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Yesterday I had about 700 downvotes on Meta. Today I have 5. Look at my profile if you don't believe me. Shoggy, too. It looks like every user's downvotes have been removed from the system.

Huh? That can't be right. Downvotes appear to be unchanged on SO itself.

What gives? I can still downvote and my new downvotes appear, but all of the old ones are gone. Did Waffles break something?

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THIEVES! WHO DID STEAL MY PRECIOUS VOTES? – Ladybug Killer Jul 30 '10 at 11:58
I've still got all of my cast downvotes, but I have noticed a loss of received downvotes. Which actually earned me a badge. I wonder if it's a consequence of users who have lost their downvotes. – Grace Note Jul 30 '10 at 11:58
Looking through the user list, it looks like users who had about 100 or more downvotes no longer have downvotes, but users with fewer than 100 got to keep theirs. – JSONBog Jul 30 '10 at 12:00
-1 so you can get your downvotes back faster. You're welcome. – badp Jul 30 '10 at 12:08
Still have all 28 of mine, and I'm glad. I have names for each of them and I talk to them every day. They keep me company, they console me when I'm sad, they inspire me when nothing else can. I'm afraid to say, I suspect mob involvement here .. your votes may have been sold into a down-vote slavery ring. – Tim Post Jul 30 '10 at 12:12
And we can't check OData because it's been taken down! I smell a conspiracy! – devinb Jul 30 '10 at 12:14
@Andy He is cheating anyway. When he wants to downvote you, he is changing the database tables directly. – Ladybug Killer Jul 30 '10 at 12:16
Community User got to keep their downvotes! I call shenanigans on that! – devinb Jul 30 '10 at 12:58
Downvotes have gone from all posts that still remain, so migration out of here can't account for all of those downvotes being lost. @sim – random Jul 30 '10 at 13:18
[status-workaround-found]: turned my monitor upside down. Now meta looks normal again. – user27414 Jul 30 '10 at 13:30
@perbert - I lost all my downvotes as well and I think Welbog would agree that it's highly unlikely that he and I would be in agreement very often on our downvotes. My vote is for inadvertent data loss due to a poorly planned update or feature. What is sad is that this has been noted for a couple of hours, it's at the top of the highly voted questions on meta right now, and no one from the team has weighed in to explain what happened or even that they are looking into it. – tvanfosson Jul 30 '10 at 14:01
There is no conspiracy but the people who can sort this out are either asleep or going to sleep. Hold tight a few hours – waffles Jul 30 '10 at 14:23
@Waffles, isn't it like midnight where you are? Shouldn't you be asleep already? Or at least drunk? – devinb Jul 30 '10 at 14:32
Someone needs to wake the crew in the US. There should be some paging system that every user has access to. – jjnguy Jul 30 '10 at 15:14
They do not want to see, @Justin. – Ladybug Killer Jul 30 '10 at 18:30
up vote 16 down vote accepted

This was completely my fault - the downvotes have been restored.

This was related to question migration and mapping unassociated accounts on the destination site - this is why MSO was affected.

Downvotes were incorrectly set to the wrong target user, which made our serial downvoting task delete them. But since this Vote.TargetUserId is a "denormalized" field (it's the Post's owner), fixing them wasn't too difficult.

In the future, please don't downvote so much :)

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Could we please get some details on why it seemed to have no pattern to it? Inquiring minds want to know. – jjnguy Jul 30 '10 at 19:17
HOORAY! My downvotes are back! I missed you, you naughty little downvotes. Yes I did. Oh, downvotes, what fun we'll have together! – JSONBog Jul 30 '10 at 19:21
@Justin - the users that were affected had downvoted enough times in a day to have all their downvotes invalidated by the serial downvoting task. – Jarrod Dixon Jul 30 '10 at 19:22
You'd have better luck next time, or longer delay between notice, if you wiped them out in far smaller chunks. – random Jul 30 '10 at 19:23
@Jarrod, thanks! – jjnguy Jul 30 '10 at 19:25
+1 for taking the blame. -1 for breaking it in the first place. :P – jjnguy Jul 30 '10 at 19:26
@Justin I felt like a complete idiot when I saw the code that had done it... it was missing a pair of ( ) around an or statement. That's what I get for coding on just a few hours sleep! – Jarrod Dixon Jul 30 '10 at 19:28
@Justin, I'd personally add an extra +1 for fixing it. So he still comes out on top. But I'm out of votes today, I spent them all trying to reclaim my downvotes. – devinb Jul 30 '10 at 19:29
@devinb I wonder what happens to any double-downvotes spawned by this. – Grace Note Jul 30 '10 at 19:29
Let this be a lesson to us all: When writing code, it's a good idea to be awake and alert. :) +1 Jarrod for fixing it and telling us what happened. (Now my new username makes no sense, but that's OK. My precious -- I mean, my downvote record -- is back.) – John Rudy Jul 30 '10 at 19:31
@Grace, you could find that in the data explorer i month – jjnguy Jul 30 '10 at 19:31
@imi, you could do the profile copy thing if you really wanna change it back. – jjnguy Jul 30 '10 at 19:32
I take it TDD is not being used by you guys? – nb69307 Jul 30 '10 at 19:33
@Justin: I don't think so - there are a lot of questions with bizarre voting breakouts now, and only 5 active flags. – Shog9 Jul 30 '10 at 20:52
@Aarobot Don't know - I never use the stuff (TDD) myself. But I do unit testing, which if the SO guys did might have spared them this embarrassment. – nb69307 Jul 30 '10 at 22:25

