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I have noticed a trend on a user who has a history of writing some answers that were off the mark. This user is now catching down votes on good or at least moderately decent answers.

I have previously down voted some answers by the user, that I strongly disagreed with. For the most part I have left a note when doing so. But recently I have noticed, when I read an answer that looks good and has a down vote or two, the same user name is consistently present as the answer's author.

I sort answers by active, and I read the question, then the answers.

I wonder if some of us are prejudging answers based on past experience with an authors work. Most of us who post are doing our best to provide good content for the site. Sometimes I find that I disagree with an answer so strongly that I feel obligated to down vote it. For this particular author I have not had any impression of malice. Just judgment I don't agree with.

Each answer should be judged on it's own merits, not based on preconceptions about the author.

Your votes are yours to use as you see fit. But please ask yourself if you are really using them to benefit the site when you vote.

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    I noticed this too and appreciate that you took the time to bring it up on meta. This is doubly true when you consider that people seem to vote overwhelmingly up by looking at overall voting ratios. I know I have far fewer down votes here than on dba.se – Erik Feb 11 '17 at 1:02
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    @Erik That is a good point. I wouldn't mind if we shifted away from the stigma against down-votes - but in general by quality, not selectively by quality and user. – imsodin Feb 11 '17 at 9:08
  • Oh and to be clear I was trying to say that I down-vote more on other sites like dba.se. I wasn't saying that I receive a lot more down-votes on dba.se. My current ratio of up-vote to down vote on dba.se is 1550:358 and on outdoors.se 1752:44 – Erik Feb 13 '17 at 23:56
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I am also constantly amazed by the huge quality swings in his answers. Especially as he often shows that he does have knowledge and experience. Also his confrontational style isn't helpful either.

However I agree that it is wrong to vote based on the user. Take the frequent example of near one sentence answers: At the time of writing one such answer of the user is on +0/-1, the answer above it of the same type on +2/-0. In my opinion they are both of the same quality: Not wrong, but also not a good answer. I completely understand if you downvote both or neither, but upvoting one and downvoting the other seems personal.

The community should take the high ground: Never engage in discussion once they become heated and vote/flag as you would on any other user. Ideally this results in learning, and if it doesn't it will still keep the low quality answers low and inappropriate content will be removed.

@the user:
I would recommend to write answers that are at least one paragraph (~5-10 lines long). Many of your answer aren't bad, but simply too short. I am sure you have more to offer than that and I hope it will help with votes (it will for my vote ;) ).

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    This is the most sensible answer! – ab2 Feb 11 '17 at 2:10
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    I agree with all of this. If the rudeness stops, we could help a user like this, no matter who it is. A good, or even decent, answer by SE standards that's just written in short, abrupt sentences, can benefit by an edit. Ideally you're right, these users should expand their own answers, but sometimes we can help by fixing grammar and expanding sentences like we do with other edits. I don't edit anything by a person who's being rude, but if it's just a matter of helping a decent answer look better, I'm willing to try. – Sue Feb 15 '17 at 21:34
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From a mod perspective, I am well aware of this person and spend a bit of time trying to make sure the separation of behaviour and answers is enforced, which is actually made easier by the fact that their poor behaviours are generally in comments (which are easy to remove) and not answer posts. That said, I have not identified any unwarranted downvotes on the -3 and -4 scoring posts, and a -1 is neither here nor there in the grand scheme of things.

I do understand your point, Charlie, but I would encourage people to vote on posts, not on people, as this is how the site works, and to continue to use flags to highlight bad behaviour, so mods can look at that.

Let's keep the two aspects separate.

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In an ideal world:

Questions/answers should be (up/down)voted based on the merits of the question ONLY!

But you can also see the user. Ideally everyone would pretty much ignore this fact and judge each question/answer based on it's merits.

Users are shown though. Users are displayed with the question/answer (I think) to show a degree of trust, users with high rep should be trusted more than those with low rep, etc. That doesn't mean that anybody should downvote based on a user only though.

Also serial voting can be detected by reverted by mods and automated services. Serial down voting of users is serial voting.

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Of course we shouldn't downvote a post simply because of who wrote it, but if a user constantly posts poor content, they are going to get downvoted.

In this particular case I would disagree that the new answers are good or better than the old ones. I don't think the answers are well written. Over 1/4 of this users answers score at 0 or below.

There is also the issue that reputation is kind of like rank in the SE system, all other things being equal someone with 5000 rep is going to be taken more seriously than someone with 101.

I don't want to contribute rep someone if they are going to use their influence to belittle people or start fights. This particular user has a long, long history of both.

Lastly, these questions aren't catching 1 or 2 downvotes, they are catching up to 4. If all of these downvotes are coming from people who dislike the user, then the user should take a good long look at what they might have done to offend so many people.

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