2

The serial downvoting prevention mechanism reverts downvotes by users who appear to be targeting a specific user.

Are there also protections against users who suddenly mass-downvote questions or answers regardless of user (i.e. downvoting 40 front-page questions)? I don't mean users who downvote frequently - merely those who might rampage through the newest 40 questions and downvote all of them indiscriminately.

How often does this happen?

Edit: To be absolutely, exactly clear: This is NOT an XY question. I mean to ask exactly what I say. I don't even think it's a good idea. I'm not proposing such a script, I'm not providing parameters, I make no comment on its validity, I make no statements other than asking "does this already exist?" I do not express an opinion about whether it should exist, or how such an algorithm should even work. I will not defend this script, nor will I work to see it implemented. I'm not at all suggesting we should create such a script if it does not exist.

  • 1
    I've never actually seen this happen. Such an activity would be indicative of a ragequit, and we can recover the votes by destroying the account. – user102937 Mar 10 '14 at 17:25
  • @Robert Good point! And if you haven't seen it, that's saying something. Cool. – user206222 Mar 10 '14 at 17:32
  • 17
    A script like this would invalidate all of my votes on Software Recommendations SE... – animuson Mar 10 '14 at 18:17
  • 5
    @gnat Er.... don't think so – user206222 Mar 10 '14 at 18:42
  • 1
    I don't understand the issue you're concerned about -- what are the criteria you have in mind, that would indicate someone is "suddenly mass-downvot[ing]"? – jscs Mar 10 '14 at 19:58
  • @Josh I'm not concerned about anything. I am just wondering if any script exists to revert, say, forty consecutive downvotes on random answers. – user206222 Mar 10 '14 at 20:00
  • How would we determine that they were actually random? Even if they were seconds apart, I could have a saved up a bunch of crappy posts from review, open in different tabs. – jscs Mar 10 '14 at 20:02
  • 2
    @Emracool consider "how do you determine 'random' from 'stumbled across 40 pieces of utter crap'?" – user213963 Mar 10 '14 at 20:03
  • @MichaelT Once again, I'm not proposing such a script, I'm not providing parameters, I make no comment on its validity, I make no statements other than asking "does this already exist?" I have made no comment on whether it is a good idea. I have edited this into the post to make it absolutely clear that by asking if something exists, I am not saying it should exist. – user206222 Mar 10 '14 at 20:04
  • I've never seen people try and read between the lines so much on Meta. – user206222 Mar 10 '14 at 20:08
  • @Emracool but consider if it did exist - what would happen to all of Eric Lippert's votes? And why downvotes? What about 40 random upvotes (for there is also a upvote reversal script too)? If a downvote rollback script existed, certianlly by the same logic the upvote rollback script should too. – user213963 Mar 10 '14 at 20:09
  • 3
    Without more specific criteria, you're just describing folks who downvote a lot. Please see: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/42601/… for a lengthy debate regarding the notion of "too many" down-votes. – Shog9 Mar 10 '14 at 20:17
  • 3
    @Emracool Many questions on meta turn out to be an XY problem of some sort - there's a hidden question behind it that prompted it. As such, people try to answer the question behind the question. I am not trying to be argumentative, but rather asking questions that (I hope) you already know the answer to and through those answers come to realize the answer to the question yourself - that no, there isn't one and there couldn't be for reasons that you already know and understand. – user213963 Mar 10 '14 at 20:17
  • 1
    I really disagree that this is a duplicate of either of the linked questions. The OP isn't asking for something to be put in place (as has been repeated several times), but is asking for "No, something like this is not in place" or "Yes, something is". Both of the other questions are suggesting that something be implemented. – jprofitt Mar 11 '14 at 4:40
  • 1
    @JoshCaswell The community disagreeing that a feature should be added, and it not being added are two different things though. – jprofitt Mar 11 '14 at 14:31
4

No.

There is no script to reverse the down votes of someone who casts 40 down votes that do not specifically target an individual, just as there is no script to reverse the up votes of someone who casts 40 up votes that do not specifically target an individual.

