I understand why votes are anonymous, and don't believe anyone should see who downvoted a particular post.

But, at the same time, SO is a social media site, so not knowing who upvoted you dampens the network effect.

I suppose I'm writing because interaction without upvotes has made little paranoid right now. It'd be nice to know who thinks you're smart.

On the other hand, people might hold it against others who interact but don't upvote.

  • 20
    "SO is a social media site" - No; It absolutely is not a social media website. Given downvotes are equally as important as upvotes, I would argue, that you should know who downvoted your contribution if you are going to inform individuals who upvoted their contribution. What good would come from knowing who upvoted your contributions? I think your suggestion is severely flawed. Knowing who upvoted your contributions just introduces to voting rings which is already a problem.
    – Ramhound
    Jul 6 at 23:12
  • 16
    SO/SE is not a social media site.
    – PolyGeo
    Jul 6 at 23:12
  • @Ramhound I was mostly posting to get the argument against. Voting rings. I would argue that SO as a business is a social media site that tries not to be. Jul 6 at 23:19
  • > What good would come from knowing who upvoted your contributions Not all votes carry equal weight. Also people are certainly are using SO as if it were a social media site, SO benefits from this, and has been designed to do so Jul 6 at 23:23
  • 4
    All votes carry equal weight
    – PolyGeo
    Jul 6 at 23:25
  • 8
    People trying to use SO as a social media site (or as a discussion forum) does not make it one.
    – PolyGeo
    Jul 6 at 23:27
  • 3
    @TomHuntington - They might be using SE communities as a social website, but SE websites are not social websites. If they were, then comments and discussions would be allowed. Voting rings are easily defeated; they are a plague, and any author of a question won't report anyone they know. If you think otherwise, then you don't know people well because most people wouldn't tell on a friend. There is a reason voting is anonymous, it has to do with revenge votes, but that also goes against voting rings if you were to know who upvoted your contribution.
    – Ramhound
    Jul 6 at 23:28
  • 4
    The Stack Exchange sites exist for questions and answers, not for social interaction, and not to be a forum. Any social media-like interaction that's irrelevant to questions and answers is subject to deletion. That's what makes Stack Overflow successful - people can find answers to their questions without sifting through social media interaction and forum-like fluff.
    – rgettman
    Jul 6 at 23:29
  • @rgettman asking and answering questions about your favourite questions IS social interaction although maybe not interpersonal. I understand the need to stay on topic. Jul 6 at 23:34
  • @Ramhound I am self aware I'm naïve about human nature and I was agreeing the voting rings are bad. Obviously downvotes must remain anonymous Jul 6 at 23:35
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    If you show who upvoted your contribution, the author will feel obligated to find something each of those voters contributed. You won't avoid that. Which is the exact reason voting is annynmous,
    – Ramhound
    Jul 6 at 23:37
  • 4
    No, let's not do that. This whole suggestion seems to be centered around the idea that Stack Overflow is a social media site, or a discussion forum or chat etc. etc, and that voting targets the author of the post. Given your answer below, I'll say it a touch louder: It's not, and it doesn't. If your post gets an upvote, good for it. There's no need for you to know anything about the who.
    – Ollie
    Jul 7 at 0:10
  • @Ollie targeting the author of the post, I think is unrelated to the real problem which is scratch my back. And you're forgetting that not all votes are equal. A vote from someone who's learning to code is not the same as someone who's one of the handful of the leading members of the c++ community. I'd be nice to know if you got a vote from someone important Jul 7 at 0:34
  • 4
    Re "SO is a social media site so not knowing who upvoted you": What sites show who (up)voted? Quora? Most sites don't as far as I know. Jul 7 at 1:06

2 Answers 2


I can see where some of your confusion about what the Stack Exchange model is comes from. SE does rather prominently display usernames, reputation levels, and badge counts below each post. We also allow users to customize their profile's about me as much as they like. However, as others have said fairly frequently in the comments... Stack Exchange isn't a social media network. StackExchange.com's about page quite clearly indicates the stated goal of the network:

Stack Overflow and the Stack Exchange network help people find the answers they need, when they need them.

That's the goal! All of Stack Exchange's sites are about getting folks the answers they need, when they need them, and continuing to provide a large repository of knowledge, in Q&A format, for future visitors. Some sites, like Code Golf, are a little bit different, but the core concept of "Ask a question, get an answer" is the same.

Let's move a bit beyond that, though. Voting is extremely important to the Stack Exchange model, but it's not, and has never, been about whose content you vote on. It has always been about what content you vote on. From the help center article on the "Voting corrected" reputation change reason:

always remember to vote for the post, not the person who wrote it.

Voting is the most powerful moderation tool we have, requiring very little reputation on Stack Exchange sites, because it allows you to help indicate what content is useful or not useful. Those votes will last for the foreseeable future, and when many users vote on a particular post, all future visitors will see how useful others found that post to be. The side effect of voting is that it affects reputation and therefore privileges, but reputation gain is a reward for posting useful content.

From your feature request:

I suppose I'm writing because interaction without upvotes has made little paranoid right now. It'd be nice to know who thinks you're smart.

I, and I hope others, don't attach any personal feeling to votes I cast. If I upvote a post of yours, I do so because I find it useful to the site. I'll sometimes even upvote posts that I disagree with, but still find useful, because I know that indicating that the content is useful is important to site health.

My recommendation to you is not to worry about the users who vote for your posts, and worry more about continuing to post good content. You didn't get well over 750 reputation (at the time of writing) on Stack Overflow by posting useless content, you got there by posting content that will hopefully last for years. It's that shared mindset that makes this site the library of knowledge that it is, and will hopefully continue to be for years to come.


Social media sites tend to devolve into cabals and knowing your upvotees would greatly accentuate this. I would even argue that SO is already bad enough in this sense, so we probably shouldn't make it worse.

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