I quite often happen to be misjudged on my voting patterns that are exposed through my profile page.

I decided to withdraw my nomination for a moderator for 2 reasons:

  1. after seeing other peoples achievements I came to conclusion that I am not experienced enough to be a moderator. Even though I would like to be one I wouldn't probably make a good one as of today. I wouldn't mind letting the nomination hang in there and see if I get at least one person's vote, but...

  2. comments left under my nomination did not sound too encouraging. Peer pressure. Judged me based on the amount of downvotes I have made.

voting stats

How many of you are actually aware of the actual vote count which is exposed through the votes tab, and not the summary page in your profile?

votes tab

Some simple math:

1385 - x = 681, makes x = 704 deleted downvotes against 681 still standing.

The deleted downvotes do not count so why is that exposed to anyone visiting your profile and misleading people?

I realize that for the current Moderators Election the flag's count and meta participation is the main factor but you can't stop people pointing things out like the negative votes ratio.

Bad questions deserve a downvote, nearly half of those that I downvoted got deleted which should be considered a good moderation action taken! I am sure if I were more active in and not and where bad questions do not get closed and deleted at the same rate as or my downvote ratio would go down as most of the downvoted questions would be deleted anyway.

Open your eyes people don't prematurely judge people.

  • 13
    You think you have a lot of downvotes...
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:06
  • 20
    It's worth noting that mods get a lot of flak for being in their position, even when doing everything right. Clearly you don't have a thick enough skin to deal with it. Better to know that now than later.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:07
  • 7
    See “Votes cast” should include votes on deleted contributions. This behaviour was asked-for; users wanted to be credited their downvotes on later-deleted posts. It would be misleading if they weren't included!
    – Jeremy
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:08
  • 2
    Ignoring the fact that you were amoung the candidates I was planning on voting for anyway; a strict eye for quality and a near even up/down numbers would make you a better candidate in my eyes Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:08
  • 21
    @mehow I THINK YOU SHOULD HAVE MORE DOWNVOTES THAN UPVOTES TO BE ELECTED TO A MODERATOR. IT SHOULD BE A REQUIREMENT, JUST LIKE HAVE THOSE 4 BADGES. People who have 10 to 1, 5 to 1 upvote - downvote ratios, should not be mods. People who suggest otherwise, DO NOT know what they are talking about, and have a wrong impression of the site and of a user's and moderators role.
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:32
  • 3
    Three things make me think you could be a good moderator. 1) Self awareness is a big factor in being able to function effectively 2) Seeing your actions as others see them is also critical to minimizing the feathers you will ruffle and weathering the first few times you make a hard call and mess it up 3) Knowing to look deeper than a simple stat - if you happened to find and vote for 3000 bad questions or harmful answers and also commented positively - that's a win for the site no matter the ratio of up to down. Best of luck either way - vote with compassion is the only rule.
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:38
  • 16
  • 11
    @EsotericScreenName I really want to know which the one blessed post was Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:54
  • 19
    @RichardTingle legend has it he tried to downvote Jon Skeet, but the universe converted it to an upvote.
    – user213963
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:59
  • 4
    Now this is a guy I will definitely consider voting for. stackoverflow.com/users/110707/wooble 15,000 down , 2000 up
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 16:01
  • 8
    Personally I wish more people used downvotes more often. It's an important signal.
    – Flexo
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 17:29
  • 1
    @LowerClassOverflowian: you should see how many close votes I've cast.
    – Wooble
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 17:52
  • 2
    I know it's just a detail, but just curious if I'm failing the simple math: "Some simple math: 1385 - x = 681, makes x = 704 downvotes against 1215 upvotes." Shouldn't that read: 704 deleted downvotes? And why compare that to that 1215 upvotes? Shouldn't you compare 681 against that number...?
    – Arjan
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 19:54
  • 1
    @LowerClassOverflowian here's programmers.stackexchange.com/users/31260/gnat for you: 24,198 down, 4,434 up
    – gnat
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 8:15
  • 1
    @gnat, I think this system would have to be more complicated as you don't want to see people go around downvoting ( further: delete, etc) just to earn a badge.
    – user221081
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 13:35

3 Answers 3


Every moderator election, someone comes along and questions the voting history of nominees. To someone unfamiliar with the site and how things operate here, at first glance a high number of downvotes would seem to indicate harsh treatment of others. That's not at all the case. In my experience, the ratio of downvotes to upvotes has absolutely no correlation with how rude or welcoming a particular user has been in their interactions with others.

