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I have always wondered, do SO/SE employees/admins have an ability to see who downvoted them?

For example, I can see my own downvoted questions on my reputation tab. Does this interface look like it does to me, or to everyone else, when logged in as an admin?

And if it's not built-in to the interface, do those who are developers ever look it up in the DB? If not, why are you lying? (that's a joke.)


I ask this because I think anonymous downvotes save us from taking the downvote personally. Even at our best, sometimes it's human nature if we know the source of criticism, and I don't want anyone to take a downvote that I make personally.


And no, I'm not making any assumptions or guesses as to why one might do this, beyond that desire that so many have to know why they were downvoted. Simply wondering if it exists.

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  • 17
    Even if they do have access, I'd like to think the admins are a bit more grown-up than to care.
    – Dan Blows
    May 11, 2011 at 0:05
  • 1
    @Blowski, sometimes, not caring is not about being grown-up. There are practical reasons that knowing would be helpful, mostly based around figuring out what you did wrong.
    – Nicole
    May 11, 2011 at 0:08
  • Just seems from the way you wrote the question that you were suggesting that they might use it pettily. If I misread it, I apologise.
    – Dan Blows
    May 11, 2011 at 0:11
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    Sorry if this question was distasteful - I added my motivation for asking to the question.
    – Nicole
    May 11, 2011 at 1:35
  • To be honest, anyone with as many rep as yourself shouldn't even be worrying about rep, I know I don't.
    – Chopper3
    Aug 14, 2011 at 20:49

2 Answers 2

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There is a show votes option for developers, but we explicitly disallow it on our own posts -- to reduce any temptation of looking at votes on our own posts.

The intent of the function is to look at voting irregularities at the developer level.

And of course developers have access to the underlying database anyhow, if they really must know.

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  • Nice info, thanks - it's good to know that even though you have tools to do your job, you're still mindful of this.
    – Nicole
    May 12, 2011 at 5:33
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    I wonder how often developer "bob" asks developer "tim" to open up his post and click the show votes option... :) Jan 24, 2012 at 18:55
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    @Arjan: that particular option isn't necessarily available to community managers either (some of us have dev access, others don't). We all have (readonly) database access if we need it, but having to go write queries to get it tends to reduce the temptation to use it for personal reasons considerably.
    – Shog9
    Mar 17, 2013 at 18:52
  • (Noted & thanks, @Shog9.)
    – Arjan
    Mar 17, 2013 at 19:18
  • @Jeff Atwood "And of course developers have access to the underlying database anyhow" - Just for understanding,this question - I have seen design where most such database designs can help us lookup the primary id and find metadata(in this case user id -> name/identify of the user).I usually do it this way since they are small projects. Do better, bigger, safer codes like stack exchange use similar design or are there further obfuscations (like primary id encrypted, then again looked up etc. at cost of performance)etc.? Just wish to know this aspect of huge projects (looking up primary ids.)
    – Rahul
    Mar 18, 2018 at 1:04
  • Do any moderators also have this ability? It could potentially be useful in fighting strategic downvoting... Mar 11, 2019 at 1:09
  • @CardinalSystem moderators can see broadly whether something might be suspicious, and then can refer it to the staff May 11, 2021 at 20:17
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No, there is no way in the interface for us to see who downvoted us in the interface. Yes, we have access to the raw data (obviously, it's in the database), but ... really there are much much much more interesting things for us to do with our time.

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    I upvoted...*maybe*. :) May 11, 2011 at 1:57
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    Zypher's right on this one, yes we (developers, not mods) can see this, but we really, really don't care, it doesn't matter and there's always much more interesting things going on all the time. We want to know how to make page X faster, and then when we're done, how to make it twice as fast as that...who voted on who we don't care about unless there's a bug or sock puppets we're investigating. May 11, 2011 at 2:10

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