Recently, I posted an answer to a question on SO, about 5 seconds after another user posted a very similar answer. For some reason, that post was downvoted, but mine wasn't; they were almost the exact same answer.

Anyway, they posted a comment more or less along the lines of "How come my post was downvoted when the other post wasn't", and adding on a bit more to insinuate that I had tactically downvoted it. While that is a fair conclusion to come to, I'm not sure if it's OK to post a comment with that. I won't name the person(that would go against the point of this post), but in general, what should I do in this scenario, as it may trigger serial downvoting or other repercussions against me.

I see a few possible courses of action

  1. Upvote and post a comment saying I didn't do it
  2. Post a comment saying I didn't do it
  3. Flag the post as offensive or possibly not constructive, depending on how offensive it is
  4. Upvote without saying anything
  5. Do nothing

I took option 1, since I wanted to clear my name, and I probably would have upvoted the question anyway. Is that the correct course of action? What should I have done if I had tactically downvoted him?

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    Just reply you didn't do it. There's no need to do anything else. Instead of +1'ing for the unfair downvote, you could take a hard look at both your posts - maybe something was wrong with them that needs fixing. – Pekka Dec 26 '13 at 2:53
  • The up-vote wasn't really for the unfair downvotes, but I certainly did disagree with that post being downvoted and mine not being. Both answers were correct AFAIK, and his answer was what ended up being accepted. Perhaps the user didn't want to lose any more rep? – scrblnrd3 Dec 26 '13 at 2:59
  • Maybe - but we'll never know. I don't think the user's accusation was appropriate, but you handled it gracefully, no need to do anything differently – Pekka Dec 26 '13 at 3:00
  • Would it be helpful to post a link to the question? However, that would kind of be counterproductive to the purpose of this post – scrblnrd3 Dec 26 '13 at 3:02
  • It's relatively easy to find for those who want to. – Pekka Dec 26 '13 at 3:04
  • That's true. Should I make it less obvious? – scrblnrd3 Dec 26 '13 at 3:05
  • possible duplicate of What are valid reasons for flagging comments? – gnat Dec 26 '13 at 6:03
  • If accused of downvoting inaccurately, comment that you didn't, flag the accusatory comment for 'not constructive', and observe that your comment can be removed too once the other is removed (so that's a manual reason, but 'not constructive' is the reason with explanation. – Jonathan Leffler Dec 26 '13 at 6:15

Comments should be used to improve the post only.

When should I comment?

You should submit a comment if you want to:

  • Request clarification from the author;
  • Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;
  • Add relevant but minor or transient information to a post (e.g. a link to a related question, or an alert to the author that the question has been updated).

Flag the comment as not constructive.

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  • but in the meanwhile, how do I respond to the comment? – scrblnrd3 Dec 26 '13 at 3:34
  • @scrblnrd3 Do not respond. Or add a link to this topic without further discussion. – fuxia Dec 26 '13 at 3:47
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    @scrblnrd3 The only way to win is not to play. Flag the comments and walk away. – Adam Lear Dec 26 '13 at 3:47
  • @scrblnrd3 don't be drawn into the other member's powerplay - the timestamp shows that your answer was first - you do not have to answer to the other member in any way. – user234239 Dec 26 '13 at 4:28

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