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I've just had quite unpleasant experience with this question:

How can I highlight elements that match a regex in CKeditor?

First there was a guy who plainly copied/pasted my answer and got 2 instant up-votes. I warned him that I had flagged his answer, after what he deleted it and then down-voted a bunch of my own questions/answers, including that one. Here is his deleted answer, which can be seen if you have >= 10K reps.

Now there's another bloke with a canned link and 2 up-votes.

What's the right way to deal with such activity?

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    Judging from what you say, this guy probably has sock puppet(s) upvoting his answer and downvoting yours. It is hard for a link only answer to get 2 instant upvotes when there are other answers, and downvoting needs 125 rep but he's got only 56 at the moment. – Antony Jan 21 '14 at 14:40
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    and then down-voted a bunch of my own questions/answers, How are you so sure?. I learnt to NEVER assume who votes as it is anonymous for a reason – Walker Jan 21 '14 at 14:41
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    @Tijesunimi You can guess that with a reasonable amount of certainty when you received consecutive downvotes on your posts some time after you leave a negative comment. – Antony Jan 21 '14 at 14:44
  • The guy who down-voted me is this. Apparently, he's now moving his 350 reps over to a buddy (or maybe fake) account to save them. Note the date of the question/answer. Another fraud? – noseratio Jan 21 '14 at 14:44
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    @Tijesunimi, I was tracking his reputation going -1, -1, -1... – noseratio Jan 21 '14 at 14:45
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    If you think something fishy is going on, flag one of your answers, click "Other", and explain briefly what you think is going on. Stick to facts and your assumptions, and identify specific users by linking to profile. And let the mod look into it. He will engage the SE team to look at the voting history if necessary. – psubsee2003 Jan 21 '14 at 14:51
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    Yup, smells of socks. Flagged the answer asking to nuke that sock. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Jan 21 '14 at 14:51
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    Found one of the socks – Anirudh Ramanathan Jan 21 '14 at 14:55
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    Tutudoo has to be annother. Annother one with the suspicious +2 to everything (even things that ended up at -1) and always on questions associated with Dhipin Das – Richard Tingle Jan 21 '14 at 15:00
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    @Noseratio - No I've seen this strategy before. For example here 10K users. Probably the upvote reversal / sock puppet delete script should check to see if any bounty rewards would still have been valid and automatically reverse them. I think it is probably a manual process at the moment. – Martin Smith Jan 21 '14 at 15:02
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    @Noseratio And yet they make it excessively easy for us because they have answered on each others questions to get the accepts. If they were just a little less greedy and only answered on other questions and just upvoted with socks we'd never have found them all – Richard Tingle Jan 21 '14 at 15:14
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    I feel like your question title and the contents have become a little separated. Do you want us to discuss the implications of the bounty rules or help you with this particular situation (or both?)? – Duncan Jones Jan 21 '14 at 15:30
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    To your broader point, this is a pattern that we've seen before. I've caught a few people over the last couple of years that have used sock puppets or voting rings to come in and snipe bounties like this. I can't say if it's becoming more common, but it does happen. Some people will do what they can to exploit the rules of the system, whatever they are. I don't know that this necessarily means the half bounty for highest votes when a bounty hasn't been awarded is a bad design. – Brad Larson Jan 21 '14 at 16:10
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    I've asked a follow on question regarding the surviving bounty here – Richard Tingle Jan 21 '14 at 16:16
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Highest voted and at least 2 up-votes for 1/2 bounty rule

The “Highest voted and at least 2 up-votes for 1/2 bounty” rule is only ever a fall back for if the bounty offerer fails to award the bounty, as such it is unlikely to have been a major contributor to the negative behaviour in this case, the bounty offerer will most likely award it manually.

Suspicion of sock puppet behaviour

Where fraudulant behaviour is suspected the best thing to do is to flag under "other", explaining your suspicions and linking to suspected socks. Investigating these potential socks seems to suggest the +2 behaviour is normal to this group and so is likely unconnected to the bounty rules.

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    I'd also like to add that while it is fun for all of us to play "hunt the socks", opening a meta question and identifying specific users is usually not the best practice. You have to consider the fact that you might be wrong and you may finger an innocent person. – psubsee2003 Jan 21 '14 at 17:36
  • @psubsee2003 true, although this question started off being about how the 2 votes for an auto bounty could cause problems. The sock puppetry fell out of the investigation surrounding that – Richard Tingle Jan 21 '14 at 17:48

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