However, since those are old posts with old views I was curious of how the community of g.se feels about it.
Basically, what appears to be sympathy upvotes is on questions or answers that start at "-1" or "-2". Within a couple minutes the question or answer seems to be back to "0", but never higher than zero. According to the up/down vote history, it then seems like there is a war between downvoting and upvoting the question or answer, where each downvote is matched with an upvote! All in the mean time, the user is gaining a bunch of reputation, because 5 downvotes = 1 upvote in terms of reputation adjustments.
My question is, are people upvoting negative score questions or answers because...
- They feel the question or answer has merit, and the downvotes were not justified (but they would not have upvoted the question or answer if it was at 0)
- They would have upvoted regardless of the current score, because their views conflict with the downvoter (either because they believe it is a good question, or that the answer is correct)
- They only believe questions and answers should be downvoted because they are offensive or spam (basically, anything that a flag normally covers). Remember, downvotes are a good thing when used constructively.