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I realize that in Stack Overflow some people always vote, edit, give bounty and answer each other questions to get more points and to get badges. I think that it is not fair, because at first it is very difficult to get answer, points and badges. Is there any algorithm to control this situation?

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Curious to know: How can you know that two users votes each others? – hims056 Oct 31 '12 at 8:14
Yep, there are already scripts in place to detect and handle irregular/illegal voting activities. Search Meta for sockpuppets and voting rings. – Bart Oct 31 '12 at 8:15
I guess because some people edit always other questions, only because of that – Aitul Oct 31 '12 at 8:15
The editing of questions is a rather poor indicator if you ask me. That holds no relevance to voting behaviour or sockpuppetry. – Bart Oct 31 '12 at 8:17
How does this algorithm works? – Aitul Oct 31 '12 at 8:17
That is not public information. – Bart Oct 31 '12 at 8:17
I would strongly suggest that you browse the FAQ tag here on Meta. All these question have been asked and answered numerous times already, and is thoroughly covered in both the FAQ and on this or each sites meta. Keep in mind the site is more then 3 years old already. – BinaryMisfit Oct 31 '12 at 8:18
Note that the number of points you can gain from suggested edits is limited to 1000, and once you reach 2k reputation you do not get any points anymore for editing. Thus, any user over 2k that edits posts is doing so to improve the site, not to gain reputation. – Martijn Pieters Oct 31 '12 at 9:19
Moreover, to give a bounty costs you reputation, and there is a 24 hour delay before you can award it. I very much doubt it is used much to game the system. – Martijn Pieters Oct 31 '12 at 9:20
@Aitul I see you're having a number of unfortunate (sometimes deleted) Meta SO contributions. Might I suggest you read "How do I participate in Meta Stack Overflow and not die trying?" – Bart Oct 31 '12 at 11:28
up vote 11 down vote accepted

There are several limits in place to what you can achieve with editing, bounties and voting:

  • You only gain 2 points reputation per suggested edit, once accepted. Moreover, this is capped at 1000 points, and your edits are reviewed first. On Stack Overflow, you thus need to convince 3 reviewers that each of your edits is good enough to be applied. You yourself already know what happens if too many of your edits are rejected; trivial edits are not enough.

    Once you reach 2k reputation you can edit at will, and any edits you make will not gain you any reputation. People with more than 2k reputation making edits are thus doing it to improve the site.

  • Bounties cost the giver reputation, and you have to wait 24 hours before you are allowed to award the bounty to anyone. This is a great deterrent against gaming the system to 'gift' reputation to a friend.

  • A daily-run script detects serial up- or down-voting; if person A votes up several posts by person B, chances are these votes are going to be reverted automatically when the script runs.

The community has a very dim view of anyone gaming the system. If you see any specific gaming going on, please flag one of the posts involved and notify the moderators. They can then investigate and apply sanctions, if necessary.

For bounty gaming, for example, if you see someone giving multiple bounties to someone else, especially if the answers to which the bounties have been awarded are sub-par, please do flag one of those answers and use the 'other' field to explain what you have found.

In the end though, you gain reputation on these sites by providing helpful answers; it's how I gained mine on Stack Overflow. Find yourself a Stack Exchange site matching your expertise, and start providing such answers. Most of all, stop worrying about reputation. Reputation is a nice side effect, the core goal of these sites is to solve the questioners' problems.

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+1 for “Most of all, stop worrying about reputation.” – Donal Fellows Oct 31 '12 at 10:19
Additional checks: Moderators have access to tools that detect suspicious voting patterns, that catch everything the automated script doesn't. Those tools take rep awarded through editing into consideration, not just votes. Obviously SE has access to even more ways of detecting vote fraud, in case we miss something. We also have access to a list of recently accepted bounties, so we can follow up on potential abuses of the bounty system even after the bounty is awarded (that said, bounty abuse is extremely rare, for the reasons you already mentioned). – Yannis Oct 31 '12 at 10:43
That said, some people just worry too much about reputation, and almost every time similar questions come up on Meta, everyone's time would be better spent in asking good questions or posting great answers. – Yannis Oct 31 '12 at 10:46
@YannisRizos: It's the worrying about reputation that begets the gaming in the first place, of course. :-) – Martijn Pieters Oct 31 '12 at 10:51

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