Illegitimate Accounts (report here)
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Aug 4, 2019 3:29 AM
Aug 4, 2019 6:53 AM
Aug 4, 2019 7:50 AM
Thread Locked. 50+ posts in the last 48 hours :'D
FMA:B's score change must be a backend problem because 100,000 scores suddenly disappeared without anyone deleting these accounts. It's still the weekend, so the tech team is off work. We'll need to wait for them into look into this next week.
For now, I'd just like everyone to take a deep breath. Please give us some time to investigate what happened.
Aug 10, 2019 12:41 PM
As most I think have already noticed, FMA:B's score has returned. In simple terms, the score calculations were being restarted before they had enough time to finish (due to our community getting larger and larger), so this is why 100k users seemed to "disappear". This has likely been happening for a while to other entries, we just didn't notice because they didn't have the popularity+high ranking combination of FMA:B.
I have decided to close this thread permanently.
When I first created it almost 10 years ago, our community was significantly smaller. Death Note had less than 120,000 scored users—now it has 1.2 million. That is a 10x increase.
1. The community has become too large for us to manually delete upvoting/downvoting accounts. And it will only continue to grow from here.
2. In 10 years, the average user has become "smarter" at hiding their tracks. This means it is very rare for us to catch the person creating the problem; all we're doing is deleting accounts at a much slower pace than some dedicated 13yo has free time to make them.
Luna and I were already discussing possible backend changes for combating this problem and removing the influence on the scores with DeNA. From this, I can say two more things:
3. There are possible approaches we can take to combat this problem from a development end (which I will not discuss so that users do not find a way around them).
4. Upvotes and downvotes equal each other out on most popular+high ranked series. When we processed a dataset using our proposed mechanisms, the only scores that were really affected were series 10+ years old with smaller user counts.
I recognize that this decision is likely to anger some users. However, I hope you will really consider this from all perspectives and agree that backend measures to combat this problem are a much more effective long term solution than whack-a-mole. Until then, I asked for your patience—and that you not contribute to the problem.
Nov 17, 2019 3:24 AM
We've been getting an increase in reports and PMs recently since the large score change in Chihayafuru 3, so I wanted to leave a message here to remind everyone we haven't forgotten or set it aside. In my weekly meetings with Media Do, this has continued to be a mentioned topic.
I've prepared a number of potential solutions from Luna's and my side that we'd like to see applied together to make a more complex scoring calculation that isn't super easy to discover and circumvent. The bottle neck is essentially waiting on the developers/tech team to come back with a review of our suggestions (and possible ideas of their own) so that we can agree on a plan and implementation can start. Unfortunately, with the 15th anniversary giveaway and MAL Live, there was only so much that could be done the last 2 months since devs cannot be conjured out of thin air. Additionally, the team is hesitant to apply changes hastily without careful consideration, so it's not just coding time but also consideration and review time.
On one hand, cases like Chihayafuru make Luna and I very angry, and incentivize us to delete these accounts. However, rationally speaking, these trolls are actually helping us, because it gives me a very strong playing card to demand urgency on backend changes (as compared to slow leeching or boosting of scores). So while the situation makes me angry and that emotion makes me want to sink 2-3 hours into deleting accounts... Logically, the only thing this would do is apply a temporary bandaid to a much larger problem—a bandaid that some snot-faced kid can rip off in the 8 hours I'm at my day job. So as much as the impassioned part of us wants to go on a rating troll account siege, Luna and I recognize that time truly would be wasted time.
Hopefully, this message provides a bit of reassurance, even though I realize it essentially boils down to: please wait a bit more.
Nov 30, 2019 5:59 AM
Yesterday, the development team and Luna+I reached an agreement on an a first phase approach to combating the rating troll problem, with subsequent dev phases following the first to make the system more robust against malicious attacks.
Development will begin next week and a site-wide announcement will be posted once the first phase of the system is deployed. Please give us a bit more time for the tech team to implement our numerous demands and for us to test the output to investigate any unanticipated problems. This issue is high priority and we would like it resolved as quickly as the community does.
Jan 25, 2020 12:55 PM
Current release date estimate for our first phase of the rating troll score plan is 3rd week of February. At this time, all scores on the website will be re-calculated to discount the contribution of troll scores, along with implementing some measures to reduce future vote manipulation. These measures will not be noticeable nor interfere with regular users, and will be further strengthened with time.
I'm sorry that we couldn't have this released during January. Please be patient for just a few more weeks. We're almost there.
Feb 6, 2020 5:47 AM
Hi. Me again.
I wanted to make a follow-up post here, in light of the current onslaught of Ishuzoku Reviewers—led by one individual who has seemingly either lost his marbles or let internet fame get to his head. Thanks to this individual's easily-influenced mob followers, Ishukozu Reviewer's score has been tampered with so badly, it makes the trolls who spammed Chihayafuru 3 look weak. I don't have words to express how such a display of thoughtlessness makes the staff feel, particularly Luna and I who were in a sheer panic when we first saw the flood of scores.
Negativity aside, I managed to find two silver linings in this whole fiasco.
Before all this happened, I received word that the development team may be done Phase 1 sooner than expected, and so we were trying to schedule an earlier release date (taking into consideration the weekend and national holidays in Japan). Silver lining #1 is we shouldn't have to live with this long.
Second, we were so focused on combating illegitimate scores given by duplicate account creation, we didn't consider illegitimate scores given by legitimate users due to vote brigading. Don't get me wrong, we want to tamper with MAL scores as little as possible. However, when an entry receives upwards of 15,000 "10" votes in less than 24 hours and those votes can be linked to one source, there is clearly a problem. Silver lining #2 is we will try to modify what we're releasing in Phase 1 to also deal with this (and similar cases like it).
Once the release date is finalized, I will make a site-wide announcement explaining as much as I can related to this issue, Chihayafuru 3, and the changes this will lead to in MAL's Top page. (As I've said before, up votes and down votes typically cancel each other out for highly-rated, highly-popular series, so don't expect a massive shake-up in the Top 10.)
Finally, I just want to say thanks to the rational-thinking users who posted or thought things similar to some comments in this reddit thread. I know it soothed the moderator team a little to see others recognize that this senseless action only harms volunteers and users of an unrelated website.
Thank you to everyone who spoke out (here or elsewhere) for your support. We will continue to try and make this situation right as speedily as possible.
Modified by Kineta, Feb 6, 2020 6:26 AM
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