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As of today there's a pretty neat new privilege, site analytics, that lets you see a couple of neat graphs. I was playing around with it and noticed something odd: a very strong spike in downvotes in May 2013. Here it is in its glory: the weekly total of downvotes since the site's graduation in February 2011:

Downvotes for Jan 2012 - Jan 2015

It contains 972 downvotes for that week, with current totals around 650. It's concentrated on the 6th and 7th, with 233 and 282 votes, and with 143 and 147 on the 8th and 9th.

I dug around the data explorer and didn't find anything, which makes me suspect the offending posts have been deleted (and therefore makes me hesitate to ask this question) but I'm still curious. Can anyone pinpoint the origin of this thing?

The localized nature of the spike suggests that it's one or two related posts driving it (in which case they totalled 3x as many downvotes as the rest of the site's average) or e.g. a sockpuppet racket, in which case the data should not really include them.

(That said, I might as well make this useful and urge others with the privilege to go look, and to encourage those in the 10-25k range to keep going. Also, kudos to joshphysics for referring to the site more traffic than MO and just under half the traffic from reddit!)

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  • $\begingroup$ FWIW I can't think of any way to use mod powers to figure out what was going on during that week. $\endgroup$ – David Z Sep 7 '15 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ Huh. Can you not e.g. make questions queries like this one include deleted posts? If not, then I guess this will be a weird curiosity forever. Or we might catch some dev's curiosity, maybe? $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Sep 7 '15 at 17:46
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    $\begingroup$ IIRC in May 2013 Phys.SE was bombarded with commercial spam posts. $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Sep 7 '15 at 17:55
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    $\begingroup$ Was that the week when someone was trying to sell us all large-scale commercial mining equipment? I mean, who couldn't use a five-meter hard-rock tunnel borer? From Russia. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Sep 8 '15 at 3:02
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty no, I don't think so - we see deleted posts in some cases, but not in the main question list. $\endgroup$ – David Z Sep 8 '15 at 6:54
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Yes, this downvoting peak was caused by the infamous (and very persistent) love spammer, who offered solutions to everybody's love lives, cf. records from May 7th, 2013. (Link only accessible to moderators and SE team). The spammer used multiple Phys.SE accounts, such as, e.g. this and this.

The incident spurred this and possibly this meta posts.

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