I joined a couple of new Stack Exchange sites recently, and noticed the message that appears when voting:

Thanks for the feedback! Votes cast by those with less than [15/125] reputation are recorded, but do not change the publicly displayed post score.

Hey, that's cool! I previously thought that you couldn't vote at all if you didn't have enough reputation. I assume this means that once you get voting privileges, posts that you voted on before the privilege change will now include those old votes in their displayed score. (Maybe I'm wrong about that, but if so then what's the point of recording them at all?)

Given that, this is my question: if my votes are actually recorded even before they count toward the public vote total, then why can't I see what I've voted on?

After I click the vote button, both the total and the button return (almost) immediately to their pre-vote appearance. Even without reloading the page, it's now impossible to tell which way I voted, or even if I've voted at all. Clicking on the same vote button multiple times shows no visible difference in behavior either, it's as though I'm voting anew with every click.

I only noticed this because I actually did accidentally downvote a question recently, and was distressed to realize that there's no way to undo that action---at least until I have enough reputation to vote publicly, at which point it will almost certainly be too late to change the vote anymore. All I could do was vote again in the opposite direction, which is really not the same thing. I can't even see the question under the "votes" tab on my profile. Surely there's no reason for this? It's easy enough to show my vote with the button appearance but still leave the total unchanged. IMO this behavior should be considered a bug.

  • 3
    They are recorded for internal use. They don't and never will affect the public score.
    – zondo
    May 25, 2017 at 23:53
  • 1
    Essentially, from your perspective, before you get the privileges, you can pretend those votes never happened.
    – Jason C
    May 26, 2017 at 0:06
  • Ahhhh, okay. An effect that is only visible for moderation purposes would never have occurred to me. I've accepted this as being a duplicate of another question I guess, but tbh this mostly opens up new questions for me about what those internal uses are. If they're actually stored as "anonymous feedback" then do all my repeated votes appear for moderators? Do non-public votes still affect question hierarchy? And if it's for internal use only, why even bother telling new users that the vote was recorded when they will LITERALLY never notice the effect of their votes?
    – endemic
    May 26, 2017 at 0:12
  • If new users weren't told that they were recorded, there would be a lot more users over here on meta complaining that voting wasn't doing anything.
    – zondo
    May 26, 2017 at 0:27
  • 2
    Even if it just said "Your votes will not be counted until X reputation"? It seems to me like telling low-rep users that "their vote was recorded" can only cause confusion. That information only becomes relevant once you have access to the moderation tools. Even the accepted answer for the duplicate question says "it is not entirely clear what's done with it"--that's not a reassuring sign as to the understanding of this behavior!
    – endemic
    May 26, 2017 at 0:33
  • The uses are mysterious. They're stored in the PostFeedback table in SEDE. They used to be displayed to 10k users but that was removed a few years ago. There is some old discussion on it. But mostly it's just... data, because, yay data. For the most part it hasn't found its true purpose yet. Probably crops up in fun data analysis SE blog posts and stuff.
    – Jason C
    May 26, 2017 at 1:10


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