The recent question Need help with love has received an upvote. I am tired of trying to preserve the credibility of the site by reverse-voting such perverse voting (which happens far too frequently). Is there some way to deal with anonymous members voting in a way so detrimental to the site?

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    The only thing we can do is teach them how to vote, and what to vote for. Even then, there will be some deliberate ignorance. The only choice we have is to live with it.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 19:02
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    I completely agree with the sentiment and share the frustration, but I think it's a spectacularly dangerous idea to look for ways to disenfranchise people. The whole idea of voting is to give people a voice. I wouldn't want to be robbed of that, and I don't want to rob anyone else. That said, I do have a sense of disappointment, or even melancholy, as I see my upvote:downvote ratio wither over time. I don't want to be that guy, either, but what choices do we have? +1 in any event, for at least raising the issue so we can discuss it.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 19:52
  • I don't think there's a single practical thing that can be done about it. Downvote, vote to close, then vote to delete (just did that now). Flagging won't prevent upvotes, but might get the question closed more quickly with the new energetic mods. But remember to vote to delete. @DanBron - "I do have a sense of disappointment, or even melancholy, as I see my upvote:downvote ratio wither over time." So did I. :-( Now, like so many other things on the site (as in life), it is what it is. Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 20:51
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    That question reached -7. It's now deleted.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 21:47
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    the credibility of the site I wouldn't worry about it. That train left the station a while back.
    – deadrat
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 4:25
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    I absolutely loved that question. (No, I didn't upvote it.) Look at it as a test of how seriously we take ourselves. Now, who deleted my harmless comment and why? 'Fess up now. Giving people a voice, my hind leg.
    – deadrat
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 4:29
  • @deadrat That train left the station a while back. I agree. No, there was no such train in the first place.
    – user140086
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 6:48
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    @deadrat Don't you think that it is worth fighting to keep ELU as as credible a resource of acceptable practice in English as possible? There are plenty of other places where people can have a voice on the internet. Why settle for the lowest common denominator? That's not why I come here, and I feel that people who do come here with no intention of sticking to Help Center recommendations are disenfranchising me rather than it being the other way round. Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 10:47
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    @EdwinAshworth Assumes facts not in evidence. ELU is not a "credible resource of acceptable practice in English", so I see absolutely no sense in the fight you seek. Neither do I think that vandalizing the site is fair play, which is why the upvote on the question wasn't mine. The voice that I object to being squelched is mine. As for disenfranchisement, I find your sense of entitlement breathtaking. But maybe that's just me.
    – deadrat
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 23:12
  • @deadrat I'm currently a UK citizen until we Scots can extricate ourselves from post Brexit little England. However, should you decide to run for President of the USA, I'd like you to know that you'd have my vote, if I had one. I know that this is a bit like saying "If only we had some bacon we could have bacon and eggs - only we don't have any eggs", but I wanted to tell you anyway. Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 22:27
  • @Araucaria Thank you. In return, I want to tell you that your posts here are one of two things that keep me coming back to the site. The other, of course, being the opportunity to express my unwarrantingly snarky sense of unwarranted superiority. I am much more likely to run from the President of the US than I am to run for President of the US. We'll see what happens next Tuesday. Do you think you could put in a good word for me for asylum in Scotland? Canada won't take anyone too old to use an emoticon. Believe me; I've checked.
    – deadrat
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 23:23
  • @deadrat Sure, let me see what I can do. I hope you like flat tepid beer, whisky that tastes of mud and smoke and lambs intestines filled with blood, oats and offal. If all of that's ok, it shouldn't be a problem! Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 23:33
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    @Araucaria For a moment there, I thought the whisky tasted of mud, smoke, and lamb intestines. I'll let you know on Tuesday. It could be delightful, comparatively speaking.
    – deadrat
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 23:52
  • As long as these comments are veering off topic, is there a well known love poem written by a woman to a man (in English)? If so, it would have been a valid answer to the question.
    – ab2
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 0:44
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4 Answers 4


No, there's nothing anyone can do about it. All upvotes are anonymous; not even moderators can see them normally. I wouldn't worry about the credibility of the site; people who have been on Stack Exchange for a while are all aware that voting has an element of noise. A single upvote will not preserve the question from deletion.


