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What is serial voting and how does it affect me?

I found out about serial upvoting detection today (lost 81 rep; I can't imagine how serial upvoting would result in that value, but let's ignore that for now). I decided to go on about my business of the day.

I open tabs for the tags I know about. I open tabs for a bunch of recent questions that look reasonable (including those that have answers, even accepted answers). I go through and start voting, blessing those answers that look good. It only takes 30s or a minute to review some questions and answers to know "Yup, that person got it. Well done." Normally I'd drop a +1 on the answer(s) that are right and move on.

Now I'm spooked. What if (like me) there are knowledgeable users who have high activity rates in short periods of time in an area? Do I have to wait a few minutes between upvotes so that I don't erroneously get flagged as a serial upvoter? Do I have to ensure that I throw a -1 between each +1? Do I have to ensure that I +1 someone else before I +1 the same person twice in a row? Or does the heuristic properly ignore upvotes on answers that temporally proximal to the upvote time, and I'm safe?

I suspect that many will say "We can't give away the secret of the heuristic, or the sock puppets will use that information to work around the system!" But I don't want to start 'working around the system' out of fear due to lack of knowledge.

How can you assure me that the behavior I'm describing as a morning routine will not 'waste' my votes and 'punish' helpful users (by depriving them of deserved upvotes)?

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marked as duplicate by lunboks, Toon Krijthe, ChrisF, animuson, Cody Gray Apr 16 '12 at 7:04

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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@Phrogz: I think there are quite a lot of posts on that subject... Honestly I hate the fact that you cannot "serial upvote" good posters. Sometimes I find a super interesting SO user (btw I only help people on SO, always answering questions: 2k+ rep for me) and when I find such a user, I want to read his answers, because there's a super-high probability his answers are going to be interesting, well-written, etc. In other words these kind of users bring a lot to SO. But then I cannot upvote their answers because otherwise it's considered "serial upvoting" :-/ Removes quite some fun out of SO. –  TacticalCoder Apr 15 '12 at 14:01
    
@lunboks I did read that FAQ entry, and none of the content of that post address my question or concern. –  Phrogz Apr 15 '12 at 14:03
4  
It is technically possible to trigger the rule. But only technically; vote for answers, not users. –  Uphill Luge Apr 15 '12 at 14:05
    
Sure, @uphill, but that would also imply one cannot browse answers from a user's profile. That's what the OP is referring to? –  Arjan Apr 15 '12 at 15:43
    
For the record, the "exact duplicate" does not really address this question. –  Phrogz Apr 17 '12 at 3:34

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

A user cast a lot of upvotes on posts in your account only, during a short period of time.

If you are voting on posts from any list of posts other than the list in a user's account, the likelihood of your votes getting invalidated is vanishingly small.

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