The other day one of my posts got a downvote. For reasons, I kinda knew who this downvote came from so I opened up their profile page in another tab, deleted my answer, and that user suddenly got a +1. Yes, it was him/her! Not that I really care, my answer was not particularly good/useful anyway, but it's clear that this "trick" should be blocked somehow. How could this be prevented?

Note: I didn't see the +1 in their rep. tab, because that is not visible to other users. What I saw is that their total reputation increased by one point. Coincidence? I think not.

I do not suggest any specific solution here, I just want to discuss this ability to find who downvoted and its implications. I would also like to hear possible solutions.

  • Also related: it's very much intentional that you can't see the details in their rep tab
    – Shog9
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 23:26
  • Thanks Shog9 for finding the duplicate! I wasn't able to find anything similar when I wrote this post, but mine is indeed an exact duplicate of the other post (which was very well received, which makes me wonder why my post met with much more hostility and negativity. Oh well, who knows) Commented May 31, 2017 at 23:38
  • 1
    What can I say? Trying to remember the details of the thousands of meta posts I've answered makes me crabby some days.
    – Shog9
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 23:39
  • @AccidentalFourierTransform which makes me wonder why my post met with much more hostility and negativity - Presentation, the particulars of your method and process, tone, and planetary alignment. Also not enough time has passed yet to really judge yours as "well-received" or not.
    – Jason C
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 2:42
  • Instead of deleting the answer you should have improve it so it didn't receive anymore downvotes. A single downvote indicates that your contribution has a problem and should be improved which, by your own admission, admit that your answer wasn't very good
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 5:19
  • @JasonC thank you for the feedback. The issue is now settled for me, so it doesn't make much sense to continue the discussion. Cheers. Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 9:11
  • Hi @Ramhound, just to be clear: I was being humble, but my answer was actually very good and it gathered several upvotes. The downvote came from other reasons, not because of its quality. Therefore, improving it would have made no difference. In any case, the downvote itself is not the point of this post. Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 9:12
  • There is a difference being humble, "my answer was not particularly good/useful anyway", and there being truth to a statement. My suggestion is still valid. Improve never delete.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 11:55
  • @Ramhound sorry but no: your suggestion is not valid at all. I get to choose if I want to improve my posts or delete them. Not you, not the community. There is no rule, implicit or explicit, that suggests that one should always improve instead of deleting. And it's my right to delete my answer if I decide that it won't be useful or it is not worth it to try to improve it. I don't know where you got the idea that "Improve never delete" is a desirable behaviour. Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 12:18
  • Well if you delete your contribution everytime it receives a downvote, then eventually, you will be question/answer banned by doing so. If you improve your contribution then people who issued a downvote can reverse their vote.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 13:16
  • @Ramhound why did you assume that "I delete [my] contribution everytime it receives a downvote"? Nothing I said here suggests that I do. In any case, and as I said before, the downvote part of this post was tangential to the post itself. I am not interested in continuing this discussion. Good bye. Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 13:21
  • I didn't assume that. I just indicated that, if you were to delete contributions because it received downvotes, that would eventually happen.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 13:25

2 Answers 2


While you have a point, I don't think there is anything we can do to stop those people from "hunting down" the downvoters.

If one is really that keen to find who downvoted, and familiar enough with the site to know all the "suspects", it's part of a bigger problem.

The actual problem here, is someone who is not willing to accept downvotes. And I'm afraid nothing can fix that.

  • @AccidentalFourierTransform it was still a feature request. I now edited this into actual discussion, feel free to roll back if you think it's too radical. Commented May 31, 2017 at 22:45
  • @AccidentalFourierTransform and as with everything in SE, it's not about you in person, as others do care about downvotes and will go and shame the downvoters, scaring them away. Commented May 31, 2017 at 22:46
  • I agree with your second and third paragraphs, but I kinda disagree with "I don't think there is anything we can do to stop those people...". [and now we can discuss my initial suggestion]: for example, if the recalculation was performed at the end of the day for every user (00.00 UTC), that would make it much more difficult to track down the rep. change. This may not be ideal, but it would certainly help. I'm obviously open to criticism of this proposal, or other suggestions, but I see no evidence that there is nothing we can do. Commented May 31, 2017 at 23:02

In addition to what Shadow Wizard points out, it doesn't sound like addressing reputation recalculation resolves the risk you identify.

