A few days ago I've read @Artes in chat "talking" about some inexplicable unupvoting activity going on.

Then, it happened today in some of my questions/answers, so I brought the issue into chat and there discovered this case, which I think is the most clear example . It comes from @OleksandrR.

The facts (timeline as I understand it)

  1. Feb 14, 15:11 Olek posted the answer
  2. Feb 14, 15:16 The grace/confusion period is over. No upvotes received yet
  3. Feb 14, 15:30 First upvote received. (and 12 more within a 24 hrs period, Total up to feb 15 : 13)
  4. Feb 23, 16:05 Answer accepted
  5. Feb 24, 12:07 An upvote. Total 14
  6. Feb 26, 00:57 An upvote. Total 15
  7. Apr 13, 00:53 An upvote, Total 16
  8. Apr 13, 00:58 The last (and thus all) upvotes are locked. They can't be undone if the Q isn't edited
  9. Aug 20, 12:51 The answer receives an unupvote, while all the votes were locked and no editing happened in between. (Total: 15)

What really bothers me is that the unupvoted answers/questions are quite good, with no controversial material (nor infix) inside. So I think there are no objective reasons to reconsider an already issued upvote.

So ... What is going on here? How is this kind of activity possible?

PS: Is instead Skeptics.SE the right site for this question?

  • Please comment whether your Q&A were targeted by this behavior. Sep 19, 2012 at 13:32
  • What happens if an upvoting user gets removed? Sep 19, 2012 at 13:50
  • 3
    Shortly after the unupvote, Mr.Wizard posted a new answer. I would consider it perfectly reasonable if he was the unupvoter in this case, because indeed the answer was not useful to him on version 7 (due to the problems mentioned in his post, which are not obvious at first glance, and could foreseeably lead to an unwarranted upvote before the limitations became evident). However, this does mean that moderators appear to be subject to different vote-locking rules than everyone else, and I can't see any good reason why that should be the case: a moderator's votes are the same as anyone else's! Sep 19, 2012 at 14:00
  • @OleksandrR. Note that yours is only an example. I've been unupvoted on questions! Sep 19, 2012 at 14:08
  • Of course, if Mr.Wizard's (absolutely justified) vote wasn't implicated here, then there are no clues to why this might occur and so the problem remains. The vast majority of the unupvotes come only after editing, so this particular case may simply be a surprising exception due to nonuniformity in the voting rules and not representative of the bulk of the cases. It'd be helpful to have confirmation from other moderators as to whether such an inconsistency actually exists. Sep 19, 2012 at 14:16
  • 1
    -17 for "(nor infix)"! >:-S ;-)
    – Mr.Wizard
    Sep 19, 2012 at 15:40
  • @Mr.Wizard I was waiting for you :) Sep 19, 2012 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


Though I cannot recall with absolute certainty I believe that in this case Oleksandr is correct, and the vote/un-vote was mine. It is possible to make a "ninja" vote change by making a trivial edit to the post, changing the vote, and exactly undoing the edit within the five minute edit window. This causes the edit to be removed entirely, but the vote (change) remains.

  • I got the wrong "reference" but I know that this is stated somewhere on Meta.SO. No time to find it now.
    – Mr.Wizard
    Sep 19, 2012 at 15:48
  • 2
    Ok. That could explain this specific case, but (for example) this question mathematica.stackexchange.com/questions/8607/… (and two more) received an unupvote today. I can't think of a reason ... Sep 19, 2012 at 15:52
  • @belisarius I un-vote sparingly; the rest of the actions are not mine. Unfortunately I cannot try to figure it out right now.
    – Mr.Wizard
    Sep 19, 2012 at 16:00

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