I'm not certain, and it's certainly nothing as blatant as in this question. But...

I've just come across these two questions:



Which not only have similar problems but are formatted in almost exactly the same way... even the column and table names in their not working queries are identical... posted at exactly the same time. So far so suspicious.

They both get down-voted a bit, up-voted occasionally. Not much, save on

5th March sql_query somehow got 6 upvotes on 6 different questions within 1 minute. 5 on 3rd March, 8 on 28th Feb, 9 on 24th Feb and somehow managed 100 rep on Feb 18 in 8 minutes.

cool_ravi, however, isn't as popular. (S)He did manage 197 rep in 2 bursts on 9 October ( when incidentally sql_query got 96 ).

I suspect they're up-voting each other.

There's nothing to go on really, they've only accepted each others answers a few times, which is more than reasonable; they joined with a fortnight of each other and live in the same country, meh...

To turn this into a question: is this the correct procedure to report possible sock-puppets?

It was just those identical questions that screamed:

sock by <code>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Fae</code>

  • Meh. Probably classmates. – yannis Mar 29 '12 at 22:03
  • Even if they are those voting patterns are highly suspicious – ben is uǝq backwards Mar 29 '12 at 22:04
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    I think it's far more than class mates. The one has a deleted answer proposing the change that appears in the other question. Original asker commented with the second questions title. – Daniel Fischer Mar 29 '12 at 22:05
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    Those look like Jar-Jar Binks' socks. – user102937 Mar 29 '12 at 22:06
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    I believe the pictured are puppet socks, which are totally fine. A sock puppet has a human attached. – Jon Ericson Mar 29 '12 at 22:06
  • Was that a "Yes" then @Robert :-) – ben is uǝq backwards Mar 29 '12 at 22:18
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    @Ben: Merginated. – user102937 Mar 29 '12 at 22:20
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    It does make this answer rather amusing :-) – ben is uǝq backwards Mar 29 '12 at 22:23

You flag one of the posts for moderator attention. Use the "other" option and fill in the box provided with all the evidence you can as well as background information and context. The moderator who processes your flag will use their super secret anti-sock powers to get to the bottom of the abuse, and then take whatever action is necessary (if any).

You can also forward the information directly to the Stack Exchange team by using the "contact us" page, linked in the footer of every page. This is useful if there's too much information to fit into a flag.

It's best that such weighty accusations (if they turn out to be false or unfounded) not be aired in a public forum. Additionally, only mods really have the tools necessary to investigate this, and there isn't really a lot of community discussion that needs to occur in each specific instance. We don't have a tag on Meta for a reason.

  • 5
    You can fit pictures in the "other" box :-)? – ben is uǝq backwards Mar 29 '12 at 22:09
  • On a more serious note, I understand what you're saying. I'll be the first to flag this for deletion if it's unfounded. There was no way of telling the correct method and the box never looks that big; the only guidance was a similar post on meta so here I am... – ben is uǝq backwards Mar 29 '12 at 22:11
  • @Ben: well, sure if you must. Just use the Imgur service like you always do to upload images to other posts, but include only the link in the flag reason. Keep in mind that moderators can see deleted questions and answers, including a list of a user's deleted posts in their profile, so you don't need screenshots of those. Also, they know what elf socks look like. :-) – Cody Gray Mar 29 '12 at 22:14

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