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Earlier today there was a massive spam attack. One very disturbing thing that I noticed was people upvoting spam. This isn't actually only happening here, I've seen it a bit on other sites too. So, this is a reminder. PLEASE DO NOT UPVOTE SPAM! Thank you, and have a nice (hopefully spam free now) day.

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    I didn't see this wave, so can't actually say what happened, but it doesn't require upvotes in order to bypass the system rate limits. It's quite possible to bypass the rate limits without upvotes. Being upvoted does make it easier, due to relaxing the restrictions, but it's not necessary. Without upvoting, spammers have been successful in bypassing the rate limits in the past by about an order of magnitude more than was done here. Upvoting would have more effect if SmokeDetector was currently running, because SD does take the poster's reputation into account to apply/not apply some rules.
    – Makyen
    Jul 7, 2023 at 16:13
  • To have some stats, I have tried to get from SEDE recent upvotes on the posts flagged as spam: data.stackexchange.com/academia/query/1768143/… (I have briefly mentioned this query in chat, too.)
    – Martin
    Jul 11, 2023 at 17:52

2 Answers 2

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I suspect the majority of spam upvotes come from accounts involved in the spamming operations. You'd just need a few initial upvotes, whether accidental or from non-spam posting (possibly aided by chatGPT) to bootstrap to a point where you can upvote a couple of spam accounts to a point where they can start upvoting other spam accounts. If those accounts do not get removed quickly it can just snowball from there.

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Another possibility is that different spammers accepted each other's posts, which requires no rep at all and then snowballed from there. But, if non-spammers upvoted these, please don't. There is no excuse.

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