A couple days ago I asked this question concerning posting religious text in posts and refusing to edit them. Now because of the publicity of this user, I believe they are being downvoted for no other reason than people disagreeing with their posts (or being frustrated, or whatever; basically they are being downvoted for an abnormal reason). The questions and answers that are being downvoted aren't bad by standards at all; as a matter of fact, several had upvotes (+3) before being downvoted (4 times). So my question is, is this alright that the user is being "attacked" like this? I'm sure many other users have religious text and/or refuse to edit posts, and aren't downvoted.

Please note, I am asking this as a specific question because, for one thing, I feel a little responsible for the downvotes.

EDIT: I just noticed now the user's getting a recieving a flurry of upvotes...I understand why, but should votes be used just to cancel downvotes? Couldn't the downvotes be removed by a moderator or something?

  • 2
    Note that they're also recieving possibly-spurious up votes. Publicity cuts both ways.
    – jscs
    Feb 23, 2014 at 1:29
  • @JoshCaswell, I added something about that to my post. Basically, though, shouldn't votes not be used to attack (or support) a user?
    – davidsbro
    Feb 23, 2014 at 1:31
  • 1
    No, you're right that they shouldn't, but there's almost nothing that non-moderators can do about it. Raise a flag if you haven't already.
    – jscs
    Feb 23, 2014 at 1:32
  • So should I raise a flag and say "all upvotes and downvotes should be removed"? What if one or two of the votes actually were browsing users or something who upvoted (or downvoted) for a good reason?
    – davidsbro
    Feb 23, 2014 at 1:35
  • @JoshCaswell, one reason I asked this is because I feel a little responsible for it, since I brought it up.
    – davidsbro
    Feb 23, 2014 at 1:37
  • 1
    Just use the flag to describe clearly what's happening and why you are suspicious of it. Be aware that the mods may not be able to do anything in any case. Unless they can find clear evidence that one other person is targeting this user, they have no way to tell if the votes are "legitimate" or not. Those answers have been bumped recently -- voters may sincerely think they're bad, not knownign anything at all about the author.
    – jscs
    Feb 23, 2014 at 1:38
  • 1
    No the votes can't be removed manually by us. Unfortunately that's just how the meta effect works. Humans are notorious for this sort of thing, I've noticed. Shame on your kind. Feb 23, 2014 at 2:30
  • 1
    @BoltClock'saUnicorn: Spoken like a true unicorn. :-P
    – Jamal
    Feb 23, 2014 at 2:50
  • meta effect, "Increase of voting activities observed in main site posts that have been exposed at meta..."
    – gnat
    Feb 23, 2014 at 12:12

1 Answer 1


The proper and correct use of votes is to evaluate a question or answer's usefulness and clarity, and that is the way that people should be using their votes. That said, users can use their votes however they wish, so long as they are not committing voter fraud.

This particular user has repeatedly rolled back edits made to his posts, some of them being moderator edits. He has left comments claiming that it is his right to post whatever supplementary text he wants on his answers, and that we are persecuting him for his religious beliefs. He has also misused moderator flags making these claims, and in general has wasted everyone's time.

Let's clear up a few things, shall we?

First of all, Stack Exchange is not a free-speech platform. Anyone who makes this claim does not understand what "free speech" means. Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one's opinions and ideas using one's body and property to anyone who is willing to receive them. It does not mean that you have the right to voice your opinions using tools and platforms that do not belong to you. Stack Exchange is a privately-owned company; ultimately, they (and the user community) gets to decide what material gets posted to their websites, and what material gets removed.

Second, Stack Exchange has no obligation whatsoever to preserve anyone's supposed "right" to exercise their religious beliefs on any Stack Exchange site, in whatever form those religious exercises might take. Naturally, some sites welcome these practices; if you want to praise Jesus overtly using your own words, you're almost certainly welcome to do that on the Christianity site (but check with them first), provided that you're also providing value in the form of actually answering or asking a question.

If you want to praise Jesus on Stack Overflow, the way you do that is in your profile, by contributing high-quality content on Stack Overflow, and in general interacting with others on the site in a way that honors his name, not by the use of slogans, but by treating others with humility and respect. When Jesus said "Go and make disciples of all nations," I'm pretty sure that this user's behavior is not what he meant.

  • 5
    But Stack Overflow is a nation too. Feb 23, 2014 at 2:29
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    I'd say a suspension is in order. We wouldn't tolerate if a user kept editing back in "thanks my friend" or "Hello" or whatever other garbage they kept adding back in, so why tolerate it here. I'm all for patience with people but not with people who are just arrogant and entitled...
    – jmort253
    Feb 23, 2014 at 4:29
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    I think this is good stuff, but most of it (all but the first two paragraphs) seems like it would fit better as an answer to the other question about this user, since this one is just about the votes. I don't follow how SE's platform ownership and content guidelines relate to possible fraudulent voting or the dangers of Meta publicity.
    – jscs
    Feb 23, 2014 at 5:24

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