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This is more of a curiosity. I'm not actually concerned.

Yesterday I was a bit confused. I logged in to notice that I had hit my cap for the day. I hadn't posted anything that I would have seen as tremendously insightful, so I checked the rep history and it almost seemed as though someone went through my history and voted up a bunch of my answers.

I asked around, and as it turns out, a colleague of mine who is a relatively frequent SO user, but is new to P.SE decided to check out the site and reviewed my answer history - specifically my highly voted answers. He was "impressed" (which I am actually quite pleased about, because I have a great deal of respect for him and his abilities) and voted for a number of my answers quickly causing me to hit cap.

About an hour or so ago, it appears that all those reputation gains were removed. Is this expected behaviour? Is there an automated system in place that identifies these types of conditions and reverts them or is something else at play?

For the answers that were voted up, I think honestly deserved the recognition for (via reputation), but I'm not going to put up a stink about it if some rule has been broken. Again, this is more of a curiosity and if this situation is an acceptable aberration then I wouldn't mind if it was restored.

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Your friend triggered the anti-vote fraud mechanism due to irregular voting patterns, and the reputation was removed. That is, there's a system in place based on the knowledge that, except in edge cases, the way your friend voted isn't in line with how people normally vote on Stack Exchange.

While you may feel you earned those votes, it's impossible for the system to know whether rapid voting by a single user is someone who is really impressed with your answers, or a person who's participating in vote collusion.

I'm not saying that this is the case, and I don't mean this as an offense, but I'm sure you can appreciate the inability for the system (or us) to know whether you're telling the truth or whether you prompted someone to vote up a bunch of your posts.

Since we don't know either way, and reputation is such a central aspect of the Stack Exchange experience, the anomalous votes are rolled back and no further action is taken. Essentially: no harm, no foul.

If I may, you might want to suggest to your friend that while you appreciate his support, he should consider up-voting on the merits of posts he finds in the normal course of using the site, rather than going down the line on a single user. Stack Exchange is centered around questions and answers, not users, after all.

  • Like I said, I'm not going to "fight it" or anything. But I do find your last paragraph patently false. SE is, if anything, first and foremost about its users and I'd argue that there is a guarantee that like-minds will meet - and vote for one-another. That said, I can appreciate that a system designed to stop collusion cannot easily differentiate between the two, if at all. – Steven Evers Jun 8 '11 at 4:18
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    @SnOrfus there are a host of design decisions made to de-emphasize user-centricity and emphasize question-centricity: there is no social graph, you can't follow people, you can't revoke your content, questions and answers can be edited and improved by anyone, you can't privately contact people, a person's reputation has no impact on sorting or voting mechanisms, and so on. Questions, not users, are what's prominently displayed on virtually every page. – user8 Jun 8 '11 at 4:28
  • Users create the content of the questions and answers, and provide the edits. Being q/a focused is, by proxy, being user focused. "Social networking" features aren't the definition of being user centric. – Steven Evers Jun 8 '11 at 15:47
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There are checks to "recall" mass voting by a singular user in either direction. It's quite possible that your friend got caught in one of them. I'll do some digging, but I'm fairly certain there isn't a way for me to override the system and apply those votes.

A quick scan shows one user (14 days old) that had a number of upvotes on your questions. I can't say for certain if they were revoked by the system or not.

Best advice to an upvote happy friend it to have them spread the votes around a greater number of users over a period of time. Upvotes aren't bad, but when concentrated in a short period on few users it runs afoul of various system traps.

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