Yesterday there was a large series of "unupvote" events all at 12:08:55Z that affected all of the "top users" on the tag.

This also appears to have affected users in the matlab tag and probably others as well.

These users were hit particularly hard:

Leonid Shifrin

There is also a strange pattern where the unupvotes were followed a short time later by upvotes for the same question/answer seen here:

flipped votes

What is going on here?

  • 26
    Speculation: Someone was testing the vote buttons.
    – Rob W
    Mar 17, 2012 at 13:51
  • 1
    @RobW no, it's much greater than that. Look at the links for yoda, Leonid, and gnovice. Further, all of the unupvotes happened at the same time. I suspect an account deletion or merge, but why would the unupvote turn into an upvote (or two) again for some users?
    – Mr.Wizard
    Mar 17, 2012 at 13:54
  • 1
    meta.stackexchange.com/questions/125736/how-did-i-get-a-10 Looks like somebody got deleted.
    – Mysticial
    Mar 17, 2012 at 13:54
  • @Mysticial can I find out which user it was?
    – Mr.Wizard
    Mar 17, 2012 at 13:56
  • The "here" refers to a different screenshot than you posted.
    – Arjan
    Mar 17, 2012 at 13:56
  • @Arjan I see the votes collapsed as shown in image I embedded.
    – Mr.Wizard
    Mar 17, 2012 at 13:57
  • @Mr.Wizard I doubt it. You wouldn't be able to see the profile of a deleted user anyway. You'd probably have to try asking one of the mods.
    – Mysticial
    Mar 17, 2012 at 13:58
  • Ah, you totally right, I saw the sorting on "time", not on "post". That explains it better though, I think! I will remove this and my previous comment soonish.
    – Arjan
    Mar 17, 2012 at 13:59
  • 1
    @Arjan okay, so perhaps a user had his account deleted and then created another and started trying to recast his votes?
    – Mr.Wizard
    Mar 17, 2012 at 14:01
  • ... which of course got reversed by the serial voting script...
    – Mysticial
    Mar 17, 2012 at 14:02
  • Ah, so now I finally know what was going on. I added my two cents on the issue here. ;) Mar 21, 2012 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


A user was deleted and (as has always happened) the votes were removed.

I have a major change in the pipe that will show all of these events as a single "user removed" and an accurate number for how much rep impact it had...but this won't go out until after out team call Monday afternoon.

  • 3
    May I know which user was deleted?
    – Mr.Wizard
    Mar 17, 2012 at 14:51
  • 2
    Also, can you explain the re-voting observed? Has the user made a new profile? Is this allowed following a deletion?
    – Mr.Wizard
    Mar 17, 2012 at 14:52
  • 1
    @Mr.Wizard - I don't have a username without going into backups, but it was user id 564376. Mar 17, 2012 at 14:53
  • 5
    @Mr.Wizard - any "re-voting" that would have occured would be other votes on a user that didn't count due to rep cap now counting. Part of my major change is handling deleted vote values...we'll correctly 0 out those that no longer affected the cap so both the "d-day" delta and the days before all add up correctly (as if those deleted votes didn't contribute to the cap, which they don't...that's not corrected currently). Mar 17, 2012 at 14:54
  • I have identified the user. May I know why his account was deleted?
    – Mr.Wizard
    Mar 17, 2012 at 14:54
  • @Mr.Wizard - I have no idea...would need to ask the mod who deleted them (before you ask, I don't know...would have to crawl through the database to find that). Mar 17, 2012 at 14:58
  • If the re-voting is caused by deleting one user, then can I assume that the upvotes for the "re-upvote count for adjusted reputation cap" we're seeing are NOT from one single user? If true, then the serial upvote reversal that happened today might NOT be right?
    – Arjan
    Mar 17, 2012 at 15:14
  • @Arjan - link me to that profile? Mar 17, 2012 at 15:27
  • @Nick, that profile is a link from the question, sorted by time.
    – Arjan
    Mar 17, 2012 at 18:39
  • 32
    It might be easier to not remove votes for deleted users in the first place. I think it's a surprising and unusual mechanic that doesn't server any purpose. And the amount of trouble it causes will only increase if you make it more obvious where the rep loss is coming from. Mar 17, 2012 at 19:09
  • Ah, @Nick, see also Szabolcs' comment: it might have been true serial upvoting after all, but only peeking into the database can tell. (But then, in this case, yesterday's "re-voting" would not be an automated correction for historical rep caps either.)
    – Arjan
    Mar 17, 2012 at 19:34
  • @Arjan - Yes those were serial downvotes, unrelated (well...possibly related, I don't know what the voter's motivations were). Mar 18, 2012 at 0:14
  • 20
    @Fabian - We've always removed votes when deleting a user, this is absolutely not new behavior, it's happened from day 1. The "doesn't serve any purpose" is an unfounded assessment of the situation, it serves many purposes. The immense complication it introduces by not doing that...wow, I don't even want to think about that on a weekend. Mar 18, 2012 at 0:17
  • 3
    Just curious, but why can the account not be anonymized instead of deleted, at least in the case where it's a legitimate user leaving the site (as opposed to users being terminated for cause)? Jun 4, 2014 at 16:48

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