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On my account on SO, I have only cast six downvotes. Every time I cast a downvote on something that was at 0, taking it to -1, almost immediately it was upvoted by someone else back to 0.

Should I assume that these downvotes were inappropriate, or is that taking it way too personally? Are there people who just run around upvoting all of the -1's they see that they disagree with? Are people more likely to upvote a -1 than they are to upvote a 0?

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sympathy upvotes strike again.. – Jeff Atwood Jul 24 '10 at 21:27
@Jeff Atwood: I wouldn't mind this so much if the upvote that brings it back to 0 only gained the answer +2 rep instead of +10. Why was that idea not implemented? – Erick Robertson Jul 24 '10 at 23:00
@Jeff I'm only upvoting your comment because I feel sorry for you... – Mark Harrison Jul 25 '10 at 0:08
Probably because there's no way for SO to distinguish "I'm upvoting this because I think it's right, +10 rep" and "I'm upvoting this because I don't think it should have been downvoted, +2 rep" – Michael Mrozek Jul 25 '10 at 5:55
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Are there people who just run around upvoting all of the -1's they see that they disagree with?


Are people more likely to upvote a -1 than they are to upvote a 0?

In my experience, yes.

If it bothers you, leaving a comment describing the problem can forestall some of these up-votes. But some folks just hate seeing negative numbers; there's nothing you can do about that short of not down-voting posts with a 0 score, which is probably worse in some ways.

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I wish upvotes on a post with a score of < 0 would simply give back the -2 rep taken away from the downvote, instead of giving +10, as it's been proposed several times here on meta. Most of the time you downvote someone you actually help him gain more rep =( – Andreas Bonini Jul 24 '10 at 21:09
@Kop: yup... – Shog9 Jul 24 '10 at 21:13
What's wrong with making this change? It looks like the idea was just abandoned. It's a good one, though. – Erick Robertson Jul 24 '10 at 22:53
IMO leaving a comment explaining the downvote is essential, unless it's plainly obvious that there's a problem with the question. (Or, of course, someone else has already left such a comment.) – George Marian Jul 25 '10 at 0:41

The majority of these are sympathy votes. It's the opposite of what happens when one person downvotes and suddenly it has -9.

People will also cast these sympathy votes if you were to downvote without a comment or fail to follow some other arbitrary "guideline" for downvoting.

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You may have been "wrong", or someone may simply disagree with you, or they could be sympathy upvotes. None of this means that you should change what you're doing. Just vote how you see fit, and the community consensus will eventually work itself out — right or wrong.

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