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Yesterday I asked An alternative for the Decorator pattern in Java? on Stack Overflow. Apparently, it rubbed someone the wrong way and they downvoted it. I can understand that, although down-voting without a single comment is rather useless.

What I cannot understand is why that person felt the need to down-vote a couple months-old answers of mine two minutes later, as seen here.

I presume that it was to offset a potential up-vote, since they took care to only victimize a couple of my zero-vote answers. It's not really a serial downvote (yet?) but it is the first time that something like this has happened to me, and without an explanation to boot.

My issue in this case is not the points—4 points are not really significant—it's the fact that a couple of IMO correct and relevant, even if not stellar, answers now have negative votes, which indicates to the casual reader that they are incorrect and/or dangerous. I'd rather they had targeted a couple of up-voted answers, really. All because of a completely unrelated question.

  • Is this practice common? (Hopefully not!)
  • Is this practice acceptable? (I'd guess not, since it implies voting for reasons other that the content.)
  • If not, is this considered a form of abuse?
  • Should/can I do something in cases like this?
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Unacceptable behavior for sure. Hope that this can be rectified. – Avada Kedavra Oct 10 '11 at 8:49
What makes you think it's the same person? – AakashM Oct 10 '11 at 8:56
Serial down-votes rarely comes with a comment; differently it would be easier for the normal users to understand who down-voted. Are you sure it was the same user who down-voted your answers? There isn't any track of who down-voted whom, for the normal users. – kiamlaluno Oct 10 '11 at 8:58
@AakashM: The fact that when I saw my reputation page after the downvotes, the Q was downvoted "38 minutes ago" and the answers "36 minutes ago". Unfortunately I did not think of taking a screenshot... – thkala Oct 10 '11 at 8:58
...that doesn't necessarily mean it was the same person. – AakashM Oct 10 '11 at 8:59
@Padded Cell: I read most of the downvote-related questions on meta before posting. The difference in this case is that the culprit (for lack of better word) was a far more restrained person than described in the other threads. Their intention seemed to be to offset a single upvote, or something like that. – thkala Oct 10 '11 at 9:02
@AakashM: true, it could have been two different people - or three. Kind of interesting coincidence, is it not? – thkala Oct 10 '11 at 9:04
And? I have seen multiple questions regarding exactly that issue and and they all boil down to the single discussion about serial and revenge downvotes. – Time Traveling Bobby Oct 10 '11 at 9:36
@thkala: be wary of the incredible powerful pattern-finding mechanism that is the human brain. It doesn't like "coincidence" and doesn't believe in it. It won't be satisfied until it has found the pattern. Even when there is no pattern. – Joachim Sauer Oct 10 '11 at 9:37
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Voting is anonymous on Stack Overflow, user's aren't under any obligation to explain why they have decided to downvote your posts. Some days you get clusters of downvotes, it happens.

In the case of your downvoted answers I could see why a more exacting user of Stack Overflow might reach for the downvote button :)

share|improve this answer
I'd like to upvote this but don't want to spoil your magic reputation score (7,777). Maybe later :) – Idolon Oct 10 '11 at 10:33
@Idolon - aw crap, I just missed that magic moment. :) – Kev Oct 10 '11 at 11:03

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