User1's answer gets downvoted, user2 comments on the answer's quality. User1 answers like this:

"You have not put any effort in helping this newbie, and you reward my effort with -1??? If you have simply asked for elaboration I would have done it, but with -1 I will now never do it."

Note that it's nowhere said that user2 was the downvoter. A few minutes after that comment user2's top question gets downvoted.

Given the timing, and the fact that it's a good question, which has no good reason to get downvoted, IMO this is a clear case of revenge downvoting. I flagged this comment from user2:

"thanks for the revenge downvote on [this question]!"

Can't blatant revenge downvotes be reversed? Especially for the given question it looks ugly; it now has 24 upvotes, 1 downvote. And, of course, it's unfair that such negative behavior should be rewarded.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ But now you have disclosed the identity of User1 :) \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio May 14 '12 at 12:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @clabacchio - The incriminating answer and the comments have been deleted (Olin still can see them), but there's an unexpected remainder on the question's page that refers to user2's question. And that brings you to user1 too. :-) \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 14 '12 at 13:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've used a different investigation technique ;) found the only question with 24-1 \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio May 14 '12 at 13:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, well, it can't be helped... \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 14 '12 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @clabacchio: That's clever. I looked for strings in the quoted text above that I thought would be unique, but apparently that text had already been deleted by then. I'm not sure how to look for answers with exactly 24-1 votes, but now I'm going to give it a try. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 14 '12 at 14:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop 24-1=23, +-2 for possible up/downvotes :) And go in "questions" and sort for votes. Or electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/13205/… \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio May 14 '12 at 14:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Olin - the deleted answer is here (users with less than 10k rep will be directed to the question). For the question there's the teardrop thing as a linked question (right column), though that only appears in one of the deleted comments. So most users will see the linked question, but no reference to it anywhere on the page. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 14 '12 at 15:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @clabacchio: Yeah, I figured that out by now. Surprisingly, there were only two questions with exactly 23 votes, so it was actually easy to find. I was going to post the link, but you beat me to it. I tried to dig up the rest of the dirt, but the remaining traces seem to have been removed. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 14 '12 at 15:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @steven: I just upvoted the question to help compensate for the undeserved downvote. After reading the whole exchange I conclude that Avra was indeed acting childish, whether he actually downvoted the question or not. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 14 '12 at 15:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Olin - You could also have upvoted because it's a good question! ;-) \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 14 '12 at 15:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @steven: I usually don't think of upvoting questions for whatever reason, although I agree that is a good one. I usually upvote answers when I go to write one and find someone has already said what I was going to say. Otherwise I find myself ususally dowvoting badly written questions or ones with obvious necessary information left out. Unfortunately we get a lot of that around here. I don't usually think of upvoting questions. I'll have to consider that for the future. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 14 '12 at 16:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop: I understand for you many questions will be trivial. But upvoting is important so that we, askers, know we're not wasting everybody's time with bad questions. An upvote means "hey, this is ok, you can ask more questions like this." \$\endgroup\$ – Federico Russo May 18 '12 at 14:10

The only real solution is to finally get rid of anonymous downvotes.

I have seen stuff like this before and had it happen to me too. Anonymous downvoting invites this kind of abuse. We've been trying it this way for a while, it's time we gave the reverse at least a trial.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If you could tell whom was down-voting how would anything change? It looks like there is a high chance that it was that user, would that user publicly making that downvote help. Even if they are not they are taking the flack for this, I guess it would help then. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 14 '12 at 13:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk: It would help because someone contemplating a revenge downvote would know that all would see who did it, which would discourage it in the first place. Revenge downvoting is like vandalism. People will only spray paint nasty things on the wall if they think nobody will know who did it. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 14 '12 at 14:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop Overall I agree with you, but there is many people from the big SO that don't want it. So I think it's not possible at all. \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio May 14 '12 at 14:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why not also have a reason to upvote that way we can review the reasons for an upvote? The focus here is a rough way to measure the technical accuracy of the post. If you must have a post to explain every vote you would be inundated on the posts with many votes, it would discourage taking the time to vote which is the goal. If there are a few down votes that is part of it, there will always be dissent, let them disagree without reaping personal issues. This is a never ending argument both ways though and SE has already made a decision. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 14 '12 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk: But anonymity makes personal issues possible. With open downvotes they would be restricted to actions the voter felt they could defend. Personal attacks and revenge downvotes would cease. They really should at least give this a try. The current system is broken. Open downvotes isn't going to be any worse. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 14 '12 at 16:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ meta.stackexchange.com/q/95603/130885 \$\endgroup\$ – endolith May 14 '12 at 21:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop, I regularly get flags and have to deal with situations that got out of hand due to one person giving a very constructive comment. If this user did downvote for revenge they did it after receiving a downvote for a good reason with explanation. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 15 '12 at 4:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @endolith brings up a great point here. If you really want a change like this you need to start on meta.stackoverflow.com This is a site wide policy and that would be the best place to try your hand. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 15 '12 at 10:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk: I would go there if it let me. It asks for me to login even though I'm already logged in. Sometimes is says loging but the place to type my login ID is missing. Other times I get routed to one of those unreadable captchas. Either way, I can't get there. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 15 '12 at 13:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Olin - I had the same problem when I first wanted to go to chat. Perhaps the comments to this question provide help. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 16 '12 at 12:13

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