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I don't know why, but I got my account suspended for 1 month for allegedly voting myself, but I don't remember doing that in the last 1.5 years roughly speaking. The only reason I voted for myself from a different account was because someone downvoted like 10 questions in a row, I might be misremembering, but it wasn't to get more reputation points, it was to revert the negative votes I was getting from the same person. If I wanted more reputation points, I wouldn't have made a new account and lost 10k reputation points by doing so.

But after it was found I did that a long time ago, I got suspended and my accounts got merged, I didn't want that, because I wanted to maintain privacy and didn't want people to know that I was the same person for various privacy reasons, so I really think it should have been handled more professionally. They could have disabled my secondary account, because I didn't use it for a very long time, instead of merging it.

Now, I am worried that a moderator might suspend me again for creating some accounts on Stack Overflow for privacy reasons. Is there a way to prevent moderation abuses?

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  • 6
    "The only reason I voted for myself from a different account ..." You lost me here. There's no such thing like a "different account" here, unless very, very specific cirumstances. Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 22:16
  • 3
    The actual question you're asking here, in the title and the last sentence, is answered in What recourse do I have if I believe a moderator has abused their privileges?. Per the help center, questions related to specific suspensions you've received are off-topic here. Your final question doesn't fall into that but is already answered. Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 22:17
  • Your concerns might be derived from an honest misunderstanding. Unfortunate word choosing. Next time ask for support about how to handle others bad behavior.
    – Rubén
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 22:20
  • 3
    Also, accounts can only be merged by Stack Exchange staff - the community cannot comment on them as such. If you really want your prior contributions to not be associated with your current account, request that they be dissociated: the CC license allows you to do so. Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 22:20
  • The point wasn't that I didn't deserve to have some kind of punishment, but they could have simply banned the older accounts. Now, I know for a fact that a mod may ban me for some dubious reason like creating an account or god knows what.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 22:43
  • I believe I did that because if you get downvoted 5-6 times, your account gets frozen and your ability to post questions is suspended. I believe that was the reason why I didn't want to get too many -1 questions in a row, especially because of some serial downvoters who don't try to help you improve the questions.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 22:46
  • @Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog I did ask, but they didn't revert the merge.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 22:52
  • The other thing is that StackOverflow did handle suspicious serial upvoting by reverting the reputation points gained, but for some reason unknown, the policy seems to have been changed? That's why I felt it was an abuse, because it wasn't even properly communicated (the rule change).
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 22:55
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    "if you get downvoted 5-6 times, your account gets frozen and your ability to post questions is suspended." I can only say that it's not that simple. I have seen other users who got downvoted more than 100 times but still posting more questions. Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 23:07
  • @MetaAndrewT. Yeah, honestly, I am not sure how it works. The moderation team should clarify that and the suspension period should be clarified and should not last more than a month or a few months.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 23:08
  • Also, I am not saying I shouldn't have been punished, I should have been punished, but it looks like the timing was due because someone wanted to see me suspended. It's like calling the cops on someone for a minor offence, because you don't like that person, and that crime rarely gets reported.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 23:10
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    But that's irrelevant, because when your socks interact with each other, then that is already a violation and deserves account merging/suspension/destroyed (depending on the circumstance). That said, I don't see any of your accounts that are currently suspended. Is this talking about past history? Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 23:14
  • 2
    See also: What is serial voting and how does it affect me? and Why shouldn't I assume I know who downvoted my post? (the second one is on MSO but it applies to other sites too).
    – 41686d6564
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 1:24
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    "They could have disabled my secondary account" -- which one, since under another post you mention you have over 400 of those (what on earth are you doing, create a new one every week?). That's like 2 orders of magnitude past what could be considered reasonable. From what I've read here so far, it seems to be you doing the abusing. Think a bit about your own behaviour, before you start pointing fingers at others.
    – Dan Mašek
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 8:03
  • 10
    400 accounts reference. Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 11:37

3 Answers 3

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I voted for myself from a different account

It's at this point that an alt account stops being "for privacy" and starts being "for cheating". There are no exceptions to this — upvoting yourself (from another account) is against the rules. Don't cheat.

The best thing you can do at this point is to find all those alt accounts that weren't merged with the rest and contact support so that they can be handled. This allows all the fraudulent votes to be reversed with the least amount of pain for all involved. (Ideally, you should have done this before being suspended at all.) Contacting support with this information, in fact, is what's recommended by default for accounts that have been suspended for sock puppetting.

Contacting support is also a good option when you think you've been serially voted (if you've waited 24 hours and the votes haven't been automatically reversed). You can also flag for a moderator (but they would have to pass the message to staff anyway if there are votes that need to be reversed).

PS: There is no "abuse from moderators" here. Your case was handled by the "Community Management Team".

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    So the people who aren't elected? Ok, thanks. I don't think it's gonna happen again. I got more than 400 alt accounts, but most of them have been inactive for a very long time.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 23:19
  • 36
    .... Yeah, I feel like if you have 400+ accounts you really need to come clean and let staff know this is the case. That's rather excessive Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 23:25
  • I don't even remember what they are. I lost access to like 50% of them and 99% are inactive.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 23:34
17

Well, you did something wrong and there were consequences.

