Very unusual - within 4 minutes I got 3 down votes:

(The last one was candidate for deletion, but I decided instead to convert to Community.)

Can some moderator tell me what happened ?
I am not asking who it was and I'm not asking to have it reversed - I’m just curious about whether this was a coincidence (my first such on this forum in more than 6 years).

  • 3
    Did you create the undervote tag specifically for this post? What is an "undervote" exactly? Commented Nov 15, 2015 at 21:30
  • Possible duplicate of How to know who downvoted you? Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 21:49
  • You have 170k rep, with numerous answers.. I'm thinking this is all just a coincidence :P
    – Insane
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 5:26
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    harrymc is Boba Fett Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 15:09
  • @Raystafarian: I object - Boba Fett betrays Luke Skywalker, while I'm totally innocent. He also saves Luke Skywalker, and that I can try to do (if his problem is with Dark Force computers).
    – harrymc
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 16:51
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    Seriously speaking, the real bounty hunters are the ones who are there for getting bounties, no matter the quality of their answers, who downvote good answers for bad motives. To show my opinion of them, I changed my avatar to Tron.
    – harrymc
    Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 7:36
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    @harrymc - Here is the overall opinion of the community with regards to bounty hunting. I was doing some research and that question caught my eye, thought of this question, and figured I would complete the circle.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 16:01
  • @Ramhound: Thanks for this useful feedback, which does indeed complete the circle. For myself, I have decided to ignore the few bad apples that hound me on the forum. I understand that you had your own share of such problems.
    – harrymc
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 19:16
  • @harrymc - I have my own share of problems. I have people who go to my other network profiles and find questions I have asked, downvote them, never leaving a comment. I would have lost hundreds of reputation points, if I had not made my questions, into community wiki questions.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 19:24
  • @Ramhound: Do you have any idea why? And did you complain? While moderators like Journeyman Geek don't have the tools, the people who run stackoverflow can do more than that.
    – harrymc
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 19:48
  • When I vote to close or find a question/answer unhelpful, I tell people that I voted to close or found their submission to be unhelpful, a small minority of these people use their reputation on other websites and at Superuser (if they have any) to downvote my submissions. I have attempted to get my Stackoverflow questions unlinked from my account, I have asked 5 times, been denied every single time. The person responding does not "understand" what the problem is. I admit there are times that I can say things in a nicer way, but I am a low context communicator, I don't sugar coat anything.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 19:52

2 Answers 2


The mod tools aren't much help here, and 3 votes isn't really something that's more than a statistical blip here. There's nothing manual or automated to do here, and calling in a CM over three downvotes for a user who's close to 200K rep seems excessive.

As to the why?

Let's talk about "perception". I'd note the following is entirely in a personal capacity as a high-reputation, engaged user and doesn't reflect the views of Stack Exchange/Stack Overflow or the Super User moderation staff.

Well, in your specific case, reputation (as in imaginary Internet points) doesn't mean 'reputation' in terms of what perception is. I've occasionally had to have words with you in the past over low quality answers (though that's not a case here), and there's a certain idea you completely focus on bounties over regular posts, and in most cases answers consist of research (occasionally hasty) over in depth, experience based answers, and what seem to be sourced complete copy pastes of answers elsewhere. Once again, entirely legitimate and not something that should be penalised, but it's plausible this user thinks not. I believe I used the term "Harry tends to powergame on SU," and I'm not the only user who thinks so.

In fact, I'd be certain, except where someone comments on the quality of an answer (something which I do in your case where I feel an answer is not up to the standards we expect), that many of the downvotes you get might be due to this.

In short? Someone might not like you. It's sad. It's not how we do things here. It's probably not due to answer quality.

Changing that perception might be tricky. I notice you love the challenge of bounties (and repwise it has served you well). I'd suggest broadening your scope, and trying to hit the same levels of epic reputation off of regular answers. Clearly when you try you have above average research skills, and with a little bit of understanding your audience, you can probably post pretty impressive answers without relying on the bounty system. In short? Stepping outside your comfort zone might help here.

Better answers would probably build on your sources – I often add screenshots and issues I had with personal experiences solving the problem, not just source and quote. Take a look at the upvotes you get over the bounties.

It's up to you. There's nothing wrong with the bounty hunt, but this would be a heads up to what might be going through the head of someone who does something like this.

  • I understand you don't have the tools to answer the post, but you have raised instead other concerns. Such a long and detailed answer cannot be answered by a comment. Thanks for the effort you went to, but I have to give my response as a separate answer.
    – harrymc
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 8:28

Funny how every time I ask a question, my rep points are negatively referred-to, I'm called a bounty-hunter, and advised to change my ways. Why?

I have solved the problems of many hundreds of posters, got heaps of thank-yous, but all that other people see is my rep count. Is having a high rep a reason for being looked-down at? Is it part of the human condition?

