Forum Thread

Need better way to identify spam threads on Front Page / Popular Deals

ozmotion 1,338 371 September 22, 2015 at 07:30 AM
A lot of garbage products get promoted to Front Page, probably through shill votes.

A few things that would help:

1) It would be nice to see users behind votes, but this isn't currently visible. The information would let you filter out posts where most of the voting comes from fake users

2) The voting score could be weighted by user reputation, post count, or age of user on site. It's still useful to have a raw count, so a separate 'weighted' score could be displayed and used for the purpose of FP promotion.

3) I may well be wrong, but a general feeling seems to be that there are sponsored threads that get promoted to the FP in spite of an absence of organic votes. That would be fine - you gotta make money - but if this is the case, it makes it harder to differentiate between sponsored threads with bad deals and spam threads with bad deals. Adding a 'sponsored' label to these threads would make it easier to identify spam threads.

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Joined Dec 2004
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#2
Hi and thanks for your input.

One thing we've been tossing around and want to work on in the near future is a better deal scoring system.

While votes are very important sometimes they don't tell the whole story. *We have had an increase in shills that we constantly try to eliminate... as well as friend votes. Neither of those help give a true idea of just how good the community thinks a deal is.

So we're considering a system that would show a score instead of just votes. The score would incorporate votes, plus other data we can use to see the true value such as how well it's actually selling etc. Those things would be a truer accounting of a deal.




Quote from ozmotion View Post :
A lot of garbage products get promoted to Front Page, probably through shill votes.

A few things that would help:

1) It would be nice to see users behind votes, but this isn't currently visible. The information would let you filter out posts where most of the voting comes from fake users

2) The voting score could be weighted by user reputation, post count, or age of user on site. It's still useful to have a raw count, so a separate 'weighted' score could be displayed and used for the purpose of FP promotion.

3) I may well be wrong, but a general feeling seems to be that there are sponsored threads that get promoted to the FP in spite of an absence of organic votes. That would be fine - you gotta make money - but if this is the case, it makes it harder to differentiate between sponsored threads with bad deals and spam threads with bad deals. Adding a 'sponsored' label to these threads would make it easier to identify spam threads.
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Joined Dec 2008
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#3
how abt that Mod Alert thing, if i report stuff... would lab monkees activate full panic mode?

should anyone bother to hit that Mod Alert button?
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#4
Quote from Spongemac View Post :
how abt that Mod Alert thing, if i report stuff... would lab monkees activate full panic mode?

should anyone bother to hit that Mod Alert button?
If you mod alert a thread, we will look into the voting history to see if it is suspect.
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#5
Quote from ozmotion View Post :
A lot of garbage products get promoted to Front Page, probably through shill votes.

A few things that would help:

1) It would be nice to see users behind votes, but this isn't currently visible. The information would let you filter out posts where most of the voting comes from fake users

2) The voting score could be weighted by user reputation, post count, or age of user on site. It's still useful to have a raw count, so a separate 'weighted' score could be displayed and used for the purpose of FP promotion.

3) I may well be wrong, but a general feeling seems to be that there are sponsored threads that get promoted to the FP in spite of an absence of organic votes. That would be fine - you gotta make money - but if this is the case, it makes it harder to differentiate between sponsored threads with bad deals and spam threads with bad deals. Adding a 'sponsored' label to these threads would make it easier to identify spam threads.
Quote from Spongemac View Post :
how abt that Mod Alert thing, if i report stuff... would lab monkees activate full panic mode?

should anyone bother to hit that Mod Alert button?
I did focus in on the "better way of knowing true votes"

Allow me to address the other 2 points.

1)We used to allow people to see who voted on threads but some OPs got a bit too protective of their deals and started calling out anyone who TD them which made for a very disharmonious thread discussion. So we decided to let them be private. If someone suspects improper voting we encourage them to mod alert the thread so that we can look into things.


3)I should also have addressed the implication that we Push sponsored merchant deals to FP. Or that we knowingly or encourage shilled stuff to hit FP and nothing could be further from the truth.

When we have any indication, whether a heads up from members or our own suspicions, we not only ban the ones we're sure about *thus nullifying their votes* but we also have a message that we now add to threads where we suspect or have proof of unusual voting going on in the thread. That way members have a heads up even if there is a suspicion.


