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I know there's a mechanism in place to monitor and remove serial downvotes against a single user, but earlier today a thread received a downvote on the question and every single answer with no specific reason why. This also got me thinking about visibility downvoting - it's possible that one answerer received a downvote and retaliated by downvoting everyone else involved in the thread? Is that kind of vengeance downvoting monitored? If not, could it be implemented (+feature-request tag)?

To clarify, I'm talking about detecting that a user is downvoting all other answers (and possibly the question), after he received a downvote on his/her answer.

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Ironically, posting this appears to have got my answer to that question another downvote. Maybe it's better to just not say anything at all? –  Andy E Mar 21 '10 at 19:53
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Meta can be a cold, harsh mistress. –  Gnome Mar 21 '10 at 19:58
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It is a known phenomena, complaining about downvotes garners downvotes. Generally if the complain has merit, you'll get more rep than you lose. –  perbert Mar 21 '10 at 20:19
    
@AndyE I know there's a mechanism in place to monitor and remove serial downvotes against a single user, Source, please? I'd like to read about that –  domenicop Oct 8 '13 at 20:07

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Andy, the problem is that what differentiates a valid vote and a retaliation/pity vote is nothing more than intent, and I don't know if even Google has an algorithm to detect intent.

Let it be, don't worry too much about particular votes. You can't even be sure that it was the same person downvoting everything.

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Google knows everything. google.com/search?q=number+of+horns+on+a+unicorn –  balpha Mar 21 '10 at 20:15
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@voyager: I don't think it would be too difficult to detect retaliation downvoting an entire thread. Indeed, I can't be too sure of it, although in this case the timestamp on the downvote appeared to be around the same time as a couple of comments about downvoting. I guess I'm just tired of the drive-by downvoting that goes on. If I'm downvoted, I'd really like to know why, especially if there's a problem with my answer. –  Andy E Mar 21 '10 at 21:03

I am personally against this. It is very easily corrected by the community, and would probably catch too many false positives.

For instance:

What if every answer to the question was actually wrong?

While it is unlikely, I've seen questions with 3-4 answers that are all not useful/wrong. This can come from people misunderstanding the question or something else, but I should still be able to downvote all of them if I choose to.

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I suppose you have a point. I'm pretty sure at least my answer was right thought ;-) and the question can't exactly be wrong. If it was vengeance from one answerer being downvoted, though, then I still believe this sort of thing could easily be detected and "cancelled out". The steps are simple. Answer gets a downvote, doesn't know who downvoted him so downvotes OP and all other answers just to make sure. –  Andy E Mar 21 '10 at 19:47
    
@Andy I think looking for a downvote, and then a bunch of downvotes form the recipient 'might' be safe to detect, but I still think there could be a lot of false positives/true negatives. For your system, if I just never downvoted the question, I would never be caught. –  Tyler Carter Mar 21 '10 at 19:54
    
"What if every answer to the question was actually wrong?" I think this is fairly common, especially when people read the subject line, and try to do a hurried response. I've often seen a Q with 4 wrong answers because no one took the time to read the whole Q, and downvote each as sort of a "wake up call" to the poster. After which they either delete or modify thier answers. –  Neil N Jul 26 '10 at 17:00

I didn't do this question, but I did one just like it the other day.

OP asked an intelligent, very specific question. Four different respondents fired off dismissive answers that refused to engage with his specific question, demonstrating, each one, that they didn't know that Java has class object corresponding to the primitive types.

So I downvoted them, every one.

Only to discover that someone wandered along and upvoted them all back to 0, on the grounds that I hadn't left comments explaining my downvotes.

C'est la vie.

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@bmargulies: why didn't you leave comments? Don't you think it's better that people understand why their question is wrong? We're all there to learn, right? –  Andy E Mar 21 '10 at 20:57
    
@Andy: it is another known SO phenomena, if you leave a comment explaining a downvote, there are some users that use that to retaliate. It is "safer" to just downvote the wrong answers and either post a correct answer or wait until someone else does. Sometimes you know those answers are wrong, but don't know what the correct one is. –  perbert Mar 21 '10 at 21:19
    
@Andy E: I have a thick skin and plenty of rep, so @voyager's consideration doesn't usually sway me. I was simply in a hurry to leave the house. I will also confess that my hurry was enhanced by a bit of pique: the answers weren't just wrong, they were (in some cases) Jerk-Wrong. The writers gave every indication of thinking the OP an idiot and sneering down their electronic noses at him or her. I don't feel as strong an urge to be nice and helpful in such cases. –  Rosinante Mar 21 '10 at 22:10
    
the problem generally is not the lost rep, but rather the acquired annoyance ;) –  perbert Mar 22 '10 at 2:42
    
@voyager, +1. I've had a number of battles of wits with the unarmed this way. –  Rosinante Mar 22 '10 at 13:40

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