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Flamewars likely have a mix of upvotes and downvotes that is very different than a spirited and friendly debate. For example, there might be two general groups of commenters, with most of voters upvoting one half and downvoting the other half.



Be careful with that one though: You'll get the same behavior when you have a group of people trying to engage in a serious discussion which is being trolled by a single poster with multiple accounts/IP addrs. In that case you would want to somehow distinguish one group from the other rather than penalizing both of them.




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