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TL;DR - (Research on meta was unclear) In an ambiguous case of possibly malicious downvotes on the same correct (but not best) answer over a long period, should we just delete the question and move on (my reaction, supported by some of the discussion on meta for related questions)? Or, should we flag it for moderator attention (the accepted answer to the closest question I could find on meta)?

I've been researching on meta trying to find an answer to this question, but I was not able to find an identical question nor ferret out an unambiguous answer from the different discussions an unambiguous answer I was able to get a clear answer.

Basically, I had a particular answer to a question that was AFAIK correct, it even had one comment from someone that questioned something about the answer, but I clarified and the commenter agreed it was correct. It was a simple question about how to break a 16-bit value into two bytes for serial transmission.

The same day, I had downvoted a couple of other people's answers to other questions and left comments as to why. One of the questioners got upset with me and left a comment about it, eventually deleting the post altogether. That same day, the answer to the above question got downvoted with no commment, followed by another downvote within the next day.

Then out of the blue it received another downvote within the last couple of days. My feeling was that the individual had bookmarked the question and was somehow continuing to downvote; I'm not sure the particulars of what this would entail since I know a user account can only downvote a question once, but I figured perhaps using alternate accounts.

Since the post was -3, and since my suspicion is that it's being downvoted retributively, I figured I should just delete and move on, which I did. However it was being done, I didn't figure there would be any way that a moderator could really do anything about it anyway. Also, the post was kinda old school, in that it was fine for the old embedded systems I used to work on, but once i saw the other answers, I realized it wasn't the best way to do it in C# anyway, so I could see how it could perhaps be considered not useful. (Although, there was at least one other answer almost identical to mine except using a downshift instead of a mask on the high-order byte, so I don't think that was it.)

I got to thinking about it today and wondered if I did the right thing, so I did my research on meta, and the closest answer I could find here on meta about what to do is to flag so that a moderator can look at the situation. (Malicious Downvotes?) However, this question is related to a single user downvoting different answers, not the same one, so it's a different situation as regards a moderator being able to see who was doing it.

But for this particular case: a question which is right but not the best answer, other answers that were very similar, no way to be sure it was malicious, etc., it just seems like the right solution is not to flag, but to just accept that there's no way to even know whether the answer is malicious, delete it, and move on.

So, which is the right answer? Flag it as suggested in the Answer referenced above? Or to just delete it and move on since there was little loss to the community anyway.

other possibly relevant research:

Should you delete questions or answers which get many downvotes?

What to do with unexplained downvotes?

Does the anomalous voting algorithm detect downvotes on trolls?

What action to take on old accepted answer that keeps getting downvotes?

share|improve this question
I don't see anything suspicious (I just checked), and in fact it appears that you have no down voted answers. Can you be a bit more specific about the post in question? – Tim Post Aug 14 '11 at 23:20
I don't know how to look it up because there are so many questions that are similar (e.g. look up 'serial convert int to bytes' or similar, sort by date, and you end up with pages and pages before you are even past today...) I ended up deleting my Answer, initially without much thought, so I don't know a way to find the post now. – shelleybutterfly Aug 15 '11 at 3:11
But I do want to reiterate, it's intended more of a general question. I thought there was something fishy, but I also knew I could be wrong. So the question isn't so much meant to be me whining about getting unfair downvotes, I do think there could have been valid reasons for someone downvoting almost any post they thought had an issue. – shelleybutterfly Aug 15 '11 at 3:18
The question is more, well, if we think it there's a possibility that it's not (in this case because other similar answers were not downvoted) should we report it in case there's someone that might be doing it to more than just us? Or just let it go since it's unlikely to afford enough info to do anything with anyway. – shelleybutterfly Aug 15 '11 at 3:19
Ahh I found it!… and the answer in question was… – shelleybutterfly Aug 15 '11 at 3:27
ty to Adam Davis for looking at it, since my answer was not correct after all. For my Q here though, I still am curious whether the other answer I referenced ("Flag the moderator to check on it. They're quite helpful.") is good for other situations like this. (Clearly I didn't do due diligence here, or I would have figured it out myself, and wouldn't have wasted anyone's time. I apologize for that. very sheepish) I still think that (and I think the fact that my answer was wrong is evidence for), unless there's less ambiguity, the right answer is not to flag, but to delete and move on. – shelleybutterfly Aug 15 '11 at 4:48
up vote 9 down vote accepted

A few thoughts:

Generally it's a waste of time to worry about downvotes, retributive or otherwise.

If they were truly trying to hurt you, they would attack several answers and/or questions, not just that one, so I have a hard time believing that it was retribution. More likely:

C# users, especially new programmers, really seem to have an averse reaction to old-school methods. Many programmers have a similar reaction to the next level down, which is embedded old-school methods.

But, more importantly, c# has a lot of good high level functions and constructs which provide features and functionality that you don't get with lower-level bare metal style programming you might use on embedded systems.

It's not that your answer was wrong, but they don't want to encourage new users of C# to think that your answer should be considered a good way to perform that function - beginners would lose some of the features of the higher level constructs.

So, don't sweat it. I don't think a moderator would want to do anything with it since it's unlikely to be abuse.

share|improve this answer
k yeah that was part of my feeling, like, I could kind of understand why it might be downvoted, the weird thing was that an almost identical answer didn't get downvoted at all... – shelleybutterfly Aug 14 '11 at 23:15
Could you post a link to the question? – Adam Davis Aug 14 '11 at 23:53
I was going to but since I had deleted my answer I couldn't find the link to it, let me search I can probably find it. – shelleybutterfly Aug 14 '11 at 23:53
there are just so many items asking about serial ports related to int to byte that I can't track it down; is there any way to find it in my profile since I deleted the response? – shelleybutterfly Aug 15 '11 at 0:51
I found it! I also put the links in the main comments, but here they are again: Q:… A:… – shelleybutterfly Aug 15 '11 at 3:30
I'm sorry to tell you this, but your code is wrong, and that is the most likely reason for the downvotes. Check the example program out here: – Adam Davis Aug 15 '11 at 3:52
Geez, well... don't be sorry to tell me! Big duh, it's not like I don't know how to shift, apparently was just being a dorkette when I wrote it and then never bothered to give the code a once-over when I got downvoted to see if I was missing something. Wish anyone else had bothered to just tell me, I would have fixed it. :) And extra thanks for the codepad link, that's awesome. I will totally be using that from now on. Anyway, thank you for that, I actually am a LOT happier that it was a mistake in my answer rather than some sort of 'downvote stalker'. :) – shelleybutterfly Aug 15 '11 at 4:26
May I request that you consider whether my specific mistake belongs as a part of the answer? Although I used my experience to frame it, the question I asked is logically independent of the specific incident. I didn't whine about my post being downvoted, or ask anything to be done with it at all, I asked a general question: when something like this happens, should we do what I did (delete and let it go), or the current accepted answer to the other meta question (saying flag it). I feel like the mistake made doesn't belong in the answer, since why I got downvoted was not part of the question. – shelleybutterfly Aug 15 '11 at 5:14
(I see that it's marked community wiki, but I don't think it would be appropriate for me to be the one to remove it since it's referencing my mistake...) By the way, I'm not that charged about it or anything if it stays in, it was just hard to make the request in a polite way, justify it, and also fit it into these teeny-tiny 600 character comments. Wowzers 600?? Just looked that up. Guess I'm just a TL;DR kinda girl. :D ♡ – shelleybutterfly Aug 15 '11 at 5:21
Feel free to edit my posts as you please. I removed it as requested, but don't be shy about editing other people's stuff. – Adam Davis Aug 16 '11 at 0:19

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