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This is a question where obvious correct solutions got a downvote. What mechanism is there to prevent this type of action? and it is possible to address it by having the mods take a look at it?

addition: would having a system where a person needs to vote up a certain number of times before they are allowed to vote down be better? (I am pretty sure the answer is no, but I would like to know the reasons)

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    $\begingroup$ Each user has his own reasons for up and down voting. It is not up to you to dictate to others which questions they should upvote and which they should downvote. Also, please refer to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet) $\endgroup$ – Alex B. Apr 7 '11 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ troll is the only word I came up with, I think it is ludicrous that if one part of a solution may not be of suiting to an individual, the whole answer gets a downvote, however, that is just my opinion. $\endgroup$ – picakhu Apr 7 '11 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ I am not asking to dictate, I am fine with solutions getting a downvote if they are wrong, but if they are obviously right, I think that makes no sense. $\endgroup$ – picakhu Apr 7 '11 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ Exactly, that is just your opinion. Of course, you will apply your own standards when voting for or against other questions. Others will apply theirs. That's democracy and that's how the site works. The answers with the most votes are those favoured by the most users, so that vote counts reflect the taste of the community and not yours or anybody else's in particular. Please see also my answer here: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/1720/… $\endgroup$ – Alex B. Apr 7 '11 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Alex: Thanks that page is what I was looking for. I will close this question now. $\endgroup$ – picakhu Apr 7 '11 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ @picakhu: I highly recommend that you ignore votes altogether. They convey no useful information other than the fact that someone clicked a button on your answer, so may have read it. The truth and beauty of mathematics is not decided by a popularity contest. If you review the posts of the experts here you will find that often their most beautiful posts are the lowest rated ones and, conversely, the highest rated posts are often the most trivial (or quickest) answers. There are experts with low rep and novices with high rep and a wide spectrum in between. ... $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Apr 7 '11 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ Your title does not convey your question, which is not about trolls. BTW, MSE and sister sites seem free from trolls, perhaps because they don't get a live audience as they do in IRC, for instance. $\endgroup$ – lhf Apr 7 '11 at 17:36
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    $\begingroup$ I just have to point out the irony that a meta question requesting input on supposedly wrongful downvotes got downvoted. :-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Apr 7 '11 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ I see only one question (and it's not down voted). Your evidence is weak. $\endgroup$ – alexyorke Apr 7 '11 at 19:29
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    $\begingroup$ @alexy13: with higher score, you can see the votes. (which comes from upvotes) $\endgroup$ – picakhu Apr 7 '11 at 19:32
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    $\begingroup$ The downvotes on this question, just plain mean. $\endgroup$ – Mitch Apr 8 '11 at 0:44
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    $\begingroup$ @picakhu: re Asaf, maybe the irony is just too hard to pass up. $\endgroup$ – Mitch Apr 8 '11 at 0:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Mitch, @picakhu: Here on meta, unlike on the main site, downvoting simply indicates disagreement with the things proposed in the question/answer. Perhaps some users didn't feel that the downvotes you mentioned needed to be dealt with specially. In any case, votes here don't affect rep. $\endgroup$ – Rahul Apr 8 '11 at 2:05
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    $\begingroup$ -1: For the system proposed. That would only lead to upvoting without thinking, just to be able to downvote an answer, which is not good. Besides, it won't really prevent bad downvoting. $\endgroup$ – Aryabhata Apr 8 '11 at 14:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Moron: Indeed, the one-dimensional votes are fairly useless. If, instead, the votes had some way of tracking the knowledge-level of the voter in the subject area, then they would be much more useful. Then the reader could identify the highest-voted answer by users having the same level of knowledge, e.g. high-school, undergrad, post-doc, etc. Otherwise, for a general level forum like this, the votes aren't very helpful since they're all watered down to the least common denominator of knowledge (which could be very low at some future date, e.g. high-school level). $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Apr 8 '11 at 20:02
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The moderators cannot do anything about individual downvotes. We can, however, track suspicious voting patterns in two ways: some of them are caught by the software, and we can also tell if a particular user has downvoted a particular second user several times. If someone is obviously abusing the voting system to lower another user's reputation that can in principle be detected and taken care of, but individual bad downvotes are simply not worth worrying about.

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  • $\begingroup$ @QY: It would be nice if you addressed the additional point too. $\endgroup$ – picakhu Apr 8 '11 at 5:12
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    $\begingroup$ @picakhu: the restriction you describe seems unnecessarily restrictive to me, and I don't know if the SO team will be interested in implementing it. These kinds of questions are for meta.SO, not meta.math.SE. $\endgroup$ – Qiaochu Yuan Apr 8 '11 at 5:26
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would having a system where a person needs to vote up a certain number of times before they are allowed to vote down be better?

A few things

  1. It takes 125 rep to even earn the right to downvote, whereas voting up is allowed at 10 or 15 rep.

  2. All downvotes cost the voter 1 rep, so they are not free.

  3. Downvotes come from the same pool of votes, so every downvote cast is a removed upvote you cannot later cast (in the same 24 hour period)

So I would say downvotes are pretty heavily suppressed and de-incentivized already...

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I am not a moderator, but I take from comments I have seen that moderators do have the ability to investigate if there seems to be a pattern, such as if many seemingly good posts by the same user were voted down in a short period of time. For obvious reasons, you should contact the moderators directly if you want to ask them to look into that sort of thing.

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    $\begingroup$ Keep in mind that, due to very limited capabilities of the software, some folks have very different ways of using downvotes. At one point I was experimenting with using temporary downvotes to prevent too-quickly-accepted answers from fading into oblivion when the answer is far from optimal. However, that backfired when I failed to notice late one evening that a few such downvotes accumulated on one user - causing my motives to be completely misinterpreted. Needless to say I am much more careful now. But my point is to emphasize that downvotes may be used for many purposes - not all obvious. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Apr 7 '11 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Bill, I feel that may be the case with my answer, one person starts the trend of downvoting, and others carry it on. $\endgroup$ – picakhu Apr 7 '11 at 22:02
  • $\begingroup$ @picakhu: I have no clue what's going on in this case. Only the downvoters can say for sure. My point is to emphasize that there are so many varied reasons for downvoting that, generally, it is usually not productive to waste time worrying about what they may be. Instead, simply improve your answer. Then even a single upvote will offset many downvotes. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Apr 7 '11 at 22:16
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Yes, I see obviously misleading (not incorrrect really) answers highly favored in contrast to an obviously correct one.

But really, whatever the rules are here, people will have the tendency to vote 'up' for 'I like it', and 'down' for 'I don't like it', whatever the relevance, truth, or some other objective measure.

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    $\begingroup$ LOL @ pusing the blame to facebook and youtube :) $\endgroup$ – picakhu Apr 8 '11 at 0:50

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