What should I do if I suspect someone of engaging in retaliatory down-voting? I was engaged in a rather heated discussion with a particular individual and I have noticed recently that this individual leaves a comment or question on a post of mine, and appears to accompany it with a down-vote, but no explanation.

I suspect this individual has taken umbrage as the result of our heated discussion, and seeks to retaliate by down-voting any question I might ask.

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    There are automated processes done by SE that look for strange voting patterns. Most bad behavior tends to get caught in this way. If you are suspicious of such bad voting behavior, I recommend flagging one of your own posts with a message to the mods and we can take a look. Right now, although I am aware of the user you may be worrying about, there does not seem to be spiteful, anomalous behavior for me to involve the SE team at this time (mods can't cancel votes on their own - they need the SE team to look into it and do it). It's unfortunate that the downvotes are not explained. May 14, 2013 at 3:53
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    Mixedmath is correct. For the record, we can't see whom people have voted for on a post-by-post basis, but we can see general patterns of voting and notice very easily if someone is serial up- or down-voting of content. I have looked into your case and there is no real indication that the voting is malicious/retalitory in any way. If it continues further please do not hesitate to let us know, as that can be very annoying, especially on a site with relatively low up/down votes.
    – stoicfury
    May 14, 2013 at 4:18
  • @stoicfury - thank you. I may have been 'jumping to confusions', or the individual in question has backed off. At least, I see that since I posted this question, I haven't had any more downvotes... :-)
    – Vector
    May 15, 2013 at 4:29
  • @stoicfury - note unexplained downvote on my answer @ philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/6887/…
    – Vector
    May 15, 2013 at 17:34
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    Unexplained downvotes are perfectly acceptable here, but I countered it with an unexplained upvote just in case. ;) Note that perhaps the downvote was because your answer is unsourced/opinion rather than the academic-style answers we are looking for here.
    – stoicfury
    May 16, 2013 at 8:51
  • The OP asked a simple question - I gave a simple answer. :-) I actually elaborated a bit more in my comment on the second answer up there, which goes in entirely the opposite direction. Maybe I will edit my answer and include some of that. Anyhow thanks. I do see that I am getting some favorable reactions - but my approach is stated in my profile - I put one up particularly for this site. I am essentially an 'anti-philosophy philosopher': KISS.
    – Vector
    May 16, 2013 at 9:48
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    @stoicfury - I amended my answer there. Perhaps your upvote might now be counted as more than just a safety measure....
    – Vector
    May 16, 2013 at 10:17
  • I see NO POSSIBLE reason for a downvote on my answer here: philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/6917/… I posted a picture-"a picture is worth a thousand words". The answer to such a question does NOT require an extensive discussion of cosomology. If this site is designed for academic snobs only, I will simply forget about it-I suppose there are those who would be quite pleased if I did. Meanwhile, I have taken the time to answer several simplistic questions that were logical but not sophisticated or erudite, and I was received well.
    – Vector
    May 17, 2013 at 8:31

1 Answer 1


Well, first off: you only have two questions right now, so if someone out for revenge limits themselves to voting on those then there's a pretty low limit to the damage they can do.

Beyond that: if you notice a suspicious number of votes showing up in a short time, give it 24 hours - there's a script that runs daily to detect and invalidate many forms of vote-abuse. If this works, then you can just ignore it and go on.

If the script doesn't catch it, flag one of the affected posts and let a moderator know you suspect something amiss; they'll check it out, and if there's anything detectable behind it they'll take appropriate action.

Finally: if someone's harassing you via comments, flag and inform a moderator.

  • I have quite a few answers (relatively speaking), but I am probably over-reacting, or the individual in question has desisted.
    – Vector
    May 15, 2013 at 4:18

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