My answer seems to have a fair amount of upvotes, call it N(>25). I didn't think it controversial, but the first comment in response is pretty negative about the quality of the answer, and has a huge upvote count (>N-4). I assume that means there are a bunch of folks to agree with the negative assessment.

Ignoring the answer itself, why would it be the case that the answer has a huge upvote count, and the negative remark has a huge upvote count? The answer is getting almost exactly one vote in favor, for each upvote on the negative comment, if I interpret this data, which seems statistically strange to me. Weirder, the differences in votes for and the negative comment count seem to have held steady at a small constant ("4?"). If I didn't think SO+friends was well built, I'd say the first-comment count was automatically tracking the positive-vote count without any human beings participating. (That's the question: is it broken? Nah, can't be ...?)

I'd generally expect downvoters to vote against the answer, rather than upvoting the comment (but maybe they're all in violent agreement which is pretty strange at SO in my experience). If I could see the actual for/against votes as on StackOverflow, would I see a positive vote count of 2N+4, and a negative vote count of N? Why doesn't Programmers have the same vote display mechanism, which would let me lay my fears to rest?

  • The up/down votes on your answer are currently +34, -5 – Matt Ellen Jun 17 '11 at 13:15
  • [How did you figure out up/down vote count?] OK, that explains my answer vote count. Why would people upvote an extremely negative comment, but not downvote the answer itself?? – Ira Baxter Jun 17 '11 at 13:19

Programmers has the same "view vote counts" privilege as every other Stack Exchange site. It becomes available at 1000 reputation.

As Matt Allen said, the current vote split on your answer is +34 / -5. I don't think it really means anything other than "34 people agreed enough to upvote my question and 5 thought it was worth downvoting". I wouldn't read too much into the comment upvotes, since there is no corresponding downvote to balance them out.

I think the explanation for what you're seeing is simple: it costs rep to downvote an answer and it doesn't cost anything to upvote a comment. Not now that the answer is community wiki which might even it out a bit, but even then there will be people who disagree but not strongly enough to downvote.

  • Wow. People worry about 1 point of rep when they cast a downvote. OK, got the explanation; my rep on Programmer isn't high enough to see vote totals (that seems like a weird constraint). I've had much higher rep on SO for so long, I forgot this was an rep-dependent privelege. Thanks. – Ira Baxter Jun 17 '11 at 14:23

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