While looking to see why I received a downvote (don't care, just curious) I noticed a rather unusual voting pattern to answers to this question, where all but one answer have been downvoted. None of the answers are great but none are bad enough to warrant a downvote. Anyone noticed something similar before?

3 Answers 3


Happens all the time. There is a job that runs (nightly I believe) that looks for systematic voting and reverses it. They keep the algorithm pretty guarded in order to avoid people gaming it. I don't know if this one specifically is looked for.

  • 1
    I thought that job only looked for users systematically downvoting individuals. Jan 10, 2011 at 21:27
  • @John: I think it also has provisions for question-level irregularities. They frequently overlap.
    – squillman
    Jan 10, 2011 at 22:06

I'm not seeing a pattern on that particular question. Feel free to email us if it's an issue, as we prefer email on personal vote-related issues.

  • it wasn't a personal voting issue, just a pattern I'd never noticed before. The pattern is certainly not there now but when I posted it was as I said, all but one answer had been downvoted. i.e. One answer at 0, the rest at -1. Perhaps the script squillman referred to do a cleanup. Jan 11, 2011 at 20:38

Yes, I have had that happen on a question I answered before. Someone didn't like any answer except one. It makes me suspect the person that downvoted like that was the person that provided the one answer that wasn't down-voted.

I even did it once, because the answers that where there where bad enough to deserve it in my opinion. I didn't leave comments though.

  • Thanks. I agree that suspicion must point to the poster of that one answer that wasn't downvoted. Imagine having to work alongside a person like that. Jan 10, 2011 at 20:25
  • 2
    @John I don't know, I think that's a big jump. The poster in question has only 5 down votes of 110 total... So the four -1s on that question would be nearly all his down votes, ever, over 20+ months. Seems like a strange thing to do, on just one question.
    – jscott
    Jan 10, 2011 at 21:07
  • @jscott, I did notice that but not until after I'd posted that comment. I guess in this instance my suspicion is most likely incorrect but it is a pretty reasonable conclusion to jump to. Jan 10, 2011 at 21:24
  • I think someone on SO talked about "tactical downvoting" to keep your answer at the top of a list quite some time ago. Not saying that's what happened here, but I think it could happen. Of course downvoting a bunch of answers because they're all dreadful is perfectly valid - I have seen questions before where the answers were total trainwrecks.
    – Rob Moir
    Jan 10, 2011 at 22:23
  • @Robert, that "tactical downvoting" would be pretty pointless for those who display the answers sorted by most recent. :) Jan 11, 2011 at 0:46
  • @John yes it would - IIRC that it would... But there was an article on how to 'karma whore' on SO that suggested it, perhaps the ability to sort like that was added to counteract this technique? I don't know if that was a feature from day one of SO or something that was added.
    – Rob Moir
    Jan 11, 2011 at 6:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .