After I had asked this question, Why aren't downvotes removed when the reason for giving them no longer exists?, I received a message saying that serial downvoting had been removed - today!

This drew my attention to yesterday's activity which revealed a downvoting frenzy against my answers, showing I had received a total of 8 downvotes on 5 different answers in the space of 3 minutes.

I'm sure no will argue that such behaviour is anything other than serial downvoting, nor would they argue that such behaviour makes this site attractive to new members.

  • 2
    The system actually removes serial downvotes automatically at the end of each day as a protection mechanism. It protects you from this kind of activity and gives you a heads up.
    – Dan
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 5:36
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    @enegue Please consider my comment made to another question by you. It's good that you go back and try to 'correct' a previous response based on a "constructive criticism", and if the person responds, "Voila". If not, "Oh well". You are 'getting' how this site works, and are doing the work necessary to craft a "good answer". Some of the reasons why people downvote are purely subjective, and if you present a view not "congruous" to one who is reviewing it, no amount of editing will satisfy.
    – Tau
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 5:50
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    @enegue (cont.)Continuing to "Show Your Work" and supporting your suppositions with evidence are the best ways to overcome 'negative responses'. ;>)
    – Tau
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 5:53
  • @Tau. I did notice your comment, and I welcomed it. I don't believe you are involved in the frenzy that happened yesterday.
    – enegue
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 6:01
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    @enegue I have had my own "frenzies". Jack Douglas, who was a "mod" at the time, helped me to sort them out. Persevere-you have a valuable contribution to make!
    – Tau
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 6:06
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    @Tau Thanks, mate.
    – enegue
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 6:09
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    Keep in mind that not all serial voting is abusive. The automated system can only determine "normal" or "abnormal", and it has (fairly aggressive) criteria for reversing the latter to protect the poster "just in case", but these may well be appropriate votes cast by a user who visits several of your posts, finds them to be of low quality, and casts votes accordingly as a service to the community -- it is. I don't think you should necessarily conclude that you're being abused just because you see that the system has decided to remove some votes.
    – Susan
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 7:09

2 Answers 2


According to the help center:

When a single user continually votes (up or down) on many of your posts within a short period of time, the system considers these votes to be invalid and removes them. This could happen for a variety of reasons, such as a user finding a user's great answer and visiting all of their posts to upvote them, or a user getting into an argument with another user and downvoting their posts indiscriminately in revenge. No matter the cause, this sort of systematic targeted voting is not considered normal behavior and the system will not allow it.

The exact parameters are not public information since that would make circumventing the system rather easy. The article continues:

If such a voting pattern continues to happen between two users mutually or from one user towards another, or otherwise falls outside of normal voting patterns, moderators and/or developers may investigate the matter; intentionally voting merely to reduce or inflate another user's reputation is considered abuse.

To put it another way, downvoting a user rather than the content of posts is abusive. I investigated the votes you received and there is no pattern of targeted voting.

As to whether the downvoting is discouraging to new users, I certainly agree that it is. But I've also argued that downvotes tend to be more constructive than critical comments. Downvotes certainly sting. But they can be counterbalanced by upvotes. In fact, it takes just one upvote to make up for the lost reputation of five downvotes on an answer. So I'd definitely shrug off the occasional downvote.

But when you are getting many downvotes, it's probably time to listen to Oliver Cromwell:

I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.

For instance, there are two extant answers to: What is the difference between ζωὴ and ψυχὴ? One uses evidence from how the two words are translated across the New Testamant and quotes Rudolf Kittel. The other answer, looks at two passages in John and one in Genesis. For the purposes of determining the semantic differences between the two words, the first answer is clearly superior. The relative voting reflects that disparity.

When you get downvoted, it's best to first consider whether you might improve your answer. Reading over the comments and making the necessary edits is key there. Also, take a moment to read other answers to the same question and see if they have anything to teach you. If you still feel your arguments are solid, please don't take votes personally. Other people generally use the system the way it was designed: they vote up answers that are useful and downvote answers that are not.


One answer was downvoted by 4 separate individuals, so this could not have been part of the serial downvoting. You had 6 reputation returned to you for 3 out of 5 of the other answers which were serial downvoted, but I flagged for review to see about the other -4 rep. It could be argued that the serial downvoter was appropriate on one answer which means you could get back at most -2 to -4. at this point.

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