Checking some of the recent winners of the Mortarboard badge, I just found three which got the badge as result of serial upvoting. One. Two. Three. (All of them have "Serial upvoting reversed" day after gaining the badge)

I am aware that sometimes it's innocent, e.g. upvote troll who just enjoy wracking havoc, but there also obvious cases of gaming the system like this one who created a sock puppet account to gain the badge and is now suspended for it while still keeping the badge.

Innocent or malicious, those users shouldn't keep the badge.

I know the current policy says "Once you earn a badge it's yours" and I know that devs can revoke badges manually, but at least for this specific badge manual removal would just take time and efforts.

The change I propose is that after "Serial upvoting reversed" happens, it will also check if that user got Mortarboard badge in the same time of the serial upvoting and if so, the badge will be automatically removed.

More than that: to prevent the malicious type from simply trying again, flag will be raised when such thing happens more than once and moderator will be able to suspend the user if he can confirm it's sockpuppet activity.

Just found another one, the most recent winner of the badge. :D

On a wild guess, if such script will run on all existing Mortarboard badges I fear their amount will be cut in half.

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    It might be a bit premature to accuse these users of summoning friends or having sockpuppets... people can get serially upvoted by random people as well (of course, I completely agree with your feature-request, just saying it might be unfair to single the users out as tricking the system; its all possible they are just the innocent victim of someone serially upvoting them).
    – Matt
    May 22, 2013 at 11:07
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    I don't think auto-revoking them would prevent people cheating their way to get it, they're unlikely to pay attention to the rules - there are already rules saying you shouldn't game the system by fake voting, but clearly that is still happening. It's only a bronze badge anyway, who cares about those? Once you get a tasty Silver one or a magical Golden one then bronze badges are just annoying "Yay, I've got a notification of a new badge.... Oh wait, it's just a poxy bronze one."
    – JonW
    May 22, 2013 at 11:08
  • I don't think it is worth an auto revoke, but it is worth giving those user some day in penalty box (if it is indeed fraud voting).
    – nhahtdh
    May 22, 2013 at 11:12
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    You're assuming they know about and are after the badge. They may just be after more reputation... Either way, I agree with the feature request and hope that these people are being checked for sockpuppets, just in case Matt is wrong... May 22, 2013 at 11:14
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    Now I know a good place to focus on catching serial upvoting efforts. May 22, 2013 at 11:14
  • @Matt all three have at least 5 votes in one minute on different posts which means someone clicking upvote blindly in a row. It might be innocent e.g. friend doing it without being asked so I don't ask to auto suspend which won't be fair however they don't deserve badge in those cases. May 22, 2013 at 11:38
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    @JonW may be so, but those things hurt those who earn the badge rightfully and lower the overall value of the badge in my opinion. May 22, 2013 at 11:40
  • @nhahtdh manually checking each such case for vote fraud would be too time consuming for the moderators. Auto revoke is simple and fair. May 22, 2013 at 11:40
  • @ben most of them seem to stop after gaining just enough for the badge, don't think it's a coincidence. Even so, they don't deserve a badge. May 22, 2013 at 11:42
  • @ShaWizDowArd: Regardless of whether the users were knowingly gaming the system or not, I wholeheartedly agree with the feature-request ;).
    – Matt
    May 22, 2013 at 11:47
  • Cheers @Matt your support is appreciated! :) May 22, 2013 at 11:58
  • @Josh nice find, didn't see it before. I come from different direction though, requesting to make an exception in the policy. May 22, 2013 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


About a month two weeks after joining SO I was serially upvoted twice in a matter of four days (Mar 1 & Mar 4), though I didn't earn the Mortarboard Badge. This actually was REALLY annoying. Being new I initially thought it was awesome then it was reversed and happened again three days later and not knowing the cause I did actually think I might "get in trouble" or that it would continue to happen always skewing my reputation every few days. I COMPLETELY agree that a user should not earn the Mortarboard badge for serial upvotes, though I am NOT so sure about the possible suspension because from what I understand from your post, in my situation I probably would have been suspended which most likely would have turned me off to SO for being suspended for something I didn't have any part of.

  • 5
    Cheers, the idea of upvote trolls just strike me as weird but looks like such thing exists. I will update my post. May 22, 2013 at 12:59
  • Ha, yea it was really weird for me too, especially only being on SO for two weeks and having it happen.
    – TronicZomB
    May 22, 2013 at 13:00
  • You won't be suspended if you didn't serial upvote via a sockpuppet. The suspended ones did.
    – user138231
    May 22, 2013 at 13:43
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    @Chichiray I do realize that now, but at the time I had been slightly worried, since I didn't know much.
    – TronicZomB
    May 22, 2013 at 13:45
  • I can tell from experience, I would otherwise have been suspended at least once a month.
    – user138231
    May 22, 2013 at 13:45
  • @Chichiray wow that would be quite upsetting.
    – TronicZomB
    May 22, 2013 at 13:46
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    I've never heard of a serial upvote troll, and certainly never experienced it. Strange. I wonder how those choose who to target, or what their motivation is. For serial downvote trolls it's usually pretty clear (the target is a person that upset them some way or another and the motivation is retaliation).
    – Ben Lee
    May 23, 2013 at 20:33
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    (Maybe serial upvote trolls target someone that made them happy for some reason or another and their motivation is gratitude?)
    – Ben Lee
    May 23, 2013 at 20:34
  • @BenLee That is along the lines of what I was thinking. But having only been a member for 2 weeks, though I did answer questions (mostly "easier" ones since I too was just starting Android programming), I find it hard to believe that I helped someone so much so that they wanted to upvote all my answers...? Maybe I did though... who knows...
    – TronicZomB
    May 23, 2013 at 20:36

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