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Old 10-05-2009, 04:07 PM   #1
Anjanas
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Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

Yes, I'm going there and bring this to the forums attention about the cheating that goes on with voting. I took the liberty to check out the top ten MUDS on this site and I was floored by what I found out.
1 - Aardwolf (players 362) votes (900)
2 - Discworld (players 148) votes (589)
3 - Achaea (114 plus 43 supposed hidden) votes (484)
4 - Threshold (no idea because of no who list but I can imagine around 100) votes (418)
5 - WoT (The new kids on the block with 54 players that gained 150 votes over night to gain this postion. votes (406)
6 - Avalon (With 16 whopping players gain over 20 votes an hour) votes (402)
7 - Imperian (Another impressive MUD with 49 players managed to gain 80 votes in a few hours to gain this position) votes (402)
8 - Carrion Fields (players 20 but yet manage that 30 vote every other hour) votes (383)
9 - New Worlds (players 103) votes (375)
10- Shadows of Isildur ( no idea because I didnt want to sit through their creation but I cant imagine a huge player base. 75 tops. votes (371)
I'm calling out these MUDs - WoT, Avalon, Imperian, Carrion Fields- Give us a break cheaters!!
To the rest who at least try to manage some integrity with this ****ty vote system, hats off to you.
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Old 10-05-2009, 06:58 PM   #2
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anjanas View Post
Yes, I'm going there and bring this to the forums attention about the cheating that goes on with voting. I took the liberty to check out the top ten MUDS on this site and I was floored by what I found out.
1 - Aardwolf (players 362) votes (900)
2 - Discworld (players 148) votes (589)
3 - Achaea (114 plus 43 supposed hidden) votes (484)
4 - Threshold (no idea because of no who list but I can imagine around 100) votes (418)
5 - WoT (The new kids on the block with 54 players that gained 150 votes over night to gain this postion. votes (406)
6 - Avalon (With 16 whopping players gain over 20 votes an hour) votes (402)
7 - Imperian (Another impressive MUD with 49 players managed to gain 80 votes in a few hours to gain this position) votes (402)
8 - Carrion Fields (players 20 but yet manage that 30 vote every other hour) votes (383)
9 - New Worlds (players 103) votes (375)
10- Shadows of Isildur ( no idea because I didnt want to sit through their creation but I cant imagine a huge player base. 75 tops. votes (371)
I'm calling out these MUDs - WoT, Avalon, Imperian, Carrion Fields- Give us a break cheaters!!
To the rest who at least try to manage some integrity with this ****ty vote system, hats off to you.
I'm not seeing any conclusive data here.

You logged into Aardwolf and collected how many hours worth of unique logins, to conclude that there are only 362 players?

You do know that a random sampling accounts for zilch in gaming, right? I mean, did you check each of these during their individual game's peak time? I mean, your post arrived here at 3 in the afternoon, eastern, on a monday. Surely you didn't only check at 1:15, when the vast majority of people in the USA are either at work, at school, or on their way home from school, right? When you say Avalon had 20 votes per hour, are you saying you sat at your computer clicking the refresh button every hour, to ensure that your data is correct? I mean, do you think it's possible that 40 people all voted one hour, and no one voted the next? Or maybe, 60 people voted just after supper time last night, and no one voted between 2-4am this morning, but another dozen voted again at 5?

The total number of people logged in at any given moment on a game, is subject to change at any given moment. Furthermore, when 5 people log out, another 5 people might be logging in at the same time. And you really have no way of knowing unless you are watching the "who" list every 5 minutes. Also, not everyone who votes, plays during the time they are voting. In fact, some people don't vote at all. And some people used to play a game and still love it, and vote for it, but don't play anymore.

Gemstone is on the listing and they have almost 10,000 paying accounts, but hardly any votes.

So in summary, back up your claim with actual data and not suppositions based on incomplete spot-checking.
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Old 10-05-2009, 08:02 PM   #3
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

I think the OP has a good and valid point. I've often wondered about games that have few players posting five times their player base in one day, every day. Even you cannot deny this is hardly possible Jazuela. I get players complaining all the time on NWA of the voting scams here.

You talked about Aardwolf, but I don't think the OP accused Aardwolf of anything. They accused WoT, Avalon, Imperiam, and Carrion Fields. And yes, they said that Avalon voted 20 times per hour, so I'm assuming they watched hourly and marked the totals.

NWA has even received emails before on voting fraud and we have over 100 individual players log on every day with consistantly over 50 individual players around constantly. Our playerbase is over 500 active players many of whom never vote.

Here's an easy fix. Change the voting system to that of TMC. Once TMC did that it was quite obvious who wasn't following the rules.
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Old 10-05-2009, 09:21 PM   #4
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

There are 78 players logged in to Imperian as of 1 minute before I started posting this post. The OP claimed there are only 48 players. Not that there are only 48 players logged in as of the moment he happened to be checking..not that there are an average of 48 players at any given moment..but that there "are 48 players." Which is..let's see. Just slightly under half of what there are, as of 1 minute before I started posting. And it isn't even peak time yet.

