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Apr 29, 2013 07:00 AM

Voting threads : useful, but some issues with the recommend button

The "recommend button" is a really convenient way to tally votes and in the long run, I think it's the best feature for this purpose. With that said, there are a few things we should all be mindful of :

1) Double voting : I'd hate to see someone's vote not get counted because they accidentally double voted, or if they tried to change a vote and unsuccessfully de-clicked the original one. The mods have enough to do already--- would they mind if we "report" the vote, and request that they send an e-mail directly to the user?

2) Thread priority : When people posted their votes, it kept the voting threads active and in the top of the "Last Reply" queue. Because recommending does not change a thread's number of replies, voting threads now seem to get buried and fall into the ether.

3) Sockpuppets : Embedded in a long list of +1s, it's pretty easy for someone to go unnoticed and deliberately troll a vote, or create a fake account in order to add votes to sway it. Voting threads are fun but low-stakes, so I couldn't imagine anyone pathetic enough to do the latter. But trolling does happen.

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  1. Good call, hyperbowler.

    I reported your #2 a few weeks ago as I noticed the April Dish of the Month vote was not holding ground. The CHTeam started adding this month food project as a Sticky Topic I'm guessing to help keep it in play. Like you, I noticed OP's can slip down the list with only Recommend clicks and no comments keeping it active.

    I must say I've never considered the troll aspect of voting. Imagine having that kind of free time to monkey with a food vote. Wow.

    Double voting? You mean a Rec click & a comment? Because you can unclick & click a Rec button countless x's per the design. Should the Rec button have a 2 hour limit just like comments before your "click" becomes fixed?

    Great observations, thanks.

    1. 1. I'm not sure how you'd know this is happening. Can you describe the behavior you're seeing and worried about in more detail?

      2. We are happy to Announce/Sticky voting threads so that a link appears in blue above the board if organizers flag them for us. They often also bump the thread with a reminder once deadlines get close, and despite our general prohibition on bumping, that's okay.

      3. If this is actually a problem that is happening, it's something we'd be concerned about, but it's not something we've seen so far, or that we're seriously worried about. These threads all have individual coordinators who are looking at them pretty carefully, so we suspect any major shenanigans would be noticed pretty quickly.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Jacquilynne

        #1 You can only recommend a specific item once. But if there are 5 Cookbooks of the Month candidates, each with a little "recommend" button next to it, there's nothing preventing you from recommending all five. The organizer of the thread needs to manually make sure that no person voted twice. That isn't easy to do in a COTM post! A user on the SF board voted three times recently. I suspect they either didn't realize you can't vote for more than one item, or they mistook the Voting post for the Nomination post, where it's commong to recommend multiple items to advance them to the voting stage.

        #2 Oh awesome. There's never any changes in the Sticky section of the SF board, so I've completely tuned it out. DOTM is something that could bring it back into action. Thanks!

        1. re: Jacquilynne

          For #3, take a look at the voting for April's DoM on the SF Bay Area board.

          Or the ballot box stuffing noted for July DoM.

          Whether these rise to the level of a problem to worry about, probably not. They're not major. But it is happening.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            I don't think people who vote but then don't participate is a sign of systemic ballot box stuffing. People vote and then don't participate for a lot of reasons. If all the votes are coming from single individuals who are voting their interest, and not some kind of off-site conspiracy or person with multiple accounts, it's not something we'd consider a problem.

            It may be mildly annoying for people, but it's something you kind of have to learn to expect. Voting is a low key, easy activity and lots of people are going to be able to say "Oh, hey, I like fried chicken more than I like tuna sandwiches" but not nearly as many will actually go out and try fried chicken.

            There may even be some posters who don't understand what they're voting for, since the voting threads, at least the most recent one, don't explain Dish of the Month at all in the original post, so people may not realize they're voting for something that people are then going to expect them to go out and eat.

            1. re: Jacquilynne

              "If all the votes are coming from single individuals who are voting their interest, and not some kind of off-site conspiracy or person with multiple accounts, it's not something we'd consider a problem. "

              For the April vote, Melanie is referring to the first three votes for the winner of DOTM coming from new users who have never made posts on Chowhound, certainly not DOTM. The odds of three lurkers coming out at the same time, for the same dish, and before any of the active hounds have the time to place a vote, are pretty low. Looks to me like a sockpuppet, or a Lambchop to be appropriate to the site. The behavior hasn't repeated this month, which is promising. But it's something to be on the lookout for...

              1. re: hyperbowler

                Thanks for the heads up on what to look for. We'll take a closer look.