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Do the Stack Exchange sites have ways to filter farming of upvotes/marking as correct answers for questions they themselves posted?

For example:

  1. Person A created 4 accounts. Account A, Account B, C and D. Let's say Account B is his real account (the one he wants most points for)
  2. Person A uses account A to ask a question he already knows the answer
  3. Person A logs off Account A, and logs in to Account B to answer
  4. Person A logs out of Account B, logs in to account A and marks his answer correct plus upvotes this answer as well.
  5. And the cycle renews as well with Accounts C and D

How does Stack Exchange detect and flag this kind of person? Through public IP? What if the person was sneaky, and uses his/her units at home/office?

Would really be helpful for future reference in other web-based projects that have upvoting.

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17  
Yes, we do have systems in place to catch people who cheat like you describe. No, we are not at all going to describe them. Suffice it to say numerous cheaters get caught every day. –  Andrew's a Unitato Nov 6 '13 at 1:59
    
I've read the answer by Anna Lear in this question meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/152682/… I guess I'll have to do better research then. It seems to me that there isn't a fully automated way to prevent this, and you will need moderators to investigate whenever this happens. –  Malky.Kid Nov 6 '13 at 2:12
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Yes, by all means do your research and notify us of the results. –  Robert Harvey Nov 6 '13 at 2:18
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I do not understand why this question has a downvote. Why? Was it not helpful? –  Malky.Kid Nov 6 '13 at 4:10
    
Possible reasons: Historically, people who ask this question have a high rate of very soon being caught cheating themselves. Also, many people probably think it should be obvious we wont give any details. Finally, it seems to be a general "low-quality, no research-effort" post, which ostensibly isn't really about Stack Exchange, from what you say here. –  Andrew's a Unitato Nov 6 '13 at 5:41
    
"Also, many people probably think it should be obvious we wont give any details." I'm embarrassed.. Just thought that it would be beneficial to have a deep look at how sites like these work against being "gamed". Should I not have been specific about stack exchange and should I have posted this as a question in programmers instead? –  Malky.Kid Nov 6 '13 at 6:07
    
I don't know enough about Programmers, but if your intent is to figure out how to do it on a site of your own, this (Meta) isn't the place. There might be questions on that topic, or articles out there somewhere else, though. –  Andrew's a Unitato Nov 6 '13 at 6:25
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1 Answer

up vote 11 down vote accepted

The exact details of the voter fraud detection are kept secret to prevent gaming of the system. However, consider these publicly available details:

  1. You need a certain amount of reputation just to cast votes, including votes on your duplicate account. So you already need upvotes from other users just to enable your sockpuppets to vote. This makes it too difficult for the laziest of would-be sock puppeteers.

  2. There is a script that runs every night that detects fraudulent voting activity, and automatically invalidates it.

  3. Moderators have the ability to detect and delete your duplicate accounts. They can also award you the grand prize.

Users who attempt to game the system this way only hurt themselves. They haven't figured out yet that the only way to accomplish anything meaningful in life is to act with honesty and integrity, and to protect the trust they earn from others. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that Stack Overflow isn't the only place they sabotage themselves, nor is it the first time.

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9  
So reputation isn't a measure of my life's worth? And you're telling me this now!? –  Servy Nov 6 '13 at 2:30
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Add in that users who spend a considerable amount of time here in specific topics are usually quite good at spotting this type of behavior and flagging it for moderators to investigate, as well. :) –  Ken White Nov 6 '13 at 2:38
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@Servy Exactly where in the above answer do you see Robert say that reputation isn't a measure of your life's worth? –  Andrew's a Unitato Nov 6 '13 at 3:12
    
I see! Answer number 1 REALLY contributes a lot to the question. –  Malky.Kid Nov 6 '13 at 3:57
    
if (reputation==0) {do(kill, myself);} /*no reputation = no previliage*/ –  Jamie Mar 9 at 3:51
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