When a "sock puppet account" up-votes other users, they should at least have the common courtesy to ask the "up-voted user" whether or not they want the reputation, before they start up-voting them.

I have said publicly that the reputation on the Stack Exchange Networks has absolutely no value, unless collecting fake internet points stimulates that part of your brain which craves it.

Please do not vote for my answers. I help people because I want to, not for the reputation. Last time I checked, Stack Exchange Reputation is NOT accepted at my local gas station, grocery store, or anywhere else in Canada.

FWIW, you can go to each user's public profile page and filter by "reputation" to see who lost the most rep. Here's a good place to start: Arduino Users.

  • about voting: arduino.stackexchange.com/help/why-vote
    – Juraj Mod
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 7:56
  • as I learned in Help Center there are two different messages: "User was removed" and "voting corrected". this time it is "User was removed"
    – Juraj Mod
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 8:11
  • @Juraj - The about voting page says this "Voting is so important that there is a variety of badges associated with different aspects of voting – like casting your first upvote or downvote, using up all of your allotted votes in a day". I agree that there are not enough legitimate votes on this stack, and it's been a 4 year issue: arduino.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2474/… With 17,570 votes to date, I am doing my part: arduino.stackexchange.com/users?tab=Voters&filter=all
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 18:30
  • Why is this even troubling you? I lose 10 reputation every now and then, sometimes because an account is deleted, sometimes because someone disagrees with an answer I give, and sometimes because they don't like me.
    – Nick Gammon Mod
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 5:00
  • 1
    This is what I posted on MathOverflow Meta: Is it possible to know the list of removed users? Briefly: If the user was deleted after the last update of SEDE, you can download the list of users from there and do the same next week (after the next update). If the user was removed before the most recent update, you won't find out from SEDE.
    – Martin
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 5:09
  • @Martin - Thank you very much for pointing me in the right direction. I've forked your query with minor modifications, and will re-run it next week and see if there is a change. Your answer on MathOverflow Meta is excellent, and should be required reading for every SE moderator. Arduino SE is a small stack, so using 15 rep and up returns far less records then the 50K limit. data.stackexchange.com/arduino/query/1440753/…
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 16:51

2 Answers 2


It is impossible for us to know who the deleted user was. But "user was removed" is itself a very loose term.

It may have been a user that was deleted by the system for voting abuse. In general though users are deleted by a manual action by us moderators (destroyed as a spammer, for example) or manual intervention by the community moderators (our bosses).

It is far more likely that the user decided to delete their own account. Maybe a "rage quit" (we've all been there and done that) or just reducing their online presence.

As Nick has noted, reputation is less about personal reward and more about the smooth running of the site. Having to earn privileges through good questions and answers means that only people that have earned some level of trust gain access to more advanced features - which helps reduce abuse by new (or "sock puppet") users.

Voting for questions and answers is not about rewarding the users (the bounty system is for that, which you may notice is seldom, if ever, used), but about grading the quality of content. Once you have earned the amount of reputation you require to unlock the facilities you want there is little point to reputation from a personal perspective, but from the site's point of view the voting that creates that reputation is invaluable.

If people don't vote for your answers (because you told them not to) your answers won't be seen as good answers on the website, since others will have higher votes. Even if your answer is by far the best answer, if it's not been voted up that answer is of less worth (and less likely to be read) than a poorer answer.

In short: voting is the core principle these sites work on. Reputation is merely a side effect and a way of controlling new users' actions.

  • I just imagined the reputation hurricane if VE7JRO decides to delete his account because he doesn't like how the site works
    – Juraj Mod
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 11:52
  • @Juraj - "hurricane"? That's funny, considering you were the person who lost the most rep (551) from the latest "purge" of fake votes. 551 rep in 30 days from one user to another must be considered excessive by the system, so I see why SE invalidated the rep. I have up-voted at least 132 of your answers over a period of several years, which is what, 1,320 rep? Doesn't sound like you would be affected too much by a VE7JRO exodus "hurricane".
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 17:44
  • @Majenko - "but from the site's point of view the voting that creates that reputation is invaluable." - I agree, and I do my part by voting, 17,570 times last time I checked: arduino.stackexchange.com/users?tab=Voters&filter=all The lack of legitimate voting seems to be a 4 year old issue with this stack: arduino.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2474/… It's a shame that more "veterans" don't up-vote more. It would create a bigger pool of users with the ability to approve edits, vote to close, etc. Thank you for your answer.
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 18:18
  • @VE7JRO what 30 days? Invalidated rep has "voting corrected" (for example dannyf Dec 9 2020)
    – Juraj Mod
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 19:00
  • @Juraj - Part 1. The 30 days refers to the period of time when the majority of the lost reputation by a high percentage of the 2,000+ rep users on our network occurred. The removed user who cost you 500 rep yesterday: arduino.stackexchange.com/users/37622/… may or may not be the same one you lost rep from on 2020-10-02: arduino.stackexchange.com/users/37622/… To a regular user like myself, it's very likely the account was created a long time ago, and all of a sudden it is being used for nefarious purposes.
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 21:20
  • @Juraj - Part 2. The "fake votes issue" has been going on for a long time here on our stack, as you are well aware of. To refresh your memory, you said: chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/50445713#50445713 and also said: chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/50479244#50479244 When you read the entire history of the Pin 13 chat, it would seem that you are the right person to figure out what's really going on here.
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 21:20
  • @Juraj - Part 3. I see the difference in the message I received "User was removed" and that of user dannyf "Voting corrected". If you read the definitions of each: arduino.stackexchange.com/help/user-was-removed , arduino.stackexchange.com/help/serial-voting-reversed , you'll see that "User was removed" is a serious offence, where as "voting corrected" says this "Should I be concerned about these correction statements on my profile?...
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 21:44
  • @Juraj - Part 4. "...No, not at all. It's only an indication of reputation change. After all, we can't control the actions of other users. It's very rare where we'd run across a user who was intentionally using votes to manipulate their own reputation, and most cases you would have already been contacted separately if we thought that was the case. As long as you're not intentionally abusing the system to manipulate someone else's reputation or your own, you do not have to worry about such entries - they're just an indication that the system is doing its job.".
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 21:45
  • @VE7JRO some time ago users could not delete their account. they had to request a mod to do it it. google search returns old meta answers on this topic. but now maybe because of the GDPR a user can delete their account.
    – Juraj Mod
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 4:21

