In this scenario, suppose someone gives me a down vote, for whatever reason. After that someone else comes and sees the down vote and thinks this should be down voted. Another down vote. Another person comes and does the same.

What do you call this phenomenon in English? I want to use it in an article. If it has an ironic tone, all the better. I want to use the word as in the following sentences.

  • My question again got word -ed (past participle).
  • Everyone in this site loves word -ing
  • Oh, another word!

N.B.: Please don't hesitate to up-vote or down-vote this question or even flag or close-vote it. This question has nothing to do about the question's status itself. I am just looking for a word. When I get it I'll accept the answer and up-vote it.

  • 3
    Maybe it is a "bandwagon" ...
    – GEdgar
    Feb 22, 2012 at 18:10
  • @GEdgar I dont think its bandwagon. In Bangla I call it হুজুগ. Feb 22, 2012 at 18:13
  • @Danielδ Some notes added for you or other who is thinking like you. Feb 22, 2012 at 18:19
  • Shiplu, note that you can read over the question edits (by clicking on the time or date below the word "edited") and the comparison may help you with knowing where to place apostrophes and how to make number or tenses agree. Feb 22, 2012 at 19:12
  • 1
    Incidentally, in Australia the act of deliberately inciting this is known as "dog-whistling". A dog whistle is inaudible to humans and thus deniable, and the pack of slavering hounds chasing the poor sod in the spotlight is in no way evidence that the whistler meant for it to happen. No, he was merely pointing out something so trite and out of context that it couldn't be denied, and he's got no idea where the vicious mob tearing the victim to pieces got their conclusions from. I've got someone in mind who does this too much, but I'm not mentioning names or sides because he's not the only one. Feb 23, 2012 at 8:29

7 Answers 7


Some phrases that might be related to what you are asking are

I've also seen pirhana effect and shark attack used in such a context, but from further reading gather that those terms are unfair to pirhanas and sharks.

  • Hivemind could be another good one.
    – Rob
    Feb 22, 2012 at 21:37
  • Bandwagon sounds best to me, e.g., “everyone on this site loves bandwagon downvoting” or “my question got bandwagon-downvoted again”.
    – Jon Purdy
    Feb 23, 2012 at 0:52
  • In addition to "mobbed", "mob mentality". Feb 23, 2012 at 4:50

If you are looking for a verb, one is pile-on, so your first two examples become

  • Again my question got piled-on.
  • Everyone in this site is piling-on.
  • I heard the word pile-on earlier. But now understood meaning. +1 Feb 22, 2012 at 19:27
  • I'm not sure what it means to get pyloned in hockey, but I'd like to think that too gains traction from the sense of getting hammered down by a pile-driver, which really does stomp things down! Feb 22, 2012 at 19:38
  • Could you pile-on only down votes? Or up votes as well? What's the 'loss' in pile-on -- except gaining weight? :)
    – Kris
    Feb 23, 2012 at 13:52
  • There’s an impolitically correct variant that goes with those sort of piles: nigger pile.
    – tchrist
    Feb 24, 2012 at 1:20
  • @tchrist: I think that may have a different origin and meaning
    – Henry
    Feb 24, 2012 at 1:35

An Information Cascade.

  • Also, groupthink, and relatedly, anchoring.
    – Mitch
    Feb 22, 2012 at 19:10
  • @Dimitris How do I use Information Cascade as verb? Does You have cascaded the information again sound good? Feb 23, 2012 at 9:02
  • I don't think so, @Shiplu. I use the term to describe the occurrence of an event, something along the lines of "an information cascade resulting from such and such conditions."
    – Dimitris
    Feb 24, 2012 at 2:23

This is herd mentality.

One person does something with or without reason; the others do it for the sole 'reason' that the first person has done it. Their simplistic logic is: 'If that were not so, why would the first person have done it in the first place?' -- also, 'he did the thinking for me, so why do I need to think about it all over again?'

The metaphor usually is 'sheep', after its characteristic behavior. So,

"There comes another sheep", maybe?


You might try "blackball" :


  1. to vote against (a candidate, applicant, etc.).

  2. to exclude socially; ostracize: The whole town blackballed them.

  3. to reject (a candidate) by placing a blackball in the ballot box.


  1. a negative vote, especially in deciding on an applicant or candidate.

  2. a black ball placed in a ballot box signifying a negative vote.

  • Its not just voting. I can be something else. Information Cascades seems the perfect thing. But I am looking for perfect verb. Feb 22, 2012 at 21:04
  • Well, since I'm not a mind reader, you're on your own. If your goal is to be blackballed, you might achieve it. Feb 22, 2012 at 21:06

I'm not sure there's one word that fits all the given contexts. Personally I'd use (most of these have already been mentioned):

  • "ganged up on"
  • "jumped on the bandwagon" or maybe "piled on"
  • "case of groupthink"

Example 1:

Everyone ganged up on my question again! And I thought I had done such a good job writing it this time.

Example 2:

After I get a down vote it seems like everyone on stackexchange always jumps on the bandwagon and before I know it my answer is at the bottom.

Example 3:

Oh, another case of groupthink!

  • Nice examples. I am keeping this question unanswered for a while so that I get some new answers. :) Feb 23, 2012 at 22:58

for the scenario you described, I believe another word might have been hen-pecked.

if in a group of chickens one hen pecks another and draws blood, all the other hens, upon seeing the blood start pecking the same hen, hence once someone throws the first stone, the rest follow.

unfortunately this word is used for husbands/boyfriends that are constantly nagged by their wives/girlfriends.

shame, it would have been an ideal match :)

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