I understand Joel's point that they don't hide the vote buttons, instead they display an error message if the action is not allowed (for example upvoting your own answer). But then why doesn't the vote buttons shown in locked questions? According to his design logic there should be vote buttons in locked questions too and clicking them should give a message like:

You can't vote on locked questions/answers.

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    Nice discussion point, +1. Not displaying the voting buttons enhances the typographic experience as it enables you to distinguish more clearly locked and unlocked questions. Personal opinion though. – Bathsheba Mar 17 '14 at 20:37
  • Next feature request: please make it obvious why the vote buttons are missing. – Uphill Luge Mar 17 '14 at 20:52

In situations where you can't vote, but could if you had the reputation, Stack Overflow follows your philosophy: you get to see the buttons but you can't use them. This makes sense.

But in the case of a locked question, it's not a temporary situation. Nobody can vote. The question's state has been fundamentally altered. You could make the argument that Joel's theory doesn't apply here, and it's a good thing to hide the arrows in that case.

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