I don't know if I'm being paranoid - but earlier I made a comment on a question that showed no research effort: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/16328049/how-do-i-write-for-i-in-the-range-of-1-to-6-python . I got a rather snarky reply, and a couple of minutes later I noticed that two of my top questions (which are otherwise on completely different topics) received downvotes within a minute of each other.

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It is hard not to suspect a connection between these events, especially in light of the tone of follow-up comments made by the OP (who might not have noticed that I helped improve the answer that was ultimately accepted in the mean time).

Not sure if I am being over sensitive or paranoid; should I just move along? "Spiteful downvote" gets quite a few hits on this site, and maybe I am just too new to be immune to it.

My question(s): "Is there a process to reverse such behavior? Do the comments in the above question merit a flag? Should I shrug an move on?" Any words of advice or encouragement appreciated. Sorry if I sound whiny.

update - the question linked above has been removed "for reasons of moderation". Probably a good outcome. I appreciate all the helpful inputs this generated!

edit This is quite different than the question cited as the duplicate: in that one, a person lost reputation because a user was removed; in this case I suspect an individual user down voted two of my top questions in quick succession "out of spite". The message (shown above) in the rep dashboard was quite different... I request this question be re-opened.

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    It's called serial downvoting, and its quite possible it will get reversed by the system. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/126829/… Commented May 2, 2013 at 0:18
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    @RichardJ.RossIII - thanks for the link. Reading what's there, and Knight's comment below, makes me feel a little less picked on. Straighten your back, and carry on. I get it now.
    – Floris
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 1:08
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    Yeah, it's only 4 rep, and you get 20 meta rep for asking a question about it, too :)
    – Doorknob
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 1:09
  • @Doorknob - +20? No - more, actually; see Tim's answer. :-)
    – Floris
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 1:13
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    +30 meta now, from two more upvotes, and +10 on SO, so net +30 meta +6 SO! :D So sometimes downvotes are good :P
    – Doorknob
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 1:14
  • -2 from the +1,660 rep of that question isn't bad. Trend has occurred with my top answer as well, and I'm sure many others. Just one person's action - not a big deal. Community of downvotes stings a little ッ Commented May 2, 2013 at 1:33
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    @RichardJ.RossIII - Two downvotes per day from a user will not trigger the serial downvoting detection mechanisms within SO. I've had several days in a row where two answers of mine were downvoted, one immediately after the other.
    – user164207
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 5:51
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    I too receive periodic down-votes on some of my top answers (+172, -2, +47, -1). My only question (which was a test) is a good target too (+13, -8) - presumably because down-votes on questions are free. Sometimes you just have to let down-votes go.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 9:48
  • re your edit: no, that's not the case. Read the answer to the linked question completely, it's not about user removals but serial voting. You got a pair of downvotes, and I don't think that will be removed by the automated script. Move on, you've got better things to do than worry about a few rep points.
    – Mat
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 11:07
  • I think the question is different but I agree that the answer can be applied to my question. One thing I am curious about: I got notification that I got a "nice question" badge, then it seemed to disappear again... Anyone know the explanation for that? Can closed questions not get badges?
    – Floris
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 11:50
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    @Floris The duplicate question isn't really different, it is about someone losing rep because of serial upvoting (the opposite of what happened to you), but because the answer applies, it is considered a duplicate. And you did get your Nice Question badge Commented May 2, 2013 at 12:36
  • I've changed the duplicate to one more relevant to the question asked, although it does eventually point back to the same generalized answer about serial up and down voting. Commented May 2, 2013 at 14:35
  • @BradLarson more accurate dupe for this case seems to be A better serial voting trap "down-vote a particular user once or twice a day, regardless of topic or quality..."
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 12:29

2 Answers 2


Judging by the quality of your downvoted answers, the downvotes certainly weren't deserved on technical merit. But people can vote however they want (including me; I enjoyed your answer on bit-shifting and upvoted it).

Yes, downvotes can be reversed, though as @Knights points out, 2 votes isn't much, and probably not enough to trigger a reversal.

To be blunt: your original comment ("Time to start reading one of a million tutorials in Python") was slightly antagonistic. Just because it's probably true and 9 other people upvoted the comment doesn't make it polite (manners, of course, being relative).

Was it truly offensive? no. Is revenge voting an appropriate response? no. But it obviously offended the OP, and—in my experience—participating in a comment debate doesn't usually end well.

So, take it for what it's worth, and move on.

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    You are right - it was late, I was getting hypoglycemic, I should have gone home and have that beer instead of making that "slightly antagonistic" comment. Still fairly new here (just celebrated my first 100 days) - have to learn "what works". Eventually decided to stop commenting (but very glad someone else chimed in on that thread...) Appreciate the "pick me up" from everyone here!
    – Floris
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 1:12

To answer your questions in order:

  1. Suspicious voting behavior is automatically reversed by the system. Two votes may not be suspicious, though. If it is not reversed, see 2&3.
  2. This probably isn't significant enough to warrant a flag. As suspicious voting is reverted automatically, such a flag is generally a waste of time for moderators. However, if the user is persistent over multiple days, it is worth considering.
  3. If you're downvoted, consider why. If you can't tell why, inspect your post thoroughly. However, for two upvoted questions and random downvotes, it's probably best to ignore it and move on. Some people are just unhappy.
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    Thanks - your comment (and Tim's) makes me feel more comfortable about what happened; I am now able to let it go.
    – Floris
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 1:15
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    @Floris Glad we could help.
    – user206222
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 1:17
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    I could only accept one answer - but found both very helpful. Thanks.
    – Floris
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 2:11

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