I'm seeing some cases of questions asked which get elaborate answers from someone else very soon after the question is posted.

I found one case here but I feel there are more.

Is there a script that mods (if they have time to spare) could run to check for such cases?


  • The case has been presented that this particular example could be done within the elapsed time. I personally doubt it and that's why I posted this question.
  • It's further argued that it is possible that
    • people keep lengthy formatted answers at hand without using this answer themselves by asking and answering an appropriate question
    • such people are around when the appropriate question is asked by an unrelated person
    • such people dig out their lengthy response and post it in a couple of minutes

I admit that such a situation can be theoretically possible. That is why a script may be effective in identifying such answers which could then be further analysed in context of the asker and answerer profiles. Whether it is worth anyone's time depends on factors I have no control over.

  • It doesn't exist, but it's emminently do-able if people want one... It would be a little noisy though. Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 0:55
  • @hbdgaf, maybe filtering the answer for whether it is upvoted/accepted would reduce noise? It is unlikely that any rigging would not benefit the answerer.
    – DK Bose
    Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 3:08

3 Answers 3


That answer (which you referred to) is not elaborate enough for it to be unusual to be posted by another user (i.e., other than the OP) within a minute or so of the question.

If an answer like this amazing one had been posted immediately on a question by an apparently different user, that would be strange. But even that would not necessarily be alarming: I know I've written material for Ask Ubuntu, realized it didn't fit for what I'd written it for, filed it away for later use, and posted it (with appropriate alteration/customization) on a newer question that it turned out to answer. I presume other users do that too, from time to time.

This sort of thing doesn't seem likely to me to relate to intentional misuse of the site. Question-answer pairs by a single author are encouraged, so there's little reason for someone to make a question and an answer using two separate accounts. Even if someone did so with the intention of concealing that they were the asker or answerer, it's not clear that would be considered abuse. The idea that a user's separate accounts should not interact is a very general one: really, it appears sockpuppetry (using multiple accounts to add weight to an opinion, attitude, or idea or to exercise disproportionately large social/political influence through misrepresentation), trolling, bullying, and spamming are the only uses of multiple accounts considered abusive.

You might find people asking and answering questions with different accounts as part of a larger pattern of irregularity. If that larger pattern included indications of misuse--like one account voting for another--then this would be an indication of a problem. But the mere fact that a question is answered quickly with more than a one or two sentence answer is not, in my opinion, something to be concerned about.

With that said, if you believe someone is abusing the site or hurting others on it, and you don't want to post on meta about it, you can raise a custom moderator flag to explain the problem. For a problem that is related to a post, there's a natural way to do this: just flag one of the posts that's involved (probably the answer) and explain your concerns.

  • I have just raised a flag: "This answer was posted within 1 minute 50 sec of being asked by someone else. If you examine answerer's history you will see other examples of very quick responses by this answerer. I have raised the issue meta.askubuntu.com/q/8676/248158 for another user. Please understand I am not complaining about quality of question/answer. But when same thing happens with same answerer, I think moderators should look into things. Apologies if out of line!"
    – DK Bose
    Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 11:49
  • @DKBose Sounds good to me; IMO a custom flag on a post that you think should be investigated by a moderator is quite appropriate. Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 15:58
  • I could put up a case on the answerer with more examples but it would take quite lot of time on my part. I'm not sure whether it would come to much good.
    – DK Bose
    Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 16:37

You can look up this stuff on the Stack Exchange Data Explorer, a read-only copy of the Stack Exchange database (only the important bits: post content, edit history, votes per post, authorship, etc., but no confidential information such as who cast each vote), updated every week. Knowledge of SQL is required.

This query gives you a user's fastest answers. Nothing suspicious-looking in the example you link to, or at least no recurring pattern.


Nope, no script that I know of. But we have other means (including you, here on meta).

  • As I mentioned in chat, posting in meta would involve naming names (or links) and I'm not liking to go public about a suspicion (which could be wrong). So I can't get anyone else to give their opinion.
    – DK Bose
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 16:24
  • @DKBose Yes, that's true, and for very sensitive information you should definitely use flags instead.
    – Seth
    Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 0:49

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