We have on our site (Econ.SE) a user who appears to have been abusing the voting system: his/her account has no activity other than casting exactly enough up-votes to obtain the electorate badge. A look at the user's network account reveals that s/he in fact obtained this badge on at least three-dozen sites in the space of a few days (the only other user to obtain the badge on Econ.SE has been actively participating in the community since its inception over a year ago). I am therefore fairly convinced that this user is not sincerely voting on useful posts, but rather is indiscriminately voting on random posts—which undermines the ability of the voting mechanism to provide information to other users.

To deal with this issue on Econ.SE, I have gone with what seems to be the consensus at "Spam Voting" - Should we stop it?, and written a moderator's warning to the user in question.

Now I am wondering:

  1. Can/should I be doing anything to flag this problem to other communities that also appear to be affected?
  2. If the answer to 1. is "yes" then is there a better mechanism for doing this than creating a meta post on each of the large number of communities in question?
  • Seem that one should not worry if there is people that downvote as they wish, disregarding contents, just because their votes are theirs. Seem appropriate then that the same is for upvotes too. Sarcasm aside, you may have found something suspect going on... In that case it would be probably wise to give the staff an alert from the "contact us" page - or you could try to mail a community manager directly asking him/her to keep an eye open on the problem (they probably have more tool to check the user behavior than we do). Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 17:50
  • Jon Ericson for example has a public mail contact that you could use. Just try to collect enough data and describe your doubts in detail, so that the staff can decide if it is worth to work on the issue. I actually don't believe that publicizing the problem on meta would do us much good, someone may decide to track down the user to point the finger at them. Anyway, this is just a suggestion as how to handle it, I agree that if the behavior seem to be the same network wide maybe there is something strange going on (attempts at confusing the serial-vote detection??) Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 17:52

2 Answers 2


Seems like this would be something to alert a community manager to. I agree with the accepted answer on the linked question - it's problematic and should be dealt with. Ideally this would have happened before the number of sites involved got into double digits, but I know it can be nearly impossible to spot.

Obviously this user doesn't need 36 individual mod messages saying "don't do that" - but those site mods probably should see if there are other people doing the same thing on their sites.

  • 2
    Yes, this is something for a community manager. I did a small sample after I found him on german.SE by chance (only Electorate holder with 101 rep) and my immediate reaction was "if he wouldn't have 5k on that site, I'd say it's a bot". In the sample, there were a lot of sites where he had exactly 600 votes and nothing else. Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 21:49

Since you're a moderator on the site in question, you can simply drop in to the Teacher's Lounge chatroom and let the mods on other relevant sites know about this behaviour. That's one of the main things TL is for: enabling speedy communication between moderators of different sites across the network.

This is better than raising flags on other communities (where you're just an ordinary user), since it enables easy and private two-way communication between you and the mods of those communities. And it's completely informal, so you're making the other mods aware of the problem without making them necessarily take any action.

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