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I've been the target of serial down voting before, so I'm familiar with the auto-script that will undo it if triggered, but the exact trigger is not publicly known. I'm also familiar with the secrecy of votes in general and that only certain developers can view them under certain circumstances. This seems like a certain circumstance that warrants a look to verify whether there's been a misuse of the SE system.

I don't participate much here. As such, my reputation changes are few and far between. Yesterday I received two downvotes only a minute apart. Today I received another. All three were on different questions. My rep changes before that are 2 upvotes 5 days before and 1 upvote over a month ago, all on questions I asked at that time. The last time I received a downvote (1 of 2 total) was nearly 2 years ago.

These recent downvotes are highly unusual.

  • FWIW if you think you’re the target of serial voting, up or down, best to flag and explain it. – TheLethalCarrot May 12 at 9:29
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    I've had a look at the voting patterns on your account, but it's not quite clear to me (neither to the automatic vote-reversal algorithm) whether or not anything is going on. So I've kicked the case to the SE Community Managers who have even better tools than the moderators. You probably won't get any specific reply, so we'll just have to trust that if there's anything suspicious, they'll deal with it appropriately. – Rand al'Thor May 12 at 20:00
  • @Randal'Thor Thanks – fredsbend May 12 at 20:46
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The patterns of voting that you've experienced aren't unusual, nor do they represent "serial downvoting", even if it's the same person that has downvoted you.

Pretty much any time serial downvoting occurs is when a user disagrees with something another user has posted, either as an answer or comment. The user then visits their profile and, like with serial upvoting, systematically visits their posts and downvotes them.

What is serial voting and how does it affect me?

Although it's not nice for your posts to get downvoted, unless there's evidence of systematic downvotes (e.g. more than three), you shouldn't expect any action to be taken. This is simply a normal part of how the site works and one of the downsides of users being able to see each other's posts.


As to why you've experienced downvoting, my money would be on the fact that you've been more active in the last couple of days, posting a question and a couple of comments about Dune. Probably someone was looking at a couple of your questions (via your profile) and just didn't like a couple of them.

Personally, I don't see the occasional downvote as a bad thing. It's your wake-up call to see if the question/answer could be improved by sorting out the formatting, checking the sources or rewording it to be more clear. You definitely won't get it reversed by complaining, but you might get it reversed by improving the question.

  • The first two votes were made in the same minute ... no comments. In your hypothetical, we should then expect upvotes with downvotes, unless this user typically only downvotes. All of these things are unusual. For the record, I don't view downvotes negatively, nor do I complain about them. I care that it looks like something other than genuine voting. – fredsbend May 12 at 8:03
  • @fredsbend - All that means is that they had those questions open at much the same time. The votes were 20 seconds apart and there were only two of them. If they were systematically downvoting you, they'd be only a few seconds apart and there'd be a hell of a lot more of them. – Valorum May 12 at 8:04
  • @fredsbend - And the downvote on your potter question is only one of a pair, so it's clear that the question already isn't universally popular. – Valorum May 12 at 8:05
  • It's very similar to the last time. Similar enough that I copied and pasted some of that post here. skeptics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3791/… – fredsbend May 12 at 8:06
  • @fredsbend - Two in a minutes is significantly different from four in thirty seconds, immediately after you'd been having an argument with someone. – Valorum May 12 at 8:08
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    For the record, I forgot to downvote your Potter question when I voted to close it. I'd do so now, but I don't want to make you more paranoid than you already are ;-) – Valorum May 12 at 8:12
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    That doesn't prove it wasn't you all along. ;) – fredsbend May 12 at 8:22

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