Although I know there is this discussion regarding increasing the down-vote weight, I am currently often getting reports of serial down-votes from various high reputation (20K+) users on Super User complaining about the loss of reputation. Although the latter is a problem, it is not extremely easy for the mods to track these without the help of the development team directly.

As much as I recognize that serial down-voting is a problem and is being handled to some degree, when you have 10K and more seriously have in the upper 15K+ range of reputation, does the few times a month you receive a down-vote really become such a problem compared to the rate you are gaining reputation?

Should you even be bothered at such high numbers? Or should you just shrug it off?

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I see some 50, 60K+ users on SO still whining about every down vote. Hard to resist down-voting them when they do this in comments, feels like fishing for sympathy. –  Shog9 Feb 20 '10 at 17:27
    
Old answers of mine keep accumulating upvotes, maybe I should spend some of that undeserved rep downvoting the cranky. –  Rosinante Feb 20 '10 at 17:59
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5 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Actually, I receive downvotes every day. Mostly I ignore them - SO has its fair share of nitwits, but sometimes I do get a bit miffed. For example,this answer of mine is technically correct in every way, and addresses the question, but still got a downvote. I think it's human nature to want to know why, and to grumble a bit about such things.

Edit: Vaguely useless additional information - the question I referred to has now been downvoted an additional two times (with no reasons, of course) and flagged as both offensive and spam. Of course this is the weekend, and among the people that follow the [C] tag there do seem to be some utter bozos. I've never worked out why that should be - the C++ people are in general much more sensible.

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Actually that is a good answer. Agreed. I also get down-voted a few times, but have much lower reputation. I have learnt however not to take it seriously and to ensure my answer is technically correct. –  Diago Feb 20 '10 at 14:32
    
Maybe because they thought you were Niel Butterworth. –  random Feb 20 '10 at 14:33
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@random That b*stard! I hate him! –  nb69307 Feb 20 '10 at 14:36
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One of the downvotes was mine. It was when the answer was just an incomplete sentence: "Yes, assignment is supported for structs. However, there are problems", because you didn't mention any problems. Then I never came back until now (now i rescinded it). I assume the other downvotes were for the same reason. I can understand wanting to answer first and then edit it later, but the people voting can't know if you're gonna edit.. If you really want to be the first at least don't mention that there are problems if you're not going to list them right away. –  Andreas Bonini Feb 20 '10 at 17:51
    
@Koper I've been having network problems all afternoon, so possibly what you saw as an incomplete (though accurate) answer was because of that. The other downvotes occurred long after I'd submitted the answer. –  nb69307 Feb 20 '10 at 18:47
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@Neil, answering your Edit: I think it's getting downvoted and reported as spam etc because you're complaining about it, so people want to make you more mad/angry. [PS: I'm not one of them, it's just a guess] –  Andreas Bonini Feb 20 '10 at 20:50
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Does a down-vote really make a difference with 15K+ reputation?

Yes, as it should. It doesn't affect one's reputation score significantly (each downvote is only 0.013% of their total reputation) but it still has an emotional effect in terms of knowing that someone out there believes the answer to be wrong enough to push it lower in the list of answers.

I very rarely get a downvote on SO (none in January, two so far this month), but when I do get a downvote I check out the question and answers. I'll look to see if my downvote was due to new information (either in the question or answers) and re-evaluate my answer if there have been changes. If I can't tell what was wrong, I simply ignore the downvote as a random event.

I regularly delete answers that fall below -1 where I see that there's a reasonable answer voted up.

So yes, a downvote does make a difference, and it does cause me to re-visit my answer, which I believe is a good thing.

