This question is stemming from the meta post "I thought I posted a good answer". This user was obviously targeted by chat users who didn't like the answer or disagreed with it and decided to down-vote without providing feedback.

I know this was corrected for this user but is there any mechanism in place to prevent this type of behavior? This was not a case of serial up/down voting because it came from multiple-users.

I searched meta but didn't find a case that this had been encountered before. It seems unfair that chat users post and then everyone does this without providing reason or explanation. If there is no mechanism in place to prevent this type of systematic gang-up, should there be?

  • There isn't really. The problem is it's hard/impossible to automatically detect whether something's getting tons of downvotes because you did something that's bad practice but is otherwise correct (which means you should leave a comment) vs your post is completely nonsensical, irrelevant, spam, ect (which means a comment is probably quite unnecessary)
    – Ben Brocka
    Jun 5, 2012 at 14:33
  • No, the reason it was targeted is because using globals is bad PHP. It would be better to inject the dependency into the constructor of the object instead of using globals. The actual reason for downvotes was using bad code, and it wasn't mentioned at all by the person answering until after they moaned on meta and had mods all over PHP chat. They knew why they were getting downvoted I'm pretty sure, they just wanted to get their rep back. Maybe you should't jump the gun on things you haven't looked into very deeply. Jun 5, 2012 at 14:35
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    @Event_Horizon Let's not rehash that discussion here.
    – Bart
    Jun 5, 2012 at 14:36
  • I'm not saying this isn't a constructive question, I'm saying that trying to relay a story you haven't looked into very much as an example is a horrible way to start it off. Jun 5, 2012 at 14:36
  • Not entirely on topic, but I'd have to say again that having half a dozen Meta user upvoting that answer is not definitely the correct way to "correct" this issue, as per Yannis comment: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/134581/…
    – Yi Jiang
    Jun 5, 2012 at 14:36
  • @Event_Horizon I read through the posts on meta and the comments on the OP. I am just asking if there is a way to prevent this type of behavior. I am not trying to rehash anything that was previously discussed. I think this is a valid question, you are entitled to disagree.
    – Taryn
    Jun 5, 2012 at 14:38
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    Unless you have proof that downvotes are stemming from such requests in the chat (which you do not have) you are just claiming things. There is no such thing as a gang dv-ing behavior in the PHP chat. The idea of us sitting there waiting to dv you or anyone else is just ridiculous.
    – Gordon
    Jun 5, 2012 at 14:38
  • 3
    @Gordon Do you realize that you're inviting a dev to take a closer look in the database? Are you sure you want this?
    – yannis
    Jun 5, 2012 at 14:39
  • Maybe I'm totally wrong here (because I don't do this, ahem ahem) but I thought dv-pls meant "delete vote, please" and people are just misunderstanding what it means. Notifying people of things to clean up can be a good thing. I've asked for a close vote before for a long-open-but-should-really-be-deleted Facebook question.
    – Ry-
    Jun 5, 2012 at 14:40
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    @Gordon The downvotes arrived exactly after the link was posted in chat in quick succession. That is pretty convincing evidence, but not absolute proof. But Marc Gravell also looked into it and went to the PHP chat, and he certainly has the data available on who voted, and might have checked on it before discussing the issue. Jun 5, 2012 at 14:41
  • @YannisRizos yes, I do. There is a total of 43 dv-pls requests: chat.stackoverflow.com/search?q=tag%3Adv-pls&room=11.Check the links, check if the request is justified and see if they have been mass downvoted as people claim. They are not.
    – Gordon
    Jun 5, 2012 at 14:46
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    I don't fancy myself a PHP or programming guru (though I aspire) however, the PHP room has attracted a number of highly skilled and highly competent programmers of the PHP language (and others). There is no gang mentality here. It stems from a group of skilled individuals expressing their independent opinions of bad practice through the provided mechanism of down-voting. These independent opinions have been arrived at through trial, error, and experience. Communicating this is doing the community justice. Would commenting on the issue immediately have been better? Probably, so I did.
    – Dan Lugg
    Jun 5, 2012 at 14:47
  • 7
    @Gordon The answer was nearly 6 hours old when it was linked in chat, and suddenly it was downvoted. That's pretty convincing, I think. Jun 5, 2012 at 14:54
  • 6
    @Bracketworks -- if they are so wise and communicative, why did one of them not provide a better answer? Downvoting is one thing, but going to the trouble to ask for a mass downvote, without providing an alternative, is not educational: it's just puerile. Jun 5, 2012 at 15:12

2 Answers 2



If you stop users talking in Stack Overflow chat they'll just find another channel (chat arose out of a desire to have SO related chat on the network) in which to do this.

While this sort of behaviour is against the spirit of Stack Exchange there's nothing in the system to enforce comments on down-votes - nor is there ever likely to be.

  • Twitter will fill up with [dv-pls] requests...
    – yannis
    Jun 5, 2012 at 14:36
  • 8
    @YannisRizos you mean #DvPls
    – Ben Brocka
    Jun 5, 2012 at 14:38

Is there a way to prevent gang up downvoting?

Yes. Voting irregularities can be detected using statistical analysis. The fact that voting on SE is not anonymous and that you also have the HTTP referer makes this even easier.

If there is no mechanism in place to prevent this type of systematic gang-up, should there be?

Nah, while the idea of a group of user's down-voting in mass without explaining why is abhorrent there's no real incentive for doing this, so its not likely to happen frequently enough to become an issue.

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