It would appear that there is someone periodically roaming the boards downvoting literally everything; questions and answers. They seem to stop eventually, but I suspect this is due to them hitting the limit of votes they can make, rather than saying to themselves that the fiftieth answer they've read today is the first undeserving of a downvote. This would strike me abusing the privilege of being able to vote at all. It seems to have been happening daily for approximately a week, and has been noticed and commented upon by multiple users.

My question is simple; is there any way whatsoever to combat this behaviour? Can we find out who is doing it and take away their voting privileges? Can we cancel their downvotes? Can we (figuratively, not literally. Well, maybe a little literally) kill them with fire? At the moment, the only option is to upvote to compensate the effect of their downvote, but this requires us to either upvote something we would probably not have upvoted before, which I dislike doing, or to have our upvote essentially cancelled out by their downvote.

It simply makes the board a more annoying place to post when you know you're going to be downvoted no matter how good your question/ answer is. The fact that people often bandwagon and give further downvotes to a previously downvoted question doesn't help, and I can easily see this driving away new users. Someone like myself is miserable and lonely enough that it won't have much effect on me, but newbies are another issue.

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    Huh, got downvoted. Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 2:57
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    It's meta: downvotes don't count against you, they mean "I disagree." In this case, it means "I disagree that this is a problem." Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 4:01
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    I take offense to your chosen description of this mysterious downvoter.
    – phantom42
    Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 21:59
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    @phantom42 - I bet you really hate the film "The Phantom Menace".
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 22:33
  • @Ward: I know what downvotes mean in this context, it just seemed darkly amusing. Like starting a thread about editing tags and having your chosen tags edited. Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 23:17
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    @phantom42: Perhaps we should start counting the downvotes, to ensure there aren't exactly 42 every day. Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 23:17
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    @JamesSheridan - just to confirm your suspicions about timeframe: you know about my old complaint about DVs. They kinda stopped for several months, but I had 3 serial downvotes (same time, 3 absolutely unrelated posts from the past) couple of days ago. Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 0:16
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    @JamesSheridan - evidence Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 0:37
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    @DVK: Thanks DVK. Perhaps it's targeted, rather than the universal "DOWNVOTE EVERYTHING" I thought it was. In which case, someone really doesn't like Richard or myself either. Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 1:33
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    @JamesSheridan - the votes clearly target specific users based on patterns I saw (E.g. downvotes to fill a gap in a question list between previously downvoted old questions). However, based on the facts that mods/SE team never said anything in answer to my complaints, clearly I wasn't the ONLY person targeted (I interpret their silence as "checked, didn't find anyone dispropotionately downvoting you by statistics") Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 2:05
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    @DVK: I must admit, I haven't had old questions targeted. Most of my newer answers have been targeted though. I did suffer my much-aligned 100 upvotes, 2 downvotes incident a while ago, but I think that was general dickishness, rather than a concerted attack on my posts overall. Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 2:48
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    Some users are very protective about some of the tags and topics. Whenever I ask or answer a question about a certain topic, I realised a specific user is downvoting my every move. That person also follows my every step even if it's a harmless comment and goes full berserk on me about sourcing and referencing about my claims. About a fictional topic. Even if you ask the perfect question for the perfect topic and everything looks perfect with your answers, some annoying weirdo goes after you. Just because he/she can and they want to be a chosen one. Forums don't have anything against it.
    – burcu
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 13:19

2 Answers 2


I have had many of my questions/answers downvoted only once without any given reason. So, I can understand what you are saying.

But here is what I have to say:

At the moment, the only option is to upvote to compensate the effect of their downvote, but this requires us to either upvote something we would probably not have upvoted before, which I dislike doing, or to have our upvote essentially cancelled out by their downvote.

Upvotes should NOT be used to correct someone else's downvote.

So, I would say that no, don't upvote something just because someone else downvoted it. Upvote it only if you think it deserves an upvote.

That's what your vote is counting for, after all - vote for what you think, not for what other people think. Their own votes are used for their opinions, after all.

First answer of the above link

Also, this shouldn't discourage you from posting. Keep posting. If your posts are good and deserve upvotes, they will get them; one or two downvotes won't be such a big issue.

If a user is targeting you in particular and downvoting a lot of your posts, the automatic script will catch him; don't you worry.

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    You know... in principe and in theory I agree with your bolded statement. In practice, I go so fed up with baseless mass downvotes, I do upvote where I usually wouldn't just to counteract. At this point, any harm to the site from my spurious upvotes is far eclipsed by downvotes with no reason. "Action... and reaction..." as Merovingian would say. Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 0:10
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    Also, I'm tempted to downvote based on the last paragraph. Whoever our mysterious downvoter(s) are, they are clever enough to throttle their actions to NEVER trip the script, or even the mods. Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 0:13
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    @DVK "Moves... and countermoves..." as President Snow would say.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 18:54
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    Sometime I'll downvote a question just because There Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Give a F--- About, but it wasn't me this time.
    – user14111
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 10:00

I think the first thing you'd have to do is give an example of this happening, and then we could talk about whether it's harming the site.

