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What is serial voting and how does it affect me?

First of all, I must say that I have no sock-puppet or any other similar ways to gain votes like telling my friends to upvote my answers.

I joined Stack Overflow about 2 weeks ago so I am not sure what will happen in this situation.

About 15 mins ago (from the time this question was posted), I had been upvoted more than 10 times for my answers. I don't know who voted. I'm quite sure my answers are good enough to be accepted but this case is quite weird.

What should I do?

marked as duplicate by a cat, Time Traveling Bobby, Lix, alex, Ben Brocka Apr 12 '12 at 16:13

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    Nothing. This will most likely automatically be corrected. – Bart Apr 12 '12 at 12:40
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    Curious, based on the fact that you accepted my answer, are you trying to test the limits of the system? I highly recommend you don't do that. – casperOne Apr 12 '12 at 13:10
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    Not at all... I see that your answer is useful, then I voted it up. Moreover, among all the answers, yours is most complete and precise, and I selected it as accepted one. I'm just (very) new to SO so I'm not completely sure that I've done the right way. – Thiem Nguyen Apr 12 '12 at 13:18
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    @ThiemNguyen Fair enough, just know, we are watching you. – casperOne Apr 12 '12 at 13:31
  • @ThiemNguyen Also note, we can be somewhat light-hearted on meta. – casperOne Apr 12 '12 at 13:31
  • @ThiemNguyen And downvotes have a different meaning here. – casperOne Apr 12 '12 at 13:32
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    Thanks for your remind. Cheating will never be present in my mind, so being watched by a moderator is not pressure but a honour. Again thank you for helping a newbie better understand the community. I am going back to SO now to watch for new questions to which I could give answers. Regards, – Thiem Nguyen Apr 12 '12 at 13:40

The profile in question.

To be quite honest, looking at some of the information, it doesn't seem like the users in question are completely unknown to you.

Based on information only moderators can see (and no, we can't tell you what that information is), it seems that there are a number of traits that you and the people voting you up share. This information gives the appearance of either socks (which based on what I'm seeing, is not completely far fetched) or a vote ring (co-workers, perhaps).

Either way, the automated vote fraud script should very well take care of that and a number of these votes should be invalidated by the end of the day. If not, we'll probably have them reviewed to be invalidated manually.

  • "reviewed to be invalidated manually" - I didn't even know that happened. Interesting! – Josh Darnell Apr 12 '12 at 13:03
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    @jadarnel27: I think the point is that the moderators will have to turn them over to the developers to review manually. As far as I know, mods don't have the power to invalidate votes (yet!). – Cody Gray Apr 12 '12 at 17:43
  • @TheEstablishment Ahh, that makes much more sense, thanks! Even still, I didn't know that the developers ever manually invalidated votes. – Josh Darnell Apr 12 '12 at 18:32
  • @TheEstablishment: Not necessarily devs, IIRC community mods can as well. (Search TL for "For future reference: doing that is literally" with quotes) – Manishearth Jun 26 '12 at 6:51
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    Just happened to read this thread here. There was something that left a nagging feeling for me. If the appearance of socks "is not completely far fetched", then perhaps there is something wrong with the discrimination ability? One cannot go around saying like "all Chinese have similar face" (choose appropriate foreign race for you). If one is unable to discriminate clearly on such strongly loaded questions then one simply should not do that discrimination at all - mentioning it sounds already somewhat threatening. Guilt should be assigned clearly, not based on similarity. Just my thoughts... – Roland Pihlakas Dec 27 '14 at 7:10
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    One clarification. To think or investigate that someone is suspicious might be okay. People think all kinds of things and without thinking we cannot see the alternatives. But to take the effort and go as far as to tell someone, that you are suspicious and you are not gonna tell why - it does not sound too nice or helpful. That is already an action (based on unimproved discrimination) - since it already has or potentially has effects on others. – Roland Pihlakas Dec 27 '14 at 7:32
  • Hello guys! It's been almost 3 years as a SO resident and this knowledge ecosystem not only gave me uncountable expert helps, but also made me feel like I'll never be forgotten. LOL sometimes someone pings me with a comment in a very old answer and I update it (and update my knowledge as well, which is a good thing). Sometimes they just ping me to say thank you, and that's simply wonderful! To say about this thread, well, tbh I still didn't know who did the vote serial and why. But I was just happy because they are reverted. – Thiem Nguyen Dec 27 '14 at 10:09
  • Also, I personally think if someone posts a thread, asking what they should do in a specific situation, it's enough just telling them something useful, because it sounds really scary asking a question and being told "you are suspicious and we are watching you, based on information we can't share with you". In this case, an existence of automated reversal mechanism is enough for my curiousity :D And if there are many shared traits with that serial voter, provided that I'm starring a sock, I should be an extremely ridiculous guy doing naive things and asking for punishment. – Thiem Nguyen Dec 27 '14 at 10:16

If the votes come from multiple users, congratulations. :) That is normal and you'll keep the votes and reputation earned. (That is, given everything's fine. See casperOne's answer.)

If the voting comes from a single user, it will be corrected by the system, restoring your reputation, so you don't have to do anything.


It is good that you have reported here to the moderators for your problem.

It's been 14 days you created your profile, but you don't sound new to this site. Because you got 14 Badges already. I am very much impressed. Yesterday you post your first flag to moderator attention. Your age is 20 so believe that you are a college person. So your upvotes may be a prank of your friends (but I am not sure for it). In 14 days you have done 192 activities and your profile view is 110? Your profile views says that someone is visiting your profile frequently for those false upvote.

Stack Overflow has a script which takes care of serial upvoting.

So conclusion will be, either you are very smart person who has done false voting and then reported here, or you innocent but got target by some of your friend or his smart script program.

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    Thank you. Yes I am a college student now. :) I knew about SO before but just through Google when I look for solutions to my programming problem. How to get badges is easy to understand as they all have descriptions. But here I mean how to behave professionally in SO community, which newbies (like me) always feel a little bit scared. What I do is just check for new questions of my favorite tags, then answer if I can. I believe all of my repu points are valid EXCEPT those unknown serial votes, and I will be very happy if moderators help me delete them. By the way, thank you for your answer :) – Thiem Nguyen Apr 12 '12 at 16:29
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    "Smart people" are not just well capable of gaining badges, but also aware of reversal algorithms. So I fail to see the necessary motivation that should be behind this theoretical crime. – Roland Pihlakas Dec 27 '14 at 7:14

There is nothing you have to do in this situation. It will be corrected by the system if someone serially upvoted your question/answer and it will be reversed.

But if different users like your post then congratulations, nothing will happen.


This might be normal. But if some user visits your profile and upvotes all your answers and questions, there is a system which will track these reckless upvotes and invalidate them. Your reputation will return to it's previous state. You have nothing to worry about.. :-))

I ran into the same situation a few weeks ago. I wrote an email to Stack Overflow and they told me that these things happen sometimes. Users do not have to worry if they have not got upvotes by fraud.

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