Recently I asked a question that was not too dissimilar to other questions, but it turns out it wasn't in the right place. Instead of it being flagged for moving, it received a flurry of downvotes without any comments guiding me as to what I could do better.
Shortly after, I asked on Stack Overflow meta how can I, or where is the best place to ask this question. This also received a flurry of downvotes followed by closure, only by flagging this post was I able to get any sense from anyone about what might be going on.
My asking on the correct group (software engineering) had similar results, even though I checked the rules, and looked at some other posts to gauge what was appropriate.
I then also received downvotes across other unrelated posts and a flag on a post that had been happily sitting the way it was for years!
After this I began looking at Stack Overflow meta and Stack Exchange meta and have found posts with users having similar problems (serial voting). It seems to be centred around Stack Overflow, Software Engineering and Academia.
Looking over these groups some of the treatment of post seems grossly hypocritical, and I'm failing to see any fairness in how they are voted for or flagged.
My first assumption is that it's gatekeeping and rank farming. Do employers take Stack Overflow ranking in to consideration? Does the Stack Overflow network potentially have a problem with compromised moderators? Is it possible there potentially are group(s) within these networks who are intentionally damaging reputation and selling rank boosts?