When a user commits to serially down voting a series of questions/answers from a specific user in a certain amount of time, make those down votes cost more and more as they go. This way serial down voting will work if the user is committed, but they have to pay the penalty for it.

If this were to be implemented, what other rules and conditions would you like to see?

To me, this seems like a much cleaner solution than the current recalc script that runs once a day.

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    That's actually really cool. That would be pretty effective IMHO. Good thought, man. – Sampson Jul 2 '09 at 17:00
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    There's cases where serial down-voting might be called for. Albeit these odds are slim, but should be considered. – Ian Elliott Jul 2 '09 at 18:09
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    @Ian: Nope. Down voting posts based on who posted them rather than what they contain is wrong and stupid. – GEOCHET Jul 2 '09 at 18:11
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    You should all vote like me: up if the author's current reputation is even, down if it's odd. – Shog9 Jul 2 '09 at 18:16
  • @Shog, in that case I'll be sure to vote down only when my rep is odd. – devinb Jul 2 '09 at 18:23
  • Synergy ! – Shog9 Jul 2 '09 at 18:27
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    I was about to suggest that people give Ian the benefit of the doubt, because you might find multiple downvote-worthy answers that happen to be from the same poster even if you didn't specifically go after that poster. But devinb explains that better in his actual answer. In short: it's worth scrolling down. – Pops Jan 13 '10 at 15:16
  • What did you do now Rich B? (You're suspended again and I'm very curious) – juan Jan 13 '10 at 16:50
  • How do you know I didn't view the user's profile and thus many of their questions and answers, and genuinely voted down because of problems with them instead of voting just based on user? – Gnome Jan 13 '10 at 16:50

To this, I would add: it should only apply to older posts. If someone's flooding the site with reposts of their question (as does happen on occasion), it makes more sense to flag and close them. But I don't see any reason to punish those who down-vote them as well.

  • A very nice condition indeed. – GEOCHET Jul 2 '09 at 16:10
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    @Rich: How is this answer "Correct"? – devinb Jul 2 '09 at 18:04
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    @devinb: How is any answer correct on the meta site? – GEOCHET Jul 2 '09 at 18:10
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    @Rich: Good point, there really isn't ANY "Correct". – devinb Jul 2 '09 at 18:22

There is already a downvote tax (one rep per downvote), and there are system tools designed to stop anomalous downvoting patterns (see here: Vote Fraud and You). The most damage one person can do in one day is 60 rep--pretty small to most active users with thousands of rep. And if you see evidence that someone is being abusive, you can always e-mail the admins and they'll take a look. I don't see the need for an extra system.

  • I think the OP is suggesting that the policy be changed to allow serial downvoting, but that there be an increasingly high price to pay to engage in this behavior. I think the notion has merit; a policy that prevents serial downvoting actually has the effect of limiting accountability of community members for their conduct. Based on what I've seen, the members who actually need the most policing are the moderators themselves. The SO moderators have created a police state, not a forum for open Q&A. – Joel Hoff Nov 12 '10 at 23:09

If we are identifying a voting pattern we don't like, we should be stopping it entirely.

All downvotes should be consistent. They are all worth equal amounts and they cause identical amounts of rep-burn to the user. If you start costing people more to downvote once they've been identified as serial downvoters, then how do you recognize a 'good' downvote from them?

There was once a user that answered a question of mine very well, and I upvoted him, and I was interested to read some of the other things he had written. I read a few of them, and there were some very blatant impolite suggestions, and some incorrect answers. After reading a few of his answers, I'd given 4 downvotes and 2 upvotes. That user was "SO Sucks". He's since changed his name.

But, the point is that I wasn't being malicious, I had no grudge against this user, I just found answers that I thought were worthy of downvotes. Overall, after doing that voting, I ended up down 4 rep points, and he was up 12.

If your suggestion is put in place, I would be down something like 10 points, and he'd still be up 12.


Based on the comments, I think a good solution would be to have a cap on the number of votes you can give to any one user in a particular day. With the red-pop-up we all recognize as the "I can't let you do that" box. That way, the votes remain consistent in their value and their and effect.

Obviously, we'd want to have a flag if they were mostly negative as well, because most users have upvote behaviour that FAR outweighs their number of downvotes.

Unfortunately, this would make it difficult to downvote spammers into oblivion, becuase if they post 6 times, we can't do anything about them.

(Scratch that, we can just flag their butts into oblivion)

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    Serial down voting is wrong no matter how you look at it. Thresholds would obviously need to be in place to allow a certain amount of leeway, but down voting posts based on who posted them rather than what they contain is wrong and stupid. – GEOCHET Jul 2 '09 at 18:09
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    @Rich, I agree 100% agree that you shouldn't vote someone up or down because of who they are. But in my case, I was evaluating the answers based on their intrinsic value, but I happened to be on that users page when I say the interesting question names. I also voted up/down other users on those questions, I only mentioned the ones that applied to that particular user. – devinb Jul 2 '09 at 18:12
  • @devinb: Well said - and yes, serial upvotes could be worth a look as well. IMHO, the utility of this suggestion lies in imposing a period for reflection and review: rather than down- or up-voting ten posts a minute, all from the same author, it might be better for everyone if you were to spend a bit more time reading each one. – Shog9 Jul 2 '09 at 18:13
  • @DevinB: Like I said... thresholds. That is what this discussion is about. – GEOCHET Jul 2 '09 at 18:14
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    Then, instead of imposing a vote-tax, why not one of those red pop-ups that says "You've exhausted your votes on <link>devinb</link> for the day, please try again in X hours". Because I'd totally be okay with that. – devinb Jul 2 '09 at 18:21
  • @devinb: I like that too. Suggest it! – Shog9 Jul 2 '09 at 18:22
  • Sometimes only taking 2 rep off for a downvote seems like TOO LITTLE. It's frustrating when someone writes something crappy, but they get 1 upvote... it then takes 5 people to offset all that rep! I'd be willing to give up more reputation for a higher penalty to the other person. I really am not a compulsive downvoter, so when I do it, 2 points seems like not enough. – Tom Jul 2 '09 at 18:32
  • Added as a suggestion: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2028 – GEOCHET Jul 3 '09 at 0:23
  • awesome! upvoted! – devinb Jul 3 '09 at 11:45

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