What is the best method to deal with harassing users? For reasons unknown I have become the target of what I believe to be an abusive user. Within a few days he had downvoted nearly all of my answers or questions. He has left comments on a number of my questions which aided in making the connection between him and the downvotes.

I know rep isn't really a big deal, but at this point this has become absolutely obnoxious.Is there no way to limit a user from downvoting another user repeatedly? I have emailed SO, flagged his comments, flagged my own post and left a comment for the moderator (at the suggestion of the SO staff). But nothing thus far.

I have a record breaking ~700 rep and he ~10K.


Just to clarify, I understand that a wrong answer or less appealing answer should be downvoted. I have no issues with this. The downvotes I'm referring to didn't happen over days or even hours. The majority of them occurred in the same 30 minute time span.


9 Answers 9


On the majority of your low point answers, you have quite a few things you could improve on.

Sometimes users will down-vote a question, so that the owner will notice them, and hopefully improve upon them.

Go fix, or delete your answers. If you fix them, whoever down-voted them could change their mind, and up-vote them.

I would assume that if it was just the one user voting down your answers, it was for your own benefit, not detriment.

  • This one, wasn't really helpful. If it were mine, I'd just delete it.
  • This one seems like a dup of this one. Which was posted earlier.
  • This one seems to ignore the bulk of the question. I'd delete it.
  • This one, the question is poorly worded. If you look at the comments to the question, you might be able to figure out why it was down-voted.
  • This one, was just wrong. I know regex, every statement is just wrong. I would down-vote it, if it wasn't already down-voted. In fact, if you don't delete it, I might just do that.
  • This one could be right, but I don't know. Although I would like to note that there is an answer, that says the opposite, that has more points.
  • This one just says it can't be done, which isn't really helpful, but could be correct.
  • I have no comment on this one.
  • I would add a snipped to this one.
  • This one, is actually a very well thought out answer. I would like to point out, that none of them have been up-voted though. I don't know enough about the question to be sure which ones are correct, so I'm not going to up-vote any of them.
  • I have no comment on this one.
  • There is a better written answer than this one
  • This one seems fairly decent, but could be better. It doesn't even have links to the sites you reference.
  • This one is nearly identical to the rest of the answers, but doesn't have any explanation, unlike most of the others.
  • 5
    Nice work!
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 16:17
  • You make a lot of valid points but what you can't see are the downvotes to all of the other questions. When the answer is incorrect, I don't mind being downvoted. If I typed something by mistake and someone downvotes and points it out, I correct it. But there have been a large number of downvotes on my questions/answers that have +1 so it's not apparent immediately that they've been downvoted. The majority of the downvotes against my account happened in about 30 minutes. It wasn't like someone stumbled upon one bad answer, downvoted it and moved on. They all occurred almost immediately.
    – doomspork
    Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 16:57
  • Add a list of the answers in question, to your question. Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 17:04
  • Good idea, I'll go back through the history and post them up! I was going to address each of the concerns you raised but comments don't facilitate that very well.
    – doomspork
    Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 17:07
  • I was going to go through more of the answers, but I was starting to get bored. Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 17:17

Flagging for moderator attention is the quickest way to help point us towards abusive behavior.

Also, you can usually find some contact information on the individual moderators on their profile pages (like my profile page on SuperUser).

Alternatively, you can email [email protected], but the turnaround time on this is not quite as high.


Flag your own posts that have been downvoted/commented for moderator attention. I know of only one instance where you've done this, which isn't enough for us to establish a pattern of abuse.

  • Hi Bill! I didn't want to over kill the situation and flag all of my posts. I figured one was good enough, if I need to do more I can. Just don't want to overwhelm moderators.
    – doomspork
    Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 15:00
  • 4
    I can't divulge too much confidential voting information (mostly because I don't have any) but we don't have any votes that are setting off alarm bells. This indicates that there aren't a lot of downvotes coming from one user ("lot" being subjective, of course). If you flag your posts we can look at each one individually to see if it's harassing or just a normal pattern of downvotes for that user. Keep in mind that some users downvote a lot more than others, so it might not be anything personal. Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 15:07
  • 3
    "Keep in mind that some users downvote a lot more than others, so it might not be anything personal." Some users like to downvote to move what they consider "lesser" answers to the bottom. This is not a common practice, but it is a valid use of the system. Doesn't mean they're singling you out. Commented Aug 22, 2009 at 5:03
  1. You can flag one of your own posts for moderator attention and explain why you did so.
  2. You can post it on MSO (well done)
  3. You can click the "contact us" link at the very bottom of the page and email the StackOverflow team directly.

Of these three options, number 1 is probably the best, because the moderators will be able to do some evaluation, and pass it up to the developers if need be. And you won't be skipping the chain of command like option 3.


Do you really think he is following you? May be he just lurks on the same tags as you do (after all jquery is a popular one), and your answers happen to be wrong...

  • Some of them may be but there are others that have been downvoted that are the correct, and selected, answer to the question.
    – doomspork
    Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 15:00
  • Also, the questions are not all confined to jQuery.
    – doomspork
    Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 15:01
  • Didn't mean to say you were wrong, just that someone didn't agree with you (and in any large group of people there will be people that disagree). Hence, downvotes. That happens all the time here.
    – perbert
    Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 16:26

I believe I know who you're talking about. He is active in about 400 jQuery tags, and I doubt he is following you. He just happens across your answers, and for the most part disagrees with them. I don't think it's a case of harassment, although a few of his comments are rude, I don't see why they'd be removed by a moderator.

However, you've done all you can do, and now you have to wait for a moderator to handle it.

  • 4
    To be fair, I disagree with every jQuery answer on principle.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 14:40
  • 6
    @TheTXI: A little jQuery will fix your attitude right up.
    – Welbog
    Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 14:42
  • 5
  • @TheTXI, lol. @Brandon, it's beyond jQuery tags
    – doomspork
    Commented Aug 21, 2009 at 15:03

Ignore him/her/it.


What you did are the correct actions (flagging for moderator attention, etc.).

If you are right, a moderator will take care of it.


In times like this I love the Greasemonkey script for blocking a user. You'll still see the downvotes, but at least you don't have to see his other abrasive behavior.

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