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Instructable is still hung up. Answered

Need a hand with an instructable again. It seems mine keep getting "hung up" in the filters. When this happens, they stay in limbo for a good long time, then when they're finally pushed through, they're already buried on page 32 of the "recent" list. I've tried E-Mailing Ed and randofo 2 days ago, but haven't gotten a response. Anyone have any ideas how to deal with this? Or what "filters" are in place so I can avoid having my instructable get throttled, then buried?

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ewilhelm (author)2009-07-21

I know this isn't the original topic of your post, but considering the comments below, I think it's now relevant. We try very hard to make the contests fair, and one of those ways is to eliminate obviously fake votes. See the attached picture for a view of one of our admin interfaces where we can check out the votes on a particular Instructable. We're always open to new ideas around making the contests more transparent. IP address isn't the only thing we look at, but one idea we've been throwing around is to display the number of votes along with the number of unique IP addresses those votes came from. If anyone has more ideas on this front, I'd appreciate them being started as new forum topics in the feedback section. Thanks!

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=SMART= (author)ewilhelm2009-07-27
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zachninme (author)ewilhelm2009-07-21

I don't think that displaying the # of unique IP addrs will change much. It will only let the cheaters know that you're looking at IPs, and they'll use proxies. This, I would assume, would only make it harder to weed out fake votes. Also, while I think of it, pro user's instructables should be treated more leaniently when going through filters. Assume the best and only hold them back for review if they contain certain words or are too short.

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skunkbait (author)zachninme2009-07-26

Not to mention, there are often multiple iblers in a single household, using the same IP addrs. In my home there are always four iblers, and occasionally a couple others.

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lemonie (author)zachninme2009-07-22

Using proxies would be a bit of a give-away though? I'd say there's enough information in that screen that you'd see patterns. L

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zachninme (author)lemonie2009-07-22

I'm not saying it would be impossible to tell if the vote was faked if proxies were used. I'm just saying that it is a lot easier without them ;-)

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Javin007 (author)zachninme2009-07-22

You know, and on second thought, IPs could also give the wrong impression. In order to get my votes up, I sent out an E-Mail to a number of my co-workers, as did my girlfriend. I even gave them instructions on how to vote. Their external IPs would all be the same as mine as they would be coming from the same router. (Or they'd at least be close to the same block I'd suspect. As small as our facility is, I'd be surprised if our IP pool is large.) That would make people like me look worse, while people using proxies would slip through. Hrm... Still gotta lean towards "silent judges."

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Javin007 (author)zachninme2009-07-22

True. Proxies are too easy to use. I still think voting should be done by a panel of silent judges, and even the entries shouldn't be announced until after the fact. As for the "pros being treated more leniently by filters" I 110% agree. People aren't going to pay for an account just to post garbage.

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trebuchet03 (author)ewilhelm2009-07-25

I've been a fan of weighted voting.... If you signed up an hour ago, you're a weak voter. As you "mature" (perhaps based on how old your account is or a certain number of days of activity), your vote normalizes. You can go uber fancy and add a users instructable ratings, page views, etc. etc. to that score. Before someone else says it.... Pro accounts should not have additional weight. The thinking is along the lines of SAT scoring. Every wrong answer takes away from your score to compensate for answers you guessed correctly. I never liked the fact that people were attempting to cheat - I guess that's because I'm an optimist (or at least pretend to be :p) I'll cross post in feedback if you want to put it out there for more discussion :)

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Lithium Rain (author)trebuchet032009-07-25

>Pro accounts should not have additional weight.< Totally agree. Just because I'm pro doesn't mean nuthin'. I don't think it should come with more influence if you pay.

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skunkbait (author)Lithium Rain2009-07-26

Agreed. Weighting Pro votes would be elitist and insulting.

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Javin007 (author)2009-07-21

Yep... Still hung up. As an unrelated note, I give up on the contests at this site. How the current "winner" of the pocket sized contest is someone who hot-glued 6 legos to an altoids tin is absolutely mind-numbing to me.

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mikeasaurus (author)Javin0072009-07-21

though I understand where you are coming but from don't loose faith yet, there's still a few days left for voting!

I know what you mean though as I've watched a few contests which have had arguably questionable outcomes. I know there's been a few forum topics about voting and users creating false accounts and harvesting votes (though I can't find the one I'm thinking of at the moment).
As unethical (and unsportsmanlike) as it is, I think it's important to remember that even though you may not agree with the outcome it is based on the most democratic method available. I think the staff attempt to even the contest outcomes with Judge's Prizes, I'm sure it's a an issue they are still reviewing.
Though it may seem passive the best thing you can do is make sure your entry is as tight and polished as it can possibly be so it can be judged on it's own merit, and trust in the community to see beyond simple popularity votes and view projects (like yours) for the valuable contribution it brings to this site.
As much as we all want to win a prize there's more to posting an instructable than winning, right? :)

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Javin007 (author)mikeasaurus2009-07-21

