For the past few weeks I have been receiving many comments from the user Rathony. The pattern goes like this: 1) I make a comment on someone's answer, or I post my own answer 2) Within minutes, a comment appears in my inbox from this user, 3) As soon as it appears in my notification box, it disappears and is replaced with something else or nothing at all. The comment appears long enough for me to read or see it on my Ipad.

The comments have been rude and abrasive (calling me a fool or foolish among other things--although to be honest, my Exes have called me worse things), telling me I need to erase my answers, calling me biased, threatening to delete or erase or edit my answers because they are incorrect, contain grammatical mistakes, are illogical, etc.

Last night, I received the following message from Rathony:

enter image description here

"Hey. I know you are downvoting my answers. Just dropped from 2935 to 2931? Go ahead. Keep downvoting. You know what is amazing? I am not downvoting your answer."

The message actually deleted before my eyes as I was taking this sceenshot, and was replaced by a message saying that I needed to delete my answer because it contained many grammatical mistakes. This comment later "evaporated" before I could take a screenshot. Following this, I received seven downvotes on answers that I posted:

enter image description here

Like everyone, I've had my fair share of down votes...but 8 in a row?! And immediately following this comment? This comment can not be called a "mistake" because it clearly references the number of points I have and the fact that they did in fact decrease because I cast two negative votes.

Is this sort of behavior acceptable or normal on SE? Can people erase or delete half of my answer and fill it with what they think is correct? How is it that this person is stalking / tracking me like this? Does the system allow users to follow other users? Are my votes anonymous? I thought they were. I am not able to flag the comments because they disappear before I am able to. Since my first encounter with Rathony on November 7, I have ignored all of the "comment grenades" lobbed at me and have not responded at all...how can I when the comments instantly are deleted? I have actually upvoted many of his comments or answers as I found them helpful or useful.

Comments anyone?

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    @Mari-LouA well, I'd like us to all get along around here, and since stopping communication with him a few weeks ago, I have done my best to make sure comments I make are polite and helpful as I realize that not everything I have said around here has been the best. Hopefully, we can all move on. Nov 23, 2015 at 0:51
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    +1 Some professionals must avoid not only mischievous behavior, but also the mere appearance of it. Granted, behavior on ELU, whether that of Newbies or Moderators, is not so strictly controlled, but that should NOT stop ANYONE from considering the appearance, as perceived by others, of their actions. Imo, whether the behavior involves bullying or double standards/selective enforcement (cf. recent edit removing a request for neologisms for "péage," despite many requests for neologisms from other users remaining untouched), care should be given BY ALL to avoid negative appearances/perceptions.
    – Papa Poule
    Nov 23, 2015 at 16:04
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    @PapaPoule well, to be honest I feel rather embarrassed about this entire situation because I have to look inside and see to what extent I am to blame for this and people on the site only have my post and rathony's response to go on, and people always think "I wonder what the real situation is." Nov 23, 2015 at 16:19
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    I certainly don't think you should be embarrassed about anything; certainly not for 1) speaking out, but even less for 2) [being capable of] looking inside for [whatever] blame/imperfections you might find there.
    – Papa Poule
    Nov 23, 2015 at 17:01
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    I notice that you recently examined the question english.stackexchange.com/review/close/153710 in the review queue and voted to keep it open. Judging a question on its own merits—without being influenced by personal amity or friction with the asker—is one mark of a fair-minded and honorable person, in my opinion. I appreciate your conduct on this point.
    – Sven Yargs
    Dec 1, 2015 at 6:50
  • I believe that the thing you are seeing - a comment flashes up and disappears - may be caused by other (high rep) users flagging the comment as offensive, which would make it disappear. Which suggests that "the system works". And over time, a person who gets too many flags will get suspended. You need a bit of thick skin when you're online. Set the good example and don't let bad stuff get to you..
    – Floris
    Dec 1, 2015 at 19:47
  • @Mari-LouA - when I flag a comment as offensive, it seems to disappear immediately. Is it just "hidden from me"? I thought that perhaps it was hidden from everyone until a mod got to take a look...
    – Floris
    Dec 2, 2015 at 20:16
  • @Mari-LouA thanks. It must be that I was "lucky" with my occasional flags...
    – Floris
    Dec 2, 2015 at 20:27
  • I have deleted my comment to Floris before someone else did....
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 2, 2015 at 22:28
  • I believe the ability to see votes comes with a certain amount of reputation.
    – A. Kvåle
    May 8, 2019 at 18:08

2 Answers 2


Thank you for letting us knowing what is going on. We will look into the serial downvoting and that will be reversed if we confirm that it is happening.

As for the comment harrassment, please flag (with "needs mod attention", and explain that it is for this question) the post/posts or one of your own comments on the posts where this has occurred and we will look into it. It's possible he's writing the comments then deleting them, but it's also possible that the comments have been flagged for removal, so they are being deleted automatically and we don't see them in the queue. In either case, it warrants investigation.

As for your other questions:

It is expected that users will edit your posts for clarity or to correct grammar and other mistakes, but edits should not change the original meaning of the post. You can rollback edits if you feel that the edit has changed the meaning of your answer, but I encourage you to leave stand edits that change the structure and spelling.

There is no way to "follow" users, but it is simple to click on your name to get to your profile and then from there look at your other posts.

Your votes are anonymous unless you leave a comment stating how you voted.

  • 1
    Thank you for responding. I appreciate it. Nov 22, 2015 at 4:03
  • I have had several of my answers edited by other users for structure and spelling, and I really appreciated it as I'm not always the best with making the answer presentable in terms of the look...i will also admit that not all of my answers are Pulitzer Prize winning material or Nobel quality but threatening to delete half...I dunno...seems kind of...well, you supply the word. Nov 22, 2015 at 4:06
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    Can deleted comments and ninja-edited comments be seen by moderators? Nov 22, 2015 at 13:04
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    @user568458 Moderators can see deleted comments. If ninja-editing is a problem, then we can refer the matter to Stack Exchange staff.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Nov 22, 2015 at 20:45

ad-hominem insults are not acceptable under the official Stack Exchange guidelines.

  • 3
    What's interesting in the case of the specific named individual, is that s/he admits to being a non-native speaker, and yet is oddly aggressive about the precise meaning of colloquial phrases. I've found it not worth engaging (which is highly unusual for me on any internet forum. I was once the living embodiment of the cartoon of a person at their keyboard, with caption of "I can't come to bed now darling - somewhere, someone on the Internet is wrong!") Rathony is a non-native speaker, and sometimes has some ... odd viewpoints, and can come across as overly aggressively and defensive. (I
    – Euan M
    Dec 1, 2015 at 6:37
  • It should be "overly aggressively and defensively." Anyway, I agree that only native speakers should be allowed to have odd viewpoints.
    – Ricky
    Dec 1, 2015 at 8:11
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    @Ricky: No, it should be 'overly aggressive and defensive' (if anyone can be allowed to disagree with you). Dec 1, 2015 at 16:50
  • My typo - I intended to type "overly aggressive and defensive", @Ricky.
    – Euan M
    Dec 1, 2015 at 17:33
  • @TimLymington What!?!? There are people who disagree with me? How on earth... etc. :-)
    – Euan M
    Dec 1, 2015 at 17:34
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    @EuanM: obligatory xkcd link.
    – Marthaª
    Dec 1, 2015 at 18:57
  • Well, I have put on a bit of weight since then, @Martha :-(
    – Euan M
    Dec 1, 2015 at 19:02

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