I've now been a member of EL&U for 11 days. For the first 9 days, everything seemed pretty much normal -- a satisfying number of upvotes, a few (probably warranted) downvotes.

Then, over the course of the last two days, SIX of my Questions/Answers were downvoted, some several times.

Fascinating as it was to watch this pattern emerge, and curious as I was to just why it was happening, I did wonder whether I should respond to one or more of the incidents with a Comment -- in two cases, the obvious comment to make would have been, "Exactly what's wrong with that?" in cases where my answers provided (in my opinion) substantive additions to the thread. I can understand not upvoting these particular answers, but why the downvote?

I'm not particularly curious as to why the downvotes were lodged -- I'm simply (for the moment) assuming that I've acquired a diligent follower -- but is there any generally accepted response to this situation? Ignore the votes? Ask for clarification? Grin and bear it?

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    If you do have a "diligent follower", it's called serial voting and the system will catch them (see the Help Center and the MSE FAQ). But it's also possible it's just normal voting—only a moderator could tell you.
    – Laurel Mod
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 4:12
  • The same happened to me. This morning, six of my posts were downvoted, one three times, and I think that I know who it was. Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 12:32
  • They were all within minutes, as were yours. Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 12:33
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    That someone is following your posts and downvoting them is irritating and I can't speak to that any better than the existing answer and comments. I did notice that a lot of the answers that were downvoted are on questions that were voted to close. In my experience, some users, apparently in an effort to discourage answering closable questions, will downvote all the answers to a question when they vote to close or downvote a question. This could explain some of the downvotes. Personally, I think that activity is not productive. A bad question should be addressed independent of answers... Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 13:27
  • ...When you reach 3k reputation, you can see what questions have been close voted and vote to close yourself. Then you can more easily be aware of what questions are being close voted by other uses and focus on improving the questions if you think they still warrant an answer. I'm not suggesting that this is a full explanation of the serial-downvoting, and as mentioned, only a moderator could be sure. This is just something I became aware of before I reached 3k reputation and could participate in close and reopen votes. Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 13:35
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    @RaceYouAnytime I'm beginning to find the whole thing hysterically funny, to be honest. I agree that there are various possible explanations for what's happening, but the overall pattern seemed to me to be more than slightly suggestive. But enough of this. I should better use my time on productive discussion and exploration. Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 13:52

2 Answers 2


I've checked your reputation page now, and it appears to me that those serial downvotes are timed mere seconds or minutes apart.

The first thing you can do is wait.

The system has in place some algorithm that will automatically detect voter fraud and it'll reverse those votes, and you'll get back the lost reputation.

If, after waiting for two to three days, the reversal didn't occur, your next action should be to custom flag one of your downvoted posts and inform a moderator that you have reason to believe it's a case of voter fraud.

Moderators can investigate the issue and take necessary action.

Bear in mind, that the investigation is time consuming, and the result you'll get may be a week later, or even later than that if moderators are already too busy.

Commenting under your post asking for downvoters to explain themselves is largely futile, since voters don't get notified of new comments under a post, and even if they did see your comment somehow, there's little chance that they'll respond.

Explaining why someone downvoted a post is optional, and if they didn't comment initially, they most likely won't later either.

Also, it's worth checking your posts to see if they're incorrect, or poorly formatted, because it may simply be that "the post is not useful", paraphrasing the tooltip of the downvote button.

Read more: Help Centre, MSE FAQs

  • Thanks. That pretty much confirms my suspicions. I'll keep schtum and wait, no moderator action required. I'm not really bothered about the effect on my reputation, and with regard to your last point, my earlier posts, when I was still learning the conventions of the site, might have been open to that objection -- but they didn't get flagged! The other possibility, of course, is that I simply went barking-mad two days ago. :-) Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 4:34
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    @RobinHamilton Keep contributing to the site, welcoming feedback in the form of comments and votes. But never get attached to reputation.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 4:41
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    "Who steals my purse, steals trash; who steals my reputation ... ah, phooey." :-) Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 4:44
  • As a matter of interest, it took my Diligent Follower exactly 40 minutes to get to my most recent answer, and cancel the one upvote it had garnered at that point. Hey, this is fun! Who would have thought my innocent posts could attract such animus? Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 8:59

Another reason could be that, like RaceYouAnytime mentioned, some users downvote answers simply because it's under an off-topic, too-broad, or unclear question, as a means to discourage users from answering them. It's a bad practice, but it does happen.

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