You already had a pretty good idea of where the downvote came from in your example. There was already other more important context present that gave you that idea to begin with. It's whatever other information you used to form an initial guess that allowed you to track it down, not the rep change itself. So this doesn't seem like the source of the described "problem", among other things.

  • This makes almost no sense to me, sorry. Context led to a suspicion, but it was the rep. change what actually made me find out where the downvote came from. In any case, and as I said to Shadow Wizard, my proposed solution was just a possible example; it was not the main point of my post. What I came here for is to point out that there was a potential problem. I don't really care about whether you or S.W. think my particular suggestion resolves the problem or not. What I want is a solution, which may or may not be the one I proposed. Commented May 31, 2017 at 22:44
  • @AccidentalFourierTransform Here's a way to help this make more sense: The next time one of your posts gets downvoted, where you have no initial suspicion, use this trick to figure out who did it. Let us know how it goes, heh.
    – Jason C
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 22:46
  • @AccidentalFourierTransform Fwiw, your specific suggestion wasn't an issue in itself, to me at least. I'm commenting on the more fundamental part of your post, regarding the reputation recalculation's role in this.
    – Jason C
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 22:49
  • (two comments up) It's not about me. It's about each and every user of this site. Some users are known to be very active voters, and some others take downvotes personally. I don't really care about downvotes to my posts, but some people do, and they can certainly use this "trick" to find out/make sure where a downvote came from. Commented May 31, 2017 at 22:50
  • @AccidentalFourierTransform I'm saying they can't use this trick to find that out, but rather, they're using other non-reputation-related information to track down the downvote. As a specific example just to illustrate the point, you try it (I know you're talking about users in general, and that it's not a thing you would personally do, but given the context it doesn't make sense for me to ask somebody besides you to try it right now).
    – Jason C
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 22:51
  • You are saying that they can't use this trick, and I'm telling you that I succeeded on my very first try. Now one of us is wrong here, and I know what I saw. In any case, as the "delay" aspect of my post is now removed, can you please remove that part from your post too? Thanks. Commented May 31, 2017 at 22:53
  • @AccidentalFourierTransform But you didn't succeed because of this trick. You succeeded because of the other information you had. You didn't use the reputation to track down the downvote; you used something else, the reputation just arbitrarily helped you validate whatever that other approach was that you took, but that's no big deal. That's the point. So again, see if you can do this without the other initial information, and let us know if you succeed on your very first try.
    – Jason C
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 22:54
  • Of course the other information was important, but the essential giveaway was the rep. change. I really don't understand what you are trying to argue here. The rep. change is the most important part of the "trick". I think it's pretty clear that the rep. change alone is not enough - indeed, it is a rather useless information - but it does represent an almost infallible proof! Commented May 31, 2017 at 22:57
  • @AccidentalFourierTransform Can you or can you not determine who downvoted one of your posts using reputation changes with no other hints?
    – Jason C
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 22:59
  • I already answered to that in my previous comment (and the fact that you asked it anyway kinda confirms what I suspected: you are not really listening to what I'm saying, which makes me wonder why would you post an answer at all...) Commented May 31, 2017 at 23:04
  • @AccidentalFourierTransform My question was an attempted restart of the conversation for clarity but, sure. So the reputation change is "rather useless information." Sounds about like my answer. Seems like we're on the same page. Your post is perhaps a bit of an XY problem.
    – Jason C
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 23:14
  • Apologies then. We are almost on the same page. My point, with which you seem to disagree, is that the rep. change, while being far from enough to a priori find out who downvoted, is an infallible confirmation of a possible suspicion. Right? Commented May 31, 2017 at 23:14
  • It's not infallible (their reputation could be changing for other reasons by coincidence), but it is strongly supportive; but removing one possible confirmation doesn't remove the underlying ability to build suspicion against an alleged downvoter, so any approach involving rep recalc changes probably wouldn't solve the real issue. Still, your title claim is "reputation recalculation when downvoted post gets deleted let users find out who downvoted them", which is hard to reconcile with "indeed [rep. change] is rather useless information".
    – Jason C
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 23:15
  • @AccidentalFourierTransform Bear in mind that if you had no initial suspicion, you would have to monitor the reputation of all users on the site in relatively real time while also deleting and undeleting your post, and do that enough times to build a strong correlation to a specific user in the possible presence of a stream of other events affecting other users' reputation at the same time. This is not actually possible given current API/etc. limitations. That's the crux of my claim that rep recalc isn't the right tree to bark up.
    – Jason C
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 23:19

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