I am aware the the Bitcoin site has its own Meta, but that meta was last active on the 6th of January so am posting here also.

I'm more of a lurker on Bitcoin Stack Exchange than an actual user, but I was lurking (like I do) and I spotted these guys:

Update (15th of January), and these guys also, who have hit the Hot Network Questions list again with this:

If I was a betting man, I would wager that these are all the same person, just thought I would bring it to your attention!

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    "...but that meta was last active on the 6th of January..." So? The mods should still frequent it (if they don't that's a different problem). – Time Traveling Bobby Jan 14 '14 at 11:33
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    @TimeTravelingBobby Sure, it's just they seem to have hit the hot network questions list today twice, with basically just spam! – JMK Jan 14 '14 at 11:34
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    I've already flagged one of the posts. – John Dvorak Jan 14 '14 at 11:40
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    Argh, please do not post exactly the same question on more than one sites, it unnecessarily splits the discussion and makes migration a PITA. – Yannis Jan 14 '14 at 11:43
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    @Yannis This is something that needs to be dealt with ASAP, last time this happened there was a lot of cleanup involved. Bitcoin is pretty sleepy meta-wise and moderation-wise. – Manishearth Jan 14 '14 at 11:45
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    @Yannis Apologies, deleted the question on Meta Bitcoin. – JMK Jan 14 '14 at 11:47
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    @Manishearth 1) We aren't doing open heart surgery here, there's very little that needs to be dealt with ASAP. 2) Even if this is urgent, I still don't see why it should be cross posted. Posting on one of the two Metas would be enough. – Yannis Jan 14 '14 at 11:47
  • @Yannis Hmm, true. – Manishearth Jan 14 '14 at 11:49
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    @JMK No worries, just avoid cross posting in the future. If you can't decide between two sites, just pick one. We can always migrate if you happen to pick the wrong one. – Yannis Jan 14 '14 at 11:50
  • Is this really related to hot questions? @gnat – Himanshu Jansari Jan 14 '14 at 12:13
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    @hims056 yes it is, because 2 low-quality questions with low-quality answers have reached the hot questions section in the same time. – Łukasz L. Jan 14 '14 at 12:28
  • @hims056 see comment above - "it's just they seem to have hit the hot network questions list today twice", and the answer - "ring of users causing questions to hit the multicollider, reaching 200 rep, and then abusing..." Related? you bet! – gnat Jan 14 '14 at 12:29
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    @Bill I don't think it's a bot, looks like a very real and very human being who is either bored or angry at Stack Exchange so exploiting its weak spots. – Shadow Wizard Jan 14 '14 at 13:20
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    Am I the only one that finds sock puppets on a bitcoin site highly ironic? – Robert Harvey Jan 15 '14 at 23:06
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    The users appear to have been obliterated... Like kerpow and boom and 404. – MichaelT Jan 15 '14 at 23:44

I've cleaned most of this up. There were a lot more accounts... A few still remain, either because they hadn't done anything yet, or had done something potentially useful.

Thanks for the heads-up. If nothing else, this provided a good opportunity to identify some deficiencies in my analysis tools. Also another good illustration of how conscientious members of a site can help to identify problems. Kudos, all.

  • Awesome, I'm happy I was able to contribute, if I spot any more I will update this post, cheers! – JMK Jan 16 '14 at 1:26
  • Thanks for taking care of that. – Murch Jan 16 '14 at 11:07
  • Two more for you: one, two. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jan 16 '14 at 15:31
  • Thanks, @Shadow – Shog9 Jan 16 '14 at 23:14

This has happened before, with a ring of users causing questions to hit the multicollider, reaching 200 rep, and then abusing the network bonus.

I suggest everyone flag the answers as spam. Not sure if this is the right course of action, but this is best stopped before they reach 200 rep.

I've already pinged a community team member.

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    every answer? As in, not an "other" flag explaining the situation to a (hypothetical) mod, like I've done ~22 hours ago with a flag that's still active? OK... – John Dvorak Jan 14 '14 at 11:44
  • @JanDvorak Every answer that's just a link. It's pretty obvious that this is a sock ring here. – Manishearth Jan 14 '14 at 11:46
  • The Bitcoin mods are less active, a custom flag may not reach in time – Manishearth Jan 14 '14 at 11:46
  • @JanDvorak I'm not sure of this though, it does seem like abuse of spam flags. – Manishearth Jan 14 '14 at 11:47
  • I've just flagged an answer, then realised that this guy's two questions were perfectly normal. I'm wondering if this was a correct flag. – John Dvorak Jan 14 '14 at 11:47
  • @JanDvorak I'm talking about the link answers by the flower-gravatar users, not the questions – Manishearth Jan 14 '14 at 11:48
  • so, I shouldn't flag the questions? But I use them to find other spam answers – John Dvorak Jan 14 '14 at 11:48
  • @JanDvorak No. Scratch that, don't flag anything as spam, I'm really unsure of that now – Manishearth Jan 14 '14 at 11:49
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    I've tried to crawl the site and I really don't know which of the (link mostly) answers I've found are legitimate. I've flagged cca only two posts so far. I give up. – John Dvorak Jan 14 '14 at 11:51
  • @JanDvorak Oh, this doesn't look like a long term thing, I think the socking started today. – Manishearth Jan 14 '14 at 12:13
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    "Yet another indication of issues with current formula is how easy it is to manipulate hotness score... This is because any question vote is leveraged by amount of answers. Consolidated, 2-3 voters can "swing" the score by 30-50... Similarly, adding / removing an answer (any answer) in a highly voted question offers even more possibilities for cheating, because of it being leveraged by question score. If it was a game, I would call this somewhat boring because of poor game balance." (Once you know the mechanics it's quite easy to manipulate) – gnat Jan 14 '14 at 12:16
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    Looks like the ping failed, nobody dealt with the socks – Shadow Wizard Jan 15 '14 at 22:47
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    @ShadowWizard I guess it's tricky because they ask ~passable questions, and then get good answers from other legitimate users, they're annoying me though hence the update! – JMK Jan 15 '14 at 22:54
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    @JMK it's obvious they upvote each other. That's illegal no matter what and at the very least all those accounts must be merged into single account that should then be suspended. – Shadow Wizard Jan 15 '14 at 22:56
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    @ShadowWizard Totally agree with that! – JMK Jan 15 '14 at 22:57

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