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I recently flagged an answer because I thought that something strange was going on with the votes on the answer. The flag was declined because "flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention".

My question is: what I should do if I see some behavior that looks suspicious and I would like a moderator to look at it without necessarily expecting an intervention?

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Moderators cannot see who casts a vote and there is nothing we can do about the way people vote. There is a script that automatically finds and removes what appear to be irregular votes (e.g. serial downvoting/upvoting).

I see that after that answer was posted, there was a downvote, an upvote, and a comment all within 44 seconds. Perhaps some people didn't read the entire answer before voting, but that does not seem irregular; and even if it were, we don't know who was voting irregularly.

As to what you should do about suspicious behavior, flag it, but note that there are few things that moderators can do about voting irregularity.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer. So just to make sure that I understand: It is acceptable to flag something that just looks specious even thought I know that a moderator will not necessarily be able to do anything about it? So just because my recent flag was declines, it wasn't necessarily not-helpful? $\endgroup$ – Thomas Mar 23 '13 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Thomas: If there is nothing we can do about your flag, such as investigate voting habits, we will let you know by declining your flag and, if possible, leaving an explanation of why it was declined. Since it was declined, it is not considered "helpful" in terms of the flag summary available on your profile. $\endgroup$ – robjohn Mar 23 '13 at 17:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Thomas: There are three predefined reasons for declining: 1. "flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer" (leave comments and/or vote instead) 2. "a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it" 3. "flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention" (voting irregularities are handled by automatic scripts to maintain voter anonymity; there is little a moderator can do about how people vote) All other reasons you might see are moderator customized. $\endgroup$ – robjohn Mar 23 '13 at 17:52

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