Currently, moderators have no knowledge of serial votes which are auto reversed by the system. There are examples of users being abused for days (only to be reversed each day at 3:00AM), and go unnoticed until they complain.

I propose an automatic flag, and perhaps an automatic annotation on the offending user's account, which would be raised when the reversal script kicks in, and only if:

  • The same user had votes against his posts invalidated by the script ("victim")
  • The same user had his votes against other users' posts invalidated by the script ("offender")

This would make it easier to examine repeated offenders, and find anomalies faster and more efficiently.

  • 4
    I foresee the SO flag queue growing exponentially if this is implemented.
    – Taryn
    Aug 12 '14 at 13:43
  • 1
    @bluefeet then maybe only on repeated offenses targeted at the same user or done by the same user. Aug 12 '14 at 13:44
  • 1
    Multiple days by the same user seems to be a better solution. I'd just be worried that we'd get too many one time flags to deal with.
    – Taryn
    Aug 12 '14 at 13:45
  • @bluefeet Are there any statistics about how many accounts are involved in serial voting day-to-day?
    – JonK
    Aug 12 '14 at 13:45
  • 2
    @JonK I don't think we'd be able to derive that from SEDE and we don't get those types of stats as a mod. I think only a SE employee would be able to provide accurate stats.
    – Taryn
    Aug 12 '14 at 13:46
  • 2
    There are plenty of cases where the voting is entirely innocent and the voter doesn't even know they are doing something wrong. When this was first implemented, Jeff stated in the original blog post that he wanted to err on the side of forgiveness here. If there is going to be any flagging, it would have to be limited to repeated reversals instead. Aug 12 '14 at 14:11
  • I've edited my post. Aug 12 '14 at 14:14

I'd only raise this flag if the serial vote script kicks in on multiple days.

It's quite possible that someone could innocently vote in such a way that is interpreted as a serial vote but only does it the once and then when the votes are reversed realises their mistake and doesn't do it again. It would pointless to raise flags in this case.

Even if the votes are malicious in intent a single occurrence isn't flag worthy. It's only those cases where it's happening for several days in succession or is happening once a week for several weeks.


The main purpose of the automatic reversal is to avoid having to deal with all the simple cases manually. For most cases, just reversing the votes is enough and no further moderator involvement is necessary. I think a flag would be actively harmful here as it would lead moderators to waste time on harmless cases.

What I think would be useful is a flag that only triggers on repeated serial voting cases that actually might merit moderator involvement.

As for annotation, such cases are already visible in user profiles for mods if they look for it, but I wouldn't promote them to the more visible main annotation format as most of them would be noise.


A flag might be too invasive on some sites that get a lot of this (like SO), but on smaller sites it can be helpful for mods to know what's brewing. (I'm not speaking theoretically; as a mod on a smaller site I've seen things after the fact that I wish I could have addressed earlier, but I didn't know.) Perhaps reversals of serial voting could be made available under mod/tools, along with all the other things that are interesting and worth keeping an eye on, but not worthy of sounding an alarm.

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