51

Yes, it's good that we have scripts to reverse serial voting and when they don't work, I usually flag one of my own posts for moderator attention so that they can escalate. But just now, I got a rather strange one:

enter image description here

That's only a single upvote and by definition it can't be serial. Either the script forgot the rest of the upvotes, or it's a little too trigger happy this evening.

enter image description here

(I'm aware that suggested edits are votes too, and that this could pertain to five of them, but AFAIK only serial up- and downvotes are reversed.)
(I'm also aware that with my reputation level I should not care about 10 points, but this could also happen to users for which it does matter.)

10
  • 3
    Manual voting corrections by staff will also show the same way as automatic serial voting corrections in rep histories. Mar 12, 2021 at 22:50
  • 7
    That reversal happened at 21:43:06UTC. That's definitely not the automatic reversal script, which runs at about 03:00UTC. It's definitely manual. Manual reversals can easily be for any number of votes and may be the result of an investigation spanning many different users (both which voted and were voted upon), with some users affected by a large number of votes, while others may only be affected by a vote or two. That it shows up in your achievements as "Serial voting was reversed" is probably not the best way for it to be indicated.
    – Makyen
    Mar 12, 2021 at 22:52
  • 4
    FWIW, I got one of these too. I wonder if it was a user who voted indiscriminately, there was talk of one in the past
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 12, 2021 at 23:00
  • Oh, and just if you were wondering, in this particular case, it was the reversal of a single upvote, not the reversal of 5 suggested edits (nor in combination with the reversal of up to 5 of the +2 rep you get for accepting an answer).
    – Makyen
    Mar 12, 2021 at 23:08
  • Yeah, that could be. Then at least it shouldn't link to the article about serial voting. Sonic's scenario could be plausible in other cases, but if it's not just me, the 'random voter' scenario is more likely.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Mar 12, 2021 at 23:09
  • 1
    Me too: meta.stackexchange.com/users/798831/ollie?tab=reputation, again a single upvote.
    – Ollie
    Mar 12, 2021 at 23:22
  • 6
    Same here, -20 on a site where I don't even have much rep (and nothing that looks particularly serial). Was some wide action (intentionally?) taken by staff? I can live without my 20 rep, but I'm at least curious what happened. :-)
    – Ryan M
    Mar 12, 2021 at 23:26
  • 10
    There was a past case where a group of users were voting themselves up, and they had voted on a bunch of other posts outside of their ring to "prove" that their votes were legitimate. I think that may be the case. Mar 12, 2021 at 23:52
  • @Sonic indeed, that makes a lot of sense. Hopefully staff will come over to confirm. Mar 13, 2021 at 10:33
  • I just had this happen too, on a site where I only had 2 upvotes ever, and the one that got reversed was originally cast on January 5th. Mar 13, 2021 at 15:14

2 Answers 2

53

Technically speaking, the entry is correct. There was a mass invalidation that occurred on several sites of our network. It was not a normal invalidation in the sense of a user was targeting a specific user. This user had been casting massive amounts of votes on sites across the network, sending out their full 40 votes every day in the span of a minute, in an effort to chase gold badges.

All of those votes that were determined to be "scripted" for the purpose of obtaining badges were invalidated. They are all marked as invalidated like any other invalidated vote in the system because we do not have any other way of marking a vote as invalidated.

As far as I know, this is the first time we have ever invalidated votes in such a way. We would normally just delete their profiles to invalidate all the votes, in which case a bunch of users would all see a series of "User was removed" history entries instead. If we choose to continue using this process to invalidate mass voting sprees like this, we will find a way to clarify this possible case in the help center.

5
  • 3
    Was the reason votes were manually invalidated instead of the account removed, that the user had contributed valuable content to the site and the attribution couldn't be removed because of CC licensing reasons? Mar 14, 2021 at 1:56
  • 8
    The license was not really a consideration more than that there was content of any kind on some of the profiles and we prefer not to be destructive if possible. Most people who do this just create accounts and start voting with the association bonus and there's no concern with deleting them. The only activity ever connected was votes. They tend not to script their votes on the sites they actually care about (because they are already voting normally through their active participation) so the sites where they are active are less of a concern and needing invalidations is rarer.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Mar 14, 2021 at 1:59
  • 9
    @SonictheCuriouserHedgehog We deleted the profiles that had no content, but opted to invalidate votes on the rest for the reasons animuson mentioned. IIRC there were about 8 or so left that had post activity on them.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Mar 14, 2021 at 3:02
  • 3
    @AdamLear fair, but I hope the user is at least suspended, otherwise they'll just keep doing it. Gold badges are shiny and tempting. ;) Mar 14, 2021 at 9:00
  • 2
    ...and looks like it just happened again. :( Oct 20, 2021 at 7:11
8

There are currently three reasons you'll see "Serial voting was reversed":

  • Classic serial voting reversal, where one user voted too much on a single user's posts within a short time frame. This can be pretty distinctive since there may be a lot of votes being reversed at once (though I believe that in some circumstances it's not so many, maybe even as few as three).
  • Scripted voting reversal, as mentioned in the other answer by animuson. This happens when staff decides that someone was gaming the system (usually to get badges), using what has to be automated voting, but they've posted enough that their account shouldn't be deleted outright. It's rare, but this type of reversal has been done on multiple occasions. Usually this is a single vote that's being reversed. Sometimes it's more than one, depending on how active you were during the period the voting was taking place.
  • Double voting reversal. In some cases, it is possible for the same user to vote more than once on the same post. Generally, this happens when two profiles who've both voted on the same post are merged, but this can also happen if the user exploits a race condition. As of June 2022, there is a script to reverse these votes. This means that if a user voted more than once the same post, all those votes except one would be reversed. More details here.
3
  • 1
    I've asked for a Help Center update but this seems like a good start! At least it's documented somewhere.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Jun 27 at 12:06
  • And I'll also update the FAQ. Jun 27 at 18:45
  • @SonictheSaveUkraine-hog "exploits a race condition" sounds like malicious intent or at least an advantage being gained. My impression is that in most cases these double votes are accidental and users don't even notice. I'd reword this phrase. 22 hours ago

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .