It seems that someone doesn't like me, for whatever reason, because three answers of mine have been downvoted in less than one minute the Mar 19 at 8:45 (votes corrected now):

Can black holes evaporate into Neutron stars?

Finding the metric tensor from a 2D line element

How does an electron 'know' if a photon was emitted by a positively or negatively charged particle

And three other answers of mine also have been downvoted 11h ago:

Has it been proven the fine-structure constant (FSC) changes with time?

On the mechanism driving Hawking Radiation

How does an electron 'know' if a photon was emitted by a positively or negatively charged particle (again)

My answers were well-received (only one of them hadn't any upvotes, but I admit I was a little too categorical in this one, and another one had only 1 upvote). Still, I don't know if this is personal, or if this is some algorithm that is automatically downvoting some random answers.

What could be the possible reason for this? Had my past behavior on PSE created some defiance against me?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There are several minutes between the individual downvotes (you can see the exact times by hovering over the time stamp in your reputation tab), so I'm not sure why you'd assume this is "some algorithm" rather than just other users. All users are see to vote as they see fit and votes are private, so how do you expect anyone except the person(s) that cast the downvotes to answer why they cast these votes? $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    May 22 at 10:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @ACuriousMind It seems really odd to have 3 downvotes in a raw, especially when the entire history of my reputation tab is basically composed of upvotes. So I don't think this is due to different people. To me, this is obviously due to someone well aware of the votes-retribution system, hence the several minutes between the downvotes to avoid it. Votes should not be cast against someone, but against answers or questions independently of who posted them. $\endgroup$ May 22 at 10:30
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I did not downvote these (I did not even see them) but I think it is not so odd to have three different questions downvoted in fairly rapid succession. For example, a user might have downvoted your post thinking that it showed either a basic conceptual misunderstanding or a misuse of the site, then been curious about whether the same thing applies to some of your other posts, clicked through to those posts, and decided that yes indeed, the same reason for downvoting applies. $\endgroup$
    – WillO
    May 23 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ Addendum to my last comment: I want to clarify that I have not read any of your posts and have no reason to believe that there is some good reason for downvoting that applies to all of them. But it is certainly true in principle that some user might have seen something wrong with Post A, then clicked through to your Posts B and C to see if they have the same problem, and then legitimately decided that yes indeed, they fit the same pattern. $\endgroup$
    – WillO
    May 23 at 14:47
  • $\begingroup$ @WillO Oh, I did not think about this possibility, this is after all something that I simply don't do at all. But yes, you are right, this is completely possible. I would have preferred a comment explaining why the downvotes, in addition to them, though... I am still puzzled because my answers do not cover the same topics, but maybe I was too categorical in my answers, I don't know. Anyway, thank you for having suggested this possibility. $\endgroup$ May 23 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ I'll just add (though of course you already know this) that it's entirely possible the downvoter was being unreasonable, but still acting in good faith. $\endgroup$
    – WillO
    May 23 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ @WillO Yes, of course, this is possible. One additional piece of information I did not write in this question, is that for the recent downvotes, the first one was on an accepted answer upvoted 5 times. So I don't know. Maybe I'll drop the case because this is just a matter of 6 points. $\endgroup$ May 23 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ I suspect that some of those downvotes come from a person (or persons) who doesn't accept that virtual particles are a mathematical fiction. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    May 24 at 6:43
  • $\begingroup$ @WillO If you find someone who often posts incorrect answers you're permitted to downvote those answers, but you're supposed to do that when you encounter the answers "organically". You're not supposed to systematically search through their answers and downvote the bad ones, and the serial vote reversal script will (generally) reverse such votes. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    May 24 at 6:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ IMHO, this is a design flaw in the Stack Exchange system. As I'm sure you're aware, there are a few prolific members who post a lot of bad answers (that may look ok on the surface, especially to a reader who only knows pop-sci) but who nevertheless manage to achieve high rep through sheer volume. If they post several wrong answers per day there's no point in downvoting them all because those votes will (probably) be reversed. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    May 24 at 7:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @PM2Ring The fact that it could possibly be someone who does not accept that virtual particles are mathematical fiction makes perfect sense. Indeed, I generally add a comment saying that "virtual particles are mathematical artifacts of the perturbative expansion of the $S$ matrix we use" under questions implying virtual particles are actual particles. I don't know if the votes can be reversed in the case where someone gets downvotes in a raw. ACuriousMind seemed to point out that several downvotes in a few minutes were OK. $\endgroup$ May 24 at 8:30
  • $\begingroup$ No one likes being down-voted, just ignore the downvotes and continue to build your reputation by giving good answers. Personally I downvote very sparingly and I would rather add a critical comment than cast a blind downvote. $\endgroup$
    – Themis
    Jun 11 at 14:38


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