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Author Topic: What can I do about possible merit abuse?  (Read 821 times)
Hhampuz
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March 27, 2019, 03:09:49 AM
Merited by suchmoon (19), Foxpup (3), LoyceV (1)
 #1

Alright so, I'm a campaign manager and whenever I launch a new Campaign I usually have merit requirements. Lately I've switched over from "Merit Earned" to "Merit Earned in the last 120 days" as I do want high quality people in these campaigns.

Now to the issue, more than once (both previously and right now), I have people applying in my Campaigns and when I go to check their merit received I can see that they just received enough merit to hit the requirement, in some cases it was done just minutes before they apply. Now, this is probably merit abuse as I don't buy that it happens as a coincidence. However, how can I prove it? Do I just deny these people due to the fact it's just assumption, do I take any other action against it? It happens with accounts in good standing too, green trust & very active users so I'm a bit torn.

Any insight is appreciated!

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qwertyup23
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March 27, 2019, 03:21:44 AM
Last edit: March 27, 2019, 03:34:08 AM by qwertyup23
 #2

I think it all boils down to your discretion as the campaign manager as you are the one who prescribes the rules and chooses participants.  If you think that they are abusing the merit system, then you can always ignore and move on!
There will never be a shortage of good posters here in the forum and you can always take your time to review each!

I think one possible solution may be checking their merited posts and see if they intentionally did the merit abuse. This may be a difficult job but I guess this can be a solution to problem!

Good luck, Hhampuz!

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March 27, 2019, 03:22:26 AM
 #3

That's a tough job indeed, and you have to differentiate the meaning of Merit Abuse.

If they've just received the merit after your posting of new campaign, it might be done intentionally just to qualify and it can be consider as a merit abuse but of course you still have to make proof on that which is hard to do so. You can just ignore them or try to raise a new topic on that so someone will also make their own investigation.

I think its better to change your "Merit Earned in the last 120 days" to "Merit earned 30 days before posting of this campaign".
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March 27, 2019, 03:38:54 AM
Merited by LoyceV (1)
 #4

     I think it depends on how long your campaign has been up. If it has been quite a while, it could be someone who had an eye for the campaign and went to apply as soon as they achieved enough merit. You may want to look over the most recent merited posts and see if they are something that is deserving of merit. If they are uninteresting posts in mega-threads, it may raise red flags, especially if they are earning more than a merit or two per post.

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March 27, 2019, 03:40:08 AM
 #5

Well if I was in your shoes, I'll just take note of the suspected merit account abusers maybe store their username and how many merits they currently have earned somewhere and on my next campaigns I will increase the merit requirement depending unpon how long it took before new campaign was launched (maybe 1 more merit for each week). Now I'll look through those accounts to see those that receive enough merit to qualify for the campaign and file a report on reputation baord, I believe with those information you'll have enough reason to accuse them of abusing the merit system. For those that's a coincidence they'll appeal and maybe with their post record and post merit was received on, they will be pardon.

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March 27, 2019, 03:50:07 AM
Merited by Pmalek (1)
 #6

It is a really good indicator for merit abusements.
However, it is just early indicator and does not make sure that those cases are really merit abusers.
Reasons:
- If those merited posts/ topics are really constructive, there is no reason to say they are merit abusers, even their latest merits earned come to their accounts few mins before they made applications.
Personally, I experienced myself that sometimes merits come to me in a row, with large amount, sometimes I have to wait for days, or weeks to get my next merit (huge gaps between two merits received).
- If those merited posts/ topics on which they have additional merits to satisfy your campaigns' requirements are bad posts/ topics, it might be a merit abusements.
However, in such cases, for small merit abusements, @theymos stated months ago, maybe early days after merit system activation in 2018, that insignificant merit abusers should not be tagged, because those ones will run out of merits sooner or later.

To sum up, if you find those insignificant merit abusers applied to your campaign, simply Ingore their applications. That's all, in my opinion at this point.
I have people applying in my Campaigns and when I go to check their merit received I can see that they just received enough merit to hit the requirement, in some cases it was done just minutes before they apply. Now, this is probably merit abuse as I don't buy that it happens as a coincidence.

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March 27, 2019, 04:05:12 AM
Merited by Foxpup (3), Hhampuz (1), pandukelana2712 (1)
 #7

in some cases it was done just minutes before they apply.
I'd say you're definitely right in assuming this, because we all know the lengths people will go to in order to get into a new campaign.  It isn't like the good old days when there were multiple new ones starting every week. 

The only thing I'd recommend is checking a suspected merit abuser's most recent earned merit--specifically, look at the post(s) that got merited.  You're the manager and I know very well you know what a good post is so if something looks fishy to you, just reject them.  If someone got merited for a shitpost, and especially if the merit sender is low-ranked and not well-known, there's a very good chance it's a merit sale.  You're not obligated to accept anyone anyway, and you don't have to give a reason.

The pain in the ass part is that you'd still have to spend time checking people's posts before accepting them, but I think to prevent cheaters from getting in, it's necessary.  It also shouldn't take too much time, because if someone bought merits it's not very likely that person has a long merit history.  Good luck and it's awesome you're still adhering to high standards.

