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My reputation went up by 13 points today, due to an answer (to an old question) being simultaneously accepted and downvoted. Of course this could be a coincidence, performed by two different users.

But assuming for a moment that it is not (I mean, what are the odds?), can anybody come up with a reasonable explanation for this? Is this perhaps a result of showing people's accept rate (e.g. the OP doesn't like my answer, but does want a high accept rate)? Have you ever done this?

(This question is slightly related to "Accepting answer without upvoting?", but none of the answers in that thread discuss downvotes.)

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@Brad: yes, that's the one. I didn't think it was necessary/appropriate to actually link the question, since I am speculating about a specific user's behaviour. (And I could very well be wrong, as some of the answers show!) –  Stephan202 Aug 28 '09 at 17:54

7 Answers 7

It's more likely that the old question got bumped to the top of the active page and the accept and the downvote were from two different people.

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+1. I learned something today; I thought only adding or editing a question/answer brought a thread to the front page. Knowing this, it seems much more likely that there were in fact two people viewing the question simultaneously. –  Stephan202 Aug 28 '09 at 17:42
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The OP saw their low acceptance rating, went through the list, gave yo u the nod, bumping the page to the top of the "active" list. Someone read your response there, didn't appreciate it, and gave you the thumbs down. –  Rob Allen Aug 28 '09 at 18:42

I suspect that the acceptance or something associated with it brought the question to the front page where it was seen (and downvoted) by another user. It seems unlikely that a person accepting an answer would find it unhelpful. I suppose if you were answering that "no, you can't do that" someone might decide that even though you are correct, they don't like the fact and downvote -- to express their displeasure with the condition, not the answer -- and accept at the same time.

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We can only speculate about what goes on inside somebody's head. I think it's safe to say that most people won't downvote an answer they are accepting. That being said, if I requested a jquery script that did x, and you provided a plain-jane javascript example that did what I wanted, I could see how some would accept and downvote. There could be many reasons though. Some may find your answer correct, but your grammar detestable. The sky is the limit.

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Indeed the sky is the limit. (I hope the grammar-example was not inspired by my use of the English language!) –  Stephan202 Aug 28 '09 at 17:49

Was it really exactly the same time? If the question was on the front page, someone else may have downvoted your newly accepted answer.

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Yes, same minute. That's why I was so surprised. –  Stephan202 Aug 28 '09 at 17:45

As Jonathan notes, the only way to answer this is via wild speculation, so without further ado:

Question:

Hai! I need 2 red users clipboard from fire fox so i can get cc # without make them type. Must be javascript, no flash!!

Answer:

You can't, and for good reason. Users don't like you taking their credit card numbers without asking, even if they have left them laying around in their clipboard and seem to be practically begging you to steal them. Ask nicely.

Result:

Down-vote for not providing a real solution, accepted because questioner is not as dumb as he sounds.

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That made me laugh :D –  Stephan202 Aug 28 '09 at 17:46
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shouldn't that be "from the fire fox?" :-) –  tvanfosson Aug 28 '09 at 17:47
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should be all lower case ..... and use ellipses instead of periods ..... –  ベレアー アダム Aug 28 '09 at 17:54
    

There is the outside chance that the OP was intending to accept the answer but (due to unexplainable circumstances) mistakenly clicked the downvote button as well. They are relatively close together.

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I can imagine doing this on an expiring, auto-assigning bounty question where there were no good answers. If even the best answer was flawed, I'd down vote it and accept it to prevent it from going to an even worse answer.

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