Wednesday, March 1, 2017

My infamous "The Force Awakens" spree in Dec 2015/Jan 2016. Records galore!

On December 18, 2015 an auspicius set of circumstances converged for me:
  • Much anticipated and very popular Star Wars Episode VII ("The Force Awakens") was released to theaters.
  • I was bored, being banned from SE chat.
  • I had plenty of free time, having 2 weeks of vacation and almost nothing I needed to accomlish in those 2 weeks.
  • I was motivated to show off my SFF.SE chops

As a result, I decided to spend my time answering "[the-force-awakens]" questions on SFF.SE.
How did I do? Not too shabby.

  • Earned a GOLD "[the-force-awakens]" tag badge, the only one on the site
    • This involves answering >=200 questions in the tag; with at least 1000 cumulative upvotes on those answers.
    • My count was 2600 cumulative upvotes instead of requisite 1000
  • Earned 11K of reputation in just 1 month, despite being hampered by repcap
    • Dec 17, 2015 (start): 180587
    • Jan 19, 2016 (end): 191257
  • While at it, set several single-day records or near-records on the site:
    • 1 day I earned 840 total rep (despite rep cap), from votes+accepts+bounties.
    • Same day I earned the most uncapped vote rep on the site of any user, ever (2265 rep)
    • On 2 days I earned 240 and 210 rep from just accepts on my TFA answers
      • (this was 2d and 3rd best ever result on the site, and the only reason they aren't #1 is because Richard literally went on a comment spree one day and asked everyone to accept his unaccepted answers - on the same day. All of my accepts were natural, without prompting users).
  • Lost 10K rep to repcaps in just 1 week (this means that without repacaps, in that month I would likely have earned ~35-50K rep, not 11K as I did)
  • Repcapped daily for a month. Not simply repcapping but often, repcapping by 9pm EST (meaning, within 4 hours of repcap being reset).
  • Not only that, but after I completely stopped posting any new posts on SFF.SE, I kept rep-capping - doing so for 10 out of 12 subsequent days without any new posts.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

And... they are back

Since I have significantly slowed down my participation on the site (in part, due to emotional fatigue cause by the targeted mass downvoting), the mystery bulk downvoter(s) have stopped... 

Looks like they are back on October 24 2014:

-2 06:36 DV (Q) Why didn't John Connor give a good cover story to Kyle Reese?
-2 06:37 DV (Q) If Voldemort had succeeded in killing Harry Potter, ...?

-2 06:35 DV (Q) Has anyone other than Sybill Trelawney made a real prediction?

These fit the usual pattern described in other blog posts:
- Question from 2012, with no fresh edits and no prior DVs
- Question from Sep 23 2014. It had 8/-1 before then and no fresh updates
- Question from Sep 11, 2014. It had 14/0 before and no fresh updates

As usual, one of the downvoted questions was uber-old and had no connection (by tag or time) to the other ones....

AND, that August 2012 question was among my only 2 questions from that period in 2012 that were not already downvoted.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

More evidence that someone's deliberately targeting me

Got 2 more down-votes today. Both same exact time, both old questions with no obvious reasons to DV.

But the exact nature of these 2 questions leaves very little doubt that someone's targeting my questions for DV (see below red text and details).

-2 4 hours ago (Q) What is the synopsis of Homer Eon Flint's “The Emancipatrix”?
-2 4 hours ago (Q) How does Minotaur fit into the world of “Battle Circle” by Piers Anthony?

Were the posts recent?

No. Neither the posts nor any answered were touched in over a year.

Were any other answers on those questions downvoted?


Caveats: (legit reasons someone may have downvoted)


Why is the pattern suspicious?

First thing I noticed was that both questions were from March 2013; and unrelated to each other. Now, ordinarily, I would have merely noted that they were on the same page if you order my questions by date

But in this case the evidence is much more compelling. 

One thing that seemed "less suspicious" was that the 2 questions downvoted were merely on the same page,  not next to each other on that page as some of my previous bulk-downvotes. 


Upon checking further, I discovered that every single question asked between these 2 questions was already previously downvoted!

