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While browsing Stack Overflow, I noticed that I lost a lot of reputation:

http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/6452/downvoteparty.jpg

Is this serial downvoting? Will it be corrected by a rep-recalculation? How often are those done?


Here's a second instance:

http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/4480/downvoteparty2.jpg

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  • 6
    "Who cares." Your opponent or whatever can only do this once anyway, so its not really a big deal.
    – bobobobo
    Jan 23 '11 at 22:14
  • 87
    that sucks... who did you piss off? Give the guy his rep back!
    – RSolberg
    Apr 26 '11 at 21:23
  • Is the time on the left how long ago you asked the question? If so, how do you ask 9 questions in 2 minutes?
    – Jimmy
    Aug 5 '11 at 2:06
  • 14
    Nope, that's when I was downvoted Aug 5 '11 at 2:08
221

That's serial downvoting.

There are three ways to fix it:

  1. Do nothing for the first 24 hours. The daily vote anomaly script should pick it up and your rep will be recalculated automatically. It is scheduled to run once every 24 hours. It will detect and reverse most serial voting, but it isn't perfect.
  2. If after 24 hours (give the script time to run) you still see a problem, then raise an "in need of moderator intervention" flag on one of your own posts and ask a moderator to look into the anomalous voting patterns. Be specific as to what you feel the issue is. Keep in mind that moderators cannot invalidate votes themselves, and only have access to basic voting trends, but they can escalate to the Stack Exchange Community Team.
    Moderators will normally mark your flag helpful/declined after they look at the issue. The amount of time between when a suspicious voting issue is escalated to the Community Managers and when it is handled by them is indeterminate. At the moment, late 2020, such escalations tend to be handled within a couple/few weeks (some within days). However, there are times when there's a substantial backlog. For example, during the first 2/3rds of 2020, the backlog resulted in a delay of up to 9 months from when the escalation was raised to it was handled.
    You will not receive any additional communication after your flag is marked helpful/declined. You may be able to assume that an escalation has been handled if you see that some votes have been reverted, but moderators don't share information about the resolution of such escalations.
  3. If it still hasn't been corrected, contact the SE team via the "contact us" link at the bottom of any page on the site. Using this method is no faster than raising a moderator flag. In fact, people have reported that it tends to take longer.
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    I've been looking this up because there's a guy who's been obsessively e-stalking me, and attacking/insulting me on various sites. He is a pest. and I just discovered he has an SO account. I'm thinking it's only a matter of time before he discovers I'm on this network and starts serial downvoting me. What can I do to prevent a potential attack from him? Is it possible to block people on SE? Can I put him on a "moderator watch list" or something? I don't want to publish this as a question, because I'm afraid he's going to see it in the feed and discover my presence. Not sure what to do. May 21 '14 at 17:13
  • 3
    I don't think the SO auto-recalc algorithm works for every possibility. I had a question sitting idle for one month (stackoverflow.com/questions/36750812/…) and after I posted an unpopular answer (received 40 downvotes in a matter of hours) I started getting multiple downvotes to single questions. For example, the linked question got 3 downvotes overnight. It was a question that had been sitting idle for a month, then, whammo. I reported it, but SO didn't have my back. They said they'd look into it, but nada.
    – TARKUS
    Jun 19 '16 at 20:18
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    @TARKUS - I think your situation is most likely explained as: you posted an unpopular question, which hence got a lot of attention. People then decided to look at your profile, out of interest, and clicked links through to your older question. They then, independently, decided that the old question was a poor question too. That isn't serial downvoting.
    – AndyT
    Jun 22 '17 at 8:40
  • @AndyT Your explanation seems unlikely, for the reason that I have asked a lot of questions, not all of them great questions, and maybe some of them pretty bad questions. But only one question was the target of multiple down votes within a restricted period.
    – TARKUS
    Jun 22 '17 at 12:32
  • 2
    @TARKUS - Ah, ok. Then I agree my explanation seems unlikely.
    – AndyT
    Jun 22 '17 at 13:10
  • @AndyT I think your idea that people are going to look at my profile when I post an answer is a good one. Maybe you are right. Also, you wouldn't know this, but my answers sometimes get really nasty responses, even by high ranking members with high rep scores. I have also been asked offline (like on Skype) to up vote or down vote answers, so I think it happens.
    – TARKUS
    Jun 22 '17 at 14:45
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    "Do nothing", followed by the implication of "trust that SO will do it justice" is baffling. Sounds like the lack of proper systems, being covered up by "it'll resolve itself". This has happened far too many times, a lot in cases where people get upset that their answer gets debunked. I'd like to see the data on how often these situations are resolved by the "automatic system", or even through direct contact. I understand that there's not much to do with what we currently have, but this answer is definitely no attempt to step in the direction to solve the problem.
    – Dioxin
    May 8 '20 at 3:36
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If it was serial down-voting it should be spotted, and corrected, by the automatic processes that run.

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    it should (hopefully) be spotted
    – klutt
    Nov 20 '17 at 13:44
  • 1
    Is it? I am being serial downvoted by a user after closing a bad questions where he answered, and the system only reverted around half of his downvotes. Either that, or he is using several accounts. Feb 1 '19 at 12:27
17

Addressing a specific concern expressed in a duplicate question - note that based on details of a particular incident that involved serial voting, it is most likely that vote reversal script uses some data about prior abuse.

In other words, the guy who serially voted you once, will have harder time trying it next time, even if they vote less.

In the incident mentioned above, vote reversal script has been caught at cancelling a "series" of 2 (t-w-o) votes. The only feasible explanation for this is that script somehow took into account that suspected votes came from someone previously caught at abusive voting at the same "target poster".

Screen shot below shows a sequence of vote reversals that are likely done at "script time" 03:00.

http://i.stack.imgur.com/o1kqF.jpg

My reading for the data shown at screen shot is as follows. There's +4 entry revealing that reversal has been done for at least two users. And since total amount of votes reversed is (4+2+2+2)/2=5, this means that at least one of reversals has been done for a user who voted less than 3 times.

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    nice, and i think the one more logic need to add in to script that if same activity(upvote/downote) came from previous caught user, then user should not be able to do upvote/downvote on the affected account in future.
    – Lucifer
    Aug 22 '12 at 13:49
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    What about the case where a question has had 0 votes for a long period of time, but suddenly gets three downvotes overnight? I'm introducing the probable case where multiple individuals (or possibly sock puppets) collaborate on a downvote campaign.
    – TARKUS
    Jun 19 '16 at 20:21
  • In that case, it will take longer to correct.
    – 10 Rep
    Jun 18 '20 at 20:56

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