If it's a single upvote, don't worry about it. Mistakes happen.

  • The system worked. There's error and intention that occur that multiple eye and moderating takes care of.
    – Mitch
    Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 13:10
  • That's true. Sometimes my finger slips on the touchpad and I vote the opposite of what I intended. Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 3:45
  • @aparente001: Seriously?  I believe that there's a five-minute grace period during which you can change your vote. Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 18:49
  • @Scott - Thank you. I will keep that in mind next time my finger slips. I have no idea why that didn't work for me but I don't want to practice by voting against my conscience! Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 21:01

I think the question should not be about the upvote, but about the OP. It's been removed, appropriately. That takes care of its baggage as well.

It appears the mechanism in place to deal with such low quality questions is working. If anything, I'm guessing questions with votes are probably seen more and therefore more prone to being eliminated if they're in need of it. So the voting may actually be part of the solution rather than a problem in itself.


I generally agree with @sumelic's answer, but I don't agree with "there's nothing anyone can do about it." There is no problem that has no solution. I am a very aggressive voter with 3,247 upvotes and 2,891 downvotes. When I saw a comment to a moderation election post which raised the issue of upvote/downvote ratio of a certain candidate, it was really hilarious. Some users seem to misunderstand the philosophy behind downvoting, believing it conflicts automatically with a be nice policy. Well, downvotes help the site clean up its mess, keep the quality and could lead to a more useful post encouraging an edit.

I kept mentioning "upvoting privilage should not be given to users with 101 association bonus" on various Meta SE posts such as How about creating "Most Recommended Question (MRQ)" list.

I also believe it is time SE considered cancelling the upvoting privilege to 101 (association bonus) reputation users. They sometimes (I am guilty, too) go to some sites (especially new) and vote without knowing well whether a question or answer is well-researched and really helpful.

I am not saying that particular upvote was cast by a user with an association bonus. When the number of upvotes goes up beyond reasonable level, I suspect many of them are cast by them. "Giving them the privilege to upvote so that the OP can receive reputation points, but don't count their upvotes on the post" could be a reasonable solution.

I don't think you are talking only about that execrable question. If there are posts that you think have some issues, you can post the link in ELU Reviewers chat room.

What ELU needs now is more downvoters who can downvote a post that doesn't show research effort and when it is unclear and not helpful. Their downvotes will off-set those blind upvotes down the road.

  • downvotes help the site clean up its mess, keep the quality and could lead to a more useful post encouraging an edit. Not anonymous downvotes; they do the opposite. Welcome back, dude!
    – deadrat
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 4:22
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    @deadrat even the anonymous keep the site clear. Questions >30 days without answers and negative score get deleted. Thus, a single down vote can help clear the site. Most of those questions deserve not more attention than the single down voting click ;)
    – Helmar
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 12:08
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    @deadrat Sorry, I've just seen your comment thanks to Helmar's comment. Thank you for welcoming me back!! I think there are more upvotes that cancels out any anonymous downvote than the other way around. I am a very aggressive upvoter, too especially when I see an anonymous downvote. You will lose half of your rep points if I delete my account. :-) As Helmar mentioned, downvotes help clean up the sites. Just because you don't participate in the process doesn't mean everyone else should not.
    – user140086
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 12:17
  • It seems to me that the only reason to earn "points" here is to be able to use them for downvoting. (Yes, you can also use them for bounties, but that mechanism is pretty lame.) So don't blame people for doing what the system encourages them to do.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 23:24
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    @HotLicks The system never encourages users to upvote crap. The system never encourages users to upvote any post just because they agree with it or it reads interesting. There is a very clear line and I am not blaming people who are not doing that. I am blaming those who upvote without knowing a thing about how the system works.
    – user140086
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 5:17
  • @Rathony - Then why award points? "Badges" are meaningless, and the "privileges" one earns, above 1000 points or so, are also meaningless to most users. I realize there are some here (like the rep whores ceaseless doing meaningless edits) who like points for their egos, and others who really want their privileges so they can prove how smart and powerful they are, but for most people they're almost a nuisance.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 12:30

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