A "sock puppet" account is one which is literally controlled by the same person, like a puppet on your hand. So for example, if I made a second account called "John Gammon" (using a slightly different email address) and then whenever I made a post I got my "John Gammon" account to upvote it, that would be a sock puppet vote. Clearly that would be unethical, as no person, other than myself, was voting for it.

In that case, I would hardly need to get permission from myself to do the upvote, as it was me doing it.

However if a different person, Joe Bloggs, just happens to think I am wonderful and vote all my posts up, then this isn't a sock puppet vote. That is just an admirer. The Stack Exchange algorithm for detecting sock puppet votes might not be able to distinguish between the two, however.

Please do not vote for my answers. I help people because I want to, not for the reputation

That is certainly admirable to want to help people, however the whole idea behind Stack Exchange is that good answers are voted up, and bad ones voted down. Asking people to not vote up your answers, if they are good, defeats that mechanism.

Next, you'll be asking people to not accept your answers, because that also gives you reputation. However accepting answers indicates that your answer solves their problem.

The up-vote is not so much to give you reputation (that is a side-effect) but to mark the answer as good and useful.

Who was the “deleted” user who was responsible?

I don't know the answer to that. Not even moderators can find that out. I suggest, though, that new users don't just go around voting hundreds of posts up willy-nilly. It might look to "the algorithm" that they are sock puppet votes.

You tagged this question "grow-up-se-rep-is-worthless". It isn't worthless — it is the basis of the entire system. Without reputation, you may as well have the to-and-fro of a forum. With a forum, it is hard to see which are the good answers and which are the rubbish ones. The reputation system (and the voting) is specifically designed to let third parties know whether they should trust one answer over another one.

  • "Next, you'll be asking people to not accept your answers, because that also gives you reputation." - No, I won't be asking them to do that, and I never suggested it either. Where did you come up with that idea?
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 16:36
  • 1
    You said Please do not vote for my answers. I help people because I want to, not for the reputation. Well, if people accept your answers you get reputation. Apparently something you don't want.
    – Nick Gammon Mod
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 22:31
  • No, I did not say "please don't accept my answer, I said Please re-read my first paragraph. Those are two completely different things. Accepting answers closes questions which is a good thing.
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 22:55
  • "Apparently something you don't want. " - Once again I must ask, where are you getting this from? Show me anything I have written that says I don't want to earn reputation for a good answer.
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 22:55
  • I have a question about: "However if a different person, Joe Bloggs, just happens to think I am wonderful and vote all my posts up, then this isn't a sock puppet vote. That is just an admirer." When I read this page: arduino.stackexchange.com/help/serial-voting-reversed, it says "intentionally voting merely to reduce or inflate another user's reputation is considered abuse.". My interpretation is that voting for "...just an admirer" or "an admirer just voting for you" because they "like you", is a violation of the TOS with SE. Can you clarify this for me?
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 0:01
  • Once again I must ask, where are you getting this from? - You said in your original question above: Please do not vote for my answers. I help people because I want to, not for the reputation. Your point is so obscure I don't understand it. You are asking people to not vote for your answers, but then you say you want to earn reputation? How, pray, are you going to earn reputation if you ask people not to vote for your answers?
    – Nick Gammon Mod
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 4:54
  • Can you clarify this for me? - yes I agree, if you collude with another user to vote each other's posts up, that may well be a violation of the TOS. However it is not a "sock puppet" as such. You can't usefully ask a sock puppet not to vote for you because the sock puppet is yourself. Unless you like talking to yourself. See Sock Puppet Account - Wikipedia - they define it as someone who operates a false account pretending to be someone else when they are really themselves under different names.
    – Nick Gammon Mod
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 4:58
  • RE: "how pray..." - You earn 15 rep when your answer is accepted, you earn 10 rep from an up-vote (from a honest user), you earn 2 from editing a post and those with rep for accepting an edit, etc. You can earn up to 1,000 rep without asking or answering a question.
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 17:34
  • RE: "Joe Bloggs" - In your example, let's assume you havs a 2nd account called Joe Bloggs, your sock puppet account. Joe Bloggs up votes your posts, but he also up votes other users posts (like mine). Maybe Joe Bloggs thinks this will hide what he is doing. The fact that all of the user's posts were deleted, all rep removed from all those up-voted, and the "stronger" message "User was removed", it is quite likely it is a sock puppet account. I remember a user who deleted their account (rage quit) during the period of time I was a moderator. SE kept all the posts and people kept the rep.
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 17:49
  • RE: "just happens to think I am wonderful and vote all my posts up, then this isn't a sock puppet vote. That is just an admirer." - Is it against the SE rules to up-vote a persons answer just because they admire them?
    – VE7JRO
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 17:58

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