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I didn't find any other topic like this, so:

Imagine the following scenario:
User A and B (possibly C,D,E...) want to abuse the system like the following.

  • A asks some simple question.
  • B answers the question correctly (since it's simple and ontopic, i.e. a regular SO question, but possibly a duplicate).
  • C,D,E... all upvote the answer of B and the response of A.

If this happens repeatedly, A and/or B can quickly gain a lot of reputation.

Is there some automatic analysis tool that shows the moderators such "clusters" of abusers?

Or are the moderators able to deal with such situations manually?

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See - and more importantly for this scenario - – ChrisF May 5 '11 at 10:47
Have you identified a possible instance of this, or were you looking to get away with it? (or were you just curious?) – slugster May 5 '11 at 11:34
If you try to get away with this, don't come to Meta afterwards complaining that your rep is gone. – Time Traveling Bobby May 5 '11 at 11:36
@slugster: I was curious, because I couldn't imagine such a big crowd-powered site to work without some automatic fraud detection mechanisms. Now that I read (especially the second part of) my question again, it kind of looks like I would like to know if it's possible to detect an abuse I committed. This is funny, since it would be kind of stupid to ask a question like this if one did some abuse like that in the past (see Bobby's link, which I didn't know of and which is very entertaining). – ptikobj May 5 '11 at 11:44
up vote 11 down vote accepted

There are several levels of protection against such voting abuse/fraud:

  • Automated scripts that detect anomalous voting patterns
  • Moderator tools that show suspicious voting patterns
  • Moderator tools to investigate specific users

The details are not public, as that knowledge could help to get around those measures.

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