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I've just experienced my first revenge downvoting spree, presumably for my comment on this question. I posted a comment which a user took offense to; a little later I have 1 new downvote on each of my questions. Not really surprising; the user has a history of abuse on SO.

I'm not here to cry about the downvotes. It's a whole 22 magic Internet points, and the abuse-detection bots will no doubt undo them anyway. But it occurs to me I don't know whether stuff like this should be flagged for a moderator, especially given this person's history.

  • Do moderators typically look into abusive voting when it's automatically detected?
  • If I see suspicious activity that will probably be detected by Stack Overflow, should I report it anyway?
  • I know sock-puppet self-upvoting leads to account merges, bans, etc. Does revenge downvoting have similar consequences?
  • Given that this guy has already been recognized as a problem by other users, should I make more or less effort to draw attention to him? It feels a little pointless to pile on, but on the other hand, the fact that he's already been called out seems to make this even worse.
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    As far as I've heard, revenge downvoting sprees just get revoked and the lost rep returned to the victim. They're not gaming the system as hard as upvoting sock puppets - plus they usually have personal motives. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jul 13 '11 at 20:11
  • @BoltClock - Yeah, I'm pretty sure this will get caught pretty easily. I'm mostly just wondering if there's anything else I should do in order to be a good SO citizen. – Justin Morgan Jul 13 '11 at 20:15
  • @Michael - That one is about downvoting other answers to get your own answer more attention, not revenge downvoting. – Justin Morgan Jul 13 '11 at 20:16
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    @Justin Just let the system take care of it. Even if you flag it, moderators can't do anything about it. – Adam Lear Jul 13 '11 at 20:19
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    @Justin Oh, yes. I don't understand why searching for "revenge downvoting" is finding nothing useful; this has been asked a bunch of times – Michael Mrozek Jul 13 '11 at 20:28
  • @Michael Mrozek: I believe you might have more luck with "serial downvoting" or variations of such. Seems to be the more common term. – McCannot Jul 13 '11 at 20:31
  • I looked around before posting and found lots of related stuff, but nothing quite the same. I'm specifically wondering what to do beyond what's already being done by the system. If you do find a dupe, more power to you. – Justin Morgan Jul 13 '11 at 20:42
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Just wait for about 24-48 hours, the votes are usually revoked once every 24 hours. If the votes are not invalidated by that time, the automatic mechanisms missed them and you should report them to a moderator or to the SE team.

If it is a series of downvotes the automatic voting fraud mechanisms will usually catch them, or the moderators will if you notify them. But if it is only about very few downvotes there is often no easy way to know if those are about a legit disagreement with the content of the post or if the votes are motivated by a personal vendetta against the user. The moderators might not have enough information or proof to do anything in such a case.

If you have reason to suspect that the user has abused the voting system in the past, explain that in a moderator flag to provide the moderators with some context so that they might take action. If you see a pattern of misbehaviour a moderator flag is always useful to draw attention to that.

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