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Without calling anyone out, I suspected someone of downvoting other answers than their own just to have theirs appear higher/attract more upvotes. However, I wasn't sure how to report this and more importantly, I had absolutely no evidence, just a suspicion. Several days later I went to check again and saw that this user was banned for irregular voting patterns, so I can only assume this was the reason.

My question is:

  • Is this indeed a bannable offense?
  • How, if at all, should this be reported?
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    $\begingroup$ These issues were recently discussed here on Meta at stats.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5650/…: have you seen that thread? As far as "irregular voting patterns" go, each case is considered on its own (but there are SE-wide rules to help make moderation consistent). Suspending a user is the solution of last resort. You will find that people give you somewhat cagey comments or answers, like this one, because we don't want to make it easy to circumvent our moderation by revealing the details. $\endgroup$ – whuber May 8 at 3:03
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    $\begingroup$ We cannot comment on why any user was suspended (there would be some advantages if we could, as well as some disadvantages, but in any case the policy on moderation is not something we decide). I would say, however, that in many cases (not necessarily relating to anything in this post) there's more than one issue going on at a time, only some of which may be visible to ordinary users, and other issues that may only be briefly visible. As a result, it may sometimes turn out that what seems like it was the issue may not be -- it's useful to keep this in mind. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b May 8 at 3:16
  • $\begingroup$ Okay that makes sense, I understand there are disadvantages to being specific about what is bannable. In that case, I'd just like to know whether I should report any suspicions if I have them and if so, where would be appropriate (a flag on a question/answer by the user?). Or are you saying mods will see irregular behavior anyway and we need not really do anything? $\endgroup$ – Frans Rodenburg May 8 at 3:25
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    $\begingroup$ If it requires moderator intervention, you should normally flag any behavior you see as particularly problematic. Issues of site policy can be raised here. We can normally comment on what sort of behavior is not okay (revenge downvoting, spamming, abuse, etc; if it seems like it's cheating or abusive it almost always is) but not exactly how much it takes to get yourself into trouble; in many cases it's 'as soon as we can spot it, by any means we have'. Ordinary users are important in helping to see bad behavior $\endgroup$ – Glen_b May 8 at 3:36
  • $\begingroup$ As far as what is or may be bannable, see information in the help and a few other places, including: Our model. Expected Behavior. Reputation & Moderation. Code of Conduct. Acceptable Use Policy. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b May 8 at 3:38
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    $\begingroup$ If you flag a lot, some flags may be declined (I have a couple myself). This doesn't mean you should be discouraged from flagging bad behavior; a few flag declines is not an issue. If more than a few flags get declined (especially if you have issued several similar flags), you should probably try to figure out why. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b May 8 at 3:49
  • $\begingroup$ Although I am not really referring to revenge voting, I think this discussion has answered my question. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Frans Rodenburg May 8 at 3:52
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I understand - that was meant as an example of a serious issue; I presumed you were talking about different but somewhat related issues that tend to arise (I was skirting the actual specific issue I thought you were referring to but see the list in the top answer there. If you mean what I think, it's obviously not okay.) $\endgroup$ – Glen_b May 8 at 3:54
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    $\begingroup$ What was meant as a quick comment grew rather fast. I should probably convert to an answer when I get a few minutes. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b May 8 at 4:01
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    $\begingroup$ I think there are just two simple lessons here for anyone not a moderator. The site software is smart enough to catch repeated antisocial behaviour, or at least to allow that to be caught sooner or later. Nevertheless too much shouldn't be read into downvoting. I've downvoted questions that I thought were very poor and answers that I thought were wrong. That's all part of the system too. $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox May 8 at 19:34

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