I've angered one to two people on Reddit who have proceeded to downvote a great many of my posts in serial.

Is there anything against Stack Overflow policies against such behaviorisms? They already do this routinely to me on Reddit, but I would bet Stack Overflow has more strict policies about manipulating someone's karma for purely vindictive reasons, right?

Before the campaign, one of my questions was +7, after -6 (13 downvotes).

Here's another:

-2   19 mins ago    downvote    Variables and the CLI?
-2   19 mins ago    downvote    Are “elseif” and “else if” completely synonymous?
-2   20 mins ago    downvote    Why is SELECT * considered harmful?

Why should I sit and watch while anonymous people attack my top rated answers I've spent years working on in this site? I mean, if it's that easy to game, what's in it to me to keep going? I would just copy my answers, stick them on a blog, and delete my Stack Overflow ones. At least then I wouldn't have negative karma, you know? People would still get helped all the same, just with less hassle for me.

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    Do you have the original link on Reddit that directed people to your answer? That might help provide some context to this. I see that Kev locked your answer to prevent the votes from accumulating and hopefully let this blow over. – Brad Larson Sep 13 '12 at 22:07
  • If truth be told, I locked it for a different reason, this kinda explains things. – Kev Sep 14 '12 at 0:49
  • @BradLarson I don't believe there's a link. There are just a handful of vindictive people on reddit. I just wanted to know if it was permissible or not for people to serially downvote people's posts just because they have a grudge. – Theodore R. Smith Sep 14 '12 at 4:38
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    @TheodoreR.Smith - How are you sure this has anything to do with Reddit, then? Knowing the source of this targeting would greatly help us identify those behind it and deal with them. Of course this behavior is not acceptable, but we might need some more clues to get to the bottom of this and stop it. – Brad Larson Sep 14 '12 at 5:35
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    People who are vindictive told me in a private message that they were getting people to do so. And then BAM! It escalated when they challenged me to a coding competition and then bailed: reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/zsvvq/update_on_coding_competition – Theodore R. Smith Sep 20 '12 at 3:26

I just wanted to let you know that we've been watching this for the last few days, and it does indeed look like you are being targeted by a few users here. We've identified and warned the users involved. We've also invalidated the downvotes that you received from these users, which should be most of the ones over the last few days.

From the evidence we have here, I feel it's safe to say this was not due to any post on Reddit. This appears to be entirely the work of a small group of users on this site. It should be noted that downvoting requires someone to have a reputation of at least 125 here, which generally prevents random visitors from Reddit or elsewhere from doing something like this.

We're still looking into this, and will be keeping an eye out for anyone else who might be going after you for whatever reason. Votes should be made based on the content of a post, not the user behind it, so this kind of vengeful voting is completely unacceptable.

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    These guys frequently cross post between reddit and stackoverflow. I could name names right here, but I doubt that would be PC. But, one of them, for instance, has a username on both sites that starts with T and ends with O. – Theodore R. Smith Sep 20 '12 at 3:32
  1. Stop angering people on Reddit :-)

  2. It doesn't look like they're downvoting you serially enough to cause any automatic trap to kick in.

You might want to e-mail team@stackoverflow.com - it's possible that the moderators can look into this for you, but historically that has been restricted to the developers.

  • I think people's names should be displayed as down voters. I would gladly stand behind every one of my rare down votes, but I suspect people who are out to be vindictive or trollish would not. And make the downvote cost equal to the penalty it takes away from the person being downvoted. – Theodore R. Smith Sep 13 '12 at 21:59
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    @TheodoreR.Smith there are many reasons why down-voting is anonymous. The primary reason is that it will invite all kinds of vindictive and vengeful behavior. At one time I felt exactly as you do - voting should not be anonymous. I now know all too well exactly why it should be. – Aaron Bertrand Sep 13 '12 at 22:03
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    No. Downvotes are anonymous by design, specifically to prevent the kind of vindictive voting you think you've fallen victim to. This will no change, ever. Get used to it. – meagar Sep 14 '12 at 0:40

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