Please detect serial down voting and generate a pop up and a limit to disallow voting on that user.

Similar to the read box that tells you that you are out of votes and stuff, but instead:

"You've exhausted your votes on $username for the day, please try again in X hours."

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    Isn't there a mechanism in place to undo the damage of a "serial downvoter"? Are you saying that is not detected just like a "serial upvoter"? – raven Jul 3 '09 at 0:37
  • @raven: This is a much cleaner solution than a script that checks daily. – GEOCHET Jul 3 '09 at 0:38
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    A user can only do a relatively small amount of damage per day. Isn't it limited to 30 votes? So, you lose 60 points for at most ~24 hours. Is that really a problem? – raven Jul 3 '09 at 0:46
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    You're thinking of 1 user and 1 day. Grudges are a powerful thing. – Ólafur Waage Jul 3 '09 at 0:50
  • @raven: It was enough of a problem to create Jeff's ugly solution. – GEOCHET Jul 3 '09 at 0:56
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    @Ólafur Waage: You're saying some people amass armies of fellow SO users to help assault other SO users who have offended them? I'm not sure I follow you. Can you describe a scenario? – raven Jul 3 '09 at 0:59
  • @Rich B: "Jeff's ugly solution" being the daily check vs. the instant check? – raven Jul 3 '09 at 1:01
  • @raven: It happens to me, I will see 4 or 5 old posts that will have -4 or -6 on them after someone freaked out about an edit. – GEOCHET Jul 3 '09 at 1:08
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    @raven: Yes. A daily recalc is ugly. An algorithmic limit is clean. – GEOCHET Jul 3 '09 at 1:08
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    @Rich B, why is the current mechanism ugly? – Timothy Carter Jul 3 '09 at 1:36
  • Well, in terms of training your users, the fact that it does it in the backend every night, doesn't really help. The users should be informed while they're doing the undesirable action that they cannot do that. – devinb Jul 3 '09 at 11:43
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    @RichB "It happens to me, I will see 4 or 5 old posts that will have -4 or -6 on them after someone freaked out about an edit. " More likely it is due to your comments and perceived attitude. Given your voting record (2x more downvotes than upvotes) the phrase "You reap what you sow" comes to mind. How can you complain about downvotes when you're one of the most prolific downvoters? – tim Jul 20 '09 at 15:57
  • I don't like the idea of having a time limit... would make detecting a serial downvoter much harder. – Carlos Heuberger Jan 13 '10 at 17:34

To generate some sort of working algorithm for preventing serial downvoting. You would have to look at the logs of a real serial downvote and gather points from that.

  • Is the user going through the targets answer/question list and downvoting quickly ?
  • Is the user only downvoting new answers by the target
  • Is the user doing this over a large period of time?
  • Has the user ever upvoted the target?
  • Are there sudden bursts of downvotes to a question that isn't on the front page (or a recent question)?

Serial-downvoting is already detected and prevented - only without the popup, something that has been discussed on the StackOverflow podcast a few times (I cannot find mention of it in the transcript however)

If I recall, the reasoning is basically if you tell the user "we've stopped counting your votes again $user", they'll work a way around it. If you silently ignore them they continue on, not causing any real damage..

Atwood: [...] There was a gem of something in there that's a little bit interesting that we've thought about which is, we have had incidents of people who--they get pissed off at another user so they go in and downvote everything that user has ever done. Right? First of all, that's not as bad as it sounds because an upvote is worth five times as much as a downvote, so it would take five downvotes to cancel out one upvote so there's a limited amount of damage you can do. Plus you only have 30 votes in a 24 hour period anyway, so you can only do that on 30 posts by that user. But still, it is aggravating and I totally empathize with people that are complaining because this is annoying. Somebody told me, it might have been you--I don't remember, Mr. Reddit fan, but on Reddit they track this and if they see a user consistently downvoting another user, they basically silently undo all those votes, like those don't even count.

from Podcast 026

There was a better discussion of this subject, but I cannot find it (the above quote took about 20 searches to find..)

  • Yes, we all know this, but it is ugly. – GEOCHET Jul 3 '09 at 1:09

This would be under the assumption that some sort of daily limit on votes per user is implemented. But if that ends up being the case, I think that this would be a pretty handy way of notifying a user.

If there was a way to detect that you were giving votes in rapid succession (say less than 5 minutes apart) to the same user, that would make it much better to detect cases of serial downvoting instead of just cases of two people being active at the same time and their votes coming rapidly.

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