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I was reading Bill the Lizard's response mentioning (rightfully so) that voting for the same user - even with good intentions - is an invitation to possibly hit "suspicious voting pattern" and have those votes negated. So I started wondering:

Does the "suspicious voting pattern" logic take into account the ratio of your upvotes to total upvotes for the user?

Or is that logic merely based on the ratio of your votes for that user to your overall votes?

As an example, I follow most of Perl questions and try to upvote the best answers. A large proportion of great answers for Perl are penned by Sinan Ünür (I'm obviously not the only one of that opinion, as he is a very close second runner in Perl tag statistics - after a gentleman who writes Perl books for a living ;) )

However, I am somewhat reluctant to upvote too many of Sinan's posts as I'm worried that on my low-vote days the system will consider a large ratio of my votes given to him to be suspicious and cancel them. But if I knew that the system would disregard my upvotes for posts which are otherwise highly upvoted, it'd remove such a worry.

P.S. I'm half expecting that the official answer will be 'any details of "suspicious voting pattern" logic are secret to prevent it from being gamed' - in this case security through obscurity just might work, so it's a plausible scenario IMHO.

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Here I was all primed to answer, and then you preempt my answer in your P.S... –  Michael Petrotta Apr 5 '10 at 1:16
You can always go for "i can tell you but then i'd have to downvote you" –  DVK Apr 5 '10 at 1:20
It seems odd that genuinely good people can get hit by SVP simply because they dominate a niche (like Perl). –  amelvin Apr 5 '10 at 1:32
I had a similar concern that I had previously raised. Unfortunately, it seems that a clear answer can't really be given about such things without uncovering too much about how the vote fraud script works. –  gnostradamus Jul 4 '10 at 5:16

4 Answers 4

I am fairly sure that a person upvoted several old posts of mine in mistaken gratitude for an answer they considered useful and I am also fairly sure that these votes were removed as suspicious. I have seen this type of voting before on another site and wonder if any account has been taken of "thanks" votes.

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FWIW, I'm pretty sure I can remember upvoting up to 4 or 5 posts for the same user on the same day without the votes being canceled (to my knowledge). It wasn't a serial upvote, they were just answering a lot of questions that day.

I would personally just not worry about it. If answer is good, upvote it you should. If canceled are votes, on Meta leave note.

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How would I know that the votes were cancelled? I may pay special attention to user's posts, but tracking someone's rep is downright scary stalking :) –  DVK Apr 5 '10 at 3:42
@DVK: I'm not one to judge; I figured since you asked the question, you must have been really concerned about his rep! –  Aarobot Apr 5 '10 at 15:20
"really concerned about my impact his rep" would be more accurate ;) –  DVK Apr 5 '10 at 15:24

There is a gaming flipside to the sockpuppet shenanigans. What if a troll decides they hate a certain user and so start building sockpuppet accounts to attack them. But instead of downvoting - they upvote repeatedly. Suddenly there is a surge of 1 rep accounts upvoting someone innocent - it would be an obvious SVP.

And the innocent party could have their reputation damaged - or in extreme cases more than that, whereas if someone is downvoted repeatedly they would only lose rep.

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You can't vote up until you have 15 rep. I know it's not a terribly high barrier to get over, but it does at least slow down this sort of behavior. –  Bill the Lizard Apr 5 '10 at 1:43
Also, if the victim is innocent, and received several other (real) upvotes on the same day, he could always request a recalc. –  Aarobot Apr 5 '10 at 1:54
Sorry, I'd forgotten about the 15 rep threshold - still its a low fence if you have a bunch of sockpuppets at your disposal. If this is a real problem perhaps a higher threshold for voting would be more appropriate - say 100? –  amelvin Apr 5 '10 at 1:57
@Aaronaught If the victim is repeatedly upvoted by sockpuppets in a SVP manner - how would anyone know they were innocent? –  amelvin Apr 5 '10 at 1:59
Innocent meaning, I didn't ask somebody to go and upvote a bunch of my answers, if somebody did something less-than-ethical then I wasn't involved. Honestly I think it would be pretty obvious to me if someone were screwing around on a large scale because I'd be seeing upvotes on answers that are more than a few days old, when typically the "trickle rate" is maybe 1-2 upvotes per day if any - the majority of upvotes are always on new answers. –  Aarobot Apr 5 '10 at 2:22

I believe the answer is pretty straight:

If you upvote or downvote a single user 5 times in a day, it counts it as suspicious activity.

I don't believe there is any other parts to that "algorithm".

Disclaimer: I know it is 5 downvotes per day. However, I am not completely positive on how many upvotes per day it takes to trigger the suspicious activity script.

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this isn't accurate, but I find your beliefs fascinating! –  Jeff Atwood Apr 5 '10 at 2:21
@Jeff - I assume that this comment coupled with further silence on the Q means that Michael Petrotta's comment about my "P.S." guess is on target? –  DVK Apr 5 '10 at 10:57
Citation needed. :) –  Craig McQueen Aug 3 '10 at 6:58
-1 because a comment like that from Jeff shouldn't be attached to the most-upvoted answer. @Jeff, why don't you just subscribe to his newsletter? –  Pops Aug 3 '10 at 17:01

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