Someone seems to be playing with the Stackexchange Hot Question algorithm:


This question seems to be the coordinated work of about a dozen entirely new users (created today) to post a "question" that gets a high "hotness" score.

I don't know any Chinese and Google Translate is imperfect, but it seems to be entirely content-free (having only meta-content) and should only exist on their meta site (if there is a reason for it to exist at all).

The fact that all participating users seem to be entirely new and are up-voting is rather strange as well (and borders on cheating, in my book).

  • meta.chinese.stackexchange.com – Doorknob Jun 25 '13 at 13:36
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    I was going to downvote for being in Chinese, but then I took a look at the site title. – John Dvorak Jun 25 '13 at 13:37
  • I thought there was a filter that removed mostly non-english titles from the hot questions list? – Mad Scientist Jun 25 '13 at 13:37
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    Since it's currently #1 on the hot questions list I think this doesn't just concern meta.chinese.stackexchange.com. – Joachim Sauer Jun 25 '13 at 13:37
  • oh... I just saw this :O – Doorknob Jun 25 '13 at 13:38
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    I would reject the Google translation as an obvious audit in the suggestion queue. – John Dvorak Jun 25 '13 at 13:39
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    The Chinese on that question does not seem like it's written by a native speaker, AFAICT. It's understandable, but weird. Maybe someone used Google translate. – zw324 Jun 25 '13 at 13:39
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    Too bad downvotes require at least 125 rep, and the association bonus is only 100 – John Dvorak Jun 25 '13 at 13:40
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    Sock puppet ring, it's one evil troll against all the might of Stack Exchange. Will be dealt with soon enough. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jun 25 '13 at 13:40
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    This is probably sock puppets again. – Alvin Wong Jun 25 '13 at 13:40
  • Google Translate: "Should be clear that the resources will not be written by one user or only by the multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, but by whoever wants to contribute." ... wat – user200500 Jun 25 '13 at 13:42
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    It looks like the job worthy of Flack Overstow. Perhaps it was created by this? – John Dvorak Jun 25 '13 at 13:44
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    I just noticed that Sparn Tesa and user2915 also has an account over at Christianity... wouldn't be surprised if that's the next target. – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Jun 25 '13 at 13:51
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    @LBT Actually, no, that was the previous target. The mods and community team are aware of this situation. Please spam flag that post on Chinese. – Manishearth Jun 25 '13 at 13:52
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    @JoachimSauer there are more to nuke there. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jun 25 '13 at 14:12

This is from a known individual that has been trying (without luck) to cause disruptions all over the network. We're aware of it, tracking it and working with the moderators all over the network to mitigate it.

There's always the person playing chess in the park that decides it's more fun to throw the pieces around instead. This is .. well, that sort of situation. Unfortunate, but much more of a waste of their time than our own.

And it was a full moon last night. Pretty sure that has something to do with it.

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    I would say he succeeded to cause disruption, even if just for couple of hours. Anyway, why not nuke all 12 accounts he created? – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jun 25 '13 at 15:01
  • @ShaWizDowArd It really only takes a few clicks to get rid of them, and I check every hour or two to see (unless pinged in the interim) and now that folks know what's up - it's really not that disruptive, no? :) – Tim Post Jun 25 '13 at 15:12
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    It is proven that the weirdest behavior happens in the two weeks prior to and the two weeks following a full moon. – ale Jun 25 '13 at 15:19
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    Random thought: Why is it that when an individual wants to create problems for Stack Exchange, it takes multiple people on our side to mitigate it? It seems backwards, and yet, this is what happens most of the time. Something's not right here. – casperOne Jun 25 '13 at 15:19
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    @casperOne only takes one guy to commit a crime, but dozens to bring him to justice – wax eagle Jun 25 '13 at 15:48
  • @casperOne isn't that how the world works? All systems involving people go on the assumption that most individuals are too scared of justice to do anything untoward. – Manishearth Jun 25 '13 at 17:00
  • @casperOne - As a counterpoint, in a few minutes I can destroy a network of spammers by myself. On the balance, bad actors seem to waste more of their time than ours. Think of how much effort this guy has put into his vendetta. – Brad Larson Jun 25 '13 at 17:19
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    "fool moon" at collider seem to happen every month or two, this one is just a tad "fooler" than usual "hundred year floods". And easier to get rid of... – gnat Jun 25 '13 at 20:49
  • @casperOne I'm working on it - yeah, it's backwards quite often. – Tim Post Jun 25 '13 at 22:52

It's been deleted now from spam flags. The same trick had been pulled on Christianity (where, since it was in English, it was obvious crap).

If you notice this happening elsewhere, please ping a mod or a community team member and try to get rid of it.

With any luck there'll be an official answer on this soon.

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    We were able to delete the question with spam flags. Just out of morbid curiosity, what's to stop the spam ring from going malicious and doing the same thing (i.e. deleting random questions with spam flags)? <shudder> – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Jun 25 '13 at 14:25
  • @LBT You're actually quite close to reality here. Fortunately, mods can reverse all that. Just that it's better to get rid of them before they pull a trick like that. – Manishearth Jun 25 '13 at 14:33
  • What about the 12 accounts? Why letting them all live?? – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jun 25 '13 at 14:51
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    @ShaWizDowArd because none of us have the power to destroy them. No chinese mods online, and no comm team at the moment. Otherwise the whole thing would have been cleared up in a snap. – Manishearth Jun 25 '13 at 14:52
  • Weird, I alerted Tim Post (who has Godhood powers :)) he commented back "Terrafirminated" and deleted both comments, and it appears nothing was done. :( – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jun 25 '13 at 14:53
  • @ShaWizDowArd Huh. I can't catch him in TL. – Manishearth Jun 25 '13 at 14:56
  • Well, he's active here on Meta now hopefully he meant "I will check this out and deal with the evil troll" in the comment and will come here to update soon. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jun 25 '13 at 14:58

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