That's one game, one moment's worth of checking. Now - do a little numbers crunching him? Let's be generous too just for argument's sake. Let's assume that players of Imperian play exactly 6 hours each, per day. And that the average number of players, is somewhere between that 48 the OP pointed out, and the 78 that I found. So let's call it an average of 65 individuals playing, in 6 hours, per day. That would make 4 different sets of players, every day, at 65 players per set on average...that's oh my - 260 players! Now if only half of them voted twice per day as they are allowed (once every 12 hours)...that'd make - 260 votes per 24-hour period. That's a WHOLE lot more votes than they're showing now.

So where's the cheating?
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Old 10-05-2009, 09:25 PM   #5
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

Oh also, as of 8:24 pm, est, a full 5 hours after the OP posted, Imperian only has 394 votes. Where'd he get 402 from? Perhaps instead of obsessing over how well everyone else is doing, he could inspire his own games' players to vote.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:11 PM   #6
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

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Originally Posted by Jazuela View Post
Oh also, as of 8:24 pm, est, a full 5 hours after the OP posted, Imperian only has 394 votes. Where'd he get 402 from? Perhaps instead of obsessing over how well everyone else is doing, he could inspire his own games' players to vote.
*just chuckles* I just made 20 characters in 10 minutes on Imperian. I guess I'll pull out my proxy list now and add 20 more votes because the playerbase surely supports it. I'll get two of my friends and add another 40 players and votes while I'm at it. Yes, lets number crunch. *smirks*
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:17 PM   #7
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

Er, it doesn't work that way. It doesn't matter how many characters you have on a game. Topmudsites will only accept one vote from your IP address, per 12 hours. You could have 400 paying accounts on Gemstone, if they're all coming from the same IP address, you'll still only get 1 vote per 12 hours.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:18 PM   #8
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

Whenever I have concerns about someone's voting practices, I report them directly to Lasher, and he looks into them. He's the only one with the hard data, so everything else is conjecture (not that I haven't worried about a few myself). Still, I wouldn't necessarily think that someone is necessarily cheating based on usage vs. votes. Our voting usually stays about the same even when our usage dips simply because people will continue voting even if they aren't currently playing. Still, if you've got some serious concerns, just drop Lasher a PM with the name of the mud.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:23 PM   #9
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

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Originally Posted by Jazuela View Post
Er, it doesn't work that way. It doesn't matter how many characters you have on a game. Topmudsites will only accept one vote from your IP address, per 12 hours. You could have 400 paying accounts on Gemstone, if they're all coming from the same IP address, you'll still only get 1 vote per 12 hours.
I think you missed the point. The OP said that he logged on 20 characters, so your count that you were crunching numbers over was off. But all of this doesn't matter. If the vote system changed to TMC style, it would be better like at TMC and you'd get rid of the bogus 10 player 400 vote craziness.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:24 PM   #10
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

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Originally Posted by Jazuela View Post
Er, it doesn't work that way. It doesn't matter how many characters you have on a game. Topmudsites will only accept one vote from your IP address, per 12 hours. You could have 400 paying accounts on Gemstone, if they're all coming from the same IP address, you'll still only get 1 vote per 12 hours.

With a proxy list, you aren't voting from the same IP. You're voting from a ton of different IPs. A few muds have been busted doing this, so it's not really an uncommon thing. It's also not necessarily the mud administrator's fault. Players can be very creative, and a lot of them are pretty good scripters.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:49 PM   #11
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

It's perfectly possible to cheat the system consistently if you have the inclination to do so. The only way to regulate votes from the server is by IP and/or cookie, and both of those measures can be countered. You could go further and disallow votes from IPs on the same subnet or those from a known proxy list, but you risk discounting legitimate votes this way and of course new proxies are always popping up.

The only reliable indicator is votes vs average player numbers, and even then provided the game in question doesn't inflate their votes way beyond their playerbase size you couldn't be certain they were cheating.

The best you can do is make it difficult for the cheaters but anyone who is really determined to cheat the system is going to find a way.
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:02 PM   #12
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

True to both Orrin and Milawe.

