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The user Bill Dubuque posted a great answer to a question I asked, but it got two downvotes, despite it clearly answering my question (I accepted the answer) and it is clearly a well constructed answer. I asked Bill in the comments why it got downvoted, and he said "The politics of the site is - and always has been - very ugly." So perhaps my question is about what he means by this.

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    $\begingroup$ If you want Bill Dubuque to elaborate on his comment you should ask him that privately, not in a public forum. The rest of your question here is perfectly good, but has been asked a lot and a quick search should find you some guesses (since no-one really has answers for the behaviour of others) For example: math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/30128/… $\endgroup$
    – postmortes
    Apr 25 at 5:49
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with you @postmortes but your suggestion is not very practical as SE does not offer a private method of communication (and Bill does not reveal a method of privately contacting him in his profile) $\endgroup$ Apr 25 at 7:20
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    $\begingroup$ You can create a private chatroom and invite Bill Dubuque to it, so I think SE does, albeit perhaps in a non-obvious way. $\endgroup$
    – postmortes
    Apr 25 at 7:21
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm. Well fair enough then, I've never used that before $\endgroup$ Apr 25 at 7:21
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    $\begingroup$ I think Bill explained quite clear his spectulation in the comment? $\endgroup$ Apr 25 at 7:47
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    $\begingroup$ Wild guess: He posted smthn on Meta and started getting downvotes right after. Y'know like people protesting him with their downvotes. $\endgroup$ Apr 26 at 6:53
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    $\begingroup$ I discovered this question only much later. To clarify, iirc, Clyde originally commented on my answer, asking about the reasons for the downvotes. I replied lamenting that those involved in moderation often suffer vengeful downvotes (mod's deleted our comments around the time this question was posted). Alas, this meta attention (with the out of context quote) only led to more downvotes - now a total of 6, which I suppose is as good as example of any of said "ugly politics". $\endgroup$ May 15 at 9:34
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    $\begingroup$ Btw, for the record, a "moderator" has changed the question title from "phenomenal answer" to "answer" - which in my opinion is disrespectful to the OP (among others). $\endgroup$ May 15 at 9:42

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The only person that can clarify what Bill Dubuque has said is himself. There is no point in speculating as to what he meant.

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Well, this is my take: Targeted downvoting is unfortunately, real and not so uncommon here. By "targeted downvoting" I mean pinning a downvote on a post, not due to the quality of the post itself, but instead due to a grudge towards the user who wrote the post. This could be due to a bunch of reasons. My understanding is that this is something that happens to moderators and site administrators here far too often, as their actions are far more visible.

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    $\begingroup$ The owner of the post cannot see which users voted to close their questions. $\endgroup$ Apr 25 at 20:02
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    $\begingroup$ You are right @Arctic Char. I do think the larger point remains though, that there is a lot of grudge downvoting i.e., targeted downvoting. $\endgroup$
    – Mike
    Apr 25 at 20:11
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    $\begingroup$ Although it doesn't apply to the current case, there is also downvoting of answers to express disapproval of the question being answered, to make deletion easier. $\endgroup$ Apr 26 at 6:50
  • $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson yes indeed, no doubt. $\endgroup$
    – Mike
    Apr 26 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, it is such vengeful downvoting aimed at those involved in moderation that I mentioned to Clyde when he asked on my answer why it got downvoted. All comments on main were quickly deleted by mods when this meta question was posted (so the only trace left of that discussion was the excerpt on "ugly politics" quoted in the question here - which is so out-of-context that it was likely misinterpreted by many- which, alas, led to 4 more downvotes). $\endgroup$ May 15 at 9:55

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