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I know that SE sites are designed to give more privileges to users as the users gain the sites' trust (through the reputation point system). This demotivates potential grifters as they have to spend considerable time to gain even privileges to do any real damage.

With that said, have there been any cases of grifters (with high reputation) causing major harm to any SE site? And if so please provide information on the situation and how it was solved or how it might be better solved in the future. I know that SE sites run scripts that check for systemic downvotes and I was wondering if it checked for any other kind of systemic abuse.

*Note I'm not talking about trolls who post the same question over and over or other abuse that comes from users with low reputation.

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What, exactly, do you mean by "grifters"? How does one swindle an online community? – nhinkle Jul 21 '11 at 22:45
@nhinkle: I think he means rep whores. – Robert Harvey Jul 21 '11 at 23:15
Ah. Well there are people who do bad things, and the moderators catch those people and fix their bad deeds, but @SteveMoser if we told you the details, then it wouldn't be a secret! If those tools were publicly known, it would make it easier for people to avoid getting caught, so you're probably not going to get a very detailed answer on this. – nhinkle Jul 21 '11 at 23:22
My answer: "No". – Billy ONeal Jul 21 '11 at 23:51
I guess I did maybe mean griefers more. I guess the difference is that grifters gain someone's (or something, in this case a SE site) confidence to defraud where a griefer doesn't have to do much work before the they cause annoyance. I propose a new word: griefter which means to gain someone's confidence to in order to cause grief. – Steve Moser Jul 21 '11 at 23:53
up vote 7 down vote accepted

No, not to my knowledge; by the time you have 10k or more rep, you are heavily invested in the community and it is "yours" as well as everyone else's. Which is entirely the way it's supposed to work -- these sites are like public parks, for the enrichment, enjoyment, and learning of everyone with an interest in the topic.

Stated another way, nobody's going to vandalize their own home.

We have, however, had high rep users burn out and ask to be deleted -- but this is exceedingly rare.

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