I firmly believe that this is a travesty. As someone with little to offer but my time and extensive vocabulary, my votes are the main way I can contribute.

Both my votes, up and down, are indications of actual beliefs and opinions about posts. Wiping out nearly half of my contributions is completely unacceptable.

The following users had at least this many contributions obliterated. As of the last datadump, there were nearly 26000 downvotes. I have verified (hey, it's friday) that at least 14000 of them are gone now.

Note, Jeff Atwood and Robert Cartaino both had their contributions removed. Also, me.

The following is a list of those who were hardest hit.

User            Down    Up      Pecent
-------------- ------- ------- ------
G. Chetwood     1743    724     70.65
random          945     4763    16.56
Juan Manuel     875     436     66.74
The Proposer    688     450     60.46
N. Butterworth  566     427     57
Shog9           532     2584    17.07
Gnome           503     1319    27.61
alex            501     2547    16.44
Troggy          449     1277    26.01
Lance Roberts   370     2984    11.03
Ladybug Killer  328     2723    10.75
devinb          317     568     35.82
ire_and_curses  316     1575    16.71
Chacha102       314     544     36.6
Dr. Gonzo       307     2122    12.64
sth             307     446     40.77
Kop             293     872     25.15
Daniel Daranas  292     891     24.68
R. Cartaino     289     1214    19.23
perbert         289     1688    14.62
Ian Elliott     281     197     58
George Stocker  278     858     24.47  
Kev             276     551     33.37  
Stu Thompson    265     471     36.01  
Ether           251     1530    14.09  
dmckee          224     827     21.31  
fretje          223     1275    14.89  
Chester         208     665     23.83
Jon Sampson     208     975     17.58  
Jeff Atwood     200     2401    7.69  
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Nooooo... I was so proud of my downvotes... – juan Jul 30 '10 at 12:55
@Juan, I know you were buddy, if you weren't so supportive of others, you probably could've taken the top spot! – devinb Jul 30 '10 at 12:57
@Juan It is a sad day when Downvoter no longer has downvotes. – Grace Note Jul 30 '10 at 12:58
I blame Sam and a failed query... – juan Jul 30 '10 at 13:11
From the looks of this, need to get that ratio up and continue with the just downvoting. – random Jul 30 '10 at 13:12
@random I'll have to try and remember everything I've ever disagreed with and revisit them. I think I'll start with all the "Ignore a user" proposals, and move on to "contact someone directly" – devinb Jul 30 '10 at 13:18
As a result of this travesty, Dr. Gonzo has just become I miss my downvotes. – John Rudy Jul 30 '10 at 16:30
::sniff:: ::sniff: I want to thank my wife and my parents and my manager and all the little people. ::sob:: – dmckee Jul 30 '10 at 17:50
This is very sad, even Robert and Jeff got hit. – C. Ross Jul 30 '10 at 18:11

Hopefully this is just a dev bug that will be corrected and not some sly way to slip an anti-downvote policy beneath our chins.

Not like people are really afraid of downvotes are they?

If they are, they need to stop with the bad ideas and suggestions and grow a spine to smoke in their hydroponic labs.

Without downvoting as a way to temper good from bad, it's too much hippie free love that distorts the real reflection of the community's opinion.

