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It seems that someone is trolling the Firearms proposal on Area 51. If you look at many of the black and white questions, someone (and it's always one vote) is voting opposite what would make sense.

Will Area 51 have a tamper resistant system like Stack Overflow does? Is such a thing even possible on Area 51? Can an admin check to see if all those votes are from the same person?

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You ain't seen nothing yet. Evan has arrived. – user27414 Jun 3 '10 at 17:45

This won't be a problem once votes on example questions are limited. A single malicious user is negligible. A cabal would be an issue, you'd need to contact a moderator (or post on Meta) if you think you have spotted one—but be careful you haven't merely spotted a slightly different group within your target audience.

Picking the question with conversation, +9/-1 is a pretty big show of support for that question, you can ignore the -1 if that's the final score. You could also have a user that is afraid to show their face, thinking the other 9 users will force him to change his vote, but honestly believes the way he voted.

Or it could just be a troll. If so, don't feed the troll.

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I confess to being the troll voter, which I had done to demonstrate this very point. Will undo them later...time for dinner! – Stu Thompson Jun 3 '10 at 19:09
@Stu Don't undo them, I'll lose rep ;-). – C. Ross Jun 3 '10 at 22:17
@C. Ross: Looks like we are all going to loose our reputation, so the issue is mute :| – Stu Thompson Jun 4 '10 at 8:32
@C. Ross : Take a look at this :… A guy serial downvoted all of my good questions. After pointing it out in a comment, and getting a +1 on that comment, he reversed his vote ; ) – rlb.usa Jul 13 '10 at 16:13

It's not a popular opinion, but I don't think folks should be able to comment, vote or post questions to a proposal unless they are a follower. I'm convinced that the early days of a proposal will be formative. Trolls could have a non-trivial impact on a proposal.

As you can see in the Firearms proposal, I posted 'Is the Obama administration really going to take my guns away?' as an attempted at rabble rousing. (See the comment thread for more on that.) I also voted the opposite of the concusses on many questions to further demonstrate this effect...but got distracted and forgot to tell anyone. (We weren't supposed to say anything on meta at the time.)

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People can follow and un-follow as much as they want, so this wouldn't be a solution. – Gnoupi Jun 3 '10 at 19:22
I think it is a barrier. Maybe votes & questions could disappear if someone un-followed. – Stu Thompson Jun 3 '10 at 19:57
@Stu at first glance that seems like it would cause more chaos that it solves. Thanks for explaining what you were doing. – C. Ross Jun 3 '10 at 20:12
What can a non-mod do even if the troll is following? And for a mod whether s/he's following doesn't matter. – kennytm Jun 3 '10 at 20:24
@Stu - First, this answer doesn't solve the problem - anyone can join a proposal, even griefers. Secondly, please stop posting your feature request all over the place. Post a new feature request and place all your thoughts on the matter there. If your feature request truly solves an issue, then link to your main request with an explanation, no need to repost the entire request in each answer. – Adam Davis Jun 3 '10 at 22:51
@Pollyanna (aka Adam Davis): First, joining a proposal is de facto support for the forum, something I believe many haters would avoid. Second, remember that a) there was no place other than Area 51 to discuss features at first (where I first proposed my thoughts; questions to MSO were being deleted), and b) I am content with this answer to an existing relevant question to express my idea--no need for duplicative question. (For you to suggest that these two posts qualify as all over the place is somewhere between hyperbole and disingenuous.) – Stu Thompson Jun 4 '10 at 8:45

I think with the frequency at which votes are cast on Area51, there really isn't a big problem here. Ideally, when a site nears the commitment phase, you will have had 60 people voting on the questions to decide if they are on or off topic. Any small deviance will quickly be fixed because of that.

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I think some topics on emotional or controversial things will suffer a disproportionate impact from the trolls. – Stu Thompson Jun 3 '10 at 20:56

A single vote is insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Further, when one example question is voted 'incorrectly' then others will pile on the opposite side. It will actually generate more interest in a given question than otherwise.

If you can demonstrate that it is actually impacting a proposal negatively, then we should look at it more carefully, but a single vote is not going to be an issue in the long run.

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Checking your links, all of them seem OK (they were appropriately voted up or down by several other people), except the Halo one, which I voted for deletion.

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