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Important Notice About Top 10 Photo Gallery

 

Hi, all!

Much to my dismay, I recently discovered that a member has been, wittingly or unwittingly, manipulating photo rankings in the Top 10 by artificially boosting one metric that contributes to these rankings. As a result, a couple of photos lingered in the Top 10 far longer than they would have otherwise. The good news is: this person has been warned, and the situation has been remedied.

To clarify: there's no rule against loving someone else's images and looking at or liking them. In fact, we encourage that sort of healthy activity!  And there's nothing wrong with external traffic from another site driving up a photo's rankings, and keeping it in the Top 10 for a while, as has happened a few times in the past. But when one person from one IP address tampers with the system to give someone else an unfair advantage, that's another story completely.

I never thought I would have to state the obvious here, but evidently I do: any gaming of trending algorithms on the site is strictly prohibited. If I find a member doing this, that person will be given the benefit of the doubt once (i.e., one warning). But any repeated offenses will lead to removal from the site. I will also remove the affected photos out of fairness to others.

There are a number of very good reasons why I prohibit this activity:

  • First and foremost, it's unfair to other members who deserved a Top 10 spot, but didn't get one because someone was artificially driving up activity on another photo.
  • It generates trouble reports (as it did in this case), which I must investigate - and that takes up my valuable time.
  • It can cost me hard-earned cash to investigate some of these issues; in this case, I spent a few hundred dollars to verify the source of this traffic. Clearly, this money could have been better spent on more constructive things on the site. And, last but not least . . .
  • Members, myself included, tire of seeing the same images in the Top 10 every day and every week; it discourages others from contributing, which in turn drives down overall activity levels and advertising revenue on the site.

Please remember that I started the Top 10 and our Saturday Spotlights in order to celebrate a diverse array of members' contributions that have legitimately earned bragging rights. I never intended them to turn into competitions that members would manipulate to give friends or someone else an unfair advantage. (BTW, it's impossible to manipulate your own stats.)

Please be aware that I have visibility into all activity on the site, and I do monitor for this type of activity on a regular basis. It's unfortunate that I need to spend time on such things, but it's extremely important to me that people have faith in the integrity of our site and systems.

At any rate, our integrity remains intact! Thank you to the vast majority of you who make sure of this every day!

Any questions? Please leave them below.

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Well, I read this somewhere a time ago, and I didn't thought it was possible, or even true, that's why I didn't even paid attention to that. It's kind of sad that people has to cheat to get featured, instead of positively contributing to the site. I'm so sorry this happened, Julia, hope that member gets to understand that cheating won't lead anywhere.

That's so sad. That's not what Cookie Connection is about. I never even considered something like that happening because it doesn't feel competitive here, it's more about growth. Thank you Julia for preserving this. 

Cookies by joss posted:

Well, I read this somewhere a time ago, and I didn't thought it was possible, or even true, that's why I didn't even paid attention to that. It's kind of sad that people has to cheat to get featured, instead of positively contributing to the site. I'm so sorry this happened, Julia, hope that member gets to understand that cheating won't lead anywhere.

Please be clear that it was not someone manipulating the activity on his/her own photo - as that is not possible. It was someone "helping out" another member, which is a little harder to control, but very easy to spot and correct.

Last edited by Julia M. Usher
Shannon Orr posted:

That's so sad. That's not what Cookie Connection is about. I never even considered something like that happening because it doesn't feel competitive here, it's more about growth. Thank you Julia for preserving this. 

Agree. 

I'm so glad you were able to figure this out. People need to understand that if "likes" aren't legitimate, it really isn't a true "like" and the numbers then mean nothing. You were very kind Julia to give them just a warning. This is such a wonderful place and it makes me sad that someone would abuse it ... intentional or not.

Joanie posted:

I'm so glad you were able to figure this out. People need to understand that if "likes" aren't legitimate, it really isn't a true "like" and the numbers then mean nothing. You were very kind Julia to give them just a warning. This is such a wonderful place and it makes me sad that someone would abuse it ... intentional or not.

Me too! The gaming in this case had no impact on photo "likes". Likes were not involved.

Last edited by Julia M. Usher

It saddens me greatly that you even had to write this Julia!! This kind of activity is not what CC is about...and I agree with what so many have said that you are being more than generous to give a warning when you discover something like this is happening. Thank you for your integrity and for creating a place where that is paramount!

Last edited by Cookies Fantastique
Rebeccas-Sewing posted:

I'd say you are very kind to give this person a warning. I don't think I would've been so generous. Clearly, that act was not an innocent one.

Well, there were extenuating circumstances in this case.

Plus, because of the internationality of the site, there are sometimes language barriers. I can't assume people can always read and understand the site directions - sometimes they require more explanation.

Julia M. Usher posted:
Cookies by joss posted:

Well, I read this somewhere a time ago, and I didn't thought it was possible, or even true, that's why I didn't even paid attention to that. It's kind of sad that people has to cheat to get featured, instead of positively contributing to the site. I'm so sorry this happened, Julia, hope that member gets to understand that cheating won't lead anywhere.

