Many of my questions, no matter how good they are, are getting trounced by a few people who never leave a comment. It tends to be within a couple tags. It took less than 30 minutes for this group to knock what objectively is a very real problem off the Active Question list with 5 downvotes. My question got 30 minutes of exposure on SE. Is my content really so horrifyingly offensive that it should not see the light of day? It is all too easy to get a clique together and drive users away from this site because we actively distract users from content-based voting.

FIVE different people, I asked for comments, they keep in hiding. You can’t say “blind voting is discouraged” without making a policy, and also expect an objectively scored library.

I have good reason to believe these 6 anonymous downvotes, are the same as these 5 anonymous downvotes, and the same as these 5 anonymous downvotes, and the same as these 5 downvotes, and included with these 10 downvotes( against 8 upvotes), and the same as these 5 downvotes.

My reason for believing this is extensive comparison with similar questions. Comments below also confirm that for various reasons people vote blind, using reputation, user, or score instead of content to make their decision. What is curious is how quickly the question gets eliminated from the homepage under the -4 score rule, denying my very reasonable questions access to the voting pool. This is why the group downvoting problem is very different from the group upvoting problem. Group upvoting doesn’t prevent exposure, so content is not harmed.

There are some honest "Vote to Close" comments, but as I post this, not ONE of the downvotes I mention here have comments. If my questions are so disturbingly unworthy, why aren't these downvoters doing anything to improve them? Why aren’t they trying to close my horrible posts?

  • 12
    I think you need to take a different stance instead of always assuming bad intent and targeted downvotes. If you come in with a hostile attitude and assuming people are out to get you those are then less likely to help you. Maybe ask why in this meta it was downvotes instead of asking how to stop the “bashing”.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Oct 22, 2019 at 17:57
  • I displayed my evidence and research. I assumed nothing. To the extent that SE provide tools for us to identify a cause, I used what was available. I'm not going to pretend bashing isn't a problem, as if serial voting scripts are working against only one individual. Serial downvoters can and will gain strength in numbers
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 22, 2019 at 17:59
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    Apparently, judging from the outcome, there is some dispute about the "very good question." Also, it's not helpful for you to assert bad faith on the other participants. I have never, and I'm sure this applies to 99% of the active population, blanket down-voted any user, or any topic, or anything else.
    – DavidW
    Oct 22, 2019 at 18:03
  • 3
    The community decides the quality of the questions. I think it is unlikely that multiple people are serial down-voting you. Oct 22, 2019 at 18:05
  • I'm sure you haven't and neither have I. How does the outcome imply the quality of the question any better than I am able to? What about the other 6 questions? You may have had a point if this was an isolated incident, but I accept that humans suffer from human nature. That doesn't need proof.
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 22, 2019 at 18:08
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    I suspect it's because if they comment on their reasons for downvoting you, instead of dealing with the problem, you tend to go on the offensive and attack them for telling you things you don't like to hear
    – Valorum
    Oct 22, 2019 at 18:16
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    "Why won't people put their heads over the parapet so I can shoot at them?"
    – Valorum
    Oct 22, 2019 at 18:17
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    @VogonPoet I guess I am basing my "naive" comment on my 8.5 years of participating on this site. In the past, when a disgruntled user serial down-votes, their behavior is pretty obvious, and the mods ban them. Questions get down-voted for lots of reasons, and you cannot say that they were because of question quality, answer ambiguity, or the 4 negative reasons you suggested. Oct 22, 2019 at 18:19
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    A few comments not worthy of an answer. As others mentioned, adding clarifications are not mandatory when downvoting. Also, most of the time I browse SE on the mobile while on the go, so I don't have time to add lengthy comments and/or do research. Finally, I mean no disrespect but have you considered that some of these questions (eg the Spock is a cyborg one) might not be as good as you think?
    – Hans Olo
    Oct 22, 2019 at 18:34
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    "Dozens of people are downvoting my questions. What's wrong with those people?"
    – Valorum
    Oct 22, 2019 at 18:48
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    shrug I would downvote this particular question because it appears to be deliberately obtuse and pendantic, and you are doubling down on that in comments.
    – Radhil
    Oct 22, 2019 at 18:51
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    Anonymous downvotes are no worse than anonymous upvotes. If you're complaining about one you should be complaining about the other (which IMO is actually a lot more common). But in reality neither is a problem because users aren't required to comment when voting. This is by design.
    – ibid
    Oct 23, 2019 at 0:01
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    Personally, I usually believe there would be no constructive results from commenting on your questions, based off reading your rants on Meta and your responses to other users. I don't have the time to justify my opinions, and I shouldn't have to, so if I believe nothing constructive will happen by commenting, I won't.
    – Gnemlock
    Oct 29, 2019 at 20:11
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    @Gnemlock - I think that's the issue here. Users tend to downvote-then-comment if they think there's a reasonable prospect that their comment will result in an improvement in the question. But if they see that OP has (either on the current question or in the past) been snappish towards commenters, they'll just do the 'driveby downvote' thing since there's no point making the effort to help someone who doesn't want help.
    – Valorum
    Oct 30, 2019 at 7:36
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    @Valorum, I agree. It is my opinion that the downvoters are justified in doing this, too, given that they don't believe their comments will actually add any value
    – Gnemlock
    Oct 30, 2019 at 7:50

4 Answers 4


I've noticed that you have a strong tendency to go on the offensive when anyone makes a comment that you disagree with. You comment-flood them with multiple responses explaining why they're wrong, and double-down by then posting (poorly received) meta questions seemingly in an attempt to taunt them. You don't listen to the responses you get and rarely do you make any serious effort to improve the questions you're asking in response to the criticism you receive.

