If I understand correctly, when fraud votes are removed, it is like those votes have never been done, which also means that who voted is free to vote on the same posts.

Instead of allowing the same user to vote again on posts for which the fraud voting has been detected, the user interface should show the vote, and if the voter tries to remove it, he should get an error message saying that the vote cannot be changed, even if the post has been modified from the OP.

Suppose that I have asked ten questions, and somebody would vote all my questions in ten minutes. As it is now, who voted could still vote my questions again, once the votes have been removed by the system, which could lead the user to "let's try again and see if my votes are automatically removed again," which means that the second time the down-votes could not be detected by the system.
If the user would not be allowed to vote again the same questions, the "let's try again" game would not work (or would not work for the same questions).

What I am proposing protects more the users who started using an SE site, or who use it less frequently than other users. It would not help users with a hundred questions, for example, if not in the case the down-votes would vote all those questions in once.

I am also not referring to the case of a user that keeps asking bad questions, even though it still is an irregularity, if the system detects (for example) ten questions (asked from the same user) being down-voted from the same user in about a minute.

  • I believe you probably want "cast" not "casted" as the past tense of "to cast".
    – Caleb
    Jul 10 '11 at 17:42

As it is now, who voted could still vote my questions again, once the votes have been removed by the system, which could lead the user to "let's try again and see if my votes are automatically removed again."

At which point, the moderators would step up and have a private little conversation with that user...

Unlike most parts of SE, the details of the abuse-detection algorithm are kept fairly vague; it doesn't work if it's too easy for folks to just dance around it. That said, you can dance around it if you're really determined - it's meant to discourage blatantly unfriendly behavior, not make it magically disappear.

If you think you're the victim of voting-abuse, wait 24 hours & see if the system doesn't just take care of it (as you did). If that doesn't work, send an email to the address in the contact us link at the bottom of the page, and leave it up to us. Remember - apart from timing, there's no way for you to be sure that any voting pattern is due to a single user... so be wary of jumping to conclusions.

  • In the example I made, the user could keep down-voting my ten questions, avoiding to down-vote them in short time, and voting other posts in the meantime. The number of users involved should not be relevant: Is there any difference if a user gets ten down-votes in a minute, and the down-voter was a single user, or more than one? Also the delay between down-votes should not be relevant: If two users down-votes all the questions asked from a user, is there any difference if they took one month, or three months? I hope the system always work in the same way, for any involved user.
    – apaderno
    Jul 11 '11 at 13:47
  • I doubt that "the moderators would step up and have a private little conversation with that user" always happens; if the user who down-voted ten questions, tries again down-voting a question each week, then there is probably nobody that will notice the down-votes. If who is getting the down-votes doesn't notice anything suspicious, then other users would not notice anything. That leads me to another question, but that is a different history.
    – apaderno
    Jul 12 '11 at 18:19
  • @kiamlaluno: Just a reminder... Normally, voting is anonymous and at the discretion of the voter. We (the system and the moderators) watch for suspicious or overtly hostile behavior, and take steps to mitigate it... But there are legitimate reasons why one user might consistently down-vote another, and oftentimes a prolific user will find himself being voted on by multiple users in a short period of time. For this reason, you should be wary of getting too fixated on votes.
    – Shog9
    Jul 13 '11 at 15:19
  • I am not getting too fixated on votes, but I don't understand why a user who has been caught by the system for vote irregularities should be allowed to votes on the same exact questions. As a matter of legitimate reasons, I don't think that systematically down-voting the questions given from a user simply for the fact that user asked those questions is a legitimate reason. Does that mean there are vote irregularities, and vote irregularities?
    – apaderno
    Jul 13 '11 at 15:55
  • Also, this is the second time I post a question about fraud votes; while in first question I asked about something I noticed, in this question I am suggesting something that would help other users more than me. If that means to be fixated, fixated has a different meaning that what I am used to.
    – apaderno
    Jul 13 '11 at 16:32
  • 1
    @kia: lemme try another approach here... You're proposing that we take a system which operates entirely on fixed heuristics for detecting user-based voting, a system that cannot judge intent or validity of votes, and make its output more severe, because you're afraid moderators won't notice? This is just giving up, imposing a technical solution to a social problem and hoping for the best; experience indicates it won't work. Users savvy enough to work around the existing script will have no trouble whatsoever working around this too - in fact, we'd be helping by giving them more data.
    – Shog9
    Jul 13 '11 at 20:42
  • We have moderators so that problems between users can be dealt with in an informed and effective manner. If that isn't happening, the solution is better communication... or possibly better moderators... not increasingly complex systems implemented solely to serve the folks least likely to benefit or benefit from the greater community.
    – Shog9
    Jul 13 '11 at 20:43
  • Nope, that is totally not exact. I am referring to those votes automatically detected from the system, and removed. Once the system removes those votes, the user should not be able to vote again on those questions for which the system detected anomalies in voting. Moderators have nothing to see with the votes automatically removed by the system.
    – apaderno
    Jul 13 '11 at 20:50
  • @kiamlaluno: and I'm saying, this doesn't fix anything. Yay, you stopped the user from voting down those posts - if the guess was correct, and they're just voting on the posts to down-vote you... then they'll go down-vote a different set of your posts. OTOH, if they were down-voting them because they had problems, you've inadvertently invalidated GOOD VOTES and prevented the user from correcting your mistake. IOW, you've now implemented a system that hurts good users without doing much if anything to stop bad ones.
    – Shog9
    Jul 13 '11 at 20:54
  • The system already removed the votes, which means they were considered voting anomalies; if those votes were good votes, then the system should not have removed them. So, to make a summary, you are saying that the system detected voting anomalies and removed the votes, but those same votes should be considered good votes.
    – apaderno
    Jul 13 '11 at 21:13
  • @kiamlaluno let us continue this discussion in chat
    – Shog9
    Jul 13 '11 at 21:36

I don't think this is such a good idea. Fraud votes generally do not take the content into consideration at all. If the user was privileged to vote again restricting their ability to do so properly doesn't seem like a solution. If the voter is still not trusted to vote fairly based on content, they shouldn't have voting privileges. Tighter restrictions on "caught" users should take priority.

Besides, if the vote was fraudulent, there is no reason for it to remain visible to anybody. Showing different vote counts to different people would create all sorts of behind-the-curtain nightmares.

  • It's not "visible to anybody"; it's "the fraud vote is still visible to whom voted, as if it has not been removed, even if the OP has got his reputation back."
    – apaderno
    Jul 10 '11 at 18:03
  • Since you mention "Rep back" I take it you are concerned with downvotes. Those are often grudge motivated and not so much fraudulent as "bad community player" oriented. Fraud is usually in the opposite direction. And no, I still don't think showing the user a vote that isn't actually cast is a good idea. What about the data dumps? What about people commenting on vote stats? It just doesn't work out. There is a word for it -- some forum software can give users the "silent treatment" where none of their actions actually take affect, but it's problematic and SE has chosen to keep it in the open.
    – Caleb
    Jul 10 '11 at 18:05
  • It could also be because of up-votes, as when up-votes are removed, I get the reputation back as it was before the up-votes. As far as I understand, in both the cases the votes are called "fraud votes." In the case that is not the correct terminology, that is not the topic. I don't see any difficulty of implementing what I am suggesting; it just requires a new database table that keeps track of the removed votes, and show them as if they were not removed to the user who voted those questions.
    – apaderno
    Jul 10 '11 at 18:15

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