Such is life.

I don't know why, but I got my account suspended for 1 month for allegedly voting myself, but I don't remember doing that in the last 1.5 years roughly speaking.

Well - to get a quick dictionary definition of allegedly... "used to convey that something is claimed to be the case or have taken place, although there is no proof."

The only reason I voted for myself from a different account was because someone downvoted like 10 questions in a row, I might be misremembering, but it wasn't to get more reputation points, it was to revert the negative votes I was getting from the same person.

Well that's the very definition of voting fraud.

If someone had 'voted 10 questions in a row' it should have been reverted automatically. If not you should have flagged it for moderator attention. While we can't see who voted for who, the CMs can. That said...

It probably wasn't one vote. Generally there has to be a certain level of obvious fraud, and the moment we're talking about account mergers and suspensions, there's community managers and moderator investigations involved. There's more to the story than "one stray vote years ago".

But after it was found I did that a long time ago, I got suspended and my accounts got merged, I didn't want that, because I wanted to maintain privacy and didn't want people to know that I was the same person for various privacy reasons, so I really think it should have been handled more professionally. They could have disabled my secondary account, because I didn't use it for a very long time, instead of merging it.

Well - that's also a consequence of both your accounts interacting. It might be worth reading and familiarising yourself with how to use alternate accounts ethically on the network

Having an alternate account for privacy or security is fine. You just need to ensure an extremely high level of seperation between them

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You broke the rules and honestly, I don't think you've told us the whole story. That said, This should be a learning experience - the moderation team is here to help. If you suspect voting fraud - flag it for attention. If you have an alternate account, NEVER EVER interact with your posts on another account. Don't even interact with the same posts on your accounts. Keep them separate and you should be fine

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  • Well, honestly, it was such a long time ago that I am saying I would have reverted those votes if I could have done so, so like I said you could have just suspended the old account I didn't use for a very long time.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 23:13
  • I honestly think it's better to suspend all the sockpuppet accounts and not merge them, but fair enough I don't think I will ever create a sockpuppet account and only create alternative accounts that don't interact with each other.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 23:18
  • I think I might have upvoted a stackoverflow question asked on a sockpuppet account with another sockpuppet account, but as I've said the only upvoting that was done was minor and was due to me being frustrated over one or two serial downvoters. And as I've said I didn't do it for a long time ago, because I got better at asking good questions, but some of them are on the fringe.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 23:22
  • 13
    ...... You do realise how that is worse right? Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 23:24
  • I think I did it once or twice, but I don't really ask stack overflow questions often.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 23:25
  • I am just trying to be honest.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 23:26
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    But there are genuine issues with stackoverflow, I was reading a large group of people pointing out the issues of people downvoting their questions after spending 5 hours asking it and even providing a minimal reproduction of the error. It shows that stackoverflow should maybe support discord chat rooms where people help each other, or a community based discussion platform like reddit with laxer moderation.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 23:31
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    @Sayaman Stack Overflow doesn't need to provide Discord chatrooms and Reddit discussions, because Discord and Reddit are already doing a good job of doing that. Stack Overflow is a different thing.
    – Ryan M
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 1:43
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    @Sayaman Separately, if you're being serially downvoted, flag it for moderator attention. We regularly tell people to knock that off, and the system automatically reverses most (not all) cases within 24h.
    – Ryan M
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 1:44
  • @RyanM One thing I noticed is that some people downvote you, wait 24 hours, downvotes another person and then downvote you again, and it seems to work, and also, because you have no way of knowing 100% it was the same person you don't do it.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 1:45
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    @Sayaman Yeah, that's a thing people do. It's harder to catch, but if you see a pattern like that, it's still something that can be looked into. Worst case the moderators check and there's nothing there. Based on your Stack Overflow account that's attached to this profile, I don't see any evidence of that, though of course you having so many profiles makes it harder for us to see if that's happening to you more generally...
    – Ryan M
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 1:48
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Your argument for why you shouldn't have been banned:

It was a long time ago.

Just because it happened a long time ago doesn't make it any less of an offense.

Your justification for what you did that got you banned:

I was trying to reverse serial downvoting.

If you really were serially downvoted, the system would adjust those downvotes and you'd earn back the rep. Secondly, if the downvotes were undeserved, other voters would compensate for this by upvoting the post. Your first argument is...not a good one, and your second one is just fallacious.


As for your complaint about privacy, I can't speak to that, but you need to offer more details. Here is a list of valid reasons to have a sockpuppet, and none of what you've said here seems to fulfill any of those. In fact, what you seem to have done falls under the category of 'not good reasons': you voted for your own posts. That's a no-no.

In my opinion, from what you've described, there's nothing that a moderator has done wrong. But this post has some options for what you can do if you really feel wronged. But your current argument is unlikely to gain much traction, as show the 5 downvotes this post has already garnered.

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  • I think I did that before I knew they would be reversed. Also, some people just wait a few days and then downvote you again.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 22:42
  • 3
    @Sayaman Why/how do you think you know who is down-voting you? This information is guarded very securely for, well, this exact reason. You even admitted yourself above, "you have no way of knowing 100% it was the same person" - how do you even know 1%? Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 18:37

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