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After receiving a downvote (the shame!) I visited this question to find out why, and perhaps improve or delete my post. I then noticed a few things:

  • All answers had a single downvote.
  • All these downvotes were the last reputation change for their users at the time.
  • Sampling a few of those downvotes revealed that they all happened within minutes of each other.
  • Most answers were valid, which can easily be proven.
  • There are at least a couple of answers (not mine, admittedly) that are quite neat and that the OP of the question seemed to consider acceptable. One (again, not mine) was even true to the word of the question and contained a very simple sed snippet that did the job.
  • There is no newer answer to this question with another solution.

I don't really care about the downvote, but I wondered at this systematic downvoting of all these answers. It did not have any discernible purpose that I could see. There are no comments and it cannot be strategic voting - not with everyone being downvoted.

What purpose could behavior like this serve?

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Could be that one answer was downvoted and its author revenge-downvoted all others. Could be that somebody thought the question was bad and shouldn't have been answered. Could be something else. –  Daniel Fischer Mar 14 '13 at 11:47
Downvote troll? Many people get upset with Stack Overflow for various reasons; one way to release some steam might be just randomly downvoting until getting out of votes. Childish, but fear that's the case. –  Shadow Wizard Mar 14 '13 at 11:47
I thought mass downvoting only happened for jquery questions ;-) –  Jack Mar 14 '13 at 11:54
@Jack: jquery? Really? I've seen (and felt) my share of strategic downvoting, but I had never noticed someone downvoting everyone... –  thkala Mar 14 '13 at 11:56
@thkala , it is more in the native javascript questions, where every answer contains jquery. –  teresko Mar 14 '13 at 12:08
You know what could fix this serial-downvoting? jQuery. jQuery does all things. I wonder if the dev-team has tried using jQuery. Relevant: doxdesk.com/img/updates/20091116-so-large.gif –  J. Steen Mar 14 '13 at 12:34
I'd go with the "thought the question was bad and shouldn't have been answered" explanation. I applaud someone spending their rep to punish people for giving people the codez when they post gimme the codez questions. It only encourages them to ask more questions with no effort. –  Wooble Mar 14 '13 at 13:16
@wobble I did a bit of digging, and found that actually the question was upvoted at the same time; my guess is that someone had that exact same question come up - but found that the answers were lacking in some way. I'm speculating a lot here, and this is not quite the way I'd like these things to happen, but that's the "what" –  Marc Gravell Mar 14 '13 at 14:28
I've had the same problem. I answered a badly-written question, and someone down-voted every answer there, without leaving a single comment. –  toothbrush Feb 20 at 20:18

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