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Combating Like abuse

Erik

Well-known member
#1
I'm going to set-up a scenario here. A user signs up, makes some posts, is a member on the forum for a while, and then for some reason decides that he needs more likes. So he creates a second account (or contacts his friend to do the job for him) and likes every single one of the first account's posts, so that the user now has 200 or more additional likes.

Two established users could also do the same thing, agreeing to like every post the other user has. All of a sudden both of them have 1000 more likes.

Is there anything implemented to stop this sort of abuse? You could delete the second user (and perhaps give a warning or temporary ban to the first user), but is there anyway to clean-up the like count? Or would you have to go through the database and manually remove every like on every post?

Thanks. :)
 

Shelley

Well-known member
#2
I'm going to set-up a scenario here. A user signs up, makes some posts, is a member on the forum for a while, and then for some reason decides that he needs more likes. So he creates a second account (or contacts his friend to do the job for him) and likes every single one of first account's posts, so that the user now has 200 or more likes.

Two established users could also do the same thing, agreeing to like every post the other user has. All of a sudden both of them have 1000 more likes.

Is there anything implemented to stop this sort of abuse? You could delete the second user (and perhaps give a warning or temporary ban to the first user), but is there anyway to clean-up the like count? Or would you have to go through the database and manually remove every like on every post?

Thanks. :)
Very good question and point you touch upon. I've been thinking this myself and have actually seen it in action here where one particular member posts and a friend constantly and consistently likes everything they post. I won't mention any names because it's supposed to be a social, positive based system. Personally, I don't think there's too much you can do to combat this apart from maybe limit the amount of likes to a specific member per day, hour, week etc that you can make.

I suppose, you just have to put your faith in a system like this and hope that members don't take it too seriously as "likes" only give you a glimpse of the character of a person where the threads they create and posts they make shows you who and what they are. Regarding the whole like abuse thing. Tough one to combat imo.
 

KURTZ

Well-known member
#3
have actually seen it in action here where one particular member posts and a friend constantly and consistently likes everything they post. I won't mention any names because it's supposed to be a social, positive based system.
Shelley, maybe do you mean Forsaken? :D (just kidding)
 

Shelley

Well-known member
#7
When it's all said and done you like what you read and that should be the end of it. I'm not pointing fingers nor judging anyone just saying based on my observations. The trouble I can see here now I've mentioned what I've observed and this could entice people to think "should I like this". Put it this way, if you like a post then click the like I would and will despite.
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#8
Unfortunately there's nothing you can do about it.
As soon as you introduce any kind of ranking system or awards you will get this sort of behaviour.

It's almost as bad as those who post things like "This" or "+1" or "I agree" just to increase their post count.
Which ironically is what the Like system is supposed to prevent.
 

Shelley

Well-known member
#9
Unfortunately there's nothing you can do about it.
As soon as you introduce any kind of ranking system or awards you will get this sort of behaviour.

It's almost as bad as those who post things like "This" or "+1" or "I agree" just to increase their post count.
Good point although I feel the Like system aims to prevent the short posts like "nice work" "thanks" etc or atleast reduces it to an extent.
 

Dean

Well-known member
#10
Is there anything implemented to stop this sort of abuse?
My first thought would be to de-emphasize & not showcase the trophies & Likes, at least for my forum.

Having '1' point for each 'like' also helps, as opposed to getting multiple points for 1 like.
 

Forsaken

Well-known member
#11
Good point although I feel the Like system aims to prevent the short posts like "nice work" "thanks" etc or atleast reduces it to an extent.
I still see a lot of people posting useless posts, and liking a post as well.

Most often, I'll like a post if I don't have much to add to it, or if I agree with the opinions stated, and I'll add my own view as well.

I don't believe much in moderating likes (Limiting them by amount and such), but if it becomes an issue I'll likely move users to a juvenile group, where I remove many features from their use. 
 
#12
I doubt people will have the patience to perform that sort of task, i mean following a member around liking each post is a tad to tedious but it may happen. Instead of trying to prevent that [which may not fully succeed and even hinder the proper use of the like system] why not make it easy to clean up after it like Purge all likes in the last 20 hours or something.
 

Puntocom

Well-known member
#13
I doubt people will have the patience to perform that sort of task, i mean following a member around liking each post is a tad to tedious but it may happen. Instead of trying to prevent that [which may not fully succeed and even hinder the proper use of the like system] why not make it easy to clean up after it like Purge all likes in the last 20 hours or something.
That would lead to data loss... maybe alert when lots of likes are done to a member and may disable them?
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
#15
This is a tough issue, one I have contemplated a bit. I'm not sure exactly what you can do. Likes can be gamed, but obviously a post count can be too. There will be people that want to game the system, but it's a fairly minor thing in the grand scheme. They might show up high on a list, but it shouldn't have a large effect otherwise.

The only things I can think of (preventing liking, limiting likes over time, limiting/preventing likes to a person) seem potentially Draconian, and a problem if triggering a false positive (in the case of limiting likes in a time period). I'm open to suggestions.
 

Forsaken

Well-known member
#16
It really falls to the administrator/staff to decide on whether or not to moderate likes.
 
Adding in checks to actively monitor members seems a bit pointless... You're more then likely going to see if theres been abuse, or someone will catch it, in which case you can take action then.
 
Mike: I'd like to see a way to prevent users from using the like system (As well as visitor and private conversation system) on a user to user basis, in case of abuse.
 
 
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#17
I'm open to suggestions.
Kier did say he was considering a system which removed post count for those who post things like "+1", "This", etc.
I'm fairly sure he was just kidding though :D

As for the issue with padding likes, other than looking for trends, I'm not sure what else you can do about it.
After all, some people are just "friendly" or grateful and click the like button all the time.
 

anotheralias

Well-known member
#18
This is what I plan to do: remove "X liked this post" from the postbit, disallow signatures with "I have X likes," and if possible, limit the viewing of "# of Likes" in the profile to that user only. Thus removing the competition aspect while leaving the positive reinforcement aspect in place.
 

mrGTB

Well-known member
#19
Yeah, you could argue the same here about the IPB rep system being abused in a similar way. Could you not limit "Likes" that can be done within a 24 hour period, which you can alter for each usergroup accordingly.

Example, allow members usergroup to only cast 1 Like in 24 hours (which is changeable), while a second custom usergroup added could be set-up to allow 3 Likes in 24 hours e.t.c.
 

Erik

Well-known member
#20
This is a tough issue, one I have contemplated a bit. I'm not sure exactly what you can do. Likes can be gamed, but obviously a post count can be too. There will be people that want to game the system, but it's a fairly minor thing in the grand scheme. They might show up high on a list, but it shouldn't have a large effect otherwise.

The only things I can think of (preventing liking, limiting likes over time, limiting/preventing likes to a person) seem potentially Draconian, and a problem if triggering a false positive (in the case of limiting likes in a time period). I'm open to suggestions.
Obviously there's an issue of trying to control the "Like" system in day-to-day use (at what point do things become abusive and at what point do you step in?), but when posting I was referring more to cases of blatant abuse, like in the scenario posed above (a new user mysteriously likes every single post of another user). Are there tools to manually modify the "like" count after-the-fact, or somehow clean-up all those extra likes once you've verified that abuse has occured?

EDIT: With post counts, if a user posts hundreds of useless/spam messages to boost their post count, you can find the posts and delete them, which will fix the post count. Basically, I am asking whether there is any method to do the same for likes. :)