I found the Physics Meta article How to deal with negative responses on SE due to personal grudge? interesting, because it brought to light the phenomenon where some members of the community are privileged and they use that privilege to harm other users in the community.

  • 1) In some cases, the harm may be justified.
  • 2) In some cases, the harm is not justified.
  • 3) In either case of justified or not, the receiver of the harm of course feels hurt in many cases and wants to know what to do about it.
  • 4) A new user receives proportionally far greater harm than an experienced user.
  • 5) So an incorrect judgement call on a new user could result in consequences that an experienced user would never normally face.

In discussing the subject ACuriousMind put forth an answer that included:

A single downvote likewise is both difficult to determine to be cast maliciously and not particularly concerning - this would be different if a user went through several of your posts to downvote them because they don't like you, but there are scripts in place to catch that sort of behaviour.

And such a response might be justified from his vantage point - with a wonderful reputation, such that one down-vote does not matter too much.

However, what was not taken into consideration was the stature of the person who had made the question, J. Rahman, that he was a new author without any articles except the one post - who did not want to make a contribution to Stack Physics Exchange because of how he presumably saw this behavior. (He still only has the one question post, but now a much-improved reputation of 148 at the time of this writing.) And from his vantage point, a single down-vote was very significant at the time he wrote the question, with far more impact than on someone with a sizable reputation.

I have no privilege to comment (which is feedback without possible reputation implications) but did have only privilege to answer:

Needing more reputation to comment, and not just answer

Again, consistent with the overall system in place, no consideration was taken about the impact of a suggestion. I was suggested to "comment" instead of answer when it was very clear from my answer that the reason I posted it there was that I do not have the option to comment within Stack Exchange Physics's System. The suggestion posted here felt like it fit within Categories $2$,$4$, and $5$ in the bullet items above:

Image showing that Suggestion to Comment *Was Not Possible*

I am repeating my response to his claim (and making an archive copy of my response) that the single vote was really not so significant and did not so much harm as evidence so give the moderators and members a full picture of his action:

I down-voted your answer and I will tell you why. Convince me otherwise and I would be willing to reconsider and up-vote it. "It only subtracts 2 points, which is not worth to spend a lot of effort on," ignores the situation on this site whereby there are a very large number of users who can down-vote, but not explain themselves (without exposing their reputation). If someone down-votes an answer, that person should always be allowed to explain in just a few words why. Otherwise we are not really a meritocracy but rather a hypocracy because we are using the voting system as "the conscious use of a mask to fool the public and gain political benefit." The system is constrained so that a voter can down-vote but not have the opportunity in most cases even to explain himself. So there is no merit to his vote. There is no learning opportunity to correct defects from such an experience. Science is based on the merit of hypotheses and testing these, no matter how simple or seemingly inconsequential. A down vote without a hypothesis on why it is cast violates the very principles of physics and science that the site claims to promote.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meritocracy Meritocracy (merit, from Latin mereō, and -cracy, from Ancient Greek κράτος kratos "strength, power") is a political philosophy holding that power should be vested in individuals almost exclusively based on ability and talent.41 Advancement in such a system is based on performance measured through examination and/or demonstrated achievement in the field where it is implemented.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocrisy Hypocrisy is the contrivance of a false appearance of virtue or goodness, while concealing real character or inclinations, especially with respect to religious and moral beliefs; hence in a general sense, hypocrisy may involve dissimulation, pretense, or a sham. Hypocrisy is the practice of engaging in the same behavior or activity for which one criticizes another. In moral psychology, it is the failure to follow one's own expressed moral rules and principles.41 According to British political philosopher David Runciman, "Other kinds of hypocritical deception include claims to knowledge that one lacks, claims to a consistency that one cannot sustain, claims to a loyalty that one does not possess, claims to an identity that one does not hold."42 American political journalist Michael Gerson says that political hypocrisy is "the conscious use of a mask to fool the public and gain political benefit."42

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Related: Why do I need 50 reputation to comment? What can I do instead? $\endgroup$ Jun 25, 2017 at 12:34
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ "If someone down-votes an answer, that person should always be allowed to explain... why" if you have the rep to downvote (on main), then you have the rep to comment (125 rep vs 50), so you always would have the capability. I'm not sure what the rest of this is besides a rant against your post being deleted. $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Jun 25, 2017 at 15:05
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I don't really understand why users should be responsible to give reasons for voting... If there's an odd reason that I downvote; I usually leave a comment explaining it. Sometimes an answer/question is just bad for multiple reasons and I feel the vote speaks for itself. Everyone else is free to make those decisions as well, I'm not sure how it's an issue. $\endgroup$
    – JMac
    Jun 26, 2017 at 11:10
  • $\begingroup$ The two spelling errors in the title make this question completely meaningless. $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2017 at 22:39

1 Answer 1


Discussions on meta Stack Exchange sites are discussions, but they are still expected to have some structure. If you post an answer, then just as on the main site, it is expected to address the question itself, not another post. If your answer is not an answer, it may be deleted, as per site policy. It is also possible that a moderator with convert the answer to a comment, if it is suitable. One reason this was not done was because your answer is far too long to fit into a comment.

In general, moderators should not moderate content on their own posts, as it would be a conflict of interest. Some moderators extend this to not moderating posts on threads they've been active on, lest they make an impression of impropriety. They would say that ACuriousMind should, therefore, not have deleted your post, and let another moderator do it. However, I also think that many moderators - maybe the majority - would agree with ACuriousMind's action; I know I do. The case is clear-cut.

I would like to make three points:

  1. Your answer was pretty clearly not an answer. Potential conflict of interest or not, it should have been deleted.
  2. Please assume good faith. When a user does something, it's possible that they're being nefarious, but it's also quite likely that they're doing what's right.
  3. Each Stack Exchange site has at least one chat room; Physics has The h Bar. If you have an issue with another user with enough reputation to chat, I would recommend taking it there and calmly talking it out first.

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