  • How does Minotaur fit into the world of “Battle Circle” by Piers Anthony? 
    • Downvoted today
  • Did the gatekeeper and the keymaster get intimate in Ghostbusters? 
    • Downvoted previously
  •    Was Rakata's “Force-enhanced” hyperdrive technology ever replicated (or something similar used)? 
    • Downvoted previously
  • Short story or small novel about space pirates on a planet luring and robbing ships 
    • Downvoted previously

  • A book where 2-dimensional species evolved on rapidly changing environment 
    • Downvoted previously
  • What is the synopsis of Homer Eon Flint's “The Emancipatrix" 
    • Downvoted today

Sunday, April 6, 2014

And... serial downvoters are back (and not only for me)

04/06/2014 - SciFi

-2     4 hours ago   How are the events in “Wolverine and the X-Men” 
                     integrated into to AvX storyline? (Q)
-2     4 hours ago   Who was Rowena Ravenclaw's Heir?  (Q)
-2     4 hours ago   Did Tolkien consider Sam the true hero of LOTR?

 Were the posts recent?

One was 1 week old. One was 2 months old. One was years old. No new activity on either of latter ones.

Why is the pattern suspicious?

  • None of the questions were in any way shape or form related or linked to each other
  • One of them was my highest voted question (e.g. the first question you see if you go to my profile in default "by votes" view mode). Notably, in 2.5 years of existence, it gathered no other downvotes (vs 100+ upvotes).
  • 3 of my questions downvoted in a row, at exactly the same time

Were any other answers on those questions downvoted?

Not today.


04/07/2014 - SciFi

-2  (Q) 8 hours ago  What is the origin of the legend of King Solomon's Mines...?
-2  (Q) 8 hours ago  Is there an official word from Card about reading order ...?
-2  (A) 11 hours ago Why was it necessary to open Slytherin's locket to destroy it?
-2  (A) 11 hours ago Did Harry actually observe Prof. Quirrel's death... ?

All 4 are questions

Were the posts recent?

First one was 2 months old, with no new activity on it. Second one was bumped by "Community" user today. 2 last ones were from week.

Why is the pattern suspicious?

  • None of the questions/answers were in any way shape or form related or linked to each other
  • 1 of them was 2 months old and unlikely to be "suddenly discovered" by accident.
  • 2 sets of simultaneous downvotes

Were any other answers on those questions downvoted?

No same day.

Caveats (why would someone downvote some of them):  

  • #1 was already downvoted, since I had trouble communicating how exactly what I'm asking isn't what Wikipedia states.
  • #2 Orson Scott Card tag. Some people find it a goal to DV any question on it (including my previous serial Q downvotes). Also, I am in dispute with the only answer's author since I feel his answer doesn't address what I'm asking at all.
  • #3 was not backed by canon but by common sense. While same can be said of Slytherincess' later answer, hers was clearly far superior to mine (but less upvoted). 
  • #4 was a dupe. Of course, normal people don't downvote duplicates unless they evidence 100% disregard for even most basic effort at search (which was clearly not the case here as I read and actually linked to  the question that mine was a dupe of; but the answer to mine was in obscure small non-upvoted
  • #1 and #4 already had 1 previous DV on my posts from other users.
  • As usual, I could chalk it up to "well some of my posts aren't that great"... except for one of the 4 downvoted was clearly NOT a post a random user would accidentally discover, due to its age. 

04/08/2014 - SciFi

-2 (Q) 12 hours ago Did any of the EU material come from George Lucas?
-2 (Q) 12 hours ago Do “Conan” movies pass Bechdel test?
-2 (A) 14 hours ago What would happen if you tied a rope ... through the veil?

Were the posts recent?

Both DVed questions were at least 2-3 months old. The downvoted answer was edited today.

Why is the pattern suspicious?

2 old questions. Both were at +1 votes before the DVs. They aren't related in any way shape or form BUT would be right next to each other (divided by one Q) if you sort my questions by votes and go to page 15 pre-downvotes.

Were any other answers on those questions downvoted?


Caveats (why would someone downvote some of them):  

  • The second question downvoted was quite controversial (+13/-13). As noted above, it's over a month. However, this doesn't apply to another question that was NOT in any way controversial nor previously downvoted.
  • The answer seems like a "legit" downvote - it was recently edited and thus bumped; and it's a guess not backed by canon. 

Here's another user who suffered the same treatment - AND complained about it on chat - AND as usual the mods ignored it:
04/02/2014 - SciFi - user link

-2 20:15 (A) Clarification about the conclusion of Dark Knight Rises
-2 20:14 (A) Were there branches of service in Federation aside from StarFleet?
-2 20:14 (A) What is the basis for Zapp Brannigan's uniform?                         

Were the posts recent?

None of them
Why is the pattern suspicious? 

They were this user's lowest voted answers (3 of the only 4 of his with negative score).

Cleverly done - the downvoter can always claim the downvotes were justified because the answers are clearly low quality (previos scores -2 or -3).

However, given that the ONLY way to access these answers as a set was to look at that user's profile and sort their answers by votes and find the lowest scoring ones, AND it happened at the same time; this is clearly voting to punish a specific user and NOT just any random low quality answers.

Were any other answers on those questions downvoted?

Not that day

Friday, February 7, 2014

Examples of people downvoting several unrelated posts of mine at the same time

As a preface: These are not ALL of downvotes I ever get.  They are simply the ones that fit a suspicious pattern which seems like someone deliberately seeks out posts by me to downvote:
  • 2+ posts downvoted at the same exact time or in rapid succession
  • At least one of them is NOT recent even counting updates (in other words, can not be plausibly excused by someone seeing the post on front page)
  • At least one of the older posts has no obvious reason to be linked to another posts (not in the "related" lists, usually different tags). Again, there is no plausible excuse for someone viewing all the posts in the cluster at the same time other than looking for posts of mine to DV.
2014/02/07 - StackOverflow:

-2 5 hours ago TTY in perl, explaination and some 
-2 5 hours ago Perl Module Resource Files
-2 5 hours ago How to get the key associated with a hash reference's 

Were the posts recent?
The posts were all NOT very recent; from 2013/07/29, 2014/01/01 and 2014/01/12. 

Caveats (why would someone downvote some of them): 
  • One of them can arguably be worth downvoting because, while it answers what OP asked for in the question, it doesn't answer what OP actually wanted to ask (but didn't) as per OP's followup comment. 
  • Another one already had a DV. 
Why is the pattern suspicious?
  • The real outlier (2013/07/29) didn't have any obvious excuse to downvote it or even to look at it at the same time as the other 2.
Were any other answers/questions on the same post(s) downvoted?

No. P.S. 2 of them had only 1 answer (mine).


12/28/2013 - SciFi
Q: -2  3 hours ago  Could Harry command snakes, or simply talk to them?
A: -2  3 hours ago  How did Jabba become such a powerful crime lord?

Were the posts recent?

The first one was a day old question. 
The second one was 2 week old answer with *no updates* on that day. 

Caveats (why would someone downvote some of them):  

The first one (a question) already had a DV before

Why is the pattern suspicious?

The second one (an answer) was not only not recent, but arguably not that bad (had 21/0 score before DV). Moreover, it referenced canon instead of being pure speculation. 
As usual, there was no reason to view and thus vote 2 of them simultaneously (different tags and posting times, one answer and one Q).

Were any other answers/questions on the same post(s) downvoted?

01/20/2014 - SciFi
-2 5 hours ago Why is Ender so shocked at the end? (A)

-2 22:18       Was Ender retrovirally altered?     (Q)

Were the posts recent?

No. Latest activity on both posts (before DV) was from 11/2013

Why is the pattern suspicious?
  • Both of them contained my answers from the "same" time - they literally are next to each other in my own answer list (Nov 1 2013 and Nov 2 2013) 
  • The posts weren't URL-linked to each other aside from same tag (see below)
  • None of the OTHER people's posts on these 2 questions were DVed - despite the fact that my answer had canon quotes some other answers did not

Caveats (why would someone downvote some of them):  
  • It could possibly be someone on "downvote all things Ender" streak. That can be easily disproved:
    • If you go down the list of "Ender's Game" tag questions, these 2 posts are separated by other questions. None of the surrounding questions (including 2 questions between these that got DVs) had downvotes recently.
    • None of the OTHER people's posts on these 2 questions were DVed, so hard to attribute it to someone just blasting at Ender's Game posts by topic)
  • One of them was me answering my own question later on.
Were any other answers/questions on the same post(s) downvoted?

  • For the question, both my Q and my own answer were downvoted. Another answer had 3 downvotes, but deserved (the author could not back the assertion up with canon).
  • For the answer, see above. None of the other answers in that post were DVed.

01/23/2014 - SciFi

-2     1 hour ago     downvote     Which SciFi universe has the fastest space ships (hyperspace technology)?
-2     1 hour ago     downvote     What does “Seven” and “nine” mean in “Seven of Nine”?

    First:  Q Asked = Jan 3 '12 at 11:07
            My answer: Jan 3 '12 at 14:40
            Latest edit: Nov 7 '13 at 13:16
            Was it a controvercial answer? No, 31/0 before this downvote
            Were OTHER users' answers or the Q donvoted at the same time? No, the only recent negative rep change for any posters was Pureferret's bounty offerings.

    Second: Asked May 10 '12 at 14:31
            Updates: Nov 24 '13
            Was it a controvercial answer? Possibly, it had 30/3 before the last downvote
            Were OTHER users' answers or the Q donvoted at the same time? No. Actually none who posted an answer had ANY recent votes for that question.

