The software has identified four users as having suspicious voting patterns. Three of these users share an IP address with the user they're voting for. However, as far as I can tell, none of them are sockpuppets; my best guess is that they are acquaintances sharing an IP address for one reason or another. But I still do not approve of this voting behavior. Is this worth contacting those users over?

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    $\begingroup$ I recommend discussing moderator issues involving how we detect and other things we don't necessarily want "the formula" disclosed for, in the Teacher's Lounge chat room for all Stack Exchange community moderators. This is linked in the sidebar of the mod dashboard. Feel free to ping @rebecca or @robert or @dori $\endgroup$ May 7 '11 at 8:14
  • $\begingroup$ Duly noted. I'll keep that in mind for the future. $\endgroup$ May 7 '11 at 8:18
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    $\begingroup$ of course, we encourage general discussion of moderation issues on meta, but I don't want the discussion here to become so detailed that it is a de-facto recipe for .. mischief. $\endgroup$ May 7 '11 at 8:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Qiaochu: I was wondering how the IP addresses of students at the same university matched up. I know that I go to the same school as Nicolas Villanueva, and we use a large variety of computers across campus. Do we come up with the same IP? $\endgroup$
    – davidlowryduda Mod
    May 8 '11 at 4:52
  • $\begingroup$ @mixedmath: nope. $\endgroup$ May 8 '11 at 5:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Qiaochu: How disappointing! Here I was hoping that the ruckus secretly wasn't a ruckus at all. $\endgroup$
    – davidlowryduda Mod
    May 8 '11 at 5:15
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    $\begingroup$ What about families on the same IP at home? I have a wife who is also a mathematician, and a stepfather who is a physicist, and it is quite possible that we could all be using math.stackexchange at the same time. I would hope that we don't fall into the suspicious behaviour category. $\endgroup$ May 9 '11 at 10:28
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    $\begingroup$ It could be that both are using the same computer in a library or other such public place. Maybe the one nearest the entrance, or the one nearest the math books. $\endgroup$
    – GEdgar
    May 9 '11 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for asking the community about this! I really appreciate the consideration. $\endgroup$
    – BBischof
    May 9 '11 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Glen: it's not enough that you share an IP address - I'm specifically looking at suspicious voting patterns. $\endgroup$ May 9 '11 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Jeff: If/when such a recipe becomes available, please contact me :) $\endgroup$ May 10 '11 at 20:48

This is probably worth contacting about.

Whether or not deduct some reputation or some other action? This should be based on the amount of reputation earned and your (perhaps best to confer the other moderators on the topic as well) judgment and the reaction from the users (i.e. whether or not they understand that this is something not to be repeated)

Edit: Also, is it the same IP or the same IP range, and is the IP a proxy server (e.g. a university IP address)

And I think it is best to add something about that in regards to "voting" requesting users to vote by their confidence of the content and not the person.


Ugh. This has the unwholesome look of "link farming." I think some discreet sniffage of facts is definitely in order.

  • $\begingroup$ All of the users in question have been contacted. $\endgroup$ May 11 '11 at 0:51
  • $\begingroup$ Discreet and discrete, I'm hoping. Continuously discreet is just wrong. :-) $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    May 11 '11 at 6:10

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