I was just wondering, do the honorable moderators have access to the following information? Sorry if its mentioned somewhere and I haven't paid attention.

Can a moderator see..

  1. Who upvoted or downvoted an answer/question
  2. IP addresses of the users
  3. How many times a user visits the site in a day
  4. Drafts of users' answers/questions(Excuse me if you find this one wild)

My reasons for asking this:

  1. It would be meaningful to know, besides the number of up/downvotes on a post, who exactly downvoted. I have seen several smoothly well-written answers that get tremendous amounts of upvotes, but have severely warped/flawed concepts.

  2. I like looking for loopholes in a system, so that's what I did here. I realized that one could easily make duplicte accounts and upvote their own answers. Not only is this a breach of integrity, but also destroys the spirit of ChemSE. I pray no one tries this after reading my meta post.

Not that IP addresses are going to help, either, as some institutions use the same IP address as an identity for the entire wifi network, so 2 students from such an institution will be wrongly labelled as fake accounts of the same person.

Bonus: Do the moderators have tools to prevent such duplicate accounts?

  1. Just curious. Pardon me.

  2. I've written a lot of drafts but didn't post them. Just curious again.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Meh, AFAIK they don't work for NSA or other KGB, so probably you don't need to worry if they read your dossier ;D $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Apr 15 at 21:33

I'll answer brief, but longer than my previous comment:

  1. No. Voting is private. What we can see is how many up and down votes there are. You also get the privilege when you become an established use at 1000 reputation.
    We also have tools to see general voting patterns of the users, but these are not connected to any questions then. Forgive me for not going into more detail here.
    If we have suspicions and cannot further investigate, we will elevate this to the community moderators / team. They do have more insight.
  2. Yes. We can see IP addresses, and we can cross-validate them.
  3. Yes. You might have noticed yourself that on the profile pages you have the 'last seen' notification. When we display the IP addresses of a user, we can also see how often they have logged in. We usually use this if we have the suspicion of voting fraud.
  4. No. As long as it is not published, we cannot see it (or at least I am completely unaware). I have noticed that sometimes 'saved' data disappears, so my advice would be to use this feature sparingly to begin with.

  5. (Bonus) We do not have the power to prevent duplicate accounts, but we have the means to find them, and investigate, and in cases where they violate the code of conduct/ terms of service to remove these.

Voting fraud is a serious issue, there are already automatic tools in place, which catch some serial voting. (The details are not known to us, or anyone but the developers.) We can also investigate manually, and we will if there is suspicion. If we cannot resolve it ourselves, we push the matter upwards.

Of course all violations of the code of conduct and terms of service are serious, we handle them in a similar way. Obviously, we prefer not having to do any of this. We are (so far, this is not a challenge) lucky that we have a nice community and occurrences of these kinds are rare. This is a big Thank you! to all community members.


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