Is this actually acceptable practice?

There was a recent question where a user basically stated in a comment that they were going to downvote a question because the questioner wouldn't (or didn't know how to) accept this user's answer. Lo and behold, there's a downvote on the question even though there's nothing that I can see wrong with the question.

I understand everyone has the freedom to do as they like, but I was under the assumption that votes were used to describe a good question or a bad question, or a non-vote for a meh question. Are votes to be used as leverage as well? You don't scratch my back, I'll cut yours? Not only is this blatant rep-whoring, but it seems to me to undermine the structure of SE.

I can totally understand when someone doesn't accept your answer even though you spent time to help them. I totally understand that the questioner should accept a solid answer. But if we take this to its logical end, what's to stop users from going through and downvoting everything that another user's done, simply out of spite?


  • 3
    $\begingroup$ PS if someone when on a tirade and down voted all your posts (up to the daily limit of DVs), the SE system would correct it. It can detect serial rage down voting. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Aug 16, 2017 at 16:07
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The human brain is an extraordinarily bizarre thing. You're on the internet, anonymous and nobody knows you, so you shouldn't care anyway, and the master overlord gives you points for your hard work, numbers, scores; they won't get you friends, you can't buy anything, they are useless. But you work hard for them and because they are the only representation of your hard work people fight and argue over them, back stab each other and if the system was rigged for it, yes, people would kill each other over these points. If somebody could really answer your question, there would be no more wars. $\endgroup$
    – AzulShiva
    Aug 21, 2017 at 7:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AzulShiva - That's an interesting take on this. I would say, though, that the points aren't useless. Apart from helping to ensure a certain level of technical precision and completeness in answers and questions, they can be used to "purchase" help from users on particulars problems you're having, and it has the potential to be a plus on a resume. $\endgroup$
    – bertmoog
    Aug 21, 2017 at 23:52
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ SILLY QUESTION... DOWN VOTED jk jk $\endgroup$
    – Elmazz
    Aug 22, 2017 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ @AzulShiva add to that prevalence of the "meh" factor. Consider the amount of 0 voted ("meh") questions that have generated interest both in comment and answers. If treated a bit more positively with more up-votes the occasional spite down-vote wont matter all that much. Compare to votes in meta where time of writing this comment there are 21 collectively in q & a in less than a month. (even with Elimazz's DV ). So many of these issues come down to the "wedge"... vote more. $\endgroup$
    – batFINGER
    Sep 9, 2017 at 4:58

1 Answer 1


Like I wrote in my comment:

@Hendriks3D while I sure understand the frustration of not getting an answer accepted (where the OP comments saying how you helped them), down voting the question out of spite is just not right.

That kind of voting is wrong, period.

On the DV Privilege page is says when to down vote:

When should I vote down?

Use your downvotes whenever you encounter an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that is clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect.

Nowhere in there (or anywhere else will you find) "Down vote whenever you are unhappy with the OP."

Aside from the very big problem with that type of behavior, there is an underlying issue, which is: voting on anything other then the content of the post.

Anytime you cast a vote (Up, Down, Close, or Delete) you should be voting only on the content. Whenever other things start to creep in, problems start. Then you have unhappy users, next it is you holding a grudge, then the other guy which you did not UV is angry and on and on it goes.

"He already has enough rep, no point UVing that question."
"I'm not UVing that - it will push his answer above mine."
"I know this guy, he was a jerk in second grade." DVed.

Do not vote on anything like this is a popularity contest, just vote on the content.

Would be an interesting experiment, anonymize the posts then see if people vote differently.
In a perfect world all the votes would be the same, but as we all know nothing's perfect. Like the example that spurred this question, people do not vote with pure intentions.

All that only goes for the main site, on meta it is a bit different.
Here in cases where somebody has a proposal or feature request, voting is more of a "agree, disagree" than "good post, bad post". If for example (and by saying this I'm begging for it to be done) my answer here gets DVed, I wont take it as if I wrote a bad answer, but rather that there is some user that wants to keep voting on whatever whims they have.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .