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There are obvious cases of driveby downvoters. Why aren't the driveby downvoters penalised?

It may even often be the same person as when it happens it's often three posts at a time that are downvoted.

I know the system sometimes detects a driveby downvote and corrects it, but it should penalise the user that does it.

Are these users penalized or not?

  • Because they don't do it enough to get caught? – Ivo Flipse May 13 '12 at 18:53
  • Downvotes happen, you know. Shrug it off any move on. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' May 13 '12 at 19:54
  • @Gilles No it's not a dupliate. That was asking should it be reported. This is asking about if/does the driveby voter get penalised. – barlop May 13 '12 at 20:45
  • +1 for pointing out about the screenshot being confusing. – barlop May 14 '12 at 9:13
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What you call an "obvious" case isn't that obvious. While it might be the same user, three downvoted questions in succession isn't much.

Think about the following scenario: You see a bad answer. You downvote it and check the user's profile just to find another bunch of bad answers. You then downvote these as well. Maybe four or more. Was that a "driveby downvote"? Did you do something wrong by downvoting so much? I don't think so. Still, the system will probably revert these votes.

Scrolling down your reputation history, you can actually see that serial downvoting cases are reversed by the system. What happens is that the offending votes are removed on the offender's side and your reputation is restored as it was before. Apart from that, nothing happens – at first.

Since moderators can't look into who cast a vote, they can't help you with that situation either. It just seems that, as Ivo Flipse said, the offending user doesn't do it often enough.

It really happens often and still goes unnoticed, send a mail to team@stackexchange.com and explain your situation.

If there's a repeated offense by one user, their account can be suspended for "voting irregularities" though. This requires human intervention though – so it's nothing the system can do. You'll need someone to check this for you.

See also (albeit for another case of sock puppet voting):

"voting irregularities" is code for "caused voting to happen in a way that would not have happened naturally had he not created fake users or solicited friends to vote on things".

  • I'm not saying the Algorithm doesn't work!!! Or that it doesn't detect them!!! I -Know- that the algorithm detects it sometimes, and I said so in my question, which was 3 sentences long, I said it can sometimes correct it in the third sentence. (So you didn't need to show me a screenshot showing me that it can). My question is does the person that did it get penalised, if so, how? (I obviously mean, when the system does manage to detect it) – barlop May 13 '12 at 20:47
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    If there's nothing detected, no one is penalized. As far as I know detected serial downvotes are just reversed and that's it. They're removed from the system but apart from that nothing happens. (I was just including the screenshot to emphasize that there's no way for the system to reliably tell what is a serial downvote and what not.) – slhck May 13 '12 at 20:50
  • -1 "If there's nothing detected, no one is penalized" OBviously i'm not asking how does the system penalise them when the system doesn't detect it. OBVIOUSLY it cannot. So simply. If there IS something detected. Are they penalised, if so how!!!!!! WHEN IT DETECTS IT.. simple question – barlop May 13 '12 at 20:51
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    Wow, you are pretty furious about this. Can you relax a little and tone down the caps lock? As I said, votes are just reversed as if nothing happened – at least when the system deals with it. If moderators or the team is involved, that might look differently. – slhck May 13 '12 at 20:54
  • Please check my updated answer. – slhck May 13 '12 at 20:58
  • A drive by downvoter that is detected and did the votes himself, not with socks puppets, not by influencing others, doesn't seem to meet the definition of "voting irregularities". Shouldn't the definition be adjusted? – barlop May 13 '12 at 21:39
  • It's still an irregularity in voting behavior. Suspension messages are never too explicit. – slhck May 13 '12 at 21:46
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    @barlop You did not actually ask how they're penalized. You just asked why they're not detected (and then penalized) even though these are "obvious cases". slhck's answer then pointed out that it's not obvious, and the reason the votes aren't reversed and users not penalized might be because for the system, it doesn't qualify as inappropriate downvoting. – Daniel Beck May 14 '12 at 6:46
  • @DanielBeck I absolutely did not ask why they are not detected. That is absurd. I wrote 3 lines. That's you reading stupid things in and misinterpreting it. I suppose my screenshot could have caused you to think I was asking about a particular case. Or that I was interested in arguing whether that case was an "obvious" one. The question wasn't which cases are obvious and which aren't. Maybe i'd have caused less confusion if i'd have removed the screenshot. But the 3 sentences I wrote did not ask about any specific case and were pretty clear. – barlop May 14 '12 at 9:02
  • @barlop You mention "obvious cases" (and later post a screenshot of three downvotes that have not been reverted, thus, were not detected). Then you ask why there's no one penalized. This calls for misinterpretation. Are you really complaining that I'm explaining something that you already know? I'm terribly sorry. Nevertheless I guess your (actual) question is answered anyhow, is it? – slhck May 14 '12 at 9:06
  • And yes, your screenshot is confusing in that case. I already pointed that out twelve hours ago. @bar – slhck May 14 '12 at 9:09
  • @slhck I can see how me posting the screenshot could've caused you to read all sorts of things into the question as you pondered the purpose of the screenshot. Not much purpose to the screenshot I suppose. And it seems to have confused DanielBeck too. So you're not alone in that. By the way.. while I didn't intend my screenshot to be given much attention.. FTR, there's no way they'd have been reverted in that screenshot as it only just happened. Normally the operation that fixes these things is run something like once every 24h. It'd never have happened immediately. – barlop May 14 '12 at 9:10
  • @barlop Correct, I had to scroll back in your reputation history in order to find something – and even then, it only happens on the next day. But yeah, that's why I included the screenshot, just to show that it does work. – slhck May 14 '12 at 9:15
  • @slhck didn't quite work in your screenshot +8 to correct -10 ;-) (and no i'm not asking you why the algorithm didn't make it +10). But, re moderator looking at vote correlation between the receiver and the other user,to catch the other user. If the other user was just lurking, then would a moderator know what 2 users to compare, to see a vote correlation? – barlop May 14 '12 at 9:31
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    Long story short, unless there's a repeated pattern of voting abuse from the same person then there's nothing to punish. Users who repeatedly engage in abusive voting patterns do get investigated and dealt with accordingly. That's about all we can say, except that @slhck has given us no body parts but is a very valuable member of the community whom we appreciate very much. – nhinkle May 15 '12 at 2:35
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Driveby downvoters are detected and penalised by the system. The rollback event not always appear to be on schedule when collating the evidence, for reasons of timing, but they are all caught.

However, the system will not detect or rule on the accuracy and quality of a post as judged by other users.

  • How are they penalised? – barlop May 13 '12 at 20:50
  • Suspensions, warnings and being put on watch. – random May 13 '12 at 21:00
  • Am I correct assuming that no one is ever suspended automatically though (i.e. by the vote reversal script)? – slhck May 13 '12 at 21:03
  • No one is automatically suspended in relation to the vote rollback mechanism. It's up to moderators to examine the severity and dish out the suspension period as they think befits @slh – random May 13 '12 at 21:06
  • I thought moderators aren't able to see the culprit? is it only some kind of super moderator that gets to know? – barlop May 14 '12 at 9:15
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    @barlop There's no super moderator. Single votes can never be looked at by moderators. They can see a sort of vote correlation between two users. In severe cases, the team (i.e. developers) are able to check the raw database though and identify voters. – slhck May 14 '12 at 9:25

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