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once I was downvoted when I posted an answer to my own question after I have solved it. The emotional effect was "hahaha, what a n00b" :) –  Bozho Feb 20 '10 at 16:39
    
I agree with you 100% in this regard. It should make you reflect on the value of your question. In the context of my question it is really with regard to the reputation gain. I cannot objectively comment on the correctness of some of the answers because I simply don't know them myself :) –  Diago Feb 20 '10 at 16:47
    
Good answer: yes, downvotes hurt the ego more than the reputation, doubly so downvotes without an explanation/comment. I recently got a downvote with comment that I think misunderstood what my answer said, but there isn't much point in fighting it (and someone else gave the answer an upvote a short while later; net benefit +8). I try not to worry too much, but it is hard. And I got a downvote without comment on an (edited) answer that included the correct answer up front and extra information that was not 100% necessary after the edits but was not incorrect or irrelevant. That hurt! –  Jonathan Leffler Feb 21 '10 at 7:17
    
Any serial downvoting would be seriously annoying. So far, so lucky; I've not been attacked. –  Jonathan Leffler Feb 21 '10 at 7:18
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Sounds more like user backlash against those who post answers on questions being found out as or closing as dupes.

You know what else is fun on Super User? Downvoting people who post on dupes instead of posting their answers on the main question. (It's their rep livelihood, man!) That's also a good way to burn off some rep and helps the site chop down some of that clutter.

But when they're chasing the first column of page one, every little bit of rep they gain appears to make them more tetchy and thin-skinned to the downvotes they may receive.

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I have to admit this reads slightly like a confusion. Anything you want to share? :) –  Diago Feb 20 '10 at 14:28
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Nothing the Super User About Me page doesn't already shout out. –  random Feb 20 '10 at 14:31
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I came here to post the exact same thing. Bravo sir. –  Ether Feb 20 '10 at 17:09
    
I feel slightly offended by the rep-whoring insinuation, but I know what you mean ;-) –  Ivo Flipse Feb 20 '10 at 18:30
    
Does this include down voting answers before the question is marked as a duplicate? –  Richard Feb 21 '10 at 9:07
    
If they return to the question/answer and there is a dupe close pending, then yes. If the dupe is glaring, yes. If they've posted a dupe answer, mucho yes. @ric –  random Feb 21 '10 at 9:16
    
@Random: So the answer is: you will down vote a good answer on a question that is later determined to be a dupe. Most users cannot see votes to close, let alone make them: answers should be voted on their own merits. –  Richard Feb 22 '10 at 9:46
    
You're right, most users can't. But (most) people can still read comments. And those with over 3k can see pending close votes. So that's not a free pass. @ric –  random Mar 5 '10 at 0:24
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15K? After a few K, downvotes really no longer have a significant effect on rep.

People here on meta frequently write about 'voting on the question/answer, not the author.' Once the author has a few thousand points of rep, that situation is the reality. The tiny pebbles of the occasional downvote are not going to divert the giant rolling snowball of accumulating rep from upvotes.

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If you have a bad answer, you sort of expect it and don't mind.

Downvoting isn't a problem per se, it is just annoying if you have a good answer as it makes you question if you did something wrong, or what you did to annoy someone.

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Fair comment. But again, what you consider a good question I might completely disagree with or find wrong. Granted I am very shy with down-votes solely because I haven't crossed the 10K barrier myself. Again I am not pinpointing anyone in particular, I am just curious as to why. Voting is anonymous, and you should expect a down-vote every once in a while. –  Diago Feb 20 '10 at 14:30
    
@Diago Agreed, and I don't have a problem with it - For example, I guess you downvoted me after closing a question a short while ago - I don't mind as I understand your reasons (Although, in the FAQ, web based services is hard to remember - I have been using Hotmail on my machine for over 10 years, Hotmail is synonymous to computing for me).... Where as, questions like - bit.ly/9MGPmq and bit.ly/afiqFH just make you wonder what you either did to annoy someone or what did I do that was wrong. –  William Hilsum Feb 20 '10 at 14:49
    
In honesty I did not down-vote you. However I have noticed a trend the last few weeks on duplicate questions of users down-voting others for answering the questions. I do not agree with this practice contrary to believe –  Diago Feb 20 '10 at 15:00
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Pshaw. 'Tis Community moderation at its finest! –  Shog9 Feb 20 '10 at 17:30
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