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Looking proposals in Area51, I found something quite suspicious. I think this chart explains what I mean.

enter image description here

A deeper look shows that all these users joined SE in few minutes/hours apart. Just follow this proposal and have used his 5 votes each.

If it is found as a fraud, what actions should be taken?

Do we have some mechanism to check this kind of fraud?

Already happened before?

  • Though this one really seems somewhat fishy (and apparently rightfully so), a sudden increase in followers does happen naturally from time to time if the proposal gets promoted on an appropriate platform or venue. For example, I do not think that this jump was due to sockpuppeting. – Wrzlprmft Nov 22 '14 at 8:04
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    I haven't looked at this proposal, but a prominent person blogging or tweeting a link can produce that effect. I was part of a wave who joined SE (A51) to commit to one proposal that Joel blogged, for instance. So new accounts don't automatically mean fraud, though they can be that. – Monica Cellio Nov 23 '14 at 2:56
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The mechanism is called "community managers who work for SE". I'll pass this along, they'll check if there's any foul play here.

Having said that, the proposal is still a long, long way away from becoming a site, so I wouldn't worry too much about it either way.

As for whether this has happened before... well. "This" is debatable, depending on what actually happened here, but yes, there have been proposals where folks have decided to create multiple accounts to either upvote or downvote questions en masse. We invalidate these as needed.

In the end, this sort of thing tends to be a self-correcting problem for new sites. Sure, a person or a group of people can create a bunch of sock-puppets to push the site into private beta... but then the site is pretty much guaranteed to fail since it doesn't have an actual community of interested users. We don't worry about it too much because of that. Trying to prevent a proposal from launching through shady means is a different matter, but it's pretty rare and generally quite obvious since it tends to happen only on particularly controversial topics.

  • 4
    cough pastafarianism – bjb568 Nov 22 '14 at 4:16
  • 5
    That's a bad cough you have there, @bjb568. Better see a doctor. :) – Adam Lear Nov 22 '14 at 15:09
  • cough cough LGBT+ – apaul Feb 5 '15 at 1:01

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