When have you seen this happen? I just had a look through the first page of the most recent questions and don't see any signs of every question and answer being downvoted.

I didn't look as closely at the next 2 pages of questions, but the voting patterns look normal to me: some Qs and As have a log of upvotes, some have a few, some have one or two downvotes, a few have more than that. The posts that have 0 or -ive net votes seem to generally deserve their scores. I don't see anything that looks like pile-on downvoting.

I'm not clear on why you're either reluctant to vote or you don't think that's enough of a response. If you're looking at a question and its answers and putting in the effort check how many up and down votes there are why wouldn't you just vote at the same time? If you think a post deserves an upvote, and someone else has already downvoted, isn't it better to give the post your upvote? OTOH, if you think the post is "meh" - not really worthy of a vote - why is it hard to imagine that someone else thought it was bad and downvoted?

  • scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/71658/… Is the best recent example, due to the fact that both the question and the answer got downvoted. Often the answer escapes simply because it comes several hours after the question has been downvoted. It's possible I have something of a perception bias here, as it is happening in the types of questions I look at and not others, but that seems unlikely to me. Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 3:00
  • Doesn't seem like a big deal, one downvote on the Q and one on the A, but the net is +8 and +7. And despite Richard's comment on his answer, I don't see a ton of downvotes on his answers. Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 4:09
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    @ward - What's noticeable is that I don't usually get any downvotes. Now suddenly I'm getting one or two daily on perfectly innocuous answers
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 6:42
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    And both my recent questions received one downvote each. One day apart
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 6:44
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    @Richard It's still a far cry from the statement that someone is downvoting "literally everything." Yeah, when I looked at your recent answers, I saw a couple that had downvotes that I couldn't think of any possible reason for. I can only see 3 downvotes on your answers given over the last 4 days, although you might have gotten some on older questions. I don't see why that's a big deal compared to ~136 upvotes on the same answers. Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 6:55
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    @ward - It's annoying because someone is clearly abusing their privilege.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 7:48
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    I'm with @Richard on this. It may be a perception bias on my part, but it seems to be happening more. As Richard says, he almost never receives downvotes, yet he seems to be receiving them fairly often currently. I also seem to be receiving more of them. Now, my answers are never necessarily good, but they're not bad enough to receive downvotes (normally) and I've also seen several new users targeted lately. The recent question regarding the raising of Numenor immediately springs to mind; I believe it had two downvotes before I read it, and, while not Shakespeare, it's a good question. Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 23:15
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    @Richard - welcome to my world :) Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 0:15
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    @Ward - you seriously and honestly need examples? Here's one from my recent rep history. 3 downvotes in 3 minutes. All on OLD questions (one from 2012): sffmoderation.blogspot.com/2014/11/and-they-are-back.html Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 0:39
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    @DVK Yes, I seriously need examples... do you think I have nothing better to do than monitor or study the rep graph of a bunch of high-rep users? And when the initial claim is that someone is downvoting "literally everything," yeah, I think examples are in order. Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 3:53
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    @dvk - And another two for me this morning. The fact that these are already downvoted suggests that someone has created a puppet account.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 7:01
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    @JamesSheridan It doesn't seem like "downvoting literally everything" is going on, but if you or Richard or DVK think unreasonable downvotes are happening, then go ahead and make a meta post about the specific issue. But keep in mind that what DVK is worried about is different from what you and Richard are noticing, so I think you'd really need to pin down the problem. e.g. you said Richard "almost never receives downvotes," but I went back to April and looking at one page of reputation stats, he's got the odd downvote or 2 on more than 25% of the days. ... Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 8:42
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    ... I'm not disputing that he might very well be getting more unresonable downvotes now than he did several months ago but it's not the case that he never got downvotes and it's still a very very small number of them. Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 8:43
  • scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/71996/… Both answers downvoted. Question wasn't this time though. Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 1:49
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    I'm going to say that I think it makes sense to see more downvotes occur as a user's rep increases. I remember getting my first downvote and feeling slighted. I once thought I had a serial downvoter and I passed this concern on to the mods. But ultimately I concluded the higher one's rep gets, the greater the expectations of other users. Thus, the downvotes increase. I don't think that's necessarily wrong, to be honest. Not only have I seen high rep users leave mediocre or wrong answers, but I have done it myself. Being downvoted reminds me that excellence is expected when users bestow rep. Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 17:32

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