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If my spouse or significant other shares a passion for one or more of the same topics as me, then joining a stack exchange site would seem like a good idea. But this does create a potential issue.

If this site is on a topic we both discuss together a lot in person, then it is inevitable that recent questions or answers of mine (or theirs) would come up in discussion, and probably lead to viewing it on-line. Then the problem becomes - am I getting a lot of instant rep merely because my significant other upvotes my questions/answers?

What should I do about this? Should we make it clear, if both of us are well-known on the StackExchange site, of our relationship (i.e. in chat)? Should we refrain from voting at all on each others' questions & answers? If we answer each others' questions, and another user has an answer of similar quality, should we default to accepting the other users' answer?

Please note I am not advocating that the significant other not be allowed/discouraged to join the site, nor am I suggesting that it should be mandatory that a relationship be revealed.

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There is a duplicate of that out there. Something about work colleges..... –  juergen d Apr 5 '13 at 17:45
    
Yes, but the only question I saw on that was very lightly touched on and I think that the relationship here is very different –  SSumner Apr 5 '13 at 17:47
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On SE it hasn't been a problem, but in real life I did get in trouble after I voted to close one of her questions... –  Yannis Apr 5 '13 at 17:51
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@Yannis Oh you! –  Hugo Dozois Apr 5 '13 at 18:06
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@Yannis Home moderator cheat sheet. "Do you love me?" -> NARQ. "Let's go shopping" -> N/C. "What dress to wear today?" -> T/L. "Why didn't you listen to me?" -> O/T. "My mama told" -> dupe of "My mama is always wrong". –  gnat Apr 6 '13 at 12:20
    
Sharing the account... –  hjpotter92 Apr 6 '13 at 12:39
    
@hjpotter92 - I hadn't considered that, but I think that would be confusing for the people involved. And especially if the two differed in opinion or expertise in some areas, it would likely not be beneficial –  SSumner Apr 22 '13 at 17:02

4 Answers 4

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Essentially:

Always vote for the post, not the person. If you find yourself visiting your spouse's profile just to see their questions and answers (and subsequently vote on them), then that's likely a Bad Thing.

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That awkward moment when your spouse reports serial down voting and notices your account has been suspended for voting irregularities. Couch for you, bub. –  Tim Post Apr 6 '13 at 6:09

I think the same rules apply to you two as everyone else. If the other's post is good, upvote it. However, if it's bad, don't hesitate to downvote it. So long as you stay objective, I don't think anyone will have a problem with it.

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It can get problematic when the system interpretates that as voting irregulatity - users voting for each other. –  juergen d Apr 5 '13 at 17:49
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SE is very good at responding to things like this - if that happens, all it would take is an email. –  Emrakul Apr 5 '13 at 17:50
    
I assume the auto-sock puppet account metric would not get tripped even if we did vote for all each others Q&As (assuming that actually were worthy) if both people were upvoting other Q&As as well, asking Qs, providing As, and generally staying active on the site? –  SSumner Apr 5 '13 at 17:52
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@SSumner In a case like this, both accounts are likely to share at least one IP address. That may increase the likelihood of tripping vote fraud/sockpuppet detection. –  Jim Apr 5 '13 at 18:01
    
@Jim (@SSummer) I'm pretty sure SE was designed with that in mind. They can't expect only one person per IP. If they did, they would have to say "one account per household," not "one account per person." That being said, it does increase the likeliness, but I still doubt it'll happen. –  Emrakul Apr 5 '13 at 18:03
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@SSumner Details of the serial voting script are intentionally kept secret (even from mods), so you won't get a clear answer. In general I'd say don't worry about it. In the unlikely chance you raise a red flag, one of the site's moderators will contact you and you'll get a chance to discuss the issue in private (we rarely go for the hammer first). Just use your common sense and vote normally as you would with any other post. Avoid going through his/her profile and voting all his/her posts and there won't be any problems. –  Yannis Apr 5 '13 at 18:06

We would never allow a situation to develop where it became mandatory for you to disclose anything personal in your public profile.

We do require that you disclose affiliation with something you are promoting in your posts if you are involved with that something, but I don't think that situation would arise in the context of offering up one's spouse. At least I hope not. Still, this disclosure would need to be within the post.

That said, if excessive, the patterns would be indistinguishable from co-workers that tend to up-vote each other's posts quite frequently, and we do contact people to warn them when we notice it. Just be sure to show your appreciation for outstanding contributions as a matter of habit, if your spouse wrote some of them then fine :)

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Thanks. I was not suggesting making it mandatory to reveal this affiliation. But thanks for the answer –  SSumner Apr 6 '13 at 13:38

Should we refrain from voting at all on each others' questions & answers?

Personally I'd do this. It's much easier than trying to remember how many you've voted on and worrying about whether you might trigger any vote fraud scripts etc. It also saves you from any accusations of sockpuppetry even if they're "light-hearted".

My son is active on Gaming and I make it a point not to vote on his posts regardless of how good (or bad) they are.

I also don't answer his questions on the site.

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I would be really upset if my dad refused to answer my questions. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 6 '13 at 12:35
    
@BoltClock'saUnicorn - you know what I meant. But just to be clear I've edited the answer. –  ChrisF Apr 6 '13 at 12:37

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