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How appropriate that the anti-downvote post had a score of -20 yesterday and, oh look, today it has a positive score again! – Aarobot Jul 30 '10 at 14:35
Hey, you're ignoring all the positive things that hippies provide. Like... veganism, and... organic vegetables... and ummm... <strike>vans</strike> love. – devinb Jul 30 '10 at 14:36
@devinb: Don't forget firewalking and raw food diets. And dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. – Aarobot Jul 30 '10 at 15:02

Looking at the people affected, I can distinctly see two groups of Meta regulars with very defined ideas on several topics (even if those "groups" actually change between topics), which gives me the gut feeling that some kind of anti-mob-vote-script has been deployed, and has hit all of the Meta regulars merely because we are few and tend to fall in one of two or three groups per topic (inclusionists/deletionists, pro-cursing/anti-cursing/meh-cursing, pepsi/coca-cola, vim/emacs, C#/Java, etc.).

If this is true, I not only think that the implementation really sucks, it didn't take into account that people in small communities (Meta/obscure tags) will trigger this.

This is discouraging to say the least.

If there is another reason, the only I can think about is that Jeff wanted to give Meta a clean state of downvotes for whatever reason, or that he is preparing us to take away the downvoting mechanism form Meta, which would be a far worse mistake than whatever happened here.

Seems like we got our downvotes back.


It's a conspiracy!

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Extreme form of this?… – random Jul 30 '10 at 14:11
@ran: You mean status-declined was a misnomer? – Ladybug Killer Jul 30 '10 at 14:23
Wiping out the downvotes on the anti-downvote policy would allow for it to be reconsidered as now the score is in the positive. @lad – random Jul 30 '10 at 14:44
@ran: that's a throw-22! – perbert Jul 30 '10 at 14:47
I don't necessarily believe that this is a mob-vote script. I'd downvote you, but I'm all tapped out. – devinb Jul 30 '10 at 14:52

Currently (according to the API) these are the users that have downvoted the most. (Top 30) Weblog hasn't even made it onto the list yet.

Edit: Ran it again, check out the new list of top downvoters

Rich B: 1743
random: 1047
Juan Manuel: 901
Weblog: 791
Neil Butterworth: 609
Shog9: 589
Gnome: 518
alex: 509
Troggy: 451
devinb: 439
Lance Roberts: 391
Ladybug Killer: 357
Kop: 328
Chacha102: 324
ire_and_curses: 324
sth: 318
Robert Cartaino: 316
I miss my downvotes: 316
perbert: 309
Daniel Daranas: 300
George Stocker: 291
Kev: 284
Ian Elliott: 281
Stu Thompson: 267
Ether: 264
dmckee: 237
fretje: 225
Jeff Atwood: 219
Chester: 210
Jonathan Sampson: 208
John Rasch: 195

Old list:

Isaac Waller: 188
Pekka: 151
waiwai933: 141
Hilarious Comedy Pesto: 139
beska: 136
balpha: 126
quack quixote: 111
Earlz: 103
innaM: 100
TheTXI: 96
raven: 96
Dexter: 95
Brandon: 94
Nifle: 94
squillman: 93
Arjan: 93
Georg: 86
Grace Note: 82
AnonJr: 80
marcgg: 69
Pavel Shved: 68
waffles: 67
Mehrdad: 63
Software Monkey: 63
Farseeker: 62
Sinan Ünür: 62
Robert Harvey: 59
gnovice: 58
Macha: 58
Michael Petrotta: 58

Code: (Uses StackWrap4J)