Most people miss the large volume of absolutely terrible content that comes into the site on a regular basis, because of how quickly it is usually dealt with and hidden. If you're one of the people who helps clean that up (by downvoting spam, trolling, nonsense, completely off topic material, or other garbage) you're going to end up giving lots of downvotes. Also, certain tags or areas tend to attract more of this than others, so where you're active will factor into this.

I was joking with Robert Harvey the other day, because one of the first times I ran for moderator, he called me out on my downvotes. If you look at any of the current moderators, you'll see we've cast a large number of downvotes, which comes with being constantly exposed to the worst content the site has to offer.

In fact, the only point that could be drawn from any analysis of someone's overall vote counts is that if they have few or no downvotes cast they probably haven't spent any time dealing with the pure garbage that a Stack Overflow moderator regularly sees. They may not be prepared for having to handle that all day long.

I would not let these complaints drive you away as a nominee, nor should they be a major factor for potential voters. I don't know that these votes should be hidden, because it's reasonably easy to explain them away. Looking at past elections, what your peers say about you and your behavior matters far more than a handful of comments about arbitrary metrics.

I'm writing this up as an answer, in case I need to quickly refer to it as this election proceeds, or for the next one.

  • 4
    @LowerClassOverflowian: You should have seen it before I became a mod. It was more like 20 to 1. There was a time when downvoting questions actually cost you rep.
    – user102937
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 16:49
  • 7
    Brad is one of the best mods we have, by the way. I was clearly wrong about his voting record. He's probably one of the nicest people you'll ever meet (one of the nicest mods anyway), unless you happen to be a voting sockpuppet, in which case get ready for the smackdown.
    – user102937
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 16:52
  • 6
    @LowerClassOverflowian - Why do you think that is a poor voting record? What ratio of posts on SO do you feel are upvote worthy vs downvote worthy? Casting upvotes on correct answers is also important for keeping answerers motivated. Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 22:49
  • You shouldn't be downvoting pure spam, however, should you? Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 5:01
  • @jan there's no harm in it provided that you do more than just down vote. If there aren't many mod/flaggers around it might help get the poster A-banned.
    – Flexo
    Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 7:29
  • @Flexo does it? I would expect the a-ban algorithm to not care about votes on posts that have been spamvaporated. Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 7:33

I'm not sure if you:

  1. ask if you have done good withdrawing your nomination because some people were disgusted/scared/jeolous because of your downvotes count
  2. ask if you are a hater because you downvote crap
  3. request to hide votes on deleted posts from profile

but in all of the above, I disagree.

  1. If you downvote a lot, you probably spend more time reviewing than typical user. It's a good thing for a moderator.
  2. No, downvote is not a sign of hate. Upvote isn't a sign of love, too.
  3. I don't see why. If your downvotes have helped to remove some crap, you should be proud of them.
  • 1
    1. No. I've withdrawn my nomination as I think other people have better predispositions to be moderators. I will wait for another year and gain more experience and do more moderation and then if I feel comfortable competing against others I may nominate myself once again. 2. kind of... but I know I am not a hater - I'd like to spread the word "more downvotes don't mean someone is treating others harsh". With all this high traffic on Stack Overflow there is a lot of posts and answers which need to be downvoted to keep the standards. Downvoting is not bad if applied according to the rules. 3. No
    – user221081
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 16:29

The questions/answers are not really delete (only soft deleted), so the downvotes are actually there in the database. Logically, any deleted post can be revived, hence the downvotes are kept, and because they are kept, they are counted.

Regarding why they are shown in your profile, showing them is not misleading, the profile represents you, and you have actually made these downvotes yourself. If you think making too much downvotes ruins your image, then don't.

  • 15
    If you're going to not downvote a post that you feel is of very poor quality just because you think it ruins your image...well...that makes me sad.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:10
  • @Servy me? me like downvote Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:10
  • 2
    I don't know what you're asking.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:11
  • I meant (do not think that they ruin your image), I did not mean (do not downvote). Sorry, it is probably my enlgish, it is not my native language ;) Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:12
  • Also note that the votes aren't counted because they might be undeleted at some point in time. Posts are very rarely undeleted, and deleted voted didn't used to count. They're counted because users specifically wanted to see deleted votes count; it better reflected the users's actual voting patterns.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:12
  • 7
    This answer is flawed. Reputation changes due to downvotes are recalculated each time an answer is deleted/undeleted. They can mislead people by showing the total vote counts in the summary and at the same time not be reflected through reputation and anywhere else. Instead of blaming the person who downvotes a lot and thus ruining his/her own image, I would blame the low quality questions/answers flooding SO every day.
    – Antony
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:17

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