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March 27, 2019, 04:13:58 AM
Merited by Lucius (1)
 #8

Most simplest solution that I can suggest you to change the requirement as below.

"You have earned "X" amount of merit in last 120 days but merits gained after publication of this OP will not be counted "

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March 27, 2019, 04:14:57 AM
 #9

The forum, with supports from merit system, and good managers, has jumped into new era, in which there is very less chance for shitty higher rank users get acceptance to join serios, high paid campaigns.
The era of self-made high rank users has started, and they will dominate serious, high paid campaigns soon.

Why not counted?
Merits born as one of tools to measure the level of constructive in the forum.
So, whenever posts/ topics received 'true' merits for its contributions, it's good.
Your suggestion is likely that 'real constructive' posts/ topics that received merits after campaigns announcements will automatically turn into un-constructive ones.
Let's look further a bit.
Such merited posts/ topics are unconstructive in one campaign, but will turn into constructive ones in others campaign (that announced mins/ hours later). It sounds a bit weird, and unlogical here, right?
Most simplest solution that I can suggest you to change the requirement as below.

"You have earned "X" amount of merit in last 120 days but merits gained after publication of this OP will not be counted "

I still have not found theymos' post, gave up for now.
By the way, I also remembered @LoyceV stated somewhere that newbies with 1 earned merit is more interesting than a Legendary without a single earned merit.

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March 27, 2019, 04:20:43 AM
 #10

I think the only thing you can do about that is to simply state in the campaign requirements that you have the rights to not accept certain applicants regardless if they meet all the requirements; and simply just accept the ones that you think are legitimate users who don't abuse the merit system. Not sure if this is the best solution, but that's probably how I would do it at least.

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March 27, 2019, 04:23:23 AM
 #11

I think the only thing you can do about that is to simply state in the campaign requirements that you have the rights to not accept certain applicants regardless if they meet all the requirements; and simply just accept the ones that you think are legitimate users who don't abuse the merit system.
It is the basic fact.
Campaign managers are responsible to choose participants for their campaigns, so I don't think it is the one should be added to campaigns' rules.
Participants apply, and their applications will be taken into consideration if they satisfy including criteria and not violate excluding criteria of campaigns.
After that, get acceptance or not depends on the screening procedure of managers, who will check their post quality, trust points, and more things.

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Hhampuz
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March 27, 2019, 04:39:22 AM
 #12

in some cases it was done just minutes before they apply.
I'd say you're definitely right in assuming this, because we all know the lengths people will go to in order to get into a new campaign.  It isn't like the good old days when there were multiple new ones starting every week. 

The only thing I'd recommend is checking a suspected merit abuser's most recent earned merit--specifically, look at the post(s) that got merited.  You're the manager and I know very well you know what a good post is so if something looks fishy to you, just reject them.  If someone got merited for a shitpost, and especially if the merit sender is low-ranked and not well-known, there's a very good chance it's a merit sale.  You're not obligated to accept anyone anyway, and you don't have to give a reason.

The pain in the ass part is that you'd still have to spend time checking people's posts before accepting them, but I think to prevent cheaters from getting in, it's necessary.  It also shouldn't take too much time, because if someone bought merits it's not very likely that person has a long merit history.  Good luck and it's awesome you're still adhering to high standards.

Thank you for the kind words, they do mean a lot!

And sometimes I think these merit abusers are real smart.. Let me give you one example in a Campaign I opened up today without throwing the user under the bus (but if you look through applications you can find them).

Account has positive trust.
Account has earned 40 merit since the implementation of the system, but only 6 merit in the last 120 days.
Account had a sales thread for a painting that was not bumped for over 2 months, until my Campaign was posted.
Said Sales thread received 3 merit randomly 3 minutes after the bump (from a user with negative trust).

As you can see, the above should be considered merit abuse and what makes me sad is that the user that applied in the campaign probably would have been accepted even though they were short a merit or two as I did like their post history. It's sad, really.

Just wanted to see what other peoples thoughts were and I appreciate your input!

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Findingnemo
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March 27, 2019, 05:48:19 AM
 #13

Account has positive trust.
Account has earned 40 merit since the implementation of the system, but only 6 merit in the last 120 days.
Account had a sales thread for a painting that was not bumped for over 2 months, until my Campaign was posted.
Said Sales thread received 3 merit randomly 3 minutes after the bump (from a user with negative trust).

As you can see, the above should be considered merit abuse and what makes me sad is that the user that applied in the campaign probably would have been accepted even though they were short a merit or two as I did like their post history. It's sad, really.

Just wanted to see what other peoples thoughts were and I appreciate your input!
This account should not be accepted and also should be blacklisted from joining on your all campaigns in future as well.

Just accept the people even if they don't have enough merit requirements if they have good quality post history because normally high rank members won't receive merits due to the fact they are not in need of that to rank up anymore.

