I have a userscript that I wrote to see who downvoted my answers on Stack Overflow. It does so by requesting and parsing other users' profiles via AJAX. Is this in violation of the new policy?

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    On a side note, your script is highly prone to false-positives. Apr 19, 2016 at 17:00
  • the script isn't perfect but i've tested it and there has never been more than one match. there have been times when it can't tell but false positives are surprisingly low. anyway, this isn't stack and that's not my question :) Apr 19, 2016 at 17:04
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    How would you know false positives are low? Yes, I know your jerky script isn't the subject of the question.
    – user1228
    Apr 19, 2016 at 17:48
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    "...No Profile Content, including API Profile Content, may be used in any way that implies a user is affiliated with, has signed up for, or is in any way associated with a third party without explicit permission from Stack Exchange or the user." I wonder if you can call an anonymous vote a "third party"?
    – user1228
    Apr 19, 2016 at 17:50
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    Is it a commercial script? because the TOS seems to be pretty explicit in that scraping for commercial purposes is not allowed. But it doesn't state anything about non-commercial purposes.
    – JonW
    Apr 19, 2016 at 18:30
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    @Won't - it's just for fun.. as long as we're talking about it i might as well mention why i wrote it.. i was curious to know how many people were trying to "play the system" i get downvoted for perfectly valid answers all the time. The script taught me that when i am downvoted for valid answers, much of the time it's by others who have posted answers on the page as well. stack is just a game to me. i love to code. thanks for your jerky comment haha.. Apr 19, 2016 at 18:36
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    Your script doesn't show that, but knock yerself out. Am the king of jerky commenters, btw.
    – user1228
    Apr 19, 2016 at 18:51
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    @Won't - i like you. we're kindred jerks, you and i. Apr 19, 2016 at 18:52
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    Because I think the entire concept of this script is horrible, I took considerable effort to find an answer, I truly though should recieve a down vote I look forward to you telling me which one it is! To be fair I left Stackoverflow because of people like yourself.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 20, 2016 at 1:16
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    Hahahaha thank you ramhound for explaining your downvote, however the question was not "what do you think of the concept of this script." And if you looked at the code you'd know that's not how it works. But thanks for the giggle, buddy. Apr 20, 2016 at 1:27

2 Answers 2


A good way to not get on the wrong side of things is to just use the API. If what you need isn't there, come here and explain a good use case for it to be included.

In your case, the user object (not the shallow one) does return a value for daily reputation change, and you could conceivably hazard a very wild guess from that; it would be approximately as accurate as rolling some ancient Yiddish chicken bones on a Monopoly game board under a full moon while dressed up like the host of Yo Gabba Gabba:

DJ Lance Rocks

^^ The person above is an awesome human being. Check him out.

(I've never tried that method, and I'm not going to be any more specific about which one I haven't tried).

The important thing in your case to know is, if it somehow creates a problem, either through log audits or a disruption in the group dynamic of our users, we will tell you to stop using it and possibly take measures to block it.

My recommendation is that you stop using it, for a multitude of reasons, the most important of them being that using it continues to encourage a curiosity that might be approaching insatiable in a less-than-healthy manner.

The ToS changes weren't designed to inhibit users working with user scripts that gave them functionality that they want that we're unlikely to implement in the near or distant future (or at all). But if these scripts somehow cause any sort of problem, we'll ask you to disable them, but that has always been the case.

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    that was a great answer.. i don't actively use it. i used it for like a day and uninstalled it. truth is i don't usually stay on any given given page for long enough for it to be useful anyway. Apr 20, 2016 at 12:03

As long as you are using the script for your own "edification", I don't think it's really the use case the ToS change was intended to address. (I'm speaking here more as an observer than as an employee. I wasn't much involved with the change.) But that doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Some Stack Overflow employees have access to voting records on posts. We typically don't look at these unless there is some reason to suspect vote fraud. But even with that level of access, I do not see who voted on my own posts; it's just too tempting to make judgements about people from how they vote. So I'd be extremely leery of using a script to guess who might have downvoted you. For one thing, it might be mistaken. For another, it's bad for you in a psychological sense.

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    Can't agree with this answer more.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 20, 2016 at 1:19

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