When viewing any question, it would be nice to see the total number of votes as a little tagline underneath the total vote score.

alt text

It would be nice to see the difference between:

+0 (0 votes)      <-- of little interest (0 up, 0 down)


+0 (214 votes)    <-- controversy (107 up, 107 down)

You could show the individual up/down totals (+12, -15) but I thought a simple total might be somewhat cleaner.

  • Related to my question? meta.stackexchange.com/questions/604/…
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Jun 30, 2009 at 10:34
  • 11
    +1 for the graphical illustration Commented Jun 30, 2009 at 11:11
  • 2
    Maps to this uservoice item: stackoverflow.uservoice.com/pages/1722-general/suggestions/… Commented Jun 30, 2009 at 16:07
  • 1
    yeap i always liked how Urban Dictionary provided a better picture of what the community felt over a post, allowing me to count the population who possess a certain view.
    – icelava
    Commented Jul 30, 2009 at 10:28
  • 2
    - 1 for improperly formatted image! Commented Nov 30, 2009 at 18:59
  • 8
    Sorry, this post is 5 months old, long before we had the technology to draw freehand circles and Godzilla charactures. Commented Nov 30, 2009 at 19:57
  • 4
    @Robert C. Cartaino, In light of that I guess I should reverse my vote, however my vote is too old to be changed. So if you edit your post I can change it, but now that the technology is available when you edit your post you would have to update the image to a properly formatted one and then I can change my vote :-p Commented Dec 1, 2009 at 2:03
  • hopefully now that we've implemented this people can see how relatively useless (IMO) of a feature this is, because downvotes are statistically so rare. Commented Dec 1, 2009 at 5:47
  • 7
    Loving this new feature
    – juan
    Commented Dec 1, 2009 at 18:03
  • 5
    The possibility to perform heart transplantions is relatively useless (IMO), because heart failures are statistically so rare. Commented May 24, 2011 at 10:06
  • 1
    The ability to show vote counts is insignificant next to the power of the force.
    – user164291
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 12:59
  • 1
    +1 to split votes into 2 part ( Up-voting / Down-voting )
    – toreator
    Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 8:52
  • As far as I know, Reddit.com shows the percentage of upvoters.
    – neverMind9
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 22:11
  • The feature is not fully completed, as it has 1000 rep requirement Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 14:06

6 Answers 6


The total vote count (score) is denormalized, but the individual up/down vote counts are not.

So to display it on every post would incur 2 vote table queries * number of visible questions / answers. Our DB is fast, but the vote table is pretty massive, and not doing a query is always faster than doing it..

It's possibly something we could do on demand (as @hmemcpy notes), but as an "always displayed" it is a non-starter.

(Also: downvotes are still quite rare on Stack Overflow, so I'd say about 90% of the time, when you see a score, it is pure upvotes.)

EDIT: Jarrod implemented displaying total up/down votes today. This is currently deployed to meta and will be deployed to other sites in the evening PST later today. Simply click on the vote number itself to show up/down vote totals. Requires 1000 rep.

  • I had a feeling that denomalization would be the reason why this hasn't already been implemented. Just thought I would ask. Commented Jun 30, 2009 at 14:06
  • 46
    Ok I'll bite... you're denomralizing the net votes. Why not just denormalize the up and down votes too? 200k questions * 10 answers on average each * 8 bytes (on the outside) per post = 16MB of data.
    – cletus
    Commented Jul 3, 2009 at 7:36
  • 110
    This is like part of your reason for not showing the post which achieved a badge: "we don't have that data." Yes, you currently don't have the separate votes denormalized, but the system can change. I don't think it's a good idea to use "we're not currently set up to make this change trivial" as a reason against a feature request.
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Sep 8, 2009 at 7:11
  • 20
    Just doing my bit to make downvotes that little bit LESS rare. Sorry Jeff, I think this is a pretty weak excuse. You have blogged and spoken about how the SO team has overcome tons of other technical difficulties to make the site faster/better/stronger. What makes this problem so different?
    – Dhaust
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 3:41
  • 10
    The new addition by Jarrod is nice, but it doesn't undo (i.e. you should be able to click again to set it back to the total count). Commented Nov 30, 2009 at 18:32
  • 63
    Just out of curiosity, why the 1k rep requirement?
    – AnonJr
    Commented Nov 30, 2009 at 18:34
  • @gnostradamus: I was going to say the same thing. Looks good, but can't go back. Thanks for the update!
    – Troggy
    Commented Nov 30, 2009 at 18:34
  • 3
    Personally I'd be happy with tooltips but I guess that involves putting that information up whether someone wants it or not whereas this is on-demand. Anyway, this is a welcome change. Thanks Jeff. Now if only you can solve the mystery of the missing "Return to Question" link. :)
    – cletus
    Commented Nov 30, 2009 at 23:52
  • 6
    tooltips are a bad idea because 98% of the time, the score you see is all upvotes anyway. So making it on-demand is more sensible, since from my perspective this is "information porn" anyway.. prurient, not really necessary. :) Commented Dec 1, 2009 at 5:30
  • 10
    yeay, a feature for the 100-ish people who have 1,000 reps...(on meta, that is)....and no, of course I'm not one of them ;-) Commented Dec 31, 2009 at 9:54
  • 1
    @Jeff is it your plans to implement @gnostradamus feature? Though it is not vital to the site's functioning, I find it very counter-intuitive that when you click, and get it by up-votes down-votes, when you click it again nothing happens. Thanks
    – Trufa
    Commented Dec 12, 2010 at 20:40
  • 2
    Is this still the case Jeff? Have up/down counts been denormalised into the post?
    – Oli
    Commented Dec 1, 2012 at 23:59
  • 13
    It's actually a shame this feature is available only to 1000+ REP users, because the users who would most benefit from it, are the inexperienced. I've noticed the odd question or answer where there seems to be real negative momentum, but reading it I can't help feel that some people must be being bit hasty, seeing a negative total and jumping on the band wagon. It's obviously (I assume, please let it be so) the more inexperienced users who would do this one would think. Users relative statistical tendency towards controversy would also be a fascinating statistic for da management possibly...
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 20:47
  • 1
    "downvotes are still quite rare on Stack Overflow, so I'd say about 90% of the time, when you see a score, it is pure upvotes." For any post with 50+ score it's possible to find the one who downvotes. Maybe just for fun.
    – rus9384
    Commented Sep 28, 2018 at 22:40
  • 1
    How about this one?
    – Pandya
    Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 15:53

