Believe it or not but many places in the world try to use ones Stackoverflow reputation as an ancillary qualification for a given programming job. Generally these are the same places where parents will scale barbed wire fences to get test answers to their children when they take standardized exams because their very ability to hopefully retire and not starve on the street as a beggar are tied to their childrens future career prospects. The same places where diploma mills are common. The kinds of places where you literally cannot afford to have a moral code or sense of ethics and where justice is this strange first world developed country concept.
The elaborate voting rings generally form where one or a handful of people form multiple sock puppet accounts for the sole purpose of circle jerking each other with upvotes.
They probably call them sock puppets because you can clean yourself up with them if you get a bit too excited. ☺