Please be clear that it was not someone manipulating the activity on his/her own photo - as that is not possible. It was someone "helping out" another member, which is a little harder to control, but very easy to spot and correct.

No Julia, i didn't meant that. I was saying that I read once that a member already did this before, and I didn't think it was possible, so I ignored what I read. I know you're always clear as a person, I was talking about cheating to win is never fair.

I would have erased/blocked that member in that quite minute as this site is not intended for that type of stupidness... sorry for saying it that way but... it pisses me off. I don't know how in earth somebody could do that, when we are here just to help each other, inspire, share.

I would never imagine somebody doing something like that innocently, with not knowing what they did. Indeed that person made whatever he/she did with total consciousness. What a pity.

Thanks Julia for letting us know and being after those things. I imagine the high load of work mantaining this site might be. Pity we don't know who did this neither.

Regards and thanks for that followup,

Sil

 

Cookies by joss posted:
Julia M. Usher posted:
Cookies by joss posted:

Well, I read this somewhere a time ago, and I didn't thought it was possible, or even true, that's why I didn't even paid attention to that. It's kind of sad that people has to cheat to get featured, instead of positively contributing to the site. I'm so sorry this happened, Julia, hope that member gets to understand that cheating won't lead anywhere.

Please be clear that it was not someone manipulating the activity on his/her own photo - as that is not possible. It was someone "helping out" another member, which is a little harder to control, but very easy to spot and correct.

No Julia, i didn't meant that. I was saying that I read once that a member already did this before, and I didn't think it was possible, so I ignored what I read. I know you're always clear as a person, I was talking about cheating to win is never fair.

Got it! I don't believe a member has done exactly this before - as I said, it's a rarity, and pretty difficult to do on others' photos and impossible to do on your own.

The Painted Box posted:

It's sad this post had to be made. It also shows the dedication to have to keep this site fair. The organization of the site is a beautiful thing. ����������

Thanks - I really appreciate what you just said. It made the end of a long day a lot sweeter! 

Gosh, that's really strong stuff

But just to be sure, Julia, as you mention both intentionally and unintentionally - can this truly happen by accident?!? I am not really firm with any kind of algorithms, and it has happened in the past that I clicked on a picture several times because I liked it so much and wanted to take closer looks at techniques used or several details. Can this cause the said interference with the sites algorithms?

Laegwen posted:

Gosh, that's really strong stuff

But just to be sure, Julia, as you mention both intentionally and unintentionally - can this truly happen by accident?!? I am not really firm with any kind of algorithms, and it has happened in the past that I clicked on a picture several times because I liked it so much and wanted to take closer looks at techniques used or several details. Can this cause the said interference with the sites algorithms?

I said "wittingly or unwittingly", meaning I won't ever really know what motivated the person to do it -  if it was intentional gaming or just going to extreme lengths to help someone out (without thinking of the consequences for others on the site).

I'd prefer not to comment more specifically on the trending algorithm; it's kept secret only to me and Hoop.la (my tech guys) to prevent more of this type of thing.

Julia M. Usher posted:
Laegwen posted:

Gosh, that's really strong stuff

But just to be sure, Julia, as you mention both intentionally and unintentionally - can this truly happen by accident?!? I am not really firm with any kind of algorithms, and it has happened in the past that I clicked on a picture several times because I liked it so much and wanted to take closer looks at techniques used or several details. Can this cause the said interference with the sites algorithms?

I said "wittingly or unwittingly", meaning I won't ever really know what motivated the person to do it -  if it was intentional gaming or just going to extreme lengths to help someone out (without thinking of the consequences for others on the site).

I'd prefer not to comment more specifically on the trending algorithm; it's kept secret only to me and Hoop.la (my tech guys) to prevent more of this type of thing.

Thanks for your quick reply!

As long as I can be sure not to cause any trouble by looking more than once at beautiful cookie sets, I am happy  I would just hate to cause you any extra work (let alone expenses!) by that.

Laegwen posted:
Julia M. Usher posted:
Laegwen posted:

Gosh, that's really strong stuff

But just to be sure, Julia, as you mention both intentionally and unintentionally - can this truly happen by accident?!? I am not really firm with any kind of algorithms, and it has happened in the past that I clicked on a picture several times because I liked it so much and wanted to take closer looks at techniques used or several details. Can this cause the said interference with the sites algorithms?

I said "wittingly or unwittingly", meaning I won't ever really know what motivated the person to do it -  if it was intentional gaming or just going to extreme lengths to help someone out (without thinking of the consequences for others on the site).

I'd prefer not to comment more specifically on the trending algorithm; it's kept secret only to me and Hoop.la (my tech guys) to prevent more of this type of thing.

Thanks for your quick reply!

As long as I can be sure not to cause any trouble by looking more than once at beautiful cookie sets, I am happy  I would just hate to cause you any extra work (let alone expenses!) by that.

Normal looking at cookies isn't a problem.

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