After I asked an unpopular question on Meta, my inactive question on the main site received some downvotes; it seems that the downvoters wanted to remind me of the fact that my post was too unpopular and so its author deserved to experience some severe punishment.

I mentioned the above instance to show that some people downvote some posters rather than their posts. To confirm this harsh and irrefutable claim, let us review the following excerpt from a heavily upvoted comment:

Questions are illigiitmately upvoted for reasons unrelated to the quality of a question. A very poor post answered by 5 separate users may very well get five upvotes. Friends upvote friends, admire certain users, etc.

As we can see, unfortunately, posters are voted. In this post I will make a suggestion confronting such an unacceptable behavior.


As we know, there is a thread devoted to requests for reopen and undeletion votes. I think it is not a bad idea if we devote another meta thread to requests for upvoting posts which are treated unfairly.

Some people may disagree with this suggestion because they think that an uncontrollable number of users would request that their low-quality posts should be upvoted, claiming that they were treated unfairly. However, I think such a case would not happen because when people see a low-quality post, it would likely receive more downvotes.


The following can be regarded as some advantages of the suggestion:

  • High-quality posts would retain their reputations and ranks so that they can easily found in search results, as explained in this post.
  • Users would not be discouraged from continuing posting high-quality posts.
  • (The most important) when people abusing their downvoting privileges see that their actions backfires, they would stop their bad behaviors.


Some people believes that "this suggestion is not appropriate because targeted voting is not allowed in this community and if one sees some unfair targeted voting then one should raise a flag for moderator attention". However, let me somewhat disagree with the claim due to the following points:

  • This suggestion has nothing to do with "targeted voting" because in targeted voting some posts of a user are voted by some people in a short while. However, this suggestion says that when a user sees that one of their post was downvoted unfairly, the user can post its link in the thread so that the community evaluate quality of the post to see whether it deserved to receive such votes or not.
  • The nature of this suggestion is similar to that of the thread requesting for reopen and undeletion votes; if this suggestion is a kind of targeted voting, so is that thread. For that thread posts are targeted to get reopen and deletion votes.
  • As this comment stated, targeted downvoting happens in CURED (related). If such a kind of behavior violates the community norms, is it not better first to find a solution for that room?
  • As far as I remember, some users complained why their flags related to some targeted downvoting were declined, and the moderators responded that they cannot do anything for a few downvotes. When the community can easily handle such situations, why should invoke moderator tools, regarding that moderators here are too busy, while "The ideal moderator does as little as possible - that’s the true art of moderation"?

Some people believes that "there is a huge difference between asking for reopen/undelete votes and up/downvotes: the former is much more essential than the latter and that we need a reopen-undeletion thread because there is a lot of such requests." However, let me somewhat disagree with the claim due to the following points:

  • Besides the mentioned modest differences between downvoted and upvoted posts in this thread, one should be concerned about "the most important" advantage mentioned above. Quantity of such a behavior should not be considered as the main issue, but its nature; the spread of such a behavior would be harmful to the spirit of the community.
  • If there are not many meta requests complaining of unfair downvotes, this does not mean that the occurrence of such a behavior is low. Many users are not optimistic about expressing such requests (and other problematic issues) on Meta; such requests would usually be heavily downvoted, closed, and deleted (In fact, they would be called "rants" by active meta users).
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    $\begingroup$ Don't fight the downvoters, just keep a low profile, there's no way you're going to win against people like that. Just read the GENTLE transcript if you wanna see what you'd be getting yourself into. $\endgroup$
    – Asinomás
    Jul 1, 2021 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ FYR: By GENTLE they refer to this chat room. But IIRC this chat room is mainly about reopen and undeletion, and not much about downvotes. $\endgroup$ Jul 1, 2021 at 15:11
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    $\begingroup$ Please remove the last two points in the update. Those are different questions (as you said, the suggestion is not about target voting). You might ask another question on that if you want (and those two questions are also not related: one is about actions in CURED and the other about flagging). $\endgroup$ Jul 1, 2021 at 16:24

2 Answers 2


Targeted voting (whether it be upvoting or downvoting) is categorically not allowed in the site, so I am afraid your suggestion is not appropriate. Posts should only be voted by following the (albeit minimalistic) guidelines of the usual pop-up: "This question shows research effort, it is useful and clear" or its negation.

If you suspect one of your posts (or someone else's post) has been unfairly targeted, you may always raise a flag or contact the moderator team.

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    $\begingroup$ If I vote on multiple-posts of one user, that's target voting. But is calling for vote a target voting? Some users, including myself, calls for downvotes occationally in CURED. $\endgroup$ Jul 1, 2021 at 11:16
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    $\begingroup$ @ArcticChar I think that what happens in CURED is in a slightly gray area: generically, I would say any user calling for downvotes on a post would be targeted downvoting, but I usually assume that the calls for downvotes at CURED are done in good faith, although I would reserve such behaviour for extreme cases, and would not encourage users to resort to that course of action for generic posts that are not up to standard. If this is done, I think the downvoter should be responsible enough to verify if the post was improved and, if so, withdraw their downvote to acknowledge the improvement. $\endgroup$
    – Pedro Mod
    Jul 1, 2021 at 11:33
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    $\begingroup$ @ArcticChar The calls for downvoting in CURED are something which makes me a little uneasy, but they are related to the deletion mechanism on SE: a post which has been closed generally has a two day grace period before it can be deleted unless that post has a score below $-2$. As I've said before, I am generally in favor of quick closure and slow deletion, but there are cases where quick deletion is appropriate, and I doubt we are ever going to agree on where, precisely, that line is. Thus calls for downvotes are generally related to the opinion that a post should be quickly deleted. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Jul 1, 2021 at 12:18
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    $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson That's just one reason. Another situation include answers that cannot be deleted unless they have a negative score. $\endgroup$ Jul 1, 2021 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ @PedroTamaroff Thank you for your answer. I will be glad to have your opinions on the updated post covering your points. $\endgroup$
    – Later
    Jul 1, 2021 at 16:00
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    $\begingroup$ @PedroTamaroff Not that I disagree with you, but I prefer to have a more solid criteria than "in good faith" since I might do that in CURED. If I, in good faith, target downvote one specific user because they write a lot of useless answers, I will get suspended. $\endgroup$ Jul 1, 2021 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ do that again $\endgroup$ Jul 1, 2021 at 16:22

There's a huge difference between asking for reopen/undelete votes and up/downvotes: while the former votes are essential to the posts (e.g. closed post cannot be answered, more obvious for deleted post), it is not obvious what difference it makes when the post is +2 or +10 (see remark).

Also, we need reopen-undeletion thread because there's a lot of such requests. If, e.g. for a whole year there are only 2-3 such requests posted on meta, we don't need that thread for the next year (see, e.g. the duplicate thread).

A more realistic request is to ask for constructive comments about how a post might be improved on meta (or in chat: there is a chatroom for that). Requests of this nature shows up sometimes on meta (see here, here) but not a lot. Note that the first example I linked are motivated by several downvotes on their question, and after the improvements it attracts quite a number of upvotes. So that seems to be what you want to achieve.

Aside: If there are a lot of requests on meta asking for constructive feedbacks, I think it makes sense to setup a dedicated meta thread for that.

On the other hand, I think it is also on-topic to ask why some specific posts that you think is of low quality are heavily upvoted: see this recent post

Remark: In some cases, an upvote can stop the post from auto-deletion; in some situation, an upvote to an answer stops the OP from deleting a post. In those cases I am more than happy to upvote if the content is good. Anyway, these two situations are dealt with in the reopen-undeletion thread.


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