Journeyman Geek raised several points which have nothing to do with my post, and all to do with myself as a person. Let me answer them.

"you completely focus on bounties over regular posts"

What can one do whose personal knowledge makes it possible to answer very many questions, except try to answer the most pressing ones?

Bounty posts have the advantage of :

  • The poster is likelier to have researched his problem and furnish enough details for us to give an answer which is more than a guess.
  • The poster is more motivated to answer our questions and is less likely to abandon his post without indicating the right answer.
  • Bounty questions are usually harder and more interesting, for someone who likes challenges.
  • There are far fewer bounty posts, for someone who does have a private life.

"in most cases answers consist of research (occasionally hasty) over in depth, experience based answers, and what seem to be sourced complete copy pastes of answers elsewhere"

Sorry, but you miss the point here. Most, if not all, of the problems posted in SU have already been answered elsewhere, by the manufacturer of the equipment, or by knowledgeable people who have run against the same problem. It saves time to quote these articles rather than rewrite everything. But if finding these posts is so easy, why would anyone post questions?

The point you miss is that, in order to find these answering articles, one has to know the answer before-hand. A good knowledge of the subject is also required for tying up the sources into one comprehensive answer and for adding the details and background required for using these facts.

I am not infallible and do make mistakes, but I think it is clear that my good answers far outweigh my bad ones.

Sometimes, when time has passed and no answer was given to the post, I offer what partial knowledge I have. This often rings the bell with someone with better experience in the subject, to come up with the full answer. Is this wrong, or a reason to criticize my partial answer?

"Take a look at the upvotes you get over the bounties."

I do, and they are pretty good, even for answers that were not awarded a bounty. In spite of this handicap of the subject usually being too narrow, as most of the bounties are for pretty specific problems, I do get a large percentage of my rep from upvotes. It's good to know that my past answers are helping other people.

Journeyman Geek (and others), please forget about my reputation, bounties etc. We are all on this forum in order to help people and share our knowledge.

I have been coming here for the last 6 years because this forum is an interesting place to visit and for deepening one's knowledge, helping people while enjoying oneself, in a community of people that have much to teach me and others.

  • 2
    I believe what we have here is really an X Y problem. I can't do anything about the underlying downvotes. I can take the chance here to suggest how to avoid such things in future, and to voice out issues that have been brought up elsewhere. I felt that it was helpful to perhaps understand the motivation of the downvoter and putting some of the things I've brought up in the past to try to give a wider perspective to my answer over "yes, you got downvoted. No, there's no tools that let me do anything." Rather than that, I was hoping to give a certain degree of constructive critique
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 14:17
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    I'd note the only reason I personally mentioned your rep in my answer was a sense of proportion, and there's a wider sense of "do we actually need to involve TPTB over what's seemingly an isolated case of downvoting". I'd note I treat you exactly the same as I would any other user and I treat flags to your answers exactly the same as any other user.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 14:22
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    @JourneymanGeek: I think you are taking a too-narrow look at the problem. I don't think that answering more non-bounty posts will make me more likable. The basic problem is my having too much reputation and getting too many bounties. This makes some people go, well, funny. You can see above the aggressive tone and that the question of rep is all they see here, which was not at all my question. This post has uncovered tensions on the forum (whose cleaning-up-after is one of the jobs of moderators here, unfortunately).
    – harrymc
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 20:20
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    I'm not sure how this is too narrow. There are tensions. Talking about the causes of such tensions, issues real or perceived as well as taking the opportunity to air concerns that I've aired before are a good start to actually dealing with them. While the traditional tool of the moderator might be a hammer, sometimes I end up needing a scalpel, or a pair of tweezers. As a mod I would rather go "hey, this is why this is happening" or "this is how we can do better". I was considering very hard whether to post my answer, or whether it was victim blaming, but well, this seemed the better choice
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 5:15
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    If you keep getting the same response "every time I ask a question" and choose to reject that response, I don't see what you are expecting to change as long as you are unwilling to accept others' opinions?
    – qasdfdsaq
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 5:38
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    @qasdfdsaq: So what do you counsel? For me to stop answering bounties, or reduce my reputation so people will stop throwing it in my face every time? I'm sick and tired of the frequent answer of "What do you have to complain about?". My reputation is built upon my answers and the many posts that would otherwise have gone unsolved. I'm not using it to throw my weight around this forum, but people keep doing it to me.
    – harrymc
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 7:35
  • @JourneymanGeek: I would like a more private contact. If your mod tools include my SU email address, please drop me a note.
    – harrymc
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 10:04
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    We don't typically (or ever) email a user directly. Moderation on SU more or less happens in the open, except where stuff like suspensions are involved (and even then, its typical to find out). I'd point you at the ask a superuser moderator chat room instead.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 12:56
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    @JourneymanGeek - Isn't the ask a superuser moderator chatroom is still public?
    – Ramhound
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 17:51

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