There are some distinguished answer contributors to this site who used to write lots of excellent answers (for which they deservedly got many upvotes and accepts) but who are no longer as active as they used to be. Slowing down a bit and focusing one's energy and attention somewhere else are of course entirely legitimate -- and possibly even quite commendable. :-)

I've noticed in recent weeks, though, that some of these formerly-active contributors continue to receive lots and lots of upvotes even though they haven't logged on to the site for weeks or even months. I absolutely don't mean to single out any person for the sake of this discussion, and I certainly in no way mean to insinuate that they are to blame for these patterns, let alone that they instigated this problem. Nevertheless, it's worth providing details on the upvoting patterns that affect some of these users. For instance, one user -- who last logged in more than 3 months ago -- received 15 upvotes in the span of a few minutes today; 2 days ago: 14 upvotes within 10 minutes (as well as 4 other upvotes at other times during the day); Aug 31: 15 upvotes within 6 minutes; Aug 24: 16 upvotes within 6 minutes; Aug 23: 15 upvotes within 4 minutes; etc. etc.

It's hard to avoid getting the impression that there's an organized process that's behind these concentrated waves of upvotes. Question: What, if anything, is being done -- or could or should be done -- to discourage such behavior?

Full disclosure: About a year ago I briefly was the unwitting "beneficiary" of such waves of upvotes as well. To this day, I have no idea who the person was that was behind this campaign or why I was being single out for his/her/their attention. Initially, I was amused, but I quickly got annoyed. After a week or two, i.e., once it became clear that it wasn't going to end on its own, I contacted the site moderators and asked if they could put a stop to it. I don't know what they did, but the serial upvoting ended immediately. :-)

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    ...interesting... You may have to discuss this with Stack Exchange moderators. Not sure whether our moderators have access to this information. It may become apparent when the voters and recipient is identified... the former being anonymous to the general public. – Werner Sep 3 '16 at 18:19
  • @Werner I think you mean 'community team' rather than SE mods: only the staff can get at the full data on voting. – Joseph Wright Sep 3 '16 at 20:47
  • @JosephWright: Sure, staff would be a better reference. – Werner Sep 3 '16 at 20:57
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    This may actually be legit if someone is wrestling with several Teχ problems at the same time… – mirabilos Sep 4 '16 at 18:56
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    @mirabilos: Over and over again, and it's always the same upvoted user then? ;-) – user31729 Sep 4 '16 at 22:23
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    @ChristianHupfer that not, unless it’s egreg or so (who’s responsible for probably more than half the helpful answers I’ve found here to far) ;-) – mirabilos Sep 5 '16 at 9:01
  • @mirabilos - Even if it were egreg who was being serially upvoted in the way I've described in my posting -- and, for the record, it is not egreg who I was describing -- it's still simply not credible that the rapid-fire serial upvotes came about because the answers themselves had been deemed useful by the upvoter(s). – Mico Sep 5 '16 at 13:09
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    Assuming this is not automated, I'm more interested in why would anyone go through this burden in the first place. – percusse Sep 5 '16 at 19:19
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    @percusse - I can speak only about my own experience, mentioned in the posting, with having between 8 and 12 old answers of mine upvoted in rapid succession every other day or so for ca two weeks. I never found out who my serial upvoter was, and I also never received information as to his/her motivation. All I can assume is that it was some kind of (misguided, in my view!!) attempt to show gratitude for help I had provided with a tricky LaTeX problem. Of course, it could also be the case that the serial upvoter had no reason at all. I will never know and, honestly, I don't care to know. – Mico Sep 5 '16 at 19:37
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    I think I'm missing a huge amount of information as I really cannot relate to rep point business no matter how hard I try to empathize. – percusse Sep 5 '16 at 20:51
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    @Mico sure, I was just pointing out that lots of upvotes to one person are not bad, just suspicious… although, if it’s only upvotes to that person, with nothing in between, it’s of course more suspicious. – mirabilos Sep 5 '16 at 21:01

Whilst voting is in general anonymous, the moderator team have access to some data about unusual voting patterns. I can see from that one case which seems to fit the description in the question. I have taken some action (which I am sure you appreciate I cannot give more details about), and will be monitoring this in the coming days.

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    Thanks! For what it's worth, after two days without a discernible burst of upvotes for the person in question, there were another 15 upvotes, all applied in rapid succession, earlier today. :-( – Mico Sep 6 '16 at 16:52
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    @Mico: We have a new record... – Werner Sep 7 '16 at 5:25
  • @Werner -- Wow!! I have no other words. – Mico Sep 7 '16 at 6:12
  • @Johannes_B The mod team area aware of the detail here, and this was not an arbitrary action by the network – Joseph Wright Sep 18 '16 at 16:51

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