thing to do is remove the up arrow.
    – Oded
    Sep 1, 2012 at 10:38
  • @Bart Yes...you are right..that is what I mean. Sep 1, 2012 at 10:39
  • @Oded There was a similar UI question a while ago which boiled down to "not gonna happen" I seem to remember. Can't seem to find it now. :s Not sure if it's that big of a concern though.
    – Bart
    Sep 1, 2012 at 10:40
  • @Bart - Knowing the team, this would be extremely low priority. There are different principles at odds here - one dictates not changing the UI on the fly, the other dictates not showing UI for actions that can't be actioned.
    – Oded
    Sep 1, 2012 at 10:43
  • 1
    Please note that "what does this mean" is not a very helpful description. Also, adding an image is useless for future searches. And finally: why the odd..dots?
    – Arjan
    Sep 1, 2012 at 10:45
  • joelonsoftware.com/items/2008/07/01.html
    – balpha Staff
    Sep 1, 2012 at 11:36

2 Answers 2


In general, you are correct, it is a good idea for the UI to give end-users a visual feedback on which actions will be allowed and which actions wouldn't be allowed without having them to click around the interface. If the voting is not allowed, you should see the corresponding parts of the UI grayed out.

However, there are situations when the UI state does not reflect the state of the system. For example, if that deleted answer was by someone else and you did not refresh the interface, the UI wouldn't know that the answer has been deleted. The system needs to be prepared to handle situations such as this one with orange pop-up messages explaining why the action is not allowed.

The orange box code has to be written anyway, but the visual feedback code is optional. The orange box mechanism covers both scenarios (i.e. a deleted entry that looks like a deleted entry, and a deleted entry that does not look like a deleted entry), while the visual feedback covers only the first case. One could argue that using orange boxes alone provides for a unified user experience, so this feedback mechanism is entirely sufficient all by itself.


No voting actions are allowed on deleted posts (except votes to undelete them).

The SO team has not changed the UI to remove the different options, such as the upvote icon on a comment on a deleted answer/question.

It is probably assumed self evident why this is not allowed and is easier to achieve and have a UI not littered with exceptions (when to display icon X and when not to).


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