Are there some up and down vote statistics a standard user can access? I'm curious to know whether my feeling that users have been downvoting more and more liberally over time is correct or just my mind playing a trick on me.

I used the discussion tag because I would be curious to learn what other users' opinion is on this (but maybe the feature tag is more appropriate?) and whether you have observed the same trend or not.

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    $\begingroup$ You could try constructing a query around our data.SE page. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander Gruber Mod
    Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 4:19
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    $\begingroup$ I guess I have it coming ^^ $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 4:28
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    $\begingroup$ I'll admit freely that I'm downvoting more. The more questions that are asked, the more "garbage" there is to sort through. If we are to maintain any ordering of questions whatsoever, we'd better downvote relentlessly. (But, that was not my downvote.) $\endgroup$
    – apnorton
    Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 4:28
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    $\begingroup$ @anorton I almost never downvote, but I upvote frequently. I'm refering to legitimate answers or questions being downvoted. This happens quite often, is never followed up by any explanation. Although irritating to me and others, it's okay and allowed by the voting system, I wonder however wether this is happening more often now than say, two years ago. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 4:38
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    $\begingroup$ I have noticed an uptick in the number of my answers getting downvoted. These are answers that typically already have any number of upvotes and the downvotes come with no explanation. I have decided not to let these bother me, they are just part of some trend or behavior on the part of newer users that is no reflection on my answers. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Gordon
    Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 7:23
  • $\begingroup$ This seems (to some extent) related: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/6668/… $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 9:49
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    $\begingroup$ I have been downvoting a lot more recently due to getting fed up with PSQs. Usually I just vote to close, but if the question shows an egregious lack of effort, or is impolite, I'll downvote too. $\endgroup$
    – user7530
    Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Ron: There is a problem, though, when the downvotes come early: those users who are strongly influenced by the vote totals and who see the answer at that point can be badly misled. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 9:30
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    $\begingroup$ @BrianM.Scott: I am sure that is true, but what can we do? One of my answers did in fact get a downvote first. I then left a note in the comments asking why and stating that I simply could not find a fault with the answer. I then got a few upvotes over time. (There was another case which was incredibly egregious in which I labored on a very difficult question to produce a good answer. Someone then downvoted my answer while upvoting two obviously incorrect answers. Fortunately, Math.SE is self-correcting.) $\endgroup$
    – Ron Gordon
    Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 9:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Ron: I was responding to the bit about not letting these downvotes bother one: in some cases I think that there is genuine reason for concern. There’s nothing to be done about the ones that are basically just vandalism, and for the rest there isn’t anything to be done except to try to change the culture: (a) downvoting something that is mathematically correct, readable, and relevant to the question is misleading and therefore a disservice future readers, hence harmful to the site; (b) downvoting without leaving an explanatory comment is discourteously unhelpful. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 16, 2013 at 19:38

1 Answer 1


Naturally, as the site grows, the number of votes of either kind goes up. The trend is shown below: upvotes per day in blue, 10*downvotes per day in red. (Multiplied by 10 to be roughly on the same scale). As you can see, recently the number of downvotes reached 10% of the number of upvotes.


For better readability, open the image in another tab.

The time interval is from the beginning of 2011 to December 1, 2013. Both graphs are smoothened by size 14 moving window (i.e., these are averages over 14 day periods).

Upon request, I added the chart with the ratio downvotes/upvotes for the same time period:


Sources of data: Upvotes per day and Downvotes per day.

Note: When interpreting the data, keep in mind that votes on deleted posts are not included in the SEDE database. Downvoted posts often get deleted: often by their owner, sometimes by other users, eventually by the Community bot (if there are no answers after a month). Also, some downvotes are removed after edits. The attrition of downvotes may partially explain why their number is higher in recent weeks than in the more distant past.

More charts To get a better look at the data, I broke the vote counts from the beginning of 2012 (not 2011 this time) by type of post: questions and answers. These are upvotes on questions (blue) and answers (red):

qa upvotes

Answers are ahead, but both follow almost exactly the same pattern. The chart makes it clear that the number of upvotes is not keeping up with the ever increasing volume of posts. In particular, the all-time high was in the second quarter of 2013.

And these are downvotes on questions (blue) and answers (red):

qa downvotes

Here questions are ahead, and the patterns are rather different. Both are at all-time high point right now, but for the questions the spike is much more prominent.


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    $\begingroup$ That's just what I was looking for. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 6:44
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    $\begingroup$ Post No Bills: Somehow you remind me of the user named 40 votes who was also very helpful in meta MSE :) $\endgroup$
    – Prism
    Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 7:02
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    $\begingroup$ Despite Bill invests most of his reputation in bounties: +1 for that... $\endgroup$
    – draks ...
    Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 7:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Post No Bills Why do you downvote too much in main? This has definitely contributed to the increase in downvotes recently $\endgroup$
    – ILoveMath
    Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 7:31
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for this!! Post No Bills is, indeed, remarkably well informed about the inner workings of the site for someone who has been a member for just a fortnight, but let him/her keep this air of mystery :D $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ "As you can see, recently the number of downvotes reached 10% of the number of votes for the first time in the history of the site." I think you mean the number of downvotes reached 10% of the number of upvotes. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 11:23
  • $\begingroup$ To answer the original question, I'd be curious to see a chart showing DV/UV, the ratio of the two. Eyeballing it, it seems the DVs do spike here and there. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ @PostNoBills - nice chart, thankyou. The long trend does appear to be up a bit, with some serious volatility. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 12:35

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