Demanding that downvoters announce themselves so that you can yell at them isn't going to get the response you want.

If you showed any serious intention to engage with downvoters with humility, you'd turn those downvotes into upvotes.

  • 1
    Why are you discussing "listening to comments" in a question about blind downvoting? Do I need to be more clear about what "blind" means?
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 22, 2019 at 18:34
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    @VogonPoet - You know what they say about shooting the messenger.
    – Valorum
    Oct 22, 2019 at 18:39
  • I agree with your post but disagree with the premise and the fitment. I also objectively handle constructive criticism very well, if math got involved. But perhaps I seem unique because I have come into an established place fairly quickly carrying some of the consternation of a newbie with me. When you're down there, the view is different. It's not inviting. I'm not a messenger, I tend to speak up when something's wrong.
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 22, 2019 at 18:52
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    @VogonPoet - "I also objectively handle constructive criticism very well" - Citation needed.
    – Valorum
    Oct 22, 2019 at 18:54
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    @VogonPoet "if math got involved" Really? Need I remind you of this question scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/12756/… where it was blatantly clear you don't know what is the difference between a cosmic string and strings from string theory or that GUTs don't model spacetime as they assume Minkowski backgrounds, eg consider the SU(5) model, and have nothing to do with large scale structure and panspermia etc etc and you still insisted otherwise?
    – Hans Olo
    Oct 22, 2019 at 19:11
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    @VogonPoet Btw, I mean no disrespect, in that comment I just pointed out there's no link between all these concepts, contrary to what you claimed.
    – Hans Olo
    Oct 22, 2019 at 19:14

I've downvoted some of your questions but not the ones you mention here. I rarely comment when I downvote because the purpose of downvotes is not primarily to give the OP feedback, it's to give someone else who comes along an idea of what "the community" thinks of the question or answer.

You keep posting (here on meta) that you're certain that your posts are good and that downvotes on them can only be coming from a clique that's out to get you. This makes me more likely to notice your posts and downvote them if I think they deserve it. If you toned down the hyperbole about how great all your posts are how there's a huge mob trying to drive every new user away, it would be easier to accept an occasional post like this asking for feedback.

In response to your actual question "what can be done?" One thing that you could do is to stop arguing in comments when people do give feedback. I've seen comments from you arguing that someone else's comment is invalid on a bunch of your questions, including a couple of the ones you link to here and that's a sure way to get less feedback.

  • Great point, but it's a chicken-and-egg problem, and you just reinforced the response-bias I just said was happening. I am "the community" as well, and I downvote regularly, but almost never in the blind because to do helps no-one, and creates meta questions. Can you agree this meta post would not exist if people simply said what was wrong with the posts? Chicken-and-the-egg.
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 22, 2019 at 18:19

I've given some of your questions upvotes and a few of them downvotes. Most of them I've just been "meh" about, but I tend to skim over a lot of content here. None of that is specific to you, and it's definitely not personal.

We're not required to provide feedback on a downvote. In fact I've seen that discouraged, because it gives posters who feel they have been wronged a target for revenge.

Votes on questions are intended to help give future people searching a clue which questions are potentially more or less useful. A massively researched question about whether or not HP is an "innie" or an "outie" is not likely to get many votes, because no matter how much work has gone into it it's still not very useful.

A quick skim over the questions you're complaining about suggests to me that they may - at least in some people's opinion - be falling short of the "likely to be useful" threshold. I will hold off on downvoting any of them, but there are a couple I might ordinarily have considered as "less useful."

  • 4
    Is Harry Potter an innie or an outie though?
    – Valorum
    Oct 22, 2019 at 18:22
  • 1
    @Valorum Thank you for that. :) Maybe you should ask the question! You're really good at research... :)
    – DavidW
    Oct 22, 2019 at 18:23
  • Only Slitherincess can answer. Oct 24, 2019 at 23:12
  • @JamesMcLeod - Or anyone who's seen Equus
    – Valorum
    Oct 25, 2019 at 13:55
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    "In fact I've seen that discouraged, because it gives posters who feel they have been wronged a target for revenge." The only time I've ever been obviously vote-targeted was exactly for this reason. (obvious in the sense that the votes got reversed after reporting, and the suspected user got a year long suspension at the same time)
    – JMac
    Oct 31, 2019 at 18:47

You keep mentioning "anonymous" down-votes. Of course down-votes (and up-votes for that matter) are anonymous. This prevents a user from attacking those who have down-voted them, this is a basic SE founding principal. It is also why down-vote do not cost the voter any reputation on questions, questions are the sand to answers pearls. User must not be afraid to down-vote to create a healthy environment of self-moderation and quality control.

As has been mentioned, but I will reiterate, serial down-voting (and again up-voting) is not allowed on this platform, will be discovered, and will be punished. We rarely have 1 serial down-voter let alone 5, 10, or even more as you are suggesting.

I would do some self-reflection and examine if it is the site that is wrong or perhaps there might some adjustments you can make in your own attitude that can help your questions be better received. If you decide that it is indeed the community maybe it is time for you to remove that negativity from your life.

  • Somehow no amount of good English can penetrate the amazing power of cognitive dissonance. “Prolific” - unanswered. An “attitude that can help your questions be better received.” Obviously you agree with me. Questions are scored by reputation, not content, and you’re suggesting users who are prepared to stand up for a library of expert answers should go elsewhere. Understood.
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 25, 2019 at 21:51
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    @VogonPoet It is an attitude for you, not for anyone else, you need to learn to accept legitimate critiques and helpful criticism. We are all human (last I checked anyway) and there is always a human element in voting.
    – Skooba
    Oct 26, 2019 at 18:06

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