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Over at Area 51, it seems like there are proposals that are growing way too quickly. Take ROBLOX for example. It was proposed today, and it already has the following qualities

  • 35 followers
  • All of the questions from the proposer have more than 10 votes
  • Almost all of the followers have 51 rep
  • Many of the followers have the same type of picture.

This seems extremely suspicious, and it needs to be addressed immediately.


screenshot

It seems kinda weird that 2 profiles have the exact same picture.


Oh look. Another one. Houdini. 34 followers, all have low rep. Questions from poster are all highly voted. It also seems strange that 94.1% of all followers are only on that proposal


Lookie Lookie. Another. Sanathan Dharma/Hinduism. 18 followers, all low rep. 83.3% only that proposal. I don't think this issue is going away anytime soon.


This one has gone to an extreme. Stack Overflow in Arabic was proposed yesterday, and it has 40 followers. Almost every follower has 51 rep.

  • 8
    Oh no not Roblox again. This was an issue already two years ago, wasn't it? – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Jun 11 '13 at 22:28
  • They probably just posted their proposal far and wide.. Maybe. The gravatars don't look similar to me. – ɥʇǝS Jun 11 '13 at 22:29
  • 3
    Yeah, it isn't necessarily spam. But it seems to be another concrentrated approach to get the site off the ground. Previous discussion: Impossible to Launch Site With All New Users on Area 51? – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Jun 11 '13 at 22:29
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    The number of off-topic comments seems to point to lots of just heard-of-it kind of users. – ɥʇǝS Jun 11 '13 at 22:30
  • 1
    Yeah... but it's Area 51 rep. That's like... take your pick en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Least_valued_currency_unit (of course, Meta rep is 2nd least valued :) – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Jun 11 '13 at 22:33
  • 1
    Yeah. Still, I guess if he's trying to build a legit SE site for (and with) his community, more power to him, and good luck. Not sure what happened to the last attempt, maybe it got auto-deleted due to lack of activity (which of course may happen to this one as well) – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Jun 11 '13 at 22:37
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    @Pekka웃 What about the First Zimbabwean Dollar? And I quoth: The third redenomination produced the "fourth dollar" (ZWL), which was worth 1 trillion ZWR (third dollar), or 10^25 ZWD (first dollar). – Aza Jun 12 '13 at 3:03
  • Area51 rep is the most important rep of all area51.stackexchange.com/users?tab=reputation – juan Jun 13 '13 at 20:54
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    And again, two different accounts sharing same gravatar: one, two - n00b mistake of the sock puppeteer, most likely this "Jordan" again. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Jul 1 '13 at 8:47
  • Every 51 rep account is not suspicious :-| – asheeshr Jul 12 '13 at 2:22
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    @AsheeshR I know that. It's the fact that it is only users with 51 rep, suggesting that there is a user making multiple accounts and following the proposal for rep – Cody Guldner Jul 12 '13 at 2:27
  • Given that both of your previous examples plateaued well short of reaching commitment, I'm not really seeing the danger here. Probably worth noting that I was asked to investigate a severe case of fraud on A51 once, and handled it in the usual fashion - that said, this is very rarely a problem. – Shog9 Jul 12 '13 at 3:48
  • Regarding Stack Overflow in Arabic: the proposer has 34k rep... – Cole Johnson Aug 15 '13 at 4:45
  • @ColeJohnson What is your point? He is new on Area51. And just cause you have high rep doesn't mean you are perfect – Cody Guldner Aug 15 '13 at 14:54
34

There are so many checks and balances in the Area 51 system that this hardly needs immediate attention.

The worst case scenario is this: the proposal doesn't get closed (it looks to be well on the way to closure, by the way) and it somehow reaches 45% commitment... at which point the entire community team reviews it and concludes that it's a viable site. Then the site reaches 100% commitment and we launch a private beta. If the commitment numbers were severely padded, the site is almost guaranteed to fail while in private beta. If it doesn't fail... well, good for us. We have another strong site in our lineup.

In general, trying to cheat your way past the process here does absolutely nothing productive for anybody ever nor does it ensure that a site will be launched.

That said, thanks for raising the issue here. I'll look over the proposal and see what all needs to be done. The question vote stats and whatnot don't necessarily look suspicious to me (in fact, we want proposals that can quickly gain traction), but I'll double-check what's going on.

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    Why 45%? Is there some data related reason or just an "I don't like to do things at 50 whim" (I never set my alarm clock for a round number ;-). – ben is uǝq backwards Jun 13 '13 at 20:07
  • @benisuǝqbackwards It has something to do with when we (used to) run house ads for site proposals. I'm not sure if we still do or why it was 45% specifically. – Adam Lear Jun 13 '13 at 20:20
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    well, that duplicate photo surely does look suspicious – John Dvorak Jun 13 '13 at 22:01
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    @JanDvorak Yep, and it's taken care of now. Not really a big deal, though. It's hurting nothing except the very thing it's trying to prop up. That pleases me in that oddly vindictive way. – Adam Lear Jun 13 '13 at 22:16
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    @Anna I never imagined you have vindictive side in you! – Shadow The Princess Wizard Jul 1 '13 at 8:43

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