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As many of us already know there are mechanisms in place to detect vote fraud and voting anomalies. Obviously, the exact inner workings of these mechanisms can't be discussed openly, or else people will know how to circumvent them. However, I was curious if someone in the know could address whether or not the algorithms used to detect anomalous voting had the potential to cause problems for users in niche tags. Let me explain further...

As someone highly active in a lower-traffic tag, I often see the same group of people asking or answering questions. I therefore end up casting votes on posts by many of the same people. Sometimes when I get to work I notice a number of new questions and answers which I read through quickly, voting as I go. Since a bunch of those votes can often end up going to the same user, and be given in a relatively short period of time, I was worried that my voting might sometimes get flagged as "anomalous".

I myself haven't seen anything too weird going on with regard to getting votes. I have occasionally noticed losing a couple of votes, but can't totally rule out one or more people simply rescinding their upvotes. The fact that I haven't seen many votes disappear for me may be evidence that the voting anomaly scripts are performing well with regard to low-traffic tags.

Instead of just asking the SO team about this issue directly, I wanted to ask this on Meta in case any other niche denizens saw evidence of any voting weirdness going on or wanted to comment on any relevant experiences they've had that may be related to this topic.

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I lost legitimate 50000 reputation yesterday because of the anemonous voting script. –  XMLbog Jan 6 '10 at 19:05
@Contact us: BTW, you failed. ;) –  gnostradamus Jan 6 '10 at 19:16
50000 reputation? you don't mean 50000 millirep? –  Ether Jan 6 '10 at 19:23
I regularly lose large amounts of reputation to anemones voting. –  mmyers Jan 6 '10 at 20:15
@mmyers: I guess the vote fraud scripts are biased against invertebrates. –  gnostradamus Jan 6 '10 at 20:21

1 Answer 1

I can't answer completely, as I have no knowledge of the exact super-secret algorithm for this (and even if I did I would have to kill you if I told you ;-p), but I can tell you that in your vote history there are some reasonably big clusters of votes, which I assume means that your votes aren't being cancelled (I can't see individual votes, but I can see the clusters). For example, against a group of 7 users (I won't cite names) you have 65, 56, 39, 38, 38, 33, 30 votes (if you see what I mean). Does that sound about right? Too few?

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Thanks Marc. Those numbers sound about right. Do you happen to know how much larger a "vote cluster" would have to get (relative to the others) before it was classified as fraudulent/anomalous? –  gnostradamus Jan 6 '10 at 20:27
I honestly don't. –  Marc Gravell Jan 6 '10 at 20:36

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