            No clear pattern between the 2 except both were at 30 upvotes and last updated Nov 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Latest developments - 12/28/2013

Updates as of 12/28/2013:

#1. First, in the interest of fairness, another mod (whose opinion I respect) indicated that other site mods were consulted on the suspension and agreed to it. Puts things into a somewhat different perspective. I still think it was a gross overkill, but as I said, I respect his opinions in general.


#2. Interestingly, my suspension - suddenly - was ended as of yesterday (1 week instead of 30 days). No official explanation.

Could be because several people indicated in public (comments and chat) that they disagreed with the idea that I was "rude".

Could be because my chat with the second mod showed him that there was more than one side to the story.

Could be simply because the mods decided that I was so public with this suspension and would rather avoid the Barbara Streisend effect and generate more sympathy for me (or simply distract people).

Could be because there are other users on the site not happy with the moderation for other reasons (I know there are) and the mods were concerned that the optics looked bad for them and the site.

Could be a combination. Or some other reason.

Heck, I can even be vain and hope that it was because the second mod got a sense I was ready to take my marbles and go play on other sites - and no matter what my serial downvoter (see update #3) thinks, my contributions to the sites content are worth something.


#3 Lo and behold, my anonymous "friend" appeared again. I will blog about this serial downvoter later.

Today, as is typical, I got two downvotes following the usual pattern:

  • Both happened at the same time 
  • One to a new question I posted yesterday. 
    • leaving aside that someone downvotes many if not all questions I post as soon as I post them, not worrysome by itself. I will do some stats later and blog about this.
  • Second downvote was on an answer that was 2 weeks old. ...
  • ... with no updates on that post in the last 2 weeks
  • ... on a post that was 100% unrelated to the first downvote (different tag)
  • ... on a post where ONLY my answer was downvoted and not 3 others. 
  • ... on an answer that was not too bad (20/0 upvotes so far) as per people's subjective opinion
  • ... and also objectively a good answer because it was the only one that had a reference to specific book in the universe.
  • Yet it was the only one of 3 downvoted.

The likeliest way they would have seen that second post would be to search out my recent posts to find something to DV.

 Theoretically, they could have bumped into my answer while randomly browsing. But again, this was downvoted at exactly same time as my recent question - in a totally different tag and 2 weeks old. So that's not likely.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Other examples of how that mod treated me "fairly"

  • A chat comment after I posted a question raising my suspicion that someone was serially downvoting me:
    • "If he wasn't framing it as 'why am I being downvoted AT ALL?!?!', then it would look less paranoid. But it seems he only really cares about not losing any rep ever."
      • Note that this was in response to a meta post showing clear patterns of serial downvotes (several downvotes in the space of minutes on distinct questions of mine).

  • On that same Meta question, he first tried repeatedly to shout me down that I am wrong - and then when forced to admit that the data clearly shows that someone was downvoting me as a user (and not just my posts for poor quality) said this:
    •  @DVK Filtering out all the upvotes you get, and listing a bunch of downvotes is not a pattern. You're just asking "does anyone get downvotes?" The answer is of course, "yes." 
      • Can you get more condescending than that as a mod talking to a user worried about serial downvotes? 
    • Half of your update's questions aren't random. They're some of your lowest-voted questions. If a low-rep user were to sort your questions by votes and go to the last page, I would bet those 3 would be sitting right there. – [MOD] Sep 8 '12 at 15:51
      • Oh, so now we are admitting that someone downvoted posts because they are mine?
    • [My response, trying to show why his attitude is wrong] Listen to yourself. You just described someone deliberately seeking questions from a specific user to downvote. And you don't see ANY problem with that? Or with the fact that you treated me like a whiny person only caring about no downvotes. – DVK Sep 8 '12 at 17:21
    • @DVK All I did was point out an actual pattern. You haven't bothered to do that. You also said I don't have any particular desire to ask SE to investigate it. so no I don't see any problem with this.
      • Great. A mod sees no problem with either a particular user being serially downvoted, OR with rudely insinuating I was just caring about "not losing any rep" on chat when referring to my post.
  • When I had a disagreement with another user (who STARTED by being rude - including by posting a meta post calling a question of mine "useless"), took entirely his side, publically chastised me for "rudeness" (despite some other users agreeing that my wording wasn't rude in below comments, AND ignoring his rudeness 100%), and probably used that incident as an excuse to suspend me as well.

  • He closed at least 2 of my questions unilaterally (mod-binding vote before 4 other people VTCed) that were later, after Meta discussion, decided to be invalid closures.