Downvoting Roman / Commodus Thumbsdown

Downvoting Roman / Commodus Thumbsdown

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Downvoting Roman / Commodus Thumbsdown is an Advice Animal style image macro series featuring a stillshot of actor Joaquin Phoenix[1] 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.[2] 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[11] on July 6th, 2011 but did not receive any points. However, another instance posted the next day[12] received 2735 up votes and 698 points, reaching the frontpage of Reddit.


Downvoting Roman has also been featured on The Bigster[9] and Slacktory[13] and has a Facebook fan page.[10] Additional instances can also be found on Tumblr[6], MemeRush[7] and[8] As of September 2013, Downvoting Roman has more than 24,000 results on Quickmeme[3], nearly 1,200 results on Memegenerator[4] and more than 2,000 results[5] on the AdviceAnimal subreddit.

Notable Examples


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[14] 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 Interest

Search queries for “downvoting roman” saw an initial spike in early June 2011 when the first Advice Animal threads began appearing.

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