I had a very bad experience when downvoting an answer: I left in the comment the motivation of the downvote, and after that, the user clarified a little bit the answer I removed the downvote but the user seemed to have taken it very personally. I was very sorry that I had upset somebody but I thought that I provided my motivations and I wrote the observations kindly. Unfortunately, the user deleted some of its comment so the conversation is not complete.

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Then I saw a strange trend in my account, and it seems that the user downvoted all my answers as revenge for my act:

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It really left me with a bad experience. What was my mistake? Should I have avoided to downvote? Or to leave a comment with an explanation?


Whenever you feel there has been targetted voting, please flag one of the relevant answers. That way, we can build up data on patterns of behaviour.

In the current case, I see that the automated system has reversed the votes. I hope the incident is isolated, in which case no further action is needed . However, if there are repeated cases, the mod team will take action: serial downvoting is not acceptable from any user.

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    But when the downvoters vote in an organized gang, the system does nothing and neither do the moderators. For example here, where this organized gang sub voted my answer 4 times: tex.stackexchange.com/a/499764/138900
    – AndréC
    Apr 7 '20 at 20:19
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    @AndréC People are free to downvote, and on a lot of sites there are a lot of downvotes 'as normal'. Unless there is outright evidence of a voting ring, it's not really possible to take mod action.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Apr 12 '20 at 9:18

This is an addendum to Werners answer. It helps you to rule out suspects. There is a rather simple way how you can rule out potential (serial) downvotes. Compare the number shown in the weekly statistics with the number you get from looking at the activity of the user and summing them up (of course for the same period). If the user has downvoted n answers, the second number is larger by n than the first number. (An additional, obvious test is to just look at the number of total downvotes. If this number is zero, clearly this user did not downvote you. If the number is smaller than n, then the user cannot have downvoted you n times, and so on.)

What if a user cannot be ruled out that way? This does not prove that they are responsible for the downvote, but you may have found a suspect. What now? I think those downvoters look mainly for attention, and by ignoring them you deny them that attention.

  • Now StackExchange software reversed 4 of 5 of the serial downvotes, but the coincidence is too high so I am quite sure what happened, I think could be useful to attract the attention of moderators indeed the user is a very prepared person, and well know in the community, I received some comment to the question that soon disappeared, but I would not like to have possible future moderators that act like this. I heard many users that left texexchange community and I am sure nobody wants that this behaviour will become a standard here.
    – G M
    Apr 7 '20 at 7:12
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    @GM AFAIK moderators won't do anything, they forward it to the community team, who is overloaded. So eventually they may look at this, but when this happens you will already have forgotten about it. I think I know how you feel now, and you may not like to hear this: the best is to let go. (I got serially downvoted by various users. One user downvoted me several times because I know what a Jacobian is.) So on the long run you may help yourself most by ignoring those users. The whole reputation system is nuts IMHO.
    – user194703
    Apr 7 '20 at 7:19
  • yeah probably you are right I hope that the user had just a bad day.
    – G M
    Apr 7 '20 at 7:22
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    The local mods have very limited insight into vote patterns (by design); as you say, only the CM team can look at individual votes. My feeling is that the relatively small number of serial downvotes we get don't make enough 'impact' to be significant at the level they see.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Apr 7 '20 at 8:33

I think you went above and beyond, even explaining why you downvoted the answer. Explanations is meant to guide the user to provide an improvement, which in this case seemed to have worked.

The serial downvoting that followed me be from the original poster but may also be accidental. Regardless, such "systematic voting [goes] against correct voting rationales." It should be corrected, automatically, within 24 hours. If this doesn't happen, flag a post with a suspected serial downvote for moderator attention and explain the situation.

Reference: What is serial voting and how does it affect me?

  • GM's description, in the posting above, of what transpired between him and me on April 6 is based only loosely on actual facts. His initial downvote was anonymous, and the comment that he left -- that my answer "does not work for left/right alignment" -- was obviously wrong-headed. It was only after I figured out who the downvoter was and issued an admittedly rather strongly worded challenge that he bothered to provide actionable details. I helped him figure out what the real issue was (it was NOT related to left or right alignment), and I think he genuinely appreciated the help I provided.
    – Mico
    Apr 10 '20 at 21:09
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    Related: Encouraging people to explain downvotes Apr 19 '20 at 16:18

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