Don't accept the people only because they have enough merits. Smiley

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March 27, 2019, 05:57:18 AM
Last edit: March 27, 2019, 06:34:45 AM by YOSHIE
 #14

Now to the issue, more than once (both previously and right now), I have people applying in my Campaigns and when I go to check their merit received I can see that they just received enough merit to hit the requirement, in some cases it was done just minutes before they apply. Now, this is probably merit abuse as I don't buy that it happens as a coincidence. However, how can I prove it? Do I just deny these people due to the fact it's just assumption, do I take any other action against it?
You are a manager, certainly more efficient and understand in detecting someone who has the potential for Merit fraud.
And accompanied by strong evidence.
But in my opinion it takes a rather boring time, in this case,
For that, a little leads to the rules: ( Topic: Merit & new rank requirements ) if viewed from a good post or not.

There is a tip from me that has been done by other managers on this matter, to find out that participants in your campaign are the same person either multi or merit, by displaying the Authentication link, it is clear that you know the same person who is participating in your campaign.

Example:
#Proof of Authentication:
Authentication Link:
Bitcointalk username:
Bitcointalk profile Link:

If you find cheating, I think, you can give a negative tag, or report to: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2544574.0


[...]
The Authentication link code is the same, there you can see the same person if he uses one computer, Laptop, smartphone. by using crome, browser, phoinex or Firefox.

Findingnemo
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March 27, 2019, 06:06:31 AM
 #15

There is a tip from me that has been done by other managers on this matter, to find out that participants in your campaign are the same person either multi or merit, by displaying the Authentication link, it is clear that you know the same person who is participating in your campaign.

Example:
#Proof of Authentication:
Authentication Link:
Bitcointalk username:
Bitcointalk profile Link:
How it will help to find the merit abuse or alt accounts by asking proof of authentication?

Proof of authentication is needed when people are applying through forms,so they need to post on the thread also to confirm that they are the real person applying for it since anyone can fill form with anyone's detail with their own address.

But in this case it will not help bro. Smiley

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March 27, 2019, 06:09:42 AM
Last edit: March 27, 2019, 06:26:51 AM by Quickseller
Merited by Polar91 (1)
 #16

Who are you referring to?

At the end of the day, there isn't really anything you can do. Officially, "merit abuse" is not against the rules. You can decide to ban the person from any of your campaigns if you wish, although I would first ensure their post quality is reflective of what you do not want in your campaigns.

You cannot blindly use merit as a basis for judging who to accept in your campaigns. There are a lot of people who have little merit who are very good posters, and there are people who receive a lot of merit from low effort posts. I would suggest having lower merit requirements than what you might otherwise want, and as a supplement to merit requirements, you can review their post history to ensure they have sufficiently good post quality, or you can ask applicants to present examples of posts that demonstrate their understanding of one of several topics posted at least several weeks ago.

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March 27, 2019, 07:41:26 AM
 #17

~
Account has earned 40 merit since the implementation of the system, but only 6 merit in the last 120 days.
Account had a sales thread for a painting that was not bumped for over 2 months, until my Campaign was posted.
Said Sales thread received 3 merit randomly 3 minutes after the bump (from a user with negative trust). ~

Most likely, it is about Yatsan who probably is evading a ban at this moment: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2544574.msg50333329#msg50333329
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March 27, 2019, 09:23:33 AM
 #18



At the end of the day, there isn't really anything you can do. Officially, "merit abuse" is not against the rules. You can decide to ban the person from any of your campaigns if you wish, although I would first ensure their post quality is reflective of what you do not want in your campaigns.


Merit abuse is against the rules on same cases in fact theymos remove manually merit sometimes like here https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5114714.msg49936656#msg49936656.

The question is another one, in this case, is or is not redtrust worthy? for sure is an untrusted behavior since they did for bypass a rule.

We had a similar case in the past on stake's signature

The op accused one man to abuse the merit system for a contest paid in $ and in the end, even the OP admitted to had cheated to get money in the same contest. https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5114255.0

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March 27, 2019, 09:29:42 AM
 #19

I think the best solution to it is blacklist that user if you think that it is a possible merit abuse. But as you just said that just minutes ago they get the merits they need for the campaign, I guess there's something fishy going on at it. Though we can't say it's totally an abuse there should be an investigation on your part to be followed if you find something is unusual.

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March 27, 2019, 10:23:04 AM
 #20

Changing your local rules from "Merit Earned" to "Merit Earned in the last 120 days" will not change a thing. Like you said, the possible merit abuse happened on the same day as you started your new campaign. You are the one making the decision who to accept so if you feel that someone is trying to deceive you just look for a more suitable candidate.

Both "Merit Earned" and "Merit Earned in the last 120 days" have pros and cons.

A user could have earned a significant amount of merits in the earlier days of the merit system and now due to real life issues has less time to post resulting in less merits earned. What you can do is try to get in touch with such a user telling him that you like his older posts but you have noticed that the quality/quantity of his posting has decreased. Ask him if can deliver an X amount of posts (like in the old days) if you select him for the campaign. That might just be the incentive he needs to improve the quality and quantity of his posts.

Some users suggested that you shouldn't consider merits earned from the day you started your new campaign. I wouldn't necessarily do it that way. The most important thing is what kind of posts got merited since the start of your campaign? If those are posts that you would merit yourself or you think they deserve merits - it shouldn't be a problem.     

 

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