I've been using the Review feature in SO to read-through new users's posts and provide feedback. I rarely downvote a mal-formed question. Instead, I generally leave a helpful comment w/ some suggestions. There are times when I leave a comment, but somebody else downvotes, so it looks like I was the one that downvoted. Because of this, I feel like some users seek revenge by finding answers/questions from me and downvoting.

Now, that's nothing new, and I know others have suggested we be allowed to leave anonymous comments. That's not what I'm asking. Instead, is it possible to prohibit someone from downvoting another user twice in the same day? I feel it's highly unlikely that userA is going to stumble upon multiple separate questions/answers from userB in the same day, much less likely that userA will find all of userB's material worthy of downvotes in the same day.

The only recent example I have of this is that two of my questions were downvoted at the same time earlier this morning. These are questions that have been received well by other SO users, and have never been downvoted. Each question has a handful of positive votes and, in the latter example, even a few stars. I realize it's possible that someone could take issue w/ each of these questions, but I find it unlikely that two different people downvoted these two generally-well-liked questions at the same time. I'm guessing it's the same user blindly-downvoting.

  • Hey, that's cool. 3 downvotes in 5 minutes. I look forward to posting another question in 2014. Thanks – WEFX Dec 7 '12 at 17:01
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    The downvotes imply disagreement with your feature request. I personally think that serial voting is already adequately handled by the existing voter fraud script, which detects and reverses serial voting every 24 hours. – user102937 Dec 7 '12 at 17:01
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    Some users write multiple (rarely many) downvote worthy posts in 24 hours. What then? – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Dec 7 '12 at 17:44
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    @dmckee: I would imagine those folks run afoul of the answer bans in due course. – user102937 Dec 7 '12 at 17:46
  • @RobertHarvey Well, I imagine they do, but the downvotes help, no? To be sure I stop at three no matter how much crap I find because I don't want to trigger the reversal scripts. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Dec 7 '12 at 17:52
  • @RobertHarvey , the downvotes will cause me to delete this before more people hammer away at the few reputation points I've managed to scrape together. Result - nobody sees this question in the future, and some other schmuck can get hammered for asking the same thing. Using Meta is like painting a room in the house; I forget how painful it is after a couple years, but I instantly remember once I try again. – WEFX Dec 7 '12 at 18:19
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    @WEFX Why do you care? It's reputation on a meta site. It's imaginary Internet points that have no meaning. If you're going to post here, you're going to have to accept that downvotes indicated disagreement. This is not a personal attack, this is how the site works. You made a suggestion that lots of people think is a bad one. If you take this personally, you're going to have a bad time in life. – user229044 Dec 7 '12 at 18:46
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    "Result- no one sees this question in the future" Hopefully, if they're about to ask the same question, they'll search for it first, and downvotes won't prevent it from popping up. – David Robinson Dec 7 '12 at 19:23
  • @WEFX: You can't delete this post, because it has an answer with upvotes. I'm afraid you have to accept that this is how Meta Stack Overflow works: questions are voted on based on agreement with what they propose or otherwise represent, not necessarily on their quality. – Martijn Pieters Dec 7 '12 at 19:54
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    @WEFX - I gave you an upvote because I believe -23 was too unfair. Have a nice day – Adel May 8 '13 at 19:03

The only situation where I would see this making sense is for users with under 200 reputation or some similar amount.

I do think in this circumstance it might make sense to do one of two things:

  1. Prevent users with under 200 reputation from downvoting posts older than 90 days old
  2. Prevent users with under 200 reputation from downvoting more than 1 post for each user per day

This is probably not something I would consider worth the SE development team's time, however, but it seems like it could be an overly beneficial change.


Serial downvoting is frowned upon, and there are automated processes already in place to revert such actions when detected.

See What is serial voting and how does it affect me?

Other than that, there is not much we can do about revenge downvotes. Downvoting answers will loose the downvoter reputation as well. Most of us have received our share of retaliatory downvotes, and in the larger scheme of things, can be shrugged off as disappointing but minor setbacks.

Certainly, we should not limit downvoting posts by the same user to only 1 per 24 hours; you can be presented more than one first-time post or late answer in the review queue by the same user, and preventing reviewers from downvoting those would only lead to serial-posting of bad answers. In the normal course of a review queue run you won't run into the automatic serial downvoting reversal.

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    The issue here is more that sometimes the review panel can present multiple posts from the same user, and the reviewer may or may not even notice they are from the same user. – animuson Dec 7 '12 at 16:54
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    @animuson: should we treat posts by the same user any different then? – Martijn Pieters Dec 7 '12 at 16:54
  • That's the problem, if you down-vote multiple posts from the same user without realizing it, and those votes get reversed, what are you to think of the system? – animuson Dec 7 '12 at 16:57
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    @animuson: How often has it happened to you? Reversal of downvotes due to review queue actions? I've never seen it happen myself. – Martijn Pieters Dec 7 '12 at 16:58
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    It's perfectly possible, especially with a new user going through old questions posting their own answers (not necessarily spam). I do think that if it were to happen, though, it would be a very broken system. – animuson Dec 7 '12 at 17:00
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    @animuson: yeah, I see what you are saying now; the OP is advocating limiting downvoting, but that's a bad idea for reviewers. – Martijn Pieters Dec 7 '12 at 17:02

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