I got a heap of strange undownvotes yesterday:

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I'm wondering how this was possible. Were the downvotes not too old to be revoked?

The original downvotes that were cancelled don't show up anywhere in my list (I went back a month or so), and neither of the posts had seen a recent edit that would have allowed the user to change his vote.

How was the voter able to undo votes this old?

Or is this evidence of a removed user account? Do cancelled downvotes not show the user was removed message that you see when upvotes get cancelled?

  • Maybe a serial downvoting reversal? – Lamak Nov 22 '12 at 19:20
  • serial downvoting reversal is not marked as "undownvote". – juergen d Nov 22 '12 at 19:22
  • I've seen this happen where it doesn't use the proper reversal event at 03:00, but it usually only occurs when there's just a few events that get reversed. Never seen it for a huge block of them before. The events did occur at 03:00 so that automated script is to blame. Possibly an account merge? Who knows. – animuson ModStaff Nov 22 '12 at 19:23
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    I decided you're not such a bad person after all and forgive you for wanting to delete my comments. You're welcome. – Bart Nov 22 '12 at 19:33
  • Normally I'd say that they ninja edited, but that's quite a bit of effort to remove a down vote on that many posts. – Tim Stone Nov 22 '12 at 19:35
  • @animuson oohh, good observation, then it's indeed an automatic reversal, didn't catch that! – Pekka Nov 22 '12 at 19:40
  • @Bart oh man, that's a relief! Does this mean I can equip any deletion or burnination related suggestions with illustrations of your contributions again? :) – Pekka Nov 22 '12 at 19:40
  • Given that most of my contributions are excellent illustrations of stuff that should most likely not be around, go ahead. ;) – Bart Nov 22 '12 at 19:43
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    @Bart naah. :) That was always a totally involuntary choice. Maybe I have a subconscious bias against Bart Simpson. – Pekka Nov 22 '12 at 19:46
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    The most likely explanation seems to be a manual account deletion by SE where the upvotes were preserved in some way. Plain user deletion hides all these unupvotes in the "user was removed" entry. Due to the timing (and the presence of similar entries in the profiles of many users here on meta) this looks a lot like all downvotes from a specific user were invalidated, but not his upvotes. – Mad Scientist Nov 22 '12 at 19:49
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    (I've cleaned up some of the comments to curb speculation.) – Adam Lear ModStaff Nov 22 '12 at 22:34
  • whatever it is it also happened to me. – Rosinante Nov 23 '12 at 0:48
  • @rosinante the person who left must have hated us – Pekka Nov 23 '12 at 2:28
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    Pfft. I've down-voted you more. – Shog9 Nov 23 '12 at 4:30
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    @Shog I'VE DOWNVOTED YOU EVEN MORER running away sobbing – Pekka Nov 23 '12 at 10:35

This is a bug in our vote auto-invalidation task.

When we delete highly active users upon their request (i.e. they no longer wish to participate in Stack Exchange), we preserve their up/down/accepted votes by moving them to our Community User.

This is the first time we had removed a meta.SO user in this fashion, where the downvotes flow like wine :), and the invalidation task had not been updated to account for this.

We'll fix it after the American holiday, as I must return to gorging myself on turkey and ham.

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    I'm sure there's real wine flowing around here somewhere. ::) – animuson ModStaff Nov 23 '12 at 1:02
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    Wait, so you more or less do do this? meta.stackexchange.com/questions/125740/… – Ben Brocka Nov 23 '12 at 1:34
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    Wait, what holiday is happening in Mexico? – random Nov 23 '12 at 1:41
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    @BenBrocka Basically, yes. We're working on a more general and less manual solution, too. – Adam Lear ModStaff Nov 23 '12 at 2:27
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    Only in cases where the number of votes to be removed would be seriously disruptive, @Ben. Wouldn't want someone opening their rep page and seeing tons of votes removed... Oh. – Shog9 Nov 23 '12 at 2:42
  • Wine? What about Tang soju? – casperOne Nov 23 '12 at 2:56
  • @Shog9 Now that some of us know what this person's seeming rather vindictive voting pattern was, are you quite sure you want to restore them? – Rosinante Nov 23 '12 at 3:43
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    @Rosinante: well, they need to be made not visible in some fashion, regardless of whether that means restoring them or destroying them completely. Also keep in mind: the person in question cast a lot of votes here (hence the unusual vote-preserving deletion) - whatever patterns you can find in a handful of accounts, they're unlikely to be significant. – Shog9 Nov 23 '12 at 4:05
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    @Rosinante "Vindictive voting pattern"? I don't think there's any evidence for that. I personally have cast around 900 downvotes here, and there are certainly many users that have cast more. There's just a lot more downvoting here on meta than anywhere else, as it carries a different meaning. Pekka has posted a lot of content here on meta, so it is not surprising that a long-time user voted on many of them. – Mad Scientist Nov 23 '12 at 7:08
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    wonder what would happen if I left Programmers. Last time I checked there were ~3500 upvotes / ~7500 downvotes – gnat Nov 23 '12 at 7:40
  • Well, whatever. It just seemed odd that two of us seemed to come in for such unidirectional activity. Maybe others found themselves leaking rep to temporarily deleted upvotes. – Rosinante Nov 23 '12 at 12:34
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    @Rosinante as far as I can tell, only downvotes were leaked because (presumably) upvotes weren't refunded, and those downvotes were done over a period of 2 years – gnat Nov 23 '12 at 15:27
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    @gnat I hadn't followed that. OK. – Rosinante Nov 23 '12 at 16:13

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