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Yesterday there was a large series of "unupvote" events all at 12:08:55Z that affected all of the "top users" on the tag.

This also appears to have affected users in the matlab tag and probably others as well.

These users were hit particularly hard:

Leonid Shifrin

There is also a strange pattern where the unupvotes were followed a short time later by upvotes for the same question/answer seen here:

flipped votes

What is going on here?

share|improve this question
Speculation: Someone was testing the vote buttons. – Rob W Mar 17 '12 at 13:51
@RobW no, it's much greater than that. Look at the links for yoda, Leonid, and gnovice. Further, all of the unupvotes happened at the same time. I suspect an account deletion or merge, but why would the unupvote turn into an upvote (or two) again for some users? – Mr.Wizard Mar 17 '12 at 13:54 Looks like somebody got deleted. – Mysticial Mar 17 '12 at 13:54
@Mysticial can I find out which user it was? – Mr.Wizard Mar 17 '12 at 13:56
The "here" refers to a different screenshot than you posted. – Arjan Mar 17 '12 at 13:56
@Arjan I see the votes collapsed as shown in image I embedded. – Mr.Wizard Mar 17 '12 at 13:57
@Mr.Wizard I doubt it. You wouldn't be able to see the profile of a deleted user anyway. You'd probably have to try asking one of the mods. – Mysticial Mar 17 '12 at 13:58
Ah, you totally right, I saw the sorting on "time", not on "post". That explains it better though, I think! I will remove this and my previous comment soonish. – Arjan Mar 17 '12 at 13:59
@Arjan okay, so perhaps a user had his account deleted and then created another and started trying to recast his votes? – Mr.Wizard Mar 17 '12 at 14:01
... which of course got reversed by the serial voting script... – Mysticial Mar 17 '12 at 14:02
Ah, so now I finally know what was going on. I added my two cents on the issue here. ;) – gnostradamus Mar 21 '12 at 16:03
up vote 35 down vote accepted

A user was deleted and (as has always happened) the votes were removed.

I have a major change in the pipe that will show all of these events as a single "user removed" and an accurate number for how much rep impact it had...but this won't go out until after out team call Monday afternoon.

share|improve this answer
May I know which user was deleted? – Mr.Wizard Mar 17 '12 at 14:51
Also, can you explain the re-voting observed? Has the user made a new profile? Is this allowed following a deletion? – Mr.Wizard Mar 17 '12 at 14:52
@Mr.Wizard - I don't have a username without going into backups, but it was user id 564376. – Nick Craver Mar 17 '12 at 14:53
@Mr.Wizard - any "re-voting" that would have occured would be other votes on a user that didn't count due to rep cap now counting. Part of my major change is handling deleted vote values...we'll correctly 0 out those that no longer affected the cap so both the "d-day" delta and the days before all add up correctly (as if those deleted votes didn't contribute to the cap, which they don't...that's not corrected currently). – Nick Craver Mar 17 '12 at 14:54
I have identified the user. May I know why his account was deleted? – Mr.Wizard Mar 17 '12 at 14:54
@Mr.Wizard - I have no idea...would need to ask the mod who deleted them (before you ask, I don't know...would have to crawl through the database to find that). – Nick Craver Mar 17 '12 at 14:58
If the re-voting is caused by deleting one user, then can I assume that the upvotes for the "re-upvote count for adjusted reputation cap" we're seeing are NOT from one single user? If true, then the serial upvote reversal that happened today might NOT be right? – Arjan Mar 17 '12 at 15:14
@Arjan - link me to that profile? – Nick Craver Mar 17 '12 at 15:27
@Nick, that profile is a link from the question, sorted by time. – Arjan Mar 17 '12 at 18:39
It might be easier to not remove votes for deleted users in the first place. I think it's a surprising and unusual mechanic that doesn't server any purpose. And the amount of trouble it causes will only increase if you make it more obvious where the rep loss is coming from. – Mad Scientist Mar 17 '12 at 19:09
Ah, @Nick, see also Szabolcs' comment: it might have been true serial upvoting after all, but only peeking into the database can tell. (But then, in this case, yesterday's "re-voting" would not be an automated correction for historical rep caps either.) – Arjan Mar 17 '12 at 19:34
@Arjan - Yes those were serial downvotes, unrelated (well...possibly related, I don't know what the voter's motivations were). – Nick Craver Mar 18 '12 at 0:14
@Fabian - We've always removed votes when deleting a user, this is absolutely not new behavior, it's happened from day 1. The "doesn't serve any purpose" is an unfounded assessment of the situation, it serves many purposes. The immense complication it introduces by not doing, I don't even want to think about that on a weekend. – Nick Craver Mar 18 '12 at 0:17
Just curious, but why can the account not be anonymized instead of deleted, at least in the case where it's a legitimate user leaving the site (as opposed to users being terminated for cause)? – Lawrence Dol Jun 4 '14 at 16:48

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