474

What is voting fraud? Voting fraud is the systematic voting against correct voting rationales. Fraud most often happens with a single user continually voting (up or down) on many of your posts within a short period of time. This is not considered normal behavior and the system will not allow it. If mass voting continues to happen between two certain IP ...


99

The script should simply count multiple votes on posts of the same question as one, no matter how many are voted on. It is natural behaviour to read through a question and its answers and potentially vote on all of those posts. For example, voting on both a question and a self-answer to it is something the script shouldn't regard as serial voting, you are ...


76

I tend to agree with this - it looks bad, provides no real advantage to anyone other than a moderator investigating the root cause of the problem, and actually offers a reverse-engineering tool to folks intentionally looking to game the system. Hiding it by default, visible only to moderators and profile owners via the "show deleted posts" checkbox, makes ...


55

We sometimes give a warning the first time, depending on how outwardly hostile their current (and past) behavior might be. In quite a few cases, no actual malice was intended, and I'll explain. There are cases where someone happens across an answer that is just really questionable. The person then goes to the author's history and looks at other answers, ...


53

I'm sure this is not really brightening anyone's day. You're not doing that person any favors. Someone might look at that and think this person is guilty of vote fraud. Please stop voting this way, it's more annoying than anything else.


46

In the beginning when I downvoted the system popped up a message urging me to explain why I do so. The system also seems to count my upvotes to questions and answers and points out when I neglect to vote on questions. Would it be so hard for the system to pick up when I'm downvoting more than, say: three posts of one user and pop up a message explaining ...


37

When is upvoting content from one user frowned upon? When the purpose of your account's existence is to upvote the other person. Would my usecase be in danger of being a (what I consider 'false') positive for the fraud-detection? Yes, it would be in some danger. No, I don't consider it a false positive, but you wouldn't be treated as harshly as someone ...


37

I support this proposal. As noted, we deal with a number of people who try to cheat the voting system here. I've personally handled ~50 such cases on Stack Overflow over the last month. Every one of these instances can take some time to deal with, and ways to make this process more efficient can save a lot of effort on the part of moderators and the ...


35

Our guidance here is to do exactly what you did, wait for the script to run and if the votes aren't reversed, it means: It wasn't the same person. You'd be surprised how often that is actually the case The votes did not trip the algorithm(s), which are designed to err on the side of caution. What this prescribes is shrugging it off entirely, and possibly ...


34

Agreed. The problem with running a script is that scripts can be gamed, people can learn how they work and work around them. Scripts aren't intelligent, they don't learn. In my opinion, users who have been detected to have engaged in serial downvoting should be forced to leave a 50-character comment for all downvotes for a significant period, e.g. a month, ...


32

As long as you stick to voting on the content of the post as opposed to the user you will be fine. Even if you do trigger the anti fraud algorithm. There are many limitations to prevent unwanted behavior but sometimes even "honest" actions are tripped up. An example of this could be the 6 question per day limit. What happens if I really have 6 ...


32

Sometimes these things take time. When we investigate flags reporting possible voting irregularities, there's a lot of data that we have to examine, and it can sometimes lead us to examining 20+ users in great detail. The one thing we don't want to do is pull the suspension trigger on someone that doesn't deserve it. Perhaps their dorm or office mates cast ...


31

Don't target users with votes. It's as simple as that. By all means feel free to vote for content you happen upon, but anything that looks like you targeting a user with votes (up or down) can land both you and the user you target in hot water. Don't do it. You'll cause more trouble than it's worth. Even if you mean well, and the votes are deserved, there is ...


29

Agreed. Like with any other deliberately destructive behaviour, serial downvoting should lead to a ban - for a short period (like a week) the first time, with penalties increasing for repeat offenders and sock-puppeteers.


29

Sure looks like it to me. Handled.


29

First off, any system that considered a fixed number of downvotes as clear evidence of abuse would be crazy. Folks would be triggering it accidentally all the time. The system would break. And it would be trivially easy to game. So, we don't do that. Here's my advice: Don't worry about the voting-fraud script. Unless you want to be fraudulent with your ...


29

A couple of things here. We're re-doing the automatic vote reversal system. As in completely. It was great for the problem we solved when we created it, but it doesn't work at scale. Way too much human time goes into doing what smarter algorithms could be doing. We're about 2/3 of the way there. Soon, mods won't need to go looking for this sort of stuff ...


28

Metas should be excluded from the serial-vote-hunting script. Votes on meta signal agreement/disagreement and don't affect rep (except MSO). Therefore the voting pattern is legitimate and does no harm, while running the script does do harm in certain cases. MSO may be a special case, but we should stop running the script on the other metas.


27

First off - I like this idea, but I don't like either of the options you put forth. There's definitely room for improvement in the current system. But not by creating more bureaucracy, and not by making the current process - which is difficult in part to reduce the danger inherent in the task - more dangerous. A philosophy of voting: privacy and freedom ...


27

This certainly falls under serial voting. The votes are un-upvotes, but they are voting behavior non the less. And they are targeted at specific users, not the content. As such this goes against the rules - it is not allowed in any shape or form. The reversal script doesn't handle this specific kind of case at the moment, but we may very well add it.


27

When the serial upvote is reversed, your reputation is recalculated as if the serial votes were never applied. This means that a reputation cap will be recalculated too, you will still get your legitimately earned reputation from normal upvotes. So, if you received 15 serial votes, and 10 regular votes, on the day itself you'll be reputation capped and ...


26

If you mean today, that was an automated check - no individual moderator was involved, but those checks are very conservative - and this has triggered twice in a matter of days. If a random user suddenly starts upvoting you overwhelmingly and consistently for a sustained duration, then yes: that will be treated as suspicous. Because it is. On SO, the ...


26

This's happening probably due to the script conflict - both reversal and roomba scripts run 3:00 AM UTC as it was stated somewhere, but I've seen several times that Community removes a question at 3:01 (despite the site being very low-traffic; on the high traffic sites I think it can take 10+ mins for the script to check all the questions), i.e. sometimes a ...


23

A user was trying to stay "under the radar" with respect to downvoting you (several checks are in place, he was doing it at a very low volume as to avoid all of them). We have invalidated all involved votes. The offender has been dealt with. If, after their vacation, they offer an encore...let's just say they don't want to do that...


23

The blog post Reputation and Historical Archives describes displaying reputation lost from deleted questions as a privacy violation. Second, we won’t display reputation lost to deleted questions on your profile unless you explicitly ask for it, and won’t display it at all to other people (apart from moderators). This was an egregious privacy ...


23

TL;DR: This is bad. Perhaps someone should stop it, but if so, we should be very careful when doing so. The behavior is problematic Upvoting every single question is problematic and undesirable behavior. It has some negative consequences: Votes serve multiple purposes, including giving posters honest feedback on the quality of their question, deciding ...


22

There is no need for any general solution to this, the existing tools and procedures are sufficient to deal with such cases. Such cases are pretty rare, they require a lot of persistence and patience which most revenge serial-voters lack. Such cases are also complicated enough that I would not trust an automated system to distinguish them accurately from ...


21

If you're seeing a pattern of downvoting, flag for moderator attention. In the flag, indicate that you also believe this user has a history of engaging in such a pattern. Enough flags of that type (substantiated by evidence of course), and those users will absolutely be suspended.


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