I'm cooling down considerably now, but the thing that really irritated me is that while this guy had 154 VIEWS, he had 54 votes. That hardly seems realistic, particularly considering his "rating." I would be interested in seeing if they track the IPs of those voting instead of just user accounts. I actually put quite a bit of work into my camp-stove instructable and got an incredible response (far more than I expected) when it shot up beyond the 4.2+ rating. However, once it was accepted into the contest, it immediately received 30 votes in the same day dropping it below 2.9. I accepted Kiteman's explanation that it had gone "mini-viral" and the "cost of fame" was other people from outside coming in, and setting up accounts to downvote it. However, it then started a steady upwards climb again, getting to close to 3.5 until this competition to vote started, and suddenly it shoots up ANOTHER 30 or so votes, and is dropped down to close to 3 again. I just find all of this too much of an odd pattern (I do statistical and application metric analysis for a living) to swallow that it's "normal." All of this being said, I poured the work into the instructable because I felt it would be appreciated here and instead I log in every few hours to see it downgraded further and further. At almost 100 votes now, even if people DID start upvoting it, it would never be more than something buried on the 2000th page. It's incredibly disappointing. Additionally, when attempting to submit my instructables, 2 out of 3 now have been throttled by the filter, burying them in the back pages when they do finally (if ever) get released. I've finally given up and unpublished my 3rd instructable (how to make tranquilizer darts) and will not be beginning the 4th (how to make a fully functional record player with cardboard, a rubber band, and a wire hanger.) I'm certain I sound like a whiny, poor sport, but when I feel the "contests" can be so easily "rigged" and the days and days of work I do be buried so easily, I'd prefer to put the work in on another site where they take the time to prevent this, and I feel that the time spent is appreciated. Or where they'll at least answer.

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Kiteman (author)Javin0072009-07-21

I happen to know that at least some of the Powers that Be are deeply involved in another project, and probably unable to reply at the moment.

However, I have been assured in past conversations that the site has a process for weeding out and discounting fake or dubious votes. I don't know the details, and wouldn't disclose them anyway, to prevent those-that-might using the details to circumvent the system.

(If it's any consolation, ratings have no influence on contest results, precisely because some members were found to be down-rating competitors.)

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=SMART= (author)Kiteman2009-07-27

.... another project ? I'm excited

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fungus amungus (author)Javin0072009-07-21

I'll look into the rating situation, but for the contest we do throw out fake votes when the voting phase closes. We're working on some new controls so that there's less of a feeling of unfairness during the voting phase, but right now there's two ways of taking care of this: - Clean up votes at the end - Votes are only determining finalists, not winners

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Javin007 (author)Javin0072009-07-23

I stand corrected. I see he's been bumped from the contest.

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fungus amungus (author)Javin0072009-07-21

Who says that's the winner? The votes are used to determine the 20 finalists. Instructables judges then look at the finalists and determine the winner.

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lemonie (author)Javin0072009-07-21

That's subject to change...
Strange that the Lego (singular no s) one you mention has the most votes but a terrible rating: 1.81 (63 ratings).
It says to me that there's some manipulation of the votes or very few cast yet. and some malicious (but pointless) ratings.

L

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mikeasaurus (author)2009-07-21

hmmm I feel you, I sometimes wonder if the voting aspect is at all warranted if all entries need to be viewed by human eyes to ensure that people aren't abusing the system. I understand the place voting has in determining the 'popular vote' but the entire thing seems worthless if something of a higher technical merit gets beaten out by "K'nex gun 2.0" because of the following k'nex has on this site. Also, voting can hurt quality instructables which were entered late due to them having less 'face time', however that is solely in the hands of the submitter.

Maybe this conversation could be posted as a new thread to promote discussion among the community (and possibly a prompter reply from staff)?

Regarding my previous comment, the thread i was thinking of is here. I first noticed this during the Epilog cutter contest as the winner had many generic avatar comments (and I assume votes). I hate cheating but in this case there's no way to disprove these 'people' actually exist... or is there?

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Javin007 (author)mikeasaurus2009-07-21

*heh* I've asked co-workers to come here and vote (they'd all seen the stove) and had about 10 replies that they did. My rank didn't change at all. Methinks I won't be in the top listing when this one's over. ;)

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Javin007 (author)mikeasaurus2009-07-21

Aha, so I'm not the only one who's seeing (and being disappointed by) this. It's funny that he asked to have his instructables removed from the contest as well. I know I wish I'd never entered mine, as I'm 100% certain at this point that they never would have been caught in the two massive bursts of downvoting (more than 60 votes out of 97 happened between 2 separate days. This is a significant statistic).

Perhaps the simplest answer would be to select a series of users or staff to act as "judges" for the contests without announcing them *or* the entries until after the fact. Don't know. I just know I won't be taking part in future contests.

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Kiteman (author)2009-07-20

Weapon- and medication-related titles and keywords will always trigger the filters.

Couple that with timing (the filters don't get "cleaned" at the weekend), and you easily get delays of three, four or five days with every project.

Try creating a "safe" project, and you will see that most projects are published much more quickly.

If you are concerned that a delayed project has slid from view, start a topic about it in the forums; "Look what just escaped from the filters!"

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