When I read a question and its answers, I vote up the ones (posts, not people) I like together at the end just before leaving that page. So typically, if I like a question and four answers out of many, I'll upvote those 5 posts, and all those votes are cast 1-2 seconds in between them.

How would I know that I am not committing serial voting?

I don't have time or remember to go those posts the next day to make sure that my votes are there.


4 Answers 4


Serial voting describes a pattern where your votes seem to focus on specific users instead of posts. If you up-vote a question and a bunch of answers to it, then you probably don't have much to worry about.

This can be a little tricky in very niche tags where you tend to see the same people answering most of the questions and you notice that the majority of your votes tend to go to the same people over time - this is perfectly okay too, as long as it's the posts you're voting for. After all, if all you see during the day happens to be COBOL and Fortran, who are we to judge what you vote for?

We're evaluating a change to the system that would send you an inbox notification if the system detected that you were probably casting a few too many votes for friends or coworkers, and provide links to information on why that's bad for the system overall. Taking very niche tags into consideration has made progress there a bit slow, but we're close to coming up with something that should work reasonably well. As others have said, if the UX doesn't at least give you a hint that something might be 'bad', then you've got a problem with the UX if people continue doing it.

All in all, if you're honestly voting to give what you feel is better information more prominence in the system, then you're probably okay. If you have any other motivations, then you're probably going to see votes reversed and perhaps contacted by a moderator.

Don't worry so much about evaluating what you're doing in the context of systems designed to thwart bad behavior, just worry about the real motivation for what you're actually doing :) Systems get smarter and more forgiving where appropriate over time, so don't waste too much time trying to avoid them.

  • 4
    My only worry about this would be that we give out more information to puppet masters so they can hide a little bit more effectively.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 16:02
  • On the other hand, if they just stop... that solves things ;p Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 16:08
  • 1
    @ChrisF You wouldn't get notified instantly, it would be an inbox notification say a day after we detected the pattern. You'd really never be able to be certain what vote, or string of votes set it off, or what the threshold was. We thought about making it just-in-time as you voted, but opted to go the other route due to the same concern; we don't want to just give goal posts for folks to cheat around.
    – user50049
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 17:45

Do you go through posts of specific users and voting on them?

That is - voting on them because they were posted by those users and not because they were good/bad?


Then you are not serial voting.

That doesn't mean you are voting well - you should vote on posts not because they are there. Upvotes posts you think are good, downvote posts you think are bad.

  • No, not users but questions of a specific topic.
    – Farhan
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 15:16

Voting on a question and its answers, after evaluating each one for its merits, is expected behaviour.

Of course, voting on something you have not read is very much discouraged.


  • reading and evaluating all answers for a question, then casting votes for all of them, based on their merits: good
  • voting up answers merely because you like the questions: bad

From what I read in your questions, this is fine. Its how most people use the site. No one reads everything except on the smallest sites. You focus on topics and questions that interest you, and vote accordingly.

I'm not going to read OS X questions on SU (unless there's a moderation issue) or cat questions on pets (Dog person here!). Focusing on a topic, and voting based on what you read is the natural way to use a site.

Serial upvoting is voting for stuff because you like someone, or just randomly upvoting things because. As long as you're selective and vote in terms of quality in what you read (and not everything there), its fine.

Voting after reading everything (I vote after each useful post) is strange but some people probably like orange marmalade in their instant noodles. Who am I to judge?

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