I just recently saw the buttons (active, oldest, votes) on the askubuntu.com website and realized that I didn't recall seeing them on TeX.SE. Presumably they were there for a while, but I simply didn't seem them. This leads me to the obvious question:
Are these buttons clear enough?
if not, perhaps we should think about modifying their design so that they are still unobtrusive, but not as obscure as I find them to be.
EDIT: there seems to be some confusion as to what buttons I'm referring to (probably corroborating the fact that they are obscure...) so here's a screenshot: