Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 157 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

What's a widely used term for a (small) group of users voting up each other's questions / answers/ comments?

Does Stack Overflow have any tools/rules in place to prevent this? Say for instance maximum amount of rep from one user to another? I've seen the FAQ, and it only discusses per day maximums.

I did do a search as my assumption is that this would've been discussed before - but I can't think of a search term other than 'cartel', which yields no results.

Just curious.

share|improve this question
5  
Try "voting ring", that may turn up some hits. – Daniel Fischer Jun 24 '12 at 11:40
9  
Have you found one, or are you part of one? – slugster Jun 24 '12 at 11:44
    
If you have a hunch that you've discovered a voting ring, flag a post by one of the participants for moderation attention and explain that you suspect sockpuppetry. It'd be helpful to provide links to the other users' profiles. – Yannis Jun 24 '12 at 11:53
1  
@slugster - my ring's clearly not very effective !! 'voting ring' turns up just this : meta.stackexchange.com/questions/116699/… – Sridhar Jun 24 '12 at 11:54
    
@yannis - really just curious. I've no suspicion / evidence of a voting ring. – Sridhar Jun 24 '12 at 11:55
1  
Some of the rings we find are certainly elaborate enough to earn being called cartels. :) – Adam Jun 25 '12 at 4:04
    
@slugster he doesn't seems to be a part of it. I have experience of finding such things, so i can say that. – Lucifer Jun 27 '12 at 4:40
up vote 17 down vote accepted

It's called a voting ring, and it's considered abusive behaviour. If it's only two / three accounts, we may also call them sockpuppets.

Moderators have a few tools to detect unusual voting patterns, and that includes groups of people voting each other en masse. If a voting ring is discovered, the usual route is to invalidate the group's votes and suspend everyone involved. I think this is as much information as I can give you on the subject, the rest is super secret.

Voting ring and sockpuppetry are not specific to Stack Exchange / Overflow, they are widely used terms in online communities that have some form of voting, like Hacker News, Reddit, Digg, Quora etc.

share|improve this answer
11  
Is it true the algorithms exploit a vulnerability in certain Netgear routers that makes the device overheat, and burns down the perpetrator's house? – Pëkka Jun 24 '12 at 11:58
4  
@Discount Gucci Handbags: We can neither confirm nor deny this. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 24 '12 at 12:01
2  
Ah, I always figured that sockpuppets are really just one single person, (ab)using multiple accounts? – Arjan Jun 24 '12 at 12:05
    
@Arjan Mostly that, but we also use the term when it's people knowing each other in real life. Some times it's completely innocent, a friend thinking he's doing another friend a favour. – Yannis Jun 24 '12 at 12:08
    
The algo at work: dailypicksandflicks.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/… – Pëkka Jun 24 '12 at 17:39
7  
The term you are looking for is 'meatpuppet'. – Rosinante Jun 24 '12 at 18:21
    
I call this phenomenon a cross-pollination. – Sergey K. Jul 30 '13 at 13:30
    
Technically, doesn't the entirety of StackExchange constitute this? – Raymond Uppier-Püpschrute Feb 5 '15 at 23:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .