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What merits flagging, or potentially closing a proposal?

Here is the context of my asking this question:

On the Elrond proposal on Area 51 main, I am considering flagging it. This is because of the volume of recent new followers to the area 51 site. This might not usually be a problem, but within the last 40 followers, exactly one has more than 100 rep, meaning there are basically no experienced users recently committed to the proposal. This could cause a problem in the commitment stage, as 100 users with at least 200 rep on a non-area 51 site are required to move the site to private, and then public, beta. There could also be voter fraud (meaning people creating multiple accounts and then voting up as many questions to 10 votes as possible), as it seems like there are a lot of new accounts that have followed the proposal. They also seem to have one glaring similarity between them: they all have two badges (the pioneer and advocate badges) and have each upvoted multiple times... while basically none of them have downvoted a question on the proposal. (As a side note for flagging this proposal, for the top-voted question, What does ESDT stand for, I was able to find the answer just by using a couple of google searches in about two minutes, showing that people are also not thinking about what they are voting up.)

I have seen other proposals throughout the last year that are similarly weak (or contain voting fraud) and never get past the commitment stage. Should we flag/close proposals like this, which are very suspicious, and likely will never make it to Beta? And how can we prevent (or discourage) the making of fake accounts and weak proposals in the future?

There probably is no perfect solution to this problem, but all thoughts, ideas, and suggestions are welcome.

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  • Also, as a side note, can this question be unattached from the Elrond proposal? I think it is a question about and for the entire Area 51 community (not just Elrond, which I used as an example) and should be still available if the Elrond proposal gets shut down. – Joe Kerr May 10 at 15:10
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    A couple weeks later: the proposal was closed after it was discovered that there were fraudulent accounts propping it up. – damryfbfnetsi May 24 at 2:30
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Elrond Network has one of the strongest community in the blockchain space and massive engagement from both new devs and non-tech folks. You can check the numbers here -> https://growth.elrond.com/ and just check the Awareness tab.

We have thousands of people in different countries actively contributing on different collaterals and co-projects around Elrond Network. I'm one of the admins for Elrond Telegram groups and I can assure you those accounts are real. People are just very excited and willing to support any new Elrond forum, group or dedicated page in order to grow the ecosystem and adoption around this disruptive tech (one of the most scalable and low latency protocol in the blockchain space).

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In my opinion the influx of new users is normal given the fact that the proposal is only 1 week old. Elrond also has a strong community that is increasing day by day, and it is reasonable to deduct that a lot of new users that are interested in the project are coming from those communities.

I do not understand the reason why would you close a proposal that was recently opened. The whole idea of it is to create a place where users can share thoughts and learn from each other on a particular subject. If you could find the answer to the top question so easily on the internet, then you are more than welcome to join the community and enrich it with your expertise. That is in fact the goal of the proposal, to attract competent people that can help the newcomers to the project.

As for the users' reputations, you seem to have a low reputation yourself, which might lead others to question the hidden motives of this post altogether. As the Elrond community continues to expand, more and more 'experienced' users will join the proposal.

From my own point of view, the motivation behind this post seems to be the discreditation of the efforts made by the Elrond team and volunteers that strongly believe in the project.

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This is because of the volume of recent new followers to the area 51 site.

This is what the official FAQ page says:

A good Q&A site needs a lot of people to support it, so users are asked to invite their friends and help build the community.

This is what we did. The Elrond project has a big community. Maiar was installed 575,000 times! Only one of the Telegram channels where we collaborate has 39,150 members. But we also use many other platforms.

Actually, the number is a little too low for such a big nice community, but it will be bigger in the future.


This might not usually be a problem, but within the last 40 followers, exactly one has more than 100 rep, meaning there are basically no experienced users recently committed to the proposal.

I don't see a problem here. Even if the last 500 will be new, it's perfectly fine according the existing set of rules.


This could cause a problem in the commitment stage, as 100 users with at least 200 rep on a non-area 51 site are required to move the site to private, and then public, beta.

This is just a supposition. The facts will tell. I am sure that we can make the community bigger and much stronger in the future. Let's not evaluate a proposal created one week ago if it will be able or not to go towards its public version. Nobody can tell. Each step has its own challenges. We are ready to overcome them.


There could also be voter fraud (meaning people creating multiple accounts and then voting up as many questions to 10 votes as possible), as it seems like there are a lot of new accounts that have followed the proposal.

If there is something like this, we want to know this first. And we want those accounts to not be counted. But as a proposer, I can't control who joins here. We are a fair community. We promoted this initiative in our community (according to the official FAQ). This is why it has a good start, nobody is trying to cheat. And we don't need something like this when we have 121 followers (3 times more than the lower limit). Does it make sense?

They also seem to have one glaring similarity between them: they all have two badges (the pioneer and advocate badges) and have each upvoted multiple times...

Yes, because this is how this platform works. For similar actions, the users are rewarded in the same way. This is why they have similar badges. Regarding their votes, they are free to vote how they feel. The questions should be relevant for them because it will be their community.

