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What does this reputation change mean? It says "user removed" and fifteen points were removed.

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From time to time we have users that are setting up account for nefarious purposes. These accounts will often not get noticed initially until they've had some time to use the account. They're typically trying to establish the account as legit so they'll often ask seemingly real questions and upvote other users.

When these accounts are discovered they're deleted. When this occurs the upvoting and accepting that they've done to the rest of the community gets unwound. This can be extremely annoying to the rest of us and is one of the primary tasks that I spend copious amounts of time trying to detect and route out.

We've recently been getting someone that has been attempting to perform suggested edits to existing answers, and replacing the contents with SPAM. All I can suggest is to not try and let this deter you from participating in this community and to try and scrutinize questions and answers that you might come across, before editing or answering them.

Truth be told it's not something we can do a lot about, other then not let it deter us as we continue to build the best Unix & Linux site on the internet. It's just the cost of being a large and legitimate site!

BTW, I've gotten a decent amount of those too 8-). Here are some tips when sizing up a question to answer.

  1. If it's a new account check if the user has other SE accounts.
  2. See how old the account is and if any other SE accounts are older.
  3. If possible search the username on Google.
  4. Take pieces of the question, and search for them on Google. Spammers are lazy and will often take full questions out of other forums verbatim and post them here as legit questions.
  5. Look for tells in the question. Often the punctuation and words used will be slightly "off". You'll notice seemingly real questions phrased strangely.
  6. Ask us in the chatroom if you're unsure. Our biggest strength and advantage is our community, so use it!

It's in all our best interests and the site's to keep these jerks out of here!

  • So to clarify, we lose reputation from things we did if the things we did were done to users who were removed? That seems... hmmm... – Suchipi Mar 2 '14 at 23:52
  • @Suchipi - Yes, that's the cost of providing an A to someone that is using their account for things that violate the terms of the SE sites. This is the lesser of 2 evils, the alternative would be to let them keep their accts. and continue to cause mayhem. Losing rep and the removal of their Q&A's is the damage that's done. I'm not gonna tell you it isn't annoying, but this is why I emphasize trying to detect it as early as possible to contain the annoyance! – slm Mar 2 '14 at 23:56
  • But it also happens when users arbitrarily remove their accounts themselves, right? If anything, that seems to be /enabling/ those users to affect the community negatively, since everyone that has helped them loses reputation when they ragequit. – Suchipi Mar 3 '14 at 0:49
  • @Suchipi - I don't believe that's the case if the user decides to remove their account. Once a Q has been A'ed the OP cannot delete the Q's either. Only the community and the mods can vote to do that. – slm Mar 3 '14 at 0:59
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    @Suchipi - I would put it this way, we can either hide in our houses in fear or go out and live our lives, there are always going to be jerks in your world, don't let them control you otherwise they've already won! – slm Mar 3 '14 at 1:00

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