While we are in Beta, is it ethical to cast 15 downvotes in only 24 hours, especially after having cast only 15 downvotes in 10 days?

I'm asking because there is an user here that has shown that behaviour just in the last 24 hours.

  • 2
    How can you know that? It's my understanding that votes are kept anonymous. (But if you have the ability you're welcome to inspect mine.) Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 22:44
  • 1
    @StoneyB because we're small, you can look at someone's profile and "monitor" (for lack of a better term) their votes. It isn't too hard to figure out who's downvoted you and things like that at the moment if you're that determined to know
    – Deco
    Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 0:15
  • @Deco Ah. That seems to call for a clever remark about the "bubble reputation", but it's too depressing. Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 1:07
  • My rep is small, I do not have any bubbles :(
    – Deco
    Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 1:16
  • 1
    Not sure if to upvote the question because it clarifies matters, or to downvote it because I strongly disagree with the opinion (blatantly ?) expressed in it. (Ah, be it a yellow star.) — Also, I'd say ethics is way morally overkill a concept for such matters. Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 8:17
  • Just FYI: casted is not an English word. The past tense of cast is cast, just as the past of hit is hit, cut is cut, etc.
    – tchrist
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 22:50
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    @tchrist, I edited the question. I think pro(o)freading is very important here. I will not forget that 'casted' is not an English word. TY
    – user114
    Commented Feb 9, 2013 at 1:34

5 Answers 5


I think ethics may have less to do with downvoting than "societal norms". The other site on which I am active has a philosophy that's distinctly different from what's seen here:

  • If the number of votes is already negative, don't add another negative vote.

  • If you downvote, leave a comment, saying why.

  • If it's possible to "salvage" a question, edit it rather than downvoting.

  • If the question is off-topic, a duplicate, or "not constructive", a vote to close (again with a comment) is considered preferable to downvoting.

The population of that site is rather different -- it's highly technical, and the "experts" want to encourage, rather than discourage, newbies, so they stick around and improve, rather than getting quickly discouraged and dropping out. Being used to that approach, I've been rather surprised at the number of uncommented downvotes here. If someone doesn't tell me what they think I'm doing wrong, how can I expect to learn?

  • Which site are you referring to?
    – Mohit
    Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 16:50
  • @Mohit -- tex.stackeschange.com Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 17:36

It is ethical to vote. There are two badges, Suffrage and Vox Populi, to encourage voting.
It is ethical to use your up-/downvotes as you wish. The voting system is balanced so that downvoting answers is not free. As @Andrew pointed out, serial votes (user against user) will be automatically retracted.

A single upvote compensates five downvotes (for answers). There are few reasons to complain.

When my posts are downvoted here (much more often than on the other SE sites), I'm not thinking how unethical the downvoter is. Instead, I'm asking myself what's wrong with my posts, and how they can be improved.
Even if I presume someone may downvote my posts based on their personal merits.

One more thing. While the scope of this site is still forming, there may be more downvotes based on different understanding of what's good and what's bad.

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    +1: especially for your last statement.
    – Deco
    Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 12:39

I am not sure it is possible to talk of ethic with voting. The privilege page for down-voting gives some guidelines, but at the end, voting is subjective.

As per down-voting 15 times in the past 24 hours, it depends from the questions being asked. For example, if a user would ask a not constructive question, which is closed, and keeps asking it, without answering to the comments given for the first question, I imagine that that user would attract some down-votes. Imagine three users doing so, and you can easily understand how a user can down-vote more in the past 24 hours, than in the past two days.


If they're all directed at the same person, it'll get automatically detected as "serial downvoting" and be reversed.

But if the downvoter is sharing the downvotes around instead, I wouldn't worry about it.


I mostly involve myself in Arqade, and therefore can't comment on the concept of different .se sites having different downvoting policies... However as I understand it, the primary concept of the votes remains the same. Upvote Good Questions and Answers, Downvote Bad Questions and Answers. Beta or not, if a user happens to find a LOT of bad questions or answers, I see no reason why downvoting each and every one of them has anything to do with ethics, it's merely use of the system we embrace. Furthermore some users may have an easier time I.D.'ing a bad QorA rather than a good one. (I'm not sure whats right, but I KNOW this is wrong: type stuff) I don't see what ethics has to do with it at all.

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