On the other hand, these games have been around awhile now, and their counts have been reasonably favorable on the list pretty regularly. I don't play any of the ones in question, and never have played any of the ones in question, or any of the other IRE games for that matter (I know Imperian is an IRE). But I imagine that if there's been cheating going on with any of those mentioned games, it would've been noticed by now. Their presence on the top 20 isn't exactly new.
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:55 PM   #13
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

I'd say you are right Jazuela about some of the games, but every month you get a few that are obviously working the system. I think that is the rub. I think TMC was getting the same, but a huge change happened when they changed their voting system and it was obvious. All those that were obviously cheating and high ranking here and there dropped like rocks on TMC.
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:25 AM   #14
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

Yes there was some discussion with a few forums of particular games, back when TMC changed their voting rules. THe general consensus was that it was too much of a bother to vote there, so people just stopped voting there. That doesn't mean people are cheating here..or not cheating there. It simply means people can't be bothered jumping through hoops to say "I like this game."
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:30 AM   #15
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

If there's cheating, collect what evidence that you can and report it to Lasher. I've suspected it, many times, and sometimes from games that I even like. Calling games out for cheating on the forums without having access to the IP logs, though, that's pretty presumptive. There's a better way to go about dealing with this.
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Old 10-06-2009, 01:15 PM   #16
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

Imperian (or any IRE game) does not cheat on the TMS. We have set up in game reminders (within the TMS rules) and post quite often on our announce boards and forums asking people to remember to vote. We push voting at the beginning of the month when the TMS first resets. Keeping that rate of voting will be pretty hard for Imperian. On that note however, we have had 419 logins from unique IPs in the last 24 hours on Imperian.

Do I think a couple of the games you listed above are cheating? Yes. I follow the number of votes quite closely. I know exactly how much work it is to get every single vote. TMS voting is a constant discussion at our weekly producer meetings.

At one point I considered to stop pushing voting on our players, as the reward for doing so is quickly extinguished if other games are cheating. Not just because our games are listed below cheaters, but also because TMS traffic is artificially inflated and real people are not actually seeing our listings and ads.

In short IRE does not cheat, we condone any form of cheating, and should any of our users be discovered to facilitate cheating, we would ban them from our games.
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Old 10-06-2009, 01:26 PM   #17
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

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Yes there was some discussion with a few forums of particular games, back when TMC changed their voting rules. THe general consensus was that it was too much of a bother to vote there, so people just stopped voting there. That doesn't mean people are cheating here..or not cheating there. It simply means people can't be bothered jumping through hoops to say "I like this game."
I completely disagree with this. The voting process for TMC is simple. It just requires verification that has significantly reduced the ability to manipulate the system. The results of this system are very clear.
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Old 10-06-2009, 01:46 PM   #18
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

Sites like TMS need traffic to make them worth running. Making it harder to vote reduces traffic. Adding a captcha (while a good idea in theory) would reduce traffic. This website is a business that revolves around getting as much traffic as possible. The more traffic that hits the site, the more money that can be made on ads and the more players all of us get to share. Would a lot of it be cross traffic? Sure. But I am fine giving up some IRE players to other games, because I know players from other games will be trying out ours. Cross pollination is a good thing.

Despite the fact that I will get textually slapped for this, I seriously suggest relaxing the rules for voting. In particular the rules about how we can remind players and reward players for voting. On our games alone, voting would increase significantly. Hundreds of new people visiting the TMS from our IRE games. Forum activity would go up, my precious IRE players would see all these other games a lot more often (as they would actually be seeing the site).
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Old 10-06-2009, 02:12 PM   #19
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

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Despite the fact that I will get textually slapped for this, I seriously suggest relaxing the rules for voting. In particular the rules about how we can remind players and reward players for voting. On our games alone, voting would increase significantly. Hundreds of new people visiting the TMS from our IRE games. Forum activity would go up, my precious IRE players would see all these other games a lot more often (as they would actually be seeing the site).
I'm not sure what Lasher's exact reasoning for the current rules are, but I am glad that rewarding players for voting is off of the table.

Many game owners would see this as a breach of ethics; therefor, the games that would benefit the most from "reward votes" would be the games that are more likely to live in the more grey ethical area. Since many of the games that would be likely to benefit from this change are already some of the most popular MUDs, this would lead to an increasing top-heavy competition for voting rank. In turn, this means that traffic to the site looking for a new game to play would be more likely to play an already popular game that would be benefiting from what smaller game owners might see as a questionable reward system that they would not want to personally implement.

I know that as a game owner, I would definitely not want any sort of OOC reward that could affect in-game progress; this is why I have never used a pay-for-perks model. Likewise, I am a fan of encouraging players to vote and support their community and game, but I believe that they should do so based on the merits of the game and not to earn rewards.
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Old 10-06-2009, 02:51 PM   #20
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Re: Lets Talk about Voting - Shall we?

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Many game owners would see this as a breach of ethics;
I agree that many game owners wouldn't be willing to take this step. But if they didn't, they wouldn't be able to compete with those that did, and would see their rank falling as a result. I suspect you'd see many such muds asking their players to vote elsewhere instead - why send your players to a website that promotes dozens of less-popular games over yours, when it's unlikely you'll get many players in return?

But another issue is that it's sending out mixed signals in regard to cheating. If the players are being rewarded for voting, then they have a strong incentive to cheat (using scripts and proxy servers to get your mud's rank as high as possible so that they can get their rewards), which probably isn't something TMS wants.
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