Some of you have noticed a bunch of deleted questions on the site lately, and have asked why.

What happened is that there was a voting ring of users running sock puppets to post simple dictionary- and thesaurus-type Q&A they used to unfairly drive up each other’s reputations with. We’ve asked some of these users not to return, while others have been given an extended break from the site.

In cleaning this up, we’ve deleted most of the questions being used to drive it. Our apologies for any deleted answers that got caught by our mopping-up job.

  • 5
    But in the meantime, users who did post good answers, and not-so-good ones lost rep when these questions were deleted. And the answers to these dictionary/thesaurus requests that were highly upvoted by the community — which suggest they were useful — have also been deleted. Couldn't the mods remove the rep dishonestly earned, or hard delete the sockpuppets' answers but leave the others intact?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 5:15
  • 8
    +1 Good work by the mods. I have been noticing a lot of simple Q&As lately.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 6:21
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA: I think it comes at a cost. Some people might have answered genuinely without being part of the whole set up, thereby still getting their reputes boosted perhaps not at a normal rate as it would have been should in the accepted scenario. I think the moderators did a great job so as to help the community at large, maintaining a certain level of sanity which is actually necessary for the essence and profitable use of this platform. Thumbs up! Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 22:02
  • 2
    @nyedidkeke there's no "might" it's definitely the majority of users answered in good faith. And the number of questions deleted probably touches about a dozen. Why should users who played by the rules, be penalised because of sockpuppets? I think a little transparency is needed here. Why the mystery? Users should be informed as to how many questions and answers were deleted. Many will probably never notice yhe loss in reputation but some will be puzzled to find their answer deleted without forewarning.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 1:01
  • 1
    Pardon the naive question, but what is the ultimate point of members of a voting ring driving up each other's reputations with unfairly earned rep points? Isn't that sort of like robbing an online bank that carries only Monopoly money, in order to fund an imaginary game of Monopoly?
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 1:10
  • 4
    @SvenYargs Think of it as people who would cheat at Solitaire.
    – tchrist Mod
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 1:11
  • 1
    They may be back. There are simple look-up answers (or poor answers) that are getting voted up. (I got dinged on the last round of deletions and am now wary about this sort of thing.)
    – Xanne
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 20:12
  • @Xanne fascinating word, "dinged". I first read it as if it would rhyme with "tinged", and had to re-read it to realise it was the past participle of "ding". It's the kind of word I'd almost expect to have a past participle "dung" - but I can see why that wouldn't have worked! Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 1:32


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