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I'm familiar with points, upvotes, downvotes, etc. It's not very interesting, but it's understandable. However, I recently got some points deducted for an "unupvote".

I don't mind; points are not fungible. But I don't understand the term. My best guess is that somebody who had upvoted has changed their mind and downvoted. That makes sense.

However, every time this has happened to me, it's been accompanied by more upvotes, so I'm sort of unclear what's going on. Is this a reaction, like the reaction to serial downvoting?

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    Not English, that's for sure. – bobobobo Jul 9 '12 at 0:32
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Your understanding is almost right—an unupvote occurs when someone withdraws their upvote on your post, but he/she may not necessarily cast a downvote.

The reason you may see an unupvote accompanied by upvotes is because unupvotes often happen when an old post has been bumped to the front page, and a user decides to withdraw his/her vote for whatever reason. At the same time, other users who have not previously seen that post will see it now, and might choose to upvote it.

  • Thank you. I think. Sounds too much like American politics for me to understand, though. – John Lawler Jun 28 '12 at 2:05
  • @JohnLawler: no it's not machinations, it's simply a possible outcome of the rules (which may of course translate to you to machinations). – Mitch Jun 28 '12 at 12:44
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    Machinations? Your word, not mine. No, I meant that it had too much to do with predictions about what some people might do when they notice some information presented in some way, in a situation where I understand nothing about the people, their motivations, the information, or the ways they perceive it. At least in American politics, I have suspicions based on experience; here I know literally nothing. Well, more than nothing now. Thanks for the answers. – John Lawler Jun 28 '12 at 13:13
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Simply put, an "unupvote" is the removal of an upvote. The person clicked on the upvote button again to remove their upvote.

You can compare it to the "like" button on Facebook. You can "unlike" something without actually disliking it - you may merely have lost interest or do not wish to express your sympathy any longer.

Accompanying upvotes should be a coincidence. A downvote at the same time by the same person should be very improbable, since that would signify a complete change of heart. It can happen, of course, if the upvote button was clicked by accident.

After some time (a few minutes), the upvote or downvote is fixed and can no longer be removed, unless the question is edited.

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