The first time I saw the feature that lets you click on the votes for a question/answer to see the number of plus and minus votes, I thought it was a bug. I noticed it because I missed the arrow button I was aiming for. I remember trying to click on it again to see if that would do anything, but it didn't. So, I chalked it up to some strange javascript bug. I eventually learned what the feature was, but my first experience with it was that something was wrong.

I think this could be easily remedied by simply allowing users to toggle between net votes and plus/minus votes rather than only allowing them the one-time switch. A user would click once, think, "Hmm, that's strange." then click again and see it "go back to normal". After toggling a couple times, the feature's meaning would (hopefully) become apparent. It would also be nice to be able to return things to "normal" even if you know what the feature does, but I think the main benefit is making it more obvious that this is an intentional feature, not a bug.

  • 1
    How can it be a bug?
    – juan
    Mar 4, 2010 at 23:41
  • 5
    the bug is that the current method of toggling it back to normal is by clicking the vote arrows. overloading the voting arrows is confusing enough, but performing both functions at once is just awful design. Mar 5, 2010 at 0:02
  • 7
    Wait. You can get back t normal by clicking the arrows ?!? WTF? Mar 5, 2010 at 0:13
  • @Downvoter, I didn't say it was a bug. I said I thought it was a bug. There's no reason to think that clicking a number a gray number would cause an action to occur, so when it gets replaced by the plus/minus numbers, it feels like something went wrong.
    – devuxer
    Mar 5, 2010 at 5:31
  • 1
    @~quack, I'm actually going to disagree with you on that. The way I see it, clicking the vote arrows only toggles the display back to normal as a side effect. Basically, when you click the vote arrows, you are signaling your intention to vote. It just so happens that when you vote, the UI reverts back to the usual "net votes" display. It's really a judgment call whether the "plus/minus" display should remain following a vote. I don't see it as a bug. All I'm suggesting is that clicking the plus or minus number should toggle back to the net votes display.
    – devuxer
    Mar 5, 2010 at 5:39
  • +1 I thought it was a bug too. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/31528/split-answer-count
    – OscarRyz
    Mar 5, 2010 at 19:00

4 Answers 4


I think it's reasonable to be able to toggle back and forth between the two modes. It would certainly come in handy when checking out potential bugs with the vote display (there have been a few in the past, and I believe at least one is still outstanding).

It would at least spare us the posts from people who just hit 1000 rep and are confused about what they are seeing.


All you need to do is press F5.

Jeff didn't want this feature to start with, I doubt he'll spend one more nano second on it

  • 4
    Downvoter, Jeff probably didn't want this feature in the first place because it's not intuitive that clicking on a number would activate a feature. In other words, it's not a particularly great UI. But if this is how it's going to work, it would at least help users just discovering the feature to be able to toggle between the two modes. This will make the feature more "learnable" than if it only toggles once.
    – devuxer
    Mar 5, 2010 at 22:20

No. We already made a ton of changes to this to make it more understandable (see the red/green debate).

Any more confusion and I will just pull the feature entirely to keep things simpler.

  • 3
    (+1 for the No, but I hope the feature is not disabled...)
    – Arjan
    Mar 5, 2010 at 23:29
  • 2
    +1 I for one love the red and green distinction ;)
    – Sampson
    Mar 6, 2010 at 0:10
  • 1
    I'm pretty sure you're not changing your mind at this point, but there's nothing "unsimple" (from a UI standpoint) of adding a toggle-back. It would add zero visual noise, and it would make the behavior more consistent between modes. The colors are great--I'm pretty sure they weren't there when I first stumbled upon this feature--but the tooltip is pretty useless if you click the number by accident because once you click it, the tooltip is no longer available (until you refresh).
    – devuxer
    Mar 6, 2010 at 8:46
  • P.S. I don't have enough rep on meta to see the plus/minus for this particular answer, but two people commented "+1", yet the total at the moment is only 1, so hmm :) (i.e., it's fun to be able to see that info so please don't pull the feature).
    – devuxer
    Mar 6, 2010 at 8:49
  • @DanM: it's +4 -2.. Well +5 now that I upvoted it Apr 4, 2010 at 14:32
  • 1
    Come on Jeff. No need to resort to 'If you kids can't play with that toy nicely I'm going to take it away' tactics. I don't know how you intended it to sound, but the '...I will just pull the feature entirely...' bit comes off sounding like a threat. I get that this is not a feature you like but you don't need to be so heavy handed. You've a decent job so far of being a 'benevolent overlord', don't start becoming just an 'overlord'.
    – Dhaust
    Jan 20, 2011 at 1:05
  • There are a lot of folks in the community who are excited about this feature.
    – mbigras
    Feb 22, 2017 at 18:05

There's no reason to think that clicking a number a gray number would cause an action to occur

Why not? Your browser changes the cursor into a pointer, and the tooltip shows "View upvote and downvote totals". Then how could someone expect nothing when clicking?

Tooltip says: view upvote and downvote totals

  • Why would you hover a gray number in the first place? The only way this feature gets discovered is by accident (or because you read about it).
    – devuxer
    Mar 6, 2010 at 8:38
  • 1
    @DanM, indeed, I don't expect you to hover the gray number. But you're saying that one should not expect anything when clicking the gray number. But before clicking, you're always hovering. Likewise, there's a big change that you're hovering the number when moving towards one of the arrows. (And then, when seeing the cursor change while hovering the number, I'd get curious and hold for a bit to see if there's any tooltip. Likewise, when suddenly seeing red and green numbers, I'd hover them to see if there's any explanation, and indeed there is, albeit quite limited.)
    – Arjan
    Mar 6, 2010 at 18:01
  • (And yes, I see your point when clicking just at the top or bottom of the number, not knowing you clicked the number. I like your proposal, but I also understand that Jeff would rather spend time on different things.)
    – Arjan
    Mar 6, 2010 at 18:04
  • 1
    This kind of gives me another idea...why not just have the tooltip say something like "+2, -1 votes"? This would be wayyy simpler than having a tooltip that instructs me what will happen if I click, only to make the UI go all funky. I think I'll make this a separate post.
    – devuxer
    Mar 6, 2010 at 21:50
  • (Which DanM did: "Why not just show the upvote and downvote totals in the tooltip and be done with it?" at meta.stackexchange.com/questions/41423/…)
    – Arjan
    Mar 6, 2010 at 23:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .