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The current functionality of [practically] unlimited downvoting encourages abusive users to engage in conduct that is shady and coward. Although downvotes also decrease voter's reputation score, the truth is that it ultimately allows for unwarranted censorship of anything that does not fit that voter's ego or [capricious] liking. Two suggestions that seem straight-forward to implement may solve this issue.

  1. No user with privilege to vote down should be allowed to issue more than 'n' downvotes during a period (for instance, a month or a quarter). The same limit should apply across a site, regardless of users' reputation score in that site. Implementing this suggestion (by adding two columns to user's "header" table: one for downvote_count, one for renewal_date) would take care of serial downvoters.

  2. Limit the number of times user X can downvote user Y during one same period. Implementation of this suggestion will involve creating a new database table with the four following fields: (1) voter (primary key); (2) downvoted user; (3) date/timestamp; and (4) question/answer where downvoting took place.

Some (luckily few) users are obsessed about downvoting specific contributors. This happens to me in Law SE, where one self-portrayed attorney shows a recurrent impulse to downvote my answers even though his comments (when it pleases him to make any) turn out to be inaccurate, redundant, or absurd. By now I have accumulated a few screenshots reflecting that decreases of my reputation match [date-wise] equivalent increases of that user's count of downvotes.

Clearly, the purpose of SE voting is to reflect the effort or value of a contributor's posts. It is not aimed at suppressing any and all disagreements with someone else's valid, informed points. Downvoting for the sake of egotistical censorship is an abuse of SE's reputation mechanism.

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    Number 2 already exists: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/126829/… – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Aug 21 '18 at 17:37
  • @intentionallyleftblank Thanks. I did not know that. It still seems a problem in sites with lower activity. – Iñaki Viggers Aug 21 '18 at 17:40
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    I'm not seeing much that shows a lot of vindictive downvoting over at Law.SE. You have downvotes, sure, but nothing that smacks of someone following you around and downvoting because it's you. – fbueckert Aug 21 '18 at 17:40
  • @fbueckert Sure, but some instances might go undetected. Like I said, I am accumulating screenshots of that happening from one specific user. – Iñaki Viggers Aug 21 '18 at 17:43
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    Just as a warning, it's going to be a massive uphill climb to prove anything; votes are anonymous by design, so just showing us your reputation does nothing to prove it's because of one user. – fbueckert Aug 21 '18 at 17:45
  • @fbueckert Of course, but the higher the number of coincidences in a SE site with lower concurrence (meaning lower than other SE sites), the stronger the matches support that conjecture. – Iñaki Viggers Aug 21 '18 at 17:52
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    @IñakiViggers smaller sites are more likely to see votes between the same users. On really big tags in big sits you're not likely to even see all of the other posts another user makes. On a real small site, or a small tag on a site, you're likely to see all of the posts someone else writes just naturally, because you're likely to see all of, or a very large percentage of, the posts in that topic. – Servy Aug 21 '18 at 18:03
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Downvotes don't let you censor anything. The feedback on what other's think of the usefulness of a post is shown next to it, but answer aren't deleted just for being downvoted, and questions are only ever deleted if they go for some time without ever attracting answers or a positive score.

Users are already limited to 40 downvotes per day, with no more than 30 of them being on answers.

There is already an automated script that looks for suspicious voting, in which there is reasonable evidence that someone is voting based on the author of a post and not the user, and reverses it. The details of how it works are explicitly not exposed to prevent gamification.

The fact that you disagree with someone else over what the correct answer to a question is doesn't mean they don't have a right to express their opinion. You have your opinion, and you're free to express it (appropriately), and they have theirs. You're free to upvote answers that you think are good, or post answers with the solutions you think are best, just as they are free to downvote the answers that they think aren't good. You don't have the right to censor their feedback just because you think they're wrong in their assessment of the post's quality.

I would also strongly discourage you from trying to guess who is voting on your posts. Votes are anonymous for a reason. Take the feedback on your posts, both in comments and in votes (separately) as constructive feedback and try to improve your posts as best as you can. Don't try to guess who is downvoting you, and don't assume people commenting are the voters. It's just not useful.

  • Thanks. By censorship I mean that a downvote goes in the direction of reversing what a user already "earned" and of "pushing" him out. I'm fine with users expressing their views. I'm actually a big fan of the comments section because it serves to clarify and to prove the robustness of an answer. It only becomes an issue when one user gets obsessed and has a need to prejudice another one no-matter-what. – Iñaki Viggers Aug 21 '18 at 18:01
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    @IñakiViggers Well that's not what censorship means. Censorship would be preventing someone from being allowed to express their views (i.e. your assertion that someone else shouldn't be allowed to express their opinion because you think it's wrong). – Servy Aug 21 '18 at 18:06

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