Recently I noticed some very suspicious patterns of downvoting. If you browse the rep pages of users on front weekly rep page you will see that almost all users received a pair of downvotes at the same time, yesterday. For example, in the 5 minutes 21:03 - 21:08 all of the following users received 1 or 2 downvotes (most got 2 downvotes at the same minute).


This pattern seems to continue for at least an hour (or at least it still occurs an hour later). Could the moderators or SE team please investigate. It seems very unlikely that these votes could have been made in good faith, so it is not fair that all of these valued contributors may waste time investigating possible problems with their answers (ditto for readers of these downvoted posts).

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Although I vouch for this, is it possible to track down-votes? $\endgroup$
    – Don Larynx
    Dec 17, 2013 at 4:21
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    $\begingroup$ @Don SE employees with full database access can see the authors of votes. Other site mods cannot (but they can see some aggregrate voting statistics - to help them track down suspicious voting patterns). $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2013 at 4:41
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    $\begingroup$ See: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/11980/… $\endgroup$
    – Shog9
    Dec 17, 2013 at 6:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Shog9 Thanks. I figured out who it was before I saw your link. Why does SE allow this massive serial downvoting to continue? Surely many users - like I - have wasted valuable time reviewing their randomly downvoted answers (e.g. to check them for errors), and the downvotes may cause readers to question the accuracy of these downvoted answers. This behavior causes much harm to the site. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2013 at 6:37
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    $\begingroup$ Generally-speaking, we don't get into moderating votes unless it's clear specific users are being targeted (which originally appeared to be the case, but now is unclear). If someone wants to burn through all of their goodwill within a community, wasting the time of their peers and turning themselves into a pariah, there's only so much we can do to stop them. I - and several of the moderators - have spoken to the person responsible here; if he's still determined to beat his head against the wall... Well, so be it. $\endgroup$
    – Shog9
    Dec 17, 2013 at 6:43
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    $\begingroup$ Historically relevant context. $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Dec 17, 2013 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe the user is angry with the world. $\endgroup$
    – Don Larynx
    Dec 17, 2013 at 13:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Don If you read the thread linked by Shog9 you can infer something about the motivations of the mass daily downvoting. It appears to be some sort of protest. Alas, this is a very nonconstructive way to protest SE limitations/policies. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2013 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ I had this happen to me tonight, I was quite surprised and thought this could be related to my recent meta question on downvoting until I saw the same had happened to another user. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2013 at 14:43
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    $\begingroup$ @cardinal The only relevant history I know for this unique problem (apparent protest by massive downvoting) is the link given by Shog9, more specifically see here). I don't believe that anything of this large scale has ever occurred before on MSE. It appears that over 100 protest downvotes have been cast in less than a week (vs. 31 downvotes cast in the prior 2 years before the protest began). $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2013 at 15:48
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    $\begingroup$ @cardinal: I agree with Bill, that this is unprecedented. I find this sort of behavior very antisocial, and counterproductive to everyone (the voter[s], the votees, the readers, the site in general) and I hope it will stop soon. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Dec 18, 2013 at 6:36
  • $\begingroup$ Dear @Asaf: I agree that it would be nice to have people behave rationally and logically. But, alas, we are on a math site. :) $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Dec 18, 2013 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ @cardinal: Do you claim that in probability $1$ people are acting irrationally? :-) $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Dec 18, 2013 at 13:48
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    $\begingroup$ This question appears to no longer be relevant. $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Dec 21, 2013 at 23:42
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila: The probability of irrational behaviour seems uncomputable. Perhaps it doesn't exist. $\endgroup$
    – user21820
    Apr 16, 2015 at 4:31

1 Answer 1


The user responsible for the mass downvoting protest has requested that his account be deleted and SE has granted the request.

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    $\begingroup$ It is worth noting that the votes are not reversed, due to the fact that the account was responsible for over 2000 upvotes, and preserving them seems (to me) more important than removing 160 or so downvotes. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Dec 22, 2013 at 0:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Asaf Agreed. But I wonder why they simply didn't reverse all the downvotes during the period of protest. Presumably that would be very easy to do. $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2013 at 0:50
  • $\begingroup$ So what happened? Was the user identified by moderators? Did they eplain themselves? $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2013 at 3:05
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    $\begingroup$ @OlivierBégassat The user did not actually hide; he posted an answer (now deleted) in this very thread, adding more downvoted users to the list in the OP. The account with this much reputation (over 90K) could not be deleted by a site moderator. It was deleted by the SE team. As far as I understand their policies, they would not do it without the user's request. The query top deleted users shows that this was (by far) the most upvoted account ever removed from this site. $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2013 at 6:24
  • $\begingroup$ @PostNoBills: The query is misleading, since it doesn't take into account accepts, downvotes, and rep caps. But yeah. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Dec 22, 2013 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Also bounties and CW status. But I did not say "with most reputation" (though that would also be true). The query shows the Total Score of posts, which, over a long term, is about as good a measure of "community approval" as reputation. In my comment, "the most upvoted" should be "the highest voted", since the query gives the net value upvotes-downvotes. $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2013 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Post: Yes, of course. I was just pointing out. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Dec 22, 2013 at 17:54

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