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It isn't rare when you downvote someone and explain your reasons that he returns a downvote on a totally unrelated question, most likely your latest or highest-scoring.

Yes, this is not a big deal (at least until it becomes serial downvoting the target user), but I think something simple can be done to get rid of at least half of those.

The suggestion is to disable downvoting for 5/10 minutes after you have been downvoted or after you've logged in after being downvoted. This will cool off the desire to respond to the downvote.

Update: this will rarely have "innocent victims", since the downvotes are not that commons. And if you really want to downvote someone based on arguments, well, wait 10 minutes.

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+1 Good suggestion - don't think people like it though! – amelvin Mar 22 '10 at 12:09
ok, thanks. the disagreement is enough ;) – Bozho Mar 22 '10 at 15:07
up vote 4 down vote accepted

A cooldown period on downvotes is a good idea. Perhaps your rep could influence the length of cooldown period, with newer users having to wait longer between downvotes than high rep people?

Is there a way of crunching the stats to determine if revenge downvoting is a factor?

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I can't help but feel this idea has some merit. The likelihood that somebody legitimately needs to downvote the downvoter's answer to a completely unrelated answer is small. It would not eliminate revenge downvoting, but ten minutes can help cool down.

However the big problem with this is that it cancels out the anonymity of votes. I could find out who downvoted me by randomly downvoting the suspects' answers or questions.

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The big problem is it makes things worse: people will go randomly down voting to find out who downvoted them. – Gnome Mar 22 '10 at 12:45
@Gnome yeah, that's what I'm saying. – Pëkka Mar 22 '10 at 12:57

I disagree. Although I don't have a habit of retaliating (not that I wouldn't - I just don't care enough since I'm too lazy :) , I disagree from another viewpoint. This site with all its rules, is getting too complicated. In the beginning it was simple, nowadays it is more about politics (watching your reputation) than anything else.

Let's not complicate it further.

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I disagree. Not everybody is vengeful, and it will affect innocent people when they do nothing wrong. I think it's better to approach this on an individual base than sitewide.

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This would hardly be hitting anybody innocent: The likelihood that somebody who got downvoted by Person X has the genuine need to downvote a completely unrelated question/answer by Person X within a 10 minute time frame is minuscule. I'd support this suggestion if it wouldn't take away the anonymity of votes. – Pëkka Mar 22 '10 at 12:26
@Eat more Twisters, Suppose Person X was downvoted by Person Y and decides to peruse Person Y's answers to see if anything is worthy of a downvote. Even though done in revenge, so long as Person X is only downvoting something if it's worthy, this seems to me to be legal. – Michael McGowan Sep 6 '11 at 15:29
@Michael technically, maybe, but how often will that happen? Is it good for the site for this to happen? I really see no harm in disallowing revenge downvoting, be it on downvote-worthy targets or not. – Pëkka Sep 6 '11 at 15:34
@Eat more Twisters I don't know how often this will happen, but it seems to me that a downvote cast for a downvote-worthy target is good for the site. – Michael McGowan Sep 6 '11 at 15:52

I disagree, this will conflict with anomalous detection script which currently active on SO, and this could lead real downvoter to do a conspiracy, IHMO.

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