Irregular voting + 200 rep/day limit + vote reversal = technique for denying a user reputation for upvotes

This can't really be considered a bug, but it probably shouldn't be a feature either.

After having a couple hundred points of reputation disappear from my SO account one day and after reading the posts on SO's handling of irregular voting patterns, it occurred to me that it is possible to turn the anti-vote-fraud protections into a way to keep users from gaining reputation from upvotes over time.

The basic scenario goes like this:

  • an offending user uses 20 votes in rapid succession to max out another users daily rep.
  • no other points for upvotes will be applied to the target users rep. until the cap expires.
  • system detects this as an irregular voting pattern and rolls back the offending user's votes
  • system never applies reputation for upvotes from other users that were received after the rep. cap was hit (I'm assuming this is the case, but I can't verify it)
  • repeat every 24 hours, ideally right after the vote rollback occurs

If this scenario is correct, then the target user will only be able to accrue rep through accepting answers and having answers accepted.

It seems to me that the system could negate the effect of this by applying reputation for upvotes (up to the daily rep cap) that were not applied due to the irregular votes having maxed out the target users rep. (after rolling back the irregular votes).

1 Answer 1


I suppose that the attacked user could always ask for an individual recalc of his/her reputation. This should recover the upvotes that were applied after the attack.

  • 6
    That seems like a poor long-term solution to the problem. As the community gets bigger and bigger, that becomes too much work. Commented Sep 8, 2009 at 13:42
  • Also, the victim has to know 1) that asking for a recalc is a thing, and 2) that it will defeat this exploit. I don't know about anyone else, but the recalc idea didn't occur to me until I read this answer. Moreover, if the attacker is diligent (or automated), the victim will have a limited time to request the recalc before the dummy votes flood in again. Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 17:32

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