I have noticed that occasionally someone will deface their own question, presumably in an attempt to cover their tracks. I have also noticed that when someone does this the question attracts plenty of downvotes. Now, the SE system promotes questions with higher votes and quietly hides those with a negative score. Therefore, downvoting such a question hides the it from view. Which is what the OP wants!

My point is this:

It makes no sense to down-vote a question which the OP has defaced. This is aiding and abetting them. You should rollback/flag the question and not downvote it. If you are really annoyed at the OP and want to annoy them in return, upvote.

What think you?

  • $\begingroup$ Err... Isn't the supposed cause of action to revert and/or flag? $\endgroup$
    – Lord_Farin
    Sep 16, 2013 at 10:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Lord_Farin I was imagining you had stumbled across a question which had already been rolled back. I have edited the question though under the assumption that you encountered a defaced version. (But yes, rollback and/or flag, and withhold those downvotes!) $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Sep 16, 2013 at 10:18
  • $\begingroup$ What's your logic? Who benefits from these questions being visible? $\endgroup$ Sep 16, 2013 at 11:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @PeterTaylor The person whom the OP is trying to hide it from. $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Sep 16, 2013 at 11:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Upvoting the question gives reputation to the OP which, in my opinion, is not a good idea. $\endgroup$
    – JRN
    Sep 16, 2013 at 12:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Joel Why not? It is only internet points! I, personally, am willing to sabotage someone attempted cheating by giving them +5. (On a side note, often such people are using unregistered accounts so giving them reputation is just like pouring it into a black hole. It is harmless.) $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Sep 16, 2013 at 12:23
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729, the higher reputation will allow the OP to do tasks that require high reputation. Do you want this irresponsible person to be able to do more harm? $\endgroup$
    – JRN
    Sep 16, 2013 at 12:25
  • $\begingroup$ What exactly do you mean by "system hides those with a negative score"? I am only aware of the fact that unanswered questions with zero or negative score are deleted after quite a long period of time. (After 30 days, if the score is negative.) $\endgroup$ Sep 16, 2013 at 13:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Martin: Questions with -4 (-8 on meta) are hidden from the front page. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Sep 16, 2013 at 13:15
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks @Asaf, I did not know about hits. I've searched meta.SO a little and found this post about meta and this one about main. But from the blog post referenced there, my impression was that this is only used for interesting tab. $\endgroup$ Sep 16, 2013 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


You seem to me to be trying to fix a small problem by creating a bigger one.

Although you don't make it explicit in the question, you seem to be concerned primarily or solely with people vandalising their own questions because they're posting homework exercises and don't want the person who set the exercise to notice the question and spot the similarity between an answer and the submitted homework. This is backed up by your answer in comments that you think the question-asker is trying to hide their question from one person when they do this.

math.stackexchange.com has 68000 visits and 370 questions per day. Pushing the visibility of a poor question (and any "Do my homework!" question which needs covering up is almost certain to be a poor question) is to the detriment of many many people who want to get help with better questions or want to find people that it's worth spending time to help. Upvoting poor questions also misleads new users of the site into thinking that those questions are condoned or even approved, which will discourage people who are looking for a high quality site.


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