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  • "This is just a supposition. The facts will tell." What? It's an explicit requirement. If you don't have people experienced with Stack Exchange, your community won't have any internal guidance to make it work in that system. – Nij May 11 at 6:12
  • @Nij , The supposition is also mentioned by the author: "could". Nobody knows the future. We have the following flow: define - commit - beta - live. We need to evaluate the ability of every new community step by step, not like "the current 125 won't be able to ... in <the future> ...", because the whole context will be different (new users, different experience, different knowledge, etc). Nobody knows. If any community is able to pass a step, it should be let to do this. – ROMANIA_engineer May 11 at 7:05
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    Nij was merely pointing out that there is a strict requirement in the commitment phase of the proposal that at least 100 of the people committing to the proposal must have at least 200 reputation on another site of our network. A proposal that consists of only brand new people to the network will not make it to private beta regardless of how many people actually commit. Your dismissing the concern that there are too many new people and no network users as a supposition will only doom the proposal to failure. It is a valid concern for one to have. – animuson May 11 at 22:13
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    @Elrond_EGLDer, I've been watching Area 51 for almost seven years now. The "100 established users" requirement is always the hardest one for an outside community to hit. I recommend you start encouraging users to get a feel for the StackExchange system now, so you don't find yourself looking at a looming commitment deadline with only 50-60 established users. – Mark May 11 at 23:23
  • @animuson, thank you for the clarifications. Your message is clear. The previous one was vague specifying that the community won't have any internal guidance. – ROMANIA_engineer May 12 at 10:07
  • @Mark , Thanks for your advice. I also read this: area51.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/28637/… regarding this subject. For sure it will be a big challenge. Regarding the "deadline", do you have any resource where the deadlines for each phase are specified? I expected to see this kind of details here area51.stackexchange.com/faq ... – ROMANIA_engineer May 12 at 10:07
  • @ROMANIA_engineer, current deadlines are four months for the definition phase, four months for the commitment phase. – Mark May 12 at 20:56
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I personally would not jump to conclusions without taking into account the entire context.

The way I see it for this particular case, but I feel most points could relate to any topic:

  1. The number of accounts you see are a result of community mobilisation on other platforms which leverage communication, but have the main problem of being intrinsically linear, i.e. Telegram - the same topics repeat several times every day, a Q&A type of information organisation would greatly benefit such a community, where novelties appear daily. The proposal was promoted to this range of people, most of them being developers or in the IT industry themselves.
  2. Area51, being a fork of an older Stackoverflow build, is a bit buggy. I am an experienced developer and have had trouble logging into Area51 with my StackExchange credentials. It was only when I was giving up and reflected on simply creating a new account for Area51 that I managed to log in (only when clicking the 'Sign up' button, I got magically logged into Area51, even though I had been logged into StackExchange all along and trying without success to hit 'Sign in').
  3. This is connected to the previous point, but the points and badges from other StackExchange websites appeared under my username on the proposal about a day after I joined.
  4. You pinpointed the most voted question as being easy to find on Google. You can find anything on Google, but you would be surprised how many people ask this question daily on the support channels of this project. People want to know this and it is a question that relates to non-technical people as well, that is why it was upvoted, even though technical people most likely considered other questions to be more relevant.
  5. Why should the audience be 'hate-driven'? Being critical is obviously OK, but expecting people that support a certain proposal to downvote on questions, an action that would be detrimental to the outcome of the initiative, is somewhat idealistic. I expect criticality to increase in direct proportion with the clout it gathers.
  6. StackExchange is the pinnacle in terms of content management and curation possibilities, which is something that could help communities such as the Elrond one to replace at least some of the 1:1 communication that takes place at the moment with a 1:m one. That is invaluable.

What is more, why would you stifle the efforts of a community? Why wouldn't you let time decide if experienced users will or will not be able to support the proposal? I would let it run its course, it might go one way or another, but I feel it would be a bit disrespectful to the time and effort invested by 100+ people to put an abrupt end to it, just based on personal impressions.

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To be more direct and general about your question: evidence. A list of users that recently joined the site to follow a proposal means very little. We already run checks to make sure there is no irregular voting propping up a proposal when we do our proposal review at the beginning of the commitment phase (or somewhere around that time). If we see a lot of fake accounts at that point, we would close it. There is no good reason to flag a "suspicious line of accounts" because it would mostly be noise for us and result in nothing that wouldn't have already happened regardless.

If you have specific information like tweets or correspondence on other platforms that suggests a proposal is being artificially inflated through the use of incentives or other illegitimate means, then definitely let us know about that by flagging. Otherwise, there is really no need for regular users to be suspicious and try to investigate proposals. They are already scrutinized as part of the process.

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You said : "There could also be voter fraud (meaning people creating multiple accounts and then voting up as many questions to 10 votes as possible)" But it doesn't make sense. Why would anyone waste time making multiple accounts (when it takes so long to make an account) just to vote multiple times, while the Elrond community is huge? Here is a good place to easily find correct answers that are very well structured as opposed to the telegram channel where, although there are these answers it is very difficult to find them.

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    People actually do this all the time, even when there is a legitimate and large community they could go prod at instead of making fake accounts. And crypto-related proposals tend to attract those people most often. That's why some people around here get naturally suspicious. – animuson May 10 at 18:24
  • I believe that people must be naturally unsuspecting. Everyone has the right to the presumption of innocence. It is not ok to accuse someone without solid arguments just to put them in a position to prove that they are not guilty of something. – Amo May 11 at 20:09
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    We do not encourage people to accuse others of wrongdoing, which is actually one of the standing reasons why we actively forbid the [specific-user] tag across our network. We advise users to not assume things about others all the time. But that also does not mean inappropriate voting does not happen or that we shouldn't keep an eye out for it. If nobody was ever suspicious, then nobody would ever catch those who engage in fraudulent behavior. Nobody is putting others in a position to prove they are not guilty. The question is only asking about how to get something reviewed. – animuson May 11 at 21:00
  • @animuson , you are right. I am sure that you will do your job and I am the first one who wants e genuine fair community. I don't want to invest a lot of energy to create something useful for nobody. But regarding the post itself, it was tendentious. Just ignore those 3 usage of "fraud" and "fake" words and think about this "Should we flag/close proposals like this, which are very suspicious, and likely will never make it to Beta? " ... – ROMANIA_engineer May 12 at 10:26

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