You know, sometimes, just sometimes, I feel like some answer or question is deserving of an extra downvote. So wouldn't it be groovy if SO voting worked like a real-world democracy, where you can bribe for and buy extra votes?

We already have the bounty system for the opposite case, for answers that are highly underappreciated, whose votes don't correlate with writing and research effort.

Downvoting on the other hand, I don't have any statistical proof, still looks somewhat underutilized. In particular as the inflow of trivial content feels on the rise. So I'd prefer a new community tool to counter that.

Currently a downvote costs zero for questions or one puny rep point for answers. My proposal being that you may vote more than once, which however incurs a higher cost to the voter. For example:

 2^2   (-4 rep)  for the second downvote
 2^3   (-8 rep)  for the third extra vote
 2^4  (-16 rep)  fourth downvote

   // Notably these are the bribery costs to the voter, 
   // a vote ought to subtract only -2 as usual from the Q/A poster.

Maybe even a bit more expensive. The point being to deter from overuse, but allow sorting down of overly substandard answers. (For questions the closevoting scheme is often sufficient, with the notable exception of weekends and our nightshift of course.)

It certainly would need other safeguards, like actually forbidding to cast those extra votes on concurrent answers, limiting it to a maximum of three or four bought downvotes, or an overall site total of 5 per day, or something.

I see the actual hurdle with implementing a sensible UI for such a feature. But we should talk about use cases beforehand. Is this needed at all? Could it incur more annoying revenge downvoting drama etc.? Or should this wait until the long-requested comment requirement on downvotes is implemented first? (just kidding)

Also I realize this might be highly unpopular. But just imagine you could express your disagreement by downvoting this twice! ;}

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    Haha! A fun suggestion. Although of course the chances of it being implemented are worse than hell freezing over... plus I don't think it's really serving a need. Are there many sub-substandard contributions that ar not being downvoted into oblivion? I don't think so.
    – Pekka
    Aug 12, 2012 at 14:55
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    "Could it incur more annoying revenge downvoting drama etc.?" Yeah, everybody would be accused of being singly responsible for all downvotes on an answer. Aug 12, 2012 at 15:01
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    I down-voted this once. It gets the point across that this is a stupid idea and could lead to abuse of power.
    – Rivasa
    Aug 12, 2012 at 15:21
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    It's impressive how well the phrase "wouldn't it be (cool|awesome|groovy|sweet)" correlates with doomed feature requests.
    – Brad Mace
    Aug 12, 2012 at 18:37
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    "...real-world democracy, where you can bribe for and buy extra votes" What an incredibly cynical way to start a question, and an incredibly stupid thing to request. "Wouldn't it be cool if our voting system was as broken as I think real life voting is?" What the hell kind of pitch is that?
    – user229044
    Aug 12, 2012 at 19:16

1 Answer 1


No, this is not going to happen. One vote is enough for you to leave your marker on a post for its author and future readers telling them that something might be wrong with it. You also have the option to comment when down voting.

Voting is peer reviewing. It breaks when one person counts as multiple peers. There is very little difference between this idea and using multiple accounts to accomplish the same thing, except if implemented, we'd be condoning the latter, however tacitly.

This would also complicate our voting system needlessly, and likely be more of a pain in the a** than anything we've ever seen before as moderators.

Finally, it would also derail any new efforts to help new users get used to the system and work within it. As we scale, which we do in massive proportions, those efforts must be frequently revisited.

Incidentally, you're a couple days late, or almost a week early with this one. I'm not sure which is the case.

  • 3
    I upvoted, but I have no idea what the last paragraph means... Ah, Friday in Iceland?
    – Arjan
    Aug 12, 2012 at 15:25
  • @Arjan I think he is referring to Robinson Crusoe's faithful companion.
    – Pekka
    Aug 12, 2012 at 15:26

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