Why isn't there any possibility to make upvotes onymously? Seeing positive votes from credible other members would highly increase transparency and trust in answers.

Has anything like that been tried out so far?

What strong opinions are against such an option? Why not even make such behavior default?

  • 22
    Feel free to comment your upvotes. Don't bother anyone, who does not want to do it. If you do not understand the value of anonymous voting, I suggest a foundation course in democracy. Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 10:33
  • 3
    I fail to see the benefits of a "+1" comment. Secondly I don't think pros for anonymous voting in a democratic election really apply to SO!
    – dcn
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 10:49
  • 1
    @dcn Why don't they apply to SO? (not trying to open up a huge discussion, but I'm curious)
    – jonsca
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 11:18
  • 2
    Voting on meta has a different meaning (despite the tooltip): it’s more like agree/disagree as opposed to useful/not useful. The vote count of your question, as of now, indicates that most voters disagree with your question.
    – user156620
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 11:19
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    @jonasca: because SO is not about casting opinions on philosophies (and therefore no need to protect peoples' believes/hopes...) but about objectivity/facts.
    – dcn
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 11:26
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    @dcn People vote very differently when they know someone's watching. It wouldn't necessarily be an accurate picture of what people think, and could be colored by how they want to be perceived.
    – jonsca
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 12:44
  • Agreed, but in the case of SO this arguably can be a positive effect (after all, it is about technical reputation). However being able to "anonymously mark information as being accurate" and without any possible negative consequences of doing so (maybe even for your own benefit), seems not to aid objectivity.
    – dcn
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 12:59
  • 4
    @dcn It's a positive effect when people vote based on what other people are saying, rather than their with the technical expertise or conscience? Objectivity doesn't play into it as much as you think, unless you have a hard and fast set of rules that you vote by each time. There's always going to be a "go with your gut" type moment from time to time.
    – jonsca
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 13:07
  • On stackoverflow, I occasionally see downvoting happening because people dont like the question. Downvoting should only be done if the question is objectively bad(credit to @dcn) like poorly communicating ideas or because the person hasnt done adequate research before asking or because the question is being asked in the wrong plaace. Commented May 3, 2013 at 17:39
  • @This_is_NOT_a_forum I thought you do not edit ancient posts (and you really shouldn't) what changed? Why did you dig this from 10+ years old graveyard with super minor edit? Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 12:09

4 Answers 4


You should judge a post by the content and any available relevant facts, NOT by who supports it.

The former is science. The latter becomes politics and then religion.

We want better technical answers, so posts should stand on their own merits, as much as possible.

  • 2
    Why would 'any available facts' not include the identity but only the pure number of supporters? For example: the PageRank algorithm precisely reflects this idea that not the number of links to a page is relevant in how important a webpage is.
    – dcn
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 10:52
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    Yes, I suppose who voted for a question is a "fact". It is not a relevant fact. Nobody, outside Google, knows what the pagerank algorithm is anymore. We only know that Google results are increasingly useless for all but trivial searches. It's apples and oranges, anyway. And, When you search, you do not know where a page's rank came from. Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 11:04
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    Often voters are biased by the amount of votes the answer has already received, too, instead of the accuracy of the answer itself. I think the vote count should be hidden during the initial rush of answering, to encourage more objectivity and reduce the bandwagon effect. meta.stackexchange.com/a/132034/130885
    – endolith
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 21:57
  • @Awesome-Poodles This is pretty late but your analogy seems flawed because google search engines uses ranking without reasons/comments because reasons are not available. If reasons were available and they were reliable I am 100% sure google would use them as well. Commented May 3, 2013 at 17:43

"Seeing positive votes from credible SO members" might lead people to the opposite conclusion — that the absence of those votes was a sign of disapproval.

The potential abuses of non-anonymous voting are too great to imagine.

We don't want to go there.

  • 7
    While I agree that anonymous votes are a bad idea, "the potential problems are too great to imagine" is not a good rationale. Imagine them and then explain why they're bad.
    – endolith
    Commented May 15, 2012 at 16:35

One of the biggest problems with onymous votes would be a sort of clique-like, Facebook experience where people upvote each other's posts as "thanks" for the upvote and become friends in that regard.

The danger is even greater that people would revenge-downvote each other.

I think you'd have more people voting for the person rather than the content, which would certainly be terrible for the site.


Why are votes anonymous?

Because Stack Exchange is not a social forum, plain and simple. This is a network of professional communities, focused on content, not on who posted it.

Social communities like Facebook allow showing who liked a post because it has no real impact: there is no reputation, no penalty for "downvoting", and the whole point of the social media is "pile voting" anyway. The exact opposite of Stack Exchange.

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