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In CouchDB, a view query's result's 'offset' parameter always says how many rows were skipped at the start, even if you do the skipping using 'startkey' instead of 'offset'. TouchDB doesn't do this, and it would be expensive for it to do so, because the SQL query it runs doesn't tell it how many rows were skipped, so it would have to run a second query just to figure that out.
Damien says this functionality can be useful when doing a 'paging' UI. He suggests maybe enabling it with a special query param in the URL.