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What to do about sock puppets in Site Proposals?
The process for site proposals here seems to be that someone makes a post, then (usually) Monica comes in with an answer asking for anyone interested in the site to comment in order to gauge interest level. I don't know if there's anything so formal as a threshold for number of interested participants before a site is launched, but number of people interested must be an input of some sort to the process.
I'm not trying to start a harassment campaign on the slim chance that I'm wrong, so I'm going to refrain from naming names publicly, but I've noticed four accounts here which I'm pretty sure are all one person with a pattern of commenting multiple times (once with each account) on these interest-gauging posts, presumably with the intent of artificially inflating the perceived interest. Similarly, sometimes one of these accounts will be the OP for the site proposal and one or more of the others will chime in. Either way, the effect is that this one individual effectively gets up to four ‘votes’ for site proposals while the rest of us without sock puppets only get one.
If you're reading this, knock it off.
Everyone else, I have two questions:
- Should there be something in the ToS or CoC that forbids this sort of behavior? Sure, it's not nearly as bad as harassment, but it's pretty dang sleazy and not technically against any rules that I could find at the moment.
- Flagging the Monica post (since I can't flag the comments) gives me a 500 error—I don't know if it's impossible to flag staff, or if I don't have flagging privileges, or what. Is there some other way we should report specific instances of something like this to the staff?