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Many times when I read threads, I keep on upvoting for the reason being that if someone has put an effort to write a big answer, s/he/it should get some rewards for it.

I recently saw someone getting suspended for voting irregularities.

So, I was wondering if I use the total amount of votes allowed per day, daily, will I be suspended?

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    You won't be suspended just for upvoting questions. If people put an effort into their question, that's an excellent reason to upvote. Oct 7 '13 at 7:26
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    Voting irregularities are things like voting with a sock-puppet account, or always voting up your friend in return for reciprocating votes. Abnormal voting patterns that try to defraud the system. Oct 7 '13 at 7:26
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    @MartijnPieters I upvote detailed "answers" too - a lot of them. Oct 7 '13 at 7:27
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    Perfect! That's what votes are for! Oct 7 '13 at 7:27
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There's three common types of irregular patterns that we discourage (and actively detect):

  • Users creating multiple accounts used to vote for one another (sock puppets)
  • Users that consistently vote mostly for their friends (targeted voting)
  • Users that cast down votes out of anger or spite (a form of targeted voting)

The first case should seem obviously wrong to anyone that understands that cheating isn't a good thing for people to do. We allow multiple accounts, but they should never vote for each other.

The second becomes a problem if low quality posts receive more positive votes than they should, especially if it causes them to out score much better information. We have an implied contract with everyone that finds our site - the best information should be at or near the top. Breaking that is, well, bad.

It's okay if you vote for your friends occasionally, but:

  • Vote for posts that aren't written by your friends too.
  • Vote based on the merits of the post, not your relationship with the person that wrote it. Please don't let a boss or supervisor tell you how or where to vote. For the system to work we need every user's say in the quality of each post to be independent and objective.
  • Realize that constantly voting for the same few people shows a pattern that is practically indistinguishable from someone using sock puppets. Did I mention that votes for your friends should be the minority of your votes?

The third is a problem because that sort of perceived hostility can be very detrimental to the community, especially if you cause someone to lose a privilege that they recently unlocked. It goes back to voting based on the quality and technical merit of the post, not the person that wrote it. This often manifests when someone sees one low quality post, then goes through the profile of the user that wrote it and down votes additional posts in short succession. We strongly discourage this, but generally only issue a warning if it's apparent that you were focused on quality alone.

If you see that a user is consistently contributing low quality posts, it's time to flag for a moderator's attention, don't take it upon yourself to down vote everything and restore justice to the universe.

Other than that, we try to stay out of your business when it comes to voting, because we feel that you should feel free to vote as you choose without being held accountable for it later - provided that you're doing it honestly.

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    We allow multiple accounts, but they should never vote for each other. In what circumstances and why? Oct 7 '13 at 9:11
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    @Luv Some folks don't want accounts on certain sites to be associated with their more professional profiles on Stack Overflow. For instance - you might not want your boss snooping around your participation on some of the religious sites, or others. We allow for that.
    – Tim Post
    Oct 7 '13 at 9:34
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    Another reason is for high-reputation users to be able to answer UI questions about Stack Exchange sites for low-reputation users. When you have over 10k reputation on Stack Overflow, it's going to be hard for you to help someone who is seeing the help only shown to users with less than 100 reputation.
    – ale
    Oct 7 '13 at 14:18
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    @AlEverett Yes, very true.
    – Tim Post
    Oct 7 '13 at 17:13
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    What about Users that cast up votes out of anger or spite Dec 4 '18 at 4:59
  • If a sibling has an account, can they vote for the other sibling? i.e. Person A has brother B. Can B vote for A, and vice versa, if not for every post?
    – user512163
    Jul 31 '20 at 14:08
  • @fasterthanlight As long as (1) the vote is for the post and not the person, and (2) they vote on other content too, there should not be a problem. If all person A ever did when they logged into the site was upvote something by person B, that starts to look bad, even if the votes were cast in good faith.
    – Tim Post
    Aug 3 '20 at 14:42
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You have nothing to worry about, you are using your votes absolutely the way they should be used. You get to decide for yourself when to vote and on what to vote, and using effort as a measure of post quality to help you decide to vote is great!

Voting irregularities are voting patterns aimed at defrauding the site, by trying to gain votes for yourself or someone else in a dishonest manner. Some examples would be:

  • Creating a separate account just to vote yourself up (sock puppeting).

  • Working with friends to vote one another up regardless of post quality (a voting ring).

  • Continuously serial voted someone (vote for one person's post regardless of quality, up and down).

    There are automated processes in place to revert the occasional serial vote, but repeatedly voting on someone, especially if there are other connections (IP address, other patterns that connect you with the other account) then that could also be seen as a voting irregularity.

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You can vote as much as you like and on any post you like.

But if you open a user's profile and upvotes his/her posts (especially in a short period of time) then this is serial voting which is not allowed.

Or if you create another account and start upvoting posts of your first account then this is a voting irregularity.

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    No, that is serial voting. Voting irregularities are worse than that. Oct 7 '13 at 7:27
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    @MartijnPieters Serial voting is a form of irregular voting.
    – yannis
    Oct 7 '13 at 7:28
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    @Yannis: But you'd only get suspended for that after repeating that behaviour. If I were to go over to Jon Skeet's profile once, upvote loads of answers, the serial voting script takes care of that behaviour. If I did it several days in a row, a moderator would have a stern chat with me. If I did it from a Google London offices IP address, then I might be suspended. Oct 7 '13 at 7:30
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    @MartijnPieters The "voting irregularities" suspension message applies to anything that has to do with abnormal voting, it's a vague umbrella term. It could be a voting ring, revenge downvoting, serial voting, etc. Getting a comprehensive list of "offenses" isn't really possible, people invent new ways to abuse voting (and every other aspect of the site) every day...
    – yannis
    Oct 7 '13 at 7:42
  • @Yannis: Of course, I wasn't implying there is a comprehensive list and serial voting is not on it. I just have the impression that a single 'serial voting' incident is not going to get you suspended. Oct 7 '13 at 7:43
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    @MartijnPieters True, more often than not a single incident of anything won't get you suspended, we prefer to warn first. That said, there was this one time when I spotted a serial voter who had successfully guessed the serial voting algorithm and was spreading their votes just enough for the script to not catch them. I didn't waste my time warning them, they obviously knew what they were doing...
    – yannis
    Oct 7 '13 at 7:47
  • @Yannis: Lets hope it was a nice long time in that penalty box! Oct 7 '13 at 7:50
  • @MartijnPieters what's so wrong with Google London Offices IPs? You refer using proxies as general? Oct 7 '13 at 12:08
  • No, I was referring to Jon Skeet's usual office location. Oct 7 '13 at 12:09

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