Users can only upvote five questions per proposal on Area 51, as is well known. It is probably less well known that you don't have to have followed a proposal to upvote or even propose questions.

What I didn't know until I tested it today is that there does not seem to be any limit in the number of downvotes a user may inflict on a proposal, even one they never committed to. I just successfully made (and then reversed) seven downvotes on questions on a proposal I am not following.

Bulk downvoting would probably be picked up by the abuse detectors but it does seem like a loophole that would allow users to throw sand in the wheels of a rival proposal to the one they favor, if that hypothetical situation were ever to arise

  • ... and you can even damage the reputation of others by downvoting. Nice Catch22 here.
    – gwr
    Feb 26, 2016 at 17:05

2 Answers 2


As reported from the FAQ, there is a limit of 5 up-votes per proposal, and a limit of 30 votes per day. This means that you could up-vote 5 questions for a proposal, and down-vote 25 questions the first day; down-vote 30 questions of the same proposal the next days.

While I would expect serial down-votes for a proposal's questions to be detected, I feel there is a disparity between up-voting questions, and down-voting them. To make a comparison with Stack Exchange sites, it would like if I were allowed to up-vote just 5 answers for a question, but down-vote all the answers I want.
I can understand that allowing to up-vote all the questions for a proposal would probably have a negative effect: If users would be allowed to up-vote all the questions for a proposal, then 100 users could up-vote the needed 10 questions, and the proposal would pass to the next phase. What I would like to see is a limit for the down-votes on a proposal. Users don't necessary use the votes for down-voting all the questions for a proposal, once they up-voted the questions for a proposals, but a limit like 5 up-votes/5 down-votes per proposal, or 5 up-votes/10 down-votes per proposal would be preferable, IMO. Now that questions can be closed, there isn't anymore the necessity of down-voting a question until it doesn't reach a score of −11; it is probable that such questions should be rather voted to be closed, now.


Except for the limit on up-voting, this is the same exact behavior implemented on Stack Exchange. We don't generally see people using their daily allotment of down-votes to go around systematically down-voting everything in sight.

So, unless there is a wide-spread, demonstrable problem, I'm not inclined to deviate more than is necessary from the behavior of Stack Exchange.

  • 10
    The "5 up-votes" limit is a major difference. In my opinion, it's such a major difference that you can't reasonably state that you're trying to conform to the normal Stack Exchange behavior. Jan 4, 2012 at 19:27
  • 4
    "We don't generally see people using their daily allotment of down-votes to go around systematically down-voting everything in sight." I do see this on the proposal I'm following. It is quite frustrating to see systematic down-votes on all questions on the site with no accompanying constructive criticism. Mar 29, 2013 at 16:01
  • 2
    I just noted exactly that kind of destructive behavior and it is a loophole: I can just go around and downvote -- especially on say competiting proposals -- and may get away. In the case of my proposal the downvotes came from none of the followers and of course no reasons were given.
    – gwr
    Feb 26, 2016 at 16:55

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