When we suspect we add: Slickdeals is a community-driven shopping resource and we count on our members to vote and comment with integrity. In that spirit, when we have information that suspicious voting or commenting might be taking place we want to let you know so you can make the best informed purchase decision. There seems to be unusual voting and commenting on this deal, so please take that into consideration when evaluating it.

When we have proof we add: Slickdeals is a community-driven shopping resource and we count on our members to vote and comment with integrity. In that spirit, when we have information that suspicious voting or commenting is taking place we want to let you know so you can make the best informed purchase decision. We've been notified that members have been solicited to give favorable votes and comments on this deal, so please take that into consideration when evaluating it.

When used... we add them to the OP of the thread in bold red font so it's more likely seen by all.

Many threads get outright spammed if we feel the OP is a merchant shill or if they have only shill votes keeping it alive.


We, in the office and our remote contractors, are all SD members too and know the importance of keeping the community trust and respect above any merchant.

Without our community it wouldn't matter what a merchant offered since we'd be headed to our own destruction if we didn't put community first.
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#6
Quote from Schooby View Post :
1)We used to allow people to see who voted on threads but some OPs got a bit too protective of their deals and started calling out anyone who TD them which made for a very disharmonious thread discussion.

3)I should also have addressed the implication that we Push sponsored merchant deals to FP. Or that we knowingly or encourage shilled stuff to hit FP and nothing could be further from the truth.
A solution to the TD callouts that also helps identify shill votes might be to mask TD votes only, right?

Also, good to know that sponsored deals don't get sent to FP artificially. At least now we know it's worth filling out the mod alert forms.
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#7
Quote from ozmotion View Post :
A solution to the TD callouts that also helps identify shill votes might be to mask TD votes only, right?

Also, good to know that sponsored deals don't get sent to FP artificially. At least now we know it's worth filling out the mod alert forms.
Thanks for the suggestion.....


and yes, the MA feature is there to hep keep the community running smoothly.
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#8
Quote from Schooby View Post :
Hi and thanks for your input.

One thing we've been tossing around and want to work on in the near future is a better deal scoring system.

While votes are very important sometimes they don't tell the whole story. *We have had an increase in shills that we constantly try to eliminate... as well as friend votes. Neither of those help give a true idea of just how good the community thinks a deal is.

So we're considering a system that would show a score instead of just votes. The score would incorporate votes, plus other data we can use to see the true value such as how well it's actually selling etc. Those things would be a truer accounting of a deal.
I am excited to hear about some change in deal scoring. I would like to re-plug my idea that as part of that you reform the voting
  • eliminate down-voting
    • a voting system only needs 2 outcomes (1,0) not 3 outcomes (1,0,-1)
  • make people pick a reason for their up-vote (as is currently done with a TD)
  • eliminate OP voting on their own thread
  • limit the number of votes cast per time period (e.g. 3 per hour).
    • perhaps the votes allocated to a user per hour or per day could change as user level increases
Something that adopts as its core forcing people to attribute a cost to supporting a deal (i.e. a vote here means 1 less vote I can place this hour) is essential to differentiating support in a voting system.

Whatever you do, it really needs to be 100% transparent. Honestly, if all the data used to calculate this "score" isn't readily displayed such that the calculation can be reproduced by any user as they currently view the deal then the suspicion that everything is being rigged by SD staff to promote/bury according to profit motives will grow exponentially.

Best of luck!!
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#9
Quote from romkee99 View Post :
I am excited to hear about some change in deal scoring. I would like to re-plug my idea that as part of that you reform the voting
  • eliminate down-voting
    • a voting system only needs 2 outcomes (1,0) not 3 outcomes (1,0,-1)
  • make people pick a reason for their up-vote (as is currently done with a TD)
  • eliminate OP voting on their own thread
  • limit the number of votes cast per time period (e.g. 3 per hour).
    • perhaps the votes allocated to a user per hour or per day could change as user level increases
Something that adopts as its core forcing people to attribute a cost to supporting a deal (i.e. a vote here means 1 less vote I can place this hour) is essential to differentiating support in a voting system.

Whatever you do, it really needs to be 100% transparent. Honestly, if all the data used to calculate this "score" isn't readily displayed such that the calculation can be reproduced by any user as they currently view the deal then the suspicion that everything is being rigged by SD staff to promote/bury according to profit motives will grow exponentially.

Best of luck!!
Thanks for the suggestions.
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