Well, unless you count the roomba deleting closed questions that have no answers with a positive score (and other criteria) in which case the down votes are kind of reversed in that the target question no longer exists, so the down vote no longer exists either (FWIW, you can cast 2x max votes in a day if all the votes were on questions that were later deleted that day), but thats not what you are thinking.


The following tries to address an earlier revision that could be read with the implication that such a script would be 'protection against generalist serial down voters'.

Downvotes, wherever they may be and however they are cast are an essential part of the system's automatic housekeeping and janitorial cleanup. Trying to slap the wrist of someone who is trying to help these systems receive the proper input is counterproductive to the quality of the site - be it one downvote or thirty.

In particular, downvotes:

  • Provide an incentive for users to improve the quality of their questions and answers
  • Help separate the good answers from the poor ones
  • Help people answering a question decide how much time to spend on a given answer (they are more likely to click through to an unanswered +5 question than an unanswered -5 question)
  • Allow 20k users to delete particular answers if they are downvoted enough
  • Allow 20k users to speedily delete poor closed questions if they are downvoted enough
  • Feed the question ban and prevent people from repeatedly wasting the time of those who answer questions
  • Feed the roomba scripts and automatically delete closed questions that lack anything with a positive score
  • Trigger automatic low quality review flags

Given that the number of upvotes often is much more than the number of downvotes in general, some people may decide to downvote things to help these systems get the appropriate input they need to work.

There are great numbers of questions out there that are hanging on by a thread that really aren't that great and are adding to the noise in the system as a whole. Quick queries can show closed questions that are at -lots with a single answer that is +1 keeping the roomba from deleting it. There are two ways to delete this question if it isn't adding anything to the site as a whole - either having 3x 10k users cast delete votes on it, or downvote the answer - the outcome is the same.

Should anything be done? No. Downvoting is an essential part of the system. If someone is investing 30 reputation a day in downvoting answers for some reason, they may see that as an investment in the site and its overall quality.

There is as much ethics involved in downvoting poor questions and answers as a gardener spraying herbicide on weeds or pulling them out and tossing them into the compost pile.

Look at the mouseover for downvote answer - "This answer is not useful." As long as you are not targeting a person and down voting them because of them, however you find the questions is immaterial. Be it from a google search, a targeted in site search link, or a data.SE query link. These are all ways to help garden the site.

The site is too big for moderators, or even the active 10kers to do all the cleaning. It is important for people who have less reputation and care about the quality of the content on the site to also help moderate it with the tools they have.

  • 1
    It is an attempt to show that down voting is as much part of the system as up voting is. There is no need to protect anything from mass "random" down votes as there is no need to protect anything from a mass "random" up vote. They are two sides to the coin - one is as essential as the other. Serial up votes is as much an issue as serial down votes and in all cases, they should be taken with equal importance. That there is no script for serial "random" up votes for when someone casts 40 up votes in a day, there is likewise no script for a serial "random" down vote. – user213963 Mar 11 '14 at 0:34
  • The misunderstanding that this answer tries to correct is that down votes are somehow wrong or bad and that people need to be protected from them as implied in the question title. – user213963 Mar 11 '14 at 0:36
  • 1
    @Michael Er, no, that's not what I'm implying at all. I'm literally just asking to know if such a script exists. This isn't an answer to this question. – user206222 Mar 11 '14 at 1:22
  • 2
    The problem is that you're being vague, @Emracool; yes, there's just the one voting-inspection script. But you're asking "does this thing exist?" without saying what exactly that thing is. What is a "series" of downvotes that isn't pointed at a user? Or what's a "random" downvote? This wouldn't even be answerable if there wasn't only one script. I believe that you're not advocating for anything (though note that future readers who come across this might be), but your presentation(s) are definitely suggestive -- in particular, unwillingness to define terms often covers a hidden motive. – jscs Mar 11 '14 at 1:56