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There are several reasons why someone would serially upvote another account. I will list some examples, ranging from good faith to pure evil.

  1. Gratitude. A user encounters a particularly enlightening answer, and decides to upvote other answers by the same person. This is probably most common with new users.
  2. Friends voting. Two or more friends have accounts on the same site and vote on each other's posts. While this usually happens in good faith, it actually is dishonest to other users, but I would still not call it disruptive or worthy of suspension.
  3. Cheating. This is self-explanatory; a user creates a so called "sockpuppet" to increase one's reputation. This is perhaps the most feared behaviour, but I wouldn't say it is as common as its name. Both software and moderators can easily detect this - it's only a matter of time before the "fun" ends.
  4. Disrupter. This is the most dangerous behaviour by far. The intent here is to make use of everyone's acquaintance with cheaters: by serially upvoting a certain user, the target will be accused of cheating. It is then difficult for a moderator to tell what the purpose was, and a suspension is likely to follow.

I would like to know what is the appropriate way to deal with these particular situations. Of course, all of these examples should be avoided. Sometimes, however, one makes a questionable decision without thinking about its consequences. Personally, I would like to look at the future, but I cannot forget the past. Thank you for taking your time.

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  • $\begingroup$ @75064 Thank you for the link. $\endgroup$ – user77400 May 13 '13 at 23:34
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe I did something wrong, but why are people downvoting? $\endgroup$ – user77400 May 13 '13 at 23:36
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    $\begingroup$ (Regarding the downvoting) I'm unsure; it looks like a well-written post to me. Perhaps they're expressing their dislike of serial upvoting. (Also see my question here: Is there a danger of up-voting someone too much?) $\endgroup$ – Douglas S. Stones May 13 '13 at 23:37
  • $\begingroup$ @DouglasS.Stones I see. But couldn't this opinion be posted as an answer instead? After all, that's what I asked for. $\endgroup$ – user77400 May 13 '13 at 23:39
  • $\begingroup$ @75064 I understand your point, and I agree; maybe I went too far. To my defence, I wanted to raise a possibly unfamiliar concern. $\endgroup$ – user77400 May 13 '13 at 23:51
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    $\begingroup$ @RomPaul Your concern wouldn't have anything to do with Kim Jung-un, Barack Obama (I forget the misspelling), or Mit Romney would it? $\endgroup$ – Scott H. May 13 '13 at 23:54
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    $\begingroup$ @ScottH. The pattern you noticed is not an illusion, but is this enough to cause disagreement? I am neither Obama, Romney nor Jong-un. $\endgroup$ – user77400 May 14 '13 at 0:02
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    $\begingroup$ Judging by the upvoted comments, I understand this question will not get any proper answer. I must admit I didn't except to encounter that much prejudice against a username. I guess I have myself to blame, too; I knew this name would be controversial. $\endgroup$ – user77400 May 14 '13 at 0:22
  • $\begingroup$ Is there any reason to believe someone has ever been suspended because another person upvoted the victim too much? $\endgroup$ – Michael Greinecker May 23 '13 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelGreinecker I strongly suspect some acquaintances of mine have fallen victim to this. $\endgroup$ – Kortlek May 23 '13 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelGreinecker I'm not sure; I'm not the right person to ask. If Kim Jung-un himself has no complaints, then I guess there is no problem. $\endgroup$ – user77400 May 25 '13 at 14:13
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To be quite honest, the reputation system is more like an empty-rewarded motivation for users to participate in this website. The whole point in getting reputation points is that you get reputation so that when you talk on this website's questions, if you have more reputation then people are more enclined to give it a serious thought when criticizing what you say. When someone above 20k reputation says something, you're reading damn well before saying heavy bullshit about them. And it's not because of the 'number' 20k ; it's because that 20k was well earned, and that reputation is not only gained through silly upvotes by new users ; it is also gained by meaningful upvotes given by the top users. And the top users usually know each other by their nicknames ; it's a community, we talk.

If all of a sudden a new 50k user would come along this website without a deep understanding of mathematics, I would be more than surprised to hear him say anything smart. Not only it would be besides the point of this website ; to create a mathematical community in which we can help each other, but also one needs to be stupid to be trying to earn points at a game that you are not playing. It would be just as fun as turning the lights on in my bedroom ; oooo look at that I got more points! So what. You didn't help anybody, and this is why we're here.

My point is ; worrying about those people is pointless. Let them be, or tell them how much they are wasting their life getting points on this website.

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  • $\begingroup$ This view seems reasonable; thank you for taking your time! $\endgroup$ – user77400 May 25 '13 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to SE! Plea... oh right. Sorry sir. Sorry sir. bows down. $\endgroup$ – Ali Caglayan Oct 30 '14 at 21:52
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There are badges obtained by up voting questions etc. The attempt to get significant credit by "cheating" is likely to fail, and if it succeeds is a small price to pay to a couple of ingenious people who have the wit and patience to play the system. Most will fall by the wayside. If I wanted badges etc I could vote more than I do - but my votes mean something to me.

It is really important that people get rewarded for good questions and good answers. That encourages good people to keep going.

There are procedures (down voting, flagging, commenting, posting competing answers, deleting questions, closing questions or voting to close etc) for dealing with "gaming".

It would be really helpful if you could identify examples which have (a) caused a demonstrable problem; and (b) not been dealt with.

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    $\begingroup$ "If I wanted badges etc I could vote more than I do - but my votes mean something to me."---evidently! You have voted only 32 times, apparently. I wish there were a way to know where up votes came from, because apparently one should be very, very proud of having received one of yours! Or is the vote total I see there only on meta? $\endgroup$ – Stephen May 23 '13 at 1:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Steve, the "32" is his number of meta upvotes. I see here that he has a sizable amount of votes on main. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician May 23 '13 at 1:17
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your view. My suspicion came from a discussion with the user(s) behind this question. $\endgroup$ – user77400 May 25 '13 at 14:36

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