An unobtrusive way of showing the information would be as a tooltip, shown when hovering over the score (or perhaps the up/down arrows).

  • 8
    perhaps as a JQuery tooltip w/ background query that would work, but as a HTML tooltip, has same problems as noted in my answer. Commented Jun 30, 2009 at 10:24

Another way could be something like Digg, where upon clicking on the number of diggs, it toggles:



However this wouldn't work quite well here, so perhaps show this in a tooltip over the number, as Jonik suggested.

  • 12
    this was an excellent suggestion and the inspiration for our implementation of the feature (now live on meta.. click the vote #, if you have 1k rep) Commented Nov 30, 2009 at 18:33
  • 1
    Awesome :) (15 chars) Commented Dec 1, 2009 at 7:42
  • 3
    @JeffAtwood is this likely to ever be rolled out for those of us with lower reps?
    – naught101
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 1:26

I've created a UserScript/bookmarklet which enables this feature for all Stack Exchange websites.
If you don't have sufficient reputation, let alone an account, you will still be able to view up- and downvotes.

For more details, see "View Vote totals" without 1000 rep.
If you're not interested in details, but want to use the script right away, have a look at GreasyFork.org.

  • Thanks. That's brilliant. Nice UI too.
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 28, 2012 at 6:57
  • any way to get this to work on Area51? There it's really useful to know which questions are controversial.. It works on discussions there, but not proposed questions.
    – naught101
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 6:47
  • 4
    @naught101 My userscript / Chrome extension is using the Stack Exchange API (v2) to get the data. Area51 is not available through the SE API. Related posts on Stack Apps: Why I think Area51 needs an API. and List Area51 discuss in the StackAuth sites list.
    – Rob W
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 10:29
  • Awesome Chrome extension!! Interestingly, it worked on ELL meta, but not on Ask Ubuntu meta. Any idea why?
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 22:15
  • @Fiksdal Thanks for letting me know... I accidentally put spaces after the URL pattern that ought to have matched meta.askubuntu.com. I removed these spaces and now the extension also works on Ask Ubuntu meta (version 1.5.8).
    – Rob W
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 16:09
  • @RobW Awesome, it works now.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 22:35

Moderators and 10K rep users get access to the vote velocity, or the amount of upvotes and downvotes for a given question.

Given that this information is already available, I can only surmise that it wasn't included for one of the following reasons:

  1. Performance hit for providing that information for every action request on the site.
  2. To not 'encourage' excessive voting (both up and down) for a topic.
  3. Because it's not really 'important' across an aggregate context.
  • I have 14k rep on StackOverflow, and I don't see how to access this vote velocity... Commented Jun 29, 2009 at 20:02
  • @Thomas: stackoverflow.com/tools/votes-hot, or tools -> links -> recent questions with most vote velocity Commented Jun 29, 2009 at 20:06
  • 2
    Ah. Well, it should be displayed on the question page. Commented Jun 29, 2009 at 20:08
  • 3
    I vote for #1, #2, and #3.. at some level this is kind of information porn, it's prurient and not really all that necessary for typical use of the site. Commented Jun 30, 2009 at 10:24
  • 1
    man, I have to get to 10k Commented Jun 30, 2009 at 11:11
  • Unless I just haven't found it, you can't view this on an arbitrary question/answer. this information is only provided for the 100 questions/answers on the votes-hot page
    – Kip
    Commented Nov 11, 2009 at 21:50
  • 4
    @JeffAtwood How is knowing the ratio of up votes:downvotes more prurient than knowing the total? It adds more information, which allows users to make better informed decisions on which answer to trust.
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 28, 2012 at 6:53

It might make sense to show it on a users own question, since they basically can see this information by the reputation they gain/loose.

If you really want to know, you can determine this easily enough using the SO data-dump

I'm not really sure what you gain by having the information easily visible, since it could be misleading (say if a question was crappy, so it was down-voted, edited then voted back to a positive number). I think the final score is all that really matters..

  • Actually, this might be an application for Complex Event Processing...for example, to know when the number of up-votes and down-votes are roughly the same (perhaps +- a percentage of the total votes), resetting after an edit. Commented Jun 29, 2009 at 20:06

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