Stopping contest cheaters

I was casting my votes for projects in the Chirstmas Decorations Contest and noticed something strange. The project with the highest votes had a bunch of very brief and highly complimentary comments made by people with the generic avatar. It just looked funny to me. The author wasn't replying to any of the comments. Look at your instructables and i bet there is a sprinkling of generic avatars and also some actual conversations between you and your commenters. So i probed. And i noticed that a bunch of these seemingly generic profiles had been created just prior to the close of another contest. And guess what? They comment on (and i'm willing to bet - vote for) only the instructables of a single user. What are the chances? So i sent an email to TPTB and when the contest results were announced i felt better knowing that they hadn't gamed the system. So i was perusing the entries of the Craftsman contest to start casting votes and started with those with the most votes. And i found another project that had a bunch of generic avatars commenting - and on one case they messed up and replied to one of their fake compliments with a thank you but they used a profile that they complimented the project on instead of the profile that they submitted the project with. What is frustrating is that some of these projects are quite good and should stand on their own merit. The authors just ruin it by artificially creating conversation, inflating the registered user count, and seeming desperate. To prevent from seeming biased or hoping to have my project rank higher i have asked to have my project removed from the contest. (i have no expectation of even an honorable mention my project is so pale in comparison to the many great ones - the project i really wanted to do was impossible because of my Alaskan winter weather) I have a few suggestions... Instructables Staff: Perhaps a rule in the contest prohibiting the creation of multiple profiles for the purpose of voting for or increasing the comments (do they pop to the front page when recently commented on?) or hit count of their project. If you really have multiple personalities then this rule would not apply. (grin) Or maybe a "report this user" feature which browsers could use. Report as: possible duplicate, offensive, violating something or other... Instructables users: Perhaps the masses have a better chance of catching things like this. I don't think this problem will go away unless it is clear that it won't be tolerated. (Or am i just getting too grumpy and it should be tolerated?) We can post suspicious users or projects with comments that appear hokey. I guess the best question to ask right now is should this be dealt with quietly (the staff will ignore votes from the same IP address or use other non-public methods of dealing with it). Or should there be a public flogging? I'd hate to see a really great project with an honorable user bumped out of a prize or even have a lower vote tally than a project that has merits but an author cheating the system to boost their score.

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N1K1_1NC.3 years ago
A flawed system but what system isn't flawed. IMO I think that it would make sense for only entrants in the contest to vote so that you would know that every vote is counted for and there's an even playing field. 30 people in a contest = 30 votes and of course you can't vote for yourself but since the overall determination comes down to the judges (as I was told) what does it matter to vote anyway? Nice thread :)
What you were actually told* was that the finalists are seleced by the votes of the general membership. Judges don't get involved until the finalists have been selected.

(Caveat: some contest sponsors select a proportion of the finalists themselves - see individual contest rules for details.)

*by me.
Yes, that I know! The finalists are preselected by the members. The flaw in the system is when anyone outside of the contest itself can vote for a person which will then determine whether or not they become a finalist. So if someone can make multiple accounts and vote for a project undetected, then someone can have their "friends" vote for their project which would increase their chances of becoming a finalist. This is not against the judges because the judges only judge from the pool of finalists! There's two types of popularity votes that can take place...one being a vote cast because the project itself was good and the other being a vote cast because someone's relationship/following.

Also please not that you're not the only one that I've had a conversation with in open or in private. So when I said that I was told that the overall determination of who wins comes down to the judges I wasn't talking about you. I don't want to make this any uglier than it has been on the threads. I expressed myself and that's as far as it should've went. I didn't know of your existence prior to you replying to my thread as you didn't know of mine. So if you don't mind I would and I mean this in the most respectful way hope that we can go back to the way things were. Also for the record you don't have to the one person that replies to any and everything that I say on this site but by choice you choose to. I won't take that away from you because it's your right.

Take Care.
If only the entrants could vote, most entrants would get very similar, low numbers of votes (you'll have to trust me on that one, but it's true), meaning the judges would have to sort through far more entrants than they do now.

With only around 20 finalists, judging is a day's work for each judge. Since most judges are volunteers, with other jobs to do, imagine the months of wait that would result from having to directly judge one or two hundred entries.

Yes, people vote for their friends, but that effect is lost in the noise of mass voting.

Yes, people try and create fake accounts to vote for themselves, but the admins have mysterious digital voodoo to weed that out.

Preventing non-entrants from voting is absolutely against the spirit of the site, and will never happen. It would also cut down the amount of participation in contests - think how many people would lose interest in politics if only candidates could vote in an election.
I get it and understand what you're saying completely. It just seems a little simple for entrants in the contest to be the only ones to cast votes. Of course the number of votes will be lower but they will give you the diverse results needed to place finalists. For one not everyone is going to vote for the same entry so there will always be someone with a top vote and there will always be someone with the lowest amount of votes. I wasn't trying go against the spirit of the site but if the spirit of the site can be easily tainted by deception or unfairness then that to me says a lot. I had a new world; virginal perception of the site and it's "spirit" but I've learned. I've seen on threads where people have been "nice nasty" and attacked others in droves because of not agreeing with something they said or done. But because they've been members of the site for a while there's an alpha dog mentality and that is just my opinion. I had my concerns about the process and it's been answered. The answers may not have been what I feel the most logical, nicest or complete but nonetheless they are answers.

The mass voting process is based on the "general membership" as you put stated to me before. And that "general membership" pool of votes can be corrupted by the "friend" vote. So if someone has a group a "friends" voting for them; electing them as a finalist then what's the difference from when someone just create a plethora of accounts to vote for themselves. Of course one is against the rules/policy and the other is not but It will achieve the same results...

Everything is political but just on different levels. There's a responsibility that comes with any electoral process. I'll leave the broad topic of politics alone.

Also, If the contest is a popular then I think that the participation in it would remain the same. It may even increase when you truly leave it in the hands of the people who enter the contest. If a person chooses not to participate in a contest because they can no longer have people outside of the contest vote for them then they shouldn't have entered it anyway. That person is probably one of those people to have their "friends" vote for their projects and don't want to risk losing those votes for a more genuine process. I said it before that no system goes without corruption and this one is one of them. It's not to make you feel a certain way or to make the judges feel a certain. This is a personal attack on anyone. When I see some of the entries and most of them are in contests that I wouldn't dare to enter (lol) lose when it's clear that they should've won or placed as a finalist it just makes me question the process. When I say clear I'm not just basing this on my opinion but I do read some of the comments on the entries.

Is there a way to see how many votes were cast for the entry either before or after the judging process?

Anyways, no more love letters. I'm done and I'm not the only one to have concerns about the process and I won't be last. Take care ...peace

No way to view votes - votes count are only available to admins.

Like Kiteman said below, we did try to make them public at one point but it caused more problems in the end.
Votes have been visible in the past, but that lead to tactical voting, and encouraged the creation of fake accounts.
*This is not a personal attack* ...excuse the typos.

If I should clear one thing up it will be that line because of course someone will be bound to take that sentence and make it into a fight. By someone I mean anyone and that's not limited to you nor excluding you..
DIY Dave7 years ago
I think that voters should have to have at least one instructable posted; that would keep people from creating extra accounts just to vote on their own instructable.
guyfrom7up8 years ago
This is why I never liked voting contests, I think one group of people should judge all of them (even though that would take a lot of work, it would be the most fair, especially for such a big prize as this contest). Also, a super great instructable could like be on page 3, never seen, and thus never voted.
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