It happens to me so often that my answer gets downvoted just seconds after a new answer has come to light. Is this behavior really accepted?

My perspective is that these kinds of downvotes should not be allowed since most of the time the answers that are being downvoted actually are a high-quality answer.

  • 4
    Have you considered that your answer may get downvoted because it is incorrect, or otherwise subpar?
    – yannis
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 12:22
  • Same situation from a different perspective.
    – Cai
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 12:31
  • Could you please stop downvoting an obvious duplicate.
    – Sainan
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 4:27

3 Answers 3


Tactical downvoting is not nice. However, just because you get a downvote as a new answer is added doesn't mean that the author of that answer is the one who downvoted, and further, a downvote from the author of a competing answer isn't always tactical.

To clarify: if I read an answer that I think is wrong, I will downvote it. In many cases I will then write an answer that I think is right. This is no coincidence. I'm not trying to suppress you or promote myself, it's just that I think you're wrong and I'm exercising a few of the things we do here on SE when someone is wrong on the internet.

Also, my answer will bump the question to the front page. This increases the chances that a whole pile of other people will suddenly read the question and its answers for the first time. If one of the answers is not good, one of these new readers may well downvote it.

Nobody likes downvotes. Your answer might not be the slightest bit wrong. But the most likely explanation for downvotes is that something is wrong with your answer, and having that vote correlate closely in time with a new answer doesn't change the probability of it being a "good" downvote rather than a tactical one.


If you look at the comments and answers on the question you link to, you'll see that they pretty much universally condemn this practice.

Certainly, as a moderator, if I became aware that a user was consistently and deliberately down-voting competing answers then at the very least they'd be getting a mod message. If they persisted, they'd be getting a suspension.

While there is nothing wrong with down-voting all the other answers if they are wrong, it's going to be a rare situation and for it to happen on a lot of the questions you answer is going to start to raise suspicions. Votes should be on the merits of the post itself, not who posted it, not when it was posted and certainly not just because it's competing with your answer.

  • I had lots of recent cases of that happening to me on Stack Overflow, so to me it seems to be an actual problem.
    – Sainan
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 12:19
  • 2
    @TimSpeckhals but on the cases you got down votes there are comments claiming something is wrong and/or all other answers also got down votes probably because the question should be dupe voted, not answered.
    – rene
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 12:22
  • @rene I thought the SE attitude was to judge the question based on its quality, and the answer based on its, not the answer based on the question. Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 1:20
  • @Zacharee1 users are free to use their votes as they see fit. Poor questions get deleted by the system if they are closed and have no upvoted and accepted answers. So to get rid of such low quality questions downvoting answers is a strategy, specially now more and more users tend to upvote stuff for effort.
    – rene
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 8:49

The Sportsmanship badge to some extent provides an incentive for answerers to vote up competing answers.

I do something similar to @KateGregory sometimes. If I am answering a question, I may downvote another answer if that answer is obviously wrong or of very poor quality, not because it is a rival answer. In fact, I try as a general practice to upvote other answers that are decent. In fact I do want to earn the Sportsmanship badge :).

  • That is a nice move by Stack Exchange, but in this case it's about an actual high-quality answer being downvoted.
    – Sainan
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 9:09

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