When viewing questions in the normal, "Interesting Questions" tab, (or any other view for that matter), the question's score is displayed to its left, and is labeled "votes".


But is it the correct word to use? Wouldn't "Score" be more appropriate (because a score of "1" doesn't necessarily mean "1 votes", it could mean "100 upvotes and 99 downvotes").

My suggestion, use "score"


Your thoughts?

  • 1
    How about vote score?
    – Oded
    Nov 3 '12 at 13:08
  • 2
    @Oded: Possible, but isn't it a bit too long and would break the layout? pokit.org/get/img/352389e53dccc8d9e040a371793ce68b.png Nov 3 '12 at 13:08
  • Possibly. But there is lots of context lost if one uses score alone. Not sure that would be the best word, but I can't think of an alternative that has voting semantics attached (perhaps someone on English can help...)
    – Oded
    Nov 3 '12 at 13:10
  • 3
    "Tally", maybe? (Disclaimer: I'm not on English. Yet.) Nov 3 '12 at 13:13
  • 10
    @UphillLuge: But it isn't the number of votes the question has, it's the sum of it. That's why I don't think "Votes" is the appropriate word. Nov 3 '12 at 13:14
  • 2
    Let's note for posterity that this arguably related question was posted here a few minutes before this one. Maybe we actually have to be more precise and consistent with the terminology we use, at least in more competition-sensitive areas of the site. Nov 3 '12 at 13:55
  • I agree with the concept but disagree with the terminology score. Score, in general sense, means how much point or runs or goals i have did.... e.g. In cricket, if i say i scored 200 runs, it means i made 200 runs without taking into account of others. No plus or minus. The term should be change from votes but score isn't appropriate in my opinion.
    – itachi
    Nov 3 '12 at 16:30
  • 2
    @itachi: Well, the score meta tags states that score "means the total number of upvotes minus the total number of downvotes". So I'd argue it's pretty darn accurate. Nov 3 '12 at 16:36
  • @MadaraUchiha I just noticed that.... I guess there sould be a question on this regard too as well(if not already exists).
    – itachi
    Nov 3 '12 at 16:38
  • What's "the score" @V2Blast? I mean "votes" sounds cool, at least it gives the impression of democracy... It could also be called "bottom line", "balance" or "imbalance" - in "the force" that is; why not call "deviation" or "difference". Next folks will complained they clicked "the score" expecting and OST...
    – bad_coder
    Nov 10 '21 at 21:43
  • @Oded perhaps Net Votes would work better? it's shorter than vote score (2 only characters longer than answers for sizing concerns), more accurate than just votes and avoids the gamification issue that people have with the word score.
    – Andrew
    Dec 8 '21 at 19:49

Looking at what done for this question, https://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions reports 4 votes, but the question actually got 6 votes: 5 up-votes, and 1 down-vote.



4 is really the score of the question: the difference between the number of up-votes, and the number of down-votes. Votes for me means the number of votes, not the score a post has.

Score should be an understood word, on Stack Exchange, as it is already used in the description of some badges, such as Convention ("10 posts with a score of 2 on meta"), or Disciplined ("Deleted own post with score of 3 or higher"). I would not say it is a word that Stack Exchange users don't see in other places on Stack Exchange.

  • 2
    That's indeed true for most SE users, but from an outsider or a beginner's point of view, wouldn't using score emphasize the gamification aspects of the system in a (possibly) undesirable way? I'm not convinced it's the right term to use here. (There's a reason why we use reputation instead of experience after all ;) Nov 3 '12 at 14:12
  • 4
    @FrédéricHamidi: That's true, but even the score tag's wiki refers to it as the correct word. Nov 3 '12 at 14:50
  • @FrédéricHamidi I see your point, even if the only words I can think of are synonyms of score, such as rate.
    – apaderno
    Nov 3 '12 at 14:50
  • @kiamlaluno, same here (I think tally might be correct but is definitely not sexy enough). When I dig further I'm tempted to fall back to terms like decision or value, that do not have much in common with the sum of votes on a post, or at least not in our context. Nov 3 '12 at 14:54

Not only would this be a more accurate term, it would also avoid the famous pluralization bug! "1 Score" is just as proper as "2 Score", but "1 Votes" just looks terrible.


It's been pointed out that "score" is a bit confusing for new users, especially given that it already has a perfectly ordinary meaning that's not obviously out of scope. But the OP is correct that "votes" is not merely a bit confusing, but wrong and misleading in important ways. And "vote score" or similar, while neither misleading nor confusing, is too long to fit.

Instead of any of those, then, I suggest using "voting". This has the advantage of clearly tying back to concept of votes up or down, but without implying that it actually counts the total number of votes. Its meaning is deliberately skewed from the normal in an obvious way, so users unfamiliar with it, rather than being misled, will know that the site is using it in an idiosyncratic way, and will know to find out what the actual meaning is. A tooltip can then inform them efficiently that it's the sum of up and down votes.

In other words, treat it as a short caption for a figure ("for question quality, see fig 1-21, voting"), rather than an inline phrase ("24 votes", "Score 2").

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