  UserQuery query = new UserQuery();
  UsersList users = new UsersList(new Meta(), query);
  Collections.sort(users, new Comparator<User>() {
      public int compare(User o1, User o2) {
          return -1 * (o1.getDownVotes() - o2.getDownVotes());
  for (int i = 0; i < 50; i++){
      User u = users.get(i);
      System.out.println(u.getDisplayName() + ": " + u.getDownVotes());
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Judging from devin's report and yours, it looks like the cut-off point was 200 downvotes. – Grace Note Jul 30 '10 at 13:05
Bwahahah! The shoe is on the other foot now, meta, it is I who have downvoted you! – Andy E Jul 30 '10 at 13:07
@Grace, actually, it appeared to be nearly all users. I just cut off my own at 200. There were many users with fewer than 100 downvotes who still lost them all. Marc Gravell for one. – devinb Jul 30 '10 at 13:32
Those numbers are so horribly low. – random Jul 30 '10 at 17:37
@random Yeah, it is a bizarre occurrence. – jjnguy Jul 30 '10 at 17:40
@devin: Weird. I've been trolling the first page of users, and mostly it looks right -- until I get to balpha. He apparently kept his, and while they're < 200, they do comprise 15.3% of his total votes. – John Rudy Jul 30 '10 at 18:28
@I miss: Yeah, it certainly wasn't a "number of downvotes" cutoff, it wasn't a percentage cutoff, it wasn't a timeframe cutoff, it wasn't a user/rep cutoff. – devinb Jul 30 '10 at 18:35
@devinb: Combination, perhaps? – John Rudy Jul 30 '10 at 18:36
@Imiss We think it might be a 'anti-mob-vote' script gone wrong. See @perbert's answer. – jjnguy Jul 30 '10 at 18:41
@jin: I'd think the same thing, but ... There should be a discernible pattern then, no? – John Rudy Jul 30 '10 at 18:47
Best way to cover up something like this is to throw some users across the board to defray the load actually targeted. Conspiracy theory 101. @imi – random Jul 30 '10 at 18:49
@imi, I dunno. The data is so complex. We just may not be able to see the pattern. – jjnguy Jul 30 '10 at 19:02
I still have all 8 of my downvotes. – mmyers Jul 30 '10 at 19:10
Yeah, that would be too much calculations to just see a pattern. (@imi) – jjnguy Jul 30 '10 at 19:20
Woot! Top spot! Suck on that upvoters! – random Jul 30 '10 at 19:27

revision: 2010.7.30.2. It's probably a bug in the .2 revision, which was apparently deployed a few hours ago.

Thankfully it was deployed on meta only (SO is on 2010.7.30.1), and I really hope it's reversible and that our precious downvotes aren't lost forever. =(

EDIT: now it changed to revision: 2010.7.30.3

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And in the meantime, be sure to spam moderators to have your reputation recalculated :] – Gnoupi Jul 30 '10 at 12:24
ahah yes, I just gained 400 rep, hurray =) – Andreas Bonini Jul 30 '10 at 12:25
JEFF, FIX THIS! – Ladybug Killer Jul 30 '10 at 12:27
@Kop - I'll recalc you once fixed, don't jump too high :P – Gnoupi Jul 30 '10 at 12:29
They've gone to the big absolute value in the sky .... – Tim Post Jul 30 '10 at 12:38
I'm just waiting for Jeff to edit the tags to [status-bydesign] ;) – Andy E Jul 30 '10 at 12:42
@Tim, I'm offended that your absolute value joke. Sinners go to hell! – devinb Jul 30 '10 at 14:22
@dev: so if downvotes are sins, and we've got all our downvotes deleted, we've just been excommunicated or took sacrament? – perbert Jul 30 '10 at 14:26
@devinb - it is conceivable that I spend most of my time standing on my head, hence my orientation is reversed. – Tim Post Jul 30 '10 at 14:30
Oddly, my visible reputation is still 700 above my actual reputation (15899 visible vs. 15122 actual) -- that's quite a huge discrepancy, considering we had a global rep recalc only a few months ago. – Ether Jul 30 '10 at 16:33
@Ether, the SuperUser and ServerFault questions got migrated. That's a huge chunk of rep that floated away. – devinb Jul 30 '10 at 18:36
@Kop: Thanks for the edit; hadn't noticed that the build number changed. Note: Meta is at 2010.7.30.3; SO itself is now at 2010.7.30.2. I did a check of a certain binned user and all his downvotes seem to be intact, so I am thinking this was a specific, targeted Meta-only, non-build-related sweep and change. But why scrub their own staff/mods in it? And why the deafening silence -- if they're dropping builds, they've seen this. And is anyone else afraid to downvote anymore -- I feel like why bother if they'll just be wiped out. – John Rudy Jul 30 '10 at 18:41
@devinb: that would seem logical, except I have 0 questions and answers on meta.SF/SU. curious... – Ether Jul 30 '10 at 18:51
@Ether: Could be they just weren't associated properly. I have at least one 8-vote answer on Meta.SF that isn't shown on my account. – mmyers Jul 30 '10 at 19:09
@mmyers: yep, that's it -- google found lots of such answers. Will flag to get fixed; thanks. :) – Ether Jul 30 '10 at 19:43

I lost all my downvotes to this, and even Jeff Atwood lost 214 downvotes.

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Pre recalc (where downvotes existed): 13,863; Post: 14,228 – random Jul 30 '10 at 13:16

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