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I recently shared a blog post I had written to a relevant subreddit. I've posted to this subreddit a few times and got good responses.

My most recent post had a response on it when I checked it in the morning (I usually post just before I go to sleep) that insinuated I had engaged in some kind of vote manipulation due to how well the post had been performing in terms of upvotes and the lack of any other comments at the time of their comment.

The post has since received more comments that are responses to the actual blog post. However, the accusatory comment has received some amount of support and is the second most upvoted comment (which means it will feature fairly prominently when people view the reddit comments), beating out relevant comments.

I found it unfortunate that this comment would be waiting there for all the other people who came to comment on the post so I wanted to respond to it .

The problem I had was that I can't prove that I didn't engage in vote manipulation. It would benefit me to do so as it would get more people looking at my post and aware of who I am (or so the hypothetical reasoning could go). Additionally, if I tried to defend myself against the claim I would only make myself seem more suspicious. I also don't want to leave the comment unanswered as I believe it gives the wrong idea about not only my character, but also the quality of the blog post I shared (since I didn't do any vote manipulation it would appear that it is doing well on its own merits!). So how could I respond to such an unfalsifiable claim without seeming suspiciously defensive and maintaining a good face?

Note that there aren't any ads on my blog site and the content is all free. I was also surprised at how well the post performed, most of my other posts didn't do quite so well so I can understand it looking like a suspicious outlier.

  • If you respond to the post, will your reply feature aswell? – Kevin Dec 6 '17 at 12:30
  • The word you're looking for is not 'unfalsifiable', that means 'cannot be falsified'. You're looking for something like 'unprovable'. – Cronax Dec 6 '17 at 16:06
  • @Cronax He would like to falsify the claim i.e. present an argument that nullifies or disproves it. But it is hard to prove the negative in this case. – Kelly Thomas Dec 6 '17 at 16:23
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    @KellyThomas Huh, apparently one of the meanings of falsify is to disprove it. I was convinced that the only meaning was to alter something with malicious intent. – Cronax Dec 6 '17 at 16:27
  • @Kevin, upvoted comments rise to the top just like our answers. If they reply to the accusation, it could be buried by other, more upvoted replies. However, if enough people read it, and upvote it, it would be a clearly visible response. The key to having a visible reply is to do it early so more people see it and upvote it. – JPhi1618 Dec 6 '17 at 20:36
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You say:

Note that there aren't any ads on my blog site and the content is all free. I was also surprised at how well the post performed, most of my other posts didn't do quite so well [...].

I would respond with a variation on this! It's honest, and you can point to your past posting history to show that 1) at least you weren't doing it before, and 2) you're engaged with the community and not just spamming your blog. You can also point out that there's no benefit to you other than the satisfaction of sharing something you found interesting with others.

Something like:

I was just as surprised as you to see how well this has done! I've posted here before but for whatever reason this one really blew up. I don't get any revenue from my site, I just like to contribute to the community and have interesting discussions about this topic.

(change the wording for whatever makes sense for your post, obviously)

Keep it light and positive in tone, as if the other guy just made an honest mistake. Other users will pick up if you're overly defensive or attack the commenter, which will be polarizing and make them less likely to upvote your comment. You know you can't prove him wrong (even if he is), so instead try to win him over.

I wouldn't point out the rules in this response, personally, because that could escalate the situation. (I've noticed users tend to heavily downvote comments like "but you're not following reddiquette!"...) However, if they respond again to insist you must be lying, then it would be appropriate to tell them to take it up with the mods since there's no point repeating yourself and getting into a comment war.

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    Re: pointing to posting history. I think it's a great idea, but I'm not sure. The benefit is that if anyone actually cares, they can find out for themselves. As a side effect, now there are links to past work on the second highest voted reply. The blog will get more attention in general, which is a good thing. However, will these links be seen as another spammy attempt to draw attention? Maybe it will work out, maybe it won't. – Carl Dec 6 '17 at 18:18
  • @Carl oh I didn't mean posting links to their previous blog posts, I was referring to OP's user profile on Reddit (automatically linked via their username, like on Stack Exchange). That page shows their activity on reddit, so one could verify that there were previous submissions with "normal" activity, without asking them to actually visit the blog. – Em C Dec 6 '17 at 20:18
  • That's what I meant too, how can you figure out reddit statistics from a non-reddit blog? Regardless, it's still an action that gets views. – Carl Dec 6 '17 at 20:26
  • I appreciate Robzors answer and it looks popular, but I'm going to accept this one as it contains the contextual personal experience about referring to rules being negatively received on reddit and I also found the suggestion for any follow up claims helpful. – Rhys Dec 6 '17 at 21:05
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The best defense is typically to display an openness for resolving potential issues where possible.

I would suggest directing the user to the Reddit rules on the matter and stating that if they believe that any form of vote manipulation has taken place they should report your post - Just as they should with any other post. This would show to others that it's a baseless assumption as your post is still up and inform users of the correct process to report vote manipulation.

If you want to write something different avoid negations such as "I haven't engaged in vote manipulation" and focus instead on "I put a lot of work in the post and apparently more people found it interesting". In other words, focus on what you actually have done and what actually has happened.

For the record you might be interested in the Devil's Proof and Evidence of Absence as they are related to how it's impossible for you to prove that no vote manipulation took place.

  • This makes a lot of sense especially considering the current political climate of sexual assault. How many are real versus how many are fake (which statistically approaches unity that at least one is). Although impossible to prove, being open and honest about any possible offense is the only way to go about it, so +1 from me. – Anoplexian - Reinstate Monica Dec 6 '17 at 16:59
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    I'm not sure if you're familiar with Reddit moderation, but the mods there don't see extra information like who voted on posts and IP addresses - they're more like regular users with deletion privileges. So reporting it to them does not have the same impact or meaning as it would on, say, Stack Exchange. – Em C Dec 7 '17 at 12:05
  • @EmC However, if there's a post that has been reported often, the mods can escalate to the admins, who do have access to that info. They take vote manipulation very seriously. – Mage Xy Dec 7 '17 at 15:19
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Spend enough time on the internet and someone will accuse you of something, however unfounded. Whoever wrote the comment seems unaware that posts on any site - even Reddit - can have several votes but few or no comments. Even on YouTube, there will be differences between how many people like/dislike a video and the number of comments.

If the accuser has no proof or constructive criticism of your actual post, many will simply gloss over it. Anyone genuinely suspicious can look at your other posts and see that there is little to be concerned over. You say that the post has since gotten a number of more relevant comments? I would not respond to the accuser; his comment will inevitably be washed out by more relevant ones. Any response aimed directly at the person may encourage them to (try to) antagonise you further. Don't let it get you down!

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    Thanks Kozaky, I should add to my original post that this comment is still the second most upvoted comment on the post, so it isn't being washed out and enjoys a prominent position for anyone else coming to read / comment. I like your positive attitude though :) Don't let it get you down is solid advice in any case. – Rhys Dec 6 '17 at 11:37
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The issue is somebody suspects there is voting manipulation and that you may be unscrupulous

If somebody is manipulating the votes, please stop

Your response post should show your stance on vote manipulation (and how it hurts the system), your stance alone will tell them it wasn't you (if there is any manipulating happening)

Following this with @Robzor's answer of directing them to the reddit rules and flagging suspected posts should help your case

protected by Community Jun 13 '18 at 4:46

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