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Downvoting Roman / Commodus Thumbsdown is an Advice Animal style image macro series featuring a stillshot of actor Joaquin Phoenix as Emperor Commodus in the 2000 epic film Gladiator. The image depicts a stone-faced Commodus giving a thumbs down and the overlaid text usually conveys dissatisfaction towards a post on a website or forum where a voting system is present, especially on Reddit.
The still photo is from a scene in the 2000 film Gladiator. After the main character, Maximus Decimus Meridius, defeats his opponent in battle, Emperor Commodus gives a thumbs down in a dramatic gesture of disapproval, thereby requiring Maximus to kill his opponent. The first instance of the image macro was posted to the Advice Animals subreddit on July 6th, 2011 but did not receive any points. However, another instance posted the next day received 2735 up votes and 698 points, reaching the frontpage of Reddit.
Downvoting Roman has also been featured on The Bigster and Slacktory and has a Facebook fan page. Additional instances can also be found on Tumblr, MemeRush and Troll.me. As of September 2013, Downvoting Roman has more than 24,000 results on Quickmeme, nearly 1,200 results on Memegenerator and more than 2,000 results on the AdviceAnimal subreddit.
The Downvoting Roman series has also spawned some derivatives, including an animated GIF version of Commodus giving a thumbs down, as well as a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic version which was created specifically as a reaction image for the My Little Pony subreddit on December 29th, 2011. The My Little Pony derivative received 3985 up votes and 1441 points overall.
Another well-known GIF derivative depicts a different scene from the movie, in which Emperor Commorus reluctantly gives a thumbs up after folding under pressure from the audience. This image has been used on Reddit as a way of begrudgingly giving an upvote.
Search queries for “downvoting roman” saw an initial spike in early June 2011 when the first Advice Animal threads began appearing.