I've seen people speak about "the SAD" in comments on JLU. They reference it as if it is a person.

What exactly is "the SAD"?

(Note this question is not proposing that there should be such a term, just acting as an explanation of what the term is should users come across it.)

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    @Earthliŋ, I was just "teasing", in a sense, but, in the interest of removing any potential for perceived negativity, I've removed my comments and edited the question. In any case, I think we're potentially in agreement that terms for downvoters is less helpful than ways to increase a more positive and supportive environment here on JLU, though unfortunately I don't have any concrete suggestions for how to do that.
    – Questioner
    Apr 21, 2014 at 1:55

2 Answers 2


I've been startled by anonymous downvotes as much as everyone else here. In fact, quite a while ago, I suggested implementing a mechanism that would force one to have some kind of activity in the comment area of the post, before being able to downvote.

In any case, I don't think it will be particularly helpful to the site to coin an acronym "SAD" and leave cynical comments on each anonymously downvoted question/answer.


SAD stands for "Serial Anonymous Downvoter".

It has been noticed by many JLU users that there has been frequent downvoting activity that indicates the presence of someone who seems to downvote questions for reasons that are not to do with helping to improve questions or support the quality of the site overall.

The defining characteristics of the SAD are:

  1. Never offering an explanation of why they downvoted.

  2. Downvoting questions very early, usually before anyone else has voted, arguably so fast it's debatable that they could have even really thought about the question.

  3. Possibly downvoting certain people more than others.

Whether the SAD is a person with some kind of agenda or not is not clear, and probably can't be determined, at least not without some kind of administrative access.

Nonetheless, even if the SAD is apocryphal, referencing "the SAD" when an unexplained downvote happens conveys that persistent downvotes without helpful explanations about how questions or answers could be improved does nothing to support JLU or help anyone learn Japanese.

  • Is there anything the mods can do about the SAD? Presumably the mods can see more data that might indicate a trend (like those examples above)? Then are they within rights to remove the downvote or take some other action?
    – istrasci
    May 8, 2014 at 17:19

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