I understand from Jeff's answer to "Show Total Votes (or Up/Down Votes)" why viewing the total up/down votes on SO requires "established user" privileges. It also makes sense because this is really a "nice to have" on SO - the total vote count is sufficient to let you know whether or not the question or answer is "Great!", "OK", etc.

But why is the threshold on Meta just as high? Comment everywhere is lower, requring just 1 rep, as opposed to SO which requires 50. Presumably this is because the purpose of Meta is different, being primarily about discussion, so the lower threshold was justified.

Voting on meta can mean many different things, but is mostly used to signal agreement/disagreement. Unlike SO, where the absolute vote count is really all that matters, it seems to me that the upvote/downvote counts are more important here. For example:

  • +11/-01 = 10    91.7% of voters agree, ratio of 10-to-1
  • +50/-40 = 10    55.6% of voters agree, ratio of 5-to-4

Now, if I saw a question or answer on SO that is, for some reason, addressed by a question on Meta, I'd probably include a link to that first Meta question as a comment, seeing that there is some general agreement building on the topic. However, I probably would not include a link to the second, seeing that there is obviously a lot of controversy around the subject and so the matter is "not settled". Or do I misunderstand how to read Meta posts?

Some very active users on the main site simply don't spend much time on Meta asking/answering questions, but are still interested in this useful information. Is there a technical reason that the threshold is where it is (for example, needing to stay consistent with SO), or is there a more intentional reason?

Please note that this is specifically about viewing vote counts, not a more general question about the overall thresholds (which has already been asked).

Some actual examples:

Both are my questions, but even I could not easily determine whether or not consensus was forming around either question until today. I would likely refer someone to the first question, because 5-to-1 is fairly definitive. I would probably not refer someone to the second question as a ratio of less than 2-to-1 shows there is very little consensus, even though it currently has the higher score.

  • Related: meta.stackexchange.com/q/121287/167443
    – yoozer8
    Jul 17, 2013 at 14:39
  • @Jim - Only very, very loosely.
    – JDB
    Jul 17, 2013 at 14:41
  • 1
    stackapps.com/questions/3082/view-vote-totals-without-1000-rep I have it and it works :) Jul 17, 2013 at 15:10
  • @EugeneSeidel - Thanks for the workaround. Don't need it now, but the question still stands - what was the reasoning for the current threshold?
    – JDB
    Jul 17, 2013 at 15:16
  • I confirm. The script works just fine. You have +18/-2 as of now - please note my rep. Jul 17, 2013 at 17:05
  • This question was originally posted to the Stack Overflow Meta and was automatically imported when SE Meta was first created. At the time, SO's Meta had a separate rep system, so very active users on SO might not have much rep on SO's Meta. Now that rep is shared between Main and Meta, this suggestion is moot.
    – JDB
    Oct 23, 2018 at 13:50
  • @JDB: I don't see why. MSE still has a 1000-rep threshold, and it's still relevant for various users to know vote breakdowns. So, of course, it should just be tweaked to apply to MSE instead of MSO. Oct 23, 2018 at 20:08
  • Meh... I don't really think it's as urgent here. Site-specific metas have a greater stake in how the "community" feels about the acceptability of certain types of questions, or what counts as abnormal behavior. Those are very site-specific concerns where voting matters more. MSE is more about how the Stack Exchange system works in general. I don't think voting here carries as much as weight.
    – JDB
    Oct 23, 2018 at 21:10

1 Answer 1


These days, M.SE allows those at 5 rep, not 1, to comment everywhere. But the original post otherwise stands.

I would like to suggest setting this privilege at 100 rep specifically, for two reasons:

  1. It has the same mathematical relationship to the default privilege level that Meta's comment privilege has to its default: 1/10.
  2. Anyone with an association bonus (and thus at least one site with a reasonably modest commitment) will be able to use this to see how things on the mother meta are faring and might affect them on their site(s). This is only useful to those who care about details like this, and fortunately those are the ones most likely to know about the privilege as well.

The fact that 100 is the same as the privilege level on private betas is a happy coincidence, but not especially important.

Of course, the reason this is even a privilege is to reduce server load. Since Meta only gets a few thousand visits per day, the additional load on the API should be insignificant. Even if the 72204 current 100+-rep users used their privilege as freely as those who possess it on SO, that compares favorably with the 89331 that can see vote counts on SO. And since most of those accounts are far less invested, it's unlikely they would use the privilege as often.

  • This was originally meant to apply to the Stackoverflow Meta, and now by extension to all Meta communities, but not to M.SE itself (although I don't have any particular issue with your suggestion).
    – JDB
    Dec 7, 2015 at 21:58
  • @JDB: Hmm. On site metas, commenting has the same rep threshold it does on main sites, which weakens this somewhat. On the other hand, those few brave souls who venture onto their site meta have a slightly better reason to see vote counts. On the gripping hand, there's no need to rely on association bonuses for site metas, so a threshold that's somewhat higher would be perfectly reasonable. 250, perhaps. Dec 7, 2015 at 22:08

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