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I stumbled over the following which made me a bit puzzled:

A user (quite low rep) asked a question whose solution appeared immediately tricky, but unfortunately it was quite unclear, ambiguous and required clarification.

Shortly after, another user replied to that unclear question with an almost ridiculous simple answer. That made me immediately think that the user who answered has apparently completely missed the underlying possibly hidden tricky problem. IMHO, his overly simplistic answer not only requires invalid assumptions about the problem, but it was in no way a suitable approach to solve it.

Nonetheless, the almost funny answer was accepted quickly, and to my astonishment, was up voted seven times in a just a minute. Puzzled.

That made me curious, and thus I queried other answers of the user who answered the question. And not to my surprise they all came out a bit suspect.

After a closer look, and some further queries, I suspected the user is using sock puppets and some other fraudulent activities to gain votes.

I gathered the following:

  • The main account's answer will be accepted quickly, even when the question is still very unclear and ambiguous and requires clarification.

  • The main account's other answers (accepted or not) receive up votes which happen in batches in a very short duration (which indicates there are a number of sock puppets contributing to the up votes which are all controlled by one person). This happens now and then.

  • The main account's answer is often not quite correct. Oftentimes, there are a few comments from third who question the main account's (accepted) answer or even conclude that it is outright wrong.

  • The main account's answer (not accepted) gets up voted at a certain time, even though there is a far better accepted answer from a third which doesn't get up voted at the same time. This is weird at least.

  • The suspected puppet, as a questioner, is somewhat unimpressed by the other more correct answers and also by valid comments.

  • The puppet's and the main account's English is somewhat broken and easy to identify.

  • A Puppet and the main account built a group who interact to each other with votes and accepts.

  • The main account often answers its own question with a bunch of up votes.

It seems there have been answers deleted from the main's account formerly, already.

I'm a bit reluctant to disclose the user.

What should I do in this case?

  • 4
    Did you flag a post for moderator attention yet? – Martijn Pieters Nov 11 '13 at 17:13
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    Not yet. I just want to hear more about how to handle this. – CouchDeveloper Nov 11 '13 at 17:14
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    +1 for not naming names and pointing fingers publicly. – Oded Nov 11 '13 at 17:19
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    We cannot do much, if anything. Flag a post for moderator attention, they have the tools to verify the activity, we don't. – Martijn Pieters Nov 11 '13 at 17:19
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    -1 for not naming names and pointing fingers publicly. How do you think we're going to get our jollies laughing at the guy? – user1228 Nov 11 '13 at 18:02
  • @Won't LOL, but an excellent question. – CouchDeveloper Nov 11 '13 at 18:09
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    Is it wrong that I up-voted the comments by both Oded and @Won't? ;) – Andrew Barber Nov 11 '13 at 19:15
  • @AndrewBarber I tend to agree that it's not wrong, since it quite well expresses your moral conflict. – CouchDeveloper Nov 11 '13 at 19:23
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Flag a post of theirs for moderator attention and provide what information you have. If you can't fit the information that you have into a flag comment (and you don't feel a summarized version would be enough for a mod to quickly see what's going on) then use the contact us link at the bottom of the page to send a more detailed message to a community manager.

You are correct that bringing up the specific case on meta isn't appropriate; this is something that needs to go directly to mods or SE employees.

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