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There's been one abusive person on SO that I've been watching, whose reputation was somewhere around 20, which suddenly jumped today to 181. The answer to this quickly became clear, however, when you look at this question: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1419816/problem-in-xmldatasource. He has created an alternate account, which he rated up for answering his own questions, enough that it can now vote for him. It has voted for nearly every one of his answers or questions, bringing a 20 reputation to 181.

Is there anything that can be done to deal with situations like this, where a single user is purposefully gaming the system with two accounts to raise their reputation?

As well, on mechanics--are there any mechanics in place to offer some sort of guard, to prevent a user from continually voting another user up? This might aid in situations like this, or situations where RL relationships devolve into continual point-fishing.

Edit: This specific situation seems to be finished now, with both users no longer existing. Thank you, everyone, for the help.

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Even using the same avatar too. Wow. –  random Sep 15 '09 at 2:48
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unfortunately, the answer just wasnt good enough to be accepted. –  akf Sep 15 '09 at 2:50
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The name "anirudha" is common enough for this to be two different people. And Anirudha Gupta has two accounts on LinkedIn! With two different references even! (Not surprising since the last name is a popular Indian name.) (Still, doesn't mean that it could be someone who promotes himself!) –  Wim ten Brink Sep 15 '09 at 9:18
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@Workshop Alex: This is true, but, when the second account has only one question, which has been answered by the other, five answers, one of which answers the other, points to the exact same blogspot profile as their home website, has the exact same avatar, and the second account claims in a comment that the first account is his big brother...Doubt starts to become more and more unlikely. I only looked into things when I witnessed his profile go from 21 reputation, to 181. –  Brisbe42 Sep 15 '09 at 10:49
    
I'm not disagreeing in this case. Just wanting to point out that superstition based on just the username generally isn't enough. –  Wim ten Brink Sep 15 '09 at 11:19

4 Answers 4

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Report them to a moderator. Moderators can cross-reference IP addresses and see if there is in fact accounts that match. Once that's done it will be up to the moderators and/or the Jeff & Co. to decide. Often times the accounts are merged. There are also chances are the user will be suspended or banned.

There are also other methods to counteract gaming, which includes the ability to see how much someone is voting up and down on another person. This will allow us to find some gaming that goes on.

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+1 For TheTXI answer. –  OscarRyz Sep 15 '09 at 2:54
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...or kill them with fire... –  Eric Sep 15 '09 at 3:54
    
@Eric: fire is so popular, and yet people forget about corroding acid... –  perbert Oct 6 '09 at 14:18
    
Will this be moderated? Because i see many people getting two digit upvotes for googlable answers. –  Amsakanna Apr 21 '10 at 8:36
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@perbert: Corroding acid isn't so funny in India - it's actually used against women a fair bit: Acid throwing –  Andrew Grimm Aug 1 '10 at 8:45

Quote from: More Voting anomalies in the StackOverflow blog.

1. We can automatically detect sockpuppet accounts now. Sockpuppets used for the purpose of upvoting or downvoting will be deleted, and their votes — cancelled.

2. We now perform a more detailed statistical analysis on voting patterns. Any voting patterns that are too far outside the statistical norm will be nullified.

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2  
-1 for +1 and that it really is more of a comment. –  random Sep 15 '09 at 2:49
    
Is that better? –  OscarRyz Sep 15 '09 at 2:55
    
That was and done. –  random Sep 15 '09 at 6:27
    
Will this be applicable if some people assign some 5 or 6 people to upvote their answers daily one vote each? –  Amsakanna Apr 21 '10 at 8:39
    
@Veer probably not, and probably if those 5 or 6 upvote some other the pattern will not be distinguishable from other users. –  OscarRyz Apr 21 '10 at 15:47

I did notice what looked like obvious sockpuppetry here and the sockpuppet accounts appear to be deleted so I'd say the detection process works! Only the useless sock puppet posts still exist :/

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I do suggest to keep the Q at SO, but to delete the answer that was provided. Even though the Q might never be answered, it's still possible for others to provide good answers, which could be upvoted.

While sockpuppets might just ask Q's to gain reputation, this should not mean that the Q's themselves should be considered invalid. Just "kill" the sockpuppet and provide alternative answers.

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