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I've got the nagging feeling, currently, on Programmers, that I'm the victim of a nasty serial downvoter who isn't being caught by the scripts because I have quite a low activity. And I certainly don't have the most moderate personality in the world, and could easily have posted something that someone took personally. But how could I actually know, for sure?

I'd like to suggest that you can view downvotes by user, anonymously. Like "Of the last 20 downvotes, User A contributed 18 of them". I know that User IDs are identifying, but a simple hash should solve that problem.

The thing is, I don't want to flag for a moderator or raise a Meta topic because I have a bad feeling. I'd like to go and say "Someone, who is still anonymous to me, is clearly downvoting me serially. This is definitely a problem and therefore definitely worth your time. Go smack them.". I'd like to have enough information at my fingertips to be certain if I'm a victim.

Just to be absolutely clear: I don't want to link downvotes to specific users. That's been (repeatedly) rejected, and whilst I disagree, that's how it is. I want to link them to other, also anonymous, downvotes.

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So I have a negative interaction with one user today. I get a downvote; it's 95% sure it's him. Under your system, I now know for all time when it's him downvoting one of my answers. – agf Nov 8 '11 at 5:12

You are not the target of serial down-voting: you're receiving legitimate down-votes from people who disagree with your answers.

If you look at your reputation chart, you can see what posts were down-voted and when. Since November 1, you received:

  • 2 down votes (i.e two different people down-voted you) for this answer. One of those people even explained why in the comments.
  • 1 down vote for this answer. If I was a betting man, it's because your answer was significantly shorter than all the others.
  • 2 down votes (again, two separate people) for this answer: the comments on it should indicate why.
  • 1 down vote for this answer. Again, comment should explain why.
  • 1 down vote for this answer. I'm going to go with it's because you badmouthed goto.
  • 1 down vote for this answer. Again, comments should explain why.

And that's it.

It should be pretty evident why you were down-voted: it's because of the content of your answers, not because of some axe to grind. Even if there was one person who down-voted all 6 answers (the comments suggest otherwise), 6 down votes over the course of a week is not serial down-voting: that's business as usual when you supply contentious answers.

If you were serial down-voted, you'd know without a shadow of doubt: you'd consistently see down votes every day for everything you've written. While the details of the vote fraud detector are hidden, suffice it to say it would be caught. So there's no need expose any more data: it's already there if you look at your activity dispassionately.

As a moderator on Programmers, one piece of advice I can give you is to avoid the opinion/discussion questions: they're not on-topic, are almost certain to get closed, and—because they don't actually ask for anything specific or testable—voting lacks any meaning on them.

That is, absent any meaningful way to evaluate an answer (i.e., an answer actually solving a specific problem instead of opining about a subject), people will up-vote opinions that match their own and down-vote opinions that don't.

And that's why we close them as soon as we see them.

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Say I have a negative interaction with one user today. I get a downvote; I'm 95% sure it's him.

Under your system, I now know for all time when it's him downvoting one of my answers.

I don't believe there is a system that is useful for human detection of serial downvoting and doesn't allow you to deduce the identities of some voters.

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This could be easily be solved if no hash is shown at all. Just the numbers could be shown, e.g. You got X total downvotes, Y of them are from one user, Z are from another, etc. So basically, this would be enough to know if a mass of the downvotes is coming from one user - whoever that might be. Another solution would be to count only the downvotes in the last two weeks or so. Having said that, I don't think such a feature is really necessary. – Daniel Hilgarth Nov 8 '11 at 11:35

I looked through the past 2 weeks or so of your reputation graph, and clicked through to all the downvoted posts. Judging purely by the votes, none seemed to exactly be stellar answers. None scored over 3 and in most cases where there were only one downvote, it was the only vote at all.

While I disagree with your proposal for the reasons stated by yoda and agf, in this specific case I'm fairly certain that this is not serial downvoting. Unless several people happened to pick the same low scored posts of yours to downvote.

We all get downvotes, and unless they come out and say it, most of us will never know who downvoted us. This is not serial downvoting. When your rep tab looks like this then come here saying you've been serially downvoted. That way, you have more proof than just a feeling, and people are more likely to be sypathetic.

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Since the specific script that monitors voting is only known to a handful of people, it may already keep track of these sorts of patterns. This sort of anonymous voting information is probably not useful to users 99% of the time (though, it does seem indispensable in situations of serial up or down voting).

I think the nature of Programmer's brings out people's personal experience more. This is a double-edged sword, as it helps with the "good subjective", but people can have visceral feelings about certain subjects.

I would say keep track of the patterns yourself. It could be as simple as some of your posts getting bumped if someone is mass-editing old questions. If not, it might be something to let the team know about (though you already have through this question anyway).

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